Jumbot

My Mother-in-Law, when my kids were little was Sicilian.  She taught me so many tricks to feed a family of six and sometimes more on a tight budget.

Pasta was the mainstay of almost every meal, but sometimes we had to switch it up.

The kids called it JimBob- after our late Labrador Retriever that lived to be 16.  (I know, twisted sense of humor)

jumbot

One thing that is so awesome about cooking Sicilian, is you can change up the ingredients.

When the kids were little, we used sliced  hot dogs for the meat.  This version I am using Turkey Sausage.

Jumbot

Enjoy!

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True Friends

 

I hung out with my bestie this weekend-you know the one, Sasy.

Her and her man had a lovely time at the nearby Casino.

We totally need to go- we would kick some BFF  Casino ass!

The same weekend, her daughter turned 21, so,  her gift  was the “gramma takes the kids so momma can get her party on’. present.

In between all of that, she picks me up and takes me to my job that is outside the bus range.  Now, she lives about 20 minutes away from me, and my job was another 20 minutes in the opposite direction.

best friends 3

After work, Sasy picks me up and we go to the cell phone store so she can do an upgrade.  Well, they have this awesome deal, if you add a line you can get a free phone and the second line is dirt cheap.

She immediately asks me if I need a phone, knowing full well my situation.  So, here we are, grandkids and me at the phone store.

I can’t accept the phone.

Is it pride?

Is it, obligation?

 

Or is it because, I don’t know how to accept gifts and I don’t know  what true friendship  love really means.

Yes, I have friends.  Not very many.  But the ones I have had, I have had for life.

best friends title 2

My childhood friend from grade school, since we were 7 and we lived on the same block.

She taught me how to dance to Barry Manilow.

My other  bestie that I’ve known since Junior High. We experienced life  together the only way 13 year olds know how.

Yes, and I have had friends here and there, and they come and go.

best friends 4

My 23 year old Elfin Girl, that dyes her hair purple and yet, she is an old soul….and I love her

I still have far away friends that I keep close to my heart.  And they are still part of my life.

But, those rare friends, that stick to you…..

And if you are fortunate enough, you know what I am talking about.

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Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

Okay, so, Sasy and I are kindred spirits.  WE KNOW EACH OTHER.  Like it was meant to be.

I was meant to have this great opportunity to know what true friendship love really means.

When we were at the store, she insisted on getting the phone for me, and matching phone covers too,  and I am like, ‘but we’ve only been dating for 2 months.” My sarcastic sense of humor…..

b friends

I have never been very good at accepting love, or gifts.

Whether it is a sisterhood, a best friend, or that of a  true lover.

But, today, I am learning.

 

 

I am so grateful for the love that is opening up for me in all shapes and forms.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

 

Central Meadowbrook

 

 

I really am fortunate to be where I am right now you know.  My mind is NOT filled with the busy-ness of the rat race and the matrix of society.

I am so grateful the experiences that I have- I get to see so many things.  I have seen the worst in humanity and I have seen the best.

my sunset

I live in an area, the town Mayor or some city official decided to call Central Meadowbrook.  It’s in the eastern central part of town.

 

In a low income apartment building, with the faint smells of the overflowing dumpster behind us and the sewer line that seems to keep plugging up.  I take a small trash bag with me whenever I take the little ones for their walk and pick up as I go along.

overflow

My babes haven’t been to the groomer in a very long time; they are looking a little shaggy, but Olive wouldn’t have it any other way.

olive 2

I have learned to use natural remedies to keep the fleas at bay, and they actually welcome being sprayed down.  It soothes their skin.

I have made best friends in a very short amount of time.  We are a village-we take care of each other and share what we got.

share

 

The Spur always takes me to a new adventure.

I am seeing so many things and meeting so many people.

 

I know I will have to go back to work the 8-5 – and when I do, I hope I don’t forget how to really live.

 

For those that read my stories, Thank you.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

Elizabeth Joy

 

 

I was feeling off when I got up this morning.  I woke up at 5 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep.  It was still dark outside, so I did an early morning meditation in hopes to re-ground myself.

pups

When it was light enough out, I took the furry ones for their walk and continued to make coffee and get dressed so I could make my bus by 8:20.

It was threatening rain, so I grabbed my rain jacket, my lunch( I made extra for those that I would be sharing with), my tea and my bag with all of my other goodies that I carry with me.

spur bus

The bus driver got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and decided to take it out on my knee.  As I was looking for a place to sit, she punched the gas pedal and I fell into the metal frame around the seat.  Ouch….

