Saturday, August 30, 2014

A little sip of Autumn. . .


Coffee weather is here! Time for football again, and the night locusts are squealing... Morning mists quietly meld the Summer's scorcher sun with its cozy Harvest counterpart. With a glance toward the huge tote in the corner, I am enjoying the thought of carefully placing some Autumnal accent pieces... Labor Day weekend, the official end of Summer.
I hope you enjoy the cooler days and chill in the nights. My favorite time of the year.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Popping in...

A dear friend reminded me today how long it has been since I last posted... I was surprised to see ten days have passed. Busy ones, I hope... Productive, I wish... Who am I fooling? Ten days filled with ... This and that, multi-directional thrusts that poke holes in the gentle ambiance of a life...

Even though we have recently had some of our warmest ! (Hot) days, it's clear we near the crisp Autumn days... Crickets do their chirpier songs, and wild creatures along the perimeter howl and scramble through the night. A beautiful owl always perches in a scrub of locust right outside my door, a sad little remnant left after some storm.

I think my son posted this on Facebook quite a while ago. Excellent advice.

Have a lovely Labor Day...

Monday, August 18, 2014

"A Tuft of Flowers" Kind of Day...

Had to share this shot! It's not mine...probably Pinterest, but I found it wandering on Facebook! I would love to do this for a teacher brunch... Or for some kind of sewing party.. Or house building? I dunno. Maybe I'm just hungry for long johns. Not my usual "poison" but, hey... Maybe that's how many inches one of them adds to the hips... Ugh.

I really didn't have much to add... Much on my to-do list... Little on my done... Isn't it funny how some days are sooo productive... And I can't really imagine how (or why) I got so much done. Others are... Less. I really, really work, write, think, feel better at night. Maybe even alone. I was an only child in the country. Mom and Dad were busy, happy, doer-type parents. I got left to my own resources... And I then evolved to a single mom with a house full of happy boys...(only one of them mine, but having good times...). I'm super annoying (especially to myself) when I overthink and analyze. It is what it is.
So, today was the first local day of classes... I missed it fiercely.... Missed the excitement, the new clothes... The orientation of new beginnings... Six little classes...groups to be a bonded entity, for better or for worse through all the days of the year... About a hundred spirits touching mine daily. Such loneliness I don't like.
So I leave you with my kitty... And a favorite Robert Frost poem... About working alone... Or in conjunction with the brotherhood of man... Good old Robert....
A Tuft of Flowers
By Robert Frost
I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.
The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the levelled scene.
I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.
But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been,--alone,
`As all must be,' I said within my heart,
`Whether they work together or apart.'
But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a 'wildered butterfly,
Seeking with memories grown dim o'er night
Some resting flower of yesterday's delight.
And once I marked his flight go round and round,
As where some flower lay withering on the ground.
And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.
I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;
But he turned first, and led my eye to look
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,
A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.
I left my place to know them by their name,
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.
The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,
Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him.
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.
The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,
That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,
And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;
But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;
And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.
`Men work together,' I told him from the heart,
`Whether they work together or apart.'

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Anticipated Treasure...

I have written before of my love affair with Chocolat. No, not the confection, although that is, indeed, very wonderful! But the movie with Juliette Binoche. I love, love, love that movie, and I have made no secret about trying to "own or capture" it as many ways as possible. I guess you might say I collect Chocolat...
So, I own the DVD... I had to purchase two CDs because I broke my original on a cold January day... Did you know CDs became more fragile when they are below zero? I have the VCR... I bought the movie on iTunes, it's on my iPad at all times... And my iPod... Yep. Money wasted in part... I believe it all can be traced to the time I fell in love with a little French town.... In Chocolat. I inhaled Vianne in one wild transfusion... Voila! The metamorphosis was complete. I am Vianne...... ( without all the figure to die for, beautiful dark curls, high heels and tight sweaters, captivating Irish pirate vagabond... Baggage!)

