Who am I? I am a Wife, a Step-Mother, a Mimi, a Daughter, a Sister, a Sister-In-Law, a Niece, a Cousin, a Friend, a Christian and a Person Living with Multiple Sclerosis. I am many things to many people - beautiful people who I cherish. I love deeply and unconditionally and believe kindness and common courtesy are not difficult. Don't get me wrong, this world is not perfect and neither am I but I believe in prayer and in taking it one day at a time.
As children my brother and I lived a very "privileged" life. We spent many hours entertained by a jester, a magician, a clown, a musician, a body surfer and a professional story teller...just to mention a few.
We searched the "mountains" for arrow heads and went on great adventures through the "forest". And hidden in this "forest" was our own personal wishing well where we tossed pennies, made wishes and had no doubt they would all come true.
We were regaled by fairy tales and stories of "Little Black Sambo" and we knew beyond a doubt that the "hokey-pokey" was really what its all about.
Some children have a favorite stuffed animal, a doll or a blanket. Reece and I? We had Aunt Eva!
Aunt Eva was sheer entertainment. There was nothing she wasn't up for. Whether it was hiking the lake roads, a ride in the back of the pick-up, body surfing the lake "waves" or just "one more story".
Our "privileged" life included hours spent in a simple old house turned daycare or a frame lake cabin complete with wood burning stove and an outhouse or maybe just hanging out at home.
We thought Aunt Eva was all ours - because she made us feel like she was. What we didn't understand at the time is that she made everyone feel that way. She wasn't just an Aunt - she was a Nurse, a day care operator, a Wife, a Mother, a Grandmother, a sister, a daughter and a friend among many other things. And in each of those roles she made the people she interacted with feel like they were the most important people in the world. I would love to know how many births she participated in in her career. How many children she cared for. How many nursing students she mentored. How many lives she touched.
Aunt Eva recently celebrated her 85th birthday. She's no longer tracking through the woods or body surfing the waves. Her days of birthing babies are long since past but her eyes still twinkle and seeing her smile and hearing her stories fills my heart with joy.
We had the opportunity to see her over the summer at our family reunion. She and Reece were discussing her health and she told him the doctor had told her that her heart was just "no good". Later Reece told me about the conversation and we chuckled knowing "no good" was probably not the description the doctor had used.
In truth Aunt Eva's heart is tired and doesn't work like it used to but we know there's not a better heart out there. It's a heart of gold. A heart that has touched an innumerable number of lives. A heart that has nurtured imaginations, loved unconditionally and spread joy to whomever it touched.
Yes, Reece and I led a "privileged" childhood...privilege that no amount of money could have bought. We were loved, shaped and cared for by an exceptional lady with an exceptional heart - a heart weathered by time but ever strong in spirit.
Okay, I love pork. And, I love tacos. Give me a pork taco and I am in "hog" heaven! Okay, so I'm not that funny, I get it , but I just couldn't resist! Anyway, you guys have got to try this recipe. It is fabulous and comes from the cookbook of one super-neat lady - Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman. If you haven't checked her out - you must. She not only has an incredible blog but a cookbook full of scrumptious recipes like this one. Check her out. Oh, and be sure to have these tacos soon and let me know what you think - in my opinion they are to die for!
Cynthia's Spicy Shredded Pork
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
4 pounds (up To 7 Pounds) Pork Shoulder
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Salt
Pepper To Taste
3 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) White Wine Vinegar
¼ cups Brown Sugar
1 whole Onion
Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.
To begin, just throw the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar into a food processor or blender. (I happen to love brown sugar in my cooking, but you can decrease or omit it if you like.) Cut one onion into quarters and put it in the food processor with the spices. Blend mixture until totally combined and then pour it over the pork shoulder.
Now rub it into every nook and cranny of the meat, tucking it under folds an in crevices. Let no stone go unturned. Then place the pork into a roasting pan or Dutch oven and add a couple of cups of water. Cover tightly and roast pork at 300º for several hours, turning once every hour. When it is fork tender crank up the heat, remove the lid, and roast it, skin side up for another 15 to 20 minutes to get the skin crispy. When it’s done let it rest for 15 minutes before shredding.
Shred the pork shoulder (two forks work well). When it’s all shredded be sure to pour the juices all over the meat. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole & tomatillo salsa.
I have had what I term to be the "crud" for six to eight weeks. My cough sounds like a honking goose and when people hear it they stare at me with a look of fear - like I might possibly be a TB patient. I've been through two rounds of antibiotics with no sign of positive results to date.
During the past week we like much of the country have had a little "cold snap" and it didn't get above the freezing mark for something like four days. During this so called "cold snap" the Senor was basking in the sun in beautiful Los Cabos Mexico. It worked out well for the "crud" and I as I never got out of my pajamas and spent most of the week in bed.
Yesterday I broke down and went back to the doctor. Dr B's office is on the second floor of his office building. One day soon I hope to share with you the very funny story of how as I walked in to the elevator I twisted my ankle and fell flat on my face; however, today the story is just not that funny so I'm keeping it to myself.
After spending an hour with Dr B I am now the proud owner of nasal spray, a bronchial inhaler and a new round of antibiotics. Oh, and Dr B is the proud owner of a couple of updated pictures of my lungs.
Looks like it is a really tough version of bronchitis - and maybe some kind of asthma. "Crud", bronchitis, asthma, I don't really care what you call it - it just needs to go! I'm scheduled to depart for sunny Mexico in a little over two weeks and it is not welcome on the trip.
As some of you may have read I recently attempted to make homemade marshmallows.
If you know me you know that the fact that I tried to make marshmallows is in and of itself pretty dang scary.
What was even scarier was about half way through the process when the transmission on my handy-dandy stand mixer passed from this life and onto where ever worn out and obsolete electric kitchen appliances go when their work in the kitchen has ended.
The old girl was up to the task of cake batters and such but just couldn't hang with something as oohhy-goohy as a marshmallow.
It was a sad moment in life when I saw the Senor place my old friend the mixer on the curb for the garbage men to take away...
I got over it pretty dang quick the moment I set my eyes on...
Ladies and Gentlemen...
I introduce to you my new, up-to-any-challenge, beautiful, shiny-red friend...
the Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer...
With her the mixing possibilities are endless...
And the available attachments...
the juicer, the ice cream maker, the pasta roller, the grinder...
I could do it all
I could truly become my very-own-kind-of-Betty-Effing-Crocker!
Okay, perhaps I should smack myself with a rolling pin and back to reality!
Reality is this...
my new shiny-red friend looks beautiful on my counter...
I am super excited to be offering my very first give-away!
I am teaming up with the nice folks at CSN Stores to give one lucky reader an awesome Travelers Choice Rome 20' Hard-Shell Rolling Upright Bag in black. This bag has a retail value of $59.99 and it can be yours absolutely free if you are the lucky winner. Seriously, all you have to do if you are the winner is give me your shipping address and it will show up addressed to you a few days later!
I don't know about you guys but now that the holidays are over I'm thinking it is the perfect time for little long-weekend getaway and this bag seems perfect for getting my stuff there.
I actually have a long-weekend getaway planned for the end of the month but was suddenly hit with a huge surge of generosity and decided rather than keep the bag for myself I would share it with one of you. How's that for sweetness!
You can check out all the details of the bag and lots of other awesome products at http://www.csnstores.com/. The product number for the give-away bag is TC3900K20.