Monday, December 25, 2023

Are we gonna do this all day?

Gerred, my son, was about three or four years old and it was about ten days until Christmas.  I was an altogether too busy and involved teacher, cheerleader sponsor, home decorator, mediator, and frazzled individual. 

I came home from some event, probably a basketball game,  and I opened a card from another family with small children. 

Alas! Out fluttered a photo of the children.  What!  How could I have forgotten?  While I had cards, this was slightly before the digital age, and there was no way to take a photo of my beautiful son and get duplicates made in time to send them.  I was such a failure! 

So, "never say die, say da--." Was my grandmother's motto.  I struggled out to Walmart  and plunked down my credit card.   I bought ten boxes of Polaroid film and ten bars of flash cubes.  Yes,  I was going to send 100 pictures! 

I set my boy down in a new sweater in front of a bear claw quilt made for him by his great-grandmother. I popped two Steiff bears under this arms.  One had come from one grandmother on a trip to Germany.  The white one was a gift from the same great grandmother  who just wouldn't be outdone with the bear and made the quilt and wouldn't say die!

He posed and smiled. Along about shot number 50 I heard him query through smiling, clenched teeth... "Mama? Are we gonna do this.... all day?"  

Here is one of the results.  What is that ad? Polaroid film, $100. STEIFF bear imported,  $200. Grainy smiling boy photo,  priceless. 

Happy Christmas  memories. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christmas Sausage

So... My cousins recently visited me to bring me some hugs and comfort. As we talked about our long ago Christmas traditions, we thought about the yearly Miller Family Christmas {Daddy's family} on Christmas Eve. We had about nine or ten adults and five grandchildren all squeezed into a very warm bungalow style home in the middle of the Hamlet of Excello. Food was amazing, the families all bringing specialties like Aunt Elizabeth's light rolls from the gods, Aunt Opal's fluffy marshmallow fruit salad in a holly bowl, and mouthwatering baked beans made from an ancient recipe of my mother's. And then there was the interminable cleaning up, washing every dish, and too much time spent in the kitchen before the grand opening of the gifts.

The one year that came into my memory was the time before I was eleven when my parents had nearly ruined that special night for us. You see, my parents never fought... (much). I honestly can think of only four or five big fights they ever had. It was mutually agreed that Mom was the feisty one, and Daddy just adored her so much that he rarely thought anything she wanted was unreasonable. That made for a grand marriage (for them, but a pretty unrealistic view of home dynamics for myself and my son).  On this Christmas Eve day in the early 1960's, they fought. I guess our family pretty much waited on the last minute to get some of their presents. On this day we went to town and picked up the groceries we would need and the final and maybe only gift for my two grandfathers. They stopped at a Butcher/Locker in a nearby town and purchased two long, beautifully packed rolls of breakfast sausage. I am thinking it must have been over five, maybe ten pounds because the things were huge, about 22 inches long and about four inches in diameter... My family was decidedly lower middle class in finances, so these things represented a nice gift, one that each grandfather would really enjoy.

The trip home was happy. My dad had made up a song in the early years of his courtship of my mother. I am certain he sang it to her on the way home. "Merry, Merry Christmas to you, Dear. Wishing you a lot of love and cheer. Hope we'll be together again next year...  Merry, Merry Christmas to you, Dear." Life was pretty perfect for me as a child. Pretty perfect. When we got home, we made several trips from the car to the house with sacks. I can't imagine I was the one to blame because that would have meant I actually was helping them, and I imagine that not to be the case. I think I was pretty much caught up in some book or in dreaming of the holiday ahead. I wasn't often of much use around the house actually. So... nearing the end of the trip, a great cry came from the West as one or both of my parents discovered quite the mishap.

