Prepping for life 

Prepping for life 

I’ve been pondering on what’s the main priorities in my life because once again the sand is shifting. It’s not bad things but there will be changes in the near future – how do I want to prepare or react. Life always seems to be going left when you were planning for right.

One big thing that is looming in the next year will be my son going off to college. We spent part of the time this summer doing a college visit and then him making the decision on “the one”. He’s already been accepted and the admission has been paid all before his senior year of high school starts…it’s like crazy talk! 

I’m so proud of him and at the same time the planner in me wants to start prepping. Just imagine a doomsday prepper but for college. I’ve got a list I’m already working on of what I need to be on the lookout for throughout the next year. It might be a sickness. 

This is what I imagine I look like except I don’t!

Second, the travel for my job has grown and that is not in any way a complaint! I love traveling which means priorities and activities in my life have changed to revolve around my work life. I was admiring my boat that has not been in the water one time this summer. Partly due to the crappy weather early on that put a bunch of trash on the lake and partly because I’m just not home. I’m in the process of deciding do I sell or do I keep. Selling is looking like the best plan based on the current projection of my life.

Third, I have friends all across the US and I would like to spend more time traveling and seeing them along the way. Sometimes it works out with my work travel but not always. I’ve also got plans to take advantage of some work opportunities, which means change and new priorities.

You would think life would settle into a rut of the same thing, and I guess I could let it happen…nah not really my style. See doomsday prepper above. I’m planning, I’m looking for an adventure, I’m learning something new, and I want to live my life to the fullest. You can’t really do that if you’re in a rut.

What’s next you ask? Probably sell the boat, more travel, see my friends, get my kid prepped for the apocalypse…I mean college, go to a fabulous wedding in the Colorado mountains and I plan to hit the beach in Florida. 

As I come to a close I want to share a quote I saw on Instagram…I’m in love with it!!! (I’ve included the link for those that love it as much as I do!)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXKkCzDBx6b/

So dream big and be bold. You have to be bold if you’re going to do the things that scare you. An example, I have a love and hate relationship with rollercoaters. Love them but I hate that feeling where my stomach is one place and I’m another. But I still get in line, I still get on the coaster because I’m not letting my fear, or that temporary feeling prevent me from doing something fun or bold. 

Do you have bold dreams but you’re holding yourself back? What’s that saying?…oh yeah ‘get over yourself’ not the same context but I’m sure you get the intent. 

So, I’ve got some shifting sands, and I’m once again going to make some changes in my life, and it’s a good thing! Just prepping for a new day!

Peace – Gloria

*photo credit to prepperfortress.com

Sweet summertime

Sweet summertime

I was sitting in church this morning when a memory of summer came flashing to the forefront of my mind. Running barefoot through the warm, green grass under the bright sunshine. 

When I see posts about driving on the backroads I giggle cause I lived on a backroad. We kept the front windows closed or barely cracked because we didn’t want all the dust coming in from people driving by and most seemed to think they were on a nascar track. I grew up living in the country with hayfields all around and neighbors that were down the road not next door. No air conditioning but boxed fans in the window. The sweet scents of the mimosa tree that grew next to the house and the old fashioned pink roses that overwhelmed the mailbox. We really did have sun tea or cold well water on those long hot summer days.

I can remember when we got air conditioning it was HEAVEN! Pretty sure I can’t live without it now except for when I head out to Albuquerque in October. This last year I left the windows open on the little airbnb place I stayed…it was fantastic!

In the summer we were outside everyday either riding our bikes, mopeds (we had them before they were cool), motorcycle, or two legs depending on where we were going. For us distance was a relative thing. A few miles or 10 miles was nothing depending on what mode of transportation. 

We would head to the creek so we could wade in to cool off and have some fun. Not quite the scene from ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here. We watched for snakes but the water was so cold I never really worried too much – they were probably all along the banks waiting for us to get out of the water. I remember chewing on the mint that grew in the creek and its sweet spearmint flavor. Now I’d get whiplash from trying to keep a lookout for creepy crawly things.