Actually, my spirit is the problem! I crave to be Vianne.... I don't even care about the Johnny Depp part. I just love her vivacious spirit, her wisdom with her comments, the energy and elan of that little shop.... I want that. I want to come into something that's all dirty and unloved and turn it into a shop of magical, soothing elixirs.... or bits of "ephemera" that speak to the soul--- I want that. I want to read people and magically give them a bit of something delicious I made that will fix their lives..

As I've told you before, I saw this movie at least six times when it was released at the little movie theater in Moberly. I saw it all alone.... Well, others were there, but I went alone. After the first time, I took gold wrapped chocolates to every show and gave them to everyone before the movie. Got a lot of weird stares!!! I love the music.... It's almost all I play in the car any more.

I have watched Chocolat at home probably way more than 100 times. It soothes my soul; the music cheers me; the effervescence of Vianne inspires; the singleness cheers; the happy twist of finding Anouk safe after the angst of the explosion at the River Docks delights; the quirkiness tickles me... When I've had to recover from melancholy over my life choices...( and who hasn't?), I often turn it on at night and go to sleep with it.... Ah, the DVD experience to awaken to the repeat pattern of the opening choice screen...

One might say that I'm obsessed! This movie alone sparked my love of French things... Decor, clothing... I had a French theme in my room at school for years... Which always generated some young thing to say... "But you teach Spanish?!?!?!" Indeed.

Of course, I read the book.... I LIKED IT, BUT I PREFERRED THE CHARACTERS THE WAY THEY WERE IN THE MOVIE. Sorry, Joanne Harris, but I liked it the way you or whoever wrote the screenplay.... However, Harris did create Vianne. Harris is a very readable, captivating author.... So imagine my surprise tonight. My Sweetie tells me that This adored movie is available for free on Amazon Prime streaming video.... Yay! I love that! I don't always have it handy enough... Nothing like putting it on to inspire me to stir up hot cocoa with a dash of cayenne... Or to be more outgoing and my own person....    (-----------update: on second reading, I Love! The book...  Still prefer the plot/characters in Juliette's movie, but really click with the author's style and caliber of writing...----)

Then, what did I in fact? What? Joanne Harris has THREE books with my Vianne as the main character. .????? All available on Kindle... With me sitting here wishing WISHING W.I.S.H.I.N.G.... FOR something captivating to replace the little ache I feel for missing school.....

So here I go... A re-reading of the original... Then book two... A Girl with No Shadow....

And finally, Peaches for Monsieur Le Curė.....

I'll follow that with the movie, of course... If I can wait that long......

I can't. I know I won't.

I'll be back when I come up for air!!! au revoir.....

Linking with Share Your Cup Thursday

Friday, August 8, 2014

Class ... School ... And Recess

It is that misty-morning, spider web in the garden, cicada singing time of summer. In my town the Homecoming with all its rides, Nashville shows, contests, and visiting heralds the highlight and the end of summer. Recently, teachers get only a few more days before they convene in workshops. Most have already jazzed up their rooms, bulletin boards... Ready for the optimistic excitement that is the first day of school.

I avoided thinking of it last summer, thinking I could avoid the pang of not returning to a classroom. My former principal, a kind gentleman, tells me, "It passes." And the wish to be in the thick of a room full of teens does wane a lot when I consider the icy roads, the early mornings... The exhaustion... I'm good. I'm exactly where I need to be.
It's going to always be this way... As odd as it seems, I realize I seem old to my young teacher friends. I had older teacher mentors who retired... And then they... ??? I'm not sure! That's my job. I'm in charge of doing something! To my young friends, former colleagues: "Godspeed!" I wish you all a truly wonderful year! I hope these little gifts warm your hearts as much as they did mine while I was thinking of you!

