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Lurky parents: for shame

September 10, 2013


Well, I notice it’s only been a few years since I last posted so I will pick up now and pretend I never lost interest.  I will also pretend that you, my once devoted readership of 7, also did not lose interest.  Carry on then right?

Here’s the anecdote:

Within a week of the new Fall 2013 school year starting, Andrew and I became aware that we maybe did not need to pick up the twins after school.  One of the moms at church had mentioned in passing that 1st graders could walk or ride their bikes the short distance home.

Hmmmm…. interesting.

This was a liberating but also scary idea.  I would have more “free time”, the twins would have more “freedom”.

The girls kept pushing it so we agreed to let them try.  We made no long term promises.   “Fine- today, you can ride your bikes.”

I casually followed them in the van for most of the distance on my way to take Charlie to pre-school.  Andrew also followed them on his bike, hanging back about half a block.  He watched them park their cute little pink Schwinn cruisers in the bike rack and walk safely thru the school gates.

After school, I met them half way-I walked behind as they rode home together.

We kept up this same routine for another day but commenced the third morning with some new grumbles from the girls.

“Mom, go on…. take Charlie to school.”  “Dad, please don’t follow us-we’re okay”,  and other “encouragement” meant to direct us to get lost and leave them to it.

I understood and truly meant to respect their wishes…but alas, their request was soon forgotten.  As afternoon approached I began walking towards the school until our paths crossed.

Annabelle ignored me but the instant Addy caught site of me, her face fell.

She pulled her bike over and gave me a masterfully executed, furrowed brow, mad/confused look.  She then questioned me in earnest.

“Mom,*exasperated sigh….  how long is this going to continue?”,  like I had a drug addiction or something.

Her words echoed in my mind, “MOM, How long is this going to continue?”

“Mom?”  “It’s okay:  We’re okay.”

Sheesh, that hurt.  But it was funny… I only wish I could get her to say it again the same way so I could video it for posterity.



Addy on bike 1st grade age 6

Aunt Vida’s Whole Wheat Bread

January 27, 2011

I was feeling sorry for myself just after our dear Aunt Jeanie died a few weeks ago.

Ya know, poor Gilbert Gal, all  “alone”  in the world with no mother, no grandmothers, and less one beloved Aunt.  (My mother always said it’s ok to feel sorry for yourself once in awhile, but set a time limit.  Pity parties should not ever last more than half an hour to maybe one hour if one’s situation is grave.)

Anyway,  whilst moping around, I made a mental list of all the things Aunt Jeanie had not taught me yet. (That’s what it’s all about right,  Me?)   Sewing primarily, painting of course, and then, I thought defiantly,  “She never even taught me how to bake bread!”   ( She tried on a couple of occasions really but I wasn’t paying attention to such homemaking duties at the time.)

I lamented that I probably would never get sweet Aunt Vida’s famous bread recipe and I was doomed to a bread recipe including vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer.  (This was ridiculous since my Great Aunt Vida is still alive and probably could have recalled the recipe that she had baked a thousand times.  Not to mention my Aunt Carolyn had the recipe, among several other relatives.)  Yet still, I mourned my loss.

As I started to dry my last tear,  I opened the recipe cabinet.  I reached for a cookbook that was a little too high and several books came crashing down.

Amongst the top of the pile was a zip lock bag with a few handwritten recipes from Aunt Jeanie including  Aunt Vida’s Bread.

A gift from Aunt Jeanie beyond the grave given exactly when I needed it.

I am counting it as a tiny miracle.  Sparrows falling or my tears, heaven knows.

That being said:

Great Aunt Vida’s Whole Wheat Bread

(This represents 1/2 the original recipe the way Jeanie and Carolyn make it.)

Heat 3 cups 2% milk with 1 1/2  cubes butter  in saucepan or Gilbert Gal uses glass dish in microwave for 2 to 3 min.

