Monday, October 15, 2007

Brin's Messy, Thrilling Life

If I had started reading this blog from the beginning, which I didn't, it began back on July 24, 2005. It began simply enough, but with a large enough glimpse to know that this would be an amazing, exceptional blog. Instead, I started with the current date and read backward for a few days.

You know how a blog is...just like the "way leading onto way" that Robert Frost describes in his poem The Road Not Taken. How I stumbled upon My Messy, Thrilling Life is unclear to me now, but stumble I did and grateful I am.

Brin, this young woman (currently on vacation as I am writing this entry), writes a Monday devotional that rivals Streams in the Desert. For those of you who recognize that name, that is high praise. High. Very.

This blogger will have you laughing and crying all within four paragraphs or less. If she isn't thinking about turning this material into a book...even a movie...I can't imagine whyever not. For a while, I had considered including some of my favorite entries, but I think a reader would be better served to wander in as I did and have at it. Be sure that your tissue box is handy, but be prepared to laugh aloud as well. Heck, treat it like the treasure it is and start at the beginning and work your way forward. I've only reached March of this year, after an entire evening of reading, and I am so excited about reading until I am all caught up that I am all grins even as I type up this post. So, unlike the wanderer in Frost's poem, I know that I will be back.

My Messy, Thrilling Life

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday on Autumn Avenue




God's World


O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!


Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart, -- Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me, -- let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.


~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

It's just such a day in my world. The skies are gray and the wind is sending the leaves to the ground. Too soon! This afternoon, I'll join the tourists and take another ride looking for the perfect view knowing that the leaves are nearly done with their yellows, crimsons, corals and for staying power against the wind and time.

Gathered some leaves as I was out wandering around this morning and placed them on the table along with the leggy mums that had toppled over. The mums couldn't be allowed to lie on the ground like that since they are lovely. If I could, I'd rescue each leaf, too.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Perfect Pumpkin



A few weeks ago when I picked up the October issue of Living, I found the best idea on page 78. Instead of using a gourd as suggested, I found the perfect pumpkin.



So this little project became the highlight of my rainy afternoon. My mother had the challenging portion of the project since she was the one looking for the wood burning stylus.

All I had to do was find the font I liked and enlarge my number and Mr. Pumpkin and I were off to the races so to speak. ;>

Here's how it turned out. My hope is to get it to its proper setting before the birthday party ensues this afternoon. It's still too cold and wet to traipse through leaves and there's some raking to be done.

Edited to Add at 12:04 EST:



The day has cleared beautifully and I can tell that it's a perfect day for a party. Oh and I cheated with that photograph for those with eagle eyes...there are no yellow mums actually growing on the left side. There just ought to be. ;)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tammy



"There's another Storm Coming" the tv ad says. We've been listening to the warnings about the first Nor'easter of the season for a few days now. And it is quite the storm with lots of thunder showers, wind, and rain. So I am pressed for time and trying to judge carefully about my computer use between the thunder and lightning storms.

Thought I'd share this pic of my Tammy doll today. She sits on a bookshelf looking as cute and coy as ever even if she did get a haircut and have to borrow Shirley Temple's dress somewhere along the way.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New England Autumn



It has rained all week. All week except for one magnificent day. That day I had shopping to do and my camera in tow. What I discovered was New England in my own hometown. Since a number have remarked how beautiful my corner of the world is in autumn, I am sharing my best photos despite my new concern about the limits of my camera.







Leaving you with this little vignette on my back door steps. I love that white pumpkin; I believe that the farmer's wife called it a "Lumina." A few years ago, I had great success with making a pumpkin pie from a white pumpkin. It was mild and delicious. The farmer's wife also shared that the pumpkin could be saved in a dry place for up to five years.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Child of Mine



Child Of Mine

Although you see the world different than me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
All the new colors and pictures you've designed
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

You don't need direction, you know which way to go
And I don't want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow
You're the one who taught me you don't have to look behind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Nobody's gonna kill your dreams
Or tell you how to live your life
There'll always be people to make it hard for a while
But you'll change their heads when they see you smile

The times you were born in may not have been the best
But you can make the times to come better than the rest
I know you will be honest if you can't always be kind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine,
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine


~by Carole King

It's an unusual place that I am in. I don't imagine that too many women have enjoyed my position. Here I sit smack dab in the middle of five generations. My grandmother is nearing the century mark and the baby grandson is nine months old. Guess I've tipped my hand about my age. ;> I've seen a whole lot of mothering go on and the one thing I've learned for certain is that mothers are always mothers. My grandmother takes her role as my mother's mother very seriously. (I know that there are times when my mom would like her to relax just a bit.)

