Sep 11, 2012

U.S.A. part 5 of ?: The last little drops of L.J.

So I'm sadly down to the last few, lingering drops of our time in L.J.  I wish had more photos with my parents and my sisters and that friend I visited with that I hadn't seen in like 7 years! (Shame on us Shannon for not taking a photo!  I even had my camera with! I stink.)  Nonetheless, I tuck these memories in my pocket, carry them with me like that crumpled note in my jeans, and pull them out when I feel lonely and misunderstood.  They keep my insides warm and fuzzy and remind me of people that love me no matter what.

Have I mentioned c.d.o. runs in my family?  (That's o.c.d. (obsessive compulsive disorder) but in alphabetical order as it should be. Ha.  My sisters and I are very different, but cut from the same cloth.  This sister here  has like umteen cameras with her at all times.  She's got a back up for her back up.  We're two peas in a pod because we are usually both armed with one (or three, in her case!)

This sister here, she actually can pull off normal . . . . for a time.  But I've got one word for you: Bambakophobia.  Google it.  It's real.  I've seen what it can do a person - kid you not.  Poor thang.
(sorry to out you, Kim!)

Taylor jamming in my parents' sunroom during a rain shower.  So talented, laid back and smart.  Can't wait to see what the Lord does with him - or what he does with the Lord.

And Sweet Samantha with her Mario Cart Crew and ginormous bean bag . . . .  Thanks for wrangling and entertaining and hanging out . . .

Already miss sitting on the dock at my sister's house . . .

Throwing out dog food and waiting for the fish and turtles to chow.

It was so fun to catch up with people.  These are friends from Sagemont Church including my high school friend, Joy.  Love these peeps.  Can't wait to have them back in the D.R. in November (minus Joy who will have a new little baby girl at that point. Yahoooo!)  

This is the Sagemont cross as visible from the beltway in Houston.  You can see it well before you reach the church.  It's pretty awesome.

This particular photo reminds me about a study that I've been doing about the names of God.  El Elyon is the name for GOD MOST HIGH, sovereign ruler of the universe, and how He, a loving father,  ultimately has power over all things.  Like this photo where the cross towers over even the power lines, I am reminded that El Elyon is the ultimate source of power and how Satan can not do anything without His permission.  So, even as I am far from the people that I love, I trust in Him and His plan. Amen.  

Next post = moving on to big D.

Sep 3, 2012

U.S.A. part 4 of who knows how many: Unforgettable 4th

LJ continued continued.


It always stinks when we are in the D.R. and the 4th of July kinda comes and goes without so much as a sparkler or a picnic.  But since we were in the U.S.A. for the 4th of July this year, we celebrated it with a family feast and a homemade fireworks display (outside of the city limits of course.)

There was a ginormous double blow up slide, homemade ice cream, the best shrimp kabobs EVA, tons of yummy brisket and other great stuff that I ate with wild abandon and now can't remember.

Yes, I do take pictures of my food sometimes.  I can't really explain it.

OH WAIT!  Yes, I can!  We don't GET THIS STUFF in the D.R! Okay, that makes it more normal right?  Not so freakish that I photograph food, right?  RIGHT!  (Smile, nod, back away s - l- o-w-l-y.)

(And in this case I was taking the picture to send it back to some poor sole in the D.R. so that I could totally gloat about what I was partaking in! Nice.  But since I take 20 million photos and have no time to process them, I never actually followed through with my e-vil intentions.  It was Jon's idea, anyways :)

At least we know the pool's not contaminated!

There was sidewalk chalk, swimming, eating, swimming, eating, eating, eating, fireworks.

Wet super squeezer hugs!  Free of charge!  Who's first?

The peanut gallery looking on as the fireworks display is being set up.

Peanut gallery continued . . .  I love my parents!
Isn't this hilarious?  My sister's pug, Otis, goes absolutely limp when she carries him!  He doesn't do this with other people.  Only her!  So funny . . . . . . .  he's puggy in her hands. Mwahaaa  haaaaaa

My nephew and his friends did a really spectacular fireworks show.  It was really, really fun.

They braved the mosquitos for the fireworks.

Unforgettable 4th, we'll remember you :)

Sep 2, 2012

U.S.A. part 3: hairdos and raccoons

L.J. continued . . . .

So there were hairdos and raccoons, but not together.  Hmmm . . . where to start: hair? raccoons? hair?

Okay, we'll start with the hairdos.  First of all, my sister, Dawn, is a hairdresser, or as my Little Pickle would say, a Saloner, which she wants to be part time when she grows up when she's not being a mediciner, but I digress.  For the record, not all of these hair dos came from Dawn . . . .

I'm gonna go ahead and start with what I think is the very best one.  Curly Sue's hair as straightened by her 9 year old sister.  I'm just glad that there were no burn marks or singed hair . . . .

And then there's the front . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . .

