Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bookshelves and Bears

I was reading one of the many newsletters that I receive. In one, from Dan Miller, a story is told of a golfer who always lobbed his golfball directly into the water instead of over to the green beyond. He determined that his problem was focusing too much on the obstacle instead of on his real goal...the green. It has made me think of how many times I do that, too.

For example, the bookshelves have been finished for a week. They have been sitting there empty because I have been thinking what's the point. Here's a pic. As you can see, I've decided to put something on my side. I don't know if sis will do something on hers, but that's not my deal. My side is my deal. It looks a lot better and makes me smile.

This morning, I received a call at six from a hunter wanting to know how early my parents would be up. Sigh. "Not now!" was my reply. Seems he has a license to shoot bear and is quite eager to find the one wreaking havoc on my parents' back lawn. Somehow, though, I think my parents will decline. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What's Out There?

Did I just say that I was turning this back to my pretty blog? Then I go and post a picture like this, which definitely qualifies as the nastiest quality yet.

Saturday morning, my mom asked me what would bend a birdfeeder pole in two, open a heavily lidded container of birdseed and eat all thirty pounds of it. I said, "A bear!" She said, "No, I'm thinking a raccoon."

Well, I love to crow when I am right. Do you see the bear? He was back last night looking for more birdseed. He's huge! I explained just how Mother could get a better photo, but her response was "Just a screen between the two of us?! You've got to be kidding." I'd go up to help her out, but I have a lot to do tonight. ;>

Oh, the warden says that bears get a bum rap, that they're hungry and looking to load up on calories before they go into hibernation soon, and that if my parents will just take in the birdfeeder for a couple of weeks, he'll stop visiting. Hmmmm, wonder how they're going to take in their crabapple tree.

Edited to Add: Almost forgot...it's Monday's Moment at My Messy, Thrilling Life. I love Mondays, don't you?

Edited to Add on 11/08/2007: My friend Christin tells me that she can't make out the bear so I think that many of you may have had trouble. Here's the same picture with an outline around the bear.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Ahhh, this looks as good a place as any to hang out today.

When I was down in that cold Methodist Church basement yesterday, I spent some time reading the bulletin board. A good, newsy bulletin board is a wonderful thing. And I found two great things on that board. The first was a little saying that goes like this: If you can't sleep, don't count sheep, talk to the Shepherd. I like that...I've been having such trouble sleeping lately. The night before last, I poured a large tumbler full of brandy and toddled off to bed at 6:30 in the evening. It was scary how well that worked so I won't be repeating that often. Counting sheep actually does work quite well for me, but I am prone to awake with a start several times in the night. The talking with the Shepherd idea is fine unless in the talking one forgets to leave it there with Him. It's His deal if we yield to Him.

The second thing was the Complete Serenity Prayer. I didn't know anything about the Serenity Prayer past the first verse. It has three verses and here are the words:

The Serenity Prayer
By Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

My favorite line is "taking this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it." There are so many things where we simply have no choice other than our own attitude. Try as we might, some things are truly beyond us.

Last night, I was visiting Kari at Just Livin' Large (see side panel) and she directed me to South Breeze Farm where Leah has an "I'm Giving Thanks" project going. I'm a little behind, but I hope to join in, too. Perhaps not by making Leah come here to check on my list, but by directing folks to her.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Picture Source

If you click on the words to the Serenity Prayer, it will take you to a site where beautiful pictures will accompany the words. Nice if you have the time.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Christmas Fair Day

Today is going to be a good day. I have declared it to be so; therefore, I'm expecting nothing but good. Many of the area churches working in harmony with one another (for a delightful change) are hosting a Christmas Fair. My mother and I are starting off before nine and we plan to hit every single one of them from the Gift Shoppe Open House in the center of town to the Congregational Church, up to Our Lady of Ransom, and then over to see what the Methodists are up to; finally, away over to the next town to visit with The Poland House. I'll be certain to share more later.

