Monday, March 31, 2014

*Sigh*, I Joined Them for a Little Bit, What to Wear...

1. I had an hour to sit in the car while Tess took her piano lesson. I relished the opportunity to read my book. It's been that busy these days.
2. The guys sat on the porch tonight rather than shoot pool in the basement.
3. We're in that in-between season where neither winter nor summer closet fits the weather. I feel challenged with my wardrobe and when I find an appropriate outfit, it feels like I've jumped one more hurdle. C'mon sandals and skirts weather!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Soft Air, A Different Landscape, Waiting It Out

1. It's foggy and rainy, but it's the warm kind of rain that smells like spring.
2. I had to do a double take when I glanced out the window. It's suddenly so green out there! All the buds are swelling on the flowering shrubs and trees.
3. Steve finally makes it home after hours of delays to get a flight. He is without his suitcase and he doesn't seem to mind, so long as he made it home.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Making Us Laugh, Wish I Could Laugh, Smiling

 1. Tess and I found this ridiculously funny, British TV show on Netflix called The IT Crowd.
 2. Ugh. It's so good to get that off my back. Taxes.

3. Another "winging it" dinner tonight. This time it was these delicious banana pancakes. (Steve wasn't here to eat the bananas this week so, we had too many.) We served them with this amazing maple syrup. It was sealed with a cork and wax.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Walking is the Destination, Sweet Marie, Planning
1. Countless times throughout my life I've gazed at a spot off in the distance and thought, "How nice it would be to walk there." Only a few times, and that was in childhood, have I done it. When I saw Chelsea's photo today, I realized she's actually doing it...picking a spot and walking to it. And suddenly I'm daydreaming and not getting ready for work.
2. It's a small gesture meant to console, someone gently rubbing your shoulder. It means a lot.
3. It the end of a weary day and I have one more meeting of business to attend. But, this one is with lady friends at church so it doesn't feel like work at all. With five women, ten hands, and generous spirits, we all toss in our creative contributions and the plans are a snap.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Falling, Rustling Up Some Grub, White on Yellow

1. It was a most beautiful snow, everyone agreed. It fell softly and steadily for the entire day.
1a. It began right after school started and ended right before school let out. So we were able to put in a school day's work and everyone still stayed safe.
2. Steve is away so Tess and I winged it for dinner (and watched TV). These are sometimes the most excellent meals. Tonight we had egg-a-muffins; bacon, fried eggs, and American cheese on a toasted English muffin.
3. The daffodils are blooming everywhere. They're still very pretty wearing cloaks of snow.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thai Chicken, Calculating, Wildlife

1. It was one of those rare Saturdays when Steve and I shared the kitchen. He got most of the space and I got two feet because he needed it more than me. I liked working side by side, somewhat choreographing our movements.
2. We took a nice walk during this brief break of spring weather. Around here, the houses are numbered according to the number of miles up the road it is placed. For example, a house numbered 4025 is four and a quarter miles up the road. It made it easy to calculate how many miles we walked.
3. The fields are full of deer each morning and evening. I counted twenty-one this morning.
3a. The yard has also been filled with birds. They all appear nice and chubby: robins, cardinals, chickadees, finches, mockingbirds, mourning doves, and a woodpecker!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Night Light, Fruit Cravings, Everything Bagels

1. The moon is waning, but not so much that it doesn't light up the night. When I first wake each morning at five, I stand at the window and look up at the moon. There are always two prominent stars and sometimes scattered clouds. I start the day wondering...

Face of the Spring Moon
Kobayashi Issa

                                                           Face of the spring moon—
                                                           about twelve years old,
                                                           I'd say.

2. There are all kinds of berries on sale at the market...and grapes. I bought a pineapple and a watermelon, too.
3. Steve arrived home from his trip and brought us some exceptional bagels. I'll have to eat two breakfasts tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Until Next Year, Good to Go, Gone!

1. I say it out loud and let it roll off my tongue, "Today is the last day of winter."
2. I think I found the secret for getting out of the mechanic's quickly. When I called to make an appointment to have my car inspected, the guy hesitated to give me the 11:30 slot. He said it was cutting it close to lunch. I took it anyway. They had me in and out of there very quickly. I suppose they wanted to go to lunch.
3. Daughter #4 said she was having her lovely, very long tresses cut short. I was anxious about seeing her new "do" for the first time in case it was awful. (You know these ideas can turn disastrous.)
It turned out to be amazing! I feel compelled to keep looking at her because she looks like an entirely different person.

Monday, March 17, 2014

We're All a Wee Bit Irish Today!, Twigs and Flowers

1. Steve's step-grandmother was entirely of Irish descent. Many years ago, she gave me this diminutive set of Irish ware that she picked up on one of her travels to Ireland. I treasure them because they remind me of her. I love the little shamrocks and the pretty shades of green.

2. They share the spotlight with the spice bush branches that B. and J. gave me from their property. I do like twigs, but these will be more than that. They're going to bloom into yellow blossoms that B. says smell good, too. Think spring!

