Mix This

Awhile back, my husband bought me a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas. I know, I know, I know, some women may think, wow what a jerk….But I love it when my husband buys me useful gifts like this. He bought me a red one and I was in love. Let me tell you, it was the prettiest mixer EVER. I name her Lucy. Yes I did.

I have used this KitchenAid mixer so much, especially when I found out I had severe food allergies. Lucy came with 3 attachments; whisk, spatula and dough hook and pretty much any food can be mixed, this baby is strong. I throw a mixture of ground hamburger and turkey together with some liquid smoke, gluten free bread crumbs, shredded apple and other seasonings and you’ve got yourself the juiciest burgers.

“Lucy” Image by Robin Moreau

About three weeks ago I planned to make crackers and I accidentally broke Lucy’s bowl. I knocked her really hard against the countertop and she cracked. I’ve used this bowl so much, we’ve been together what feels like forever and I just effortlessly and rudely mishandled her and killed her. Just like that. I cried. Really I did. I never realized how much I used this KitchenAid mixer until that very moment. I didn’t even think I could get a replacement bowl. A few days went by and the UPS driver showed up at the house. A replacement bowl. I could hear the Angels sing!!! My husband bought a replacement bowl for me, awww how thoughtful is he? Well he certainly earned some extra points! The best part about this brand is the variety of other attachments you can purchase. From a vegetable spiralizer and meat grinder to an ice cream mixer. Who doesn’t love ice cream? Oh my gosh now doesn’t that sound yummy, home made ice cream…..Mmmmmm.

If you’re ever in the market for a mixer, get yourself a KitchenAid. You won’t regret it and together you will be mixing up some true love.

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Turtle Bay

In the warmth of Northern California, within the town of Redding, holds a park called Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Filled with gardens, animals and a sundial bridge, this small town gem packs a must see for every exploring enthusiast.

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Image by Robin Moreau

The Butterfly Gardens is just one of the many gardens to explore at Turtle Bay. Filled with a variety of species, butterflies gracefully flutter about, showing off their colors. Occasionally you may find yourself a visitor on the sleeve of your shirt.

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Image by Robin Moreau

The Sundial Bridge, massive in size, is truly a working sundial. When the shadow is present, there is no watch needed here! The bridge opened in 2004 and crosses the Sacramento River. Structured from steel and glass, the bridge is architecturally far too beautiful for words.

After your breathtaking view of the Sundial Bridge, don’t forget to visit the park’s Museum. Filled with a river aquarium, exhibition hall, cave and much more, the museum is a must see! A large oak tree centers the museum with the ability to peer underground and see its roots wind down and dwell into the darkness.

If you have never been to Northern California and you are planning a visit, I suggest stopping by the Turtle Bay Exploration Park.  Click this link to plan your visit, get information, hours and more.

Safe travels!

Tradition

The holiday season is upon us far too quickly than I want to admit. This season is going to be particularly rough for all of us with dad gone and I am already feeling the sting of his absence.

Last night, my brother invited all of us to his home for an early Halloween get together. We had dinner, then the start of a new tradition, Hot Wheel races. My brother had the original Hot Wheel’s track and a hand made trophy for the winner. We all brought our own Hot Wheels cars, specially selected for this event. It was like re-living our childhood. Some of us were on the floor with cell phone cameras in hand, filming and taking pictures. We were suppose to have the races over 4th of July holiday but dad had fallen ill, and was admitted to the hospital. Little did we know, that would be the last holiday we would have spent with him.

Image by Robin Moreau

Each of us usually take part in sharing our homes with a particular holiday, and this year we decided to switch it up. Despite having a good time at my brother’s home, I found myself overly irritated later that evening in trying to come up with a different tradition my husband and I could begin.

After we came home, I took a hot shower and went to bed. I woke up around 11pm, with my mind in high gear, tossing and turning. I was annoyed, in a pool of sweat and could not get comfortable. I prayed, then started to cry, with random thoughts drifting in and out of my mind. At some point, I finally fell asleep.

Image by Robin Moreau

My being irritated had carried over to this Sunday morning. I could not understand why I was so grumpy. It should not be this difficult. At Thanksgiving we would usually play Bingo, and Christmas would be just a gathering, maybe a story or quick game. But this year felt different and I had a terrible anxiety about it. We needed to step it up a notch or not do it at all. Or do we?

The food is always difficult because of my food allergies. I feel like a burden on everyone when it comes to figuring out a menu I can eat. Honestly, I’d soon not eat. There is no point. I have to ask continuous questions…did you use eggs or dairy, was this packaged spice mix or individual spices? What kind of spices? Does this have grains and what kind? I can only eat corn, rice and quinoa. Absolutely ridiculous. I usually eat prior to a gathering so I can claim not hungry. And I feel guilty. I don’t want anyone in my family going out of their way just so I can eat. My sister is already on the hunt for recipes I can eat. God love her, she always has a we-can-do-this attitude. I barely eat a substantial portion anyway so I see it as, why the fuss? And let’s face it, the way I eat isn’t cheap.

As the holidays approach us, I hope I can dig myself out of this funk. But with dad gone, I better start digging now.

Trophy – Image by Robin Moreau

Happy Friday

The moment I’m assuming we have all been waiting for since Monday…its Friday.