Edited to add: It's later and time for some pretty pictures because this is my pretty blog or I'm going to turn it back into my pretty blog. (Thanks for the term, M-N!) Everything or nearly everything I said above is a lie. If I had known at the time, I wouldn't have told such tall tales, but I truly believed it. Anyway, we went to the only two available Christmas fairs today...the Methodists and the Down-Town Gift Shoppe.

Now those Methodists were hanging out in their basement all huddled together against the cold. I guess that they were being frugal and had not turned up the heat very much...and it's cold today! We're expecting some snow tonight. Nevertheless, they were certainly warm in welcoming everyone in. We signed up for a raffle on a beautifully displayed gift basket. Take my word for it, it was scrumptious.

My mother found her little nylon scrubbies that she uses on teflon pans and such and some of those ubiquitous dishcloths that everyone is making these days (I intensely dislike them because of their thickness, but others are very fond of them indeed, including my mother.) Then my mom found a cross-stitch kit that said "free" on it. When she put it in her bag, a very nice lady came over and asked if she could help. Then it dawned on Mother that the lady thought that she had stolen it. Sure enough! That mom of mine. Haha! Anyway, that all got cleared up and off we went to the food table.

Mother found a pecan pie and some delicious fudge. We ate the fudge before I could take a picture...sorry. But here's the pecan pie. Yes, delicious, even if I do hate a store-bought crust. I'm such a pie crust snob.

Then we meandered our way back to town where we were unable to find a parking space at the Gift Shoppe. Every year, the owner has an Open House and opens her family's living area above the store. It is beautifully decorated for the holidays and is filled with the aromas of mulled cider and brownies fresh from the oven. It's a great combination on a chilly day!

This is my mother's stash of little gifts to tie on packages and a card for my niece a new home-owner. The snowman is her gift to herself since she has a collection. I think he's darling.

Me? I was a very good girl and decided not to spend too much. I bought a package of seasoning...bacon and cheddar...to make into a dip. I love dips at holiday times.
Oh, and I bought a little Christmas memory book that family and friends can write in at Christmastime and then the little book hangs on the tree as an ornament. I'm definitely going to have my family do this for me this year since this will be the last Christmas that we're all together like this.

Next year, things will even be different at the Gift Shoppe since they'll be moving across the street into their new old building. Both buildings were once hotels back when my town was booming...let's see, that would have been 120 years ago or more. :) Anyway, here's a pic. Doesn't this look like a November day if you've ever seen one?

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's a Party!

Come on in! The big 100th post day is finally here. WELCOME!

That's how you'll be greeted by Melissa at The Inspired Room today. It's just one of the things I love about her blog. It's always fun and always warm and welcoming. So scoot...get on over there...things are happening!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Apple Pie

Is there anything more comforting than a warm apple pie? I don't think so!

One of my friends recently told me that she enjoys reading blogs, but she especially enjoys reading when it's all about food. This may be because she's on a diet program and she's hungry. I know what she means; I find myself gazing lovingly and longingly at food, too. And I have baked ever so much more since gazing at these gorgeous blogs. Can't say that I've ever been disappointed either.

This evening, my pie plate was returned; I baked this pie for a friend last week and never even had one bite of it. He assures me that it was delicious...I'll take his word for it. Baking apple pies is very labor intensive so I won't be baking another any time soon.

Here's the recipe:

Award Winning Apple Pie

* 1 pastry for double-crust pie (Recipe below)
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar OR 1/4 cup maple sugar
* 2 TBS all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3 pounds of tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin (about 8 cups)
* 3 TBS butter cut up
* 1/4 cup cream
* 1 or 2 TBS milk
* 1 TBS sanding sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add apples, toss until coated and add to a pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with the butter and pour the cream over the filling. Trim the edge of the pie using a fork to press down the seams. Brush crust with milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake in a 375° oven for 30 to 40 minutes with foil over the edges. Remove foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes longer or until the fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

My Favorite Basic Pie Crust Recipe...simple and good every time

* 2 2/3 all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur unbleached and unbromated.)
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup Crisco shortening
* 7 to 8 TBS (maybe more) of ice-cold water (Add ice cubes to a cup of water to get it good and cold.)