My own daughter has been a delight since the day that she was born. I remember holding her for the first time and saying, "Just you and me, baby girl." That wasn't quite true even if her dad was stationed in Germany and I had been unable to join him because of the political pressures of the time...Nixon resigning, heightened alerts along the borders. But it felt that way then.

She grew and she grew...so darned fast. Where does the time go? I remember hearing older wiser women remind me that it would all go by in a whirlwind and they were right. She has grown to be a woman I am proud to call my daughter.

Earlier this week, this daughter of mine called to say,"I'm not sure about buying a new living room set. I can't seem to make up my mind." I wound up telling her to trust her instincts...that she was perfectly capable of making an excellent decision and that our tastes are not the same anyway. "Do you want the sofa that you want or the one that I want?" That cinched it! Hahaha

Besides, I can't even make up my mind about a birthday gift. I went with the pillows and I even followed LaTeaDah's (Gracious Hospitality) suggestion about pillowcases. Then, in a flash, I decided to go with a five senses theme...a gift for each one of them. (Thank you, Melissa of The Inspired Room.) I figured if it works for essay writing and room decorating, it might just work for gift giving, too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grape Salad, etc.



This is such a cool, refreshing, almost dessert-like addition to the table. Even my little 20-month-old grandson loved it. Adjusting it for my diet was very easy by switching to yogurt cream cheese for the regular, to plain yogurt for the sour cream, and to Splenda for the sugar.

Grape Salad

Ingredients:

* 4 lbs grapes both red and green seedless

* 1 8-oz package cream cheese

* 1 cup sour cream

* 1/3 cup sugar

* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Method:

Blend the last 4 ingredients until smooth and creamy. Fold grapes in gently. A half hour before serving, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and a few chopped walnuts or pecans.


Hope that you'll try it!

Challenging gift decisions happen to all of us. Right now I am at wit's end trying to figure out what to give my daughter for her birthday tomorrow. Wonder if she'd enjoy a bowl of grape salad; she's not big on cake and ice cream.

I'm really debating whether to give her some good bed pillows or to pick up a piece of jewelry that will probably get tossed in a drawer. Pillows are practical and something that she may not have and might need after being on her own for a dozen years. It's not very exciting, though. Any ideas?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Columbus Day



My mother has been experimenting with her camera. This is a shot that she took last night after dark with her flash. I commended her for doing a great job of experimenting. I love those shots that look dramatic...remember, I'm a Bohemian at heart. ;>

So today is Columbus Day in the States and Thanksgiving in Canada. Hope that means a lot of relaxed, happy folks enjoying a holiday.

I wasn't planning to yabber on about Columbus, but he gets such a bum rap these days that I decided to include this link to an excellent article. "Excellent" in my opinion because it strikes some balance. It's called Christopher Columbus: A Sinner With a Heart for Frontier Missions by Rick Wood.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.



"Look for me another day.
I feel that I could change,
I feel that I could change.
There's a sudden joy that's like
a fish, a moving light;
I thought I saw it
rowing on the lakes of Canada

Oh laughing man, what have you won?
Don't tell me what cannot be done.
My little mouth, my winter lungs,
don't tell me what cannot be done.

Walking in the circle of a flashlight
someone starts to sing, to join in.
Talk of loneliness in quiet voices.
I am shy but you can reach me.
Rowing on the lakes of Canada,
rowing on the lakes of Canada.

Oh laughing man, what have you won?
Don't tell me what cannot be done.
My little mouth, my winter lungs,
don't tell me what can't be done.

Look for me another time
Give me another day
I feel that I could change..."

