Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Halloween Story - La Llorona - The Weeping Woman

The Weeping Woman - La Llorona
by Joe Hayes

This is the story that the old ones have been telling to children for hundreds of years. It is a sad tale, but it lives strong in the memories of the people, and there are many who swear that it is true.

Long years ago in a humble little village there lived a fine looking girl named Maria. Some say she was the most beautiful girl in the world! And because she was so beautiful, Maria thought she was better than everyone else.

As Maria grew older, her beauty increased and her pride in her beauty grew too. When she was a young woman, she would not even look at the young men from her village. They weren't good enough for her! "When I marry," Maria would say, "I will marry the most handsome man in the world."

And then one day, into Maria's village rode a man who seemed to be just the one she had been talking about. He was a dashing young ranchero, the son of a wealthy rancher from the southern plains. He could ride like a Comanche! In fact, if he owned a horse and it grew tame, he would give it away and go rope a wild horse from the plains. He thought it wasn't manly to ride a horse if it wasn't half wild.

He was handsome! And he could play the guitar and sing beautifully. Maria made up her mind that he was the man for her! She knew just the tricks to win his attention.

If the ranchero spoke when they met on the pathway, she would turn her head away. When he came to her house in the evening to play his guitar and serenade her, she wouldn't even come to the window. She refused all his costly gifts. The young man fell for her tricks. "That haughty girl, Maria, Maria!" he said to himself. "I know I can win her heart. I swear I'll marry that girl."

And so everything turned out as Maria planned. Before long, she and the ranchero became engaged and soon they were married. At first things were fine. They had two children and they seemed to be a happy family together.

But after a few years, the ranchero went back to the wild life of the prairies.  He would leave town and be gone for months at a time. And when he returned home, it was only to visit his children. He seemed to care nothing for the beautiful Maria. He even talked of setting Maria aside and marrying a woman of his own wealthy class.

As proud as Maria was, of course she became very angry with the ranchero. She also began to feel anger toward her children because he paid attention to them, but just ignored her.

One evening, as Maria was strolling with her two children on the shady pathway near the river, the ranchero came by in a carriage. An elegant lady sat on the seat beside him. He stopped and spoke to his children, but he didn't even look at Maria. He whipped the horses on up the street.

When she saw that, a terrible rage filled Maria, and it all turned against her children. And although it is sad to tell, the story says that in her anger Maria seized her two children and threw them into the river!

But as they disappeared down the stream, she realized what she had done! She ran down the bank of the river reaching out her arms to them, but they were long gone.

The next morning, a traveler brought word to the villagers that a beautiful woman lay dead on the bank of the river. That is where they found Maria, and they laid her to rest where she had fallen.

But the first night Maria was in the grave, the villagers heard the sound of crying down by the river. It was not the wind, it was La Llorona crying. "Where are my children?" And they saw a woman walking up and down the bank of the river, dressed in a long white robe, the way they had dressed Maria for burial.

On many a dark night they saw her walk the river bank and cry for her children. And so they no longer spoke of her as Maria. They called her La Llorona, the weeping woman. And by that name she is known to this day. Children are warned not to go out in the dark for La Lorona might snatch them and never return them!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween for the Dogs

It was a busy weekend! Yesterday I spent the day with my mom. She loves to go thrift store shopping but yesterday was definitely a bad day to go as EVERYONE was there trying to find last minute Halloween costumes. So we just had a nice lunch and picked up some groceries and came home.

Then today I went back into Bakersfield with my sister and we hit the Goodwill Bookstore and I found five interesting books! We had our favorite salad at Cocos Restaurant, the Asian Chicken Salad. It was so good! Then we did some grocery shopping again...well she did, I had gone the day before so I just went along to keep her company.

When I got back home my daughter reminded me that I had told her I would go with her to the Self Serve Pet Spa Halloween Event. So there I went...back to Bakersfield. But we had a good time. I hope you all remember her little Shih Poo puppy, Chorizo. She was a banana for Halloween.