Mix together adding just enough water to bring the dough together. Roll out to desired thickness and do not overwork.
Printable Recipe

Happy November, everyone!
(I love November. That's because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday...more about that another day.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31st

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

~Scottish Saying

It just seems wrong to say goodbye to October this way. ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sisters: You Can't Live With Them and You Can't Live Without Them

Tonight my sister told me that the man she met on a blind date in July will be marrying her in January.

I'm afraid that I didn't take it very well. Said some rotten things that I can't take back. Oh what the flip, I don't even want to take them back...not tonight. Doubt that morning will change my mind much.

I told her that, if I had known that this would happen back on that cold February night in 2001, I would never have let her in. That's no lie; I wouldn't have. In true tit for tat fashion, she told me that if she had known, she wouldn't have moved in either.

Anyway, it has been a miserable four months since that July day when she hopped in his truck and took off and I thought as fear gripped me: I may never see her again! I mean, what mature woman hops in a stranger's truck and takes off? It really was so unlike her.

And what does all this have to do with me? It's like this, when sis arrived, I owned this wee, little house with a small mortgage and small payments. Sis has bigger ideas than I. She's done a lot of things, which were all very nice when we thought that this was what our lives would be...two sisters pulling together to share a home and a life. Those "bigger ideas" resulted in a new mortgage with killer payments. I won't be able to hang on here. That and I've lost my sister, too.

Day Two and Counting

If ever I have wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, it was this morning. Why a day of training had me so exhausted, I really don't know. It's not as if I worked in the woods all day.

I am definitely rethinking my blog timing. And I like Mari-Nanci's idea of "blogging without obligation." The point is, I need time to think; just firing off a post in ten minutes' time is not satisfactory. Perhaps, if I waited until later in the day, I'd actually have a thought or two. Then again...

Picture Source

Monday, October 29, 2007

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

It's off to work I go...

And I resent it...deeply! :)

I'm not sure what blogging and work looks like together. Obviously, nearly everyone is doing it so I must believe that it can be done. But if posts appear at odd hours or are particularly short or have no pictures...well, I'll have to do better that's all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Beginnings

Just looking at that picture takes my anxiety level down a notch or two. :) My plan for today is to spend a chunk of time reading in the coziest spot that I can find...it won't be quite as lovely as this, but I can dream, can't I? What'll I be reading? Let the Journey Begin: God's Roadmap for New Beginnings by Max Lucado.

You have the most restorative, relaxing Sunday, too!

Picture Source

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Turkey Feathers

Some of you already know where I am going with this, beyond the fact that I actually found a turkey feather a few days ago, which reminds me that I must get it out and present it to my niece just home from Boston last night because she loves to collect nature's ephemera since she is an artist and I do hope that someday she'll allow me to post more about that on my little blog here. (Yes, I do adore a run-on sentence, don't I?!)

This is for all of you who love embroidery and you know who you are! Yes, I'm looking directly at you, Mrs. G. I think that this is what you may have been thinking about all along. I know that I am tickled silly to find it.

So have a pleasant visit to Turkey Feathers because there's a whole lot to see! And don't miss this: Free Flower of the Month.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Here!

Thought it would never arrive, but it did! Just in time! Talk about a last minute reprieve from having to strike off for the mall to find a different gift. I am grateful for the rescue.

Now I'd love to know if any of you have any experience with a Butter Bell? Please let me know if it's as fantastic as I think it will be. If you'd like to learn more, click *here.*

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life's Hourglass

The more sand that has escaped through the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it. ~Jean Paul

What a rough week! Very. My sister had been struggling with a looming birthday, her fiftieth. I wanted to have sympathy for her; I really tried. It just wasn't working. I am the elder sister, after all, so my empathy wasn't all that it might have been. I seriously considered writing this message on her birthday card: Remember, today is the first day of what's left of your life. Instead, you'll be happy to know, I wrote a birthday letter that went something like this...

