Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grandma Dawkins' Porch Swing

Tonight I got to keep the baby, but she was unhappy until I took her out to the porch swing.  She immediately calmed down.  Back.....creak.....forth.....creak.....back.....creak.....forth......creak.  The pattern was mesmerizing to her and to me.  The old swing was lolling that baby into a slumber that nothing other than her mother could provide.

I remember Grandma Dawkins' old swing, just to the right of the front door.  One, or was it two, of the slats were broken on one end so the lucky kids would crowd up next to Grandma to swing (the safer side), but that always left somebody having to set on the broken part.  Grandma was a nature lover so many discussions were held on that porch swing.  We would swing for hours watching the birds bring bits of straw, string, or anything that could possibly make for a good nest at the top of the corner pillars.  We'd wait for---ev---er to hear the little birds chirping when the momma bird would bring food to drop in their little mouths.  Oh, the good times, the memories...............memories of a great childhood.

As I swung tonight, I recalled my older two grandchildren swinging just like our new little baby.  Each infant had their time cuddling with Nana on that swing.  As the boys got older they'd beg me to go higher and faster until old Nana was almost seasick.  They loved it if the swing could hit the back wall.  No doubt the baby will soon want to go faster and faster.  Yes, the old swing is a keeper.  Some day the kids might want to bring their babies to swing on Nana's swing. 

There's no doubt that Grandma would use that swing every day even if we were not there.  Air conditioning was unheard of so an afternoon on the swing created a pleasant breeze.   I sure wish I had her old swing, but no doubt even if I had gotten it way back when, it would have rotted away by now.  I'd love to swing another afternoon on her old swing, but only with her.

I love you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer 2014 is Almost Over

I guess it is because I am getting older and I realize how quickly the days fly by, but it seems summer only gets started before it ends.  Here it is the end of August, Labor Day is less than a week away.  School has been in session over a week.  The days are getting shorter and soon the leaves will be falling.  And I scream, "I'm not ready to give you up, summer!!  I still want to go to the zoo.  I want to swim one last time--after all--I bought two swim suits this year.  I haven't bought the boys a snow cone yet."

Although I only blog for my family, there are lots of days when I just can't write because this or that happened.  I see bloggers writing day after day after day.  I wonder, do they have any personal tragedies?  How do they remain upbeat? 

This summer was filled with personal sadness as were the previous three summers..............many days where I had no desire to get on the computer.  Nothing seemed to be important.  So.........even though I don't want the summer of 2014 to end, I will look forward to autumn.   I am going to embrace autumn and all her colors with all my heart.  I am looking for renewal and a hope for a brighter future.  I am going to smile with a heart of thanksgiving.  Who knows, maybe I will write a few more posts.........writing is really fun for me.

Summer 2014 is almost over.

I love you. 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Just a Little Nibble

Just a little nibble.........

I am craving chocolate and not chocolate chips as the hubby tried to pawn off to me just now, but real chocolate candy.  I am not a crazy chocolate lover, but every once in a while nothing will do but a bite of chocolate.  Tonight's the time........just a little nibble of Mrs. See's chocolates.  I want a whole box of Mrs. See's chocolates..............a whole box of assorted candies with nuts, preferably, to pick and choose the perfect flavor. 

Full disclosure:  I have been known to discretely sample my chocolates for just a little nibble and then put them back in the box to share with the hubby......if I don't like them, that is!  Hubby is not real crazy of me sharing my chocolates once they have been nibbled on. Christmas, Pam B. gave me the neatest gift.............a chocolate sampler device, kind of like a tiny spoon/fork/knife combined.  Now I can sample my chocolates without even touching them and even more discrete than ever before.

My daughter often tells the story of when my mom was in the hospital and I came in her room eating a cookie.  Mom had been forbidden from eating anything that morning and there I was eating a cookie right in front of her.  Mom said in her tiny voice, "Just a little nibble?"  Tonight, Mom, I just want just a little nibble -- of chocolate.  ............and Mom, I am sorry for eating that cookie in front of you.

I love you!!

I did not get my chocolate tonight and that's ok, but my icy Coke Zero is good, but doesn't taste one bit like chocolate.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Audrey's Prayer

Audrey and boys 4.5 months 003


When I blog, I usually wait till the end of the post to decide what the subject will be.  Today, however, I knew what the subject would be even before I opened the computer. 