Next, combine and let stand 5 min. the following:    3/4 c. warm water, 1/8 c. sugar, and 2 heaping Tablespoons of yeast.

Then, in a large bowl or Bosch mixer combine 5 jumbo eggs, 2 heaping teaspoons salt and 1 1/4 c. honey.

Next, combine yeast mixture & milk mixture alternating.  (Make sure each mixture is just warm, you don’t want to kill your yeast.  Stay below 110 degrees if you have a thermometer.  Also, you don’t want to “scramble” your eggs.  Alternating helps you to temper the eggs. )

Add 4 c. whole wheat flour a little at a time. (Gilbert gal adds more wheat flour, less white, more like half and half.)  Then enough white flour (11 or 12 c.)  that the dough is sticky but “cleans” the side of the bowl when it mixes.  The amount of flour is really a guideline.  Really try to make sure you don’t add too much or your dough will be tough.

Next, go ahead and let it mix 5 or 6 min. in Bosch or roll up your sleeves and knead it.  (You can coat your hands and surface with canola oil to avoid sticky dough everywhere.)

Shape your dough into a large round ball, seems down and let rise 1 and 1/2 hours, or until it looks like it doubled.  Then punch down and then put in pans to rise again.  Don’t overwork the dough.  Kneading isn’t soo awful but it’s nice if you have someone show you how the first time.  Be sure to cover it up with nice flour sack dish towels to keep from drying out.  (or plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.)

Bake at 300 degrees for 40 min.  Or 350 for 30 min.  Watch your oven.  I take my bread out at 29 minutes usually and check with a thermometer.  I like it over 180 degrees but not ever more than 200 degrees or it’s too dry.

It’s delicious.

If your are new to bread making, come visit and we’ll work on it together.

Sorry, no picture.  You are just gonna have to trust me on this.  There is no better bread than this recipe.

Make new friends but keep the old…

September 26, 2010

El Charro rocks.

Don’t worry about the shabby furniture or the dark dreary decor.

Forget about the grouchy waitresses/servers,  (excluding Collette and the extra tall guy).

If you sit by the vent every time, just be glad your cold instead of hot.

Yeah,  they might not have the crabby shrimp burritos or Mango salsa like Gecko…

But where else can you get a great authentic tortilla and beans on this side of the border? (And speaking of which, who ever wants to cross the border?  Not I.)

My family has been going there since my Dad was a boy.  When I was a kid, grandma would tell us all about the art they had hanging on the wall and how we were related by some cousin once removed to the artist.

Anyway, I love it there.

It’s not just nostalgia;  It’s the cheese crisp and hot sauce.

Funny how I keep accidentally referencing gold eh?  You know the saying right?

‘ Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver, the other gold.’

My first “real” boss, Gary, would always say that to me.  Do you think we have stayed in contact?  Nope.  Not really.  I better send him a Christmas card.

(At this point, I will give a shout out to my faithful readers, Billy and his lovely wife Mar.  Hello and thank you.   Don’t worry, one day you won’t be the only people reading.  In fact, just the other day, Buck decided to read a little.  See?  You are in good company.  I may even tell my friends about this blog once I have a few dozen more posts.  It’s really for our children anyway right?)

Post edit:  A special thank to Brittany and Benton as well.  They are also devoted readers they tell me.  I most certainly am thrilled to have a readership of 5.  Hee hee.  Love ya.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

September 16, 2010

Glenn Beck scares me.   (shiver) 

I only catch the occasional episode because it’s worse for my sleep than drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper before bed.  (mmmmmm… good)

I worry and fret about what if we stop earning money.  Or worse,  what if everyone loses their jobs and my whole family has to live in one house? Oh then there’s what if the kids get pnuemonia and medicine is a billion dollars etc. etc. 

You get my point:  I like to take everything to the next crazy level and then the crazier level after that.  It’s my thing. 

I was discussing the potential economic meltdown that our nation may experience with Sara, (my level headed sister in law). 