 3. It's a day of contrasts. It looks bleak out the window to my left, but very cheery when I turn to my right, toward the kitchen table. That is where I put Audrey and Jared''s bouquet.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Man Can Cook, Loved, At A Standstill

1. Steve cooked! He laid out his ingredients to assess what size pot to use. (He ended up using a 9 gallon pot.) See the pepperoni sticks on the right? They're my favorite ingredient in corned beef and cabbage.
1a. I was sincerely blessed by all the birthday wishes. I'm humbled that so many good and kind people call me their friend.
2. Claire and Daniel drove all the way here just to celebrate.
2a. Mari lets me hug and kiss her all I want. I don't think she loves it, but she is tolerant and I admire her for it.
3. Our power went out at the onset of the ice storm this evening. The kitchen was piled with dirty dishes- practically every dish, glass, and utensil we owned. They became invisible and therefore nonexistent in the darkness, to be dealt with in the morning. Steve and I sat by candlelight for two hours, watching it snow and listening to the quiet.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Heart Beds, Graffiti, Nice Day for a Walk...Except...

1. Steve designed and built these twin-sized beds in 1989 for our two oldest daughters. They were toddlers at the time and we wanted beds with sides. All four of our daughters have used them over the years. Today we set them up in our newest spare room (vacated by the marriage of Daughter #3) for the grandkids' visits.

 This is how it looks with a new mattress. Mattresses were thinner in the '80's and didn't come up so high.

2. Imagine our smiles when we found this graffiti on the underside of one of the beds. We immediately knew which daughter was the artist since it involved horses and the letter "A".
3. We took advantage of this beautiful day and walked with Henri on the three-mile loop. Aside from being attacked by a pack of three dogs, it was a pleasant walk.

*It was a viscous attack and Steve had to kick the dogs to get them off Henri and his own leg. I yelled and screamed at the top of my lungs before their owner opened her door and called them off. I was mad as heck because this is the same house whose dog bit our eldest daughter several years ago. We've called animal control before and nothing changes and these people still let their dogs run loose. What to do???

Friday, March 14, 2014

As Told By Mom, That Time of Year, Goodreads

1. My mom tells me she was so happy the day I was born and she starts crying. Then I make her laugh because, as I recall, I was a terror and a handful from the get-go. I'm glad she only remembers the good stuff.
1a. I used to bring her bouquets of daffodils every March. They were bright and cheery on a late winter's day and dirt cheap. They were also long lasting in water. Today, I sent her a bunch for old times sake. She was very happy : )
2. By chance, I ran across a PBS television program about hiking the Appalachian Trail. It's a special during their spring fund drive. It's a little hokie in places (oops, do people use that term down here?) but otherwise interesting, providing a great overview of the hiking experience.
3. Sitting in my chair by the window, reading another book, I thought, "How happy I am when I know there's a book waiting for me to read." This is truly one of my favorite past times.
I just started One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. (I'm not sure what I think of it yet. I have mixed feelings, but I'll keep reading...)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Warm, Apple Wood, Measles?, She's Warm Too

1. I'm enveloped in the warmth of my down coat and a scarf today. Wow! It got cold.
2. Sadly, the ancient apple trees that line one side of the property are slowly dying and blowing down. Another one came down in the dreadful wind today and landed on the horse fence. This evening, Steve took his chainsaw to it and I helped pile it. The apple wood smelled really good as it was sawed. We carried an armful of dead and dry logs inside for a fire. They smelled good all over again as they burned.
2a. I couldn't imagine why my face had red blotches all over it. I thought I had contracted some terrible disease. Then I remembered being out in the biting wind and I realized my skin was windburned. I was relieved : )
3. A quick text from Chelsea telling me she was at a shelter and they had a fire going, so she was warm enough. Now I can sleep.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In From the Cold, A Rough Week for Some, Feeding the Multitude, A Zero Day

1. I couldn't bear to leave these little dears to freeze at the front doorstep. The north wind is pounding at the windows and shaking the house.
2.Tess and I drove out to Vinton to pick up her car from Audrey's house. We knew no one would be home which made it more fun to leave a little surprise at their front door. Muffins! : )
3. Yeah. There's a huge thirteen pound hunka beef brisket in the refrigerator.
4. Chelsea phoned and we had a long chat! She ran into the daughter of a fellow blogger from Boston/Vermont on the trail. We marveled at what an amazing thing technology is, how it shrinks (or enlarges, depending on how you look at it) our world. We discussed the 'six degrees of separation" thing and now she just needs to meet Kevin Bacon on the trail. (We like actor Kevin Bacon!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

With Sunshine, Coming Up, In It for the Results

1. The delivery guy is wearing shorts today. Now that I think about it, he also has a lighter spring in his step. The spring weather is infecting everyone... with smiles.
2. Steve says he has my birthday present, but all I see is a box that says, "Beef Brisket". I look at Tess and she shrugs her shoulders. We both laugh at the inference to Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory whose mother is always cooking brisket. I hope I'm not cooking beef brisket for my birthday.
2a. I try to stump Steve with a difficult question: "How old am I going to be?" Without looking at me, he smiles and answers, "Double nickels".
3. I tell the chiropractor, in a friendly way, that it's nothing personal but I really don't like coming to him. He smiles. I'm glad we have this understanding.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

I enjoy this author for the simplicity of her stories and her characters' commentaries on life in general. Here is one of my favorite passages from this title, which I finished today. My favorite memory is the same.

