Sunday, March 30, 2008


Well, Sunday dawns again. A few weeks back I did this post about giving a little more care to my frumpiness... Uh, maybe that lasted two weeks. maybe not. But last night, after tossing and turning for the majority of the night, getting up for tylenol and a chicken sandwich (!) who ever thought that was a good idea? and basically being a dissatisfied camper for the past week or so, I got a message in a dream. First I dreamed it was 115 degrees at night and I couldn't find the air conditioner at Mother's. That was the nightmare portion beginning (or the midlife flash part???) and right then I dreamed my wonderful son informed me I needed the tweezers all down the side of my neck (which isn't true! I checked when I woke up !) You know, my life is basically kind of blah right now. Kind of crappy actually unless I put on the Pollyanna thing as I always do... You might think I could at least dream about Gabriel Byrnne or Antonio Banderras.... not tweezers and teeth whiteners, which was the next dream-state revelation of my son... "Mom, your teeth are really brown," his sweet voice informed me in the middle of my slumber. I vowed to get with it... in my dream, and then when I popped open my eyes, I thought.. Why not? Although I'm not turning into a werewolf along my neck, and my teeth aren't exactly what I'd call brown, I am kinda shaggy and scrungy. In reality, my son would NEVER be rude (or honest) with me like that. I also dreamed a bunch of other nonsense. It really ticks me off to dream stupid stuff. I love dreaming, and I consider it a gift from God--- usually.
Today's tasks include getting lunch for my son and mother: Hamburger/tator tot casserole, Italian Salad, jell-o and bananas, rolls, asparagus, and coconut cream pie. Yep. That's sounding pretty good about now.
We have three jobs for the day: Washing curtains and windows in Mom's bedroom, washing curtains and windows in kitchen, and watching Bee Movie. Guess which ones will be more fun? haha..
Have a good and blessed Sunday. I have started on a wonderful bible study by Beth Moore called, A Woman's Heart. You can download the video sessions for 5.00 each. What a blessing. I put them on my little ZUNE (which is a type of IPOD thing) and can take her to bed with me. I hooked it up to my stereo and can listen at night to review. That should make for better dreams! Amen?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our gentle friends. . .

A couple of your comments mentioned the Amish community becauseI had posted about our visit through their countryside on Tuesday, so I thought it might be a good time to think a little bit about our family's bond with the Amish we have known in our lifetime. I was happy to see others of you have considered members of their community to be friends. We definitely have good and lifelong friends from the community around our home town. It would be hard for me to know when the relationship began. I believe during the late 80's as my dad became less able to do huge construction jobs himself and his friends were also aging, he turned to hiring the Amish men to come and help. Their quick, hardworking ways fit in so well with my father, who would rather have been working hard than doing any "fun" activity one might mention. I know Amish men helped build my deck, built a little barn next to my parents' home, added on a room, worked with painting, cattle, and fencing. They helped tear down my grandmother's home and witness my melt down as I begged my father at the last minute to save it and move the whole two-story wonder to my home. I remember their smiles as my dad surprised me with Gramma's back porch on a wagon.... they helped him "toenail" the structure to the back of my kitchen.

I think it was for my dad's 70th birthday, we realized just how much they cared for him. The men asked me if they could do something for Daddy's birthday to let him know how much they appreciated him. My dad was always ready to take Amish families to destinations far away. He and my mom took families to doctors in Kansas City, to Belgian horse auctions, to weddings, for chemotherapy, and to funerals. My parents were not chauffeurs and accepted no money for this. I loved to watch my dad offer the little ones and their parents ice cream cones and McDonald's happy meals. The mutual respect there was always quite special.

So, for Daddy's birthday about fourteen years ago, one of our Amish friends approached me with the idea to have a surprise party. And so we did. We rented a van, took all our vehicles, cooked tons of food at my house, and made a procession to Amish country to pick up the guests. We were blessed with frienship that night, and my dad was truly SURPRISED as he watched the caravan unload its celebrants in his own front yard. After counting way beyong 30 people in the yard, Mom said he turned to her and whispered, "I don't think I have enough ice cream!" But we had taken care of that, along with tubs of potato salad, cakes, cookies, hot dogs... you name it.

Mother and Daddy were invited to attend two Amish weddings, and through the years we have enjoyed work, stories, friendship, and visits. Many of our friends and families moved farther away to get different work, and still they kept in touch. If family business or celebrations took them anywhere near our farm, they usually asked their drivers to stop by for a visit here. My dad had bought a gallon of chocolate chip ice cream during his last shopping trip to make sure it was available if a van of our friends stopped by on a transit by our house. The men who have worked here run from one side of the house to the other pointing out places they have hammered, sawed and labored.

