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!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Magic Squares

Good evening!  Only a few more minutes remain before it's quite six o'clock and time to hit the relax button...  I got a late start, though, so might have to do a little more before that time.

Did you play with one of these when you were younger?

I sure did... and my son played with my Dad's...  He says that is exactly what our two houses are like...  In order to move "one" to the beginning, you have to slide the "seven" to the next spot, and then... the "two" needs that spot.  But oh, darn! There sits the "five." So, yeah.  I am on a moratorium of speaking about stuff. I have suddenly become super sick of talking about my stuff, your stuff... my son's stuff, which is really my stuff...  Ugh...  Lips are locked for a bit and throwing away the key...  

I would lots rather talk about the rainy weather and the gloriously grey day we had today...  Just perfect for a nice pot of coffee and a long chat with my sister/cousin.... 

Found a really easy cookie recipe the other day. I've made it a couple of times with different kinds of chips. I even made it with crushed Valentine Candy, which tasted so much like my Grandmother used to have right after any holiday when the candy was tired of sitting in its dish...  You just pat the blonde brownie dough into a pan and then top with whatever sounds good. I made mint chocolate chip ones for St. Patrick's Day...  Easter colored M and M's would be pretty...  or Heath chips...  Can you tell I want to bake!  This weather does that to me.

Blonde Brownies

  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In

Recipe By:Sue Bush
"Rich, chewy brownie with chocolate chips on top."


  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan.
  2. Measure 1 cup sifted flour. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift again. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter and mix well. Cool slightly.
  4. Mix the beaten egg and vanilla into the brown sugar mixture. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing just until combined.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips on top. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Girl in Town

I am shocked at how long it has been since my last post. So many things running around, and I just want to introduce you to my new little fuzzy friend. She moved in here two weeks ago, and she's quite the little shadow. Her name is Callie, and she was a little free cat on Swapshop. One year old and full of kittykat ways that make the days (and sometimes the nights) go really more darling...

But I have been up to more than just acquiring cats. I have been cleaning and sorting and...  all kinds of things like that. I have begun to sell a few items on a local Swapshop and my store, Shady Peanut Lane on Facebook.  

Right now, I'm thinking to take a break and enjoy the sunshine. It's 58 degrees...  and time for flowers. My sister/cousin brought me a little bouquet of jonquils last night!  Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

In like a Lion... again!

I think if I look back through the posts I've made, I have written "In like a lion" about as many times as anything else...  March blustered in here in the Midwest last night with storms and rain and wind. So here it roars, March's advent was not silent and sneaky. He is here at last. I finally packed away all the winter and reds and Valentines yesterday.

I actually had a truly busy and productive day yesterday as I managed to finish the literally hundreds of thank you notes to everyone who was oh, so kind after Mom passed away. I cleaned the kitchen, set up more billing, and made my Paleo meat loaf for my son.

I didn't get to attend a meatball-making party. I stayed home because I wanted to be here in case my son needed me. (He's been working from home due to a pretty severe upper respiratory infection.) Actually, my services weren't required! haha...

The wedding planners moved on without me, however. We are getting ready for my dear friend's beautiful daughter to have a big, beautiful Italian wedding. We made tortelacci the other day, and that was truly fun. These little pasta packets, filled with cream cheese and spinach, are then boiled and smothered with a butter Parmesan sauce.  Oh, yes, they are! 

My job was to take a little square and wrap it around the ball of spinach and cream cheese, seal the edges, and then give it a magical twist...  I felt quite proficient by the end of the first 500. There were other days of that activity, too, so the total right now is Tortellaci 1664 vs. Meatball 564..... (They don't go in the same dish, by the way!)

This morning I happened to look out my front window, which I love, and I noticed quite the queue of Wild Turkeys. I counted 24, but several were already behind the trees.  They slowly made the way, single file through the yard, across the gravel road, and through a hayfield,  a field of ryegrass, and out of sight..  Traveling through, I guess. Looked as if they had enjoyed a breakfast in the remains of my neighbor's cornfield. Modern combines don't leave as much as in days gone by, but there is still enough to make my crows and these Wild Turkeys quite happy.

When I was little, Daddy used to "let" us walk the perimeters and then the rows with a wagon ready to sling in corn cobs and pieces of half harvested grains. He had one of those wicked little shredders that fit on a glove, but I had to rip into the ears with my bare hands. Just call me Homestead Kid!

Had a little celebration for my sister/cousin's birthday last weekend. She is a jewel!

Well, though I'm sure you guys are totally spellbound by now, I'll have to get busy if I'm to accomplish anything at all today. I am doing okay, as everyone asks. Nothing prepares a person for the sadness, the finality, and the foreign ground we walk after we lose that last parent.

Life goes on, but it's just a wall of tears held back by the realization they are multiplied by countless friends who have already walked through this same door...  Thank you for your kindest comments, prayers, and thoughtfulness. 

I saw a pair of cardinals in the front Maple tree last week, and that made me think of the practice of seeing cardinals as a visit from Heaven. If so, it was delightful to see the pair there in their very own tree in the front yard with the sunlight absolutely glistening on their scarlet feathers. 

Have a wonderful March. Spring is in the wings!

Whimsy and Hugs!