Friday, November 27, 2009

Crayola Crayons

  When I was young I loved the box of 64 Crayola crayons. At the beginning of the school year I would get a new box. It was yet another thing that I loved to smell. Opening that box and inhaling deeply of the new fresh crayon fragrance I always chose my favorite colors first. My favorite colors were Burnt Sienna, Magenta, Midnight Blue, and Forest Green. Then there were the second place colors, and third place colors. The metals were fun too and mix it all up with black. I loved to make a squiggly scribble  all over a piece of paper with black and then color it in; a junior Picasso.

  So now that I am an "adult" (ah-hem) I find that I am navigating back to that color crayon box. I really like color. I like color on my walls! Not scribbling on the walls, color on the walls. I also like warm colors and rich tones- forget the pastel stuff.

So here it is.

  This hallway is ready for painting. It is not a small job. It requires scaffolding. Not a place to chose a color and then change your mind. I am so sick of this sage green I could rename it puke green. I had thought about painting it the same color as the living room which I do like. There is a big BUT here though; the hall has poor lighting. I have thought of a solar light but the roof is too steep for the honey to navigate, the pitch would pitch him to his untimely demise.   Having a two story hallway limits options for adding electrical lighting. The color choice is moo-ie importanto! I'm thinking about the honey butter color because it is lighter than the front room but in the same color family, but I am not crazy in love with the color. The dilemma is--I hang pictures in this hall, a lot of them, a virtual gallery of them. Pictures look better against a strong color, it makes them just pop. So what do I do? Ignore the bad lighting and paint with a strong color? Midnight blue? (just teasin)  The same as the living room? And to make it all worse my camera did not reproduce the color swatches accurately.

What do you do when you are making big decisons? Eat pie? Drink more coffee? Sleep on it again? The time has come the walrus said," to paint it!"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

  My garden is having a second spring. Fall is the best time of year here in Mississippi. The weather is incredibly gorgeous. This little fellow is enjoying himself.

  Today we pause in all of the busy activities we are doing, to think. I have been taught to be thankful, and for that I am thankful. Thankfulness does not come naturally to us, like selfishness does. At least that is true at my house. If we are honest about it, each of us is a master at looking out for our own interests, but we work at being kind and loving to each other.

  This man is always thinking of others, he is the real deal; a good man. I am crazy about him but you know that. Today I am thinking about being thankful for him, and for 22 years of marriage. How does that happen? One day you are young and saying "I do," and 22 years later you are much older and still together and more in love than when you started; it is a mystery and a gift.

  Not to get too sentimental- today is also about FOOD!

  One of my favorite style dressing. I love this stuff so it must be fattening. Wait, it is fattening!

  I start with a whole cube of butter and an onion finely chopped.

  Then add a LOT of chopped celery, I go ahead and chop up the leaves why throw those out? Then saute this until it is cooked and salt and pepper it.

  I had planned to show you the whole process, but a friend came by, and I kept cooking and forgot to take pictures. I had made stock from the gizzards and neck that I use to moisten this. This time I added up chopped turkey because this isn't going into the bird. I already cooked the turkey for Kayla to have more meat for her diet.  In fact I have already boiled down the carcass and turned it into soup stock. Busy little thing wouldn't you say? But the secret to good stuffing is to taste it and season it just right, before you cook it.
Um, and the eggs, I added 6 whipped up into a fluff of yellow, and they give that "souffle" texture to the dressing. You really can't mess this up unless it's dry so pour on the soup!  I have in the past added different ingredients for something special; dried cranberries, apples, nuts, pineapple, etc. This year it's just plain. Just plain delicious!

  These have been around since October and they have kept quite well sitting on the porch. It's time for them to be part of the feasting so they will be cut, cleaned and roasted. The big pumpkin will be soup. Pumpkin ginger coconut soup and yes it is fabulous. The small sweeter one will be pie. I am also baking sweet potatoes for pie and some to eat with roasted marshmallows on top. I love it. It might be junk food but I don't care, it's the way my Mama did it, and once a year won't hurt anybody.

