Monday, December 31, 2012

Twenty Twelve

We spent Thanksgiving home alone.  We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone.  The last thing I wanted was to spend New Year's Eve alone.  So we talked about it and I planned a small party.  Very few friends were coming, but it was still better than sitting here alone. I figured the kids would have a blast popping fireworks and eating pizza with a few friends.  But...  No one showed any interest in helping.  No one showed any interest in actually having anyone over.  I got the blank look when mentioning it.  No one made any effort except me. And I am tired of doing all the work and being too tired to enjoy it afterwards.  So I cancelled it.

And here we are, doing exactly what I did not want:  sitting at home alone on New Year's Eve.

The older I get the faster the years seem to slip away.  This has been a tough year for me for many reasons.  The main one - coping with my Dad's passing and taking over his affairs.  He made it easy, but none of it was easy.  A lot of things were overshadowed dealing with that.  Over all there were too many losses and forever goodbyes to friends and neighbors.

Oh there were plenty of good things.  No more Houston for Clint.  Happy times with the girls as always.  Fun times with friends.  As always there were friends who stood by me... (and friends who walked away.  And those that have been indifferent.)

We've been on a huge spending spree all year - a boat, cosmetic surgery, trucks, vacations....    Mainly because my Dad never did anything.  Never spent a dime on himself.  I am frugal and a lot like him but I am not going to be like him entirely.  You really can't take it with you, so why not enjoy some of it while you can?

I am not sure what my wish is for 2013.  To finally find peace perhaps.  To find patience.  To get past the hurt.  Happiness is somewhere?  To move forward with the other house.  To forgive and forget...  and accept.  And for my life to be less cluttered.

I'll be returning to the gym after a holiday hiatus.  That's not really a goal but a plan to get back to my regular routine.

Tomorrow is a New Day.... A New Year...  a fresh start.

Wishing you all the best for 2013.

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New Year's Eve!!

Happy New Year's Eve!!!  Do you have big plans tonight?  Years ago I would have.  The thought of staying home on New Years was unthinkable!!!  Now I am more than happy to spend it with my family.  If course being able to shoot fireworks in my driveway helps a a lot!!!  Hosting is also a plus since we won't have to drive anywhere.  I mixed up a batch of homemade "Bailey's" last night just for the occasion. So tonight a few friends are coming by for food and lighting of flammables!!  Any bets on who crashes before midnight.... Me or the Girls?!?!?

~ Melanie R. Galliano

Sunday, December 30, 2012

How messy is messy?

Do your kids' rooms get messy?  How messy?  Here it is a never ending battle to get them to pick up.  Every now and then if I issue enough threats Valerie will do a decent job straightening up.  Veronica never seems to get it.  I don't want them picture perfect.  I just want to see the floor!   I've tried a reward system.  I've tried taking toys away.  I've tried toy jail.  I've bagged up everything and hidden it.  I've given garbage bags of toys away...  doesn't phase them.  And the sad thing is I don't think they have all that much stuff!

With the addition of a doll house from Santa and new flat screen TVs, we decided to give their rooms a mini-make over.  They both are asking to paint -- nope.  Not until they keep their rooms decent!  I spent yesterday and today moving furniture around and trying to make the most of the space.  I know they will not stay this neat, and that is ok...  I guess.

Are you ready for the mess?  Please tell me my kids aren't the only ones who have disaster area rooms...

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Saturday, December 29, 2012


Christmas is all gone.  It's so nice to have my living room back again!! Now if only it would stay this neat...

The Soup Post (again)

Every year or so I re-post the Soup Story.  For a long while, it was the most popular post on my blog. If you've been around a while, you know it.  You can read the story HERE.  

Cliff notes version: 

My grandma made a navy bean soup.  Her Mom made a navy bean soup.  My Mom made the soup.  There was no recipe since my grandmaw(s) could not read or write- they just threw it together.  My Mom typed it up for a contest entry and won.  Her recipe along with the story behind it is published in John Folse's cookbook, "Something Old, Something New."  She received a free copy of the book.  To promote the book, John Folse's show called and wanted to come tape a show in my Mom's kitchen making the soup.  She said no.  They called again.... she still said no.  

Anyway, Clint asked me yesterday if we had any beans and he was going to make The Soup.  Ironically, yesterday evening a friend posted in a cooking Facebook group looking for a white bean soup recipe.  Of course I said I had a good one and shared my Mom's "famous" recipe.  

"This isn't how my Mawmaw did it."

" no cabbage and no other stuff, its a white bean soup. not veg"

"do not use celery, my mom never uses that stuff"

" (name) is right I use leftover white beans I use a onion tomato sause a little bit of noodle some chunk hamvery easu at the end u can put a little green onions tops if u like don,s put all those veg it a beansoup"

Who knew a recipe could be wrong?  Why be so negative?  Really??  (Nevermind that you can't type or spell.) My Grandma was about as Cajun as you can get, grew up dirt poor, and learned to cook with whatever she had on hand.  Just because it is not the way YOU make it, doesn't mean it is wrong.  People can be so rude.