She loves being around other dogs, and there were so many! It was a nice event and I hope they raised a lot of money and that some of the dogs that were up for adoption found good homes!

We then went to Banducci's Family Pumpkin Patch. In the mosaic above, the photo of Chorizo in the wagon was taken there. She loved being there because there were so many smells. They had pumpkins, other dogs, sheep, pigs, chickens and pony's. Her nose was working overtime. Plus I don't know if she had ever been around hay before but she loved the smell and the taste of it.

Here I am with Chorizo. I love the photo in the top right corner where I'm trying to take some hay out of her mouth and she's not at all happy with me!
She was one tired little puppy on the drive home and I was pretty tired too. So April and I took Chorizo home and then we went to our local Mexican food place and had dinner. It was a busy but fun weekend. Hope you all had a good weekend as well!
Linking up to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Day Without Technology

Today was terrifying! As close to a scary Halloween Day as you can imagine.

Picture this, Sicily 1949....oh wait, that's the beginning of a Sophia on The Golden Girls story.

Didn't you just love her? She was the best!

Ok, picture this, Bakersfield 2012, a fearless woman leaves her home. A normal day, like any other, navigating Highway 99 like a pro. Listening to Bob and Tom in the Morning radio show, laughing, rolling her eyes at their antics.

She gets to work, gathers up her purse, her lunch bag, her sweater and locates her office keys, makes sure her headlight are off and heads into the big, gray, two story office that has become her home away from home. She could travel down these hallways blindfolded and know exactly where she is just by the number of steps she takes, that's how well acquainted she is with where she spends the majority of her day.

She unlocks the office door and steps into darkness...a quick few steps to the left and there is the light switch, she turns the lights on and heads into her office. She places her stuff on the desk, turns on her computer and stares out the window while it boots up...not knowing, not aware of something that is about to turn her day into a nightmare!

She sits back down and realizes that it's 7:50am and her sister, who calls her every morning between 7:40 to 7:45 has not called her. Fear clutches in her heart! Did sister oversleep? Is it Saturday and sister didn't call because this is not a work day. Or maybe sister found someone more interesting to call, someone less judgemental and grumpy in the morning???

She grabs her purse to get her cell phone and the world comes crashing down around her head, she gets dizzy, she clutches her heart, she screams out "Oh my Gosh!!! I forgot my phone!!!"

She's never forgotten her phone before! The walls close in on her, what is she to do? How is she going to check in on facebook throughout the day? How is she going to retrieve those super important email jokes all day long? How is she going to play Words with Friends and WordFeud and UnBlock Me? How is she going to play with Talking Tom? How is she going to text with friends and family??? Could it be? Could this be A DAY WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY???

It was my friends, and it was hard! The longest day of my life. I'd be working away and think, "Oh, I gotta text my son and remind him to ask the lawn man for a quote to trim the trees" and I would reach for my phone, and it wasn't there. I would reach for my phone to check the temperature outside...and it wasn't there. I waited at lunch time for my ever dutiful sister to call me as she does daily and then I remembered I had no phone.

On the bright side...I got a lot of work done. I think the world was definitely more productive before Smart Phones!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Iwanna Wednesday - All Things Bright and Beautiful!

I am obsessed lately with anything India. It all started with a bedspread my daughter April gave me that's silky and has bright colors, orange, pink, green, blue and yellow, mainly orange though, that's the dominant color. When I see it, it makes me happy. So even though I think that I should have an adult bedroom with bedding that's brownish, beigish, tan-ish, greenish...Iwanna bedroom with bright beautiful colors.

My bedspread alas has seen better days, and even though I love, love, love it...it's time to start shopping for another one. And is it just me or a bedspreads, comforters and sheets outrageously priced! Yikes!

Today for Iwanna Wednesday Iwanna pick out some things for my bedroom. Now some of them I may end up with and most of them I probably won't, but that's what Iwanna Wednesday is for, a day I can Iwanna anything I want, but that doesn't mean that I will be buying them.