~ Innocence Mission

With strong ties to Canada flowing in my veins (my mother is Canadian), I want to wish all my Canadian friends and family a wonderful Thanksgiving. In years past, we would spend our October Thanksgiving at the family cottage in NB. I sure miss those happy times...hence the photo and the song from Innocence Mission.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tomato Addiction



This tomato knife from Pampered Chef is my favorite new kitchen tool. It slices through tomatoes like butter.

I'm on a tomato kick right now. Here in the Northeast, fresh produce is a rarity for months at a time. For ten months out of the year, I eat tomatoes that could pass for cardboard. In fact, I refuse to eat them. That's why September and October are such fantastic tomato months and I can't get enough! My favorite way to eat a fresh, ripe, juicy tomato is to slice it, sprinkle sea salt over it, and drizzle with olive oil. Perfectly delicious!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Treasures

In my recurring dream, my great-grandmother Vesta greets me at the door to her home. She says, "You may have anything you desire."

Then the wandering through the rooms of her home begins. (It's not always her home, but you know how dreams are.) Each room is filled with treasures, beautiful things and I touch them and pick them up and gently set them down again. Finally, after a long time of looking, I select just a few things...a picture frame here or some linens there.

And, oddly enough, I never leave her home. That's always where the dream ends...with the selection. (The photo is of Vesta and the cocoa pot that she insisted I remove from her china cupboard and take with me one day long ago. She was so insistent that I didn't dare not to take it. Today, I am grateful that she was certain that she wanted me to have it. The cocoa pot and the memory of that day have been something very special to remember her by.)

Nothing evokes that same sense for me like visiting blogs. Blogs are treasures and I have enjoyed them tremendously. One is greeted at the door and then one waltzes right in, takes a look around, and never leaves empty-handed. It's incredible! (My sincere apologies to those who are now muttering under their collective breaths about my introducing them to this fascinating, but time-consuming world. :))

And I have been most remiss. I'm blaming my lack of formatting skills and my ignorance about how my own blog is set up. But, really, I am without excuse. So without further ado, I am going to be including blogs that I truly visit nearly every single day. They keep calling me back and I am never disappointed in the visit. I hope that you will find them as fascinating as I do.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Vardo for Me



Vardo was an unfamiliar word for me. Perhaps "gypsy wagon/waggon" is better recognized. While at the fair Tuesday, we went to an old wagon museum and there in the middle of the display was the most magnificent creation! It had been restored to its former glory and was a vision of burgundy, vivid yellow gigantic wheels, and even gold leaf. Now if I could travel in something that exquisitely decorated, I might take to the highway. Of course, it would require a modern engine and Goodyear tires. ;>



If you Google the word, you'll find all sorts of interesting tidbits about the gypsy life and Vardos. I once took a quiz to determine my decorating style and I came up as Bohemian. Maybe that is why I am so attracted to these colors and these decorations. Sure looks cozy to me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Fryeburg Fair

The sooner you sleep, the sooner you wake, tomorrow we'll go to the fair. We'll ride painted ponies with wind in our hair, we'll always remember the laughter we share, the sooner you sleep, the sooner you wake, tomorrow you go to the fair. ~Tanya Goodman Sykes

(Imagine a carnival ride...)

So it's not a picture of painted ponies, but since "The Pharoah's Fury" featured prominently in my day at the fair and since I didn't take my camera to the fair to take a photo of it myself, I'm using an image from the Web...

Speaking of web, did anyone know that Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is based on the Fryeburg Fair? It is. Scout's honor!

Some years we can't wait to get to the fair; other years it's not so important. I personally believe that we return to the fair once the memory of bad eating choices has worn off. Oh my! The things I indulged in yesterday. I shall just list them in order of their consumption: blooming onion, french fries, iced tea, mini-donuts, a giant donut, coffee, a deep fried oreo, a chunk of deep fried whoopie pie, a lobster roll, and a piece of Snickers fudge. All the aromas of the fair kept tugging at me and I had no more willpower than Templeton the Rat in the aforementioned book. Oh, I forgot the maple cotton candy.

We did all the usual things except for rides. The only reason that "The Pharoah's Fury" features prominently is because one in our party repeatedly became lost and that particular ride became our meeting place.