Dear Little Sister,

I know that you have been reflecting upon your life perhaps more than ever before over the past week. I know that with that reflection has come a lot of pain and regret. I know that you may never believe me, but it will all be okay. It will.

We both know that things are about to change for us. It's no longer an "if" it's a "when." And that is okay, too. It is.

In a perfect world, I can see you so clearly, hear you; I know you. I've known you for all of your fifty years. I remember the day Mother carried you pink and crying through our door. (Okay, so what that I was more interested in gazing at Mom wearing her navy blue dress with the white polka dots! How beautiful she looked to me that day.) Today, I am looking at one beautiful, radiant woman, too, and that woman is you.

Because I have known your past and know your present, I sometimes get confused and think that I know your future, too. It's not true, of course. It feels like love, but when I get honest, I know that it is not. It is my big sister controlling attitude. Sometimes you have been more real to me than my own self.

So, truth is, it's an imperfect world and I have struggled with judging you. Sometimes your behavior has perplexed me and made me feel that our relationship will be destroyed, but it is more true that my judgments would destroy relationship. I promise not to allow that to happen. Not to us. Not ever.

I have every confidence in your ability to move on and create for yourself a beautiful life. Here's to another fifty years!

Forever love,


My sister celebrated her birthday yesterday and we are safely over that hurdle, at least for now. She returned home as happy as I have seen her in over a month. What a blessing to see the smile.

P.S. If you haven't visited Brin at My Messy, Thrilling Life, check there today for some very, very exciting news! (Edited to add: Brin's October 24th post...thanks Mari-Nanci!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Garden Gate

In 1994, I was newly divorced with two teenagers. The three of us all especially loved one feature about the house that I managed to purchase on my teaching salary. That was its private backyard and deck surrounded by an old white fence on the west, the house itself on the north, the forest on the south, and on the east...an old green gate/door. That door was hinged to the house and latched to the old garage.

When the new garage was built the gate came down. I wouldn't allow the contractor to haul it off even though I had no idea what I would ever do with it. Once my sister joined me here, she began to make further changes and one thing she hoped to do was to get rid of my green door. I even saw it stuffed into the trunk of her car one day and promptly rescued it. :)

For the past year, the door has served nobly as a partial skirting for the addition...yeah, well, very partial.

But as of yesterday, I now officially have a green gate, mounted to the old rickety fence...love that thing...and going nowhere. Perfect!

Can't leave you with that picture...here's a better one of yellow leaves and blue, blue sky.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Thank you

Thank you all so much for your comments yesterday. I belong to an online community and have for nearly four years so I understand a little bit about being a "newbie" and the concerns of communicating in a forum that is read by many whom we'll never know. As with my other home away from home, I have discovered that many are warm and welcoming and others are more reserved. There's a code to follow in order to earn one's way in any community. I have breached that code many times I am certain. Sometimes I have done it out of sheer ignorance; other times I have been aware even as I was actually in the middle of it. Oh well! Live and learn! And to all of you who comment, again a special thank you. If you do, you do; if you don't, I'm not going to stress about it. No. I am not. :)

(On Good Morning, America, Patricia Cornwall is discussing a cyber stalker as I type this. How awful that she has been stalked in this insidious way. Yuck. Cornwall has turned this into rich subject material for her new book proving that everything can be used.)

