GWE

19 Apr

My Paw Paw, Glyndell Wilbert Ebarb, passed away Wednesday night. Sorrow, grief and heartbreak come in waves, but I feel so fortunate. He was a part of my life for over 31 years and I can’t think of him without smiling.

WP_20150418_004

He taught me about hard work. He would come for a visit and find jobs around the house. Once he picked up over a hundred small sticks in my back yard while I was at work. When I thanked him, he said, “Well, there are probably a hundred more out there.”

WP_20150416_026

Education is the key. The last thing I remember him saying to me in person was about school. He told my daughter, “You do well in school, then- you can do anything.” Growing up, he always pushed me to do well in school, but more importantly he allowed me to view my education as an opportunity that could open doors to a new world. As a coach, teacher and principal, I know he showed so many the importance of education.

WP_20150418_012

Everybody looks like somebody in Vinton. Never did we make it through an episode of Jeopardy without a contestant looking like “old so & so” was mentioned. Vinton is a small town, but according to him was full of doppelgangers.

WP_20150418_011

He taught me how to be a smart ass. This is a skill that I continue to hone to this day. Paw Paw was one of the masters. Sometimes I didn’t know whether to keep a straight face or laugh. He once sent me $10 when I didn’t visit and promised to send $20 if I skipped the next visit. I can’t elaborate on this one too much because I don’t want to give any secrets away. Just know, I was taught by the best.

WP_20150418_002

I could count on him for about anything. If I brought laundry, I could count on him to wash, dry and fold it for me. If one of my cousins needed to be picked up from school, he would be there- 20 minutes early. Mammy could count on him bringing her a cup of coffee in bed. There was never a time he let me down.

WP_20150418_006

He taught me how to relax. Many an afternoon I spent sitting with him on the front porch in a rocking chair. He would sit and wave to folks going by. He didn’t have an agenda, a phone or a plan. He was out there to sit. The older I get, I realize what an important thing he was doing out there on that rocker.

WP_20150418_003

Man, could he tell a story. Those hand gestures, the pause, the grin on his face and the chuckle after the conclusion. His stories held your attention. Whether they were about the elephants in the backyard one morning, or the tamale set-up where he had me thinking I was eating dog, he kept you enthralled.

photo 1

He recognized the importance of a nickname. I’ve had a few; Spook, Spookero, That Bruce Slusher Looking Outfit and the nickname I earned, Smart Ass. There were the Old Goats, the Snake and Useless to name a few.

photo 2

This remark after his obituary sums it up pretty well. My uncle, Daryl Slusher writes, “From the time I spent with Glyn, and from listening to his children talk about him, I remember him as a man of integrity, accompanied by a good sense of humor. When I think about Glyn’s life…what comes to mind is that Glyn was extraordinary in the way that he took on responsibilities — responsibilities for his community like being a teacher, a coach and a principal. He accepted responsibility and he faithfully executed his responsibilities. He applied the principle of living up to his responsibilities in his personal life as well. My prayers go out to Margaret, and Melissa and the whole family. He has left a lot behind for many people to cherish.”

WP_20150418_013

That’s why I feel fortunate. Paw Paw was a fine example of everything he stood for and I am so incredibly grateful I got to be a part of his amazing life.

Tomorrow afternoon in Vinton, Louisiana, tons of people will gather to memorialize him. Stories will be passed around; tears will be shed and there will undoubtedly be laughing as well. Sadly, I cannot be there in person to celebrate him. Instead, I will sit on the front porch in my rocking chair eating a bologna sandwich and thinking about my Paw Paw.

photo 3

Epitaph on my Own Friend…
An honest man here lies at rest,
As e’er God with His image blest:
The friend of man, the friend of truth;
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d:
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
Robert Burns

photo

Glyndell Wilbert Ebarb
Mr. Ebarb, Glyn, GW, Coach, Principal,
Sonny Boy, Paw Paw
One of a kind

Rebel Yell

2 Apr

Our lives didn’t change today; they changed in December of 2011.

That’s when my Eddie arrived in a fast & furious fashion. He let out a rebel yell to command our attention and he hasn’t let up the past three years. I say he let out a battle cry when he was born because I know my Eddie is a warrior. He is strong, unrelenting, defiant, energized, focused & assertive.

2012-03-03_12-42-57_51

Eddie is a warrior diagnosed with autism.

Raising Eddie has been an adventure thus far. Babies cry, but Eddie wailed & screamed for hours. Sleep was futile. Some babies like to be held, patted or stroked, but Eddie wanted to be left alone. His hands were always balled up in fists and he looked upset & grumpy, no matter the occasion. Adults and children alike want an explanation for this behavior. So, we made excuses for him. So, we said he had colic, or gas, a rough night, diaper rash, he was teething, constipated, had a rough morning, teething again, upset stomach. We even said he was a bad baby. Other people said, “He’s just a boy.”

