Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Mess to Me/ A Feast to Others, Going, Sing to Me

1. The garden has gone to seed and has even begun sprouting some stuff over again. Yellow finches find a feast among the scraggly remains. I walk by the garden with a brief, taking-stock glance, and promise it a good clean-up when I return next week.
2. By afternoon, the sky has turned heavy and gray. Dotted against the bleak sky, dozens of birds take flight, gathering in more members as the flock whirls upon itself. They're getting ready, practicing their flight patterns for what is sure to come.
3. I've been playing catch-up on three days worth of laundry. At the last load of the day, I stay by the new machine and wait for it to finish rather than run back upstairs. Lo and behold, it plays a song when it's done! It's a happy tune and I laugh out loud at hearing it. I wondered, "Who is the person that thought of this?!" Does this make me want to do laundry? Yes!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Never Do This, Decisions, Short Order Cooking

1. When I woke up, the sky was light. I was startled at first and then pleasantly surprised at myself for sleeping until 7:00!
2. Gleaming white enamel, shiny chrome, buttons galore. We open, peek, turn knobs, take notes and say, "Hmph" a lot. (Our dryer broke down yesterday and we are forced to hunt.)
3. Our midday meal was a big breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and coffee. It was fun having a mixed-up day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Clean, Brown, New and Old

1. In keeping with the joy that all things clean and organized bring to me, Steve power washed the house. It makes a big difference. I think it may even sparkle.
2. I attended the monthly meeting of the Star City Brewers Guild with my member -husband. It was an all afternoon affair with food and taste testings along with a Baltic Porter competition. Steve was one of the judges and I got to spectate on the process. These people take their beers seriously. I liked the look of the tasting table. It was made of a large cable spool topped with all the different brown glass bottles that people brought to share.
3. We stopped to see Daughter #2's new apartment at The River House. I like the first line in the website's definition: "Nestled in a quiet historic neighborhood, a long neglected gem is once again bustling with life. Wasena's former Ice House is now home to a new breed of adventurer: the urban pioneer..." Yup, that's daughter and husband, urban pioneers.
3.a. Their front hallway is lined with racks from floor to ceiling with six custom bikes clipped into place. They make very nice wall art. Son-in-law works here: 611 Bikes
3.b. We ended the evening at Pop's for ice cream sodas. (I had German Chocolate cake and coffee.)
3.b.I.They're whispering about an appointment she and some friends have to see his hobby collection in the basement. I ask him what he collects and he secretively says, "Oh, just unusual things from ebay and such. Things from all around the world like a piece of manganese that someone gave me". She says she's heard rumors that some of it involves formaldehyde. I make her promise to call me and tell me all about it after she sees it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pretending and Remembering, Fun Errands, For Free

1. I commuted to Roanoke with the rest of my sleepy county at 8:00 this morning. I wished I was going to a job, but as I have no marketable skills (ha), I was on my way to volunteer as a patient for Daughter #3. I happily sang along to the Beatles White Album.

1.a. Every time I listen to this album, I vividly recall the Christmas of 1968. My sister received this album as a gift that morning and she played it for all of us on the stereo in our living room. The discussion centered around one controversial song in particular. My nine-year-old self asked, "What are they singing about, 'Why don't we do-do it in the road.'"? My mother's brilliant answer was, "They're talking about peeing in the road." I was clueless, but I didn't think peeing in the road was that bad. In my opinion, everybody was making a big deal out of nothing.
Still miss you sister!
2. I hoped Fresh Market would have currants and they did. I also discovered a new store called, "The Cook's Nook". They sell pastry boxes, catering supplies and all sorts of handy packaging material for homemade foods/gifts.
3. Steve returns home with another lime green, crushed velvet wing chair. Now we have a matching set! It sounds hideous but they're not that bad; they kinda grow on you... like mold. Given away for free by my daughter's neighbor in Raleigh, they are comfortable and will be spectacular with new slipcovers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where No One Sits, Psycho Weather Qu'est Que C'est?, By the Roots

1. The fact that it's been neglected makes it more beautiful.
2. Morning dawned in such bright contrast to yesterday. Two days couldn't have been more polar opposites.
3. What to do the day after we've had 2 to 4 inches of rain? Pull weeds! They came right up without a fight.

"You have made known to me the path of life."  Psalm 16:11

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shelter, The Serenade, Hello Sweet Pea!

