Monday, April 14, 2014

In the full moonlight...



Oh, my...  Would you take a look at the moon picture sent to me by my son!?! Is it not fabulous? I have told you before in this blog how absolutely crazy I am about the moon... I honestly simply adore it... That's all.. Tonight is a full moon... A total eclipse... A pink moon...  The willow moon... The wind moon... And the tree moon, I think... And someone said a blood moon...? All I know, it's a "drop dead gorgeous" moon!

Can you feel the magic all around us? Blessings, gifts, tumult, and tears. In other longer-ago days, on a full moonglory night such as this, you would find me out on the country roads, parked in my Daddy's field... outside on my cedar deck, or bathed in golden beamed  moonlight as I slept in a beautiful eastern bay window.... Here at Mom's, I promised her not to go do such wild, irresponsible things... So this remarkable photo from my son is a pure gift, proof he remembers the nights his crazy mom packed his sleepy tail in our T-bird, and sashayed all over the county, windows open, both of us hooping and laughing at the moon... Our moon.  His text with this photo read, "Oh, dat moon!"

I dance tonight in these freezing temperatures (yes, hard freeze, 26°, predicted tonight). But I probably will dance alone, in my memories...  Of course, if I'm going to use memory, magic, and moonlight to dance... I might as well conjure up a partner in crime... Would it be my first crush? My first love? Someone dear,  My sweetie from afar? A mysterious Mr. Perfect from the future? My daddy? Oh, my wonderful grandfather driving around the farm on a grey, Ferguson tractor in the moonlight...  Mom? or my grandmothers? It could be some wonderful girlfriends... We have torn up the hills a time or two... Or my wonderful only little boy in that old T-bird? All good choices, don't you think? Luckily, just this once, I'm taking them all.

We are, in sure fact, a part of all that we have been. Woven by experience, charmed by memory's forgiving grace, blessed beyond comprehension... To the Heavenly Father, who did INDEED hang the moon, my thanks.


Whimsy and Hugs!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dreamin'

Saturdays... No trips today to scan the beauty...  But a lovely salad and fresh Ravioli? Yes, please...

Our kitchen has been busy with cranberry salads, Molasses Cookies, chicken 'n rice casserole... And my new passion, lemon-water....  In my mind, I pour it from one of those awesome crystal beverage dispensers... The glasses are vintage Fostoria pink... One or two yellow and calico kitties dance happily about the floor before snoozing in kitty cat fashion in front of the electric fireplace... I'm serving little cupcakes with piped cream and blueberries... Cloth napkins, but of course! I have a bouquet of Princess Diana white roses on the table.....  Whoa!!!  What's in this water? Wacky juice?

Our kitchen hippity hops for Easter.... Livin' the dream.....








Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Flirting...

It's the funniest year ever...  Already little jonquils have stuck their pretty yellow faces in our view, and yet the air has a chilly core to it, nights are still in the 30's, and even the sunshine is welcome, but tentative.

Everyone seems completely giddy for warmth, more than I ever remember, as if winter had bullied us and stolen part of our confidence.

I'm one who desperately tries to let the weather be...whatever it is, it is... Since it's a natural force beyond all human control...  But as an observer of behavior, a teacher, it's something I do by habit...observe people.   And I'd say Missourians and several others are kowtowing to the zephyrs and squalls, frosts and first attempts at flirting with Lady Spring... She's playing hard to get.

I'm happy Easter comes later this year, so we have plenty of time to enjoy the presence of bunnies, little fuzzy chicks, and frosted eggs. Here are some of the little creatures who have decided to flitter, hop, and creep into all the nooks and crannies here in the living room at Meadow Lane. They have invaded the entire house, but I'll save the rest of them for another day...


















Mom has been battling some wicked knee pain, and I finally was tagged by the obnoxious flu bug who bit almost all my friends through the winter...  Not floored, but definitely glad for the days free to stay home with Vick, my one true love. Vick... Oh, Vick.... You know him too...  Mr. Victor Vaporrub.......  Bwaaa haaa haaa!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Sweet Chili Morning...