Today, my husband was able to breathe because he does not have to make an excuse for his son anymore.

Today, I was able to breathe because Eddie has a great prognosis & I truly feel hope.

IMG_4601

We are lucky. Our boy is healthy, loving, handsome & funny. He has huge brown eyes, an electrifying smile & infectious laughter. He loves music, Mickey Mouse, pizza, trains & enjoys cooking. His strengths are so strong, just like him. He, more than anyone I’ve met, has taught me how to love unconditionally. What we have ahead of us is a marathon with no attainable finish line, so I guess that’s just a journey.

Dr. Temple Grandin stated, “There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do.” My Eddie can do so much. Annabelle says when he grows up, “He will be strong.” I believe that’s true. Our warrior was born strong.

IMG_6857

You’ve Got to Pick an Apple or Two

19 Oct

I spy an apple tree.

Image

Fuji Apple Tree

Last Saturday we traveled to Parkdale, Oregon to visit an apple orchard. We picked Draper Girls Farm. It’s located on the ‘Fruit Loop,’ near Hood River where there are several farms.

Image

Draper Girls Country Farm

We picked Draper Girls for the large selection of apples and it didn’t hurt they had several animals on the farm.

Image

Annabelle meets a pig

Image

No Mr. Ed jokes, please.

We found out there are two ways to pick the apples. The first is to lug a ladder around, climb high up and toss them down to your partner.

Image

Derek picking some Fuji apples

The second way is to pick the apples you can reach.

Image

Sometimes you need a lift

Apple picking etiquette includes not eating the apples until you have purchased them. Unfortunately, Eddie did not get the memo.

Image

Ed sampling the goods

Apples can get heavy, so they have a wagon you can use to haul them around. Our wagon seemed especially heavy.

Image

20 lbs of apples + Ed

We had a total blast at this farm. We even doubled our original haul and ended up with 40 lbs of apples. They are currently taking up the entire bottom portion of our refrigerator. Lots of biting, slicing and 2 apple crisps later and we still have plenty left. Next year, we need to get out there to pick the elusive Honeycrisp apples.

Image

Photo courtesy of Annabelle

One month in Oregon

27 May

We’ve been here a month. We made the move, are basically settled and Derek found an accounting job! This is huge news. Let me update you on our adventures in Portland, Oregon.

Total Hipster

Total Hipster

Okay, okay…so, we don’t technically live in Portland. We live in Hillsboro, which I’ve heard is like living in Canada to a true Portlandian. Example, I got my haircut in SE Portland. I tell the hairdresser where I live, ask if she’s familiar with the area and she tells me; “Yeah, it’s all the same up there.” I get it. Even though it took me 15 minutes to drive to her salon, I don’t live in Portland. It’s just like if you live in Cedar Park, (God, help you) don’t you dare tell me you live in Austin. Same goes for Kyle, Bastrop, Round Rock & Lakeway. You can’t claim Austin until it’s on your return address & the same goes for Portland. So, yes…we technically live in suburban Portland, but we’re cool, I promise.

Image

Rockaway Beach

1. I have an accent. Most of you may know this, but damn these people here pick up on my “Texas drawl” rather quickly. By the way, that’s their terminology, not mine.

2. Say spendy instead of expensive. Examples, on the news, “A guy wrecks his spendy new Corvette.” Also, “How was that hamburger place, was it spendy?”

Eddie chowing down on a Pine State Biscuit

Eddie chowing down on a Pine State Biscuit

 

3. Public transportation frightens me. I was super pumped about using the buses, max, trams to get around, but honestly I’m a little afraid I’ll get trapped somewhere and not be able to find my way home. Ridiculous, yes, accurate representation of someone who used to drive over 30,000 miles a year, yes as well. As a side note, Derek will be riding a bus and the MAX to his job five days a week, so he can work out the kinks and hopefully get me over my irrational fear.

Tillamook Factory

Tillamook Factory

4. Breakfast burritos do not equal breakfast tacos. Instead of Texas traditional cubed potatoes, they use hashbrowns, which tends to be soft. Soft on soft on soft with a side of bacon still equals soft.

5. Bring a jacket to the beach. What, what? Yep, it’s about 10 degrees cooler at the beach and sit near a sand dune so you’re not blown away with the wind. Can you imagine wearing a jacket at Texas beach in May? Me either.

Windblown at Seaside Beach

Windblown at Seaside Beach

6. PST is not conducive to watching television. I have to stay up until 11 pm to see Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, so instead, I watch it the next evening…it’s a little depressing to be a dy behind in TV.

