Saturday, October 27, 2012

Not Going In...

I stayed out of school today to rest and recuperate from a little Autumn bug or virus...  It was a quiet and peaceful feeling to not have to be anywhere.  I have a driven feeling.  So many things to do, it feels like those magic nine sliding puzzles.  I cannot feel what square one looks like any more
My new retro Halloween tea towels....

The kitchen table

My potion in the cauldron....  Fiesta Taco Chili!
Tonight is 30 degrees.  Time to layer in the blankets and bring hot cocoa in to soothe the soul.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That Special Zing...

 Fewer and fewer things come to mind when I think of perfection...  It seems as I have thought about all angles of life, I have come to adore the imperfections, the little nuances that differentiate the ordinary..  the bumps on the pumpkin....  the irregular orange patch of fur off-center on Sally's back...  But a fall day...  That is the closest to perfection I find.  On Saturday Mom and I took out for a little bite of lunch and a drive through the most beautiful woods you can imagine.  Ours at home is just as stellar...  The sunlight and the blue of the sky was just perfect.  Even with my phone camera, these pictures show just how lovely the trees have been this Autumn.
 And the neat thing is, we had to get off the main road to find them.  Sure, the horizon looked lovely when we motored down the blacktops and highways....  but the true gem was the side trip down these gravel roads in search of the ultimate landscape.  We found it...  all around us.
 And then it has rained since then for two or more days.  Blessed rain we have begged for all summer...  Although it came too late to help our bean crop, the rains will bless our fields and add to the natural health of the land.  This morning as I flew down our gravel driveway, the sun's timid pink began its whisper overhead.
 I noticed the oddest sight.  Our mud puddles had turned all pink and lavendar...  Can you imagine a muddy gravel road with pink and lavendar mud puddles?  I swear!  I would have stopped to take pictures, but I was running just a tad behind time...  I seem to lose time like an old, worn-down clock, in the mornings...  I get up early enough, but I simply putter and sputter and snooze a bit in my favorite chair.  Sometimes I talk to Mom, and sometimes I simply just be....  I usually wish for a snow day, but alas!  It is about 60 beautiful degrees and the odds of a snow day are grim.
 In five minutes my five English 3 girls will fly in here and grab the roll-around chair, begin working on their business Thank-you letters, start an essay about an extended experience....  roll their little mascara-dabbed eyes when I tease them....  and turn down my AC.  My room is freezing!  I like to get it cold first hour, my free hour..  Then I am cool for the rest of the day.  "Time to sparkle.  It's Show Time, Shirley...."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kitten, Kitten... Kat.....

My son sent me a quickly-snapped photo of my dear little cat, Sally...  She is a happy camper,snoozing away on his couch....  Is there anything more peaceful than watching a cat gently snoozing away an afternoon, a morning, an evening....????  Well, perhaps doing the snoozing, too...  That might be peaceful and fun...

However, it's Autumn...  who wants to sleep when it's so beautiful outside?  I have decided to finally bake the cookies featured on "The Good Witch" series, Harvest Moon cookies.

Here is the recipe.  Stay tuned for results...  Hey, it's an almond cookie dipped in chocolate.  I think it will be fine, huh?

Harvest Moon Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground almond meal ( I ordered mine from Amazon)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F
Cream the butter and slowly add in the sugar.  Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and the almond meal.  Work in the flour gradually. Wrap the dough in wax paper or parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. These are delicate cookies, so don't handle them too much. Divide the dough into 2 batches, leaving one in the refrigerator. Divide the dough into small 1 teaspoon sized balls and place them on a cookie sheet and slightly flatten with the heel of your hand or a spatula. Bake until just slightly golden brown on the bottoms, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies and drizzle with white or dark chocolate or cover 1/2 of the cookie in chocolate. Serve with cocoa or chocolate milk for dunking.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Personal Cinderella

With much flair and advertisement, Disney released today the Blue-Ray version of its masterpiece,Cinderella...  I wanted to buy it every time I saw that ad...  I don't own a Blue Ray player, but I have always adored Cinderella...  From the earlier reading of the story in a Little Golden Book to the Disney classic released when I was a little girl...  to a television version starring Leslie Ann Warren who sang, "In my own little corner; in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be." --  I have been smitten with the tale of the little cinders girl who became a princess.  I loved the Drew Barrymore version, Ever After, and I once taught a beautiful Cinderella unit with great surprise at the number of international versions available on Amazon.