We attended a wreath making demonstration and purchased enough material, minus the balsam tips, for eight wreaths. Somebody was feeling ambitious! We attended the flower show and learned a useful tip for holiday decorating, which I will share at a later time.

We wandered through the animal barns, which were aromatic. As a friend of mine would say, "Nothing like the sweet smell of horse manure and pine needles." Personally, I don't think much of that particular odor, but he insists that it would make a wonderful aftershave. He's obviously a nut.

We watched harness racing, horse pulls, the powder puff oxen pulls where the women were in charge of the teams. My niece and her friend found that the most fun of all from the sounds of their parody of said events on our long ride home.

But I wasn't there for any of the above, I just wanted to see Patti Page who was the featured performer of the evening. She of "How Much is that Doggie in the Window" and "Tennessee Waltz" fame. My earliest memories of her are from her picture featured on sheet music that sat on my grandmother's piano. Last night Miss Page was in fine voice singing before an extremely large crowd...standing room only. (I was one of the chain link fence huggers.) I learned a few new things about her last evening and one is that she's in the maple syrup business as she and her husband own a farm in New Hampshire where they harvest maple syrup.

Here's a picture of my little stash of goods and souvenirs...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Great Ideas...We All Have Them

It's a busy day for me today so I am just tossing this post together. I wanted to share that we all have great ideas, but sometimes we don't take those great ideas quite far enough.

For example, several years ago, I decided to write on my walls. Yes, write on them. I wrote the scripture verse "Whatsoever things are true..." all around the top of my living room walls. In gold pen. People gave me funny looks. ;>

But just look at what I just discovered this morning! Here's a gal who took her idea to a new level as the clichΓ© goes. Her web site is called Tapestry of Truth.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Google Book Search

Have you used Google Book Search? It's so much fun! Many of the books that I am interested in are available for perusal. One simply searches for the book and, if available, in just a few short seconds it can be viewed. I mean turn the pages, see the pictures. The only thing that is missing is the smell and feel of the pages.

Currently, Home Comforts: Or, Things Worth Knowing in Every Household : Being a Digest has been giving me chuckles. That's really not fair, though, there are some good practical tips in there somewhere. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Grandmother's Home



Yesterday, a golden autumn day, my sister took my parents and my grandmother on a round trip drive of nearly 400 miles to visit the relatives and to see the home my grandmother sold last year.

Nan lived there from the time she was first married in 1931 until she was 94 years old. That's a span of nearly 74 years. Homes can become living breathing things after much shorter spans so it was no surprise that Nan grieved the loss of her home. She grieved to the point of becoming ill. She grieves to the point of telling us that she'll buy the home back so that it can be cared for properly.

You see, whoever bought the home has left it empty. The lawn is not mowed, no lights shine out through the windows, no curtains hang.

Personally, I find it quite charming yet. (We won't talk about that ancient siding.) I don't even become offended by the overgrown lawn. The purple wildflowers blooming there are attractive enough.

My grandfather planted those maples in the sixties. My how they have grown! He just walked out into the woods one day, chose three sturdy maples, lopped off their tops, dug up the root balls, and planted them with lots of tender care. The first branches came out where the trees had been topped off and they went on to become what you see in the picture.

I hope that visiting her house will ease Nan's mind. It's still there. It will surely be loved again. We can no more cling to our homes than we can to any other possession. It will be okay.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mums



Sometimes I can be so dense. Last fall, I learned that all of the mums that are purchased for autumn decorating can be planted. They are perennials. Who knew?! Not I that's who.

So with no further thought whatsoever, the gorgeous buttercream mum was planted. It was full and lush and bloomed way into November.

I was thrilled to see it sprout up this spring and thrilled again to see small buds form. It was watered and fertilized, but did I think to check out the web for any other directions? That would be a nooooooo...