As we got older our transportation changed to an old Chevy truck and by old I mean 1963. There was no power steering, it still took regular gas, and the gear shift would come out of the floor. Even better it had a canoe rack on it that rattled non-stop. There were plenty of fun times in that old truck. Our first trip onto the blacktop heading to softball practice the gear shift came out. Can’t lose your calm in the face of adversity. I had my sister grab the wheel and try to keep it straight on a curvy road while I got in the floor board and put the shifter back in. Good times! You would think that would be it for the day, but no. Once the gear shift was in, we got about a quarter of a mile up the road to discover a cow had gotten out and was standing in the road. I didn’t want to hurt her so I slowed way down. Well this was too slow because she stuck her head in the passenger side window. I then had two sisters up in my grill as I’m screaming at them to get the cow out. My leadership and parenting skills obviously were off to a rough start because I was bossy as hell since I was the oldest. I think I’ve made some improvement over the years.

As summer is approaching here in the Ozarks I’m just reminded of my youth. You know you lived in the country when directions included at the end of the pavement turn left onto the dirt road. Now the pavement doesn’t end and the dirt road is completely different from when I was a kid. My grandparents live at the end of the pavement that doesn’t end now, so I’ve been able to see the changes over the years when I would visit.

I always hated it when the road graders came through because it was guaranteed, when I went around the curve on my bike a rock would catch on the tire and I’d go flying. I did that once right into a fence and it hurt like the devil. Thank goodness that wasn’t a barbed wire fence but I’ve crawled through many of them. 

Not the old home place but close! Credit to kingcats-fence.com

I just don’t remember watching tv like I do now. I was always outside. We had a street light of all things right across from the house, which was in the middle of nowhere. The bats loved us because the light attracted bugs for them to snack on. I could watch them for hours and if I wasn’t doing that I was practicing for softball by throwing rocks at the pole. I’m astounded I never had one come back and nail me in the head. I had a good aim that’s for sure.

Lots of good memories from my time in the country. It’s funny how now I really enjoy the comforts of town living. Probably because I can come home everyday at lunch and take a little breather from work. In the spring and summer I work on my tan by sitting on the back deck. Ginger, my rat terrier, is happy to have some yard time. Her life sentence of living with this human is hard…real hard. Eye roll with me.

Today was a great day to be out enjoying the warmth and before too long summer will be here. For me that means bringing out the boat and heading for the lake rather than going to the creek. Times have definitely changed not necessarily for the better just different. We all mature and the boat is the mature version of me wading in the creek. 

Enjoy some sunshine and before too long it will be summertime! 

-G.

Vegas baby!

Vegas baby!

I’m fortunate enough to go once a year for work and sometimes I actually do fun things! 

This year my annual trip started off with a chase across the Nellis dunes at night in a dune buggy. In my mind I was picturing sand dunes everywhere, and there were some…somewhere. There was also hard pack and a lot of rocks in all shapes and sizes. It was the best night and I had an absolute blast! Four hours of thrills and maybe chills if you fly over a dune and drop off unexpectedly. 

We came over one dune and I had the gas pedal on the floor. As I flew over I could see the campfire in the valley I was heading straight for. My buggy liked to shimmy to the left and of course the campfire was on the left. I fought the wheel till it shimmied right and then my lights landed on a big freaking rock. Shimmy back left miss the rock and make the turn to go up the next dune. I don’t think I ever let off the gas. 

Towards the end of the chase some of my peeps were really jockeying for their spot in the finish. You would’ve thought it was a NASCAR finish the way we rolled in. Well someone in out group rolled in with a flat tire and I’m pretty sure that’s the same one that knocked a huge ass rock out in front of me. It was a little tricky there for a second. I highly recommend Sunbuggy for an off-road adventure! 

Sorry no pics because I didn’t want to lose my phone in the desert and it would’ve happened considering how rough it was and how fast I was driving. I will say the view of the city was spectacular and I wished for my phone many times to take a pic. I did get a great exfoliation of my face. I had lovely, rosy cheeks for the next few days, so wear something that you don’t mind getting dirty or dusty.

If you don’t feel like an off-road adventure but still want a view of the city check out the Voodoo Lounge on top of the Rio. Beautiful views all around. Be prepared for a cover charge. We had dinner at the seafood buffet in the same hotel. A bit overwhelming there’s so much to choose from but it was delicious. 