During the 80's I went through the midwestern fad of decorating in Amish country keepsakes, and it was fun to watch them point quietly at my paintings of dark buggies against wintry skies. I always feared to offend them, and my parents demanded we keep their privacies and their beliefs respected and valued. I certainly hope that we have done so, and I believe we have.

The true measure of our bond came during the sad evening of my father's funeral visitation. Despite the high costs of fuel, renting vehicles, and giving up a day's labor, the Amish friends we have made demonstrated their respect and admiration and love for our family. Midway through the evening, we looked up during the visitation, and there, forming a silent, respectful line from beyond the back of the auditorium to the front where my mother and I were seated, a queue of Amish friends made their slow and sweet way through the crowd. They had rented transportation from communities near and far, extending to the Iowa border and beyond. They came to pay their respects to my father and to give my mother comfort. It was such a tribute to my dad's quiet and unpretentious ways. I have never seen such a sight in my life, and many of my friends have told me it was so moving to them to see the line of quiet dark dresses, hats, babies and old men... as far as the eye could see..... and I will forever be humbled and grateful to them for telling us all with this presence just how much my dad meant to them.

Since August several Amish friends have visited, called, and sent us letters. I have left the days of "decorating Amish" or reading much about them. I no longer collect their dolls or hang their baby shoes from my walls. But I do respect them for their hard work, their loyalty to my sweet daddy, and their kindness to my family.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Windy Tour

Today dawned cloudy and a bit warmer. I hit the ground at 8:17 and bounded up the stairs, told my mother to get ready for a road trip to somewhere.. Where else did we decide to visit but... Wal-Mart! Oh, it was fun, though. We didn't really need groceries, so she bought some sacks of goodies that looked like fun to have for nibbles and company. I bought craft stuff and bargain things, spray Kilz for summer projects, and MY issue of Romantic Country! Had to have this issue because it has Cindy's blog featured from My Romantic Home. Such an awesome blogger. She's on my side bar if you haven't peeked at her blog.
Then we drove to our favorite diner and split an order of their wonderful, crunch-coated onion rings and an order of stir fry chicken and vegetables. YUM!
We finished the day with a saunder through Amish Country, ten or fifteen miles of farmland, beautiful barns, sweet homes, wonderful animals. Of course, everyone was out working: women hanging billowing lines full of black, dark blue, and snowy white, and the men in the muddy barn lots and greening fields.
March winds tore at the clothes on the lines, puffing each shirt and baby smock along the wire. Here and there we saw baby calves having that "the weather's changing" kind of frolic only known to baby animals on the farm. Some colts strutted around the paddocks while wind-whipped Amish boys minus their straw hats ( I suppose it was just too windy?) tried to corral them. Our favorite sights were three teams of horses pulling plows and farm equipment. Out of respect I didn't take photographs of people (except I think one man might be in this one blurry one.) We saw a team of four Belgian draft horses breaking sod, and just as we were leaving Amish country we finally caught the view of the day: a huge team of six Belgians pulling one little man standing straight, proud, and kingly on his plow or harrow or whatever that might have been. Amish don't blog, but they sure know how to work the land and their lives.
I hadn't been through this section of Amish country since 1977 although it's only about thirty miles from here. So, I guess about 31 years have passed in my world, and maybe about five are visible to the "English" eye in theirs. Back then, I was donw with a stint of living in California with my first husband near his Navy base. I was on my way home from California via Greyhound bus-- could almost see the city limits of my last stop... Then my driver detoured through this Clark Amish land, stopping EVERYWHERE to pick up passengers. I remember "HATING" the village then because it had been a 56 hour bus ride with three bus changes. I was sooooo young, soooo lonely for family or someone to know...... so exasperated at the slow pace of the Amish horse drawn vehicles. Today's trip was much more fun. My mom had a good time, too. She's upstairs waiting for the last of her sacks from the car. I took a mini break to blog and have a moment.