At my transfer, I asked the next bus driver if she could tell me when we would be at the number 4 transfer so I could make it to my doctor’s appointment; she gave me a blank stare.  I sighed…climbed on the bus and hoped maybe I would see it.

When I realized I had gone too far, I felt that uneasy feeling climb up my insides.  Yep, I was going to miss my appointment.

smoking

I got off the bus, and asked a gentleman for a smoke and that is when the tears fell from my eyes.  I sat there for a minute, regrouped, called to let the medical office know I wouldn’t be there, she was very nice and rescheduled for me.  Since this was my last bus pass until I get paid, I would have to wait until next week.

I decided to go ahead and get my lab work taken care of at the clinic I was at and continue on to see my new friend at the Goodwill to see about job offers.

She wanted me to go back that afternoon to talk to another lady about an office position, so I agreed and then decided to go to my favorite water gardens to eat my lunch(literally) and maybe some fresh air would do me some good.

I took some more pictures and found a nice serene spot that was cool and peaceful.  I closed my eyes and let the wind wash away my irksome morning.

reflections

When I was finished eating, I headed back to the bus station and sitting on the ledge was a lovely young lady playing the violin.  The sounds of the bow caressing the treble strings flowed through my soul and I had to sit and listen as the calm washed over me.

violin case

I dug through my wallet only to find enough change that equaled maybe 50 cents.  I put them in her case with the rest of the change.  She stopped playing, stood up, faced me and belted the most beautiful song A Capella.  The tears streamed down my face as her expression filled my very being.

When she was finished, she gave me a hug and said “Everything is going to be alright, you are a strong woman”

I smiled and asked for her name.  Elizabeth Joy.

I wish I knew the song…….

I went back to the bus depot and as I was waiting, there was a car parked across the street with the words ‘Hope’ on the side of it.

hope

I went back to Goodwill with a smile on my face and a knowing-

Everything IS going to be alright.

And I did share my lunch with the young lady that is going to classes to get her G.E.D.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

Saving my Pennies

Never spend your money before you have earned it.

Thomas Jefferson

 

One of the greatest things about my blog is that I get to share stuff that I happen to come across, and as you know, I love to share!

my samples

Since I am living in my new environment, I am constantly finding ways to save a buck or two or even find freebies.

Especially free samples.

There are quite a few beauty and bath products that I haven’t purchased in a very long time-I use samples.  AND they are great for when I stay over at my bestie’s for the weekend.

penny heart

Here are just a few freebie sites I use

 

http://www.mysavings.com/free-samples

This one has everything from free audiobook downloads to Starbucks BOGO iced Macchiato’s.   The site has samples, coupons, freebies and deals.   It has lots of ads for other sites to check out for your other favorite deals and freebies.

 

Getitfree.us

Has tons of links for free stuff.  I got a cute elephant and turquoise good luck bracelet and I only needed to pay for shipping.  Or how about this unicorn coffee mug, to make each and every morning magical!

 

http://www.freeflys.com

This one has links to specific company websites and you can sign up and get your free stuff and discounts!

 

Beauty Products?

I just signed up for a free sample of Hydra Genius Liquid Care Moisturizer at

http://www.lorealparisusa.com

loreal

 

target.com/beautybox

It isn’t free, but you can get mini sizes of products for about $7.00.

target beauty box

 

And of course, Walmart has a beauty box and it is always a flat fee of $5.00.

You can check it out at walmart.com/beautybox.

walmart beauty box

 

 

 

 

There is always a birthday lurking around every corner, so I found this site:

 

www.heyitsfree.net/birthday-freebies

 

 

birthday cake Someone actually took the time to make a complete listing of every possible freebie you can think of for your special day.

 

 

There are many more.  And one thing that is so great about this is one website will lead you to another and pretty soon your mailbox will be celebrating freebie day on the regular!

mailbox

 

Now, I must warn you, will need to sign up for their emailing list- if you don’t have one already, it is very simple and FREE to have that Spam account to use for the bulk email lists.

 

If you have your favorite freebie sample website please share in the comments!

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

The Spur

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

 

I was waiting for my bus Sunday morning to go my little job.  I am finally getting more weekends-yay!

e. lan

There was a gentleman talking with another and in the distance I could hear the beautiful chimes of a nearby Church; just loud enough to drown out the sounds of the cars and voices that were happening around me.  I closed my eyes for a brief moment to let the countenance of the nearby Sanctuary wash over me.

love

 

When I opened my eyes, my attention drew nearer to the man standing by the bus stop bench preaching to the other sir.  I agreed with what he was saying; because, after all, it is what we have conviction for is what defines our Faith.

spur

We climb onto the Spur and venture on our way to our destinations.  The bus was getting pretty full, so I shared my seat with a young man in his 30’s dressed in a very nice suit, wearing a handsome tie, with the poignant tie tack so strategically and properly placed.

