A Christmas Tragedy

December 22, 2008

My incredible father was a very handsome and intelligent man. He was a civil engineer and graduated from A&M Summa Cum Laude. Because he created things, it was not hard to dream and see those dreams become reality. He would draw things up as blueprints and then make them. Next thing you knew, there was another building or street he made, so it was not hard to believe that what he said, would happen. He was my symbol of strength and possibilities being made reality. With him dreams came true. He was strong and handsome and smart and our everything. He worked everyday to provide for us as best he could. We were not rich but our needs were met. We had plans, too. He had blueprints of the nice house we were going to live in that even had a pool. We never got to live in that dream house. It never made it off blueprints.

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Tragically, he died of a sudden massive heart attack brought on by too many sequential insulin reactions. His heart just couldn’t take it anymore in spite of how strong he was. I was crushed. I was twelve, my little sister ten and my brother became the man of the house at fifteen. Losing your father, the cornerstone of your house, family and heart, the symbol of strength and stability in your family can be a devastating blow. You can read an extraordinary and fascinating tale of how my father was able to come back from Heaven to let us know he was all right here. I believe in the eternity of the human soul. I believe that the bonds of love last forever. I don’t know why there is so much tragedy on Earth and why we have to go through it; I just know it is a part of life and no one knows when it is going to befall us. When it does, it can destroy all the plans and dreams you had for the future. My first marriage was destroyed by alcohol. I thought it was going to be the end of the world. One night I was fighting with my husband (ex) and I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked outside, looked up into the stars and thought, “God, I want to find a man who loves me for me, who is intelligent, interesting, admirable and funny, who doesn’t drink or do drugs, who is older and settled and doesn’t cheat on his wife or go out to bars at night. I want someone romantic, who doesn’t have a wife and kids, maybe has a dog he loves.” Then I pictured an older man with his dog by his side in a mobile home pulling into my driveway to deliver me from the hellish life I was living. Wouldn’t you know three years ago I met him. He is a local captain with a great reputation for honesty, intelligence and had all the qualities I was looking for. He owns Gladiator II Offshore Adventures which means he takes people fishing and helps them catch fish either offshore or in the bay. You know the funny part? When we met, he did not live in a mobile home. That was the only part different from my dream image. He lived in a 5th wheel which is pretty darn close. Can you believe that? Is God wonderful or what? We got married six months ago on June 21st.

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My brother stood where my father would have been.

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God’s gift to me was willing to take on a child from another marriage and love her as his own.

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God allowed our paths to cross and we are perfect for each other. May God continue to bless our marriage and I hope all others searching for that special someone KNOW that God will provide the right person when it is time. Only in God’s time will it happen.

I am asking for special prayers of healing to be sent to the father of these beautiful twins who are my daughter’s best friends. They have just had their world devastated by a horrific accident in their family. Their father fell 30 feet and is paralyzed. We need prayers for healing for the whole family. I would be so lost, scared and devastated had that happened to us. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers this Christmas. The hole for their pool in their dream house was already dug and concrete poured.

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Today I am going to see how to set up a gift account at the bank to help them pay the electricity, water, and other bills. Their mom works at Walmart and there is no way that that meager paycheck can cover what needs to be covered. They don’t know what they are going to do. Losing the business is a given. If he can’t walk, there is no way he can do construction. He can’t even move from the chest down. His wife said they will lose the house and car so I want to help find some kind of Plan B since Plan A has been destroyed. I know you will find it in your heart to help these beautiful 13 year-old twins, their 15 year-old brother who has just been thrown into being the man of the house, and their devastated mother. This man was a healthy 41-year-old man yesterday and today is paralyzed. Please help.

I just got back from work. A lady walked into the office. She had no business with us – just walked in and gave me some pamphlets for her bank. Since the bank I had called to see how to set up an acct. never called me back, I told her somebody had gotten hurt and I needed to find out how to set up a gift account. She asked who got hurt and I told her. Her hand shook from the shock and she had to sit down, shaken. Turns out she has known them and the family for years. She said she would do what she could to help out. She said before she left, “I don’t know why I came in here. I didn’t know you were here. I just felt I needed to open that door and come in here.” I said, “I know why you came in here. Because you were EXACTLY what was needed and God works in mysterious ways.”

The information is “The William A. Plouffe Fund” and the acct. no is 2905004843. It is set up so nobody can take money out but you can deposit whatever you can to help this poor family out. The banker lady and I were just instruments needed to relieve the fear and terrible pain that family is feeling right now. The bank is Lone Star National Bank, 601 Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, TX 78597. (956) 761-1130. Thank you so much for your angelic help and may you have a Merry Christmas. God bless you and yours.