1. The table lamps make the room cozy on this rainy, dark morning.
2. I go about my work, baking and puttering in the kitchen until this distracts me.
3.When Claire phones me, I can usually hear Mari in the background. Often, she will come to the phone to say, "Hi Nonni!".  My heart squeezes tightly whenever I hear her little voice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Up Before That Rooster, A Drink for the Earth, Cutting Circles

1. I got up at 3:30am. with Steve and made us coffee before he left on his early flight. I went back to bed later on, feeling a little guilty that I could do that and he couldn't. But still, it was really nice to go back to bed. : )
2. It started out misty, then it became foggy and now it's rainy. At least it came upon us slowly and let us get used to the idea.
3. I rummaged in the basement and found my tote full of wool felt. It's been years since I made a penny rug and the changing season has inspired me to make a small decorative one for the coffee table.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I have no idea why there's rooster in the woods. Maybe it escaped. Like in the movie, "Chicken Run", and now it roosts in the woods at night. Would a rooster do that?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Greeting the Day, Gardenias, Coming Home

1. Henri takes me outside at the break of dawn. (Dogs walk people, after all.) The chill morning forces open my groggy eyes and I become more aware of the beautiful start to this day. The sky is streaked with pinks and I hear a rooster incessantly crowing from the woods. Why is there a rooster in the woods? This thought puzzles me for the remainder of my time outside.
2. I've run over part of my miniature Gardenia shrub with the lawnmower. Afterwards, I prune it back to shape and bring a sprig into the house. A Gardenia's scent is so strong and sweet, some may think it's sickening. But I think it smells exotic and I keep going back to smell my sprig on the windowsill.
3.It's Homecoming weekend at the high school. Friends dress up with little fuss and mostly laughter.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bunny Love, Pretty Window, Over the River and Through the Woods

1. I am in love with this adorable door knocker we bought from Anthropologie. Chelsea originally showed this to me when we last visited Raleigh. She and Chad have bunnies, so I thought it would be fun to have this up. It's also a small memorial to their first beloved bunny, Ingrid, who sadly died recently.
2. There is a house in town with a lace curtain in the window. The lace is very pretty and I look for it whenever I drive by.
3. There were so many scents coming into the open car windows when we drove through the countryside tonight! Freshly mowed grass, dried hay, a camp fire, something incredibly sweet (?), damp river air, and a nasty fire of burning tires or something for which we had to hold our breath. All the good smells made up for the one bad one.
4. Steve happily poured one of his home brewed beers that he bottled specially for me. I'm not a beer drinker and he brews strongish beer, but the first half was very good while it was still cold.

My beer is in the cute little coke bottle.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Today in Photos, The Paths of Snails, People, Dogs and Tractors

Returning from our walk

The gnarly pear tree at the mailbox

At the back door
1. The glistening trail of the snail betrays its drunken, nighttime wanderings.
2. We had this Orzo with Chicken, Green Beans and Corn  as something easy and light for our dinner. The coarse salt is what really makes it perfect for me.
3. Henri and I both had a very happy walk. He was lost in his world and me in mine, together.
4. When I look toward the vineyard, bright, reddish-orange things glint in the sun and catch my eye. They have something floating just above the grape vines to scare away birds maybe? Dozens of merry, shining foil reflections flicker in sun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

He Says It was Laid by the Smallest Chicken, Al Fresco, Lost in Ancient Rhyme

1. J. generously brings us eggs each time he comes for dinner. On Sunday, we all huddled around the carton to peer inside at this wonder egg. Tonight I will cook some, but not the big one...yet.
2. The screened porch is finally pleasant at the dinner hour. Not too hot, not too sunny, just right for a relaxed meal all by myself. (A frittata, of course!)
3.We began a study of the Psalms tonight. I'm familiar with these, I've read them for years, but to delve deeper and study them is like returning to a lost love. To glimpse the magnitude of what these ancient poems and songs contain; we have only scratched the surface and I am left speechless. Psalm 22, written by King David hundreds of years before Jesus' death and yet...so amazing! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today, New Favorites, It Will Be Beautiful

1. This perfect September day feels rare and valuable. I think earnestly on how to best spend it. I shouldn't waste one golden minute so I begin to make plans for its entirety. Then I remember another perfect September day eleven years ago. The same clear blue sky, brisk morning air; a day also full of promises. Perhaps the best way to spend at least part this picture-perfect day is by observing it. Rather than grab at it, I'll take it out, look at it and appreciate what I'm holding.
2. I am loving these "boyfriend jeans"! They're loose and comfortable and fun to wear. I enjoy fashion, but I am so beyond making myself uncomfortable in order to look good.
3. He tells me his client has ordered 4000 pansies. Can you imagine! "They want their garden to look good year round.", he says. "Well, mine looks good in May.", I offer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Northern Air, Foreign Land, Busy Bees Everywhere

1. An inspirational change occurred in the form of a cold front. I walked up the hill, faced north, took a deep breath of fresh air and said thank you to Canada.
2. The mowed fields change the appearance of the landscape. Everything feels wide open and clean- cut.
 3. At the end of the row was honey from our local group of beekeepers. Each one looked, felt and tasted different even though they were all produced in the same county. Some had hints of lemon, cinnamon and other fruits, whatever the bees had foraged.

One beekeeper traveled the world and brought back samples.

