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!