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Christmas Tree Decorating Party

December 6, 2008

Princess knew something was up when she heard a gaggle of giggles in the front room.

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You can’t have a Christmas Tree Decorating Party without popcorn.

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You gotta hook up the jams.

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The menu was very healthy and included: pizza, candy, chocolate cake, root beer floats, and sodas.

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These girls are the sweetest girls you could ever meet.

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Taking off the blue makes it shine in only silver now.

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We have a collection of ornaments that include family heirlooms.

 We don’t live in a fancy house or have fancy things but we have love and good friends and that is what life is all about.

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My awesome photography skills with my new camera make it look like the tree shoots lasers.

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Frikken lasers!

 This is Princess’ mom, Belle. Like I said there is lots of love in the house.

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Christmas Mercado

November 25, 2008

I have been so busy preparing for the Mercado, I have not had time to do much else. Yesterday, I began working on my artwork at 8:00 am and did not quit until midnight. Today I took a few bottles to work to have them closer to Louie’s Backyard and my co-worker Charlie, “Charlie’d” them up. They looked fabulous. He gave me some tips on how to showcase them on Saturday and I went right out to buy what he suggested. We have spent over $300.00 on supplies easily. Well it wasn’t spent easily, believe me. It is easily over $300.00 with the suede, various paints and brushes, all kinds of stuff.

The good news is my boss LOVED them and said that he would buy every single last one of them if I did not sell all of them. They are beautiful and I had an idea of what people want here. It is an island. Everybody wants tropically-themed art and I have what they want. I have worked my butt off and I can’t wait to hear people fawn over them. I have learned alot, ruined a few bottles, burned my fingers, ruined cups, brushes and what not but now, it has gotten to the point where it is fun. I just pulled the tube of glue out of the glue gun to see how much was left… OOPS. I hope I didn’t just ruin it and fill it full of glue on the inside. I am going to wait til it hardens and knock it out of there. I have learned alot while on this artistic venture. I learned that to remove glue off something, you can put it in the freezer and it will break right off. Also, to clean bottles from the inside, you put raw rice in them with vinegar and let it do its magic. I was so pleasantly surprised to see how sparkling clean they got with the vinegar from the inside. I hope I am a success on Saturday. We pulled all my bottles in from drying outside, then it began to rain tonight. I felt so good when we bypassed all that possible damage to my works of art. It seems like for once, I have the chance to be a success, a real success at an art form. I envy those who can watercolor and do oil painting. I saw a guy once do paintings in 5 minutes flat on tv. It looked so easy. It is not the same when I try it. This time, I am seeing the beauty that I envision come to fruition and that is a great feeling.


Wedding Pics

November 22, 2008

Today is our five-month wedding anniversary. We got married on a shoestring budget but had a gorgeous wedding anyway.

This is my brother walking me down the aisle. Aisle, what? You ask. Aisle give you away… gladly.

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We got married at Christ Harbor Church, the best church I have ever been to… and I have searched for a good church for a long time.

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My handsome husband is wonderful.

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Don’t complain about his boots. One lady complained about his choice of footwear. He loves his boots and I don’t care about fitting into what other people think. My priority was fitting into that dress.

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God provided me with a perfect match on an intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and many other levels. I have to differ with people who say there is no God because He sent me an angel.


New Baby in the House

October 12, 2008
Innocent one started drinking her bath water.

Innocent one started drinking her bath water.

 

 

     

Baby's first bath.
Baby’s first bath.

This is the new baby in the house. She is so new she doesn’t even have a name yet. She is so cute I can’t even picture a name cute enough for her. She is already pulling on shoestrings of shoes that are bigger than she is.


Having a Best Friend

September 29, 2008

I have the best friend in the world. She is down-to-earth, smart, beautiful, kind and funny. We met many years ago through a mutual friend and discovered we lived on the same highway out in the picturesque outskirts of Brownsville, Texas . I had never had anyone willing to drive that far out to my house. I loved her energy. She used to show up at my house and try to get me to go swimming with her. She is the most beautiful and persuasive girl in the world. If I were a man, she’d own my soul. She has that way about her. One of her “victims” claimed he was under her “spell” he was so in love with her. So am I, in a normal sense. You just can’t know anyone that badass and not love them. She cooks in ways I don’t. She knows down-home REAL Mexican cooking, whereas mine has that “Americanized” twang. It’s kind of like the difference between a real flour tortilla and one bought off a shelf at HEB or going to a Mexican cafe downtown for Mexican food or going to a chain restaurant like that one in McAllen that used the cheddar cheese from a can. Never as bad as getting tamales out of a can, WTH is that? Who even came up with that?