My next goal: A cup of Earl Grey tea and my new issue of Fabulous Fifi's Romantic Country... I don't think either will disappoint me! Have a good day. Tomorrow is another day back at school... It will be fun to see what everyone did over the break. Hugs!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Hope all of you had a beautiful day. Did anyone else have snow? It was only a flurry, and so pretty... kind of cold for all the little skeeter egg hunters, though. Our dinner was so much fun with family and two dear friends. Had lots of neat new foods. I made an awesome recipe carrot cake called Sam's Carrot Cake from and a new spring pea casserole from the Paula Deen magazine. Had chex and white chocolate pretzel mix, dipped strawberries, Oriental Coleslaw, baked beans, relishes, hot rolls, corn, green beans, brownies, and meat. It was way too much for six people, but we did a good job sending them home with goody bags!

Love cooking so much.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Eve

Blessings to all of you. Easter, even this early, brings with it such an aura of rebirth, spring, and new life. As much as I love winter, this is still an exciting time. Resurrection Sunday. The impact of that concept, of that sacrifice and then triumph... It has been our most blessed gift throughout the ages. I can't imagine a sacrifice like that, and I am so very grateful to have come to this point in my life with my faith and hopes. Happy Easter to all.

I have so many fond memories of sunrise services, of my little son (long ago) in fine navy and white suits with white caps... and of course, of egg hunts, candy, and trips to see family.

On the Eve of Easter our table is set for my mother, my son, two of his friends, and one of mine. (The one with Sasha!). We are using my grandmother's Desert Rose China. If you peer into the darkness behind the table, you can see my mama sitting there with her walker taking a wee nap. She has been deviling eggs, rescueing my brownies, and making countless trips to the "larder" for provisions. I have been dubbed head cook for the weekend (while that sounds clever, I have already ruined the brownies by leaving out the eggs. They are kinda crunchy, oily, and nasty like that.) Mom tried Paula Deen's pineapple bars from her magazine, and we threw them away.... too floury and dry... So we were then zero for two. I made a carrot cake that sounds delish..
My childhood Easters were spent in Quincy, Illinois, with my great aunt Thelma. The most candied ham you ever tasted.. Pure delight. Lovely food, a huge rabbit of chocolate, sometimes a new outfit.. (She had grown boys but no girl to spoil, so I was always happy to pinch hit for that job.)
Our mantel welcomes the holidays with little chenille bunnies amidst the Bavairan bowls and flow blue...
This bunny tea pot will hop off to my friend tomorrow. It is part of her gift.
An Easter Egg chickadee chorus, a gift this year from my sweet cousin. Also the green jeweled garland crushed into a bone china teacup.

I brought over this upright cabinet from home to stash stuff in my new bathroom. So far, it hasn't helped because my son brought it FULL of stuff from home... grrrrr.... boys have such cute ideas.. gotta love em, though. This little light is exactly the right amount of illumination for those lovely midlife strolls....... What's up with that? Does anybody remember sleeping through the night?
One last pose of the teapot... He came down the trail from QVC, I think... along with a cute chickie one that has already found another home.
Mom bought me this cute bunny arrangement for my door. He made me smile just to see him nestling in there with all the spring flowers.

One of my good friends made this cute wreath for me about twelve years ago. I made about four more that year. I think this is the one she made though because of the little lamb. She raised lambs at the time. Isn't it cute? Baaaa! Our little nook by the bathroom... Lots of critters here, huh?
Quick! take this shot while the hot rollers and all the sprays, lotions, loofahs, and what not are stashed! I'll be cooking on and off all night and will try to post some recipes tomorrow... (Not the one for the eggless brownies!!!) Happy Easter!

In Memory of John O'Donohue, Author

I was searcing for new and old friends and writers on the blog lists last night and discovered something very sad. One of my very favorite authors passed away quietly in his sleep during January. John O'Donohue, beloved Irish philosopher and religious writer is gone at only 53... my age.

I felt stabbed when I read that, the way a person feels when they hear bad news about someone in the community. This wonderful man was in my community of heart... His words live forever as a part of my outlook on life and on the important aspects of it. I had posted about his wonderful books here. And I ordered the last one Benedictus (a book of blessings) last night. And then there will be maybe a portion of the final one he was working on about Meister Eckhart... then no more. It truly makes me feel quite devastated, robbed in a way... This man was truly "soul brilliant." I usuall wanted to read his books aloud in order to allow my mind to absorb the concepts better. As I read and re-read the books I have through the years, more of the ideas he explains have fallen into place in my own life. He was always a long way ahead of my understanding, but he illuminated the path so beautifully. I found one of his last Benedictions on Sara Ban Breathnacht's blog, Joyful Simplicities. Finding her blog last night was a happy surprise. It speaks of her life now and touches base with all of us who have lived the Simple Abundance path for these many years. Those of use who love her will love this blog, too.
John O'Donohue's blessing~
When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside.
When you find yourself bereft

Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen.
When one voice commands

Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,
Steady yourself and see

That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world…
Know that you are not alone

And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night corner…
A new confidence will come alive

To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just a small note.....

