Category Archives: The Hen

The Great Escape

drive

A week ago I just got in the car, gassed up, and left town. I had no idea where I was going. I had no plans. I had no one telling me to stay or question my motives. But what I did have was this overwhelming and driving need for something unplanned.

So, I packed a weekend bag, finger foods, a case of water, phone charger, and a few camping supplies (just in case I decided to “rough it”). You see, I may have been on the verge of a momentary mid-life crisis, but hey – I’m not lacking in cognitive fore planning even if this was a spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants escape.

And there you have it. Me, my thoughts, and my beetle hit the road heading north. At first, I considered making the trek to the beach. Sand in my toes. Salt breeze kisses on my skin. Sun on my…”WAIT! What the hell are you thinking?! SUN? Absolutely NOT!” My recently 2nd degree blistered and burned legs screamed at me making me reconsider that weekend option and thus the idea to head north…to parts unknown.

I spent the early noonish hours traversing ‘cross the Georgian countryside. Look at a Georgia map and you’ll get the feeling that moonshine had a lot to do with off the beaten trail routes ’cause not a single road leads straight any place. Needless to say, the drive was peaceful, serene, and as I took in the landscape and scenery, my thoughts bounced from this, that, and the other. I still had no idea where I was headed. I just knew that I wasn’t really in a city mood and since my legs strongly opposed the sunny beach idea, I figured I’d just continue driving until I ended up some place interesting. Interesting, hu? The irony is finally setting my sights on Bristol, TN for a surprise visit to my sister (less than 2 hours away) only to find that she was literally moving back to Florida that same night. Haha! No joking. True story. You see – that little asshole, Murphy and I have been at odds for years and whenever he feels neglected, this is the shit he pulls. Well, Murphy – I’ve got news for you. Sister or no, I’m not turning around. And I didn’t. And Murphy got left in my beetle dust.

My final destination? I ended up in The Great Smokey Mountains. The drive was insane but the sights were beyond beautiful. I needed this drive. I needed to feel free and to sort things out in my head. I needed to recognize that there’s still so much out there that I haven’t explored and not just physical explorations but also personal ones. And more importantly, I needed the time to refresh and renew my personal drive. To step out from the mask of complacency and really take an introspective look at my life and where I want to be. I came to the understanding that we all make mistakes but life is ultimately what we make of it. It’s ok to go off road and take in the sights along the way but eventually, even if it’s the long way, find a way to stay driven towards your goals.

Moral: Sometimes when life has you feeling boxed in…claustrophobic…you need an unplanned, great escape in order to put it all back into perspective.

Drive

Why would I want TWO baked potatoes?

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And…it’s another Food post!  Haha!

My foodie picture addiction began a few years back after a friend added me to a Facebook food group. The whole group is just a bunch of positive folks who love sharing their delight in cooking, sharing recipes, posting mouth-watering pics, and talking to other food apprecianados. So there you have it.  I’m a food groupie! And I’m proud of it!

Summer holidays have come and gone and it appears every summer holiday is an opportunity to BBQ. Who am I to argue with that? It seems logical.  Summer. Heat.  Grilling. It all goes hand in hand, right? Actually,  the beer goes in hand.  The food…in mouth. But you get the point.

Anyway, chick #3 has been under the weather and chick #2 was beach bound with her buds. That means I get to decide what’s for dinner without the sibling bickering about who likes or dislikes what. It also means the food I make will get eaten. Not left in some reused container, taking up space in the refrigerator.

As I pilfered through the pantry and fridge, I would grab this or that and basically make suggestions to the baby chick. And I began to lay out my assortment, Chick #3 half listening, with her nose in her tablet, responded, “Why would I want 2 baked potatoes?”

Seriously, kid?!

Final Menu: Grilled chicken, baked potato, and summer squash medley.

 

 

 


Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole

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This is a super simple recipe that you can find just about anywhere. “OK, Google…” Btw, I love doing that to my daughter when she’s on her tablet. Hahaha!

Anyway, I had about a 1/2 bag of red potatoes I needed to cook up and some chicken breast I had already defrosted. So I decided to try this out.

Instead of typing out the recipe, I’ve provided a link here: Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole

The chicks loved this so much that they didn’t leave a single potato for my lunch tomorrow!