We travel through the area of divergence, and I notice a fellow fixing himself up on the curbside, just so he can get through another day.

My mind wanders off deep in thought of things I no longer remember, and this dear old man, my guess in his late 80’s dressed in a suit- I would assume he was of Scotch-Irish decent by the fading red hair.  He wore his Crucifix, St. Christopher pendant and another that I couldn’t quite recognize with his Rosary Beads firmly gripped in his fingertips.   He carefully placed a newspaper down on the seat and chanted the Mantra of the Catholic.

church downtown

My mind focused on this gentleman, completely out of place and I wondered why he had no family to take him to the dated Cathedral downtown.

 

 

As I arrived at my place of employment, I smiled within myself.  Even with all the dissemblance happening in the world, we still have a chance of coming together under the Grace of Divine Spirit.

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

My Day in the Park

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.

Gertrude Jekyll

 

I was trying to budget bus fare and schedule 2 appointments in one day.  I packed a lunch and filled my PowerAde bottle with my raspberry tea.  I left my apartment with plenty of time to make both.

 

 

At one of the stops, this mom with her 2 year old and baby in a stroller hopped on and the 2 year old was giving mom fits.  She set the car seat down without strapping in the baby and gave the wriggly boy a Dr. Pepper in hopes of distracting him.

tantrum

Knowing how bumpy the bus ride can be, all I could see was this baby seat flying across the bus.  I offered my assistance to hold the infant carrier in place as she struggled to keep little Mason seated.  I offered up my crackers and he obliged.  At one point, I am holding the baby seat from tipping and Mason in my lap.  I remembered a time, when my son was about that age and didn’t react very well to sugar or red food dye, so I offered up my knowledge of cutting out these things for this sweet boy.

sitting cafe

I managed to miss my transfer stop and ended up downtown.  There was certainly not enough time to back track to make my first appointment and have ample time to make it to my second. So, I sat at the Subway near the station and bought a $1.40 bag of Baked Lays- BBQ, because those are my favorite.  I found an empty table, ate my PBJ sandwich and chips and sipped on my tea.  I noticed the local Molly Trolley drive by, so when I was finished eating, I hopped on the free bus with no destination in mind and rode around downtown until she mentioned the Water Gardens.

molley

I climbed off the Trolley and walked across the street and ventured into the majestic water displays.

Everywhere there was a pool of water, there were locals bathing and cooling off in the aquatic alcoves.  It is summer time in Texas.  It’s hot….

There was one gentleman looking pretty hungry so I offered him the rest of my tea.

I strolled around and breathed in this lovely sanctuary and after a bit, I regretted giving away my drink.

After I was finished, I walked back to the transfer station so I could catch the bus to my next destination.

I made it to my doctor’s appointment early and they took care of me right away.   I now have more appointments and have reduced bus fare.

Slowly but surely, I am getting back on my feet.   I can use these tools to help me get there.

I guess next time I venture out, I should pack 2 lunches- one for me and one for the less fortunate that I will be sharing with.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

The White Dove

 

Out of difficulties grow miracles.

Jean de la Bruyere

 

I was taking my pups for their outside adventure for the last time for the evening, as I was opening my door, the pooches started barking frantically.  I look up and there is a white dove on my balcony and he didn’t seem to mind whatsoever that there were 2 tiny dogs yelling at him.

dove 2

When we were done with our trip, I didn’t expect him to still be on my stairway.  The dove nestled himself on my neighbors cooler unit and stayed there through the night.  In the morning, I had noticed my neighbor giving him some water.

I could see the twinkle in my neighbor’s eyes as he knew this was a message from the Divine.  He shared with me he had lost his mother and brother as well.  Even their ages were the same.  I also met my neighbor down the hall.  She is a nurse and has lived in this building for 5 years.

dove 5

My son came to visit, and was also touched by our visitor.  He took beautiful pictures of our special friend.

The Dove stayed for 3 days.

dove 3

In that time, he would let us get close, but not touch.  He would look into your eyes all the way to your soul.  There are no words to describe the warm comforting wisdom coming from this lovely creature.

dove1

 

The evening of the 3rd day, he was gone.

My neighbor was saddened by the Dove’s departure.  He tells me “I guess I missed my sign.”  I responded by telling him that maybe it will take a couple of days to present itself.  Or maybe, the sign was simply the gift of having a White Dove come visit us.