Monday, January 31, 2011

More fun than an amusement park, I get it!, I've been stifled

1. The hardware store has a pleasant and unique smell about it. Paints, tools and gardening items blend into an inspirational atmosphere where I want to walk up and down every aisle just so I don't miss anything. This is an advantage to visiting the small, neighborhood hardware store. It's manageable in size and the service is great.
2. We spend three hours pushing buttons, referring to the manual, and listening to an expert guide us through the use of our cameras. (Or in my case, Tess' camera.) He's a good teacher as well as a wonderful photographer and I've finally learned something about cameras in a way that makes sense to me.
3. I think Facebook has censored me. I'm quite innocent when it comes to vulgarities or anything nasty. But my sense of humor might not be appreciated. As I drift off to sleep, a smile settles on my lips when I think of me being censored. My rebel spirit is proud and I think everyone ought to be censored at least once in their lives.

P.S. on #3. I am censored by my own flesh and blood. Facebook is innocent. My experience shows that teenagers don't appreciate their parent's sense of humor. She has also removed me as her "friend". Now I'm laughing even harder : )

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love multiplies exponentially, Come on out everyone!, Inspiration in a thermometer

1. I remember when we found out that we were expecting our second baby and I wondered if I would have enough love for another baby. Silly me! The love spills over into endless love for each child. Then, when you think your heart will burst from loving them into adulthood, a grandchild is born. A perfect place for all that overflow of love...and then some.
2. The temperatures soar into the 60's in South Carolina. Weeks ago, when I was planning this trip, I teased Claire and said I'd like place an order for temperatures to be in the 60's when I visit. How did she do this? We all went for a perfectly long walk with baby and dogs. We wouldn't dream of leaving anyone out of our trek.
3. It turns out that warm weather and birds singing are inspirational for wanting to DO things. I'm going home to tackle the job of repainting the kitchen. No matter that it will rain and be cold, gray and foggy. I'm inspired and there's no turning back.

Friday, January 28, 2011

On behalf of the Academy, I would like to thank...

Shopgirl was kind enough to give me an award! I am honored to be given this kind nod. This lengthy post departs from my usual, brief format, but it's all in fun.

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you aren't anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now?

The computer makes me feel about as anonymous as I feel while driving a car. I would call it semi-anonymous. I don't mind if people see who I am, I try not to offend anyone, I never ever flick anyone off, and in my mild-mannered-type blog, I have nothing to hide.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

One thing that comes to mind is my insistence that we leave the deep south of Alabama. Being a Northerner, I put my foot down after two years there and insisted that we try and head back towards New York. We made it as far as Virginia, which is fine. The climate here is more northern- like and I am stubborn about my climate.

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

I think that the reflection doesn’t look like “me”. Most days I feel much younger and more vibrant than my image appears.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

My cold beverage of choice is tonic with a slice of lemon or lime. I drink it year round, but I may add a shot of gin on a summer’s evening.

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

My perfect free day would be to see a good movie and then to browse some antique/junk shops.

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life?

Funny this question should pop up because I was thinking of starting a bucket list. I wouldn’t call them accomplishments per se, but things that I would love to do at least once or one more time. The word “accomplish”, in my mind, characterizes something really big. Like creating a work of art or fulfilling a career. So I am completing my accomplishment of raising four daughters to beautiful adulthood. Now it’s time for a bucket list : )

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person or always ditching?

I was mildly shy, a high achiever, but frequently ditching in favor of fun in high school.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

I can’t think of one particular moment, but poignancy usually surfaces when I’m alone, in nature, or reflecting on something from the past.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people and events?

It’s easier to share my true self than things about other people because myself is someone I’m more sure about : )

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

I would definitely prefer to read a book. I like talking to people in person, though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just up the road, How could I forget about these?, Yes, I admit to watching...

1. B. and I haven't had time to visit since the holidays, so I was excited about having a date for coffee and a chance to catch up. I arrived shortly after 10 to a beautifully set table, baked treats and a fire in the hearth. Three cups of coffee and five hours later, I reluctantly pulled myself away to head home. A sweet, indulgent way to spend this day.
2. I found Claire's Christening gown, packed away in the trunk since 1985. I haven't checked it in all these years and I was surprised to find the knitted sweater set that I had forgotten about. I was most pleased to see that these pure white items had not stained. I will take them with me to Raleigh this weekend for Mari to use when she is Christened.
3. Tess and I have been watching the beginning episodes of American Idol. I must say that Steven Tyler cracks us up. His sort of crazy, creepy, rock star image is softened when he leans over to Randy and whispers, "Don't tell people they're not good."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My heart rate goes up, Love is..., Winter holds on

1. The store has a garden and seed display out. Stacks of peat pots with their earthy smell stop me dead in my tracks. Oh, the smell of earth! My vision is clouded with clotheslines, green grass, blue skies and skittering clouds. Thank you, Dad for making me a gardener.
2. She's in 'my' kitchen again, doing the cooking thing. I back out and let her have the space, hanging out in the next room in case she has a question. Oh, the miraculous effects a boyfriend will have on an (almost) eighteen year-old girl : )
3. Schools are closed, events are canceled, so we snuggle in with a pot of soup and nothing to do.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ready for notes, Allowed out, She'll let it out tomorrow when it snows

