Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Hunter: The Teacher

Sunrise in West Texas.

Warning: further photos may be offensive to some.

We are just back from our Thanksgiving trip. This year it was Zack, my son, Evan, my beloved, and I who loaded up and drove five and a half hours due west to my Mom's for the family gathering. I have three brothers and a sister... so, as you can imagine, it is quite a gathering. We ate LOTS of great food Mom and my sister, Melanie, had worked all week to prepare. We laughed and ribbed each other unmercifully. We played Spinner, worked puzzles, solved the world's problems and discussed recipes. We enjoyed lots of hugs. Lots of hugs.

The story I am going to tell is about a teacher... a hunter... my son. Zack is a hunter to the core. He will get up at the wee-est hours of the morning to get to the perfect spot. It is a rare event for him to come home empty handed.

From the time he was four, he would don his little life jacket and take a cup of frozen corn to fish ALL day at the pond near our house. We'd have to take him lunch or he would go without... whether the fish were biting or not. That kind of focus has not waned. He hunts and fishes... whatever is in season. He harvests his game and makes no waste. He abhors those who only kill for the fun of it. He lives by an unwritten code and honor system. He is a crack shot with honed instincts... he is a survivalist.

I have known all of that for a long, long time... What I did not know was that he is a teacher. Evan, his bonus-dad (I HATE the step parent label), had never been hunting (during this trip, there was much laughter and ribbing about the eggs and meat coming from the grocery store wrapped and ready for Evan growing up on Long Island... as we all told tales of gathering eggs and dressing various food stuff). I listened with amusement and admiration as, on the long trip to my Mom's, Zack gave instruction to the novice hunter. His voice was patient and encouraging; his message was informative and detailed; and his enthusiasm was nothing short of contagious. Now, I might also add that he made it perfectly clear that he was getting his buck first and then he would sit with Evan to help, if necessary. Hunter before teacher. My brother, Greg was in for the hunt, too (he, also, would fall more into the novice category). Zack promised he would help them get their deer.

This is Greg, Evan, the buck, and Zack.

They came home from the first outing... Zack had his buck. He was giving lessons on field dressing and preparing for processing.

I laughed at this shot... the new age hunter... texting photos to all his hunting friends back home.

True to his word, he went back in the afternoon with Evan. And, true to his word, Evan got his first deer. There were lots of lessons in this exchange... and even more, there was a new appreciation in my heart for Zack's generosity in sharing his passion... and his patience and diligence in teaching. Good job, Son. Great shot, Honey!!
Now, my brother, Greg... story is the Burberry after-shave and Clark shoes gave him away... no deer for him this time... lol.... Love you dearly brother! You are the best! And, you put up with our ribbing with such good grace!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Gift of Time and Attention

Alex and Amanda... a.k.a Little Man and his Mom, my daughter.

I have come to believe with all my heart the greatest gift a person can give or receive is the gift of time and attention...

I just received the gift of a visit with my Little Man and his Mom. Spur of the moment... Since their move to Virginia last year, spur of the moment visits are not in the bag too frequently anymore. But, I would drop anything and run for just a short visit with these two. Amanda had meetings in Dallas Monday; I didn't see much of her, she was working, but I did have some precious time with Alex. Precious, I tell you!

He tried on his sweater for Noni and he made it look gooooood...

The very most fun was just hanging out and talking...

There was some seriously fun cooing and smiling... My cheeks just HURT from smiling so big for so long...
Now, they are safely back in Virginia... and, I am safely back in Tyler... I love and miss my Little Man and his Mom... I am most grateful for my time with them... Most grateful.
Thank you Alex and Amanda! XOXOXOX

Friday, November 20, 2009

Almost Finished...

Noni has been hard at work on a prize for Little Man.

This tiny little sweater has taught some new lessons... not only with a new pattern of stitches, new way of binding off and seaming together... but, of how to start over... how to take out and repair... how to keep going... Same ole lessons of life... just in a microcosm of knitting.

The main lesson is to not give up. That is always the main lesson.

Do the best you can... and keep moving. All I lack in finishing this is getting a zipper today and sewing that in... If that part takes as long as constructing the little garment, it may be Christmas before I am through. LOL. Just kidding... I'm planning on getting a picture of it on my Little Man this very weekend! =)
PS I left a mistake... on purpose. That was a new lesson for me, too. It wasn't easy. Imagine that.

Things are looking brighter...