To start with, I love ottomans, but the one I have is a drab olive green and even though I mean to re-do it someday, wouldn't it be nice to just have something new? Something bright and beautiful? Something like this...

This is exactly what I mean when I speak about being obsessed with the colors of India! Isn't this gorgeous? Not only do I love the colors, but I love the style, the way the ends curve and the see-throughness of the legs! This little beauty came from India By Design and is made out of recycled materials.

Also from that same website is this beautiful lamp made using a wire hanger and Indian Bangle Bracelets. I have tons of Indian Bangle Bracelets and I love them. The lamp might not provide a lot of light, but it's beautiful just as a display of art, don't you think?

So if I had that beautiful bench above, I would want to place it at the end of my bed and wouldn't it just look perfect if I were to get this bedding? What do you think? Too much? Hmmm, I don't know, I'm kinda loving it myself! This beautiful bedding is believe it or not from walmart.com

Now what Iwanna is some curtains. In my bedroom I have a beautiful bay window and a huge sliding glass door so curtains really make the room since most of the room will be curtains. And in keeping with the India theme, how about curtains made from Saris? I swooned when I saw these! They would bring out the blue in the bedding don't you think? These are from Indian Selections.com.

And I was thinking since I now have a beautiful place to sit at the end of a beautiful, colorful bed with gorgeous windows and the glow of the light through those colorful bangle bracelets what else could Iwanna except for a beautiful Sari to wrap myself in, but then I watched this video of how to wrap the Sari and while it's mesmerizing to watch how they wrap it, I just don't think that I can do it.


So maybe just a nice kaftan instead? Something colorful and comfortable like this?

And lest you think that Alicia has finally gone off her rocker or is losing it in her old age (since my last post was about all my gray hair), I think it's just that I've gotten to that point in life like the little old lady that shall wear purple.

When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and bear nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
when suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
So that's what I'm doing, I'm just practicing just a little bit now, before I grow old...so I don't shock anyone. What about you? What's your dream bedroom like and has it changed as you've gotten older?


Monday, October 22, 2012

Island Pork Tenderloin Dinner

 love pork tenderloin, but honestly had not made it since the 1990's when I was married. My daughter found this recipe and emailed it me asking me to "pretty please" make it for Sunday dinner. So I read it and thought, "Hmmmmm, this sounds weird." But I bought a pork tenderloin and put it in the freezer and forgot about it for a couple of weeks. This Sunday I decided to give it a try.

Doesn't that look delicious? First let me say that I used a cast iron skillet. I love cast iron skillets and I remember all my tias (aunts) cooking with them, but myself had never really used one. It just made me feel like I was channeling all the wonderful cooking skills of all my tias, even though I'm sure not a one of them had ever used a cookbook, let alone recipes from the internet!
This recipe was adapted from Gourmet Cookbook and my daughter found it at Little B Cooks: Chronicles from a Vermont Foodie. It's super easy and if you read it you might just wonder how these different ingredients could go together as they don't really seem to make much sense, but ohmygosh!!!
The only change I made from Little B's recipe is that I used Cayenne Pepper instead of plain ole chili powder cause we didn't have chili powder. I'm glad I did because it gave the the dish a great little spicy kick!
I think though that using the Cayenne made for a little bit of drama in my kitchen because you take salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and the cayenne and stir it all together for a dry rub. Then after you get all up-close and personal with your pork loin you braise it in your skillet with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). This process created an aroma that I didn't personally like although my son and daughter did. This process also created some smoke that had all of us coughing! My mom coughed so bad she had to step outside for fresh air! So be sure to turn the fan on over your stove. You have been warned!
Once you've braised it on the stove then you stick it....cast iron pan and all into the oven. Once it's done you take it out, cover it lightly with foil so all the juices can soak back in and slice and serve. Delicious. I didn't think about it at the time, but there were some delicious drippings left in the pan which I should have pour over the top, but still great even without! We had mashed potatoes and green beans as side dishes. I'm planning to make pork loin sandwiches with coleslaw with the leftovers...if they make it through the night!
For Spice Rub:
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lbs total) trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
For Glaze:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp Tabasco
Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork. Heat oil in ovenproof 12 inch heavy skillet (or a cast iron skillet if you are fortunate enough to have one) over medium high heat. Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove from heat, but leave pork in skillet.
Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl. Pat the mixture on top of the pork. Place skillet in the over at 350. Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes (I didn't have a thermometer so I just left it in the oven for 30 minutes to be safe and it was perfect!). Loosely cover with foil and let stand in skillet for 10 minutes then slice and get ready to be delighted!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gray Hair and Wisdom