Our dear old Mama Cat had jumped through into the back seat and was decidedly enjoying herself on one of those long sausage ends. She had chewed a little hole on one end of one sausage and taken just a bite or two of that incredible treat as her Christmas banquet treat. They ran that sausage into the house, lopped off that complete end, washed the remainder of the package and carefully folded a piece of tinfoil over the end with a rubber band. I am guessing the option was not there to go to town and replace the gift. Now, we lived about a half mile from one grandfather and two miles from the other, so this was not the only day in the year we would see them...  But, nevertheless, the argument began... about whose dad was going to get that sausage with the tinfoil end. And, believe me. It got really ugly.  They screamed and they bargained. The earth shook with their insistence that "My dad is NOT going to get that sausage with the end cut out!" I was aghast at the fact they were fighting, at the realization that maybe it had been my job to watch the car?, and that evidently there might not be a Christmas ever again if they continued this irrational fight. I remember saying nothing, but ideas swirled in my head. I thought it would be a cool idea to cut the end off the other sausage and fry that up on the spot. I thought they could make up a very creative story that didn't involve a cat about what happened to the end of the sausage. I am sure I kept my thoughts to myself.

Finally the end of the argument. If my dad EVER did get mad, he would yell the one and only curse word I ever heard him say. He didn't swear, and my mom didn't either. I am sad to say, I didn't inherit that marvelous restraint always, but I do appreciate it. However, upon invoking the wrath of GG Miller, II..... one might hear a loud voice holler, "Goddamsonofab*tch!" I honestly thought that was one single word for years and years. Well, that was it. The magic, awful moment. Mom always conceded upon that moment as she did on the three or four other times they ever really got into it. So, my dad's father got the perfect sausage, and my grandfather across the meadow, my Paw-Paw, got the one with the tinfoil hat. End of story.

We went to the Christmas Eve party, had a grand time, and none were the wiser. I am pretty certain my mom's dad didn't really mind, but it sure made everyone laugh yesterday as they recalled the qualities of our Grandad Miller that invoked such a monumental STAND on my dad's part.

May you have lots of nice things happen on your Christmas, and may the cat stay out of your sausage! 

Whimsy and Hugs

Thursday, December 14, 2023

December Sky

Thank you all for your sweet prayers, hugs from afar,  and comments.  I really appreciate  the kindness and sympathy I've experienced.  There is no need to take you to the edge of the abyss of my soul.  But I do want to reach out and thank you.  

About the only thing I've cooked has been a really interesting Italian Cannelloni soup.  My friends have brought me potato soup, chili, vegetable mushroom, white chicken chili, and Panera broccoli- cheese soup... My plan is to make Jenny the Pirate's tomato soup in the morning and take a stab at Palmetto Pimento Cheese tomorrow, too. I'm not really hungry, but cooking is always appreciated.

Here's that soup I made last week. 

Italian Cannelloni Soup

1 # mild Italian sausage (browned, drained, and broken up) 

2 cans Cannelloni white beans (juice and all)

Large box chicken broth

2 boxes Colvita crushed tomatoes.  (I get them on Amazon by auto delivery.  So good!)

2 carrots,  2 ribs celery,  1 onion (chopped and simmered until soft in pot drippings or olive oil) 

Large t. chopped garlic

Salt, pepper,  and a smidge of sugar (to taste.  Most don't add the sugar probably) 

2 To 3 big squeezes ketchup 

T. Worchestershire sauce

1/3 c. Italian seasoning

Then simmering is the key... and sitting until tomorrow.    I can do that.  

Hugs to you all.  

Friday, November 24, 2023

sad news

Dear friends, my dear son passed away in his sleep this morning.  I don't know why I felt the need to post this,  but I could use your prayers if they will help.  I don't think anything will ever be ok again.  Thank you for all your kindness. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

November Summer

Hope everyone is having a great November. We did have a cold snap,  but even we're able to have some porch visits this week.  
I'm just ending the year with more issues... mostly having fun in my Studio... 
Would love some gluten free low fodmap ideas to cook! I am so tired of my own cooking!
I've been dragging out totes! [Insert scream!] I have a lot of energy and motivation through the night!  But during the day... not as much. 

Talk soon.  Planning to start a little Christmas cheer this week. 