Are you hopping down the bunny trail this weekend? Just checking. We are soon to be off for a six day break. I don't know any teacher or student who isn't in need of this one. Have fun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A new Blog to visit!

Well, we can now welcome this marvelous woman to Blogland! Her first post looks absolutely scrumptious! Want to meet me in Cranberry Flats?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Irish Luck.... After a bit of sulking....

Our St. Patrick's Day Party

Okay, so I know I'm a spoiled brat. I have been one all my life, and I suppose that may end some day, but not today. It all started this fine misty mornin' as I began to prepare my menu for our St. Patrick's Day party. We had it today because my son and I both work tomorrow. I didn't go to bed until nearly three, and I was preparing Philadelphia Irish Chicken (also known as Italian Chicken, but don't tell St. Pat!). After a bit of a nap I got up and began to ask Mom for green things to set the table... "No, no green tablecloth or placemats. No, no green dishes. No, nothing," she said. "What difference does it make anyway?" She was a bit grumpy, I thought. And I was floored. What difference? For St. Patrick's Day? Why, what a crazy thing to say. I muttered something about how difficult it was to be the ONLY one in the family who cared about holidays, about how she didn't care, ("No, I don't,"). And then I said my son didn't really care. ("No, he doesn't care about that stuff," she gloated.) And then I said I cared, but I didn't matter... (the stunning blow before trudging off down here to my "den" for an hour of supposed nap..... Dinner was all ready in the crockpot anyway. I had also made a big salad, broccoli, Irish trinity vegetables with carrots, onions, celery and taters. I had warmed some Brisket. It was all set. So I stomped off. Well, I sulked, listened to Enya, listened to a bit of Beth Moore... and generally boo hooed as in my mind I took out my big green box of Irish decorations that I have had to leave at home and caressed them in my mind. I collect little Irish men, small ceramic leprechauns of whimsy and character. I missed them this year, and with this kind of "treatment," I was simply having a big Irish pity party complete with tears and Irish mournful music. It was spectacular. Finally I went back upstairs. My mom had come through and decorated with all this wonderful stuff, dragged out her antique wild Irish rose dishes.... oh, yeah... who said sulking never pays off? haha...
She even wrapped up two 20's in the little green crackers. My mom is amazing when she isn't depressed. I personally think this was good for her. I know it was good for me.

See the little Hummel? My grandmother had given it to my dad when he started raising little baby pigs in the sixties. And the cookies in the golden potato thing? Here is the amazing recipe for those. They are fantastic, chewy and crisp

Ranger Cookies (from Taste of Home)

1 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 t. vanilla, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. salt, 2 c. quick cooking oats, 2 cups Rice Krispies, 1 c. flaked cocoanut. IN a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, balking soda, baking powder, ,and salt, gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Sit in the oats, cereal, and cocoanut. Roll into small balls and place on silpat or release tinfoil. Pat slightly flatter. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown for 7-9 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

And the chicken noodle recipe was also pretty tasty and oh, so simple.

Philadelphia Irish Chicken and Noodles (or Italian Chicken)

In crockpot place 6-8 small or four large chicken breast halves that you have salted and peppered. Add 1/3 c. Italian dressing, 1/4 c. water, 1 t. dry basil, and 1 t. Italian (oops, I meant Irish) seasoning. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add 1 whole 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese and cook for two more hours until chicken is totally done and the cheese mixes with the juices of the chicken. Spoon over noodles or rice. Yum!

Have a top of the mornin' day tomorrow!

St Patrick Cards

My St. Patty's Cards and Gifts for Today's Lunch.. created for my sweeties....


Mom and I watch Martha Stewart almost every night. I TIVO it. This week she's been plugging her new cookbook about Cookies... So I ordered it on Amazon for Mom. It should be here by Tuesday... We have cookies today, so we should be able to hold out! Wink!