A "Chili" April morning...  Nothing seems more appropriate today than a pot of Sweet Chili Soup, an age-old recipe handed down from my grandmother. I realize all kinds of chili are amazing, and I have a a Goalpost Chili recipe I really love for parties and holidays.  But for a morning such as this, Mom and I enjoy her mother's version, a much thinner, sweeter soup. I suspect the origins fell through the cracks of the Great Depression because this soup takes only two cans of beans, one pound of ground beef, and the rest vegetables,  juice, and even three cups of water...  Oh, and brown sugar...  Holy cow!

I have tweaked it a little, adding ingredients and increasing the hamburger... I add a signature skillet of chopped onion and celery, browned and cooked to a gossamery translucence...

I eat mine with peanut butter between saltines, dropped right in the soup... No doubt a shout-out to the years of school lunch menus with peanut butter sandwiches and chili. And I also invoke my sweet daddy's practice of a couple tablespoons of sweet pickle vinegar stirred right into the soup. I realize this sounds down right odd, if not awful to some of you, but...


Some might say they miss the beans. I agree... I think a person could add more or less of anything!  It's a thinner soup, best enjoyed with a side memory of my gramma's cheerful, pink kitchen...... White sheer cottage curtains starched and charmed, dark red linoleum, pink enamel cabinets... And most important of all, a little, five-foot-nothing personification of fierce gramma love. Mom and Daddy laughing, Paw-paw and my dad just coming in from an afternoon at the barn... Rosy filled faces and happy hearts....

Aw... I bet I could just heat up a "bucket of saltwater" and conjure up that memory... And that "saline and H20" would be the perfect cold morning soup...
______________________

Sweet Chili Soup

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned, crumbled, drained ( if needed)
1 large can tomato juice
2 cans crushed tomatoes.
                (If you have whole, just squeeze and smush in a fist.... My Mom and a Gramma used
                  home cold-packed tomatoes...  Moment of silence, please for that kind of tomato.)
3 c. Water
2 medium cans chili beans
One whole onion and two ribs celery, (chopped small, browned and translucent-simmered in
            either  the pan drippings or a drizzle of olive oil. I prefer the olive oil)
2 T. Chili powder
1/4 c. Ketchup ( one long, good squeeze)
1 heaping T. Beef soup base, or a little beef bouillon.  Watch out for saltiness!
(Look away, avert your eyes... ) 1/2 c. Brown or white sugar.  More than that maybe...
Salt, pepper to taste.... In fact,
Adjust all seasonings to taste...

Simmer... simmer
Dip, dip....
Serve with cheese bread, crackers, peanut butter?
Remember something warm and fuzzy from childhood

Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What is Now? ......

I struggle with all kinds of temporal realities. Then, now, yesterday and tomorrow all live together in the deepest sanctuary of my soul. I am not sure when or why I slammed most of my doors closed and locked them snap-shut, tucking the key carefully and enjoying the view to my life through windows and portals constructed to keep a whole lot of things from bothering me. "I'm in my own little world."

That seclusion of the spirit lends itself to the sparkling of the mundane, cleaning, polishing, planning small changes (and large!) to the daily surroundings. I don't think Cinderella had it too bad BEFORE she became the Princess... But, oh my goodness! I'm sooo slow. Little Prissy in Gone with the Wind was probably faster than I am... That's why in one solid week I've done half of two rooms... Maybe in Magical Housekeeping Math that makes a whole room?

I ordered new white curtains and a new braided rug for the living room, I tucked almost all my Easter finery here and there, and here I go for round two.  Mom has 9+ rooms... Whether it be today, yesterday, or tomorrow, it might suit me best to kick it a little. I just find my poor little mind out wandering alone, and the chances are it needs some shelter from the cold.

Have a wonderful week. Watch out Tuesday for April Fools!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

If you bake it...they will come




If you bake it, they will come.    I love drop in company. Now, that's not to say I'm usually very prepared. I have noticed that when my house is rather spiffy...nobody, I mean nobody shows a face.  If I'm all dumped out in the throes of some mess... Such as yesterday and today... Knock! Knock!

I tend to move in quarters of the room, cleaning and rearranging a little. All my incoming little Easter goodies are mingling with the departure bound St. Patrick's Day clutter treasures on the tarmac corner of my dining table terminal...  I really needed to push forward today...not to stop and bake.


But this morning I saw a recipe on Facebook for this beautiful cake. Pantry check. Miracle. We had everything. So I did stop and bake. While the pretty cake was just cooling, we heard a quick knock ..... and a friend popped in.  She was a Doll Club friend who had moved away a couple years ago. How totally groovy...  Surprise friend+warm cobbler/cake....  A little cannel of vanilla bean ice cream....  Yay!