Little Man has brightened my days for two weeks in a row! Last week, he sent me this beautiful bouquet with the sweetest little note...

"Happy Birthday, Noni, Sure hope you have a great day. I love you so big. Little Man XOXOXOX"

But the brightest news of all came when I found out that he would be flying to Dallas on a business trip with his Mom. He decided to skip the business and give his sweet love to his Noni all day long!! That's what I will be giving the most thanks about this Thanksgiving!!!

Thank you, Amanda. Love, Mom

Friday, November 13, 2009

One Flaw in Women

* I take no credit for the photo or the post. It was sent to me in an e-mail. I deeply appreciated it and wanted to share.

One Flaw In Women

Women have strengths that amaze men...

They bear hardships and they carry burdens,

but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.

They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy

and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in.

They stand up to injustice.

They don't take "no" for an answer

when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.

They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel

and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They grieve at the loss of a family member,

yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you

to show you how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.

They have compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their

family and friends.

Women have vital things to say

and everything to give.

However, if their is one flaw in women,

it is that they forget their worth.

* Remember your worth dear ladies... and, have a great day today!

Thank You to Ladybug From Texas

Monday evening I came home to a box on the porch. It was just full of goodies from Deb, the Ladybug from Texas! I was fortunate to have won the give-away from her Boots Were Made For Walking Party!

Deb sent a sweet note with her bundle of prizes!! Thank you so much, Deb! It was a fun party and the prizes just made my day!! Can't wait to try the Roasted Garlic Honey BBQ sauce.
Thanks again, Deb.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update on the Historic Tyler on Tour 2010

I have fallen behind in my updates on the Historic Tyler on Tour Homes for 2010. This is an extraordinary group of homes that will be open for touring March 26-28, 2010. Hope to see you there!

The Clyde Home
3031 Old Bullard Road

Candlelight Party and Tour
The Robertson Home
322 West Fifth Street

The Huggins Home
123 East Second Street

The Carmichael Home
1208 South College Avenue

The Short Home
223 East Second Street

The Ashworth Home
1312 South Chilton Avenue

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Crisp

I love fall and Pumpkin Pie... When I was a child, we always got to choose our birthday cake... As it turns out, my sister and I share the same birthday eight years apart... yeah, I'm the old one. She would choose Red Velvet Cake. I would choose pumpkin pie. This recipe ousts my long time favorite pumpkin pie recipe! AND, it is just too easy. Hope you will enjoy it, too.

Pumpkin Crisp

1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 package butter-flavored yellow cake mix
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. butter, melted

whipped cream (optional)
ground nutmeg (optional)

Stir together first five ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9. Sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mixture; sprinkle evenly with pecans. Drizzle butter over pecans. Bake at 350 for 1 hr. to 1 hr. 5 min. or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 min. before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg if desired. Happy Fall Ya'll!

Trying something new today! Playing Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Date Day in Dallas

The temperature was perfect. The sky was clear. The two of us were ready for some fun!

We headed to Dallas with a few items of shopping needing to be tended to... but, mostly a desire for lunch at Houston's. =) This house smoked salmon is killer!

Then the Tai Steak Salad... oh, my... Nice glass of Cabernet...

This thing is friggin' unbelievable! Crisp, smooth, sweet, spicy. Perfectly seared tenderloin, mint, parsley, cabbage, peanuts, mango, avocado, tomato, mixed greens, noodles... a taste sensation unmatched!

And, of course, what is a meal without a good cup of coffee and dessert! Apple walnut cobbler with ice cream... I was in heaven. In addition to this wonderful treat, we found a raincoat for Evan, a wedding gift, a house warming gift, and a new Vince Flynn novel! We looked at furniture at Rob and Stucky's, Restoration Hardware, Metro, and Crate and Barrel. And, we ventured through IKEA. Plus, we saw Couple's Retreat. It was a great date day. =)

Happy Birthday, California Girl!

I want to wish a very happy birthday to California Girl of Empty Nest Evolution and Women of a Certain Age! It has been my pleasure to cross paths with her through blogging. She is passionate and witty. Her comments to others are always thoughtful and engaging. Her boys are adorable and well loved! Her husband is a wonderful photographer. Together they make a fine family. And, while I do not share her political view, I applaud her for having a point of view. More of us should be so interested in what is going on in our country (apathy is the rot that will destroy us). Keep it up, California Girl.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Deborah!

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Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.