My son's card has a twenty folded like a t shirt... He's always doing laundry, and one of my students showed me this method of folding money. It's on I thought it was the best kind of green shirt for the computer guy!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Frozen Fog

This was a photo from Flickr, but it looks so much like the drive to school this morning. Fog wheeled in through the night, even activating my dear little WeatherBug on the computer. But as in the ending of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, "I slept on unknowing." Last night was a crash and burn night for me. I told my mom that I just didn't feel good. And as all good mothers do, she asked questions and actually cared "just what" didn't feel good. Finally she said, "It sounds like you are just really really tired." Imagine that. What a diagnosis. Not a touch of the flu or a sinus flare up. Not a little too much sugar or too little caffeine... just tired. This new Daylight Savings Time is doing me in this week. I have averaged (until last night) 2 hours and 45 minutes every night. Today after about seven hours of sleep "that knits the raveled sleeve of care" I am a lot better. My eyes even see better. Imagine that.

This is my Irish weekend. After Saturday morning I plan to have a lot of Irish stuff going on... cooking and listening to my Irish music. I have a secret. I bought one of these. !!!!!!!!! I have wanted one for absolutely years and years. They have a payment plan of 49 bucks a month for a year. Last week I called and bit the bullet. It came last night, and I hooked it up and played one of my Solitudes CD's. I love the one called Forest Cello. But they have all been good. Well, I attribute the beautiful dreamtime to this. My only wish is that I could have swung the 5 CD changer, too. Then I could have had the whole night covered in music. However, scientists say people rest better if they drift off to music and then have somewhat silence during the night. If so, wow... I sure had that. And yeah, I'd say the hype is right. That was the purest music I have heard in years. I have thought maybe I was losing my ability to appreciate muic because it just didn't sound good. I will have to say THAT was heaven. I can't wait to listen to all my other CD's. And just like a teenager, I am gunnin' for the first time my mom is gone and I am home; I'm cranking that baby UP to see what she does at 125!!!!! haha..
So, come by for a cup of tea or irish coffee this weekend and have a little listen to my beauiful Enya. And even though it is that "darn mournful music" as my cousin calls it, I will be grooving to the Celtic pipes of my homeland long ago. In the spring of 1604 my Irish ancestor, John Tedford, arrived from the Emerald Isle... Isn't that reason enough to bake a bit of Irish soda bread and maybe a mint cookie or two? And what about good old Irish stew...??? yep... You take the high road, and I'll take the low road... ooops... that's the wrong ancestor... Uh... "the pipes, the pipes are play----ing".... Have a fun weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Cactus Cuties sing The National Anthem

My dear friend Casablancalily sent this to me. Listen to these beautiful girls!!!!! Wow!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Party

Had a little soiree for a friend this weekend. Just a bowl of my vegetable soup I call "Midsummer Vegetable Garden Soup" and a loaded salad. Tried this new dressing from, and it is fabulous. Peach Pecan viniagrette. To. Die. For. I kind of liked it mixed with a Goddess dressing I'm selling at my store. (Mom personally thought I was being prejudiced for my store!) Then repeated the menu plus home made chicken strips for my son today. After that he moved furniture (AGAIN) for me in my room at Mom's. Also I took a little trip to my home to see his accomplishments in furniture moving, too. My son, the computer techie, has created a room that looks like the ones computer geeks have in the movies. It has two computers, two screens, two LARGE tvs... chairs lined up liike movies, desks spanning around the corners.... rows of programs, DVD's, etc.... Wires... speakers, surround sound. I guess that's one way not to be homesick, huh? Each time I go there it looks less like I ever lived there... My brain seems to be dysfunctioning and I have trouble remembering living there... I don't feel exactly like I live here either! eeek... I always thought the tale of that Man without a country was kind of sad.... now I REALLY do.

Stay tuned for some photos of this new furniture/stuff scramble here in my room. Well, I need to get some work done and put my grades on the computer. The grade sheets are due first thing in the morning... I cannot believe that third quarter is over. Fast year in some ways, and slow moving snail in others.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Well, look at this... A future bakery and arcade had the good grace to fall in before it was totally occupied and inhabited by young people. I cannot imagine how many lives could have been impacted by this, but nobody at all was injured. Evidently hours and hours of work are lost because it was in the process of being remodeled. The building in Macon was originally condemned and then resold, I'm told. That might have been a mistake in judgement for the city to sell such a fragile structure. Dunno why this made such an impact on so many people because most of us haven't been in the building ever or for many years.

As a parable, it tells me that one can only renovate and improve and remove weight bearing supports so many times. I therefore am glad I didn't have time to curl my hair this morning... I'd hate to wind up like this old colossus.. This is the last week in the quarter, so it's a busy bee time. I think we're smack out of snow days. Guess it's time to just "hunker down" as my gramma used to say.

Stay standing, y'all.