(This beautiful corner once belonged to me... It is one of the few pictures I can find of my home across the meadow....)

All arriving and departing decorations, plus all custodial activities....came to a little halt to resume later. Then I postponed them until the rainy day tomorrow...





In case you haven't made this in a while, here's the yummy recipe!




Dump Cake

Ingredients:
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice, undrained
1 can Comstock® Country Cherry
1 package Classic Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine


Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 13"x 9" pan.
2. Dump in the can of pineapple with juice into pan. Then add the pie filling. Spread evenly.
3. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over cherry layer.
4. Sprinkle pecans over cake mix.
5. Dot with butter.
6. Bake for 50 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Serve it warm or at room temperature.





P.S.   My wonderful idea to scour out the candle jar and re-use it for Easter eggs went bad after three days. The candle was a "Fresh Linen Keepers of the Light"... Very highly oiled and scented. I had soaked it and scrubbed it, but... I guess the lid being on brought back the residual scent.... The scent (and taste!!!) came back today when I served a piece to my sister/cousin who dropped in tonight. 
So..... Not card worthy...

Ewwwww! 
Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Be Kind to Yourself, they say. . .



Mysterious, halting.. First nothing, then perhaps.. Then oh, yes! Green fields of wheat shout it loudly that one season we have been begging to arrive... She's finally almost here. Shhh! I did hear the forecast for snow on Wednesday!

Busy days here at our house. We have had a nice number of friends come visit us for coffee, for pizza, for any kind of visit.  Mom and I had a day trip to see her doc, which resulted in a good report... And my son took a weekend away at a wilderness event...

My thoughts have turned to Spring cleaning... And not a moment too soon! Is there anything more revealing than sudden sunshine through windows long camouflaged in frost and cloud..?

Time to spiff out the Blue Belle Mrs. Meyers ... The citrus wet jet swiffer, the lovely, signature, almond-scented waxing spray from Method.    Now, I have a long-documented love affair with cleaning products...  I love to clean, to strip to the bare and scrub up and out. But do I regularly do that? Um...no. Not so much. So I ask myself why????! Then I remember a list of selfcare rules which admonished me to be very kind to myself. Be my own dear friend, it said. Well, I would never beat up a friend about her "little lapse" in Homecare....  So....

Hey, the Easter candy is here. Just being super kind and friendly....Offer myself a Cadbury? Oh, and a little Reese's egg....?

Don't mind if I do!

Hmm... So, that's the way it goes.

Ahem! Spring Cleaning starts tomorrow. For yes, Katie Scarlett, Tomorrow IS another day.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Morning Candles...

Up before dawn, listening to the rain, reading a little... Then that unmistakeable bump, jolt... Plunge into total, absolute darkness. We had no power for a little over an hour. One excellent bonus of charging my phone and iPad and kindle fire right by the bed is the available light from a lit screen. I grabbed the little lantern and took it in to Mom, lit umpteen candles throughout the kitchen, living and dining rooms... And listened to a frosty wind hurling itself against the house.

The outage was brief, current soon restored, and back into the calm morning rituals that begin each day...  The time without power was, since it's over, lovely, charming... Good for the spirit...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Time.. The '72 Luncheon.. And opening those eyes...

Photos from google image
***********
Great insight and revelation take a lot of time. I'm sure the passing of time from four decades sounded astronomical to one Missouri teen in the early 1970's. She would never have given a thought to approaching sixty years old. She was far too sure of herself in those impossibly short skirts, the knee boots, and fishnet stockings. Swaying through a crowded corridor toward narrow beige lockers.. A special someone waiting at the corner of the stairs to walk with her to the next class... Football mums and long bus rides in the dark to cheer a team of Macon Tigers...


And then we wait. First comes love, and then comes marriage.. And then we find for some a baby carriage. And then, we wait some more. In movies the film cuts blur, etching the seasons, quick cuts of night and day, sunrises and red-rimmed twilights all passing in rapid, staccato flashes... In life, time passes differently.


For me at least time has been a series of startled awakenings to find myself suddenly older, often wiser but sometimes sadly not. To everything, turn turn, turn.  My baby disappeared into a wonderful young man who calls me Mom. And around me in town I wave at classmates and wonder why they look old! In the mirror, if I smile just right and flip my hair... She's still there, that girl from the lockers.