1. We have a little, metal pencil sharpener that hones my pencil to a perfect point. A pencil like this makes writing a pleasure.
2. Henri and I resumed our daily walk today. We were both eager to stretch and breath some fresh air, so we went a little farther this time.
3. The day is a monotone gray. There is no movement in the air, and the fields and woods are very quiet. Mother Nature is holding her breath.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Poured in, Feeding the 5,000 (or 5), Summer in a box, More normal

1. A newly opened tub of Vaseline has ripples over its surface and I run my finger gently over the bumps.
2. There's always enough food for one more dinner guest and I am thankful for this provision.
3. Beautiful, large blueberries are offered at the market. A little bit pricey and obviously not local, but what a treat these will be for breakfast!
4. Audrey's first day back to work at the barn. She reports that her healed arm feels like a noodle, but otherwise no ill effects. She counted 15 new foals expected this spring! Shovels ready...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Face to the sun, Reading, If the walls could speak

1. Standing in the sunny, south-facing window and soaking up the warmth.
2. I spend most of the day reading. The book is titled, The Distant Hours and it's a hard one to put down.
3. Poking around an old farmhouse that's up for sale and imagining what used to be.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Innocent Humor, Corn Chowder, Bright Companion

1. Our evening's entertainment is an old black and white movie starring Will Rogers from 1935 titled, "Life Begins At 40". Steve laughed the whole way through.
2. Delicious Corn Chowder, so easy to make and very satisfying on a cold winter's night.
3. The full moon has kept me company on these long nights. It's still bright and cheerful as it sets behind the trees come morning.

Flu Season- It does get better

1. The bench next to my temporary bed holds everything I need: tissues, water, cell phone and remote : )
2. Earlier in the week, I heard a flock of birds overflowing in a nearby tree singing songs of spring. It wasn't just a dream.
3. Feeling relieved when morning has come after a night too miserable for sleep.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Help!, A tradition, She's full of surprises

1. My hairdresser listens and tries to help me with this hopeless hair of mine. It really helps to have someone sympathetic to my endlessly bad hair days.
2. Tess meets up with friends at the skating rink. I stay and watch for a while, remembering when we first taught our girls, one by one, to skate.
3. I return home after being gone all day and the sweet scent of baking greets me at the door. The daughter who rarely bakes has been busy and she smiles at my smile.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Black Angus, Long afternoon, Fading into laughter

1. Two new, black calves are in the field; a study in cuteness.
2. A different sort of Sunday afternoon where everyone is out for the day. What else to do but read and nap!
3. Many of us in the group complain of poor hearing, poor memory and tiredness. These deficiencies make for a comic group of folks as the evening wears along.

Hope is the Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bolting across my path, Sunshiny, Chelsea

1. A hawk spears through the air, yards in front of my windshield. Its wings are tucked tightly against its body as in a dive, head and beak focused straight ahead. Its form is strong and beautiful. My first impression? Now I see why they shaped hood ornaments like this.
2. Easter candy with all its pastel wrappers and cheeriness of spring.
3. Our second daughter celebrates her 24th birthday today!! I remember her lightning speed arrival into the world, naming her Chelsea because she was born in a harbor town within view of the sea, and how having a second baby strengthened the word family for us. Twenty-four years worth of memories and stories. We are blessed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Minute by minute, Satisfying, Cinnamon

1. At the same time every morning, I walk upstairs to wake Tess for school. This morning I noticed that the window shades had a little glow behind them from the sunrise. The days are definitely getting longer!
2. Our dinner is Western Omelets- onions, green peppers and little bits of ham sauteed then folded into an omelet with melted cheese. I prefer a simple,comforting dinner like this.
3. The house fills with the aroma of the Swedish Tea Ring that's baking. The first question each person asks as they arrive home is, "When can we eat it?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adorable, The lands of snow and wind, I'm out of here

1. Claire sends me a video of the baby. She is happy and smiling. My heart leaps toward the computer screen wanting to scoop her up with hugs.
2. My house is being buffeted by freezing, howling wind and 600 miles away Mom's house is in a blizzard . Yet we manage to have a nice chat on the phone, each of us in a warm, cozy spot.
3. Since he wants to use the kitchen, he hurriedly cleans up after dinner. All I have to do is walk away.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today?!Now?!, Peaceful, That's me

1. Cheeks flushed, hair askew, legs frozen, big smile; she's back in the saddle.
2. For a brief moment I think I should turn on the radio or listen to a book as I crochet. Nah, I prefer the silence. The monotonous movement of the hook and yarn allows my mind to wander all over the place.
3. Daughter says something to me at the dinner table and it ends with,"Mom". I snap my head up and say, "What did you call me?" Her eyes question the absurdity of my question and she replies, "Mom?" "I like the way you said it", I tell her. And I did. It was the round and full way she pronounced it that made it sound loaded...with something. Something good.


