Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 18

I actually planned to write this Four Faves last week, but decided to write about finding my lost friends instead.

Update:  I found one of them on FaceBook and wrote her, but no word back yet.  Fingers crossed!

So these favorites were actually the things I loved last week (as opposed to Right Now!), but I definitely still love them.  If you missed Part 17, visit it here: http://blog.paigemcdaniel.org/2014/06/four-favorite-things-i-love-right-now.html

Now, on to the good stuff:

1.  Savory Saltine Seasoning for crackers makes something mundane into something absolutely addictive.  You buy this stuff (I buy mine on Smile.Amazon and choose Community Partners of Dallas as my charity, natch.  You should too.), put it in a big ass zip lock, add canola oil, mix, then add a whole box of saltines, shake around and let the stuff soak in, then deliciousness arrives at your house like a freight train, people.

2.  I love burning candles and this tool is a must -- a wick cutter.  I got this one from Circle E Candles in Fredericksburg many years ago and I love it.  Before I had this I would go get part of a paper towel and pinch the wick off with my fingers before lighting it, but this thing is so much better.  The disk shape next to the blades catch the black wick and then you just take it to the trash and you're done.

3.  I wish that I could have taken a photo of this lasagna before my mom and I devoured it, but I was too late.  The photo speaks for itself.  Buy it at Jimmy's -- fresh, delicious, OMG goodness.  Jimmy's Food Store is at 4901 Bryan Street and if you haven't ever been there, you are in for a treat.  I call it the Italian Kuby's and they have everything you need to prepare your own Italian food, or just make it look like you did.  They have great wine dinners too and the deli sandwiches are some of the best in town.

4.  The final favorite for this installment is our volunteers at CPD.  As you may know, we are in the middle of our Back-to-School Drive and truly, we could not put together 2,600 backpacks filled with supplies and uniforms without volunteers.  For the past several weeks (and for many weeks to come) volunteers will be the reason the caseworkers of Child Protective Services get these vital tools for their kiddos.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart if you have been part of the workforce over here!

Until next time -- Paige

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Finding Lost Love

I've been thinking about friends a lot lately.

Maybe it's because I have a birthday coming up next month (fifty-threemendous) or maybe I'm just sick of my friends...

NOTE:  Just kidding about being sick of my friends.  I'm not sick of my friends at all.  I love them and they love me.

NOTE to NOTE:  At least I'm pretty sure that they love me.  They take my calls, at least.

I think the real reason is that I keep thinking about what it would be like to be a child who is abused and neglected.  A child who is saved from a dire situation, but then is taken from the only home she knows (albeit an unsafe one) and placed into foster care.  Typically that child will not only leave her parents and family, but will also leave her friends and perhaps even her siblings.

NOTE:  Normally when children are removed by CPS from a home, all children are removed.  Many times a family of more than one or two kids cannot be placed together in the same foster home.

The child will have to go to a new school and make new friends.  He may never see his old friends again. 

When I was at Miraval recently with my friends

NOTE:  Click here to read about my most recent trip http://blog.paigemcdaniel.org/2014_06_01_archive.html

I did a workshop where they asked us to make a pie chart of how we actually spend most of our time.  My pie was heavily weighted to work (Listen to that, CPD board members!) and television (natch).  Family had a big part of the pie, but the smallest piece of my pie (that was important, anyway) was friends.  We then were asked to draw a pie of how we wanted our pie to look and of course I enlarged my friend pie quite a bit.  Great, huh?

But what have I actually done about it?

Not much.

Here is a photo of Joe and me with some really old friends -- some that we haven't broken bread with in years.

I had them all over to dinner not long ago and I put a big clock in the center of my dining room table (along with flowers and candles, too -- my Momma raised me right, people).  Time passes.  That night was a ball of fun, but I'm greedy.  I want more.

I could just cry thinking about all of the friends I've lost.  Maybe some through controversy and fights, but most just from letting them slip away.

I'm sure you have some too.  Some that just became inconvenient.  Your circumstances changed and your lives didn't gel as much.  Or maybe you got to know them just enough to know that you didn't want them much anymore.

Here I have let friends leave my life without a word of protest, but the pitiful kids Community Partners of Dallas serves have lost everyone they knew and loved in an instant -- and most of them do it kicking and crying and screaming.  I let mine go without a fight.