Today I held my little sleeping beauty during her two hour nap observing her every detail.  I could not get enough of her sweetness.  How tiny her hands still are even though she is now 5 months old; soft pale skin.  Those beautiful little dimples on the back of her hands.  How long her eyelashes are.  How her mouth forms a perfect little O while she sleeps and how her mouth purses when I bend to kiss those sweet little baby lips.  The smell of her baby breath escaping from that tiny mouth.  The curls of her dark brown hair as she perspires against my arm.  The flutter of her eyes as she fights to wake but just can't give up the comfort of her Nana’s bosom just a few more minutes of dreamless sleep. 

As I held her and observed her, I began to think about her life and what she was about to begin.  There is so much hope I have for her.  One of these days, I hope she reads this...........when she is old enough to comprehend. 

Audrey's Prayer
Father, I pray for my little Audrey, so precious in our sight, but,
more importantly, so precious in Your Sight.  I pray that she will be a
Godly woman, a kind and compassionate woman. 
I pray that she leads a life full of grace, and that she have
a naturally sweet spirit.
I pray that she will be strong, not to boast, and proud, but with humility.
Father, protect her, keep her safe.
I love you!!!
The next post I will have Nana’s advice for Miss Audrey, some might even be a bit silly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another School Year

Spring Break 2011 043

Well, it started.  Another school year - 2014-2015.  That alone boggles my mind.  How in the world did it get to 2014?  Gosh, I remember thinking about the 2000s and not really comprehending the idea of another century.  But that was in the 1960s and one day I closed my eyes, the next day I woke up and it was December 31, 1999 and we were staying up to see the year 2000. 

But I digress.  School has started and my two grandsons have started in new school due to changing school boundaries.  I cannot tell you how proud of them I am.  All my worries for the last 3 months were unfounded.  Up until last week, their mom had planned on getting transfer letters for them to remain at the old school.  After getting the letters, mom took them on a tour of the school just in case their transfer request was rejected.  It didn't take them but a few moments to both decide the "new" school might be fun.  So.............back they went to take back the transfer letters and at that moment I knew my boys were going to be ok.  It was their decision and I believe it will be the right one for them.

Blaine loves his new school and his new teacher.  His homeroom teacher and his wife were missionaries in Africa at one point so I know the stories this man will tell will be right down Blaine's alley.  Logan..........well we will wait and see, but he did tell his mom that his teacher might be nice because she told all the other kids that they needed to look at Logan and do what he was doing.  He is always quite proud when someone brags on him. 

So………onward and upward to a good school year.    I love you boys.  You are still the age you were in this picture to me, not 10 and not 7.  Very, very proud of you.  Your nana wasn’t as brave as you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let’s Have a Salsa Party

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring!  What a wonderful summer shower we are experiencing.  I walked outside just now and that wonderful earthy smell brings back all sorts of ‘way back when’ memories.  But I’ve talked so much about memories so tonight I am going to show you something I canned this summer.

TeresaBrendaShawnaSalsa 001
Jars of salsa ready for the winter; however, we may have already opened a jar.
This is a recipe that has been known as Brenda’s salsa by the hubby, but we have
found out that it is actually Teresa’s recipe.  I got the recipe from Shawna so
you can see, the recipe is a family favorite.  I am not sure how the original
recipe reads, but here is a 4th generation of the original recipe.  It turned out pretty good no matter
how far off from the original recipe.
Teresa/Brenda/Shawna/Regina Salsa
4 quarts fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 cup jalapenos, chopped (seeds and membranes removed according to desired heat)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/8 cup sugar – I didn’t use that much
2 1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with a little water to make a paste
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons Mexican ground oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine vegetables and spices in a large pot.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer for 45 minutes. 
Ladle hot salsa into hot sterilized jars.  Screw on new lids and turn upside down to seal.
Hey, anybody remember The Gossip Game?  You would set in a circle and someone would start by whispering something in
the next person’s ear.  That person would repeat what was whispered to him in the next person’s ear, and so on.  You could not
ask the person to repeat what he whispered to you.  It was always funny for the last person to say what was whispered to
him.  It never, ever was the same as the original whisper.  It was a good game to teach children how repeating something
can get misconstrued along the way…………so watch what you say!
I love you all.
Let’s have a salsa party. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Get Up and Deal With It

There is something compelling me to write tonight and I don't know why or what I will write about.  I haven't written regularly in months, so I will begin and don't know where I will end...........hold on.............

Today has been one of those ordinary days, but there was nothing ordinary about it.  I attended my very best couple friend's funeral.  It was hard to say goodbye for so many reasons.  How can I say goodbye to 40 years friendship?  While we were different as night and day, I will miss that soft voice, that lovely smile.........and believe me, she had the best smile.  I will miss her gentle spirit. 