Bon appetit!

~SE

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

I live in an upstairs apartment with a tiny balcony. It stinks but I make the best of the tiny situation by decorating with lots of color and plants. I love my colorful flowers. I love the humming birds that buzz around me. I love the birds that flock to the feeder. And even that pesky squirrel that’s chewed the feeder beyond repair. Damn squirrel(s). In recreating that garden ambience, I have included a couple of my favorite garden stepping stones, hanging lights, jars fills with colored glass, and planters of varied colors and sizes that include hanging pots, as well as rail planters. I’ve utilized the space nicely and when I lounge on my bright, sunshiny yellow bench, I feel the most relaxed and at peace surrounded by my colorful garden. This is my place. My comfort zone.

Many gardens don the pointy hatted garden gnome or other gaudy and garish yard bobbles such as the freakishly large and obese toe stubbing toad or bicycling yard frogs. Flamingoes are still a thing in some yards and so are the metallic UFO balls neatly perched atop a pedestal under the big (insert tree name here) tree.

However, in amongst the bright pink vinca, golden sunflowers, creeping jenny, herbs, and other assorted plants, sits my garden fairy. She’s not creepy. She’s just chillin’ with a good book and because I love reading, too, we’re both happy to hang out together in our little garden paradise.

This week’s photo challenge was to capture an image from different angles and I felt this little lady was an interesting photo opportunity.  ~SE

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Starbucks! Oh how I miss thee!

wpid-pomelo_20150822085629_save.jpgLiving in the country has both good and bad perks. For instance, I love the slower pace, less traffic, and the fact that there’s literally nature everywhere. In the morning, I can perch on my balcony among my potted garden, sipping my iced coffee while enjoying the humming birds, ducks, and sounds of nature. In the evening, a cool shower breeze usually offers a much needed reprieve from a hot, humid Georgia day. It’s the perfect spot for me to sit and think or to sit and do no nothing except enjoy the sweet serenity this quiet town has to offer. When you live in a town with about 15,000 other folks, traffic is almost non existent, the stores are seldom packed, there’s never any waiting at a restaurant, and the people are oozing with Southern charm and hospitality. I live in an apartment complex and we’re all “family”. We’re polite, friendly, talk about our days, the weather, our families, health, and just about anything else you can think of. It certainly isn’t anything like living in an area where people are so hurried and busy that they barely make eye contact, let alone say hello.  I’ll take Southern hospitality any day.

The down side? Good paying jobs aren’t found in small towns. Local restaurants serve some incredible mouth watering foods but there’s little variety. And…there are no Starbucks Coffee shops within a 45 minute drive! While I am a complete coffee snob, I can no longer rationalize the cost of the Heavenly brew nor the expense in driving that distance for a coffee fix. Yes. It is an addiction and I’m not proud in admitting that I am a recovering Starbucks junkie. My pockets and bank account scream at me every time I go out of town and give in to the coffee deliciousness. I have no control. I love Starbucks coffee!

I know what you’re thinking – she loves those whipped, high calorie, frozen, sickly sweet, dessert drinks.  And actually, you’re wrong. No whipped cream. 2% milk. Not overly sweet. Hot or iced. But I will admit that I do enjoy a Macchiato, Cinnamon Dolce, and Pumpkin Spice on occasion. Same rules apply here, too.

After moving from a place where there were multiple Starbucks within a decent driving distance to being cut off, cold turkey, I began looking for ways to sustain my need for a good cup of Joe. Trust me. This was no easy task. The ex always bought chocolate or caramel flavored coffee (yuck) and flavored creamers. And no matter how I doctored the crap, it always tasted as such – CRAP. My morning ritual has become polluted by poor tasting coffee and I was miserable. Didn’t know a cup of brewed goodness could affect you this way, hu? So. In this little town we have: McDonald’s (ok in a pinch), Burger King (um – NO!), Taco Bell (risky), Daylight Donuts (haven’t tried), a little local guitar/coffee shop (love the ambience and the coffee), and Chick-Fil-A (SCORE!). The latter, is the most convenient and tasty but that doesn’t even come close to my personal favorite. SB or go home!