I'm making a pledge to you now that I'm going to look up and find some of the people that I've let slip away.  I'll report back to you.  They may not all be thrilled to hear from me, but at least I will have tried.

Our kids don't even get the chance.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Miserables

You probably already know that I love the theatre (notice how I spelled theatre if you have any questions) and luckily I have enough money to see lots of shows.  I budget so I can enjoy season subscriptions to lots of local companies, as well as getting myself to NYC at least once a year.  And the best part is that I have friends who enjoy doing this with me, so we have girls night out a couple of times a month for dinner, then a show.  Heaven!

NOTE:  My regular theatre buddies are Jill, Maria, Helen, and Christie. I also go with my mom and now with my niece Katie back in town, I'm ready for even more.  Watertower or Lyric Stage anyone?

Currently, I have subscriptions to AT&T Broadway at the Winspear, Theater Three, Dallas Summer Musicals, and the Dallas Theater Center.  I love them all, but I think my most consistent favorite is the Dallas Theater Center (DTC). 

DTC just makes me think.  Last night we saw their production of Les Miserables and I loved it.  It is one of my favorite shows ever and it was really fun to see what a local company would do with my favorite show.  They set it in modern day instead of the Marie Antoinette days of old, so instead of shooting bayonettes, they shot handguns.  The hilarious innkeeper and his wife stole iphones and samsonite luggage from unsuspecting patrons in suits and jogging outfits.  Super fun.

If you don't know much about the story, the young male hero (Marius) ends up fighting a battle for the people during the French Revolution in Paris.  In DTC's present day production the battle seemed to be over more current topics such as the homeless, veterans affairs -- many different topics with no particular focus.  I am not a student of the French Revolution (and even though it is my favorite musical, I've never even read Hugo's book <chagrin>), so maybe the battle had no focus then either -- but I had always thought it was about the treatment of the poor by Marie and her cronies.

So last night while I'm watching this updated version of the show at DTC and see all of the unfocused contemporary moral problems that supposedly started the students and Marius fighting the police in the streets, I just kept thinking that winning a war without a focus would be hard.  To really get people behind something, you need a single enemy -- or at least a single cause to get them riled up.

Now, if the DTC show had been put on just a few weeks later in the year, they could have really said something and focused Marius and the boys on a revolution relating to the surge of young migrants from Central America crossing the border into Texas.

That's a fight for the miserables (apparently) soon to be among us.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tears with George


Independence Day always gets me thinking about the history of this great country and those great men and women who founded it, as well as those who continue the work to keep us free.

I was watching The Today Show when those planes hit the towers in NYC on 9-11. I watched in horror.  We were all afraid.

But President Bush's words gave us hope.

We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter and we will not fail.  Peace and freedom will prevail.
-- George W. Bush


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Am I Controlling?

I just returned from another fabulous trip to the Miraval Resort just outside of Tucson, Arizona.  I have been going annually for many years and typically go with a large group of friends -- both old and a few new -- and that is what makes the trip especially fun.

Miraval is all about mindfulness and living in the present moment.  Meditation, living with intention, etc.  Here is the wall hanging that is in each room -- just in case you need a reminder while changing for dinner.
Those of you who know me well know that I am all over this stuff -- it's SO Oprah -- and I really find the time I spend there worth every penny.

NOTE:  Miraval ain't cheap, people.  Plus, they have really cute work-out clothes in their gift shop.

NOTE TO NOTE:  You may wonder why I need cute work-out clothes...  So do I, but damn if I don't always get myself some.

I always go to classes while I'm there to help me  -- on my <gag> journey and one of their experts told me that I need to keep writing (for a creative outlet), so I guess you won't be rid of this blog too soon.  Thanks for reading.

Here are the girls from this year's trip.  Most of us are no makeup, so reader beware.
The other thing one of their experts told me is that I like to be in control.

NOTE:  Sue me.

Just that morning I had gone on the 2 hour hike and it almost killed me.  But the worst part was when we arrived at the "dry creek bed" that they had filled up with sand (BTW, I bet they trucked that sand in) and then told us that we should trudge (my word, not his) through the sand and then up the next hill or two in silence.  Lori and I rolled our eyes and took off.  Sand in my shoes and huffing and puffing up the trail, barely keeping from stumbling into cacti each step.  Finally I get to the top and the front people (who would push to go around us the whole time so Lori and I finally just walked together to hold them back -- controlling?) were standing there in silence.

