Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our close family friend has passed away


Tonight's CaringBridge posting by Neal's wife:
     My Boyfriend, my rock, my protector, my best friend, my love, died at 6:25 this evening.
     Neal was very peaceful, there wasn't a furrow on his brow or a wrinkle on his face. His breathing slowed down and gradually stopped. We could not have asked for a more peaceful passing.
     Those who were with me held hands in a circle around us and we repeated the Lord's Prayer after Neal left us.
     Bill and David and I had agreed that if we lost Neal this week, we would wait to hold the services until the Saturday after Easter. Details have not been worked out, but we would like to have afternoon services, possibly at 2:00, to allow family from out of town to arrive. As a tribute to Neal, we would like people who attend services to wear camouflage.
     Thank you to all the friends and family who have supported Neal, Bill, David, and all our families through out this terrible ordeal.
     My Boyfriend is at peace wrapped in the arms of Jesus.

It is amazing what my husband and I experienced today, seeing our dear friend slip away and thankfully, very peacefully. He had been in a coma for nearly 11 weeks after suffering a heart attack. 
I will probably be away from my blog tomorrow. I'm sure you will understand.

Here are some of your favorite songs, Neal.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Cascarones, confetti eggs, for Easter!

It's time to make cascarones!

It's Holy Week and while there are many activities planned around this special time of the year, a little time needs to be set aside for tradition. Here on the border with Mexico cascarones are very much a part of the Easter tradition. While the eggs above are still white, they are about to be taken through a transition. To do it properly it will take two days.
In years past, our three sons, my husband and I would gather around the dinner table to decorate Easter eggs. Yes.. even my husband got involved. It was so much fun. I'm wondering if my husband might even take the urge to participate this evening. Our youngest son will be by and maybe even he will want to get involved.
Ok... here we go.

I've made the marks on the "pointy" end of the egg just to show you where to
remove the top with a several taps of a dinner knife. Just tap around it gently to crack the shell and then carefully remove it. Pour the contents into a bowl and rinse out the egg shell very gently with cool water. Place empty side down on a wire cookie rack so that air will circulate through.

The opening should be about the size of a 50 cent piece.

Looks like a great night for quiche!

Let the egg shells dry for a bit before the decorating begins.
Check back later as I proceed through this process.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, David!

Happy Birthday, sweet David!!

Our little grandson, David, is two years old today. What a little sweetheart. He is absolutely precious. What a blessing he is to our family. He has the most "watch-out-because-I'm-getting-ready-to-really-get-into-trouble" look in his eyes, yet, he's the best little kid. He is our oldest son's little boy. He lives in Mexico with our son, his wife and their six year old daughter, Carmen. 

Have a wonderful, blessed day, David!

To read about David's parents, just scroll close to the bottom of this page.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My 10 Questions & Answers - as per request by Laura - "White Spray Paint"

Manzanillo, Mexico

This is one of my favorite pictures taken from our favorite restaurant in Manzanillo... La Toscana. I just thought I would share it with you. 

1. What is the best way to start the day?
       A cup of coffee and a little quiet time... with a prayer to be a blessing to someone that day
2. What is your favorite hobby?
      * Family history! Genealogy. At some point I want to spend a whole day working on this 
      just as I used to do when I lived in Mexico.
      * Cooking... for friends and also planning a family cookbook
      * Home decorating

3.  What do you think are some of the most important lessons you taught your children?
       * Go to church... and believe!
       * Be faithful to your spouse.
       * Work hard

4.  If you could write a book, what would you write about?
       Living in Mexico in a small town... being the only American woman who lived there.

5.  What is your main concern these days?
       There is so much unrest in our country and the stress is damaging our health.

6.  If you could spend the day in your jammies, watching television, eating junk.. what would 
     would you watch and eat?
       Old black and white movies with Claudette Colbert, eat popcorn with butter on it and 
       drink Coke Zero with store-bought ice

7.  If you saw the first star in the sky this evening, what would you have wished for?
        Our family friend to wake up from his coma and be perfectly well. .. Then I would look
        for another star... and wish for the perfect wife for someone very close to me. (It's rare,
        but sometimes I cheat on things!)

8.  If you could change one thing about your body what would it be?
         Lose 50 pounds... and sleep through the diet!

