Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I was warned.....

Baking at sea level is easy. No adjustments necessary. Apparently that is not true at high altitude. Angel Fire, at the village level, is 8,382 ft. The resort is 8,600 ft and the summit ( which we are close to ) is 10,677 ft. Aside from the fact that there is very little oxygen up here ( putting on your shoes causes shortness of breath and activities like mopping make you feel like dialing 911 just to borrow their oxygen tanks ) its a beautiful place to live.

I had no idea cakes had issues with altitude but a friend from Church tried to tell me they did. Cindy is a good cook and baker but she has been here 18 years. She can tell you about exploding pecan pies and flat cakes from experience but basically I ignored this information, thinking my chocolate pound cake would be different. I wanted something yummy when John came home last time and thought this cake....heavy thick batter, lots of eggs and butter....would hold its own when it came to sky-high baking.

Wrongo!!! Things started off well enough....batter looked the same, in the oven it started to rise beautifully, good crust forming....all the hallmarks of success. Cough. When I took it out at the appointed time it looked fabulous. For about 30 seconds. I stood there and watched in horror as my success deflated ( not just ego.....) like a tire with a fast leak. Within minutes what had been a lovely tunnel cake became a dense, flat, heavy crusted pancake with a hole in the center. John, to his credit, did eat it....but I was crushed. This pound cake is my "go to" cake because it never fails. Right.

Google. And a new cookbook ( seriously, just what I need, with close to 100 prior to the new one) that addressed my altitude issues. "Pie in the Sky...Successful Baking at High Altitude" is amazing. I immediately had to try again and this time no cake crash. Yayyyyyyy.

For the next three weeks, till my love comes back, I will be baking. I plan to take goodies to Church for taste testing because I dont want to look like the Goodyear blimp when John returns. Unfortunately people dont deflate at this altitude, only baked goods.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My how things have changed

Last Saturday was the 39th anniversary of giving birth to Tessa. The oldest child and the one ( in years past ) who was the most challenging.

Her birth is not one I would recommend, although it no longer happens this way. Tessa was born at TMAC....Tripler Army Medical Center. In those days it was called "Crippler" and not Tripler and for good reason.

I waited until I had been in labor for 5 hours.....pre-eclampsia and all. By the time I got to the hospital I was 5 cm dialated and was put in a room with 3 other laboring women. All screaming, moaning and otherwise being loud. Fathers were allowed short ( 2-3 minutes) visits. Eventually all the other women left to deliver. And eventually so did I.

They strapped my arms down and my legs. They had ( eventually ) given me a "para-cervical block"...administered when I was 8 cm with an 8 inch long needle. Meaning I had no clue when to push....and this at the tender age of 18.

When Tessa was born she did not breathe. I worked one hand out of the restraints and was working on the other hand when she screamed. Thank God.

My mom was waiting outside delivery and was the first in the family to hold her...wrapped in an Army OD green blanket and wailing. Blonde ( read almost bald except in bright sunlight when you could see her hair ) and blue eyed and gorgeous. I was thrilled.

Still am, although I must admit I am happy none of the other kids were born at Army hospitals.
Thank you Lord for our oldest....she ROCKS!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


That pretty much says it all.
Have a blessed Easter, knowing Jesus died for your sins and that you are FORGIVEN!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter is not about a rabbit

When did we lose the meaning of Easter? When did it become focused on a rabbit bearing chocolate eggs? Or new clothes? Or the big family dinner? Yes, I know historically the eggs do stand for something but even that is lost, isnt it?

For those who do not believe in the Resurrection of Christ, let us ponder for a moment, mathmatically, the probability of Him being the Messiah. If I want to send you a letter, no matter where in the world you are, I can do so (with a few exceptions). I need to know your name, your street address, your city, your state or provence, your country and its numerical code. With those 5 pieces of information I can find you. If you are living in the bush somewhere it may take longer and come by general delivery but you will eventually get the letter.

Jesus fulfilled 57 Old Testament prophesys. 57. Not 5. The circumstances of his birth, his lineage, his virginal mother, even the manner of his sacrificial death and resurrection. What are the chances of a mistake? Zero. To exactly match all the information given over hundreds of years and think there might have been a mistake is simply not rational. Jesus IS the Messiah. Period.

My heart goes back to Advent...when God incarnate lay swaddled in an animal feed box. How He humbled himself for us. Born to die for us, His life a gift we have never deserved. Love in measure we cannot even comprehend. Loving us even while we crucified Him.

And dont we still put Him there on that across daily? I do. With our failure to walk with Him, talk with Him, live the life He wants for us? Locking and blocking the summons of the Spirit when it calls so we can "control" our own lives. A thousand ways to NOT hear Him. For me its hardest to "be still" in the heart, mind and spirit.

I am awed and grateful for what He gave and continues to give.
Thank you Lord, for the gift of my salvation.
Blessed be God Forever.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring fever...or not

This seasonal thing is new to me. Hawaii has no real seasons....unless you count hurricane season, June through November. I am not sure what spring fever is but if it includes washing windows and scrubbing walls, I know I dont have it.