From A Lantern in Her Hand  by Bess Streeter Aldrich

“What memories do you have Grandma?”
“I have many…my little girlhood days when Chicago was a village…the three weeks’ journey from Illinois to Iowa…the fun in the Big Woods behind my sister Janet’s house. I can shut my eyes and smell the dampness and the Mayflowers there. The old log school and then the new white one with the green shutters…my wedding…the trip from Iowa to Nebraska…There are many memories. But I’ll tell you the one I like to think of best of all. It is evening time here in the old house and the supper is cooking and the table is set for the whole family. It hurts a mother, Laura, when the plates begin to be taken away one by one. First there are seven and then six and then five…and on down to a single plate. So I like to think of the table set for the whole family at supper time. The robins are singing in the cottonwoods and the late afternoon sun is shining across the floor. Will, your grandfather is coming in to supper…and the children are all playing out in the yard. I can hear their voices and happy laughter. There isn’t much to that memory is there? Out of a lifetime of experiences you would hardly expect that to be the one I would choose as the happiest, would you? But it is. The supper cooking…the table set for the whole family…the afternoon sun across the floor…the robins singing in the cottonwoods…the children’s merry voices…Will coming in…eventide.”

Saturday, March 8, 2014

First Labors of Spring, A Fondness for Manure, Sending Love

1. Steve and I (mostly Steve) tackled the heavy job of pulling out three monster Barberry shrubs. While he used his truck and did the man-sized work, I trimmed and raked and cleaned up. At one point, he quipped, "Isn't this nice?!" That's what I always say, so it was funny to hear Steve say it. I agreed and said, "Yes. This is what I enjoy the most, to work outside, especially side by side."
2. I walked across the horse field with my eyes down, maneuvering the manure. I stopped to admire the huge cedar posts of the lean-to where I like to sit and daydream when I have the chance. "This is my field and my manure.", I thought to myself. I smiled at that happy thought, deeply thankful that it is so. 
3. Chelsea has left an address for a mail-drop later next week. I think of what we can send. We're to write on the package, "Please hold for thru hiker Chelsea. ETA 3/14/14".

Friday, March 7, 2014

Caring, You Guessed It, Promised, Celebs

1. The sweet innocence of a small child's prayers: Her father heard her say this as she pulled her blankets closer around her neck and closed her eyes, "And please help Aunt Chelsea be warm, just like me."
2. School was supposed to be closed today for teacher workshops. On Tuesday, the board decided to open it because we've missed so many days due to snow. Well, it snowed last night...and school was closed today. Oh, the irony.
3. The weekend forecast calls for sunny and mild weather so I walk the property to take stock of spring projects. The daffodil bulbs I planted last fall along the fence line are all poking through the grass. They kept their promise as I hoped they would.
4. Sketchy cell service from Chelsea won't allow a call, but it does allow a text. It began, "Guess what?!!!" She ran into the author of the last AT book I read by David "AWOL" Miller at a hiker hostel. She got his autograph and a photo. : ) 
*His book is one of the best among this subject, in my opinion.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy 21st Birthday!, Around the Corner Underground, Carded

1. We named her Audrey, which means noble strength. I think it suits her perfectly.

2.  I see those daffodil leaves poking up through the mulch. Brave harbingers of spring!
3. We'll join Audrey and Jared for a celebratory dinner and order a Margarita for the birthday girl. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whatever, Sticking Fast, Vanilla and Pearls

1. March can't make up its mind. It certainly keeps life interesting. It was 60° on Sunday followed by a snowstorm on Monday. We have to just go with it.
2. Have you ever licked your finger and then dipped it in sugar? All the landscape was first wet with rain, then sprinkled liberally with snow. The sugar-snow stuck to every weed, branch and twig. I'm driving through a confection.
3. Home made Tapioca pudding makes me very happy.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

High Spirits

1. It wasn't "Good-bye". It was, 'See you in April!".
2. Claire, Daniel, and the children drove Chelsea seven hours to the trail head, then hiked a mile up with her to see her off.
2.a. I am very thankful that all my daughters love, care for, and respect each other. When siblings are young, they fight and bicker and it makes a mother wonder how it will all turn out. 
3. An unexpected text! It ends, "Don't be worried! Everything is fantastic. I'm so happy to be here!!" (I take note of all the exclamation points.)
4. I glance out the windows as we sing this song in church. I see the mountains that Chelsea is walking and it all fits together. "Yes", I admit to myself, "I would do it too, if I were her."

Saturday, March 1, 2014

They Always Make Me Laugh While I'm Away

1. Whenever I'm away, I'm kept abreast of the goings-on back home via text.
Tess: "Dad's making beer and watching a Korean chick flick all at the same time." 

Steve's texts are in code and concern the dog, who had anesthesia the day prior and whose intestines were sluggish.
Steve: "Henri is back to normal."
Me: "Great!"
Steve: "Deuce"