Tuesday, November 30, 2010

who knew?

I don't have a great knowledge about silver stuff. What silver (-plate, most likely) I got for wedding presents, I eventually got rid of. And now, of course, I wish I had them gleaming in my china cabinet. I've always admired my mother's little salt and pepper shakers. And I've wondered why one top was glass and the other silver. Since I'm silver-clueless, I asked her the other day.
"Oh," she answered very matter-of-factly, "Don't you know that salt tarnishes silver?"

As long as my dear mother lives, there will always be something I can learn from her. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

some hard rock at home


I've always been happy with our gray speckled laminate kitchen countertops. So when Eldest son, who installs granite countertops, wanted to give us granite in our kitchen, I didn't really care either way. In fact, I was a little apprehensive about what it would look like. But I knew he took pride in his work, so we agreed--after all, the price was unbeatable! He worked long and hard to find us just the right color--black with some gray flecks and even a dash of blue as a nod to my love of blue and white dishes.

The big day of installation arrived. I had other obligations so missed the whole show, which maybe was a good thing. When I arrived home, I could not believe how good they looked. I am both touched and thrilled. And what I love most about them is he knew me well enough to choose exactly what I would like. His love of granite and all its many varieties does remind me of when he was little, and loved to collect rocks and quartz, etc.


I've come to notice something interesting about granite. No matter what I set on its shiny black surface--the humblest left over container ... or my grocery list ... or even a banana peel-- the granite makes each thing look so, so good! It's like it all gets dressed up ... just like how the plainest person can look so much better wearing fine clothes and a little make up. I'm sure there is a life application here, but my brain is tired at the moment, so I'll leave you to think about it.

Linking to Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

raising the song

"Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home."

Monday, November 22, 2010

bag lady

I like to organize but don't think I usually do a great job ... but there is one thing that I just love to do when we are expecting house guests for several days. When I finally get to sitting down and planning meals, I write out the     h   u   g   e    ,    l  o  n   g    grocery list. And with a prayer for clear thinking, I head to the store. Usually the recipes are well known to me by now, so when I come home I separate the ingredients for each meal into piles. And each pile goes back into a bag.  I have a wonderful closet under the stairs which holds far more than it should, but there's always room for those grocery bags. (And I bet an official organizer could do a lot with this little nook of a closet.) The bags are all lined up in there now, for company is a'comin' soon.

When it comes time to make a meal, I just go grab the bag for that meal! I surprise myself with my cleverness . . . LOL.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

just do it for me ...

In recent years I have started decorating for Christmas pretty early. I get it all out in the spare room and do a little at a time. But it seems harder and harder for me to lug out all the stuff and decorate, especially since I am on my own now to do it (though I still try to reign in some of the young folk to trim the tree when they come around). And while our house used to be filled to the brim with relatives, Christmas is getting quieter and quieter as babies have come, expanding families, and making it hard to travel and all fit under one roof. So this year it will be just us, an occasional pop in from my mother living nearby, and some in's and out's from our children. And maybe a small or large party or two.

So, wondering if I had it in me to drag it all out and decorate this year, I suggested to the Gardener that I pare it down even more than I already have in recent years. Now the Gardener does not have a lot of great memories of childhood Christmases, so Christmas with our family in our cozy house means a lot to him.

He cut my chatter short. "Just do it for me, only me," he said quietly.

Will do my love, with pleasure.

Reposting from November 2007 and could be written today. Joining with Chari's Happy to Design  for Sunday "reruns."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a brighter place

My mother's number rose to 89 today. We had a good time. All her children got together to give her one of those electronic photo frames. Youngest helped me load on the photos but I still don't have it right, for if I can't figure out how to easily turn it on, how will she? So it remains at our house until ....

We treated her to a favorite Italian restaurant. But before that she spoke on the phone to sister, daughter, son, friend ... and the very icing on the cake--her first skype session with a brand new great grandson (#2 of a set of twins, yes you read that correctly--#1 twin was away in nicu working on some breathing issues) from his hospital room! He yawned, stretched, cooed, opened his eyes, and turned to look at his grandma who was holding him. Yep, we saw and heard it all. After we "hung up" mom turned to me and said,"What an amazing world we live in."

The best fun of the night was in a card from a friend that mom and I share. Her humor is unstoppable. The above image is scanned from her card and inside she penned, "Has anyone tried putting all your candles on a cake? It certainly would make your world a brighter place!"

Well, no we haven't tried fitting all those candles on a cake. In fact, there was no cake at all this year, only brownies from a friend (as long as it's chocolate we're good here.) But it was a wonderful birthday, blessed by abundance of new friends (most of her old ones are no longer on this earth), family, and the smiles of now 8 great grandchildren!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

color feast

It might be me, but I think this autumn has been the most spectacular fall we've seen in years. The colors took awhile coming, but once finally here, they have been fabulous.

The red, brown, yellow, gold, and orange set against the still green leaves or the ever present green pines have been a sight to behold. Add in the mix our deep blue skies --- or even a gray day ... either background shows off the vibrant leaf colors like shiny jewels.

Maybe it's because I've been so busy this season, and have been driving to my mother's each day, but the time in the car looking at all the color has been a true feast for my eyes and for my soul.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

autumn in a garden

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

See Little Red House for more mosaics!