I consider myself a smart, tough girl and she is the only girl I have met like me in that fashion.  She can hook up jumper cables to jump start a car and change the tire too. There are a few like that in the world but I am lucky to have this beautiful girl as MY best friend. She has done so much and stuck with me through thick and thin. I will not go into the “thin” part but she has stuck with me through the worst times of my life. There is very little we disagree on.

My friend has gone through an amazing transformation. Through sheer willpower and a little help she has gone from a very high weight to an almost normal weight. I have always had to work to get in shape. I just came from visiting her at her house and she looks gorgeous, absolutely beautiful. If only she knew how beautiful she looked. I always thought she was pretty, even at her greatest weight, but now that she has shed that unwanted baggage, she is stunningly beautiful. I am so proud of her for sticking to her diet and exercise regimen.

It feels so good to know that she will be there for life. I can easily picture us as friends when we are in our 70’s. We used to joke about it. How we would share a room in the old folks home and she would be enthralling men with her beauty and I’d be having keggers in the room and racing on wheelchairs. I still see it happening with her. She is just that cool. She is one of the reasons for my happiness now in life.

***New Note: October 3, 2008 My friend just got coldly dumped by her place of work. She had called them and they said the schedule wasn’t done. She called again. Still not done. Went in person and was told, “Oh, you’re not on the schedule.” She asked the manager what was going on. He said, “Oh, I had to let some people go. You’re one of them.” That was it. After FOUR YEARS of busting her ass as a waitress there, after being the only one to make sure other employees’ birthdays were remembered, after being the only one to organize and plan employee parties at Christmas and the like. She said none of that mattered. None of her kindness “meant anything.” I no longer have my best friend on the Island. After four years, nothing.


The Showdown

August 26, 2008

A dear friend of mine said, “Here, do you want some of this cake?” before I left his house today. I said, “Are you sure?” He assured me that if I did not help him out that it would go to waste. Wellllll, far be it from me to leave a friend high and dry so I brought a chunk home. Cake is nothing but love in sugar form. It spurred a desire in me to go ahead and try something.

I had tried a new recipe last week called “Banana Pudding Cake” where you add a box of banana pudding and mashed banana to the cake mix. It did not turn out well. The recipe said to bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. The aroma emanating from the oven was so strong that after 35 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore and took it out. I was right; it was done, overdone in fact, and beginning to blacken on the bottom. “Well, there went that recipe,” I thought and scratched it off the drawing board.

My friend’s generosity gave me an idea. I had seen a recipe for an upside-down banana cake. “Well, why not combine the two and see what happens?” I thought. I put slices of banana on the bottom of a cake pan and added brown sugar then drizzled melted butter over the base. I then added the yellow cake mix with the banana pudding and bananas added into the batter. I put it into the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of 35 minutes the top was browned beautifully but the middle was still fluid. I had to go to a meeting so I told my daughter to keep trying, not to check on it by opening the oven too much but to give it some time and to not worry if I ruined it. I told her that was not that expensive to try and sometimes we have to learn by making mistakes.

When I opened the door to the dining room, she smiled and said, “Mom, your cake came out.” I smiled back and said, “It did?” and it did, beautifully. Baked to a golden brown and flipped over to expose the golden brown sliced arcs of banana baked gently in a buttery brown sugar goodness the cake stood there in the light, the arcs forming little smiles saying, “Yea! I am a new creation and I am going to be good.”

Well, the first thing I did was have a cake-off. Yep, as spontaneous as spontaneous can be. I took the big chunk of pineapple cake that started this whole thing and cut it into three squares, one for each of us. Then I put a piece of banana cake next to the pineapple and took it to my husband. My daughter put a piece of banana on a plate and I put a piece of pineapple next to it while her back was turned and walked off with the plate at the same time she said, “Nooooooooo,” like an adorable Mr. Bill. Whoops, too late. I discovered that was her plate and her banana piece she had cut. She decided she was not going to participate in the cake-off.

So I made that disqualify me from having to serve her and she had to get her own plate then. I had such a hard time deciding which was the better recipe. I still can’t decide so I am going to take this to a picnic I have been invited to on Saturday and let the public decide. Pineapple upside-down cake will always be a classic as far as sugary, brown goodness is concerned, but this new banana-pudding upside-down creation is going to impress many, I believe, and compel people to make room on the table for this new treat.

My daughter said the secret to the cake is to lower the oven’s temperature. Here is the banana-pudding cake recipe. Remember to prepare the pan as if you were making a pineapple upside-down cake only substituting slices of banana for the pineapple before you put in the batter and you will have a new creation: a banana pudding upside-down cake.

Banana Pudding Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant banana pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup mashed bananas
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  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil and mashed banana. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tests done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To make glaze: In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and of a drizzling consistency. When cake is cooled, drizzle icing over cake with a zigzag motion. Sprinkle chopped nuts over wet icing if desired.