Tomorrow night I am hosting a pampered chef party. Mine are like none you've ever been to before. Why? Because I love to cook. For me this is an excuse to entertain and have my girlfriends over. If they want to buy something fine if not I don't care. This is probably why I wasn't ubber successful when I sold the stuff. I hate pushing items on a person they wouldn't use or can't afford. I only buy items I would use - and that is a lot over the years. Now, my kitchen is pretty well stocked and I'm much more selective. But, back to my party. Usually you go to a demonstration and the sales person demonstrates making a recipe or two and shows you the products and gives a big sales pitch. At my house you had better come hungry. I prepare food and lots of it (all from pampered chef cook books). We eat, we laugh, the products and books are there for you to look at and the sales person is there to answer questions. I've prepped most of the food today and will put the finishing touches on tomorrow. Here's the menu:
Curry Turkey Meatballs
Mini Vegetable Quiches
Autumn Wild Rice Salad with Grilled Chicken
Spinach & Artichoke Ring
BBQ Beef Brisket
Cherry Chocolate Coffee Cake
The confetti crisps - cracker crust spread with a home made carmel sauce and baked until brown and bubbly. Chocolate is then melted and spread on top and sprinkled with nuts, pretzels, M&M's and raisins. I made a second tray for my kids.
I love to hike. I love being out in nature. Yesterday I lead the hike for work's healthy challenge. It was cloud covered when we started at 9AM but the sun soon broke through and we were hiking in beautiful 60 degree autumn weather. Youngest joined me while the boys stayed home and power washed the house (hey my rail is white not green).
Two people showed up from work. It turned out great. They are both nature lovers and we walked and talked and spotted critters, birds and foliage. The prehike took my family 2 hours and 10 minutes this time almost 4. I liked this pace much better.
Youngest was a little bit not into the hike but once on the path loved it. At one point she wanted to turn back. No! Once at the Indian caves she wanted to spend the rest of the day. The view and peace were amazing. The colors were past peak but that's OK. Dragonflies were everywhere and one kept landing on youngest.
When we got back I planted all the new plants my mom gave me. She's cleaning out her yard and I received butterfly bushes, cone flowers and unidentified bulbs. I planted the mum I received for my birthday and discovered a rose bush in full bud and bloom. How cool for near the end of October.
This past week end was my last class at the beautiful Sage Mountain. I now have my certificate signed by Rosemary Gladstar. But, I have so much more than that. I have a new confidence in my abilities, I have new friends, new knowledge that I am still assimilating and an experience to last a life time.
This past Friday we arrived amongst snow flurries/sleet. We were able to get the camper set up in between weather bursts. And I am so glad we had heat in the camper. It was in the teens Friday night. Saturday was much warmer getting into the thirties. I came prepared with many layers, heavy sweaters and socks, slippers for class and a hoodie to sleep in. (This is the view from our campsite)
Something up there triggered my allergies like crazy. My sinuses filled up and were kicking my but. I took a short nap in the yurt (classroom) at lunch time. I was afraid if I slept in the camper I would miss class. The first woman back to the yurt asked if I was OK. When I explained the situation she asked if I had tried ...... She gave me a dropper under my tongue and in half an hour my headache was gone, sinuses clear and sneezing stopped. I had another dropper after class and I felt like a new woman. I will be studying and using this plant ally from now on. We broke out into small groups for the last time and then I had a massage.
Flower offers massage on Saturday evenings and I had signed up for October. OMG, it was one of the best if not the best massage I've ever had. It was an hour but I felt like she had worked on me for several. I'm thinking it might be worth the four hour trip to see her again. It was that good.
I headed down to supper which was in full swing. I had a little to eat, a nice shower and headed to bed.
The teacher for the week end was Caroline Gagnon. She was amazing!!!! It was some lecture, it was inter active, she taught exercise and movement, she discussed the lymph and women's reproductive. I was her model for a simple exercise for breast tenderness. In two minutes my breasts felt better and the swelling was down.
Class went a little late and then we had closing circle and received our certificates. Rosemary gives out moon necklaces to her apprentices but not for this class. Me and another woman did not take her apprentice class and asked about the moons. She gave us permission to get moons and told us where to get them. After the certificates we asked her to bless them before we put them on for the first time. It was lovely. Such a simple powerful symbol.
It was after dark by the time the camper was broken down and we were on our way. I'm usually home by 9 and this night it was closer to midnight.
And now, I get to decide what I'm going to do with this experience and where I'm studying next.
I'm somewhere in the middle of my vacation. It occurred to me that this is the first year I have taken all of my weeks with the kids. Hmmm! What's up with that? Hubby's been working and in class. Son has no real interest in hanging out with me. And frankly, at his age I'd be a little worried if he did. Youngest has a vivid imagination but not when it comes to entertaining herself outside of the house or with other people. She is content for me to come up with ideas. This drives me a tad bit crazy.
Saturday we hiked with people from work. It was a beautiful day and we hiked to the Heublein tower which was actually open. We were able to check out the view from the top of the tower. Then youngest and I went out for lunch and a little coupon shopping.
Sunday I hit the gym long before she rolled out of bed. The afternoon I spent hanging out. And Monday I purchased paint for the spare room. Hubby said he would paint if I picked up the color. Jalapeno jelly it is. It's much lighter than a jalapeno pepper so I'm not sure how they came up with the name but it matches the stripe in the new bedding I picked up. My goal is to have the room finished before oldest comes for a visit. After picking up paint we headed up to the newly refurbished Beckley Furnace. It melted down iron to be be used commercially in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was really interesting. We then took a short tour of town. Youngest wanted to see her old stomping grounds. This is where hubby and the kids lived before we were married. Youngest moved just after kindergarten.