Today marked the fifth or sixth monthly luncheon for girls from Macon Class of 1972. We meet at a local restaurant for a couple of hours. For some of us, it's the first time to reconnect and spend any time at all with those we once knew so much better than we knew ourselves. I sat between my beloved college roommate and a darling girl who had torn us apart by moving away the summer after her junior year. She drove hundreds of miles to visit, to laugh. Also at the round table, my dear lifelong friend. The two of us started together in first grade in Excello school, a one-room remnant consolidated to Macon our eighth grade year. I laughed with my long time soul mate, a girl I have kept close contact with through all our births, Beth Moore studies, sadnesses, and joys. And the adventurous spirit gurgled forth from one who consistently pushes the wings of fate...zip lining, shopping in costume with her daughters.
And one more, my dear friend who had lived in a huge, fashionable home, who turned 60 yesterday ---whose son sent her 600 roses for that milestone birthday because he couldn't be with her from New York... 



And we laughed, good crazy laughter that twinkled and erased any nasty traces of age. We hugged. A couple of us cried because after all these years, some dear parents, siblings, and loved ones had gone on... But mainly as I looked around us, I loved seeing the smiles. Nice people all. Sometimes the conversation turned to darker truths.. Past marriages for a few, untimely illness and death in the family  for a couple more. Certainly a knowledgable look between us when we mentioned the immeasurable sadness of watching our own children through breakups of the heart. Boob reductions... A new engagement for one who had tragically lost her husband a decade ago to cancer.  "I want to be married barefoot." She sparkled... And it was all good.
Nobody felt the need to tell her that was unusual... Or to run off and be married barefoot ourselves. It sounded perfect...

I guess we came about as close to mutual respect, acknowledgement, and acceptance as any seven disparate alumni can feel. I admit I was a little timid to go. I told Mom I had made too many bad choices, had too much arthritis, didn't think I would fit in to their lifestyles... I had the idle wish to contract a little flu bug so I could skip the shyness and self condemnation I thought I'd feel... Your typical excuses.

But magically by mutuality of heart, we all fit. The athlete, the happy wives, the florist, the race track vendor, the fiancée, the cutie bug, the nurses, the news writer, the grammas, the singles, the divorcees, the barbecue judge, the zip liners, the caregivers, the yarn spinners... The girls of '72, And me...  What a good day to "turn around," wake up from the mist of life, and smile.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Seasons Gently Tapping...

First, a huge thank you to all my blogging friends who commented here and wrote such kind things on my last post. Your comments are truly a soothing influence to my spirit.

Over the Midwest, we are throwing our arms out in a literal embrace of today's 73° weather. I drove Mom around for the first time in forever, and we turned wild, happy, -----goofy for the sunshine. It's hard to remember a longer-feeling winter, but with March midway, the blossoms are coming and the snow (predicted for tonight, unfortunately) will not have a chance at the longevity of earlier frosts. And that's a big smile for that!




As the dark, cozy throws and lantern displays yield to lighter, floral views, it's time for the Spring cleaning, salad suppers, and front porches again. And, surprisingly enough, this old housecat is down with that! I'm ready to dig in the dirt... (Not my usual stand on outdoor life). Let's hope the mood continues. Heaven knows, the poor gardens and borders could use some love.



I so enjoyed your comments about favorite childhood toys and gifts. Maybe you would like to
share a dream you have for outdoor life this summer. Mine? Simply to have one.. To spend some evenings and mornings working and reveling in some long-ignored nature. Only a few days until Spring! Hallelujah!

Oh, what a sight to watch the flocks of geese pausing in a moment.to tiptoe and waddle around on the last of the Lake ice...

Post Script:

I seriously wish you could sit with me tonight. I have lit my candles and turned out the lamps. Outside a blustery icy rain has dipped the thermometer to the thirties... And I am sitting here grinning like the cat who ate the canary. Whenever it's simply nasty, and dark, and the sound of sleet hits the wooden casements and glass windows... I love it... March... October... Spring and Fall...  Mercurial changes that echo the flimsy, fragile opinions that I toss about like leaves against the gales...  I must have loved the barren moors, the icy glens...  Or something like that!