The making of Witches Brew

We ventured out to a couple of my foodie faves. Hash House a Go Go….be amazed at the portion size and the food is delicious. Everything I’ve tried so far is great. I’ve hit up 3 locations. Two in Vegas and one in Orlando…all good. Cabo Wabo for scrumptious Mexican food. I could eat there everyday and if I had that same waiter that would be even better! I was waiting on my gal pals happily!😉 

Chicken and waffles (bacon in the waffles) – my fave
Meatloaf and the pic doesn’t do justice to the size of it!!
Fried green tomatoes & chicken salad…yum!
A huge bloody mary!

One of the nights we drove the strip. This is my 4th or 5th trip and the first time I’ve done that and it was so much fun. There is so much to see and people to watch!

If you have a car and get time, go out to Red Rock Canyon. I try to carve out time to go each time I’m in Vegas. It’s beautiful and the colors of the rock are so striking as you drive towards them. This year I actually had a co-worker go with me so that was a nice change. She had never been, so I got to show her all the cool stuff I’d seen so far. One day I hope to have time to actually hike but that will have to be on a personal trip. Not enough time for that when I’m out there to work. On the way back we ran through a smoothie drive thru. Nothing like that back home so it was a fun treat.

Crazy hair day lol

Primrose
Can you see the hands?

Another night we wanted to hit up the Blue Martini bar but discovered there’s a dress code. Flip flops and shorts aren’t part of it. Dress up if you go!

For anyone preparing for a zombie apocalypse or prepping for doomsday I’ve found the place for you to shop. It’s on the strip right under the big Swarovski crystal sphere. 

Always a great trip to support a group of folks that have a lot of talent within our company. It’s also fun to see a different part of the country and to have time to get out and really see the sights. Vegas definitely has it going on! 

If you were expecting ‘Hangover’ type confessions you are out of luck!😂✌

-G.

Weekend in Kansas City

Weekend in Kansas City

My mom and I took off to Kansas City for a weekend of shopping and culture. Since I was traveling on her actual birthday it was nice to be able to have some mom and daughter time. 

The drive was filled with gossip, chatter and lots of laughter. We made a wrong turn once and it was a complete accident. Really it was my fault but an exit and a turn were side by side. Anyone could’ve made that mistake. 

We got to our hotel to discover it was filled with soccer and softball travel teams. Kids of all ages were everywhere! It felt like a convention was going everytime we would try to get on the elevator. The wait felt eternal. It wasn’t but it felt like it. Obviously I’m not the patient sort. We had soccer balls hitting the door but if you went to the back of the suite you were safe from the noise. It was a good thing because you could find kids lounging in the halls on the floor like it was a beach. I stepped over more than one with the warning don’t move…really. You know the parents were looking forward to the free happy hour that started at 5:30 that evening.

We dropped our bags and took off for some food and shopping until time to get ready for the ballet. The caprese salad  we had for lunch was delicious. I’ll be recreating that particular dish in the future. 

This was my mom’s first ballet and one that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. So a big check check on the bucket list. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has beautiful architecture with views of downtown Kansas City. Since we’d never been there we went a little early, so we were able to get a glass of wine and sit back and people watch. The Rose’ was a tragedy. You just read that – it was tragic! Worst $8 ever spent so I don’t recommend the wine just go straight for the liquor. 

The people watching on the otherhand was spectacular! Flashy to understated. A real mix. There were a few ladies with an amazing amount of flesh on display for a ballet. Lots of little girls dressed up as princesses, so cute.

When the bells chimed we made our way into the performance hall for the ballet – Sleeping Beauty. It was everything I expected with some amazing performances by the dancers. One of the interesting things was a lady in the audience. She was up in the mezzanine and was conducting the orchestra pieces. I kept being distracted by her hand movements. At least she was enjoying herself and the music was fantastic. The Kansas City Orchestra was a treat! Mom and I felt like we got two for one. Ballet and orchestra performance. 

During Act III the guy in front of me drifted off to sleep at just the right moment in the wedding scene. I had a clear view of Puss in Boots and the White Cat’s performance. They were cute and funny. Such an amusing piece of the show. Anyway back to the sleeping fella….

