Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bits and Bobs

Can a cat talk? Yes. My son picked out a different kind of Meow Mix the other day. It had a blue package...  Evidently not a fave. I noticed Callie seemed to be on a bit of a boycott, so I ordered some DeliCat, always the choice of my Sally....  I sprinkled a little bit on top...  Yep. This spoiled brat pulled all the new out on the floor and ate it there...  Sheesh...  She didn't even leave a tip!

Had a good day Sunday. My son was here for round steak and vegetables in my favorite cast iron Lodge... and deviled eggs... He brought petunias for my porch... and he detailed my car!!!!!

And in other news, here are cupcakes I took to celebrate my friend's birthday. They were Krispy Kreme doughnuts with the icing glaze in the box....  Really did taste like doughnuts!

Have a fun week!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Wearing of the White Corsage

It's funny how memory keeps a flash drive of images, times spent, moments from an "ago" that seemed so commonplace, so unremarkable they defy calling up. Yet, suddenly there you are, standing in a kitchen in a home long demolished, getting all antsy for your grandparents and parents to come on...  I was about five years old, and it was Mother's Day. Our family was going out to eat, probably in Moberly at Reed's Corner Restaurant. My mother had told my father in no uncertain terms we needed to get moving or the restaurant would be full. I was always up to speed and in my Mom's opinion corner. I knew I needed to be... or else.

This is the car we were taking, my grandparents' '51 dark green Chevy. I scrambled in the back seat between Gramma and Mom, ponytail no doubt slicked back and perfect. My mother was one of those Mommies in the Dick and Jane Books...  nothing if not perfect.  Then Daddy and Paw-paw turned around and produced three corsages, three colors of carnations all ready for their "girls." Red, pink, and white.

My gramma reached out automatically and took the white one, a sweet smile on her face and a proud tear in her eye. "I wear the white." Mom handed me the red, and she took the pink. I don't really think any symbolism rode on those choices except Mom knew her own mother loved pink the most, and mine loved red.

I remember as if I am saying it now, "Why did you want the white one, Gramma?"  She softly told me it was the only one she could wear. "But why?"

"Well, my own mother is gone," Gramma told me. "I picked the white carnation because she has died."  I sat there in silence (thank goodness) I'm glad I didn't rattle on what my mind was screaming. I was pretty sure I wouldn't want to pick a white flower if my mother were "gone.."  I would want a red one to roar out that she wasn't dead at all. I wouldn't want to say to the world, "My mother isn't here today because she has passed away." I honestly sat and contemplated all that pretty much all the way to the restaurant.

Either my gramma was surely intuitive, or I was an especially loud thinker (and I'm fairly certain it was a little of both) but right before we got out of the car, she reached over and kissed me right on the forehead. "I wish you'd never have to find out. It won't be for a very long time... It's okay to wear the white. I love it because I loved Mommy." (I always thought it was so dear to hear her at her old age say Mommy and Daddy...)

And here I sit... over a half century later...  finally having to symbolically choose the white.... because it is the first Mother's Day without my mom. We don't do carnations, or even going out to lunch any more to honor Mother's Day. It's usually something special I love to cook, a barbecue, or even yummy China Garden takeout. As long as I'm able to be with my son, I'm sure I'll be happy.

I'm ending with a beautiful picture of my mother as a young girl, right before she married my dad... and then a photo of my two grandmothers with me as a young woman. Gramma from this story is fixing the blue formal she made me for my second wedding, and Ma, my dad's mama, is showing me a crochet piece she is working on...

We will hug our Mamas or our memories close this weekend and honor them with real or imaginary carnation corsages of red, pink, yellow, or white...  Much love...

I snapped this picture on Christmas morning 2015, two days before Mama's stroke. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

One Woman's Treasure

Imagine my surprise when my son brought this little beauty in his last haul of things from home. I had made this for my gramma in the '70's... when my gifts nearly all included decoupage of some sort. Gramma loved red, so I decided to create her a recipe box with favorite things "stuck" all over.

The really awesome part is that she absolutely stuffed it with her favorite recipes. The cards are in her careful, pointed script and in my mother's beautiful penmanship. And the food is what you might call a blast from the past.

Here and there a neighbor or friend chimes in with her version of a dish. It makes me smile because just reading through a few of these takes me right back to my gramma's red, pink, and green kitchen where her windows billowed with white, airy curtains... windows propped open by various heights of sticks due to the window weights all being broken...  Remember window weights at all? I don't actually recall having any that worked!