BAM!  And there it is!  Yes, I strategically put my name on this one because I can't alter her outfit.  You may or may not be aware that prior to our visit, Belly took some scalloped edged craft scissors to her bangs (they were as long as the  back of her hair) and took some kids scissors to one side of her head (yes, the side showing!) . . . how very Posh spice of her.  Anyways, I think the combination of all things considered contribute to the overall beauty of this moment in her life :)  Yes, like mother like daughter with the red lipstick.  She applied it herself!

The heart of the operation happened in the room of a very loving and special teenager who took the time to love on her little cousins even when they were pilfering through her closet, her make-up, her room, her electronic devices, etc.

This was before Aunt Dawn cut off 6 inches of her hair - so straightening it was totally an act of love by a very patient cousin.

Little pickle with crimped hair, cat eyes, ribbons and her cousin's shirt . . .

Then Aunt Dawn stepped into the picture and did some cuts and highlights for some giddy little girls.  Pickle would have gone with purple, but Dawn was saving that for me!

And the little twinkies all highlighted up . . . .

AND then, it was my turn.  This is me post-Harbey (my Dominican hair artist) and pre- Dawn.
I asked Harbey from some "chunky" highlights and I walked out of his saloon blonde, and while I felt better when people told me I looked ten years younger, I really couldn't handle the straw like feel of my hair.

So when Dawn called and said, "I wonder if you might be interested in being my guinea pig and let me put rainbow colors in your hair? I answered "YES!" without hesitation! You see, our arrangement has always been something like this.  You give me  haircuts and color.  I let you do whatever you want to my hair.  Win. Win.  (And secretly, I've always wanted a thick streak of turquoise or fuscia in my hair, so it's not that much of a hard sell for her! Now, the day she wants to give me an updated mullet or something like that, the deals off, but until then, I'm hers!)  And since my hair was already stripped, we just knew it was gonna drink up all the color.

But hair can be unpredictable, and so can new products, and when it was all said and done (the first time) the colors were hardly noticeable.  (Insert pouty face here.)

So, Dawn became mad scientist hair saloner mixing up more color, and I sat nervously watching hair brush more color onto my hair wondering "Where oh where had the hot pink and electric blue gone?"

In the end, I for a brief moment, had a colorful head of hair (but honestly did not notice it myself until I saw this picture! Hey Dawn, I like the green and the purple color, for future reference :)

Now, the raccoons get the bad end of the deal b/c I'm all worn out from all these hairdos.  Here's the short of it.  My other sister, Kim, lives on a lake.  They have raccoons that come around their house at night.  My kids, thrilled by the sight of squirrels everywhere, were even more excited about the possibility of seeing raccoons up close.  So, the trap was set:  dog food on the porch by the sunroom.

Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it.

Wake up!!!!!!! Raccoons!

Sep 1, 2012

U.S.A. part 2 of (let's face it) way too many!

L.J. continued . . . . .

Canning, boat rides and hairdos, OH MY!

My dad's mom, my grandma (a.k.a. Honey), made the best strawberry fig preserves!  My PawPaw would hide them and hoard them, but every once and while when he was in really good spirits and was especially eager for us to leave his house, a batch of strawberry fig preserves would slip out of his stash and make their way into our outbound car.  Honey has passed away, but the memory of her sweet, red jars of heavenly-ness live on . . .

So . . . . with figs falling from the trees in my parents back yard, my dad decided that all of us should get together and try out Honey's recipe, which by the way, was slightly vague and scaled for a small batch of preserves.  But my dad had gathered 15 pounds of figs - or something like that!  So, the engineer (head chef), the inspector, and the chemical salesman set out to try and do some figuring.

First there was the issue of food processing 15 lbs. of figs, and then there was the issue of trying to convert the 15 lbs. into the original recipe because the Taylor family believes "Go big or go home!" So we had set out to make an industrial size batch of the heavenly preserves from the pint size recipe.  Strawberry fig preserves for EVERYBODY!

My mother (a.k.a. THE SARG(ent) vowed to remain silent during this process, which was hysterical in and off itself.

So with the whole family gathered around my sister's kitchen island, the experiment began.

Sister by choice, Belinda, looking on with niece Samantha
All the while my mom sitting silently self-gagged with hand held firmly over mouth as remaining silent turned out to require physical restraint!

There were conversions and interpretations and differing opinions.  And along the way, some "adjustments" were made.  In the end, we had a fun story, great memories, and some runny, but tasty strawberry fig preserves :) which made great ice cream topping!

And as if we hadn't had enough fun already, there were boat rides on the lake behind my sister's house . . . . with Little Pickle DRIVING the boat!  As it turns out, her Uncle David says she's a pretty skilled driver.

Now, I think the hairdos are gonna have to wait for the next part of this multi-part way too long blog about our time in the U.S.A.  Stay tuned for curly sue with straightened hair (straightened by a 9 year old!) and other fun stuff . . .