My Mom's is better anyway.  Ha.

Navy Bean Soup
1 pound dried navy beans
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup chopped cabbage
1/2 cup elbow macaroni
2 cups diced ham
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
black pepper
hot sauce (optional)

Method: Rinse the beans under cold running water. You may wish to soak the beans in cold water overnight to cut the cooking time by one-third. Place beans in a large cast iron dutch oven and cover by two inches with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook approximately one hour or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add onions, celery, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, macaroni and ham. Blend well into the bean mixture and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add water to retain desired consistency. Add green onions and parsley. Season to taste using salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Note: When stirring beans during the cooking process, mash approximately 50% of the beans, pressing with the cooking spoon against the inside of the pot. This will give the navy bean soup a creamy consistency.

My Mom's (embellished!) story behind the recipe:

"Since my grandmother and mother were unable to read or write, recipes would have been of little use to them. So they cooked the way people before them had cooked, back to the dawn of time, I suppose. They cooked from memory. When you think about it, that's really quite a skill. You have to remember every ingredient of a recipe and how the end product tastes. It also means keeping a mental catalog of herbs and spices and their effects on flavors so accurate that you can add the proper amount without resorting to measuring spoons or cups. Of course, after a while everyone learns to cook their favorite dishes from memory - as I do this one. But imagine having to do it every time! This, by the way, is the 'special' version of mom's soup - the one she fixed as a treat when we had leftover ham. In the everyday version, she used salt meat."

Joyce B. Russell
Morgan City, Louisiana

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Clutter no more...

I literally spent the entire day cleaning, packing up and sorting through our Christmas decorations.  My house looks like my house again!!  All that's left inside is the now undecorated tree. I do love my Christmas stuff.  I kept a lot of my Mom's things and I enjoy putting them out and thinking of her every year.  She sure did love knick nacks!!  I have a lot of her handmade ornaments which I hope to never part with.  It did make me a little sad to put it all away, just a little sad that Christmas is over already, but the clutter of 'stuff' everywhere had to go.

Hopefully tomorrow I can tackle some of the real cleaning - vacuuming and moping.  This house is forever a mess it seems.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas was...

Christmas has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  Ours was quiet and it didn't really feel like Christmas.  It was actually nice to just stay home and have no schedule.  We had our usual party food for Christmas Eve dinner and opened the presents that were under the tree.  Christmas morning the girls excitedly tackled the pile of gifts from Santa. I admit they are very spoiled when it comes to Christmas gifts. It is SO fun seeing how excited they were. I hope we can keep up the Santa bit for a while longer.  The weather was icky and Clint and I were both feeling under the weather, so it was nice to just stay home.

Today I hit the stores early for my favorite shopping day of the year.  So. Much. Stuff. So. Cheap.  I stocked up on bath items for me and kid tooth brushes.  I picked up a few gifts for my emergency stash.  We have plenty of decorations, so I didn't look too hard at that stuff.  Maybe on my next trip... because chances are I will go back a few more times!!

It seems like we just put up all the Christmas stuff and it makes me a little sad now that it's time to take it down.  I do love my tree and it seems I was so busy this year I didn't get to enjoy it much.  When I was little I would turn off all the lights and put on a Christmas record and just sit in the dark with the twinkling lights of the tree.  It was pure magic back then.

On the other hand, as I sit here typing in the dark by the light of my tree, I am ready to clear out the clutter and get my house back to normal!!  Back into the storage totes it will go for another year.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Um. present aftermath. wow.

Santa has passed!

Santa almost forgot something important.  Oops.

Excited and happy girls! 

Hope you all have a wonderful day!
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Festivus for the rest of us

Happy Festivus for the rest of us!!  Merry Eve of Christmas Eve!!

We are sick.  Veronica is still ailing from when she wasn't well a few weeks ago.  She's already went through a round of Zithromax and cough meds and she isn't any better.  Hasn't slowed her down much, so I guess she is OK. Now I've got it.... and I have too much cooking and baking to do to be sick. Seems someone is sick every Christmas! Every year we go riding around to look at decorations.  Some people go all out!  There are several houses around here with dancing light displays.  Someday....   but for now this is ours:

Clint did a pretty good job. 

Do you decorate your home?  Do you go riding around to look at lights?