The honor among home cooks is fierce in my family. No matter how many times my family prepared a dish, it never lost its true origin. I have often wondered if the donor of the recipe actually prepared it half as many times as we did. I just know we never stole a recipe and called it ours. That was serious stuff.

My kitchen has a lot of red so this will fit right in...  I will probably lose a few of the newspaper clippings. I don't think we ever made many of those "dreams in a box" for our family dinners. Food is the love language in my family, especially the preparation of it for special events. I am blessed to have the opportunity to cook for those I love. I recognize with tears how desperately sad my mother became when she no longer could cook for us. It was, however, never too bad for her to sit at the table and help me cook something. Until that last year, and even then she made it her business to choreograph what we were cooking for this and that.

Sometimes a recipe such as my Aunt Hazel's apple butter transports me to another home, one filled with dolls and antique pine and cedar paneling... and cinnamon air.

And then... I remember the note I cut up to make this....  My mom had written a little Mother's Day thank you note to me on this, so I saved the front for immortalizing.  Now I probably know the interior of the note held more value.

And another glimpse into my mother's cards, testimony to her foreverlove of all things doll...

Rain continues and grey skies... perfect weather for cleaning, for cooking, for remembering...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Locust Winter Sunshine

Waking up each morning in a happy mood...  Lots of fun activities to choose from, and cool, brisk weather...  the typical early Summer cold snap.  Now, Nebraska!  Snow? That's really Locust Winter. I love snow, I'll say that. A bit unnatural to have to mow your snow away, I'll say that, too... 

Do any of you use the dryer wool balls?  It seems to be very well accepted by my laundry, but the bumping and thumping are a little scary for my Callie. She isn't accustomed to that noise coming from the laundry room. She's only just been allowed in there. Funny, if I leave the door open, she really doesn't want to be in there. If it's closed, dig dig dig dig...  haha...  Cats.

Could I interest you in a little frittata?  They are soooo good with some balsamic salad and delicious hot tea. I have a tiny, barely-oiled skillet that just accommodates one or two eggs, a few stray chopped vegetables. Last night I browned up some deli chicken until it was really crisp... Scramble the eggs with a couple tbsp. water and some seasoning and let brown. Never stir or turn.  And after it sets, I add a handful of shredded cheese and pop the whole skillet a few final moments in the oven on broil or 400 degrees ..... Those few scorching moments make the top all bubbly and golden. Take a look at these plates. My son brought them over, and they make me happy all over again. Once upon a lifetime far away, I ordered two sets of dishes from the beautiful catalog,"Through the Country Door." They arrived at my doorstep "up home" a few days later in a roaring blizzard. Although at that time I could and did do a lot of real shopping, the whole aura of online and catalog ordering made such whopping sense. I had not been forced to drag those boxes in and out of the store, my car, my front door...  I just scooted them over, gave the dishes a wash, and began to enjoy them. I have dark green, dark red, denim blue... two of each plus bowls, little plates, and cups. So far the whole set isn't over here, but....  in time.

Well, headed out to wish a dear friend a Happy Birthday on the day of her birth. We are celebrating on a different day, but thought it might be fun to pop by. She went to buy flowers today, which suits her quite well...  Hope she doesn't have to float a "frost barrier tea towel" over them, but I couldn't swear to it. 47 degrees tonight...  I think we're good.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Laws of Housekeeping and Self Discipline

Law #1: It is impossible to live up to anyone's image. Often it is difficult to live up my own image I have polished for a few years, or a lifetime... although mine is pretty scratched up. However, let's stop apologizing for being ourselves and living the way we do. Be it clutter or unkempt-ness, or our choices in diet...  If we have friends or acquaintances who love us, we are indeed blessed and need to stop insulting them with our apologies for being ourselves!

Law #2:  Indeed. Our friends, visitors, and especially our dear families need to hear through our words and our attention and our actions that they are very wonderful. They can't assume we feel love and gratitude and respect for them. We need to tell them. Remind them often how much we appreciate them for themselves, their core being...

Law 3: This month has not been filled with exciting and good things ONLY. Yes, I've had a lot of great things happen this month, but quite a few negative, even uber expensive events have transpired, making this a truly iffy month. Oh, I'll be okay to say Hello, May...  and even Hello, April 26th...  Each day is worth hoping for the best. 