His date kept looking at him so I could only imagine what she was thinking. Is she amused? I mean his head is so low I can see over it and this guy is well over 6 feet. Or was she irritated that she brought a guy that fell asleep at a public place in the middle of an artsy event. Of course he might’ve sprung for the tickets to impress his girl….if so he’s doing a bang up job. I’m laughing inside.

This reminded me of the time I went to see Swan Lake. The guy I was dating at the time got the tickets and the Bolshoi were absolutely wonderful. I’d seen them the year before in a Nutcracker performance except I was down and center. He got tickets up in the wing. I couldn’t see some of the performance on the wings of the stage because of my position in the audience. Our knees were touching the seats in front of us they were so close. I wonder if he went to sleep. I was so into the ballet I don’t recall or maybe it was just too long ago. Still I would’ve made fun of him just a bit if he did sleep. You know the guy in front of my mom and I got to hear about the sleeping later. 

I asked Mom what she thought about her first ballet. She said it was ok but she preferred a musical. At least a show where they sing. I think I ruined her by taking her to see Wicked first. It is amazing. I’ve seen the show on Broadway and a touring show. They are both exceptional, so if you ever get the chance – GO!

We were able to get down to the valet and out pretty quick. The cost was well worth it with my mom’s bum knee. Even if she didn’t have a bad knee I’d valet! We were starving and at that hour of the night we ordered pizza. They delivered right to the room…can’t beat that.

Next morning consisted of breakfast and a stop at Krispy Kreme for my dad…ok us too. Then we were heading south. We made a stop in Branson, MO to do a little shopping before finally making it home that evening. 

A successful mom and daughter weekend! So glad I could spend time with my mom. Time is short and fleeting and the older I get the more I notice it. 

A few more pics of our weekend.

Enjoy! Just not that wine Mom is holding!!!

-G.

Friendship

I saw a picture yesterday that reminded me of so many things – beauty, survival, adaption, friendship, beginnings and endings. A lot for one picture I know. 

The dandelion is a symbol to me of survival, overcoming the elements and thriving despite whatever comes your way. So much so I have it as a tattoo. 

A permanent reminder of where I’ve been and that through sheer perseverance I will go forward by the Grace of God. 

Some days I forget it’s even on my wrist and then others I keep looking at it thinking I can do this, I’ve been through other stuff, and I’m not going to allow my will to be broken or worn down to nothing. Sometimes it’s close because life is hard and there are challenges that can be overwhelming. Anyway they seem so at the time and then later maybe even years later you think ‘wow’ I’ve survived so much more than that one instance, heartbreak, or roadblock in life. I wasn’t promised a life without trials. Accepting that sooner rather than later helps although it doesn’t necessarily make it easier.

Something that does make life easier is family and I talk about mine quite a bit. I love them and they support me wholeheartedly, but for this blog I’m going to focus on friendship. I’ve had friends come and go. Lifelong. Some of my close friends I’ve gained later in my life. Friends are a treasure of support, love and laughter. Got to have some laughs! Maybe even be a bad influence.

Facebook has allowed me to stay connected because some live far away and when we are together you would never guess the time apart or distance. I have a friend that went to great effort to support my need for petty revenge. Bless her because I(we) reveled in that shit when it was over. I know I should’ve left it to God but my will was weak and I wanted to do it myself. Anger is ugly, exhausting business!

Last week I was traveling and had an opportunity to see a friend that I don’t get to see very often. He’s also someone that I connected to later in life. We have so many things in common and he totally gets my connection to the dandelion. We bonded last year over a discussion of tattoos. He didn’t realize mine was a dandelion and was telling his plans for a new one…you got it…a dandelion. We are of like mind and it was awesome to realize there was a guy me. Strange and maybe frightening for some.

I may struggle but I’m not alone. My network is full of family and some really awesome friends. They make the struggle bearable. The loneliness tolerable. They put sunshine in a rotten day. When they call and make you laugh or talk for hours about anything. Some have drug me home and tucked me in when needed – now that’s a real good friend. Or talk for hours about your favorite book or tv show. Really GOT is vital to my life.

Friendship can be found in many places and I’ve noticed in my life where I’ve picked them up along the way.