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

A story - part 1

I almost slipped on the wet pavement as I hurried toward the end of the pier.  It was a dark, cold, and the fog was rolling in.  The dim streetlights did little to light my path.  I wrapped my arms tighter around my black, leather coat with my purse slung over my shoulder.  In my right hand I clutched an envelope with my address on it, now smudged from the damp night.  There was no return address nor a name signed to the short note inside.  Meet me at 10:00 pm it said.  It didn't matter because I'd recognize that scrawl anywhere.  I wasn't sure what I was doing here or why I had come.  

Then I saw him. He was standing at the end of the dock overlooking the water.  His hands were in his pockets, shoulders slumped.  Martin, my Martin.  I had lost count of the years.  I caught a glance of his profile as he glanced at his watch. He still had the same boyish look about him, yet he had aged.  I think I could see a bit of gray hair at his temples.   He glanced at his watch, then made a quick survey of his suroundings and continued his stare out over the water.  I thought for sure he had seen me hiding in the shadows but I was relieved when I realized he did not.

What was I doing here?  Why had I come?  Did I really want to open these wounds?  I could not find an answer.  

So many times I had replayed our goodbye all those years ago.  So many times I had carried out the scene of a chance meeting, just hoping to see him again.  I remembered our goodbye, so many years ago.  Our painful goodbye.  Our relationship had been a struggle from the beginning and it was for the best that we go our separate ways.  We were much too young and our lives were going in drastic different directions.  The back and forth was draining us and we both agreed no contact.  It was over for good that time.

Yet here I am and there he is.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the end of the world.... December 21, 2012

It's the end of the world today!!!  How can this be.....

8 years ago our world was turned upside down

Has it really been 8 years??  Yep.

So it's the end of the world!!

I'm officially the Mom of an 8 year old today!!!

When did that happen??

Happy Birthday to my wonderful daughter.  Always my Val Gal. 

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dear Holidailies....

Hello??  Anybody there?  Y'all are sure quiet this year.


Maybe it's just me.

Taking advantage of the moment to brag.  Look who made the front page of our local paper? 

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Parentless parenting

These were taken on our last Christmas as a whole family of six.  2007, which seems so long ago.

I never dreamed I would be motherless at the young age of 35.  I stood by her bed as she took her last breath.  My kids were just babies.  Their lives were just beginning, and their only living grandmother's was ending.  Her sudden decline and death was such a shock and a tragic event that it turned everything upside down.  It was a very, very long time before I was OK.

These were taken on our last Christmas as a family of five.  2010, which doesn't seem so long ago.

It happened again.  At 39, I became completely parentless.  My kids became grandparentless as I watched my Dad slip away.  He died quietly alone behind a closed bedroom door because none of us could bear to watch. I think he would have understood.  I still don't know if I am OK.

Even now there are those tiny moments when it hits me that they are really gone.  Both of them are really gone.  It seemed impossible.  It didn't seem like something they could actually do - die.  But they did. I try to think of them in a happy way and remember the funny stories.  But the feeling of loss is still there.  And I miss them oh so very much.

I wonder if they are really watching over us.  Perhaps their life energy is somewhere.  Or maybe they are just gone. (?)

There are so many things that I wish I could share with them - that only they would understand.  A memory will sneak up on me, and I wish they were here to ask if they remember too.

I wish they were here this Christmas to make more memories with my girls.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reindeer Games - just not monopoly

I am not a game person.

Have you ever known someone who at every party or get together they wanted to play games?  Board games.  Guessing games.  Charades.  Silly games.  I have.  It's weird to me that someone needs a game to be entertained.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing commercials on TV and the kids were having such fun!!  Then I'd get the game, and it was just me and my Dad playing it.  And it wasn't as exciting as portrayed.  Maybe that is why I am not a game person.   That and I am not all that good at some of them.

We are invited to a Christmas party this Friday night, and on the invitation it says 'Bring a wrapped gift - we are going to play a game!!'  Greeeeat.   Am I the only person who hates this stuff??  I know it's the Evil Santa/Dirty Santa/stealing gift/whatever you call it game.  That also means I have to buy FOUR presents. It will cost me $30 to attend this party, in addition to whatever food item I contribute. I particularly don't like this game because someone always, always brings something that is useless junk.  Clutter than I do not need.  Something that costs way less than the $10 limit.  (one time I got a small plastic tray to 'organize' your cell phone - huh?) I'd rather take my $30 and buy myself something I need/want.

And the kids are going to play it too?  How on earth do you make a child understand if their gift is stolen, that it was all in 'fun?'

Why can't we just go hang out and enjoy each other's company?  Eat, drink, and be merry!!  Music and dancing...  with out having to BUY more crap that no one really needs.  Isn't Christmas supposed to be about more than just the presents anyway??

Sigh.  Oh well, I will probably suck it up and buy some junk for someone else to get in exchange for the junk that we will get in return.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Old Dirty Shoes

Here are a bunch of old shoes for all the people looking for old shoes.  Apparently there are a lot of you!!

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