Law #4:  I would say nearly everything I'm doing is new ground for me because I always always had my mother to listen to my plans and give me the yes or no on her opinion of each endeavor. I didn't always listen or obey her..  (Wait. Yes, I did for the most part... haha...  I was a big Mama's girl my whole, entire life.) So anything I'm planning now seems especially big-worldy.  However, I need to accomplish some of these dreams and goals. My dad always said the only way to avoid criticism is to not do very much...  I was never a fan of that kind of living... Hence, the criticism, eh?

Law #5: This will be a new one for me. I am going to try to develop a nighttime routine and to become a person with a difference between my days and nights. I spend a lot of my nights in the activities that people reserve for daylight life.  I think that's okay if a person wants to do a night job, etc.  However, for my current phase, it can catch me apologizing and breaking rule number one by not being ready to face today or today's guest or challenges because I'm totally tired at noon....  or nine a.m.

Law # 6: Lucky me to have such good friends and wonderful family who do this. Everyone sheds a lovely light upon my life. It is essential to reach out to those who do that for you and to let them "in" on what's happening, for good or bad. Often light needs to be shed on something negative or self-harmful we are doing. At times we don't appreciate that kind of illumination to our days..  But... It's needed.

Law #7: Speak only hope and positivity every time you can...  And actually, gulp! we always can. I remember my "hoping for the best" mantra through my mother's ordeal after her major stroke. It is one of the truths of life for what is spoken to become more so...  for good or evil.  I do not belong to the name it, claim it philosophy, or even the Secret...  but words have the power or death or life and have the power to steer great ships just as a rudder in the ocean. Keep moving forward and hoping for the best.

Law #8: In college Semantics we were taught the "allness" theory. People simply assume all of the rest of the world sees things the way they do...  or they should. While a good deal of life has both light and dark paths, it is not true that each of us is supposed to see the same path at the same time.  Then it would be too crowded and definitely no way to enhance or change directions in the midst of that stampede.

Law 9:  Yep. And don't be intimidated by what that means. It is definitely different for each person, and that's okay. I personally love to watch paper crafting videos on YouTube. My son often relaxes with a  video game. Some people do needlepoint.  I sometimes crochet. I used to grade papers to keep me company and relax...  Our task is to find the exercise that bring us relaxation and joy...  and do it sometimes...

Law 10: I have spent a lot of my life doing something that seemed to be in the way of my actually LIVING my own life.  When this is through, I'll start....  x,  or X, or XXX.  Nah...  either enjoy the journey and the tasks at hand or skip them.  Really. Cut straight to X or start believing the truth that these years, days, hours right now are indeed.... life, not prep for life...  life itself.

Law 11:  Just as there is a time for the end of day activities and the unwinding that signals today is over and rest for tomorrow has begun, there is a time for tomorrow to begin. Select some very positive actions, such as prayer, journaling, breakfast, self care, reading...  anything that you see as a mental clunk to the head that says, "Hello Today. You are going to be really good. Thanks for coming..."


Thanks for humoring me in my self lecture tonight. I need all these laws more than anyone I know. There are more where these came from, but I think 11 is plenty for now.  All illustrations are from Heather Stillufsens's online collection that is posted on Facebook and on Pinterest.  I believe them to be open for posting. If not, please let me know...  The rules are the rules.  Hugs and prayers and positive vibes are headed to each of you.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Is that a light?

You know that old cliche about hoping the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train? Well, tonight I should be picking up my car after it has spent three weeks in the car spa. Outside I have asked my son to liberally sprinkle crystals that promise to deter wild kingdom creatures. I plan to part on top of that spot! The tally was very close to $2800, and I have a $500 deductible. Ouch! If  groundhog sees its shadow, let's hope it is not in the shape of a Ford Fusion!

I have blogged about the progress I am making on cleaning. We are doing our two homes at the same time, and I really recommend this method! It is actually like shopping with a credit card that is already paid! Whether I eBay, Etsy, auction or open a shop, I will enjoy going through the boxes I am packing and storing in the room downstairs! I am having fun trying to remember the stories that want to wander Memory Lane with me!

The grass has really come into its glory, along with a white lilac and our lovely red bud. My cheerful exterminator insisted on "sharing" he had caught two snakes and a lizard in the basement. No,  not the big blacksnake he quests after each visit....   Dubious good news, and I am hopeful the same process will keep the big one "sticking around" the basement and not up topside.