I’ve bought those bottled and canned SB “drinks” before but they just aren’t the same. Too pricey and they don’t taste all that great. Not a fan. Not at all. And then…one day, while grocery shopping I spied upon a something I’d never seen before. A 48 oz bottle of SB Iced Coffee! Who knew?! (Probably the rest of the world just not this little town.) I was a little hesitant at first. I read the bottle over and over again. Put it down. Walked away. Came back. And repeated the same steps about 4 different times. And finally opted to try it. My rationale was simply this: 48 oz cost the same as a Venti latte. I could spare the $5.00 for a taste test. And much to my surprise, it was actually very good. The ingredients weren’t written in a foreign language, either. Water, coffee, sugar, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (to protect flavor – so it says), and that was it! So simple that it gave me the idea to make my own! I hate iced coffee that’s all watered down and that’s what I was doing. Brewing my coffee and pouring it over ice. Yuck. And I had never considered making my coffee and refrigerating it. Duh!

So here it is: Starbucks at home. I now buy my favorite SB blend (I ran out for this pic), brew it, bottle it, add a touch of whatever flavor I’m in the mood for, shake, and chill. When I’m ready for my fix, I pour it into my cup, top with 2% milk, and I’m good to go!

Problem solved! Oh – and I kept the original 48 oz container because it was the perfect size for storing my own personal blend.

~ SE

Idiot Drivers. Beware the Road Rage Monster

I’m dedicating this section to the utterly stupid and asinine drivers whose sole purpose in life is to drive like a complete and total moron. If that’s you…the shoe might just need to kick you squarely on the backside…of your head!

Today’s rant. I can spin this one of two ways.  Following simple road signs or Beetle envy.  Hmmm. I think I’ll stick to ignorantly ignoring road signs because on these Georgian roads,  everyone has Beetle envy. That’s right. Envy the Beetle! Bwahahaha! <evil laugh>

Road signs.  They’re there for a reason.  Read them.  And freakin’ don’t act like a narcissistic dumb ass who’s not obligated to pay attention nor abide by road rules.

Every morning,  I pass through an intersection that merges immediately just through the light.  It’s posted. It’s visible and anyone with decent eyesight can see that the left lane completely vanishes because,  like I said…it merges IMMEDIATELY through the light. Duh.  What makes it worse is that this is a town literally in the middle of nowhere.  No one just passes through this neck of the woods and if they are,  they’re a commuter and fully aware of the merging lane.

This morning, just like any other, I’m stopped at the dreaded light and of course, the guy behind me switches to the vacant but merging, left lane. It chapped my ass immediately and mostly because I can see this macho country truck driver slowly creeping forward. Seriously? I’m in a Beetle! It really isn’t necessary to prove you have honkin’ truck kahunas just so you can zip past me and squeeze me out on the road. Oooooo! Let me bow down to your truck-holiness. Idiot.

So. There we were.  Me – chapped ass. Him – gas tapping and sizing me up.  I saw him. He saw me. The light switched green and I was all like, “Eat my Beetle dust, a$$hole!”   Smiling sweetly to myself, I floored it and boot scoot boogied right past that gas guzzling buffoon. Needless to say, he was in shock and hopefully a little humbled, too.

That’s right! Don’t mess with this Beetle ’cause she’ll run your derriere right over!

~SE

Love Lost: A Career Implosion

Today I was reunited with my hoards of curriculum books, ECE school books, and other business related informational items. When I saw the items all boxed up and ready to go I was immediately excited by having them all together again and then was quickly overtaken by the overwhelming feeling of loss because the part of me they once defined is gone.

March 20, 2013 was the most heart breaking day of my professional career experience to date.

Throughout my working career, I’ve had many jobs. Each a stepping stone to the next. Each an opportunity to grow. And each bringing new insight to what I wanted to do for early childhood education. Against the odds, I went back to school. And against my family’s wish that I could do something better, I continued on the same path from 16 to 43 years of age. Through all the headaches and personal sacrifices, I loved my job and would repeat every day of it all over again. I don’t have regrets. But I do have sadness because the loss I felt that day and still feel was equivalent to losing my entire family all in the same day. No warning or goodbyes. Just gone.