Sunday, October 8, 2023

What's for lunch?

I finally figured out how to make my favorite sauce in smaller batches. I quartered my original recipe! And I use my slow cooker... easy peasy. After it has cooked, I could cook it down thicker in batches on the stove top, but... I have been eating it like sweet salsa... I suppose I'm craving salad, and this does the trick.  
Today for lunch I made frizzled toast (aka toaster is too much trouble), fluffy scrambled eggs, and this sauce.  I can't say everyone would like it, but it takes me squarely to my mother's kitchen table... so I do!

Small batch Chili Sauce
4 cans chopped tomatoes
I chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped yellow or red pepper
3 ribs chopped celery
2/3 c. Sugar
2/3 c. Vinegar (apple cider)
1 T. Ground cinnamon
1 T. Mustard seed
Scant t. Salt
Dash of cayenne
Dash of allspice
1/2 t. Celery seed

Stir up in crockpot and cook on medium for about 10 hours. 

I promise not to share this again this year!  Lol... I have my third batch simmering right now.  I'm freezing it but you can easily can it if that is your jam!

The first batch I carefully chopped, but since it's for me,  I just roughly chopped the vegetables as you can see.
I added in an extra amount of them this time.  I am free styling!
We've turned on our furnace.  It's been 38 degrees at night this week.   It's here!  Hallelujah!

I've been so busy in my craft room. Autumn and Halloween Journals have been appearing!
Have a lovely week!

Friday, October 6, 2023

The Tales of Halloween

Once there lived a big scared cat and a little scaredy cat... one pitch black very dark night... 

Well,  yeah. You know it's I who be the scaredy cat... and  Callie too!
So Although I struggle with sleep, tonight I decided to watch some YouTube and wonder of wonders,  I drifted off... I've been known to knock out one of my own front teeth with an iPad after falling asleep... I can't do that any more!  However, tonight I must have dropped my cell phone into my lap and somehow hit the button to cast what I was watching to the TV... Our TV was left on a really loud volume... I was watching Jenny Penton draw... and her music was rather fanfarish and scary... imagine drowsing off and suddenly an empty room blares into song? Oh my gosh! I could hear my son snoring in his room... (he can be really loud! ) 
I'll admit.  It scared me ... so I quickly turned my phone off... the music stopped... I thought it stopped because the intruder (armed with tunes) was aware of me! Suddenly... my bed shook... I felt something creeping toward me and it pounced on my stomach... 
For way too many minutes I just froze... my spirit animal must be a bunny or a deer in headlights... I finally realized that Callie was the interloper on my lap. Miss Independent had jumped down at that first, startling note from her chosed "Princess and the Pea" stack of blankets in the laundry room where she adoress to sleep above the mundane... 
Finally,  still baffled, I turned my phone back on and heard that same scary song coming from the screen. Well, duh! Suddenly the whole night was not so scary.
Yep.  That's my bed.  I decided I was 70 years old almost and I have no daughters, grandchildren, or daughters in law.  My son absolutely wouldn't care if he snuggled under a quilt or a rag rug  as long as he's cozy... So I crawl under a beauty ......stitched by my mother,  quilted by one grandmother, bound by the other grandmother... Therein I have discovered the meaning of a comfort quilt... 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Little by Little