Change – when big changes were happening like job or moves

Sheer luck – don’t be surprised we just found each other

Time and opportunity – sometimes trust and interactions over a period time have to occur

I’m sure I’ve missed something but I read an article once that said friendship comes down to chemistry and proximity. If it’s truly proximity I’m screwed because a good portion of my closest friends live far away. 

You know that quote is the absolute truth! I have a high maintenance friend that does the same shit and I return the favor. That’s some serious love. ✌😍 

Just remember when times are tough, you’re having a bad day, you want to be the pick-me-up to someone else’s crappy day, share in some serious laughter, sarcasm or gossip reach out to your friend. If you don’t have a close confidant then you need to get out of your comfort zone. Those friendships sustain us during the good and the bad times. 

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. 

Addition:

My bestie sent me this meme, and we both thought it would be a great addition to the blog. ☺

Amen! I love the funny memories and definitely getting some priceless lessons.

-G.

Online dating: from the creepy to the crazy and everything in between

Online dating: from the creepy to the crazy and everything in between

It was an eye opening experience and in some ways it was hysterical. I really never thought I would write about this but since my encounter in the Tampa airport it just won’t get out of my head, so here we are with me telling this story. A couple of years ago I decided to give online dating a try. I live in a small town where I’m related to a more than average number of people, and it’s not that easy to meet someone single because there aren’t a lot of options. Options I’m willing to explore. Maybe I’m too picky – hell yes and I should be. 

It was like a New Year’s resolution to try and get out there and meet someone. Not sit at home wallowing in loneliness. Later I would realize that loneliness is preferential to what I found online. Really it was a convention of perverts and misfits half the time sprinkled with a few really nice people. I started off with Christian Mingle. If there were some Christian men on there I didn’t find any. Talked to some nice folks in the chat room from all over the world but mostly it was trolls. I opted for the free version because my expectations were seriously low. My coworker was kind enough to send this ad for Christian Tingle, which is seriously funny. Click on the link for a good laugh. I jumped off that site after a month or so. I just remember I wasn’t on there long.

Next up was OK Cupid. Seemed “okay” at first but the longer I was on there the creepier the guys got along with the requests. As an fyi I cast a broad net geographically since I really don’t want to date a cousin. I became an exceptional investigator out of necessity. This is not to be confused with stalking because it’s not the same. I was able to eliminate a disturbing number of married men, guys with criminal histories and drug abuse issues which are all things I don’t need in my life. There are way too many that just wanted a texting relationship which isn’t really a relationship. Wth! Oh and the catfishing you have to constantly be on guard for that crap too. At some point I was actually on two sites Plenty of Fish (POF) and OK Cupid. I ditched Cupid when I had a guy think I would just pop over to his job and hook him up with a bj. Yeah not happening. 

Dick pics were a common occurrence. We started taking bets on how soon I would get a pic once I started talking with some guy. And if they think I wasn’t sharing all that with my friends wrong…it had become a sick form of entertainment for all of us.

So now I’m approaching July – seven months of online dating and I’d had enough. Right when I was about to leap off POF, which is a lot harder to disconnect from than you think. You can’t do it from the app on your phone you actually have to log onto the computer and go through multiple steps to get off that train to hell. I was going to miss my conversations with a fella from the UK but in the long run he would survive my sudden disappearance from POF. You got it I didn’t plan on saying goodbye.

What happened to slow that train up, some guy, that’s what happened. He was sweet and had all the attributes I was looking for in a man. I should’ve known he was too good to be true. Ultimately my investigating lead to discovering his stint in rehab, his lying and all the other women. I was thankful we didn’t meet but that was only because he stood me up. That was extremely disappointing at the time because we had spent so much time texting and talking on the phone and planning the meet up. Definitely makes you do an evaluation of self and wonder is it me….ummm no. He was the one that wanted to be Facebook friends and wanted me to get to know him and said he had nothing to hide. Bet he didn’t really think I would dig. 

So there I was sitting in the airport in Tampa, FL reading on my kindle, and  waiting for my flight when I look up and have this immediate recognition with this guy standing about 10 feet away. There was something about his tattoos, bald head and features that made me think I know him but how!? Could it be work…don’t think so. My gut is screaming at me…I rely on that 6th sense and it’s got something to say but what! We both made eye contact and the screaming gut is giving me the bad juju feeling that I need to figure this out. We end up on the same flight and he’s actually sitting one row ahead but on the opposite side. I give my brain a rest hoping by giving it another task I’ll figure this out in my subconscious. Still haven’t gotten it by the time we land and he’s standing there waiting for his buddy that was seated behind me, so as I pass him again we make eye contact. 