"A little gray hair is a small price to pay for all this accumulated wisdom." Anonymous

Lately I've noticed a touch of gray hair at my temple...oh c'mon, who am I kidding! I've been fighting gray hair for the past ten years. Sometimes I think it's because I've been coloring my hair ever since I was in high school.

In this picture for instance you can see my natural hair color in the picture on the left, it's kind of a medium dark brown. I used to color my hair Auburn in high school, as you can see in the picture on the right. I don't know why I did that because out in the sun the color was more circus clown orange than Auburn. But I've been a redhead, a medium blond, had streaks and once even dyed my hair Cher black (that was not a good look for me!)
To be honest the gray in my hair doesn't really bother me, other than having to color it more often. But I am a little upset in the way my gray is coming in. I would love for it to be salt and peppery like Jamie Lee Curtis' hair. That would be cool.
But unfortunately my gray is more Cruella Deville-ish. Well not exactly like hers as mine isn't one side gray and one side black, more like the hair at the crown and temples is all gray for about an inch and then it's my natural color.  It seems odd to me that only that one inch grows gray...does it automatically then turn brown once it gets past an inch? How is that even possible? Weird right?!
Anyway, my reason for pondering gray hair this morning is that the other day I was wondering what my kids thought when they first noticed I had gray hair. I wondered because I remember the first time I saw my dad with gray hair.
He was sitting at the kitchen table in his chair, the chair that we could all sit in when he wasn't around but the instant he walked into the kitchen, everyone jumped up to give him his chair. I remember turning around and the sun hit his hair just right and all of a sudden I noticed that he was gray. I'd never noticed that before!
All of a sudden I realized that my dad, my rock in life, the only man I could ever count on, was getting older. I realized that one day he wouldn't be there, in that chair anymore for any of us. He wouldn't be there to call on when I had a flat tire or I needed a bulb changed in a tail light. He wouldn't be there to BBQ for us all anymore.
Well...lest you think this is a sad story, let me tell you that I first noticed that gray hair on his head in 1995 and he's still with us today. The photo above was taken on his birthday in May of this year and he's still got that gray hair and he's still with us, and though he complains of aches and pains, I know that he loves life and he loves his children and grandchildren. I had dinner with him, my sister and his grandson Isaac on Wednesday of this week and as I was driving him to the restaurant I was telling him about an electrical problem I think I am having with my car and again he gave me advice on how to tell what is wrong with it. My dad, my rock, my mechanic...he's still got it!
I wonder if my kids think anything when they see my gray. Does it worry them, scare them? Who knows. I know I never told my dad of my fears that I wouldn't always have him around forever.
"When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars,
 and he will make the face of Heaven so fine
 that all the world will be in love with night
and pay no worship to the garish sun."
Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Albondigas and Corndogs, What a Combo!

I can already feel the stress and tension leaving my body and my mind. For the past four months my co-worker has been out on maternity leave. This left me alone with all my work and most of hers and even worse...without her company and conversation. We're a two person office so when one of us isn't there it really makes a difference.

But Monday will be her first day back and while I know that she's going to be distraught having to leave her baby daughter with her mom the whole day, I really have missed her and am happier than a pig in slop to have her back!