NOTE:  No one was really going faster than anyone else -- they just wanted to look like they were going faster.  Bitches.

Anyway, here they all are standing around looking bored, so I made this announcement to all:

I would like to say, and I am unanimous in this, that I don't want to walk through anymore sand.

NOTE:  Ten points if you caught the Are You Being Served Mrs. Slocombe reference.

Controlling?

Of course, D'Andra and Angela were in total agreement with me and cracked up -- Lori too.  My friends know that I'm controlling.  I think they like me that way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 17

Yep, it's that time again -- Four Faves.

I don't really keep count of what I ever write about on this blog, nor how often I do a favorites post, but it does seem to be monthly lately. 

I'm glad because I really, really love passing out advice, so I love writing about this stuff.  Sometimes I think I like to write one of these posts best because it is easier than one of my regular posts, but that's not really it.  Sometimes I think I like writing them when I'm not feeling quite my usual happy self, but that's not it either. 

I think I just enjoy talking about things I like.  I think we all do. 

Last year Joanna told the person who got me as their Secret Santa recipient at Community Partners of Dallas that I was easy because everyone already knows what I like (and don't like, but that's a different blog post altogether!).  My Secret Santa Lauren did a fantastic job, so there are some benefits to letting people know what you like, people. 

As an aside to the ladies -- tell your husband what you want him to get you as a gift.  He just wants you to be happy -- don't make him guess!

NOTE:  I know you think that he should know what you want if he loves you.  He doesn't.  See italicized line above.

NOTE TO NOTE:  Yes, I know I've never been married, so why take advice from me?  Because I'm right.

On to the Four Faves -- if you missed the last one, visit it here:  http://blog.paigemcdaniel.org/2014/05/four-favorite-things-i-love-right-now.html
  1. I am the biggest fan of Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa.  Her cookbooks are the best and I have never made a single thing from any of them that I didn't like.  I usually don't have them all lined up like this because there is always one open near the stove!
  2. I didn't even know why I wanted a cuckoo clock, but I just always wanted one.  The other night I thought -- wonder if they have them on Amazon?  Of course they do and now this one is mine.  I love it and when I bought it I called my mom to tell her and she said we had one when I was about 3 years old.  So glad to have it and this one has a light sensor so at night you don't hear it.  LOVE!
  3. Summer always has me thinking about camp -- about to write the Hicks girls a note to Mystic in a minute -- so of course camp makes me think about s'mores, which makes me think about these tasty morsels of goodness -- LU Petit EcolierDark Chocolate European Biscuits.  Pick some up today and buy the dark chocolate.  I prefer milk chocolate normally in all other things, but these are best in dark.  Trust me.
     
  4. Ah, Netflix on my I-Pad.  What else can I say?  I love being able to walk around the house and watch it wherever I happen to light.  The simple joys of life.
What are your four faves?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bad Night


You may be wondering why this photo is leading off the blog this week.

Will someone please tell me why the smoke detector NEVER needs a new battery during the day?

Truly, I can only remember one time when that damn thing started chirping during the waking hours.  Last night was right back to the norm -- at 3:37 a.m. it chirped.

Once.

At first chirp I always assume it must be something else and roll over.  Then, about 10 minutes later (after you've gone back to sleep, of course), chirp.  Then for some reason, I ALWAYS think it is something downstairs.  Up, turn off the alarm, turn on the lights -- yikes -- go downstairs, check the fridge doors, the dishwasher, etc.; then back upstairs, turn on alarm, turn off lights, get in bed, then chirp.

Slow realization that it is the smoke detector, I know, but I'll be damned if I don't think that thing throws it's voice to befuddle me even more than I am already in the middle of the night.

So, repeat of the above, find battery -- at least I had a packet of them -- grab step stool, then up to replace battery, repeat steps again, but ain't no way I'm going back to sleep this time.

UGH.  Such a yucky night.

But Greg had a worse night than me last week.  The ten-year-old boy was being removed from his home for extreme neglect and while the caseworker was helping him to gather a few things to take with him, Greg's mother was shouting that she was glad they were taking him.  That she never wanted him anyway. That this was the best day of her life since this B_____ was taking him away to some awful foster home.

Greg was so upset when he arrived at the CPS office that he told his caseworker that he wanted to kill himself.

All I had to do was wake up early in a house full of love.

And find a battery.