She said, “You know, it could be a good thing.”

“huh” ?

“The people who lived thru the Great Depression were wonderful people”. 

I guess that’s true.  They learned to be humble, hardworking, charitable, economical people.

Keeping that in mind;  I am focusing on hoping for the best, expecting and preparing for the worst and setting my fears aside. 

 I’ll go take a picture of Morrison Ranch and tell you a story my Daddy told me about the Morrison Brothers tomorrow.  G’night.

That ain’t no Bull

September 14, 2010


Are ya’ll from around here?  Then you have probably heard the old commercial (is it still on?) where Mr. Tex Earnhardt sits atop a “bull” and invites you to come on down and buy a car off of one of his lots.  He tells you about the great deal you can get and then he says,

“And that ain’t no Bull!”

Now, do you really get it?  Do you?

It’s a double entendre.  You see,  Mr. Tex is sitting atop a steer, not a bull.  (steer = castrated bull)

I am afraid that this generation might not get the humor in it.

( Before you find me a little too self righteous, please note that I discovered that Husband had not been schooled on this important detail ever before in his whole life.  Imagine my delight when I could laugh and laugh at him as if I was sooooo smart. ) It was several months ago and I still can’t smiling when I think about it.  (I am a know it all and Husband hates to be wrong.  Winning combo.)

As long as we are discussing Tex….

My grandpa, Bennie, only bought Ford trucks, and he only bought them from Tex.

Grandpa was known as a bit of a grouch sometimes,  (He had been a Master Sargent in the Army and I am sure he had his reasons.)

Anyway, he had friends, and I suppose he considered Tex one of them.  My Daddy says Grandpa would pull up to the dealership in his old truck.  He would not get out to work with anyone until Tex came out.  Eventually Tex would come out with a big smile and say, “Bennie, ya old son of a biscuit !”  Grandpa would grin right back and get out and buy himself a truck.

Tex is a bit of a local legend.  You ought to read a little about his story if you get a chance.

If you read this tid bit, you will learn that Tex has a son named “Jim Babe”.  Now before you laugh out loud, you must know that I had a grandmother named “Babe”.  (She was truly the salt of the earth.)

Names like that make me nostalgic for the past…

When Gilbert was a small farming town filled with good ol’boys and their tractors driving down the road.  ( I am still quite youngish but I have an old soul.)

My Daddy has taught me a lot about this farm/boom town and I want to share it with you.

Gilbert gal reporting live from my ancient desktop in suburbia.

Can your baby do this?

September 14, 2010
Can your baby do this?

Caboose practices his tumbling moves

It looked a little more impressive in person….

The ultra chic Coffee Shop at Agritopia

September 12, 2010

Twinks with our "cousin"

Twinks with our "cousin" Arthur

Are people with dogs more popular?  Yes.  I am thinking Yes, they are.

Our house was in a little disarray on Saturday Morning so I did not feel like cooking our semi-usual Saturday Pancakes. With relative ease, I convinced Husband to take us to the coffee shop for breakfast.

The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop

We loaded up our darlings into the best car we have ever owned, our Honda Minivan.  (Husband says they are so comfortable and convenient, he doesn’t know why we did not drive one before kids.  Remember?  I warned you we are in the Bike Path of life.  No where near the fast lane.)

Have you been to the Coffee Shop?  It’s a renovated old gray brick building located on what used to be the Johnson’s farm.  Windows all around reveal pretty flowers, cactus and a path that leads to Joe’s Farm Fresh next Door.   They play coffee house rock music at just the right volume.  And if you care to be associated with the hip crowd, the gorgeous proprietors were recently aired on The Food Network.  Oh, they won some cupcake cook off or something… but I digress.  They make all kinds of yummy breakfast foods, many starring chorizo sausage.   I love their San Diego omelet, (no chorizo in that but still, delicious).  And their quiche is just lovely.  Our friend K endorses the banana cream pie as one of the best she has ever tasted.

