New Years Black Eyed Peas

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season and had fun celebrating last night. 🙂

This morning started off with the traditional cooking of the black eyed peas. For those not familiar, black eyed peas are eaten on New Years Day for good luck. The swelling of the beans represent prosperity. They are typically cooked with a pork product, such as ham hock or bacon, and eaten with greens or cabbage. The greens (or cabbage) represent money, and pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, not backwards. So, not only does this southern dish taste good, it’s full of symbolism.

I cook these every year, but I do believe I outdid myself this year. I made the best black eyed peas I’ve ever made, in the shortest amount of time!! I didn’t have to pre-soak anything, nor did I have to start the pot cooking last night. The whole thing took about 40 minutes (only because I made such a large batch). OMG, they taste like they’ve been cooking all day!! People, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, get one. It will make your lives soooo much easier!!

My recipe today:

  • 3 pounds black eyed peas (we have company coming over)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 handful sea salt
  • 1 handful (but slightly less than the salt) black pepper
  • Tony Cachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (I just shook that until it felt right)
  • 1/2 handful Tajin seasoning
  • 2 ham hocks
  • Chicken Broth until it’s all covered

Put everything in the Instant Pot, no specific order except add the broth last. Select the Soup setting on your Instant Pot. Make sure your pressure cooking level is set to High. Adjust your timer to 40 minutes. MAKE SURE your top knob is turned to the “sealing” position, and walk away. In 40 minutes, you’ll have the best black eyed peas you’ve ever tasted.

Oh, and heavens! Don’t forget your cornbread with this dish!  It’s a must! Bon appetite! And Happy New Year!!!

Happy Holidays

I know I said I’d post more frequently, but I’ve had reasons for staying away this time. Regardless, the year is almost out, the holidays are upon us, and I did want to make one more post before the new year.

Where did the year go? Remember when we were kids and time used to just drag on and on forever? Except for summer, of course – that was never long enough. But the older we got, the faster time flew by. Gods above, if it keeps going this fast, by the time I’m “old”, time will have exceeded the speed of light. Who knows? Maybe it will start going backwards!

2018 was a year of growth and change for me. I’ve been challenged with health issues this year, but that’s getting better. Growth has come from learning how to better cope with change in my life, and learning how to better communicate when it comes to my feelings, needs and desires.

I’ve also learned to step away and think before acting; which leads me to my next subject…

After I moved from Dallas this year, I wanted to post more frequently. But it seems my ex-husband has found my blog. He’s commented on my posts – twice. Once, asking me if I wanted my old birth certificate (from before I changed my last name). Now, I could have sworn I still had that in an archived file box; so I don’t know if he’s fishing, trying to find out where I live now, or if he’s serious. In any case, this used to be a blog where I’d talk about what was going on with my kid (who’s not a kid anymore), and my family. Now? Fuck…  I could block him, but that just blocks comments.

Or, I could just let it go.

Yes, it was a horrible thing he put us through back in 2006, but it was over 10 years ago. He can’t hurt my son or me. He’ll never threaten me with a loaded assault rifle again. I’ll never have to deal with cleaning tear gas out of my clothes and everything I own. Ever. Again.

So at the end of this year, this is me trying to let go of a grudge that some still say I have every right to hold onto. I’ve held this grudge close and dear for a long time. It’s helped me get through the years, and it’s helped me heal. It helped me build the walls I needed to hide behind for a while, before I could come out again and start over. But a grudge is nothing more than negative emotions after a while. You relive and remember the painful event over and over, and lick your wounds. At some point you have to let the negativity go before it eats you up.

Letting go doesn’t mean that what he did was “ok”, nor does it mean that all is forgiven and I’m willing to communicate with him. It just means I have better things to spend my energy on.

My message for the holidays is that no matter how old we are, we never stop learning and we never stop growing. As much bullshit that’s gone on in this world this year, and the health issues I’ve dealt with, I still have to say I’m happy with the way this year has ended for me. I have a loving husband and a great son, and a happy family. Family is so important, whether blood or chosen.

Happy Holidays, one and all. Be safe, be happy, and be loved.

New Alexa Feature: Wake the Dead

I got Alexa when Amazon first put her on the market, and I’ve watched her grow and develop new features. I never knew Alexa could wake the dead until yesterday morning. She really can do anything.

Let me give you some background on this one.

The husband goes fishing every now and then. Alas, he leaves at a gawdawful hour of the morning. Three o’clock should only come once a day, IMHO, and that’s PM. But this time he was going to the beach, and I do so love to see the sunrise at the beach. So I decided to go.