My dear friend convinced me to try Audible. It is a great place to find books read to enhance our lives. People use it for handicap assistance and for commuting companionship. I love it for working around the house. I am listening now to Chip and Joanna Gaines read Magnolia Story. I enjoy the books the authors read. It is funny that if I listen to a book while I fold laundry, the next time I fold laundry I think about that book...

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Poses

We had a quiet but wonderful Easter. My son and a dear friend of mine came for lunch. The Easter bunny hopped in several times.

Time to pack up the bunnies for another year!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Beverage Corner

Do you guys have a coffee bar or a tea corner? I decided yesterday it would be fun to create one in my kitchen. My dear friend sells teas, so I think it will be a quick treat to have the tins of tea (which I have 4 or 5 different ones ordered) ready to let them choose.

I had the little wash stand so loaded it was positively squatting! Now that my Mr. Coffee knockoff Keurig bit the dust, I don't need so much room...  So what do you think? 

I unloaded a metal rack of china and created this little spot for coffee and tea! A sweet couple made the blue cupboard and posted it for sale before Christmas on Swapshop.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Space Heaters

Whimsy and Hugs!

It is Springtime in Missouri!

Well, it is in the 50's....

Well, okay....  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Work in Progress

I have been blogging rather sluggishly for a while now, not really digging in, not really being very honest or deep because... honestly, although it is my blog, I love it when Oatmeal and Whimsy is funny. I like life better when it is funny, too...  But as you all know, this is a sad season of my life. I have way too much thoughtful time, and honestly when I am with my dear friends and family, I feel kind of like a thud of "boringness" wrapped up in a cocoon of isolation-causing, mundane activities.

My planners are my always present comfort...  Prayers, writing a better story, and dreams...

Friends ask how I am doing, how I am sleeping, if I get out, do I like living here in Mom's-turned-my house? Uh....  insert shrug...I don't know. The best explanation I have is that I am digging out, truly and metaphorically, spiritually, financially (did anyone know that funerals cost over  $9,000?). And physically. Sometimes as I lie in my bed in what is really now my bedroom but usually referred to as my bedroom in the dining room---I can literally smell the old dust from the boxes and dishes, the corners and cabinets I have dug through that day...  Definitely NOT the lavender stuff dreams are made of! More like the Sandman I guess. 

                Overflow and lost...  waiting for order and justice... and a warm, sudsy bath!

My parents were a team... of collectors, purveyors and then excellent curators of a lifetime of hand-selected items resplendent with stories, and I see them, eyes a-sparkle with the memories of how each piece got here... from there... and the little old German lady from Herman, Mrs. Haun, who was later featured in Country Living (and oh, yes, we have a copy of that issue).  And she wrote long letters to my mother for years because the two sparked a kindred spirit in one afternoon...   or an auction suggested by a long-bearded, Santa Claus twin in that off the road Orchard in Glasgow who carved me a wooden whistle and drove his mules instead of reindeer in Moberly's Christmas parade. And that just begins the flood of a lifetime of not things, but memories. Now I would never take their trips or their joy from all those day trips of auctions, flea markets, or shops...  Not to mention the legacy of generational inheritances. I laughingly informed a dear friend today that I was "gasp!" mixing the dishes from my paternal and maternal grandmothers' separate but equal china cabinets. She told me she feared the china would argue in the night. I love my friends!

Today's final look after sorting...

And one last disclosure. At long last my son has become a dynamo, a total Mr.Clean as he throws himself into the joy of making his house, my old house, his home. I am beyond thrilled, and it is beyond time my junk hit the road... so he is bringing it down five or six boxes at  time for my sorting, culling, cleaning, and eventual either a grand reunion of banishment.

Who knew?

And as you all now know. This is just stuff. The real storm. the mammoth obstacle is the fact that I miss my mother so much. I miss her "healthy" and the times we had driving all over the countryside. And I miss her recent, altered yet consistent self, so very much a whole woman in a paralyzed shell. Caregiving was simultaneously awful and beautiful. I feel shell shocked, and I do not feel like me..but if I walked in the door, I might not know who I am. This will pass I am told.

I promise there will be shallow waters and recipes in this blog's future...  But there has to be some deep reservoirs to shelter my truest thoughts, as well. It is nearly 3:00 AM..  Goodnight, dear friends... I sleep with the fragrant memories of both dust and vanilla candles... and a little bit of tonight's Movie Lover's popcorn...

Whimsy and Hugs!