 I am also thankful in a very real way for my two feet. Jojo I am praying for yours! I am grateful that both my feet are walking today, free of any orthopedic devices. I am grateful to be healthy. I have eyes that see and hands that work. I can talk. I can hear, (sort of) I can sing, ( well that is debatable too), and I am alive in this good green earth that the Lord has made. Today is a day to rejoice and praise Him the one who has given us all these good things. The one who loves us all.
"Oh give thanks unto the lord for He is good! For his mercy endures forever!" Psalm 118:1

Monday, November 23, 2009

Odds and Ends.

These stairs are going to keep us busy. The plan is to refinish the step and paint part white like the side trim. The carpet is fixing to go to where ever it is that dead carpet goes--the dump.

Saturday the down town library had a book sale. My little heart was pitter patting in excited expectation. Memories of the Santa Cruz Civic Center with it's piles of maybe a million books, in  organized sections filled my mind. What I found was one full row of books. Mostly what they are pulling from their shelves to withdraw from circulation. For $1.00 each hardback and 25 cents for paperback I managed to spend 20 bucks and took all I could carry.

It is cold enough for a fire. The perfect day to begin reading my plunder. I love book sales.

I also recovered the cornice that is above the couch and switched the couches around. I've been re organizing with the thoughts of moving everything out to put the flooring in. BIG job!!

I took the big round coffee table out and made this little one. It's two baskets and a piece of glass. I thought the big table took up too much room and competed with the circle design of the carpet.

The closets and drawers have been purged. It's a nice feeling not having too much stuff in here and now i am ready for the flooring to begin.

We are going to go to Stewpot and serve folks for Thanksgiving. Kayla is really working at losing weight. I didn't have anyone to invite over and just don't feel like cooking. We thought it would be good this year to just go pitch in and help out with the hungry. I'll make a sweet potato pie to have when we come home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just Cute.

What's different in this picture?

Do you see the real "toy"?
Maybe he was feeling lonely and decided to snuggle with some buddies.
I thought it was too cute not to share.

I'm still cleaning and going to the Goodwill. Just about done. The house is looking GREAT. Drawers are getting emptied out, closets debulked, it's liberating! It's so easy to get dressed when the only things in my closet are items that I can actually wear. No more shopping for the current size either. We (Kayla and I) are trying to lose weight so we aren't cooking. No pies. No cookies no nada. Not eating much. Meat and vegetables how interesting is that? No photo ops.
But you know what? It's time for all that celebratory food and I never lost what I gained last year! I refuse to get bigger, no no NO! I mean for Pete's sake; my feet are breaking under the load now. To me that is a big hint, the body would prefer to lighten the load. DUH...

Books? Well, yes I am reading but if I keep talking about it, I might get labeled and that will never do. Just a nice heart warming story you say?

"Heart In the Right Place," by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a true story about a woman who has it all, money, high powered job, a Mercedes...and her mother has a heart attack. Her father is a country doctor in a rural area of Tennessee and her mother helps run his very old fashioned practice. She goes home to help out and from there her whole life gets turned upside down. Its sweet, hilarious, and's true. What can be better than that?

Currently I am tessering through "A Wrinkle In Time," series and am reading the last book. I have a different perspective after reading the Crosswick Journals and can see that some of the settings are from her farm. It's been a very enjoyable rerun. Children's books can be for everyone, especially these. These would be good read aloud books for family time.

How are you? Do you have big plans for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Lover of Books

Ever since I was very young, I have loved books. There is something about a new copy, not yet read that is magical for me. I love to smell the paper and gingerly run my hands over the front cover and feel of the pages, savoring the text before reading it. It's a memory that goes back as far as I can remember.

Smell is connected to memory isn't it? Did you ever deeply inhale of your new shoes? When I was young we received shoes twice a year and had two pair, one for church and one for school. When Keds came out we were crazy with joy to have play shoes! I quickly worked on my mom to let me wear the tennis shoes everywhere. I hated saddle shoes and loafers. They may have been stylish but it felt like walking in cement, and the heat so much hotter in those clodhoppers.