I think that's why today for the first time in four months I felt almost festive! I put up my small collection of Halloween and Fall decorations. Then I even decided to try a few of the 2,000,000 recipes that I have pinned on Pinterest.

For lunch I made two-year old food. No! Not food that was two years old!! I mean food that a two year old would like.  See, I have a few finicky eaters in my family. The most important one my mom. She's very thin and she doesn't have a very good appetite, so I'm always trying to find interesting, yummy things for her to eat. Today I made Mini Muffin Pan Corn Dogs.

For Halloween, you could make these for your kiddies and call them Corn Dog Eyes!

Aren't these little guys adorable? And so easy to make. I got the idea from Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman. Her corn muffins are of course made from-scratch muffin mix and mine are made with a boxed mix, but other than that they are exactly like hers. Although hers look much better! I believe it's because she pushed the hot dogs down deeper into the muffin tin than I did. Next time I make them I will try that. Let me tell you though, if you are a corn dog lover, you will love these! They taste just like a fast-food corn dog, but not greasy! Needless to say my finicky mom gave them two thumbs up!

Then for dinner I got inspired by another recipe I'd pinned on Pinterest, a recipe for Albondigas. Albondigas are a Mexican meatball soup. My mom has made Albondigas for us since we were all little kids. She makes a big pot of rice with spices and tomato sauce and then tosses the meatballs in there...her version of Albondigas. But everyone has always told me that true Albondigas have veggies in them, so I tried a Veggies version today.

Let me tell you, they were delicious! The original version came from allrecipes.com. I tweaked their version just a little bit because theirs called for beef bouillon and I had none so I used low-sodium chicken broth instead. Theirs had a jar of salsa, but I used a can of tomato sauce instead (I know my people and they won't each anything that has green and red things floating in it). And I seasoned both the soup and the meatballs with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Did I tell you it was delicious? Oh yeah, I think I did but I must say it again! It was delicious, definitely a dish I will make again and again!

So today was a good day and hopefully things will get back to normal at work and I can have my life back again so I can blog and cook and blog about what I cook...lucky you! I've missed you guys!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Anyone having problems with comments on blogger?

I have tried to reply to some of the comments left on my blog as I usually do. But when I click reply I get nothing! Won't let me post a comment, nothing. And I notice no comments on my most recent post, not that it's so interesting that everyone runs to read my blog, but I do have my faithful readers that comment whether the post was good or not. Thank you to those faithful ones, by the way. So anyone else having problems? Are you having problems commenting on my blog? If so, please shoot me an email at calangel58@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What's the Rule for That?

Today I had to run errands at lunch. Don't you love that? Using your much deserved lunch break to take care of real life! And even though we are in October it's 97 degrees out there!

So I thought to myself, "Self...you deserve a treat! Go and get yourself a $10 Salad, you deserve it!" I have to admit, I'm pretty generous with myself.

So I headed over to Sub Station, my favorite sandwich shop. They sell the best sub-sandwiches, but they also have the cleanest, freshest, crispiest salad bar in the world! A large to-go salad with a small drink comes to $10.05 and that's why I call it the $10 salad.

As I was walking up to the door there was a gentleman ahead of me. We
both got to the door at the same time and he of course held it open for me and said, "Here, let me get that." Or maybe it was, "Here you go", or "Woman, get your butt in here cause it's hot and I'm hungry." Whatever it was, he was nice enough to hold the door for me. I thanked him graciously.

Now, here's the dilemma. I walked in first, and of course there is a line. Do I then offer him to go first as obviously if he had not held the door and let me go in first he would have been ahead of me. Do I go ahead and just assume because I'm a woman and he's a chivalrous man that he would just expect me to go ahead of him? Do I offer him to go ahead of me? Ack!!! What to do, what to do!

I had to make a spur of the moment decision so I just went ahead of him and didn't offer to let him go first. Now my heart is heavy and I feel like I did the wrong thing and I can't eat my salad...well I can't eat it as quickly because I am typing and sharing this story with you. But anyway...what say you? What should I have done? What would you do in a situation like that?