If I had, I would have discovered that once the plant reached ten inches in height, I should have been pinching back those buds. Then I would have had a beautiful full mum, lower to the ground and nearly as lush as it was last fall. (Source)

Hope that I get another chance with this former beauty. Long and leggy just doesn't become a mum.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blue Sea and Goldenrod



Gosh I just love blue and yellow combinations...ever since visiting dear old friends of my grandparents' who lived on a farm overlooking Magaguadavic Lake in New Brunswick. The lady of the house had just painted her kitchen in a yellow and blue combination and I fell in love with that little farm kitchen. As I recall, the walls were soft buttery yellow, the table and chairs a sky blue and her cabinets were painted white. Whatever! It all came together in a pleasing way.

I have had a blue kitchen myself. It was decided for me by some terribly cheesy wallboard that might have been more appropriate for a bathroom. Later, when I was able to make some changes, I wound up with white walls, a blueberry vine stenciled border, a buttery yellow floor (also stenciled) and honey gold cabinets and a honey gold open stairway in the kitchen. Gosh I loved that house.

Fast forward to today. I have wallpaper with a beige background and mostly green and red colors. I would say that the green predominates. It'll be with me for a while yet, but I do have a new wall in the kitchen now that it is open to the dining area and the new addition. I must decide on a color as I am not keeping the natural wood. I have been leaning toward the yellow in the photo from Pella on 9/05/2007.

Choices, choices, so many choices.

(Formatting issues today...;> Big deal! LOL!)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fluttering



Yes, I'm a Flybaby, too. It's a dead giveaway when posting a picture of one's sink!

Flylady Marla Cilley has been a big part of my life for several years. Things haven't always gone smoothly, but I must give credit where credit is due. She has taught me so much about myself and my perfectionism. Just check out Flylady.com for tips and techniques that will help you create a beautiful home.

Actually, I don't often refer to myself as a "Flybaby" preferring to call myself a "flutterer" or even a "flubber."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Homebody

It pains me to confess it, but I am a homebody. Love to be home. No place I'd rather be. It pains me to say it because if I could change something about myself, that's what I'd change.

My three-pronged attack yesterday on procrastination worked pretty well. I did apply for the job. I did sort through a stack of mail that had been building for a few weeks. I did find an overdue bill. I paid it and the current one, too. Online. The internet is great.

The third item came in the form of a phonecall from one of my nieces. She's a confirmed homebody, too, so when she had to travel some distance for a doctor's appointment, she called me. She needed a comfort companion. Despite my wanting to remain home, I agreed to go. I've needed comfort companions, too. And I'm glad that I did. I had fun.

I wandered through an antique market while I waited. I had a conversation with a very nice man from New Jersey who is impressed with Maine's antique prices and had managed to purchase a vintage toy...a truck...for what he considered a song. He said he'd been looking for it for a long time. That made me happy enough for him that I didn't have to purchase the vintage tablecloth that I was holding. It wasn't that special. I was only buying it to calm my nerves. ;>

My niece has a quick, quirky sense of humor. On the way home as we passed a poor hitchhiker who looked all done in from a long day's work, she said, "Yeah, right, like I'd pick you up, pal." I offered that he obviously had a job since he was carrying a small cooler. She said, "With a head in it!"

The day ended, as it always does if I have any say, with a frozen yogurt at the farmstand that looks down on our little town. The nearly full moon was gossamer...so pale that it can not be seen in the photo I took. Such a shame.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Procrastination



One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
~Dale Carnegie

Since it's been established that eclectism is my bag, it should come as no surprise that I also mix metaphors with abandon. My neighbor's maple tree is at peak color and I have certainly been enjoying its magical-ness. ;> (Check September 1's post for a comparison.)

Today, I am planning to do three things that I have put off for too long. I know one of those things is applying for a job that would be perfect for me, but is a second-shift position, which makes it more of a challenge than I would like. Nevertheless, I'm going to apply. There's no harm in that. The other two I haven't even figured out yet, but I will and I'll tell more about them next time.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Decorating Inspiration


Before


Proving that it is possible for me to be inspired, especially with tons of help from Melissa at the Inspired Room (see link under "favorite blogs") and Linda of Restyled Home (note especially Linda's 9/20 post), I am trying my hand at autumn decorating using both gals' good tips.


After

I do think I need a different mum...a bushy, fuller one.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tribute to the First Day of Autumn

Fear







Women

Women have no wilderness in them,
They are provident instead,
Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts
To eat dusty bread.