9.  If you had a dinner party,how many people would you invite?
        10 - 12

10.  What would you serve?
        Antipasto, eggplant parmesan, stuffed manicotti, green salad, bread with dipping oil,
       broccoli and peas, red wine, biscotti, fruit and coffee

Okay! Your turn!!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mother sucked eggs!!

My mother sucked eggs for my sister and me!
Anne, Smudgy and Karen 

Probably about the time I was in second grade I came home from school to announce to my mother that I had to take an egg to school to decorate for Easter. (Yes, in the "olden days" this was perfectly acceptable!) The teacher had carefully instructed her students as to what sort of egg was needed. Empty! Poke a hole in each end of the egg... and then... well, this is where I went wrong with the instructions. I was just real sure that she said to SUCK the egg out of the shell. In all probability she must have said BLOW, but that message just did not come across to me. 
My poor mother questioned me carefully as to the teacher's instructions, however, I was insistent that she had said SUCK. Bless my mother's heart.. she began the process of preparing the eggs for the big event. Two eggs had to be prepared as my younger sister (who always felt that she had to do everything I did) wanted one too. I hardly noticed the less than enthusiastic look on my mother's face. All I could think about was decorating the perfect egg at school. My mother asked me half-way through the ordeal if my instructions from the teacher were correct. "Oh, yes! Suck the egg out of the shell and then be sure to wash the shell carefully." I was reciting exactly what my teacher had told the class. My poor mother had an awful look on her face, but began the process. I'm not quite sure what happened after the second egg as that is probably lost to pre-Easter memories in outer space... but my guess is she made a fast trip to the restroom. No wonder from that moment on my mother always questioned what I stated to her as "fact". My teacher had said BLOW
What a mother does for her children! Thank you, Mother. I miss you terribly.
 Mother - ca. 1953

I am adding a posting that I deleted earlier because it sounded a little "off",  however, I have decided to add it again. This incident brings back so much laughter we had together as a family. My mother sucking the eggs and my sister and I standing by her at the kitchen sink, wide-eyed and impatient, waiting for my mother to finish the deed. I can actually be laughing hysterically nowadays and my husband can just about bet that I am recalling the egg saga and the expression on my dear mother's face. Oh no... here it comes again... shaking all over with laughter... you'll just have to indulge me....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Las Islas Ranch

Las Islas Ranch
Photo by Brandon Boykin

     We spent the weekend at Las Islas Ranch, our deer lease, for a much-needed rest. The usual chores that needed to be done such as check deer blinds that may have tipped over (lots of high winds lately), check the "Lab-lab" (protein feed for the deer), check watering stations... of which a leak was found,  and then gather mesquite firewood.
     We cooked chicken the first night and then steak the second night. There is always lots of great food. Other "members" at the ranch are good friends, so it is very much a time for socializing.
     Sunday morning I cooked a "cowboy breakfast" which was sauteed onion, bacon and left-over steak all cooked within the scrambled eggs. A friend baked whole-wheat biscuits. We all sat on the patio of our duplex, drinking coffee, eating out breakfast and watching the most beautiful cardinals, kisskadees, doves, and green jays. It was great to be with these wonderful friends. We all felt very blessed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I see you!

Grasshopper at Las Islas Ranch
Photograph by Brandon Boykin, my teenage nephew

     We will try to head out to Las Islas Ranch today. Las Islas is the deer lease we are on with several other hunter-friends. It is absolutely the best place to chill and enjoy being with friends and take in some beautiful scenery. You have to appreciate the beauty of several different varieties of cactus, all kinds and colors of birds and trees such a ebony and mesquite. We enjoy seeing cardinals, kisskadees, doves, roadrunners, egrids... and more! (Hope I've spelled the names of the birds correctly.) It's always a treat to be driving along and see the deer and an occasional javelina, which is similar to a wild pig.
     This weekend is supposed to be windy, but that goes with living in deep south Texas. Supposedly it keeps us "cool". Hmmm.... secretly I prefer the good ol' a.c.
     Everyone have a restful and peaceful weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lance and Marcela - 8 years