The day I wrap up my week. The day I have noticed this week, my patience has been exceptionally thin, like the ice on a frozen pond during the beginning of Spring.

I will move forward and conquer my tasks, learn from my mistakes and demand I remain positive. It is the only way.

Image by Robin Moreau

As the sun rises so shall my mood.

Limbo

I don’t understand why this has to be so hard. August 8, 2018. The day my daddy was taken away from us. It was the worst moment of our lives. At least mine. He was my rock. And I’m sorry, sorry for being so selfish. I am only so strong.

I thought I was doing ok. Then I came across a recent picture of him and my mother laughing. My brother capturing it and I still am unsure of what was so funny.

Image by Robin Moreau

It sucks and I’m pissed off. I miss him so much.

Centered

What brings you peace? Think about what you are doing this very moment. Whether you are drinking a cup of tea, listening to music, or sitting on your deck watching the sunset. Do you feel centered?

I ask these questions because today when I was commuting to work, my thoughts overwhelmed me with my daily routine. It was a foggy morning and the fog appeared to set the tone of my mood. I couldn’t make sense of life or my purpose. I cried. Some of this may be coming from the loss of my dad this past August, and how hard it is right now for my mom. I think about my life and what would happen if I lost my husband or if I was only given a short time to live. Would I feel satisfied? Have regrets? Would I feel I have lived? I mean, truly lived?

I’ve had some ideas of how I need to center myself. Some have been through accomplishments. But I thought to myself as the dense fog was slowly clearing, how have I lived?

I’ve experienced the most wonderful family vacations, holidays, and many moments of laughter, from the time I was young to today, in my marriage. My kids graduated, are working and turned into respectable adults. I went to graduate school, I landed a wonderful job with caring, talented people. I pray and I’m thankful and grateful. So what is the problem here, why am I crying on the way to work trying to organize my life to be better? It will only be as good as I allow it to. I can only live if I allow myself to live. Then I realized, out of all these years I’ve whirled through life, bouncing around on ups and downs, focusing on wants and needs rather than joy and love. I’ve learned what may seem inconvenient to me, could be someone else’s lifeline.

Later in the day while at work, I walked outside in search of a staff person and came across several deer resting. Normally I would not have noticed. But what struck me as being odd, is I walked right up to these deer and snapped a picture. I thought, oh my gosh, my dad would have loved this.

Image by Robin Moreau

Then suddenly it dawned on me, I felt centered. This is exactly what I need. I need to quit grasping for the wants, could haves and why nots and quit asking myself have I lived? The answer is right in front me! I am living! I find joy in holding onto the small things I effortlessly pass up every, waking moment of the day. So why do I continue to pass up the very moments that provide me with joy? Serenity is what I crave. The little things are what keeps me grounded and centered; small conversations, an act of kindness, the simple beauty of my surroundings. It’s not difficult to find.

I am here, I am living.

Image by Robin Moreau

The Trip

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Image by Robin Moreau

Every year, my husband and I would pack up the kids and head to Manresa State Beach in California to go camping. Just a short, 20 minute jaunt from there, was the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It was the same gig every year…pack the kids, drive a few hours, pitch the tent and walk to the beach where our butts would land for the next few days. We would usually leave early Monday morning so by the time we would arrive at Pacifica, it would be time for lunch and we would stop in at the beach front Taco Bell. After lunch we had maybe another hour before our destination.

The routine was always the same, lunch at Taco Bell, arrive at our destination, then settle in for the week. We would lay like broccoli in the sand or boogie board until our bodies felt like jello. Tuesdays we would eat pizza for dinner and then head to the Boardwalk with our empty Pepsi cans to purchase discounted wristbands for unlimited rides. And every year, just like clockwork, this was our vacation. And every year, for three years, just like clock work, I would have an accident.

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Image by Robin Moreau

The first year I tripped on air and fell in the parking lot of the Boardwalk. I hit hard. I scraped up my wrist and bruised it so bad, I thought I may have broken it. But I didn’t. The next year, my husband’s brother, wife and son came with us. That evening around the campfire, a stray cat came into our site and as I chased it off, tripping on dirt and down I went…scraping up my hands and knees. We laughed about it because this was the trend for me, not just during our camping trips, but at home too.

The last year we had gone camping, I was so happy to have made it through the week without any accidents. My husband and I were packing up the SUV and I diligently was being careful not to trip being aware of my steps. We were actually having a conversation, and joking about all the accidents I have had every year, as we packed up the last few things.

I was making my last trip from the site to the SUV, when out of nowhere, I kid you not, something came out of the sky and hit the side of my head so unbelievably hard, I dropped everything. Dazed and confused, I had yelled a few choice words and looked up and around to try and make sense of what the heck hit me so hard. Then at the next campsite over, a family had called out, “SORRY!” as their soccer ball rolled back down the hill. “REALLY???” I yelled back. Unfreakingbelivable. Little did they know, the conversation my husband and I were just having. They look mortified. It truly was an accident.

When I get to the car, I have a raging headache and the side of my temple is brilliant red. I tell my husband what happened and his only response was to laugh and tell me it was “too good to be true” to get through the week without any occurrences.