7. The library here is amazing. So, that’s where my state income tax goes…among other things. There’s a coffee and doughnut shop inside the library, a duck pond outside and I think you can check out like 100+ items. It’s amazing and so far we’ve been twice every week.

Seaside Beach

Seaside Beach

8. Don’t even bother with the Voodoo Doughnuts on 3rd, just go to NE Davis. There is ample parking, no line and the same great doughnuts. Done.

Forest Park

Forest Park

So, let me close for now. This next month will bring huge changes for us as Baby D starts his accounting career and both kids are in full-time child care/school. We plan to enjoy the festivities at the Rose Parade/Festival in June, try out a pizza place or two and figure out transit system. Hope you all have a great start to the summer.

Image

2073 Miles

9 Apr

It is with much excitement, a bit of anxiety & a twinge of sadness I officially announce the S Family is moving to Portland, Oregon this month. To our loyal readers, all three of you, this is not a shock, I hope. How did we come to this decision? What does Oregon have in store for the four of us? Why Portland? Ugh, can you handle all the rain?

Image

Annabelle’s snapshot at the Rose Garden

Texas summers are hot- I mean really hot & I melt in the heat. So, we threw the idea of a cooler climate back & forth for years & this is a big part of the relocation. Also, we miss a big city. Small town living is fine, but there are only so many opportunities in a small town for a young family. I want to give my children room to grow, lots of culture & tons of opportunities & I’m confident Portland will live up to my expectations. Portland has awesome grocery stores, museums, close to the ocean, close to mountains, lots of outdoor activities & great restaurants. 

Image

Annabelle at the Children’s Museum

What we are leaving behind is the start of our family. Our history is rich all over Texas, but especially runs deep in our hometown of Austin. Both of our children were born in Austin, we met, were married & began this wonderful adventure there. There are many things we will miss about Austin; the comfort & familiarity factor, and of course, our friends & family. Yet, we will be a mere 2073 miles away from everything we know. We made the trip to Valley Mills 4 years ago, but the truth is we never really left Austin. Sure, we didn’t technically live there, but our hearts never left. 

Image

Doughnuts- 24 Hrs a day

This is a huge move. I now have no car. I said goodbye to my decade old Camry ‘Mildred’ a few weeks ago. That was the biggest indicator our lives were different. I can ride my bike to work! I remember driving my old Camry over 150 miles a day around Austin going to 2 different ACC campuses, between massages & other errands. I will now bike less than 3 miles a day roundtrip to work.  Derek & the kids will ride the MAX when they visit the Children’s Museum. No more thirty mile car rides into town to, “Do something fun.” We can take a leisurely drive to Canada, or to the Coast. Annabelle is already stocking up on Tillamook cheese. 

Image

Eddie directing at the Children’s Museum

Time will tell what is in store for all of us in Portland.  I have no doubt it will be a phenomenal adventure and will create some awesome memories. Won’t you join us?

Image

S Family at Multnomah Falls

Meet me in St. Louis

26 Jan

“You are crazy to go to St. Louis in January.” – said everyone to me.

Well, Annabelle & didn’t care if we got snowed in; we just wanted to meet sweet baby Carina!

Annabelle & her new best friend Carina

Annabelle & her new best friend Carina

Carina is the daughter of two of my favorite people ever, Cara & Marcelo. So, Annabelle & I planned a trip St. Louis.

Our first full day in STL we lucked out with gorgeous weather & we took full advantage. All of the girls headed to the St. Louis Zoo where we met zebras, wild Somali asses, sea lions & my favorite- hippos!

Some fine ladies at the zoo

Some fine ladies at the zoo

It was a beautiful day at Forest Park & we had a lovely lunch outside of a museum & soaked in a warm January day by St. Louis standards.

Who is the guy on the horse? Uh, it says, "Saint Louis."

Who is the guy on the horse? Uh, it says, “Saint Louis.”

Friends

Friends & fountains

The next day is started to get colder, so we bundled up & headed to the park in nearby Brentwood. Although I looked like a fool in white gloves & hat, we had a fun time.

Seesaw

Seesaw

Gorgeous day at the park

Gorgeous day at the park

Carina at the park

Carina at the park

Cara & Marcelo were wonderful hosts & they have an amazing condo. I wasn’t sure I could get Annabelle to return home with me. She was in love with the condo, Cara & Marcelo, but especially baby Carina. We even got Carina to laugh, and I am still telling everybody about the sweet, gorgeous baby we visited.

We came all the way to St. Louis to meet you baby girl!

We came all the way to St. Louis to meet you baby girl!

