Tuesday, June 30, 2009

10 Things That Make Me Happy (6 -10)

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Let's continue with 6 -10. BTW I have loved the emails I've received about others - happy things. Keep them coming!!
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6. Laughing and talking with my husband, about some strange thing that happened to him, or a funny thing he experienced. I now make the following statement with complete seriousness - "I could write a book about the odd things that have happened to him in, and out of my presence." I am so very entertained by these "things" that only seem to happen to my very intelligent, cute, artistic, kind, and somewhat different husband. I will tell you about one such event.
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One day we were in a nearby town and stopped to get a newspaper. My husband Mark got out of our car went in a small drugstore and returned reading it as he was walking. He strolled over to the car, reached down and without looking opened the door (on the passenger side since I was driving) and sat down. He soon realized that something didn't feel right, and looked over toward me. Only it was not me he found, but a very large man with a white cowboy hat on. OK, quite a big shock to say the least, but not only was there one man staring at him, but two other men in the backseat all just staring at him in total silence. He had gotten into the wrong car!! So he sat there for a second not knowing what to do or say - when finally the man in the hat said, "Don't worry about it. It's happened to me a few times too."
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Meanwhile, I was sitting a few cars over, and did not see any of this, but when Mark got into "our" car he immediately looked at me, and said in a low but firm voice -- "DRIVE!!" I hesitated, and he said once more with more urgency, "DRIVE!!" As soon as I pulled out of the lot he began to laugh, and soon I was laughing too, and we haven't stopped yet.
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7. Cleaning and organizing. Call me crazy, but this is fun to me - not always but frequently.
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8. Swimming, kayaking, boating, and being near any body of water (the ocean, rivers, lakes, etc.). This can change my mood quicker than anything else.
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9. Coming home after being away. It's like an old friend just waiting for us saying - welcome back!! - where have you been!?
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10. Last but definitely not least - getting together with my mom, dad and sister. When all of us in are in the same room, which doesn't happen often enough, it's always so much fun!
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We all tell stories, old and new about our lives together, and life before my parents had kids. I've heard these stories a hundred times, but I never tire of listening to my parents voices, speaking with an ever so slight accent (left over from their days growing up in a small farming town in Texas). Stories of them leaving Texas, and living in Alaska, Germany, and Massachusetts (where I was born while my dad was at West Point) before they settled in California. It's fun to reminisce about boating out on the lake, or when we lived in the apricot orchard. Jokes and silly things only we know about. In those moments I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so much love and happiness!!
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tagged - 10 Things That Make Me Happy (The First 5)

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If you are reading this and would like to play along consider yourself tagged. Of course, I love all the usual things that everyone else does, but I will try to dig a little deeper and come up with answers that are a bit more revealing.
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(6-08 Copyrighted to Sabina DeShazo)
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1. Getting a good camera shot of - a day in the life of...us. The above photo I call, Caitie's Nemesis -The Orange. This particular time she was victorious.
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Sometimes I take 100+ photos just to capture that one special moment that speaks to me. One secret I do have is that I keep my camera on "silent mode", hee..hee. This way no one seems to know whether I've taken "the" picture or not. I'm also ruthless when editing - deleting all but a special few - creating a story line. This way my photo files are organized and easy to peruse.
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2. Driving at night alone in my car with my iPod blasting on the car speakers. Strangely this soothes and energizes me and always has. I love being alone at times - I actually require it, and the car is the perfect getaway in a pinch.
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3. Great takeout - Japanese - Indian - Thai - eaten outside on the back patio or by the fireplace, with the table completely decked out with flowers, candles, twinkle lights. Music to fit the food playing softly in the distance. I occasionally treat someone and myself to this. Whoever (or is it whomever - oh well) my special guest is - I go all out! Remember though, I used the word takeout - this enables me to concentrate all my attention and energy on the decor/mood and company, while enjoying very little clean-up.
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4. When someone shows me, or exposes me to something I never would have found without them. Maybe it's new music, or a film or just a new and different way to view something. Blogs really do this for me like nothing else I've found. The creative and unique way each person approaches life - amazes me!! Which bring me to number 5.
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5. Hearing a heroic story. Maybe it's something dramatic - life and death, or maybe it's just one voice standing up for what is right.
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If you would like to hear one such story check out the "Nie Nie Dialogues" blog, and read one of the most moving and heroic ongoing stories about the life of one beautiful woman (inside and out) Stephanie Nielson. She and her husband were in a fiery plane crash last summer and both survived, but with severe burns. The story of her ongoing life, and recovery along with her enduring love and devotion to her sweet husband, and 4 happy children will move you to tears of pain and joy.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Zen-like Happiness at the Balloon Festival

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(Our favorite balloon this year was "Sushi" on the right - all photos are copyrighted to me - Sabina DeShazo)
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If you ever have the chance to go to a Hot Air Balloon Festival - go. Even if it says that the program begins at dawn - go. Even if you never plan to ride in a Hot Air Balloon - go. It will be worth every moment.
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Each year my family and I wake up at 3:30 am or so and get three kids (it used to be 5) up and ready. We pack blankets and breakfast - along with some much needed coffee, and head out for the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. Balloons from all over the country show up in trailers and trucks, and within a few minutes all of them begin to fill up right before your eyes, and literally right at your feet. When the first balloons launch and fire their burners - in the dawn sky - it is just magical. Each balloon launches one after the other, and they float overhead all about you at various heights, while beautiful plays them on their way. The time just flies by as do cups of coffee, and balloons. You come away thinking it is much later than it actually is, with a Zen-like feeling of happiness.
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P.S. One more video on side panel of the Dawn Patrol.