Some say – Losing a job is no big deal. Get over it. Move on. You’re an educator. You don’t need that company. So who cares where you work?

And every bit of that is the truth. But by definition – I was not just a being within the company. I lived and breathed right along with it. I felt like it was as much a part of me as I was to it. We didn’t always see eye to eye. We had our ups and downs. We laughed together. Cried together. Celebrated together. Sometimes, even suffered together. And there was always great comfort in knowing there was a “purple” family to steer you right when waters were treacherous on black, non starry nights.

Losing this family was devastating and the grieving was no less painful. I’ve experienced denial, betrayal, disbelief, anger, acceptance – but above all, sadness for the loss. And with that, I felt something I’d never experienced before – uncertainty. I was shaken to the core and began to question my career path. Who was I alone? Within a family I was somebody. My voice was louder. My influence stronger. My vision so much more clearer. But alone? I felt powerless. Striped. Bare and vulnerable. Who was I? And that was the implosion because I really didn’t know any longer. I had assimilated so much with the company that we often thought as one. Spoke the same language. Told the same stories and analogies. And even though independent thinking was a cultural basis, that independence became shadowed beneath a purple shroud. I lost sight of what were my thoughts and ideas and what were the company’s. I lost myself and when I ultimately lost my “family”, I had such a difficult time seeing my future within education or even management that I gave it up.

Recovering my boxed treasures made me realize just how much I miss both and with that realization came the final step I needed in saying…

Fare Thee Well

to a truly amazing company

Thank You

for all I learned in those 9 years and

No Hard Feelings – Catch you on the Flip Side.

~ Sheila

Veni, Vidi, Velcro – I Came, I Saw, I Stuck Around

“Veni, Vidi, Velcro – I Came, I Saw, I Stuck Around”

~ Renee “The Adopted Chick”

Thank you, Renee for turning back the hands of time just long enough to evoke a side splitting belly stitch from laughing so hard! Girl! You cray cray and this mama hen loves your spunk, ingenuity, wit, tenacity, and stick-with-itness!

See what Sticking around like Velcro gets you?

Drama Drive

Written 1/30/2015

I don’t even know where to begin with this…

Assumptions – who needs them?! Drama – who needs it?!  And WHY was MY day ruined because of other people?!

Yesterday was a day full of frustrations. The new job had my head spinning, eyes crossing, and head aching. But what made it worse was getting a text that said – “Call me now!” I’m used to the “!” mark following most messages from this friend but this text was not the same and immediately my stomach did a backflip and leapt right into my throat. In the middle of the lobby, I returned his call and was immediately assaulted with irritated ramblings about how people know information about him – private information. Information about his gift to me, etc. In the middle of the lobby, without any privacy, I did my best to stay calm during his accusations that I was the one talking to people to whom I never speak with. Oh sure. I speak to them but as a professional, not as a friend.

The problem here: I was happy, excited, and wanted to share…it was only when one particular person said something negative about him that he asked for nothing to be discussed…so I haven’t. That person only knew bits and pieces, has already voiced her opinion about him twice to me, and is friends with other people he knows. You see where this is leading, right? Straight down Drama Drive. But the bigger picture is that while it’s ok for people to discuss his dealings with one of the other people who’s talking, it isn’t ok for anyone to know about he and I talking. Why? There’s definitely something wrong with this picture. The reason seemed reasonable enough. That is until he told me about the other person he had been talking to and I began to piece it all together. This had nothing to do with his divorce or son. It had to do with him personally because he was doing exactly what my “friend” warned me about. The same warning, that when I told him, he completely over reacted and asked me not to discuss us any longer with people from work. And I respected him enough to do just that. Keep it to myself.

So – the text. The call. Assumptions. Accusations. And me – feeling like crap and then later to just being plain hurt because it wasn’t me who had done anything wrong. Normally, I would either  bury it deep down or explode in a fit of anger. I did neither. Instead, I called him back to express how I felt. I didn’t call to re-hash the original conversation but I did feel I needed to be heard about how he made me feel. At least I was heard.

Drama – Assumptions. Its all ridiculous. And his reaction was no less childish than those who talk about things they ought not. And I’m about to find another road to follow…