Yesterday she had her hair highlighted and by the time everyone met back at home it was too late to really do much. This morning I puttered cleaning here and there and making piles of stuff to donate or bring to the tag sale room at the dump. Youngest finally got out of bed. And we've decided to catch a matinee this afternoon.
The kids head back to school tomorrow and hubby and I have a date for lunch. He has errands in the morning and I'm walking with a girlfriend. Then Friday I am off for my last class in Vermont.
I had a wonderful talk with my MIL this morning. I called to see if she knew when oldest would be here. She still doesn't have a date. Oldest will know more after her first week end of drill (or whatever it is called) for the reserves. FIL seems to think she will want to move back here. I think not. But, at least MIL is realistic about the whole thing and we were able to talk about all the possibilities, logistics, fears, concerns and hopes for this visit.
This was the topic of discussion at my foolish wisdom gathering the other night. One that caused a lot of reflection, thought and discussion and actually stayed on topic the entire evening.
Some felt that the hats that we wear are one in the same with the masks that we wear. Or at least that is how I heard it. But, I think not. For me the hats that I wear are my different roles in life, wife, mother, employee, friend, etc. Sometimes I wear several hats at once. These are all who I am. Some hats look very different from other hats I wear but that doesn't make them any less me.
The image of me at college with my black leather mini hanging next to my long wool skirt comes to mind. They are both part of who I am at a moment but I don't feel like I am role playing or putting on a disguise (or mask). They are each a facet of who I am.
My masks I tend to wear less and less as I get older. I care less about how people judge me. This is me - take it or leave it. I'd much rather have people in my life who are there for me and not some mask I'm wearing. And in part as I get older I grow more into who I am.
I find having to wear a mask very draining. I wear many of them at work. The I "really love my job" mask ( I don't hate my job but it is not my favorite place to be), the "I really care about your life" mask, the "I would love to stop working on my client and take care of yours first" mask oh, and the list goes on. And I wonder why I come home with a headache and brain fog.
Some masks I put on not because I have to (to stay employed for example) but because I chose to. These masks are less draining. These can actually be uplifting in a way. The mask of love and compassion when I'm not really feeling it in the moment are this way. Soon, I step out of my own box and actually become that love and compassion.
And as I reflect some masks are what others put on you. I believe often times we see what we want to see in others. And we put a mask on them so that is what we see. The truth of who they are may be to much for us to take or differ from who we are and so.....
Yesterday was my birthday. And it was a great day. It started the day before at my balance group. Our leader and friend brought me flowers with a sage marker. Sage for my classes at Sage Mountain, sage because it's an herb and sage because I'm a Sage she said. I just love her.
I'm the scheduler in the house and for years I've been cooking my own meal and cake. I write the day on the calender and go from there. I'm not looking for anything big just to be remembered. This year with brain fog I just can't shake setting in I'm boycotting scheduling. Well, as much as I can. So, no reminders, no note on the calender, nothing. And my hubby remembered. He asked for my cake recipe (the silly cake I've had since I was a little girl) and he baked it. When he asked what I would like for dinner I just said anything I didn't have to think about. Chinese take out would be fine. And it was. I came home to a huge hug and kisses from youngest along with birthday wishes. My day was made. And the gift certificate for a full day at the spa was icing on the cake.
But, back up. At work they usually do cakes. Sometimes bagels. MJ my row mate in crime asked me the day before if I would prefer bagels. She knows I'm not a huge cake fan. Yes! What a carb luxury. One co-workers car broke down on the way to work and we had to send someone to pick her up. My boss (the bagel fetcher) had an emergency with one of her dogs and was late coming in after a stressful time at the vet. Pumba is OK for now. So, she arrives at the bagel place later than normal and they don't have a single onion bagel in the store. But, it's for the birthday girl. I assured her that I could live without onion but I greatly appreciated that she remembered what my favorite was (and I did). And my everything bagel was scrumptious.
I received several warm sweet birthday greetings from one co-worker who was concerned that I had no exciting plans for my big day. I received lots of well wishes from other co-workers and love from my balance group. I came home to a bazillion well wishes on facebook. And many were so heartfelt it brought tears to my eyes.
This out pouring made me feel so blessed and grateful. The night before I had helped a girlfriend move under less than perfect circumstances. She had put a call out for help and more than a dozen of us showed up.
My heart is full. That is the best gift ever.
And peace and love to my Grandma who crossed over 24 years ago on my 21st birthday with a smile on her face. I love and miss you. Though I still very much feel your presence in my life.
This morning the kids headed off to school; youngest with a new shade of eye shadow. She's now matching the color to her outfits (day three of her experiment). Hubby came home from work, changed and headed to a class at the fire academy for the day. By that time I had already sorted through my CD's discarding some, finding hubby's missing ones and making sure they were all properly alphabetized. My headache made it hurt to open my eyes. On youngest's advice before leaving the house I went back to bed.
I woke feeling better and realized no sleeping hubby meant I could crank the tunes. So, music on I hit a few cleaning projects and watered the plants. I then pulled out my soap supplies and started a batch. I now have 8 bars of brown sugar and fig soap curing and 37 tubes of lip balm. The last batch had rosemary in it which seemed to irritate my lips so this batch I made with lavender. We'll see how that combines with the carrot seed oil once it cures. I love what the carrot seed does for the skin but the smell can be a little off putting to some. It was also made with calendula oil so it should be awesome for the cold weather setting in.
Three more days at the office and I'm on vacation. I didn't need to use any time for snow this past winter so I have vacation days still on the books. I could take a day here and there but a whole week sounds so much more luxurious. The kids have three days off for Columbus Day (OK one plus two teacher in-service days), hubby is off mid week but I think he has a class and the end of the week I head to Vermont for my last herbal class at Sage Mountain.