I miss my friends! It was so awesome to just be around Cara & Marcelo as we spent most of our time longing in comfy sweats, watching or doing funny yoga videos, snacking on goodies from Trader Joe’s & chatting away about the wonders of parenthood.

How you pose post-baby

How you pose post-baby

Our last day we met up with Emily & Paul, and they showed us all around town. I’ve known Emily for over thirteen years, and I was very excited to meet her husband Paul. Oh, don’t let me forget to tell you it was fuh-reezing cold. Emily sent me a detailed & thoughtful potential itinerary and she planned a perfect St. Louis tour. Our first stop was the Magic House. Annabelle was able to kick an NFL field goal, play with magnets, pretend she was a veterinarian, catch a plastic fish & go down a few slides. Needless to say, this was her favorite part of the day.

Sliding at the Magic House

Sliding at the Magic House

Next up was St. Louis style pizza. Emily & Paul took us to Imo’s where we sampled toasted ravioli-it was delicious. We ordered a 14 inch pizza for Annabelle & myself, and we pretty much finished it. Of course, Annabelle filled up on the sausage & bacon and left the rest for me. They use Provel cheese, and I have to say I’m a fan. It was creamy & smooth while the crust was crisp; a perfect combination.

Imo's bacon & sausage pizza

Imo’s bacon & sausage pizza

After an exciting trip down a genuine St. Louis cobblestone street, we arrived at the St. Louis Arch. By this time it was a frigid 26 degrees with a nice wind. I’ve always heard people say, “The wind will just cut right through you.” I’m confident I now know what this means. I could have sworn a razor blade was cutting my front lip, but Emily & Paul assured me it was fine.

IMG_5432

The Gateway to the West

We picked a great day to go to the arch because there was no wait to hit the top. After I assured the cashier I was not claustrophobic, we climbed into a tiny capsule and zig-zagged up to the top. There were tiny slits of windows to look out to Missouri & Illinois. I loved it!

The girls atop the arch

The girls atop the arch

Annabelle was a little worried when we stepped out of the capsule, but Paul kept her from falling. Paul, she is still so thankful.

Annabelle clinging to the walls

Annabelle clinging to the walls

There was a great museum dedicated mainly to the “discovery” of the West, but Annabelle was turned off by the talking & moving statues. Perhaps the best part of the museum was when Annabelle asked if a gray-bearded, fur coat clad man was part of the exhibit. To her relief, he was merely a patron.

Next up was Crown Candy. One might think on a 26 degree day at 3pm an ice cream shop might be a desolate retreat. Uh, no. We used up all of our luck at the arch, so we waited in line at least an hour. As Paul pointed out they are celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year. You may have seen them on Man vs. Food with their 5 Malt Challenge. Rest assured, I will be partaking in that challenge on my next visit. No, seriously I will do it. Annabelle couldn’t stand the wait, so she ordered a strawberry cone in a cup while we were still in line.

Our STL tour guides

Our STL tour guides

Hot Fudge Malt & chips

Hot Fudge Malt & chips

After three Hot Fudge Malts & a terrifying run-in with a homeless Frosty the Snowman, it was time to head to the airport. Annabelle & I had a blast in St. Louis. We squeezed in so much in our short visit & we can’t wait to go back. I asked Annabelle tonight, “What was your favorite part of St. Louis?” Her answer: meeting baby Carina! Until next time, we will miss our STL friends.

Sarah & Cara by photographer Annabelle

Sarah & Cara by photographer Annabelle

Croissants

14 Jan

Well, I can check one thing off the resolution list. I made croissants! Here are some things I figured out in this baking marathon.

Dedication is one of the requirements of making croissants from scratch.

IMG_5246

Yeast, flour, sugar, malt powder – all intricately measured on a digital scale.

Teamwork & communication is another requirement when making croissants, especially with two small children present.

IMG_5247

Poolish aka the Starter…it’s ready to go

Pounding butter with a rolling pin is in fact cathartic, and cheaper than therapy.

IMG_5254

330 grams of butter

I am not a very good roller. It’s particularly difficult to roll dough out length wise without increasing it’s width. Any tips?

IMG_5269

Egg washed & ready to be proofed

A louder timer might ensure the croissants don’t get too brown in the late stage of baking. Well, maybe next time.

IMG_5279

A little browner than anticipated, but look at those layers.

Twenty hours is the amount of time it took me to create these fine French delicacies.

IMG_5281

Next time, you will meet almond & chocolate my friend.

Excuse us, we like to eat our croissants standing in the kitchen with poorly groomed hair.

IMG_5288

Ed a mangé trois croissants

Croissant recipe found in Bouchon Bakery

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.