They do not see cattle cropping red winter grass,
They do not hear
Snow water going down under culverts
Shallow and clear.

They wait, when they should turn to journeys,
They stiffen, when they should bend.
They use against themselves that benevolence
To which no man is friend.

They cannot think of so many crops to a field
Or of clean wood cleft by an axe.
Their love is an eager meaninglessness
Too tense, or too lax.

They hear in every whisper that speaks to them
A shout and a cry.
As like as not, when they take life over their door-sills
They should let it go by.

~Louise Bogan


This poem means a lot to timid old me. Fear sometimes grabs me by the throat, shakes me all around, and leaves me hearing shouts and cries in whispers.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dang Doughnuts

Today was supposed to be the perfect day for making doughnuts. That's because I don't listen to weather reports and just because I had made the decision to slave over hot oil, I felt it reasonable that the weather gods would have it be appropriately autumnal. The weather gods hate me; it has been hot and humid all day.

Then the doughnut dough was wet...very. I added more flour and they became tough.



Still it was fun to have the family here...both my son and daughter and both the grandsons and the grandpuggy, too. One family member actually appreciated my efforts.



As the kids were leaving, I asked if they'd like to take any of the hockey pucks with them. My daughter said, "No, thank you."

I teased that she didn't care for mother's cooking and she said, "No, even if they were good, I would say 'no.'" :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Slop, Goop, etc.













Dang good thing that I described this blog as an "eclectic mix." Talk about eclectic! I'm all over the map...hahaha.

The photo shows one of my favorite things to eat. I've been on the Dr. Phil diet plan for three years now. (I'm not his best spokesperson nor his greatest success story.) Anyway, everyone who has tried my slop/goop recipe loves it. My sister introduced it to me, but I've modified her recipe by adding two extra tablespoons of sweetener. Yup, I love my sweets.

Slop/Goop Recipe (Maybe you can come up with a better name for it.)

Ingredients:

√ 1 cup plain, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt (look for active cultures)

√ 3 TBS Splenda

√ 1 teaspoon real vanilla flavoring

√ ½ cup unsweetened fruit...fresh or canned...crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges or bananas are my favorites

√ 1 TBS finely chopped walnuts

√ 1 TBS local honey (find yourself some local honey for many health benefits)

Method:

Whisk together yogurt, sweetener, and vanilla. Mix in fruit. Drizzle honey over the top and sprinkle on the walnuts. Simple and delicious, healthy and nutritious, and it tastes like dessert.


Now here's where the eclectic stuff comes in and you'll note what is sitting on my dining room table. ;) Yes, those are whoopie pies. Yes, I had one for breakfast. See why I'm not Dr. Phil's finest example?




No, I didn't post this just to show you what a scamp I am; If all goes well, I hope to add another photo here later to show some progress. The last wall came down this morning. I like the open space so well that I almost changed the plan to have a little wall go back up in order that guests be directed a little further into the room before heading into the kitchen. So check back and see what happens by day's end. For now, I'll leave you with this photo of where we are in this moment.



Edited to Add on 9/22/07:



My apologies for telling tall tales yesterday. I should have known that there would be no way for my very sloooowwwwww contractor to get that much accomplished in one day. He's a dear, but he isn't the speediest.

He left me with a frightful mess...you will note the vacuum cleaner is in the middle of the floor...ackkk...so I just left it until this morning. I'll do better next time about making big promises over which I have no control.

I'm sad to see the light go. I really am. Not sure quite what to do about it, but something must be done. Perhaps it'll mean a larger window over the sink and perhaps it will mean much more lighting than we had considered. Right now, it's looking depressingly dark.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Creating Home



Creating a home has always been a love of mine. I have long felt that a sense of home could be created under a bridge.

Stories and books about creating home have delighted me all my life and I think that it is a widespread interest. When I taught first and second graders, the Boxcar Children books were a favorite. In those stories, four siblings create a home in a boxcar. The whole idea delights children of all ages.