So today I said goodbye to her, I am not going to dwell on her death, but her courage in her darkest, sickest hours and look even further back to remember those Corvette trips, outings, vacations, dinners in each others' homes, eating out...........  Fun times with a sweet girl.

As I was walking tonight, thinking of her, alone, I was sad and almost wanted to give up writing, give up Facebook, give up on emailing, give up on a lot of things.  I wonder if anybody besides me ever has those moments when so much seems like such a huge effort.  Jealousy reared its ugly head.......why can't I have a life like that, why can't I have that beautiful home, why can't I be so popular, why can't I have a boat and a new car at the same time, why can't I.............such ugly words..........why can't I.  Oh I was having my pity party tonight.

When I got back to the house, cooled down a bit, and started to play a game of solitaire on the internet it hit I want to spend my hours playing solitaire or do I want to get into the game again?  Do I want to stagnate or do I want to live life?  I chose life and I chose it be happy.  I chose the words "I have.  I have.  I have.  I have so many, many blessings."

So here I am writing a silly blog...........nobody reads it except for a couple.............but therapy for me..........words to help clear my mind.  I am pulling my big girl panties up and dealing with it.  I have so many, many blessings. 

I love you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce with Green Chilies

Good evening.  I bet you never thought I was going to write again, but here I am. 

The other day I made some delicious Chicken Enchiladas with sour cream sauce.  I am posting this for a certain someone.  You know how I love to use up every little bit of a rotisserie chicken so here's just another version, but it was better than all the others I have made.

Sour Cream Sauce with Green Chilies:  I melted about 2 T. butter in a skillet and added probably 3 T. flour.  Stir and cook until it is slightly golden--a simple roux.  I added a tiny bit of garlic paste, probably 1/2 t. but that is subjective to your liking.  I stirred in probably 1/3 to 1/2 cup chicken broth.  At this point I added sour cream, a little over 1/2 cup.  I kept tasting until I got the right taste of sour cream that I wanted.  If it is too think, you might want to add more chicken broth.  While it was heating, I added a couple tablespoons of canned green chilies.  This sauce was so good, but as you can see, everything was added to "taste".  *See below

Enchiladas:  Shred a cup or more of rotisserie chicken.  Sprinkle a little cumin over chicken and I added a couple T. of the green chilies and a 1/2 jar of Trader Joe's Green Enchilada Sauce.  You don't want it soupy so be careful on the sauce.  Chopped onions would have been great in this, but I didn't think of it.  Add a layer of the chicken in a line across the center of a corn tortilla and roll up.  (I heated the tortillas in a moist paper towel in the microwave to make them pliable.)  Place in a casserole dish.  This recipe made 6 enchiladas.  I poured the rest of the Trader Joe's Green Chili Sauce and the rest of the can of green chilies over the tortillas.  Put it in the oven and bake till heated through.  About 10 minutes before it is done, pour the Sour Cream Sauce over the tortillas.  *Here's where it gets a little interesting.  Just before I poured the sauce over the tortillas, I realized I have a couple tablespoons of heavy cream in the frig that needed to be used so I added it to the sauce.  It really added a richness which I loved.......even just using a little.  So I poured it over the tortillas.  And then I saw a couple of softened butter and thought..........hmmm...........a little butter never hurt anyone.  So added pats of butter over the sauce and put the pan back into the oven.  Over all that, I added a couple torn white cheddar slices.  I was too lazy to shred.  After 10 minutes it was bubbly and hot and delicious.  The best sauce I have ever made. 

I am sorry for not being more precise, but I taste as I go and if I need salt, I add salt.  And I did add salt and pepper along the way.  If the sauce was too thick, I just thinned it with either more sour cream, more chicken broth, or more chilies.

Hope you can use this sauce recipe someday.  A lot of sauces seem start with a simple roux and you go from there adding ingredients for the flavors you want.

I love you.


Friday, July 11, 2014


Do you read the Sunday Oklahoman?  If you do, last Sunday you might have read Malcolm Berko's column in the Business section.  It is titled "Is it the right time to put money in REITs?"  A couple asked Mr. Berko a question about his take on an investment that their engineer friend had suggested.  Mr. Berko answers, in part, as follows:

"I have a long-time friend who is an engineer and also a non-pareil stock picker.  I've watched this guy pick stocks for 38 years -- and watched him buy stocks that looked like garbage but turned into gold.  I came to the conclusion 205 years ago that engineers rather than politicians and lawyers should rule the world.  Imagine for a moment that the president, the Cabinet and all the White House staff were engineers instead of lawyers.