Again, I am so glad that the subtitle of this blog is "eclectic." Some fine day, I may come in for a landing since I do believe what John Kennedy said about the value of specificity. But it won't be today. :p

If you are interested in meaty topics in addition to lace and frills, nostalgia or even inspiration, I'd like to commend both Wind Lost and Restyled Home where interesting discussions are ongoing. Happy Reading!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Full of Questions

It finally happened...I've become curious about how many dear people might be visiting my blog. It's something I don't want to confess. After all, I am writing for myself or so I had thought. No, I am writing for myself. Really. I think. Are you? (Question #1)

So I went here and selected the apples. I suffered a fair amount of unease because they are so large and colorful. I had hoped that, when offered a choice, I would take a more discreet one. Haha, no, I really did go with the apples.

Trouble is, even though I followed all the directions everywhere, I have no apples. None. Where could they be? That's question #2: Does anyone know?

This morning, I have been listening to the stories out of Malibu where wildfires are wreaking havoc. Lilly Lawrence's Castle Kashan has been destroyed. Her attitude is one of remarkable calm. "It's just a house," she says. She saved some jewelry, her phonebooks, and Elvis Presley's uniform. Question #3: Besides people and pets, what would you save in a similar situation?

I remember one summer when I was cleaning summer homes for a living. These seasonal homes were simply beautiful...far more so than any home I had ever been in. One day, I broke a vase. When I told the owner, she shrugged and said, "No problem, it's just a vase."

Since then I have tried to think of objects in just such terms by not attaching too much importance to them. But still...a castle?

Edited to add: I have since learned that there has been loss of life in the Malibu fires. Beside that, even a castle means nothing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Enjoying a Golden October


AY, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath! When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief
And the year smiles as it draws near its death. Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, 'mid bowers and brooks
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

~ William Cullen Bryant

It's a day to bask in the golden glory of it all. Too soon, it'll be done so I'm drinking it all in and it is sweet, sweeter than ever before. It is incredible to me that God created such beauty for us to enjoy!

Just had to post one more. I'm about done with this autumn thing...maybe. ;>

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shadow and Light

Just sharing a bit of what has been going on inside since the last time I posted a picture of the work in progress. In case you'd like a reminder that was September 21.

We have a few hours in the afternoon when the sunlight in the room is lovely. We had expected so much more light than we're ever going to have. But then, we're truly at the forest's edge so the trees provide us with good protection against the wind, rain, and the sun, too. Needless to say, those few hours have become quite special, even rare.

Today, I wanted to take a photo of the sunlight to share with everyone, but just at the moment when I was deciding camera angle and lighting, the sun was gone. Poof! What?!!

Ohhhh that!

In just a few minutes more, the sunlight had returned. I'm using this story about my room and the light to describe what is so true that it has become a cliché. If we can abide long enough, we'll discover that the sun will come out from behind that cloud again and everything will be okay. As always, I'm counting on it!

Friday, October 19, 2007

No Lattice Puhlease

Lattice: I hate the stuff. John, the carpenter, says that his mind is all stretched out from trying to figure out how to please my quirky wishes for the addition.

The weather had been so perfectly golden that the outdoor finishing-ups were tugging more strongly than the indoor ones. John needed to do some tidying and one of those items was what to put around the bottom of the stairs and to skirt the addition as well. There are all kinds of skirtings...vinyl and wood ones...and the dreaded, ubiquitous lattice.

"No, no, not that stuff," I had begged when that's just what John first suggested. I stated all my reasons for hating it: 1. it's ugly 2. it allows the leaves to blow in 3. it allows animals to get in 4. kitties use the space for a litter box 5. it's ugly...oh, I said that already.

So John came up with this design. Pressure treated Carolina Pine, offset for ventilation purposes, and backed with screening so bees, skunks, cats, etc., can't get in. I think it came out beautifully. It's wonderful to have someone listen carefully and to follow through.

Since funds are running low, it is questionable whether we'll be able to put the siding on before spring. Anyone have an idea for making typar look charming? :]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An Open Door

Yesterday afternoon, after I had approved a project that the carpenter was working on...more about that tomorrow...I noticed how beautiful the light was through the open door. Since the camera was in hand for taking pictures of the project, I took a few more pics of the way the leaves were highlighted and what's left of the back deck. (It got eaten by the addition.)

