Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh, the Random Things List

About a year and a half ago, I completed the very popular Facebook meme "25 random things about me". I am not big into meme's and am aware that viral narcissism like this is really for me because it takes more thought and energy to compose a list like that than it will take a reader to read it or even think twice about.

Mine is not very funny, only slightly insightful (to me, probably to no one else), and it is sharing way too much about myself that no one really cares about. But, it made me happy to go back and read a list I wrote to see if it holds true to who I am, who I strive to be.

1.I think my husband is HOT, still, after 11 years.
2.I have a weakness for Dr. Pepper, Mexican food, my husbands blue eyes and my little boys’ kisses.
3.When I got to college, I started playing soccer, played on the college team the next year, have refereed and coached more soccer games than I can count.
4.I have a soccer ball tattooed on my ankle.
5.I am on a mission to prove that not all homeschool moms wear denim skirts and have their hair in a bun.
6.I can not stand for my house to be a mess.
7.The closet door can not be open when I go to bed. Monsters, no, just compulsive about order.
8.I tried growing a pumpkin patch a few years ago and ended up with hundreds of them.
9.I miss my dad, he was a true man of integrity that sacrificed for his family, friends, and even strangers.
10.I get sucked into family drama easily and will defend my family to the bitter end.
11.I think that life is too short to not live somewhere beautiful, I prefer mountains.
12.Never listened to a country station in my life until my Wrangler and cowboy boot wearing husband came into my life.
13.My first kiss~ chasing Jason Hampton around the playground in elementary school, kissed him, then ran into the corner of a roll-out window and ended up with 8 stitches.
14.My children are beautiful, I know, all parents think that, but really mine are.
15.As I look back at high school, I wonder why we let people pour nasty stuff all over us to become part of a high school sorority, wish I would have stood up for myself better against people who made up lies about me, and am glad that my parents sacrificed so I could be a part of all the activities that I chose to do.
16.I have become a pretty good cook since getting married, but still use the smoke detector as a timer at times (especially with bread).
17.I am overly generous and a loyal friend, and I would not change that.
18.I have 5 brothers, am the only girl and was not spoiled one bit (shhhh bro's, no comments here).
19.One of the guys I worked with in Memphis (Greg) thought I was Elvis’ illegitimate daughter, we even called my mom so he could ask her if she attended any of his 1970 tour.
20.We are starting to build a cabin on our land that will be all solar and make the smallest footprint possible on our land. An 1800s homesite is just 50 feet away from our cabin site and we will rebuild the fireplace that still stands to make an outdoor kitchen. No, not city-fied anymore.
21.I don’t like to fold clothes or empty the dishwasher.
22.I love to entertain, I still polish my great grandmothers silver and use it!
23.I over-indulge my children as far as their imagination, they have every kind of outfit you can think of ~ Peter Pan, ninjas, most Superheroes, cowboys, Indians, pirates, oh, the list goes on. But, no they don’t own or play video games.
24.I don’t just want my life to make a difference, I want to change the world. To be PRESENT every day.
25.I love the Lord and yearn for a stronger relationship with HIM. Not what the church defines that is, what He defines that is.

Now it is your turn. Do you have a list? If not, make a list, it is more for yourself than for others. You can share it with the bloggity world or just complete it so you can look back to see if your life is focused in the direction you dream it should be when you remember the list next year. Or, that you were sleep deprived, hungry, or bored when you wrote the list.

The Park Wife

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The NY Times Reporter and The Park Wife

I love my life. I could not ask for more. But, there are times when things get a little shaken up. I have posted about my identity crisis here, here, and yep, here and how I have dealt with it. It seems that it is a battle I am destined to fight and overcome many times. Well, maybe not a full out battle, but a little skirmish here and there. I was programmed at an early age of the pitfalls of using the wrong fork, the faux pas of wearing linen after Labor Day, and how charm will get you only so far. You know, what was expected of me (thanks Grandma and Emily Post), not who I truly am. I do not blame my family for this, I embrace it and build upon it. The good news (especially for Big Buckaroo who has to endure as I go through this) is that each time I learn a little more about myself and in the end find a new appreciation for the authenticity of my being.

Last week, I was contacted by a food writer from The New York Times who will be in my state doing an article on a highly-recognized and respected garden design expert and would like to come to my town for the day. She wants to learn more about one of our highly celebrated crops (meaning we have a festival) in our area. So, I put my public relations practitioner hat back on, with a kid on my hip, and hopped on board to arrange everything. As you all know, I am passionate about promoting eating local and our farmers, so I got a little excited (understatement).

I called Big Buckaroo at work, relayed my exuberance, and then I freaked out. Did I tell you that she is from The New York Times???? For a Journalism major that is a little intimidating, ya think? My simple life living self almost hyperventilated thinking about the opportunity to actually spend time with and have a conversation with a New York Times Reporter. She has three books out, won four James Beard awards for food writing, and won the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. Intimidated? In awe? Um, well yea.