There's a woman who lives near me who has created a gem of a home in an old boxcar. Her home has been written about in local magazines and newspapers. Edited to add: While looking to see if I could find an internet article on this intrepid woman who lives in the woods of Maine in an old boxcar, I found a blogger instead. Have I mentioned how much I adore blogs? How much they are like finding treasure? I have? Oh well, the blog is called Boxcar Kitchen: A Big Dinner from Small Onions. (This blog no longer exists.) Isn't that a great title?

One of my favorite books as a teen was The Enchanted Barn where a family creates the perfect home in an old barn. I have seen some barns that I would love to live in.

Currently, as you all know, I am reading The Sojourner where a home is being created from a formerly cold and sterile environment. Trees, flowers, and herbs are planted, decorative pieces have been brought in, warm old woods have been introduced, and the smell of the most delightful cooking fills the air. If they talk about a freshly fried doughnut one more time...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Apple Orchard Day



It's about time to head to the orchard for some apples. Last night I dreamed of apples so that's as good an indication as any. Who doesn't love an apple fresh from the tree, rubbed to a high shine with a shirt tail, and eaten on the spot while the sweet juices run down the chin?

My apple orchard fondness goes away back. I spent every Saturday of my autumns from the ages of 8 to 14 in an orchard. That was before migrant workers came to do the work and crews of local housewives took to the orchards with their children in tow.

My mother was one of that number and my sister and I were just two of an entire army of children. They kept us in line by making us work. We picked the drops for 10 cents a bushel. My mother, working with the apple ladders and picking from the trees, earned a mere 25 cents a bushel. A forty-bushel day was considered a good one for a tree-picker.

When I was twelve, I graduated to picking from the trees myself. This was my first real experience with having a boss. Mine just happened to be a tall, lanky farmer wearing overalls who was so soft-spoken that I had to listen very carefully. The first thing he warned me about was that my fingerprints were showing up on the apples. He demonstrated how I would have to roll them off using my palm. I also must leave the stem intact or the apple would rot during its long storage season. I tried to always do my best and soon I was just getting approving head nods and big grins. Far preferable!

At the end of a day in the orchard, when the sun was setting below the ridge, there was nothing better than to lie back in the grass beside some gnarled, ancient apple tree and simply watch the day end.

Now, I make my annual trek to the orchard for old time's sake. Sometimes I select my own apples by wandering down through the orchard, but more likely, I'll just select a bag of already picked apples. Later, when the apples are gone, I'll not even return to the orchard preferring to just head for the farmer's market.

This article on apple selection from Spark People is helpful. I'm going to follow their advice about apples best used for baking. I usually go with Cortlands.

Finally, if planning to do a lot of baking one really needs this apple-peeling gizmo. I found mine at LLBean.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Making Progress



Sharing the progress that has been made. The addition has nearly all its fitted boards. They surround the room...walls and ceiling. It looks much lighter now than before when all that showed was the dark brown of the insulation backing. This makes me smile because the one thing we needed the most was light.

Soon we'll have to select light fixtures, which should be fun. I think. Maybe not. Two heads are not always better than one. ;>

Monday, September 17, 2007

Being a Nonni



This is my youngest grandson Jake who is a delight and who arrived just a year and six days after his big brother Sam.



Sam and Jake are two very bright spots in my life. They are active and fun and keep me from being too stodgy and old.

I might have imagined that granddaughters would be more in keeping with my rather girly tastes and interests, but you can not imagine how striped tee shirts and blue jeans appeal to me now. I used to wander by the little girls' section and look longingly at the sweet (way too sweet by half) outfits, but these days, I make a beeline for the tees and the jeans.

It's true what they say: "Grandchildren are God's way of saying that the world will go on."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Breakfast



Peanut butter cookies and milk...a complete protein. Why waste time with bacon and eggs? ;>

Yesterday I used Martha Stewart's recipe for peanut butter cookies; next time I'll be returning to my own. I've also been wondering if refrigerated peanut butter is making the difference between Martha's and my grandmother's recipe. Grandmother's recipe makes a crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie; Martha's recipe is all crunchy and heavy on flour.

Pre-diet, peanut butter was left in a cupboard because it was eaten rather quickly. Now it is stored in the refrigerator and maybe that could account for the difference. Perhaps I'll have to experiment. Nah, that would be complete and total sabotage.