It's not like I dont ever clean : I do. I would not, however, put a crawling baby down on my floors most days. There are muddy paw prints. There are dust bunnies and fur balls breeding under most of the furniture and they dont really make for a nutritous addition to the diet. (My Mom, God rest her sweet soul, used to say that a child needed to eat 7 lbs - give or take - of dirt to grow up "normal" and while my kids definately got their fair share while growing, precious little came off the floor. The jury is still out on the "normal" part).

That being said, I do keep the toilets scrubbed, dishes done, wash folded and clutter picked up. I just cant imagine being excited enough about tubs or toilets or wall washing (much less blogging how-to instructions on the subject) to call it a fever. Ever.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring in the Southern Rockies

Spring is still trying to arrive. Buds are budding and birds that migrated are back ( and probably wish they weren't ) and the fauna is stirring. And night before last we had snow again. The snow that comes now is really a blessing...moisture in an area that is a fire waiting to happen. It melts quickly....of course not quickly enough that the poms dont still come in covered in mud...and the temp rises and "voila" its dust. Also, now that its spring, we have wind. I dont as a rule mind wind, having lived with the Trade Winds for 40+ years, but this wind carries a little ( very,very little ) gift.

Dust. Dust that is the consistancy of talcum powder, so thick it blankets the view of the mountains and shimmers inside the house like falling gold. Gold it aint. Its a pain in the .... Dust Monday morning and by the afternoon there is a layer on everything. Sigh. Like I ever did dusting with any enthusiam anyway??? Um no. Bigger sigh.

The fauna is now in the process of crossing every road they can find. Don't ask my why....but they all seem to want to cross the road and it is not proverbial. They get hit by cars. Its one thing to see ( as I did regularly in Hawaii ) a small bird get windshielded but a deer? And one hit repeatedly? Wow. All I can say is that here you best focus and pay attention while driving.

May I also just mention that allergy season is a bit different here ? Imagine, if you will, diving face first, eyes open, into a sand box while ants climb up your nose. Waking with eyes crusted in salt and a nose that wont stop running. And the sneezing doesnt stop either. I am pretty sure I like winter better.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Spring.....and then it's not : (

By yesterday all but the barest drabs of snow were gone and the temps were in the high 50's, low 60's. Sunny and beautiful. The mud was limited to the places where the snow drifts had been deepest and John got to take his new toy out to play. We got an ATV (used ) with shovel and winch. You can hear that sucker coming a longggg way away. That might be a good thing since it gives our fauna a chance to leave and quite frankly I dont want to meet an elk or bear who is seriously hungry on a vehicle that has no sides or top. Call me crazy. Today we woke to a sullen sky and snow. Wet, sloppy, drippy ( temps just over freezing ..35ish ) and melting almost immediately. Almost. Ok, not really. But melted enough for the poms to get muddy. The lilacs we planted in the fall seem to have survived. Tiny little barkish buds have appeared on the tips of all of them. Wonder of wonders...miracle of miracles ( dancing around the loft ) as I expected them all to die and they did not. We could not grow lilacs in Hawaii since we have no freeze time and they are probably my favorite of all flowers. Yay. Except for the continuing snow. It is pretty but I am so over it for the year....come on SPRING !!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Drowning in words

There are times in this life when so many things are going on, that words themselves threaten to become a torrent, unstoppable, ready to sweep you away if you let them loose. Silence is the better choice...if only I could always ( well , not always, just mostly ) choose that. I don't. This Lenten season is not easy...all I can do is pray.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our Bicentenial Baby

My children's birthdays are always so special in my mind and heart and this is one of those days. Tia was our first Lamaze baby and practice was the name of the game..for weeks on end, every single night with very few exceptions. Back in the day the idea was for the husband to inflict enough pain ( there are pressure points that accomplish this quite nicely without leaving marks ) to simulate labor. There were several types of breathing to be used in the different stages of labor and since the first labor was uneducated and not alot of fun, I was game to try a different strategy. Very late on the evening of April 4th I started having contractions. We lived in Wahiawa at the time and Noni and Nono had to drive from Mililani to pick up Tessa. By the time they got to our house the contractions were bad enough that I remember thinking..." if it gets worse than this I'm gonna need to change breathing.." We were supposed to drive from Wahiawa to Kahuku...a hospital that allowed "rooming in" with the baby...something very controversial in those days....and a good hour plus in the car. Um no. I got to the front porch and baby crowned. John says " you can make it to Kahuku...just blow". Um seriously NO. Wahiawa General Hospital was 5 minutes from the house and thats where we went. No doctor actually awake and on duty but the nurse got her gloves on and woosh, like a creature from the deep, bursting into the air, Tia was born. John's immediate response was to look lovingly at me and say " we have to do this again ". I could cheerfully have choked him at that moment. The doctor did eventually wake up and show up to stitch me up...apparently wooshing isnt the most intelligent way to push a baby out....and then issued dire warnings about leaving the hospital. There was no rooming in and I was determined to have my baby with me so we went home. Poor Noni came to the hospital looking for us and we had already left.... Those times are etched forever in the heart of every mother so we celebrate not only the person that child has become but also and always, the moment we one became two. Thank you Lord for sharing this child with us and bless her, now and always.