And then….she and I began emailing frequently about the logistics of her visit. She is friendly, kind and funny; completely down to Earth. I Googled so I could read some of her articles to be prepared on angles for her story, to see her writing style. Amazing writer, of course. Then, I read an overview of her latest book and KABOOM! Identity crisis over. Her latest book is a food memoir, a personal story filled with, well, the stuff of life — and not all of it great, easy, or pretty. It is a testament to struggling to discover your sense of self. What? I am not the only one that has gone through this, even a NEW YORK TIMES reporter. She has been where I have been?

I am so excited about meeting her and being me, just me. A wife, homeschool mom, local food advocate, community builder, and friend who is fine with the woman I have become and am thankful for the immense blessings in my life.

Oh, and don’t worry, I will post more about her visit. I am going to the city this week so it is possible I can pick up a copy of her book to get signed and give out to one of you guys. Hey, maybe she can wrangle me a visit to The Pioneer Woman’s lodge where she can talk with Ree about her cookbook and life and I can sit back and EAT!

Living faithfully to my authentic self,
The Park Wife

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fresh Salsa- Thank You Garden Bounty

I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I had gone out into my garden, picked veggies and then came in and made salsa. Several of my friends wanted the recipe so I am going to pass it on here. This is for fresh salsa, not what I do to can it for those long winter months when I can only dream of our garden.

First, let me reassure all of you out there that say "I can not cook", "how do you cut up jalapenos?", or "onions make my eyes water" that you can do this. It is easy and even though my hair is quiet dark, thank you Miss Clairol, I do not have an ounce of Mexican in me. Big Buckaroo loves Mexican food and wishes that I did though.

My recipe is quiet simple because I want to use what I grow in my garden, for freshness sake and because I am cheap. There are fancier recipes out there, but I do not grow some of the things those recipes require. I did have to buy cilantro from a farmer friend because mine died a slow, agonizing, dry death.

What you will need:
child labor
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
1/2 an onion
jalapenos - as many as you want. Remember, if you clean out the membranes it will not be as hot, but leave them in and HAVE MERCY, it is good.
1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro (this depends on your own taste, I like a lot of cilantro in mine)
lime (half of a lime if it is large or one small lime)
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Chop it all (this is where the child labor comes in), put everything in the food processor and pulse until you get the texture you would like. Big Buckaroo does not like his too chunky so I oblige him.

Easy breezy and delicious!

Oh sweet bloggity friends, please do not spend money on those canned grocery salsas... spend the money on fresh ingredients and make your own salsa right at home. It taste so much better and this is the time of year to get the best tasting ingredients from a local farmer.

The Park Wife

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hot Weather and COLD Water

Work has slowed on our cabin because it is hot, I mean muggy, stinking hot. And, let me just say, I would rather be at the beach if I am going to be muggy, stinking hot. But, tar balls freak me out. So, Big Buckaroo, the chivalrous man that he is, got busy on trying to make life more comfortable for me in the woods.

On our last trip to our mountain property, the first thing he did was hook up this contraption, also known as a water pump system. Yes, our well has been dug and we have WATER on the property, can I get a hallelujah? As you can see, it runs off a battery system which will be hooked up eventually to our solar panels.

We tested the contraption and then doused ourselves with water! Water, a gift from above, well actually it is below the ground, but you know what I mean. Yes, it was time to cool off and enjoy.

We stopped at a farm store and bought the boys their very own pool, no diving board or slide but my goodness the water is cold and they played in it for hours. Worth every penny.

The Little Buckaroos were busy splashing about so it was time for Big Buckaroo and I to get to work. Well, he did most of the heavy lifting but I used all my high school cheerleading experience to assure him of what a great job he was doing. I did have to lift and hold heavy wood and things like that, but I am really not sure why I don't get to use the nail gun. Maybe next time, yea right.

Siding is going up on the far end (don't worry, it will be painted). We did not get that complete because it is high and I am a fraidy cat.

This end is already complete waiting for us, well for my husband and his dad, to finish so we can paint both ends at one time, that all has something to do with scaffolding. I am just rolling with it. If I complained I might have to climb up and help. So, I will just sit on the porch and read Country Living until they call for me to help.
A little more progress and many more red bug bites and poison ivy. But, it is beautiful, I am so proud of my husband's hard work, planning and expertise.

It will all be worth it (I keep reminding myself of that when I am covered in a poison ivy rash) when it is completed. We will be able to leave a wonderful 92 acres full of memories of fishing, hunting, reading on the porch, horseshoes in the front yard, catching fireflies and so much more for the Buckaroos at the place we call Rockwell.

Going to put medicine on my bug bites,
The Park Wife