Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Am I coming or going?

Hi y’all. Yes, I know I’ve not checked in for a while, but it’s been kind of nuts around here. You know – when it rains it pours. But hey, I’m gainfully employed, healthy, the dogs are fed, and the lavender is growing, and the creek's not rising. I can’t complain.

While I was away two wonderful things happened! First, my fellow Texan new blogging buddy Buffie sent this award over to me! I have really enjoyed checking in with Buffie, she always makes me smile when I read her posts (most of the time she actually cracks me up and has me rolling in the floor). Thank you, Buffie!

Along with this award comes the following questions:

Do you have the same friends since childhood? I sure do! I mention these girlfriends all the time. In fact, you can click my ‘girlfriends’ label and read about them. Paige and I became friends when I was in 2nd grade and she was in 3rd grade – She’s A LOT older than me! Lisa and I sat next to each other in the 3rd grade and we haven’t shut up since… Sami and I became friends when she moved back to our home town in 6th grade. Kimberly now lives 20 minutes from me, and we’ve been friends since 7th grade. I also have a very special friend, Dara – she’s been my friend since 3rd grade. She is actually in my soul, difficult to explain, but I will someday.

What do you value most about your friends? Well, if you’re referring to my childhood friends, it has to be the fact that it’s just so darn EASY to be their friend. They know and understand everything about me. Literally everything. We can tell stories without having to explain all the background, we can laugh at and with each other, and we all know where each of our quirks come from and why we are the way we are. After all, we've been together since we were babies. These girls mean the world to me; I can’t imagine life without them. They’re my sisters and I love them.

Are your friends sounding boards? Oh yes. Very much so....

What is your favorite activity to share with friends? Rock climbing, hiking, jogging…. I’m totally kidding y’all! If you know my friends and me, you know it’s the polar opposite. I love being with my friends at my house or their house where we can kick back, be comfortable, enjoy some great wine, good laughs, great food, and good stories.

My other new blogging friend, Connie sent me this award, the BFF (Blogging Friends Forever) gold card. How sweet was that? I guess I should be absent from blogging more often... See what all happens while you're away? Connie is living a great life - oh, and she's turning 50! Go check her out! Thank you , Connie – you make blogging great fun and it’s people like you that make me want to keep on doing it!

Now I’m supposed to tag some people for this award, so I’m sending both awards to:
1. Tina over at Am I Crazy, Really? I’ve known her a long, long time. She’s super sweet, funny, and has the best stories ever! Her boys are precious (even when throwing rocks) and are they ever some great producers of good stories for their mama.
2. I have to send this to Painted Groove Girl – she just happens to be one of those childhood friends of mine. I also know that she’s probably going to be mad that I’m sending this to her….. Let’s see if she responds!
3. Teresa over at Living the Life. She does have a wonderful life! She has a wonderful husband, a beautiful family, and just a sweet, sweet heart.
4. My World and Welcome To It Now Theresa isn’t a big fan of being tagged, so I’m going to award her the BFF Gold Card because she deserves it – but, if she wants to play along on the other one, she’s more than welcome to ….

Okay – I’m going to stop there because most of my blogging buddies have already received these awards. Regardless, I’m honored and thanks again Buffie and Connie!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Dog's Life At Hummingbird Farms

Go outside every morning and play and play and play and...

..... find a mud hole. Come inside and get bathed and beg, and beg, and.....

.... beg for a treat. And then go outside and play, and play and.....

..... and play, and find a mud hole.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Was in Red High Heels And Bullet Proof

I know I told y’all here that this was the first and last time I would talk about being a breast cancer survivor; but I have been lingering all day on thoughts I’ve had after a phone conversation this morning with Paige. She called to ask my advice about something - her sister was concerned about a friend who will be undergoing a double mastectomy next week. She wanted to know if I had any suggestions on what her sister could do for her friend. Since the call this morning, I can’t quit thinking about my own experience of having a double mastectomy.

There is so much irony in my phone call with Paige this morning. It dawned on me after I hung up the phone that my diagnosis came exactly 5 years ago to THE DAY. It was October 9th, 2003 when I got the phone call from my doctor with the dreaded news of the ‘C’ word. Interesting how Paige happened to call me on the anniversary of this day (and in fact at about the same exact time that my doctor called me with the diagnosis) to tell me about a young 35-year-old mom who will be having a double mastectomy. The other irony, of course, is that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Perhaps that’s another reason I keep re-living 5 years ago.

As my mind wandered, literally all day, about my own experience and the experience this young woman will encounter next week, I suddenly remembered my red high heels. I have not even thought about those shoes in almost 5 years; and I probably never would have if Paige hadn’t called on this particular day which caused me to go way back in my memory bank. A bank that I’ve been trying to make myself believe is now closed. Anyway, here’s the story:

It was two months after my diagnosis when I had the double mastectomy. There were many, many trips back and forth to Dallas as Jack and I talked to doctor after doctor about my options and my future. When I finally decided the treatment option that was best for me, I braced myself for surgery, which would take place on December 7th, 2003. It was my Pearl Harbor Day.