My kids pack lunches for school and they like to take lots of fruity things. We've been using these little plastic cups for yogurt, but today I decided to make fruited gelatin cups like the ones you can buy ready-made. They've gotten very expensive so I made our own. Theirs (in front) cost 75¢ each and mine cost 25¢ each.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Determined to make it so, First things first, Chasing the dark away

1. Book on my lap, yarn at my side, crochet hook in hand. I fumble through the pattern and begin to see a design take shape.
2. I fought The Battle of Piles today: laundry, ironing, paperwork. I won, but the victory is short lived.
3. Switching lamps on early, at 4 pm., chases away the winter deep.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Inside the globe, From nature and firends, Now reading...

1. The sky shook the snow down in fits and swirls. Today we lived in a snow globe.
2. From the kitchen I could hear the lathe and smell the walnut that Steve is cutting and shaping into a table for our growing family. The huge walnut log was given to us by a friend, the lathe borrowed from another friend and Steve's labor is...he'll kill me when I say, "free".
3. Scrapped the other book I was reading and started, Peace Like a River. Much better.

Playing with my Christmas gift

For Christmas, I received this cupcake kit. In typical Saturday fashion, I cooked and baked the day away, in preparation for Sunday lunch. I thought this kit adorable in the brown bag with the cellophane window, but it's even cuter displayed on the chocolate frosted cupcakes! (The gift-givers will get to eat them tomorrow :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

What we crave, Fred, At the end of the day

1. At the market, I choose Brussels Sprouts of uniform size from the display. I move on to green beans, tomatoes, red pears, and grapes. I am thankful that we can eat such fresh foods in mid-winter.
2. An elderly neighbor came by, looking for a mutual friend. He was involved in a horrible tractor accident last summer, yet here he stood in my kitchen, all healed and with a twinkle in his eye.
3. I felt chilled all day, so this evening I fixed a cup of hot coffee with a spot of Kahlua to warm me from the inside.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hubby in the kitchen, A new recipe, Party time

1. Chad stopped by this morning for my Carrot Cake recipe. He was baking one for Chelsea's birthday.
2. B. gave me this recipe for turkey meatloaf and it is delicious. I planned on serving four for dinner, but two and then three more plates were set as unexpected kids and friends arrived. I had exactly the right number of little, individual loaves to serve everyone.
3. The young folks invited us to the birthday party, which conveniently took place at our friend's house just down the road. (In the country, we consider 4 miles to be in the neighborhood.) There was a big crowd of the kids' friends, Chad's Carrot Cake was perfect and we didn't feel old at all.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm here, Satisfying, With a blanket

1. When Mom phones me, she calls, "Hello?" into the phone like I'm a million miles away.
2. Delicious beef minestrone for our winter dinner. Tender beef, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, celery, garbanzo beans, and macaroni in a tomato based broth. Served with Parmesan and breadsticks.
3. Settled in for the evening with a good book.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our neighbor, Winter walks, Goal #2 after the holidays

1. Mr. Mockingbird darts from shrub to shrub, one step ahead of me as I round the corner.
2. Henri and I go for a brisk walk. The little guy is so eager to explore, his energy is catchy.
3. I was a bit overwhelmed after I emptied all the glassware from the cabinets onto the counter top. Then I put on some music and got everything sorted out, cleaned and organized.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Empty house, First project for 2011, Sweet combination

1. Everyone went back to school and work today. As sad as we are to end the holidays, it feels good to have a routine back.
2. Sewed curtains for our bathroom. I made three tiny pleats along the bottom of some white linen fabric. The curtains are feminine and airy, adding a fresh touch to the window.
3. A little dish of Starbuck's vanilla frappuccino ice cream with slices of banana, stirred until slightly soft.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Music and lyrics, A pretty new home, Burgers

1. The music at church always inspires me. One of my favorites from today:
Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful,
Where Your streams of abundance flow.
Blessed be Your name.
And blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place.
Though I walk through the wilderness,
Blessed be your name.
Every blessing You pour out, I'll turn back to praise.
And when the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be Your glorious name.
Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me,
When the world's "all as it should be."
Blessed be Your name.
And blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering.
Though there's pain in the offering,
Blessed be Your name.
You give and take away, You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be Your name.

* Listen to the Newsboys version here.

2. Burgers on the grill. Not as good as Chad's, but summertime-good anyway!
3. We visited our old neighbors who have moved into their new house. Their home is lovely and I enjoyed catching up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Everyone does this, Dawdling outside, Tonight's dessert

1. Bringing in the new year with a burst of cleaning and organizing.
2. Mother nature has given us a wonderful hint of spring. Mild temperatures and the scent of wet earth give me urges to dig in the dirt : ) I can be patient...
3. The top of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The circles of pineapple centered with red cherries and the brown sugar caramel, crisping to chewiness around the edges.