Lance and Marcela Wed
March 16, 2002

     March 16, 2002 was a beautiful day for a wedding in Tecoman, Colima, Mexico. The day passed quickly as the bride prepared for the wedding event at 8 p.m. in a local Catholic church. Lance had last minute items to take care of, but was relaxed and ready for what was in store.
     The Sacrament of Matrimony was beautifully performed. The traditional Mexican wedding ceremony included the bride’s mother, Carmen, presenting Lance and Marcela with gold coins representing the hope that there would be prosperity in their lives. David and Karen draped a portion of Marcela’s veil over Lance’s shoulders and then looped the white lasso around them, lacing them together. The veil signified Marcela’s commitment to Lance’s welfare and the lasso represented Lance’s devotion to keeping their relationship strong.
     The choir from the University of Colima was present to sing several traditional wedding songs including “Ave Maria”.
     An abundance of Star Gazer Lillies, white roses and other white flowers lined the aisles as well as the front of the church.
     After the ceremony approximately 400 guests made their way to the reception which was held out of doors. The green lawn and tall coconut trees were lit with small lights and candles and decorated with flowers.
     As the couple made their entrance and greeted their guests, they then danced their first dance as man and wife… the song from “Pearl Harbor”. The music was provided throughout the evening and morning hours by “Eclipse” of Guadalajara.
     Lance and Marcela’s guests were served dinner with many toasts given for the happy couple. At 3:00 a.m. breakfast was served.
     It was 7:00 a.m. before Lance and Marcela left with the last of the family and guests.
     It is the Mexican tradition that allows the bride and groom to open their many gifts the day after the wedding ceremony. At 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, the couple arrived at the bride’s mother’s home. With the Cardenas and Peterson families present, Lance and Marcela were presented with their wedding gifts. It was a full afternoon of many surprises!

I wrote this a week after our son, Lance, married Marcela. Eight years have produced a beautiful marriage and two wonderful children. Happy Anniversary, Lance and Marcela!

Syrian Rice - my version

I started off with fresh orange juice from my "organic" tree
in my backyard. (See previous posting.)
Put a big pot of rice on to cook, using chicken broth
that is low-sodium and MSG-free

I chopped dried apricots and prunes and then sauteed
them along with slivered almonds in butter... just until heated through.
I then added some apricot preserves and the orange juice.
Next, I added chopped, cooked chicken breasts and shrimp,
stirring until heated through thoroughly.
This makes one of my family's favorite meals... Syrian Rice...
but it's done with my own little twists that probably
make it a little un-Syrian. Oh well...
The original recipe did come from my mother
who did live in Syria. Does that count??

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Organic" Grapefruit

"Organic" Grapefruit

The aroma of citrus blossoms is almost everywhere in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. A couple of weeks ago the scent was barely in the air and we were all trying our best to breathe in as much as we could. This week the scent nearly knocks a person over. Not to complain. Oh, no. It is such a welcome sign of Spring. The above picture shows a lonely grapefruit left on one of our trees in the backyard that escaped my husband's eager clutch. Be sure to notice the white, delicate blossoms which are the source for the sweet smell.
We call these our "organics"... our grapefruit, oranges and limes. Bless their hearts. They have actually survived being forgotten... that is forgotten to be sprayed. Somehow they plod along though and usually we have great fruit to enjoy if the birds leave them alone. It's just one of the perks of living in deep South Texas... fresh vegetables, fruits, great weather and friendly people. Who could ever, ever ask for more?

As I type this it is 81 degrees with a gentle breeze. It's a Sunday which soothes the soul.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wildflowers at the Ranch

Wildflowers at the Ranch

We had a little R&R at the Ranch this past weekend. The weather was very pleasant and I don't think got up past 73 degrees. There will a little mist in the mornings which kept things cool as well. Due to some extra rain this year, our wildflowers should be flourishing with gusto. Definitely a plus for the some of the rainy, rather gloomy days we have had. This ranch is located in deep south Texas.

Looking forward to a good week!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Carmen in her handmade baptismal bonnet


Our granddaughter is now six years old, but I was looking through old pictures and found this picture of Carmen when she was baptised in Mexico. She wore a beautiful dress with a bonnet that her maternal grandmother had made for her. It is not quite the typical bonnet worn by babies in the U.S., however, Carmen looked adorable. This is a favorite picture of mine.