Off to find my gate and as I’m waiting on the tram they walk up to stand right behind me. Not a coincidence either cause I could tell he was trying to figure out this puzzle as well. Up pulls the tram and I walk to the other side and stand between people and grab a handhold. We make eye contact again, really this is getting old, and I can see the curiosity in his eyes. Then he speaks to his buddy….that was the trigger I needed to kick my brain in gear. His voice. Holy crap that was guy that was supposed to meet me and he ended up being a total loser. He never did figure it out from what I could gather and once I did I wanted to avoid the “do we know each other conversation”. I was thankful my flight was on time and he wasn’t on the next leg!

During that seven months of online dating I met eight guys in person. Seems like a low number but the pickings were slim! Aka I’m picky. One or two were worth a meet and that’s it. Several were way too young but they put out a good effort to get my attention. Still wasn’t happening bless their little hearts. One I actually dated for several months because he happened to keep my number long after I stopped online dating sites. He was lots of fun but we had different expectations for our lives and careers. His expectation was a party every day and a sugar momma. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

 Another guy wanted a nurse maid and that’s a bit much to ask from someone that you meet up with the first time and you’ve only ever talked online. At least he was willing to throw that out there right from the start considering some of the lies and half truths I’ve heard. I had actually gone to school with one of my dates. Not awkward but it did feel like I was out with a cousin so he was out. 

Then there was doily man. Holy crap that was a lunch date and all my coworkers sat at a table down from us. That was awkward as hell. He indicated what I should order and then proceeded to take my leftovers home. He touched my food. Most of the meal he talked about how he had been able to finally buy his dream car – it was a Toyota Camry. I’m being serious that’s what he said and I saw it his dream car. 

How do I know about the doilies – this was a bad decision I will admit but he wanted me to see his house. This was my first online date so I was still trying to figure this shit out. I agreed partly because I felt like I could take him if he tried anything and the posse knew where I was going. I’m not above giving someone an ass whipping to save myself. And some sick part of me just had to see. Again not the best decision but OMG what an amusing experience. This is a story we still laugh about around the office. 

It was like his grandmother decorated his home and he was showing off his palace except he allowed cats on the table. Ick. He kept talking about how I could lie around by the pool sunning myself with my girlfriends and he’d bring drinks. Not ever happening. He showed me almost every room in the house. No worries with the doilies I wasn’t going to be seeing a red room any time soon. When he finally noticed the tattoo on the inside of my wrist I knew I was out, thank the Lord, cause I wasn’t going for any of that crazy. The man had valentine flags lining the walk up to the door! Seriously. Freely admitted he sucked in the bedroom – if the doilies weren’t enough that just put the cherry on top.

Traveling made things fun. My phone would literally blow up with notifications. A few got demanding in their expectation of meeting. Seriously I’m there to work. It was nice to know that if I lived in a bigger city I would have a lot more options AND a lot more crazies to filter out. Geez the filtering would be work. I really missed an opportunity with all the conversations that I could’ve shared and blogged about…for real. I follow plentyoffishmyass on IG. That’s some funny stuff and sadly I can relate to a bunch of it. 

The reality is I actually know people that met through dating sites, and they were successful at finding a wonderful partner. That makes me happy for them. So I know it can work but it just didn’t work for me. In many ways I’m glad it didn’t work because the times it didn’t was a time that something really great or a fabulous opportunity happened in my life. They just weren’t meant to be which is fine. My coworker Mary said none of them could handle all my awesomeness! Lol Like I said I’d rather be lonely alone, than put myself in a position to be lonely in a relationship because that sucks. I’ve done that before no sense in doing it again. Of course my faithful companion Ginger might get a little ticked that I’m saying I’m alone. Technically I have a 14 pound rat terrier that rules my life. Not quite the crazy cat lady but close….really, really close. 

-G.