I have had so many good days in the classroom. Thinking about how much these students' young minds need to be touched... How to excite them, encourage... Inspire. It's not always what I did... But luckily, I never lost my love of young people. I see so many of my former "kiddos." How rewarding.
So... With Payless and Walmart, Target, and Others screaming out those Back-to-School ads... I happily make other plans. Retirement is good. It is.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


To Sundays... Filled with family, love, prayers, and hope.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Never to meet again... But that's okay

Today mom and I took one of our famous drives after her doc appointment... We mosied over west of town to Marceline to eat in the car at..... Sonic. Yep. I know. We had a Sonic about three blocks from the doc, but... The clouds and deep blue sky just called for a drive... The temperature began the dawn at a beautiful 58° in the month of July... Beautiful weather (though we do need rain sooo much!)

I enjoy Sonic most if nobody parks jammed up next to me. But sure enough, in wheeled a maroon van... A pretty one, but still. I waited for the usual usual... Loud music, bickering...smoking threat dangling out their window from a cigarette they don't want to ruin THEIR lunch.... Yep. I was being a bit pessimistic.

Instead, the side door slid back, and right there two feet away... A slender, beautiful young woman held a cute, cute, cute baby smiling boy on her lap. She smiled at us, radiant...but looking road weary. Her longer dark hair was half way down her back, and she wore a dress with smocked tube top.... Longer in back than front, white, fluid... Sweet tan, young, a few tattoos... And such a pleasant mommy... Her husband was driving. As he got out of the van, he took the baby and bagan to direct their three other children toward the restrooms in the back.

One little boy, tousle haired, shouted back, "Bye, Dad! Love you! You're awesome!" The dad smiled.... Then he shouted, "You're awesome, too!" The smiles took minutes to fade from the dad, the mom...and the eavesdropper. (Me.) when the mom walked in front of our car with her daughter, she flashed a kind smile at Mom...and a little wave.

Throughout the fairly long passage of time, the dad patiently went through each little child's dream order, detailing just what kind of nerd slushies...boysenberry... Cotton candy.... .??? And the whole concept of lunch began to take on a festive, exciting, anticipatory event. Meanwhile the mom simply twirled, laughing with the baby very quietly without show or noise playing peekaboo with first one, then another child... Finally, the dad ordered... And you can imagine the confusion over the intercom from a multiple meal- plain burger-only ketchup-no sauce please-menu... The dad's voice on our end was simply pleasant... Zero frustration... Total tolerance...actually beyond tolerant, pure happy.

Of course, they sat on the outside picnic area... When I backed out, Mom and I noticed the license plate from Santa Cruz... Long way from home. I stopped the car for one last look at this family, by now eagerly sorting through bags of burgers and cups of vibrant nerds and slush! I wanted so much to tell them how sweet they were.

But I didn't want to be a creeper... But it's so sadly rare to be around a busy bee little group with 100% Merry hearts! patience.... Appreciation.... No huffing. No "hurry-upping," no smacking. No whining or abject desolation-bawling like I hear from so many babies... No sarcasm or blaming... A dad not frustrated by his kids... No texting... A mom not barking big threats. And "Do you want a spanking?'s" (isn't that the dumbest question ever?) I had such a happy "Daddy loves Mommy- Mommy loves Daddy. -AND WE BOTH LOVE YOU," childhood... I love seeing it in action today.

They will never cross paths with me or know about their impact. I have no idea of their story.. I choose to believe I saw a slice of their normal. I don't remember dealing with life in such kind-spirited contentment... I'm pretty sure I still don't. Well, let me please take a page from their book! I choose to attempt to emulate their simply quiet joy..... Joy in the simple things...  To be together... To choose softly and carefully the happiest of simple pleasures...  to be travelin' through Missouri or any state together this crisp day in July... Whoever they are, wherever they are right now....I wish them Godspeed... Safe journey...

(Don't cotton candy, nerd Smoothies sound weird?)
(Photos saved as favorites posted on Facebook by ad pages)

Monday, July 28, 2014

This and that.......

So, recently my son joined a group of friends for a float trip on the Chariton River. Think they had sooo much fun!