Sonoma Balloon Festival 2009


video


Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Sister and Road Testing A New Recipe

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(Above photos are copyrighted to Sabina DeShazo)
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A Message To My Sister: If you're reading this Sta - look away now.
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My sister and two nieces are coming to town next week for a short visit. I am very close to my sister, who up and moved to Portland, Oregon a few years back (see separated sisters), and is now moving back to California sometime in August, and I could not be happier. I was there for both of my nieces births, and they spent many summers at Auntie Beanie's house (that's me). They also lived with me for 3 months a few years back, along with my sister, during a difficult period in their lives. At that time I had one kid in high school, one in jr. high, a four year old and my two little ones were 1, and 1 month old. My niece's were 6 and 4, and my sister had to continue to commute to her job 60 miles away. That was 7 kids, 3 adults, 2 cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. Don't ask me how I did this, or how we all got through it, but we did, and they are all doing great.
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My sister is an Archaeologist and a really cool girl, and even though we are nothing alike, we are totally alike. She is 14 months younger than me, and as I've said before we grew up like twins. My parents still have trouble telling us apart on the phone. We've never had one moments jealousy between us - I mostly credit my mom for that. And even though we took such different paths in life, we always somehow seem to view things from the same angle. What can I say - she knows me - and I know her, and how great is that!
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So this evening I road-tested a new recipe I was thinking of making for them while they are here. I saw it on Giada at Home (I've just been hooked on her show for awhile now and can't seem to stop making her recipes). I made Trinidadian Chicken Stew (doubling the recipe as usual). It is a Trinidad, India and an Italian fusion creation - and was definitely yummy, but I think the oil could be reduced by 1/2 at least. My family devoured the entire thing in no time flat - so I guess I need to quadruple the recipe the next time around. It really did have an interesting blend of flavors and was quite hearty. It was pretty simple and fast to put together and cook too. I also made Brown Basmati Rice (browned in butter before I cooked it). I served the stew over it - to soak up some of the liquid. I think this is the kind of dish that would taste even better the next day.
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1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, halved
4 small skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
4 whole peeled canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups water
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Directions
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In a heavy bottomed 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until very dark, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, ginger, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme, 2 tablespoons of parsley, carrots, potatoes, and hot water. Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.
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P.S. OK Stacey, I knew you couldn't resist looking - love ya babe!! See you soon!!
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Garden Space

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(These photos are copyrighted to me - Sabina DeShazo - please don't use them without my permission- thanks)
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My husband Mark surprised me early one morning with a big delivery of wonderful organic soil for the new garden space that I am currently working on. I plan to fill it with herbs, vegetables, and lots of flowers.
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And this morning, as I stepped out onto the front porch, he had placed two beautiful potted sunflowers just waiting there for me to discover. They are now happily waiting to be planted in that wonderful soil. The truth is I usually point, and he plants. I'm more into the watering, tending, picking and enjoying part.
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Thank you sweetie!! xoxo

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm Back and I'm Just Fine

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Hello everyone! Thank you so much for all the emails and comments. I have missed barefoot in the orchard, and all my favorite blogs sooooooo very much!! Unfortunately, I had to abandon my computer and normal life for numerous doctors appointments and tests.
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It all started with dizziness and eventually violent episodes of vertigo that knocked me to the ground. One of these episodes occurred as I was leaving an appointment with my doctor and was in the hospital parking lot. My husband caught me before I hit the pavement and I was promptly taken to the ER - where I spent 6 hours. Since then I've had chest and neck X -rays, and had to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours. I've had a Brain MRI (and let me just say - being placed in a tiny tube up to your ankles is no fun - but I'm glad for the technology) and I have also had so much blood drawn I'm surprised there is still enough left over for me. As the days passed and I found myself somewhere new, with some new technician, or specialist, all I ever heard over and over was - "You look like a healthy girl to me." or "Look at those rosy cheeks, you look like you're just fine." This is a bit of a joke in my family, since this has happened to me throughout my life many time before (once even right after I was in a car crash), and I'm sure the day I die (hopefully when I'm a very old lady) - someone will say - "You look just fine today." but back to the point of this post. I am fine (yay!!). More than fine it seems - I am quite healthy! The whole thing is related to a dental issue that was missed at my last exam and is pushing on my middle ear. Over the past few weeks various medical people have been talking about heart problems and brain tumors and who knows what else, and I began to think - heart and brain - I may be in big trouble here! I've had a few difficult weeks, but today I am one grateful, happy, rosy cheeked girl and I'm off to see the dentist.
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Hugs and Kisses To All!!!
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Sabina ~
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P.S. Tomorrow's post will be "What's In Season" - so check back!!
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