Here we go again.  A month tiptoes in the front door, and then before I can brew a spot of tea to welcome it, the calendar declares the date is the 15th... and then... the tea is cold in the cup and it's over! Ah, well. At least I can say I'm ready for Autumn's first day, the 23rd. I just hope to find a real pumpkin to grace my table and the front porch.
My quest for something to soothe my searching spirit led me down a path last week.  I hired my floors mopped. It has been a journey of debate and internal argument because I come from stock that barely would hire an expert for rocket science or brain surgery... but I just wanted the feeling of clean floors all over PLUS not being totally wiped out.  
I actually had to mop a few myself to get that because I hired youth... she was absolutely beautiful... and sooo young. Very kind.  She did a good job although she didn't work very long.  Without being sparky, I will relate her parting words of wisdom:  "I hope you appreciate all this I did for you."  Oh, how my heart laughed while my face soberly promised that I did... appreciate a tidge more than one hour's mopping for $35. Then I thought of my dad who hauled hay in July for ten cents a day... he always added how much he appreciated the farmer who gave him the work.  
What a world!  I found all these pictures on Facebook here and there, so if you see something that's yours and you don't want me to share it, please let me know! I understand. 
This has been a fast weekend. I bought two pizzas and some wings from good old Pizza Hut. So no cooking until some time next week! There's something quite collegiate and decadent about strolling (in my case rolling) through the house with a couple slices of pizza on a paper plate. I do have some menus planned for September, but they shall have to wait!
Merry Autumn to you all. I suppose it's time for bed... or another couple episodes of Bluebloods. I have long been a fan of Selleck, but I never watched this.  I look for something for late at night after my son hits his room and I'm just not ready to begin the arm wrestling with unconsciousness... (Who knew a tired person would fight sleep like a banshee?) It's ok... I like some aspects of it,  but I'm not obsessed. Selleck is sweet.
Yes, to those of you who called out Boston Legal.  We're watching it again all the way through.  What a classic! Who hasn't found themselves mouthing off to a boss after a few episodes of empowerment by Denny Crane or Alan Shore! Lol... My son lost a little salary boost at his old workplace, and I recall a little set down in the hotseat at school... lol... coincidence? "Do.. do... doode dee do do doooo. Oh, yeaaahhhh."
Well, thank you for reading this and keeping me company! 

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Welcome to September!

It's almost sweater weather!  Of course, inside this chilly house I can wear a sweater any time I want!  My friend Patty used to say my house was cold enough to "hang meat." I guess I just hate muggy weather, so yes,  I'm really ready for Fall this year.  Happy Labor Day. My son had a four day weekend and a birthday, so we're hoping to have some better days and feel good enough to enjoy those vacation moments.   
I was trying to get the shadow behind Callie.  She really reminded me of that "I'm Batman" still shot from the movie with Michael Keaton (our favorite)... Yes,  we're rewatching Boston Legal. I needed a break from crime and seriousness.  Although there are still some thoughtful moments in this series.  

I hope to be hiring someone to do my windows and floors.  It seems those jobs are hard to fill because everyone is booked solid! Evidently it isn't enough to simply purchase the cleaning products and O'Cedars and Sharks! Who knew? 
We enjoyed our favorites today from our local Chinese restaurant: Pot stickers, General Zso, vegetable fried rice, crab Rangoon for me.  My son traded some of that for Mongolian Beef and little chicken wings.  Now it's back to home cooking (or reheating!) It takes forever for two people to eat a recipe of anything!  
Just finished some journal making.  I need to get started on holiday orders and cards.  Maybe... what's the secret to getting things done when the mood doesn't strike ya? Well, it's getting late again, so I'll post this and try to sleep a bit.  Happy September! 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Little Fall ...

I just love it when I can drag out the totes of Autumn. I've been a little slow, but I sure started early! 
I plan to finish tomorrow if I can get myself in gear.  I wish I had the enthusiasm and energy in the daytime that invades my spirit through the night!  I know... put away screens! Ok... in a minute!
What are your favorite Autumn plans?  Mine usually involve some kind of cooking.  We're hoping to slip back from our 100 degree weather after tomorrow.  Good old August... I can remember so many days like this at the beginning of school. 
I've been kidnapped by a series again. This time it is Homeland with Mandy Patinkin and Claire  Danes... again I can't recommend it because it is really too mature for my childlike soul... but I'm on season 8... and there are only 5 more episodes... 
I hope I find something else after I'm done.  My son is watching The Wire but I usually sleep through those.  Then he goes to bed and I watch Saul and Carrie.
I can't say August was all I'd hoped for... I guess August was ok, but I didn't set any records for accomplishments. 
Time for a little crash before morning (3 a.m.) Have a good weekend!