I haven't ever floated like this, but I did one canoe trip on a fairly bubbly, but brushy river, Jack Fork. I always planned to again, prepared with how to pack the supplies, what shoes to take... But now I think that won't be happening...

This looks more relaxed and more conducive to meanderings...  We had to paddle and drag our canoes... Filled with children...

I decided to use some of our Summer's bounty (from my sister/cousin's beautiful garden, our neighbor's bounty, and our Amish trips.  This has been an abundantly fresh and delicious summer. Mom and I appreciate such generosity...

Today I made up an original recipe for Paleo Stuffed Peppers. I may never go back! Instead of rice in the one pound of hamburger I used about a cup and a half of bagged coleslaw mix. And I chopped up a Granny Smith apple in tiny cubes... Sometimes I let the tv show called Chopped go to my head! However, today it worked! I really loved the texture of the stuffing... And no dry rice... I added about a big teaspoon of my new favorite mix of spice called "Soul Food." It's a blend of salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper, garlic and onion powder.... Gotta go easy, but I love it in very small doses... Added about a fourth of a medium large can of tomato sauce to the hamburger mix... And two eggs. I mixed it with my hands, but not over much...

I had par-boiled the pepper halves in lightly salted water for three minutes... Drained... Put the mixture inside the peppers and covered with my remaining sauce (to which I added a scant tablespoon of soul food spice and a big glug of true maple syrup shipped our way from Indiana.

Baked covered one hour at 350° and then uncovered until brown and bubbly.... Oh, my...

Had that, salad, sweet potato baked, crusty cheese bread (for non Paleo... And almond flour flatbread for Paleo).... and green bean bundles... They are easy and pretty, but... I like green bean casserole better. I made eight bundles. Snipped ends off 40 green beans and washed them. Boiled in lightly salted water about four minutes. Drained and added a couple tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper. Tossed. Wrapped in eight partially cooked strips of bacon. Baked on oiled cookie sheet 24 minutes at 350°.

Today... What a gift! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Morning, Summer...

First thing every day... What are the rituals that bring us into full wakeful living? Early up, I usually make sure my son is also awake to get to his job. He's always been a heavy sleeper... And such a night owl. Then I sometimes get a few more winks... I remember visiting a favorite high school history teacher in her assisted living apartment. She was mad as hops that they made her get up before nine! I guess retired teachers like to snooze in.

I usually crawl upstairs and snooze... Mom is the early riser. She gets the worm. Ha ha. But looking around my room in early dawn this morning... The light plays through the curtains... There's something to be said for those bright, new hours of each day.

How long ago did I wear that little ballerina dress? ..... It hangs with my wand and my Tasha Tudor print... A new scarf from Dressing Your slouches over the recliner... Love the muted tones.

Oops. On the mantel! I was cleaning a closet shelf and accidentally left out my snowmen tea set! Temps today near the hundred mark... Thumpedy...thump..thump.... Look at Frosty go! He needs to go back in hibernation a few weeks...

Outside, the sun shoots little rays throughout the field... Soybeans, hayfield, locust trees... Daddy's barn. We don't often think what anchors us to home...but we are, indeed, planted there in heart and memory. I've lived here 28 years... 21 as a child, teen, young adult... Then seven now... My heart beats in synch with these views...

Home Is something not easily established. I can remember my mother's comments that my ex-husband always called our residence "the house." I suppose it was habit. Home to him must have been his childhood domain... But it bothered her... I call a lot of places home. And actually I don't have a home per sè. I focus on the familiar, the beautiful, the then... And the now. On good days. It's relative to me... Here, up on my corner ( my home home), my school room... A motel... I nestle in and claim my homestead fairly fast...

Yes, that windmill is tipped on its side. It is a pain in the batookey. Every little breeze...bam! I don't even try any more... That new aqua star looks pretty smackin' on the barn. It's a gift from my dear friend. Mom had the good idea to hang it there... Perfect.

My words are rambling tonight... Think it's time to call it a day. Hope you liked the little tour... And wherever you be... May you feel at home.