Of course, that’s much too early to feed our dogs and cats before we leave.

So around 11:00am I remember to call The Dude (no longer “the boy”, as he will be 20 in January). No answer. Three times, I get voicemail. The Dude is asleep.

“What can I do,” I ask myself. Then I’m struck with the most mischievous idea. And it just might work!!

I pull up my Amazon music through the Alexa app, and remotely start playing “Sister Mary Elephant”, by Cheech and Chong… at full volume. Now, for those of you too young to know this reference, here’s a sample:

I watched the track go by on my phone and let it go just long enough, then I stopped it. I gave The Dude a call. LO! HE WAS ALIVE!! And I was much amused at his adrenaline rush and confusion.

Yes, I have my evil moments.

Yes, that was one of many.

Yes, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Father’s Day

To all the good fathers out there, I wish you a happy Father’s Day and I hope today was a good day for you.

:: sigh ::

It took years of therapy, a good conversation with my sister today, and still, I have a hard time writing that opening sentence.

I hope you didn’t have to deal with a dysfunctional family when you were growing up. I doubt anyone has the traditional “nuclear family”, but surely, there is some example of normal out there somewhere. I hope you had it in your childhood. I figure, if you did, you probably enjoy things like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

My sister and I, we didn’t. We like to believe that the crazy environment we grew up in made us the strong people we are today. It’s true. If you survive something like that, you are stronger.

But you remember your parents. Days like Mother’s Day. may be easier to handle if you are a mother. You strive to be a better parent, and you love your children. I can handle Mother’s Day.

Still, I hate Father’s Day.

He was never around. Or, if he was, he was so drunk he wasn’t present. He never made the effort to be a part of our lives. What kind of father was that? Please….

I’ve always had this mental block on Father’s Day. I just don’t remember when it’s coming around. Unfortunately, this means I need to set a reminder now…. My husband adopted my kid, and my husband isn’t such a bad guy. I have to make myself say the words now…

Happy …

:: closes eyes and swallows ::

Father’s Day.

:: deep breath ::

Gods above, can’t I call it something else????

Rites of Passage

We all have them at different points of our lives. As parents, we watch our children go through them as they grow.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Graduation.
The First Day of School.
Puberty.
High School.

Yesterday, we celebrated another rite of passage with our son:

The Big Day

 

High School Graduation

I don’t know who’s happier for school to be over – the boy, or me. But at the same time, I got all weepy yesterday. Gods! My kid is a high school graduate now! I’m not ready for this; how on earth can he be ready??? It’s not time yet. He can’t be 18.

Don’t get me wrong; I know this has to happen. But where does the time go? You mothers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I still remember that little boy who graduated Pre-K, back in 2003. And look at him now!

 

Then and Now

 

For those who haven’t reached this milestone yet, here’s my unsolicited perspective from my experience. There are times you share the joy of your kid’s experiences, and there are times you may butt heads over grades, and perhaps late homework. Keep going to bat for your kid. STAY INVOLVED and talk to the teachers. Fight for your kid’s education, because the teachers are so busy they can’t fight for everyone. They are so relieved when the parents get involved, even when they disagree.

Is your kid not doing well in class? Is this sudden or a trend? Talk to your kid and find out why. Grounding and restrictions isn’t the way to resolve this problem, as it usually stems from external problems, physiological issues, depression, or in some cases, undiagnosed learning disorders. Work with your kid on study habits. Help them find alternatives that work if the standard skills don’t. Different people have different learning styles.

When things aren’t working, find a good friend (or two), who can stand in as a tutor for your kid. Your kid knows this person and relates to them well, and you know them. They’re friends of the family, so the relationship is already there. We couldn’t have done this without some of our close friends that we consider family. 🙂

 

Rite Of Passage

 

When it’s all said and done, your kid(s) will graduate, too, and you’ll feel as though you’ve gone through your own rite of passage as a parent. Perhaps we do. Because it’s the beginning of another phase of our kids lives, and we know they’re going to fly the nest. We have to let them go, and thus, begin the next phase of our own.

 

 

Eighteen

I’ve been trying to make the annual birthday post all day today but it just won’t flow. Maybe because I just don’t want to come to terms with the fact that my kid is 18.

HOLY FUCK!!! MY KID IS 18!!!!

No flowery, motherly poetry here. He’s 18!!!

Did you know… my kid is going to vote in the next election??? Oh holy christ, someone hand me a beer.

This is for you, dude. Happy Birthday.

 

Love,

Mom