Unfortunately,  however, they do not serve pancakes.

So, we took the short meandering path thru the flowers and cotton plants to Joe’s.  While I ordered and set the kids up outside at a pic nic table under a huge grapefruit tree,  Husband wandered over and bought me a  scrambled egg and cheddar chorizo burrito at Coffee Shop. (Jealous much? He does laundry too.)

We had the best time letting the kids run around and play under the shade of the trees.  They met all kinds of hip people with dogs.  Friendly.  Also, I did not know there were soo many beautiful people in Gilbert.  There are.  And well dressed too.  It’s like a Banana Republic ad meets Nat Nast.  (If you are thinking of stopping by, don’t worry about being too casual.  Just as many people wear their cycling or walking clothes over.)

The atmosphere is the perfect blend of retro and farmy and modern.  Love at first sight.  If you have not been, you must soon.  Seasonally, they have a farmer’s market out front.   Drive around Agritopia to look at the cute houses too.  Are you a dog owner?  The dog park is just a hop skip and a jump away. When it cools down, we will take our kids around there to oooh and ahh at the dogs.  (Heaven forbid we buy our own four legged furry friend.)

If you breathe deep you can smell the alfalfa fields nearby.

Ahhhh Gilbert how I love you so….

Bum Water Stew

September 12, 2010

Last night, I was bathing my 3.5 year old darling, eldest twin daughter.  Let’s call her “The responsible twin” for this blog’s purposes.  Anyway, I left the responsible one for a few moments to check on the “others”.

When I came back she said, “Mommy, you have stars in your eyes.”  (isn’t she sweet?)  “I made you somethin’.”

“Oh really sugar pea?  What is it?”

She presented me with a washcloth covered, bathwater filled, plastic cup.

“Here you go.   It’s fresh bum water stew”.

I laughed until I cried.  Sometimes kids are worth all the trouble.  Sometimes

(I don’t want you to think I have lost my somewhat crusty & complaining mommy exterior.)

Preparation meets opportunity

September 12, 2010

Years ago, I went on a drive with my vivacious Grandma.  I had lived with her for a few years and this was not an uncommon practice.

We slowly drove  around our neighborhood in her baby blue Crown Victoria and paused if a neighbor was outside.    “Hello oh, ahem, HELLO!”

Once she had their attention, Grandma would talk about the beautiful day and their flowers and darling children.  Oh and she made sure to mention her lovely grand daughter in the car if they had a “single” son or grandson.   It was painfully embarrassing  but ahh… good times. (I was so lucky to have a grandmother who loved her kin.  Really, she always told us how beautiful and talented and sweet we all were… even if it was a stretch.)

On this particular visit around Gilbert’s finest neighborhood, (at the time),  grandma slammed on her brakes in the middle of the street.

I thought, ” What in the Sam Hell?”  (Why Sam?  I am not sure, that’s just the way I was taught to cuss.)

“Gold”,  Grandma said.


She popped open the trunk and rushed out of the car, her eyes twinkling and anxious.  I wasn’t sure what was going on until I saw her come around the front of the car with a shovel.    Right there in her matching Moo Moo and Birkenstocks, dripping in diamond and gold jewelry, my grandma started scooping horse poopie into a plastic bag.

“Gold” for her roses.


Remind me later to tell you about how she went from being a wildly adoring, (perhaps a smidgen annoying), fan of  Mr. Danny Ainge’s to well loved friend.

One word.   Persistence.

Well, I may have given away the story.  I guess I won’t tell it later….


September 10, 2010

Last night, I celebrated one of my oldest.. ahem… dearest friend’s birthday at Oregano’s.  We sat outside and enjoyed the twinkly lights, cool breeze and retro jazz sounds while chatting to our hearts content.  (We soon found the “cool breeze” was not delivered by nature but by a huge fan/ac unit near us.  It had the same effect but is it too much to ask for this sun stricken town to cool down at night?)  Pic to arrive soon.