I was and am the original Cinderella ..  I hope you all know this as it is for certain! I have been that mystical princess all my life, puttering away in the ashes and grime of ordinary, everyday "stuff"..  yet drawn to the sparkle and glitter of the fanciful.  I have grown to favor the Fairy Godmother just a bit too much in my later years, and I hope to do something about that.  The Disney Godmother looked almost exactly like my own grandmother, who did her best to perform any and all magic required of her fairy granddaughter.  If I needed a new dress,Gramma's magic fingers flashed, and one appeared on her sewing machine in a few days.  She had a basic pattern I adored, and she made so many variations I was able to always sail around the school feeling quite on top of any fashion crisis.  I loved those dresses, and I loved being the princess of her life.

The lovely little Cinderella statue in this blog is one purchased years ago.  Probably my sweet mama bought her for me.  She doesn't agree with the Cinderella factor.....  but she tries...  Unfortunately, my statue's little foot broke off in anticipation of that beautifully magic slipper, I guess...  I think, ironically, I dropped the sweeper handle on her...  a simple, homespun task gone bad, eh?  I had stationed her in my kitchen at HOME, and I had a little corner just for reading, sipping hot coffee, and being a kitchen Cinderella...  No such corner exists where I am now, but no matter...  I have that other one, still...  locked in my mind and ready to welcome me any moment I choose to travel back in time to that other life.

Autumn brings with it all the pageantry and color of magic.  How can trees so deprived of all good things this summer come forth with another blessing of radiant, crimson color?  I am enchanted by the mists of morning as they cling to each branch along my drive to school.  Last year I stopped along the way and took pictures...  and then I was late....  and then I met the "stepmother" who had me sign in and lose fifteen minutes pay....  But....I really love those pictures....  haha...

Do you ever wonder about Cinderella as an old woman?  Do you think she managed to keep that beauty, that pure and honest kindness for all the little animals and creatures in her world after she became queen of the land?  I think so, of course... I think she was a magical mommy and an absolutely scrumptious Gramma.....  You see, I would rather do an awful lot of imagining rather than face any kind of ugly truth.... I was once called "Cinderella of the"  (not a nice part of the anatomy)---  by a young man who simply wanted me to pull my weight with the reality of living in this world....  He didn't mean it in a very kind way, ... but I think I actually thought it was a compliment....  Today, even this week.... I am often called a fool, to my face----- for the way I view the world, the future...  everything....

So, to be more in sync with my coworkers,  I approach this magical world in cloaked behaviors...  one for all to see, and one to keep for myself....     A bit with my closest friends and sometimes my family, I am available to be their co traveler into the land of "Hope for the Best."  By doing so....  I am afraid I often seem glum to a few...  But be so very sure.... I am never really glum at my core....   At the base, I am truly and honestly a pool of sparkling glitter....  magical and mysterious...  I allow my soul to live near that pool...  If I let her leave that perpetual inner land of unwavering optimism--- even for a moment, I would feel too forlorn.  I would be forced to begin the keening an Irish moan that will never stop...  Occasionally I do creep to the edges of the world of REALITY...  I don't like it much. Yep, the world is messed up....  So what...  Those who "deal with reality" are never correct in their predictions...  Realism seems to be wrong about as often as I am actually, and all the days are ruined when we spend them "accepting reality"...  There will be only one day, one hour really, when each individual, "bad thing" will happen..  My dad passed away on one August morning...  one hour....  and he spent his whole life believing he would live forever, I think...  My Gramma left this world on a November afternoon, hooked up  to a myriad of life supports....  and don't you know, that August before.... she never ever whispered to me it would be her last garden...  Why do I ever ruin even a minute of the "now" with fears of the "then"?

What in the world has got into me today?  I am at school, and I am caught up somewhat with grading...  my second hour girls will come in and begin their work with laughter and chat...  I need to come back to the semi-ordinary life of teaching and feel the magic settle back down inside me to await a later resurgence....  I feel I was cut out for something truly wonderful.  Is this it?  My life has been truly blessed...  but am I living up to the Princess potential?  That ---- remains to be seen...  Bibbity, Bobbity, Boo......