August 26, 2009

See Straight Through Me by Kayla Hawkins

My niece, Kayla, just released her debut CD. You can listen to samples or download here:
You can download the entire CD for $3 for a limited time. Isn't she a beautiful singer?

August 25, 2009


I left work today to find a black stretch limo waiting for me.

Hubby planned a special evening to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Inside the limo Hubby, kids and my niece, Erin were waiting. It was the nicest limo I have ever seen. There was an awesome star-lit ceiling and lights around the bar area. The lights faded into all shades of the rainbow, and a small strobe light accompanied the music on the radio. The seats were plush leather, and large enough to fit 8-10 people.

We dropped Erin and the kids back at our house before heading out to dinner. Hubby wouldn't tell me where we were going, only that it was a restaurant we'd never been to before. It turned out to be a Brazilian restaurant called Samba. Inside the color pallete was a rich red with stone and steel accents. The menu began with a large "salad" bar (not sure what else to call it?) with all different kinds of cheeses, potato salads, olives, veggies including asparagus, grilled broccoli and zucchini, fresh green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, curried chicken salad (YUM!), pickled artichokes, rolls, garlic mashed potatoes, something that resembled Texas caviar and more. You could make as many trips as you wanted, and then we had a large wooden hourglass shaped thing that sat on the table. One end was green and the other red. When the green side was up there was a multitude of gauchos that would come to your table to serve you. Our selections included flank steak, Asian flavored tenderloin, a marinated duck, Cuban pork tenderloin (delish), a sausage (didn't try), lamb, barbequed chicken, a couple of others I'm forgetting right now and cinnamon grilled pineapple (OMG). The gauchos would keep coming to your table as long as the "green" was up. Needless to say it was easy to overeat and it was all delicious. It felt like all of these amazing flavor explosions in my mouth with each thing I tried. I had a mango Mojito to drink and Hubby had a rum and ginger-beer concoction called Dark & Stormy (not his favorite), but the Mojito rocked.

NOTE TO SELF: Stock up on some Mojito supplies...they are soooo good!

Afterward we had chocolate mousse and a custard with caramel sauce and berries. We were stuffed even before the dessert arrived but what would a proper celebration be without dessert, I ask?

The limo returned and we drove around town some before heading back home. I had these fantasies about doing some naughty things in the back of that limo, but I had to pee really bad, and Hubby was super stuffed so we were lame old farts who held hands and talked and ended up picking up our kids and Erin for the last part of our time in the limo.

Now that we've had some time to let our food settle and the kids are in bed we're off to do a little Whirlpool action with some wine--well at least I am. The night's not over yet.

August 6, 2009



If anyone happened to see my last Thursday Thoughts -- which was subsequently deleted -- I want to apologize for my feelings getting the better of me. I try not to do that here, but I was feeling particularly frustrated with life and the lack of support I felt I had during that time.

Right now I'm in a really good place.
  • I've been initiating solo adventures even though they are uncomfortable for me. I got back on my bike. It had been about 15 years since I'd rode it last. I'm still a little wobbly but have enjoyed riding around to local garage sales with the kids. Feels good to get some exercise too. Then I was in Washington DC a few weeks ago and had to do some walking on my own. This type of solo activity can be very frightening to me, particularly in such a large city. Guess what? I made it to my destination safely! Whew, if I try this a few more times maybe it won't frighten me so much. And, for one of my biggest solo adventures yet, I'll be taking the kids to the Wisconsin State Fair by myself this Saturday. I am fortunate to have a bus that goes from Madison directly to the State Fair. Now I just have to manage my way around the fair itself. That shouldn't be so hard, right? Now none of this may seem particularly noteworthy to many of you, however, the fact that I am legally blind and unable to drive has made me quite comfortable relying on others. Not that I was dependent necessarily, but the comfort factor was always there. Someone always had my back if I couldn't read a sign or find my way around in an unfamiliar place. Not having that security blanket can be scary.
  • I made the huge decision to stop subscribing to my favorite scrapbooking kit club, Scarlet Lime. That means no more pretty scrappy goodies appearing on my doorstep on a monthly basis anymore. Surprisingly, once I made that decision I've felt completely fine with it. I've got sooooo much stuff to use as it is and have still been trying sell a lot of kits I've packed up.
  • I have stopped reading all blogs and message boards. Not that I don't want to, it's just that like TV, these activities can totally suck up hours of time without you even realizing it. It has gotten in the way of me getting down to business in achieving my dreams. So they had to go.
  • I've been writing! Okay, just a bit but still about 300 words in one day. Not bad! Even better, I used some of my frustration and not being able to sleep in a positive way, by sitting down and writing instead of crying and fuming. My therapist would be proud!
  • I've been spending lots of time with friends and family the last several weeks. I have gotten to enjoy the company of one of Hubby's friends, Ben, who is a very intelligent and motivated individual. I need friends like this. We've had a lot of talks about humanity, achieving goals, writing, etc., etc. along with sharing meals, playing Badmitton, or making s'mores over a fire. He adores the kids and they adore him. He and Hubby are good for each other too, with a lot in common in their massage therapy and martial arts pursuits. I've asked my niece, Erin, out to lunch the past couple of weeks. She's watching the kids two days a week this summer, but I don't get to see her much. She's an adult now and I have always had a special adoration for her. I have been able to see and feel potential coming from her pores ever since she was a little baby. I hope she realizes how special she is. I'm making sure to make time for her in my life. I've also reconnected with my life-long friend, Sherry, over the past couple of weeks. This past year has been a huge trial to our friendship, but I'm making an effort to make time for her in my life too, just taking it slow and seeing where things end up.
I've got so much to do yet. There are friends I'm anxious to talk to on a regular basis (Nicole, Fran, Lani, and Diane, in particular). Little by little I've been scaling back and focusing on what's really important to me. It'll take time to get everything running smoothly but I'm well on my way. And the part that has me in a state of bliss is that, for once in my life, I feel BALANCED.

And something else in my life is new. I've been praying more often for myself. That has been extremely rare in the past. I've always chosen to pray for others. But now, I go to bed at night praying for God to give me the strength and energy to live a fulfilled and productive life. It seems to be working!

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