Now I’m going to tell y’all the unspoken words about what happens after a mastectomy. Outside of support groups and private discussions with your doctor, no one really discusses this. So – brace yourself, it’s not a pretty picture. After a mastectomy drain tubes hang out of your new flat chest in order to drain all the fluid coming out of what was once a nicely packaged set of boobs in cute little lacey bras. I literally felt like an alien-being with tubes coming out of my body. And then, to make myself feel even more like a science project, my husband got to drain these tubes several times a day for almost 3 weeks. Jack really is my rock in so many ways. Looking back, it makes me smile to think about how much we actually laughed during this ordeal. Yes, draining fluid from tubes coming out of what should be a set of breasts can actually be humorous. Laughter really is a good thing, y’all. I’m just glad to be able to say that we could find some humor in a not so humorous situation. In hindsight, we were probably laughing to keep from crying. And yes, we did some crying during that time, too.

The day finally came for my first public outing, which was actually several days earlier than what I was really prepared for… My sister’s father-in-law died very unexpectedly of a heart attack. We were all shocked and very, very sad about the news. There was no way I would even consider not going to the funeral to support my brother-in-law. I had to be there, drain tubes and all….

The funeral was in Dallas, so Jack and I drove up the day before and stayed in a hotel. I guess I had a bit of a pity-party on the drive to Dallas worrying about, of all things, what I had chosen to wear to the funeral and concerned that I wouldn’t be able to camouflage the alien tubes coming out of my lovely flat chest. Jack kept reminding me that I had the perfect outfit and no one would ever know that I had drain tubes safety-pinned up underneath my blouse, nor would they know that I didn’t have boobs under my loose-fitting top. After about 2 hours of my whining and Jack encouraging me that I really did look good, he finally said, “What can I do to make you happy? Do you want some new shoes?”

See y’all – I knew why I married this man. He knows that a new pair of shoes works every time! Although I would have rather had my old boobs back, I suppose a new pair of shoes is the next best thing. So, I guess my first real public outing was the shoe department at Saks 5th Avenue in Dallas. Anyway, I found the most beautiful pair of red high heels. The shoes literally sang to me… And to be honest with you, I think they were the first and only pair of red heels I had ever owned. I don’t even know what came over me, because red heels aren’t necessarily typical of my shoe repertoire. But on that particular day those shoes needed me, and I needed them.

The next morning at the funeral I wore those red high heels. I guess I somehow subconsciously thought that people would stare at my red heels and not at my chest. Just so you know, after you have a mastectomy, everyone stares at your boobs…. I know they can’t help it, it’s only natural (I’m sure I have done the same thing), but it is very uncomfortable, especially when you’re freaking out about drain tubes possibly peaking out under your blouse – or worse, your drain tubes leaking….

Anyway, after the service I will never forget this very nice and sweet young woman (a friend of my sister’s) that came up to me and said, “I am so impressed with the fact that you are here after all that you have been through. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is just throw on those red high heels and say - Here I am!”

You know what? She was right! I was actually glad that I was standing there in red high heels; and even though the circumstance of why I had to finally get dressed up was horrible (my poor brother-in-law), it felt good to feel like a female human-being again and wear high heels. It made me feel girl-y; it made me feel feminine, which was much better than feeling like Frankenstein.

I never wore those red shoes again. I didn’t need to – I only needed them for the courage and strength on that one particular day.

With that said, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to send these red high heels to the young woman Paige told me about today who will be undergoing her mastectomy next week. I don’t know if the shoes are her size, or if she will ever wear them, but I just want her to have them for courage – And to hopefully pass them on to someone else someday that will get the dreaded news that they have breast cancer. Because you know what? Although I don’t know this young woman, and will probably never meet her, for a brief moment in time we will have walked in each other’s shoes…

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hummingbird Farms Gets Noticed!

Texas On The Plate by Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson, is hands down one of my favorite cookbooks! She has now joined forces with her photographer sister, Sandy Wilson, and compiled The Texas Hill Country: A Food & Wine Lover's Paradise.

While traveling many of the roads in this scenic area searching for food- and drink-related products, Terry and Sandy found a bounty of venues and met some wonderful proprietors along the way.

Guess who else they stumbled upon while cruising through the hill country gathering stories and taking beautiful photographs?

They found us, Hummingbird Farms! We're featured on page 87 of this beautiful collection of recipes, stories, and photographs.

And of course like any proud mother, I'm just THRILLED that two of our children, Poncho & Lefty, are included in the photo with us.

I have been a big fan of Terry Thompson-Anderson for years, and can't tell you how exciting it is for me to be included in one of her books. In The Texas Hill Country: A Food & Wine Lover's Paradise, you'll learn not only about what is produced in this region, but also about the people who produce the products.

Many of our friends are featured, including several of our neighboring lavender farms such as Darlene from Villas Texas Lavender Farm and proprietor of the Lavender Market in Fredericksburg.

Each page is filled with beautiful photographs, inspirational stories, and recipes. I just love this book, y'all!

People are becoming much more conscious about the food we eat and the products we buy, and where it all came from. Is it local or did it travel by truck or plane from thousands of miles away? This book makes it easy to make a trip to the Texas Hill Country and prepare and enjoy its bounty.

We are honored to be a part of it. Thank you, Terry and Sandy, for stumbling upon us last summer and including us in this beautiful story of the people and places in the Texas Hill Country.