Our local honey was my favorite.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

With Prayers, Crossed Fingers and a Little Luck, Made a Day Ahead, A Long Drive to Greece,

1. The challenge is given: Find a dress for the homecoming dance at the last minute. I dread these shopping excursions with all my heart and soul. When we left the mall, we were able to shout, "We came, we shopped, we conquered!"... Amen.
2. This one recipe is set apart from my hundreds of others in that it's not contained in a book or a magazine or a website. I haven't even typed it into my recipe binder via Microsoft Word. It remains on an old, stained index card that I prop up on the counter every time I use it. I have it memorized, but I prop it up anyway. It's my grandmother's recipe for spaghetti sauce and meatballs. The aroma of the sauce getting started is the best in the world- onions and garlic simmering in olive oil.
3. We enjoyed a delicious home-cooked Greek meal at Steve's boss's house. They are gracious hosts  and the evening is entertaining and relaxing.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New Pattern, Feel the Clean, Classic

1. It's hard not to notice the absence of birdsong each morning. It seems the crows and mockingbirds are the only ones filling the void and they are both extremely loud and bossy. Now and then the mockingbirds will break into beautiful song right outside the screened porch. These songs fill the kitchen with a sharp, clear melody that causes me to forgive all their wrongs.
2. Our bedroom has been cleaned from top to bottom. It doesn't appear any different on the surface, but I know it is deep down clean and this makes the room appear more attractive to me. Is that possible?
3. Tess opted for albums over CD's after dinner and I was happy to oblige. I'm glad that our girls enjoy my generation's music- pops, scratches and all. We played Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, and Derek and the Dominoes. (I instructed her that everyone should know "Layla") The very last song we played was this beautiful gem:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mud-puddling, Moss and Lichen, Goodreads

1. Pastel yellow butterflies congregate on the mud. They dart and flutter when I pass by. An especially deep yellow one loses its way and follows me up the driveway.

2. Man's (and animal's) basic act of storing up for winter. We don't need this wood, but our instinctive nature makes us feel good that it's there, that we are somehow prepared for winter's harshest blast.
3. I finished reading Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. I loved this story. It's the very simple telling of the quiet, private life of a small town barber. Deeply soulful and poetic, the characters are rich and unforgettable.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Still Giving, Dinner from Found Ingredients, Something for Nothing

1. The garden is still offering tomatoes and basil. I happily filled the colander with this unexpected gift.

2. I saw this recipe in my Ina Garten cookbook and thought it perfect for dinner since it used what I found in #1. The weather has returned to warm and humid so this was a satisfying meal for most of us. (Steve had a leftover burger on the side.) I halved the recipe and it made enough to serve four.
3. I went to the deli to order Boar's Head chicken breast to use in lunches this week. The clerk gave me three packages of exactly what I was going to order in free samples!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Transformed, Imagining, Stop Being a Horse and Eat Your Peas

1. The house next door is a rental house, thus it has taken a beating and has been a bit neglected over the years. The newest tenants have turned it into a home, landscaping the yard and planting trees. Today they completed the foundation plantings. Where previously sat a lost and forlorn structure now sits a cozy cottage.
2. We completely empty our master bedroom and first floor spare room in preparation for the carpet cleaner. With our bedroom empty, it's easier to imagine the possibilities. I fetch the tape measure to see what we might be able to rearrange. I've decided I prefer the room empty.
3. I catch *someone* galloping around the empty room on all fours with the dog. Some things never change. : )

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Needed That, With Blue Cheese Burgers, Doc Martin

1. After staying up late dancing last night there was no little sofa nap for me today. I needed a complete, in-the-bed nap. It was perfectly luxurious.
2. The children we expected to be here are not and those we didn't expect, are. We have an intimate dinner for four with Daughter #3 and her boyfriend. I was so refreshed after my nap that I made fried onion rings, which were a big hit.
3. Season 5 of the Doc Martin series is available on Netflix instant view! I watched two episodes tonight. (It appears they've taken seasons 1-4 off, which is disappointing. I would watch them all again.)

"My chains are gone, I've been set free. My God my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood, His mercy reigns. Amazing love, amazing grace."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Solitude, Multitude, Cleaning Up After Both

1. For three hours I was alone on the hill, talking to myself and to God. Down on my hands and knees, in the dirt, sweat pouring down my back, lost in time. A few times I stood up, as though coming up for air, and surveyed the surrounding hills. At some point, time became a reality and it bore down on all my other thoughts. The spell was broken. I stepped back and remembered how addicting pulling weeds can be.
1.a.. Shower Number One was very refreshing.
2. Country barn dance tonight! Over 160 people showed up which made this a really good time. D.'s family and friends provided the bluegrass music and Scott Sarver was again our excellent caller. (He always dresses in period attire and I loved his straw hat tonight.) Older folks and little ones, men in bib overalls and ladies fanning themselves sat and watched from their chairs while the dance floor maintained one hundred dancers whirling, clapping and laughing.
3. An old gent in bib overalls and plaid shirt waltzes with a young lady, perhaps his daughter.
2.b. Shower Number Two is even better than Shower Number One. It was really hot at the dance.