It made me think about my perpetual search for an open door. A way through whatever it is that I am trying to work out. Namely, it is this: what shall I do with the remainder of my life? Now, for some of us, it's a given. You shall do whatever it is that you are now doing. For me, it's not as simple. I am single. I am starting a new, but temporary, job in a week and a half. I am in transition.

But this I do believe, there is a way through and it will be better there than it is here. And, no, I am NOT talking about pie in the sky by and by. I am talking about the future right here stretched before me in the next few months. So stay tuned, this could prove interesting.

ETA: Look at this great pancake! Judy over at My Front Porch posted an apple pancake recipe yesterday and my carpenter and I enjoyed some for breakfast this morning. I feel better already! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HodgePodge Wednesday

So we sat there in the new addition eating pumpkin whoopie pies and sipping coffee well into the evening and way after his day should have been over—the carpenter's that is. His eyes kept following the lines of the room and I could tell that he was analyzing every cut, every nail, every grain in the wood. He began to share what he might've done differently and then he added that he had hoped that I would be happy in this space. And we didn't have the heart to talk about the fact that it won't be my "space" for much longer. Even so, I have determined to enjoy it for as long as I can. That's all that any of us can do, right?

Today I am thinking about two milestones in the family from the youngest to the eldest. Yesterday, my grandmother celebrated her 98th birthday with her family gathered around her. She was weary, but very excited. Perhaps the excitement tired her as much as anything. But most of all she was happy and content. It was good for her to visit the relatives from Downeast after an entire year and they were thrilled to see her, too. Happy birthday, Nan! (I don't know why I even say it here since she would be horrified...h-o-r-r-i-f-i-e-d...to know that I blog, the Internet being such a scary place and all.)

Also, just yesterday, my little grandson spoke his first word. Not really because he's been saying "hi" for some time. But his first long word. What was this wonderful word? Was it "mama" or "daddy" or even "Jake"? No, it was "quack." Quack, quack, quack, quack. This all has something to do with "The Wiggles." Apparently, Sam is only willing to say this new and magical word when actually watching "The Wiggles." All other parental attempts to have him say it fail.

So, let me end this entry on a sweet note. We were talking about whoopie pies, right?

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


* 3 cups flour
* 2 cups brown sugar
* 1 cup canola oil
* 1 can pumpkin
* 2 extra large eggs
* 2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp vanilla


1. Combine dry ingredients: flour and spices
2. Using a mixer, combine wet ingredients incorporating brown sugar last
3. Fold wet and dry ingredients together
4. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet
5. Bake in 350° oven for 10–12 minutes



* 1 cup butter
* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 2 cups marshmallow fluff
* 1 tsp vanilla


1. Cream butter and sugar
2. Mix in fluff and vanilla
3. Beat until light and fluffy
4. Spread on one cookie and top with another

Sam says to enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Make Me Smile

It's true, you know! Bloggers do make me smile. A lot.

That's why I am honored to be among the forty (*cough* ;>) beautiful bloggers who just received the "You Make Me Smile" award from Melissa over there at The Inspired Room. (See link in My Favorites) Melissa is a sweetheart and couldn't limit her selection to merely ten. (I bet her house is filled with strays. :)) Now that she's presented me with this award, which I do love, she's given me the very same challenge.

Seems upon receiving the award, one must pass it on. Hmmmmm, Pass it on...now that is a privilege!

So I am passing the You Make Me Smile Award to the following five women who have made visiting their blogs such a pleasure for me and, not only that, they respond to my visits! They also keep me happy by blogging often and none are currently on vacation.

* Barbara at Ramblings from an English Garden

* Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books, and Me

* Judy at My Front Porch

* Kari at Just Livin' Large

* Margo aka Robolady

Must run, I have awards to deliver! ETA: Ackkkk! Barbara is going to kill me having just received this award from Melissa. Oh dear! :)

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


"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


* 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


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.