I am digressing a little but not really. It was as a school girl that our parochial school often held book sales for fund raisers. We were allowed to go into the main auditorium where piles of books were laid out on long tables. They were placed by grade level but that never mattered to me. What I was after was the front and back flaps of any book that caught my eye. Often my parents would buy me everything that I selected, it was so much better than any holiday. I saved most of these lovely books and left them with my daughter when I moved here. They may be gone.

There is nothing to this day that I like more, than to read curled up in a cozy spot and get completely lost in the world between those two covers. Adversity can be a blessing. I learned to love books when I was young because of profound, undiagnosed near sightedness. My grades did not suffer from my myopic vision because often during the recess I would go up to the black board and look at what was written. It trained my hearing very well to remember what was said.
When discovered by a routine school screening I could not see the big E on the chart. I had to walk nearly up to the chart to read anything. Mother was naturally horrified and also confused why none of the usual signs had presented. She asked me how I managed in school and I told her about staying in at recess; it was perfectly logical to me. I hated recess balls and other objects that would periodically come hurtling threw the air and hit me. It was always to late to react by the time I saw them coming. The world of imagination was much safer and also much more exciting. When driving home with my first pair of glasses on I was amazed that leaves actually grew on trees! Mother wept, and I couldn't understand why.

I already knew how to read when I started school. The primary grades were sheer torture. Each time I received a new "reader" I would go home and read it, then try the next day to return it. Those exasperated teachers would try to explain to me that it was a "reader" and I was to use it at school. The exasperated child would try to explain the book had been read completely and wasn't to good at that. Fun With Dick and Jane were pretty elementary reading.

I was reading chapter books and had a Junior Classics set. My mother also gave me books of nursery rhymes most of them completely memorized before kindergarten. In spite of being constantly in trouble for talking out of turn, correcting the other children's reading out loud, or getting up from my seat; I didn't lose my love of learning or of reading.

When a new copy comes in the mail and I open it, I still feel that bit of flutter and anticipation to see and smell my new book. Is the anticipation because of my enjoying opening the book or enjoying having the book open me? These authors that we don't actually know but do have a reciprocal relationship with. They present something to us and our minds open to receive or we reject. It is incredible the power of written words.

Madeline L'Engle is at the very top of my list right now. I am in love with her writing. I love the way she thinks, talks, and holds discussions as if we are present in her class, or living room. She imparts such a sense of prescence that it is to imagine you are walking at her side viewing each scene that she takes you to; her world revealed. A rekindled appreciation for thinking is stirring between the gray matter in my head, and the soul in my being.

In the "Summer of the Great Grandmother," she is dealing with the severe decline of her mother. Her family spends each year at their country house in New England. Her mother has suffered from dementia for some time, but in this particular summer, just the trip itself sends her off the deep end profoundly. They realize she will never be able to return to her home.
The episodes of fear and outlandish behavior spur Madeline to remember her childhood, her relationships with her parents, and their parents to review her family history back to the civil war. It is an incredible journey, a fantastic marvelous read.

Something happened in my own response to her story. I saw great parallels between her people and mine, between her childhood experiences and mine. My grandparents rode on camels in Egypt and so did hers. Her family was well read and knew several foreign languages as did mine. These people who did not consider themselves to be highly educated because they had no degrees; lived very full and interesting lives!

Which made me think of the strong contrast between their lives and those portrayed in,"Brave New World", by Aldous Huxley and "1984", by George Orwell. The totalitarian government in BNW kept the masses happy with soma and diversions. Games and physical fitness were the chief modes of entertainment and all things "new" celebrated, old things and old people abhorred. I wonder if we have 'soma' now? Would we recognize it if it was in our lives already? What things do we routinely use to "check out" from the world we live in and distress? Zone out, tune out, take a vacation, "a gramme is better than a damn". The government had discovered that keeping people in an infantile state and away from strong feelings enabled them to be easily controlled.

In "1984", we have "Big Brother:, the benevolent government that will rewrite history and current events to subdue the masses, and again medicate and condition the people so they do not even recognize the servitude that is upon them. The interesting thing is that in both stories, books are forbidden. Learning is forbidden, it has been replaced by conditioning. Political correctness is of supreme importance, any infractions reported for the greater good of the society as a whole. Would we even see it? Isn't it already here? Would we realize if we are conditioned? "I love new clothes", "better to spend than to mend", sounds ominously like a TV commercial to me, but in Brave New World, it was part of the multitude of whispers in the night that the government raised children, were subjected too.

How did I get from grandparents that could speak foreign languages and ride camels to that? I hope you made that jump on your own. In that time there was no TV, no media, no Internet. People were very busy with living independent lives. independent of government, independent of the mainstream pressure to conform to the status quo. When you don't have "soma" you live life. People those few generations ago were very much free Americans and celebrated their freedom by working very hard to better themselves. My grandparents( legal immigrants by the way) saw the industrial revolution, the invention of the radio, the electric light bulb, indoor plumbing, the motor car, airplanes, and a man that walked on the moon. To name just a few of the milestones in their generation. It was an amazing time to be alive.

How about us? Where do we fit in? Where do you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Fest Foto Day in the Country!

Pretty much as soon as these were turned loose;I hit the ground running.
So to speak, actually I began standing in front of the stove.
Where I usually spend a lot of time. This home made chicken soup is pretty tasty.
If I don't say so myself.
It had been awhile since we had any of this too...

The hunny is always up for some of these...

or his very favorite.
After getting full of home cooking we decided to take a ride to the country to visit some friends.
Boys and vines that hang from trees are a match made in heaven.
We had a special occasion to make the trip. This little princess is a couple of days old, she is the 6th child in this family but there is plenty of room for her.

They have horses on their farm, Kayla wanted to brush them so they had a nice relaxing grooming.
The Dad and one of the other daughters were busy doing something here.
Which involved this kind lady named I-Lean, she has a bum foot but it doesn't slow her down much. A jersey cow, the best milk on the planet comes from such as these.
The oldest has the knack she knows just how to fill up the pails. We were given 2 gallons of milk and about that much in pure cream. I am blessed to overflowing! Just think real butter, sour cream, and ooooohhh that milk!!! My bones are getting stronger just thinking about it.

A family shot of all the children they are a joy to be around they are so well behaved, and they are very happy children.
We drove all through the country to visit them. It's not far from where we live just 20 mins from me you can be in places that look like this.
We stopped by the side of the road to take these.

Tried to get this driving and it's blurry but it's my dream place, I think it's for sale. Won't be mine it's more moolah than I have. It is a perfect farm house on picturesque acreage.
On the way home...
I love it in the town of Flora...or more correctly the countryside of Flora...

the photographer at work...
Somebody has to drive, notice my window? You guessed it perfect weather!!
This time of year we have the best weather in the country!
More beauty isn't this just a feast for the eyes?

All to soon we turned the corner back to our place. The trees declare the beauty of fall.

With a little help from my resident teen.

We are home and the day was perfect.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just Busy or Something....

The phone rang last night and my friend who is also blogger was calling because....I haven't posted. It's so nice to be loved. I have good news, my cast is off. My bones don't feel right but I am not complaining.

GREAT NEWS about Stellan!! But the news about his leg is not good, pray about that, a very urgent need, and he is sick. What an incredible journey this baby and his family have had!

I have some ideas to write about for you...if I can get ever get my nose out of the stack of books I have. I am reading, baking, and trying my best not to be on my feet to much. Yes, this is the boring- est post ever...just touching base to let you know that--I am fine. I am enjoying the ooh so perfect--never lasts long enough--fall weather. No, my irises are not planted yet, are yours?

I will return.