Then imagine that members of Congress (47 percent are lawyers) were engineers.  Without question, our tax code would be fair; the budget would be balanced; our public schools would be exceptional; poverty would be eliminated; welfare plummet; the trains would run on time; and there would be peace in the valley.  Lawyers are America's terrorists but without guns or suicide vests."

Mr. Berko goes on to answer the couple's question regarding an investment of REITs, but it is take on engineers that causes me to laugh.  If you have ever met or known an engineer, you might tend to agree with him. 

I married one of these engineers and here's a little tongue in cheek of what I have learned from a union of 42 years. 

If you want to do anything, and I repeat, anything on the spur of the moment - do NOT marry an engineer.  Things have to be thought through thoroughly and there might be drawings involved.

If you want your engineer to handcraft an item, expect this project to take weeks and weeks, with drawing after drawing.  Expect to see a list of parts needed with associated costs.  Then expect to see a list of like items selling in the stores and a price comparison and the feasibility and practicality of the hand crafted item versus one from a store.  By the way, an engineer's time is almost never accounted for in a price comparison.  They work for free.  If your engineer should finally decide that the project is worthwhile, there will be a build sheet, cost listed for all individual parts, and now in the digital age, pictures.

If you want a brand new car - do NOT ever marry an engineer -- do you know how much a car's value drops just driving it off the lot?  Nope, not gonna happen in the Tucker house.

If you expect to have a new appliance now and again - do NOT marry an engineer.  That engineer you married takes great delight in seeing just how long they can make an appliance last.  Case in point, my dishwasher was bought in 1987 (I kid you not!) has been fixed probably 5 times.............the sucker just won't break to the point of not being fixable by my engineer hubby.  On the positive side, an engineer can save you tons of money.

If you want to win at any trivia game - marry an engineer.  They are the smartest people I have ever met with few exceptions who, come to think of it, are just non-degreed engineers themselves. 

Engineers are NOT snappy dressers.  Clothes are definitely not a first priority for most engineers.  In fact, their clothes might be a little thread-bare.  If they are still working, it wouldn't be that unusual to see them with a pocket protector.  And you can depend on them to have an ink pen within their reach.   Trivia:  They work crossword puzzles in ink.

I wrote all this as humor, but there is a lot of truth in it as well.  The engineer I married can fix almost anything.  This has been proven on many occasions by many people.  If you can't figure it out, call Johnny.  First, he is probably going to ask you if it is plugged in, if you checked to see if you need gas, if you checked the circuit breaker, and what you were doing at the time of breakage. Then even if you verified all these things to him, when he comes to your rescue he will check them out himself.  Engineers leave little to chance so don't be offended if he checks everything twice.  They are also by nature very pessimistic.  They tend not to believe a word of anything until they have researched and tested it themselves.  

Yep, an engineer is good to have around and very handy. 

I love you!        


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Concert in the Park

Tonight we did something we rarely do anymore.  We went to a concert in the park; not just any concert.........a big band concert.  While the music was just ok, the moment was nice.  The 80 degree temperatures with a slight breeze made for a delightful time.  What made it more delightful was just knowing that park was still being used.  Kids on scooters, young adults biking, football practice, picnics, dogs being walked, snow cones, walkers, runners...........and all sorts of other venues.

We used to go to outdoor concerts every week; our little kids in tow.  We'd spread our blankets out and break out the picnic baskets and treats and wait for the music to begin.  I have a fond memory of the man over under that tree at Mount Saint Mary's dancing alone; his left arm up around his imaginary lady's shoulders and his right around her waist.  I would love to have known his story for he reminded me of my own father.  Was he a World War II vet?  Was he a widower?  Was he dreaming of the imaginary lady?  Or was he just enjoying the music?  He didn't even know anybody was watching.........but I was.  It was a beautiful poignant sight and filled me with a lump in my throat.............watching him and his imaginary lady..............and that lump is in my throat just recalling him again.

Another memory for me was dancing with my youngest nephew back in the early 80s.  We were at a Prairie Home Companion show that was being broadcast from an Edmond park.  My nephew was just a little baby and the music was lively so I couldn't help myself.  I remember the spontaneity of jumping up and grabbing that sweet baby and bouncing him around a bit.  I dare not use the word dance.  I think we all use a baby now and again just to do something that we'd otherwise not do. 

I don't recall all the individual concert venues, but the memories of snapping open the blanket, the picnics, the sodas, the treats for the children, the laughter, the dancing of toddlers around our blanket, the sleepy kids staring at the evening stars...............those have jelled into the most beautiful concert of all.

I hope my children remember those good times for I sure do.  I hope they have fond memories of their childhood.  I hope their memories are as good as the ones I recall..............even if we never got them a McDonald's Happy Meal. 

I love you.