Friday, November 12, 2010

zippy tea

When the girls came for tea the other night I opened a new box of tea a friend had given me. It was made by Aveda and called tea/th`e (sorry I can't get the accent right over the "e").  Organic of course. When you take the first sip, its rather bland and reminded me of camomile tea, which I often drink before bed. But just as you are about to swallow the sip, something explodes in your mouth and it's truly delightful. Everyone then had to try some and we all were exclaiming as the delicious flavors of licorice root, peppermint leaf, sweet fennel, and basil filled our mouths (ingredients per the beautiful organic-looking box). Also according to the box, this tea should calm your senses and promote a sense of well-being. I'm not sure we noticed that, we were so busy enjoying the flavors but I'd definitely consider this a "party tea." Tea with a "zip."

Check out Foodie Friday for some great recipes!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

eating the scones

So the girls from our small group came over to eat the pumpkin scones ...

and some apple pie ...

and sip some hot tea.

Since they all have young children, they took note of the quiet in our house.

And enjoyed it.

I suggested some classical music, you know ... to go with the tea atmosphere.

But they preferred a quiet background to their conversation.

See Susan's Between Naps on the Porch for more tablescapes.

pumpkin scones

                                3/4  C canned pumpkin puree        1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
                                1/4 C melted butter                         1 egg
                                1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce             1/2 tsp. salt
                                2 tsp chili-flavored oil                    1 2/3 C flour                                   
                                ground white or black petter           2 1/2 tsp baking powder                
                                1/2 tsp baking soda                         Milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In large bowl combine pumpkin, parmesan, melted butter, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and oil. Stir to mix.
In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold into pumpkin mixture until combined into a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a one inch thick oval. Cut dough into scones using a round 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place about one inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with milk to glaze. Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Cool slightly and serve warm with butter (or good with cream cheese as well).
You can freeze baked scones in airtight containers for a month; Thaw for an hour at room temperature. Wrap in foil and reheat in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Unbaked scones can be put on baking sheets linedwith parchment paper and frozen up to three months. Do not thaw before baking as directed, simply add 2-3 minutes to the baking time. Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens,

I gave the Gardener a sample and he declared them good and, desiring of a second, he had to hear the sad word, 
"They're saved." Friends coming over for a little tea party tonight. I like their savory flavor.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

another wedding

A recent wedding in a small town church where the Gardener grew up. Coincidentally, the grooms from this wedding and last week's wedding mosaic both happen to be 6'4" or taller. (Tall men always seem so tall to me, which is strange, since I look up to the Gardener all the time (6'6") and am quite used to his height.)

Connecting to Little Red House for Monday Mosaics.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

generosity, and the lack thereof

     The day started out warm and humid with rain and threatening clouds. By the time we were on the train headed uptown the clouds had changed to bright sun. But then, as if a gift withdrawn, the wind and dark clouds furled again across the skies ... only to be replaced once more by sunshine, this time bringing cooler temperatures. Friends were taking us out to dine on a gift card they had received. So generous of them--they could have used the card three times themselves rather than sharing it with friends.
     The meal was lovely, and my entree--a favorite Chicken Marsala--was perfect. I boxed up the remains, thinking about the mouth-watering second meal it would make. And now my story splits.

Story One: Walking on the train platform, we were approached by our second panhandler of the day. A quarter for some fast food? That wouldn't buy anything. My box of food suddenly felt very heavy in my hands. Maybe I should give it to him. But I didn't, sitting it down on the bench next to me as we waited for our train. Once we hopped off the train back at our car, I realized the box wasn't with me. I'd left it on the bench. Serves me right, I thought to myself. Quick lesson here ... and I breathed a silent prayer that panhandler friend would circle back and find the delicious meal and enjoy it for me, as he should have--if I'd been generous.

Story Two: Generous gift card friends headed home, stopping on the way to try and find a pecan pie for a church Thanksgiving dinner the next day. No pies to be found. They passed a fruit stand with a "Pecan Pie Sale" sign. Alas, it had just closed. Cash register sales tallied, all in process of being locked up for the day. 
     They made an attempt anyway, but the answer was "no," even if cash was offered. Walking back to the car, our friend noticed that the pie seller was running after them, pie in hand. "Here," she said,"take a pie. No charge. Enjoy. They are to die for. You'll love it."

Originally posted two years ago this week. See Chari's Happy to Design for more "Sunday favorites."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I did it. I printed my blog. I've wanted to do so for a long time. It's hard to believe I timidly began blogging in the spring of 2006. For a whole year I printed out each page and placed it in a notebook and gave it to my mother to read. But it was time consuming. I began to research ways to print the rest of my blog, and as time went on, new and easier methods were available.

I found that once I started blogging I journaled less. And when I go back and read some of my blog, I realize it is a pretty good record of what's gone on in my life. In fact, I've found myself looking back to find out the date of when something happened, since my memory has gone wandering in recent years! Inside the front cover is written "for posterity"--meaning, for future generations. Maybe a great grandchild will find it and read it someday ... and wonder ...

It wasn't cheap. But I think it is worth it. Thankfully I happened to receive a monetary award at work that I used for this. I like the way it came out. I did it in two volumes and hope to do a third for 2010 when the end of the year arrives. You can see on my side bar a "button" noting the company I used (it's not a link--google it). I skipped the endless table of contents to save money, and some pages aren't laid out quite right (a title may be at the bottom of one page with the story or photo on another); but the photos are wonderful and over all I am very pleased. And the books arrived in about three-four days' time!
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