Food = Love

Food = Love

An appropriate topic with Valentine’s Day looming this week. All about some LOVE! ❤ I’ve spent several days watching Food Network while I’ve been sick and confined to the house. I enjoy watching all the cooking because I like to cook. As I was watching a particular episode of Chopped, I was reminded why I love cooking so much. For me it’s a way to show my family and friends how important they are to me by feeding them.

Food = Love 

Creating a meal is my way of nurturing and feeling like I’m meeting a need at the same time. I’m sure there is some psychology behind why, but really I don’t need to know why because I’ll just continue to cook because I can.

Cooking is a skill that I’ve developed over the years. I can remember some beginning meals that make me cringe. I’m pretty sure there were some things that should’ve gone straight to the trashcan. Can’t even tell you how many years it took me to figure out gravy from scratch and not the package variety. It was my Achilles for years. I mean really I’m a southern woman,  holy crap, I should be able to make gravy. I was beyond proud when it all finally came together. I made breakfast for just about every meal for a solid month!

Over the years I’ve tackled all kinds of styles and flavors of food. If I ate something in a restaurant that I loved but knew I’d never be able to get that where I lived, I’d figure out how to make it myself. Helps that have a pretty decent palate. Despite having this ability my son is a picky eater. Lord help me. Slowly but surely he’s coming along. I love it when he tries something new and he loves it. When he’s home I fix his favorites. Chicken and dumplings are top of his list followed by homemade fish fingers. At Christmas I made chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate ganache topping for the first time. He loves chocolate cheesecake so I made it. I’m sure I’ll make it again and again. A mother’s love knows no bounds when it comes to school projects. My son and I took on some Greek recipes for an English class. We made Tiropitakia. If you like feta you’ll like these. And gyros – he loves those. Plus it makes me feel good when he tells me I’m spoiling him by cooking his favorites and spending time teaching him how to cook some of them as well.

I’ve learned to cook a lot of things in the name of love. Italian…the amount of pasta I’ve made is ridiculous! I can whip out a homemade Alfredo sauce like nobodies business. Tex-Mex….well that was mostly for myself and so was the Indian. I learned to grill for my little carnivore baby. Oh the burned meat I served was outrageous, but now I’m skilled with a gas grill, charcoal or even over an open fire. I’m the official grill master for Father’s Day. I get teased by my grandfather but he still eats my food. It’s an opportunity for me to do the work and for the men to kick back and enjoy. Except it never fails that dad’s gas grill runs out of propane. No lie. Two years in a row this has happened to me.

If you don’t have a crockpot you need one. It’s so awesome to walk into my home at the end of the work day and smell the yummiest scents emanating from that crockpot. Pulled pork is divine but I can do an amazing barbacoa just as easily. Talk about feeding the soul and some folks good food! Makes my mouth water thinking about it and really I haven’t felt like eating anything except soup for DAYS!

I learned to home can food for the love of family tradition. It’s something that transcends the generations and connects me to the women and the men that gardened and canned the fruits of their labor. Really a labor of love because the food was stored up for a whole family or families. I love eating fresh food and staying away from overly processed, so I do a mixture of canning and freezing. I’m grateful to have family that provides me with home grown veggies and a fantastic farmers market to shop for all the rest. Before too long it will be time to order strawberries and blueberries…yummy deliciousness!

I’ve taken on gluten free and vegan as well. All for the love of friends and family. Can’t say I’ve always been successful at everything I’ve tried but I think it’s the effort that counts. I definitely put a lot of love and caring into the food I prepare. There have been a few less than deserving individuals that I’ve poured time and energy into cooking for in the past. There were the blueberry white chocolate scones – that was a mistake. The man not the scones. Oh Lord how about the pie…let’s skip that part not worth the time.

Really it’s a bit disturbing now that I think about how important cooking is for me. Good thing I don’t freak when a dish isn’t loved. It’s more about the satisfaction of fixing the meal and the care that goes into tasty goodness. If I think back to Gary Chapman’s book ‘The 5 Love Languages’ it would probably fall under service or maybe quality time. I do enjoy gabbing while I’m in the kitchen or standing over a grill.

Valentine’s Day is one time a year, but showing the people you love how much you care can be done everyday in many ways. For me, one way is through cooking. I know there are more dishes to try, more cuisine to share, and lots of fun and love to spread around.

-G.

*Photos are from Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR.