Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve

Watch out for things that go bump in the night!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spinach And Carrot Brownies

Recently Jessica Seinfeld (wife of Jerry) appeared on the Oprah Show to promote her new cookbook. The angle is vegetable-heavy, kid-friendly recipes that are quick and easy to make. Jerry Seinfeld came on halfway through the show to rave about his wife's innovative recipes. He said the brownies were irresistible. Oprah ate so many cookies, brownies, and chicken fingers that she made herself sick. SOLD! I couldn't get to Barnes and Nobles fast enough. I even went an extra ten miles and got the last one in Tampa.

The cookbook is well organized and seems to be aimed at young mothers who haven't done much cooking. This is something undoubtedly needed judging from the convenience foods such as Lunchables and frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the supermarket. All the recipes are based on vegetable purees that enrich kid's favorites such as macaroni and cheese, chicken finger, and mini pizzas. But the cup of spinach puree and cup of carrot puree in the brownie recipe does not a dessert make. Maybe some frosting, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup would make them edible, but it's questionable. That Jerry is a great salesman.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Family Time

Twenty something years ago, we moved hundreds of miles away from the ancestral home to vacationland. At the time we thought it would be short term and a transfer would take us back in a couple of years. Boy were we wrong. A job change and many mergers later has us right here in the same place. Now I believe in the old saw "Bloom where you're planted" so I explored my new home and found church, library, shopping, and garden nurseries that we would patronize for years. We made friendships then that we still enjoy today. We made a home in a neighborhood that was perfect for our young family. There were lots of children home during the day with their moms and plenty of beautiful weather to play in outside. Our children grew and thrived in our little piece of paradise to adulthood and now our relationships are long distance ones. Number one son lives in Utah to be near rocks to climb and snow to ride. Baby girl goes to school in the pursuit of athletic training and hopes to spend lots of time in Italy. Her twin brother is chomping at the bit to get back to California to continue the dream of a rock climbing equipment company. Only our oldest daughter still lives at home but is gone so much putting on parties and weddings for folks that we hardly ever see her.

Well, this past weekend we had everyone home for the first time in over a year. It took us no time at all to fall back into the old comfortable feeling of warmth and security. Just seeing every one's face and having easy conversation was heavenly. Being able to reach over and touch my son's arm and see his beautiful smile is a closeness I've missed for months. Of course, it all went by too fast. Baby girl got in her car and drove off early Tuesday morning and yesterday we took Number one son to the airport in the gray, drizzly afternoon. Now my heart is broken all over again. The time we spend together as a family is so precious and I will relive it over and over again. There will be a handful of photographs of us next to each other at the beach to peer at. But right now I'm so jealous of the families who live close to each other and have Sunday dinner together every weekend. As proud as I am of my children's independence and pioneering spirit, it is in direct conflict with my wish to have them around all the time. One instinct is from the head, the other is from the heart. The struggle between the two rages on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rugged Individuals

It's heartening to see the people of southern California pulling together and taking care of each other during the fires that are burning hundreds of thousands of acres. These competent, caring people are volunteering to help in enormous numbers. The voices you hear are honest and courageous citizens who don't need to sit back and wait for a government agency to bail them out. They have a legacy of self reliance that will get them through this trial and any others that come their way. We salute the rugged individuals of southern California.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Company's comin'

Tomorrow afternoon family from Atlanta are coming to visit. A family with six children. Our house has been without children this age for about seven years. So in an attempt to make it more child friendly I took a trip to a consignment shop that specializes in baby stuff. What an amazing array of baby paraphernalia! You can imagine the new products that weren't around when we had our babies. I was looking for the basics: highchair, walker, pull toys, puzzles, and a tricycle. The walker I found doesn't walk at all; apparently what was good enough for my kids is now considered deadly. The one I got is a huge round thing covered in so many toys that I'm afraid it will make the baby frantic. Instead of a tricycle I ended up with a ride on toy that has a flashing sun face and basketball net on the front and plays music. I took the batteries out of that one......too much noise. The puzzles were more what I had in mind. They are beautifully crafted wooden ones from Germany. Now these I remember. So now there are two big buckets in the living room cum playroom with coloring books, stuffed animals, picture books, Lincoln logs, and pull toys. Bring on the children!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Major doin's in the garden this week. Son Jack removed lots of old, worn-out shrubs and cleaned out the ferns that had gotten out of control. He laid down weed block and covered it with pine bark mulch. What an improvement! Unfortunately the trash guys didn't haul away the garden rubbish so we'll have to take it to the dump ourselves. If Jack can get to the other side of the yard this week, my joy will be complete.

The plan is to wait until January and add back a few select shrubs like gardenias, sasanqua camellias, and some small boxwoods. Just living with it like it is will help a plan materialize in my head.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Beauty Day

Today is for me! Getting hair done, pedicure, and manicure. I've made an executive decision about all the linen blouses piling up in the ironing basket: they're all going to the dry cleaners to get pressed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Honey Hill

There's a mountain lake in northeast Georgia that is truly like heaven on earth. Lake Burton flows around the valleys of what was once Burton, Georgia. The little town was vacated, a damn built, and water from Wildcat Creek, Dicks Creek, Moccasin Creek, Timpson Creek, and the Tallulah River filled up the spaces between the mountains. The waters of the lake remain steely blue and clear to this day.

Beautiful old homes and charming lake cottages sprung up all along the shore, each with a fishing dock and boathouse. The dense forest was left right up to the water in most places with a little clearing left for children to wade into the water. The tradition of putting up the flag on the dock let everyone know you were at the lake, so friends would stop by while out cruising on the water.

One cozy old white clapboard place with green shutters that sat out on a point was named Honey Hill. It got the name from the beehives stacked up out back by an unpainted shed. The bees got nectar from the stands of sourwood trees on the hills and made the most delicious honey. The sourwoods were always the first trees to turn in the fall...a shiny claret red that could be seen dotted between the towering pines. But Honey Hill was surrounded by stoic oak trees and a neat lawn. We passed it on the way to church every Sunday that was held in an outdoor shelter by the fish hatchery. Something about it just said,"Home." Today I have a Maxfield Parrish print in my home that looks very much like Honey Hill. His glowing sunset colors are what I see in my minds eye every time I remember that old home place, with a smile.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

All's right with the world

Baby girl has been home from school this weekend. I've been soaking up the goodness of having her home. The wonderfulness ends tomorrow. Not gonna think about it now.

Catalog Overload

It started as a trickle. One catalog with a few sparkly Christmas ornaments came a couple of weeks ago. My daughter saw it and said,"It's coming." There were a few fall catalogs with some Christmas pages in the back that showed up. Then some clothing catalogs with snowy scenes on the front. Suddenly, this week, an avalanche of catalogs fell out of my mailbox every time I went out there. The poor mail lady! All the food gifts like popcorn and cheese and chocolates were on the pages. There's enough jewelry to satisfy the Queen of Sheba. How about the flowers of the month club (I wouldn't mind getting that) or the coffee of the month club? Or salmon from Nova Scotia. Shoes and books catalogs are in there. In case you're embarrassed for the visiting relatives to see how you really live there are furniture and decorating catalogs.
The ones I can't resist looking at are the ornament books. Every year I tell myself that I don't need to spend any more money on ornaments. And every year I give into temptation.
I just ordered the egg shaped ornaments from Smith and Hawkin that have little miniature gardens painted on them. I guess the guys in marketing know what they're doing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

These Days

We're having a couple of those grey days that give us relief from the unrelenting sun. That may sound ridiculous to folks who don't live in vacationland, but mostly cloudy skies do help us to appreciate the paradise we live in.

Six new Knockout roses came in the mail yesterday so I'm going to take advantage of the wet weather and get them in the ground. They're the double cherry red shrub roses that are sturdy and pest resistant. I'm investing in a beautiful spring!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blustery Day

This past weekend was extra special. We went to Jacksonville for the FSU-BAMA game on Saturday, but it was really just an excuse to visit our baby girl who's away at college there. It was one of those whirlwind tours you've heard about; we left home at 7:00 AM, got to Jacksonville at 10:30 and went straight to the dorm to take care of technical issues (cell phone, computer). The wonderful St. Johns Towncenter is one and a half miles from the campus, so we went and strolled around there before lunch at Ted's Montana Grill. The crab cakes were delicious!

Next stop was the water taxi that would drop us right at the stadium. There's something about being on the water that always makes a day remarkable and this was no different. The wind was whipping and the water was choppy and slapping at the side of the boat to make things interesting.

The game was played in the same place the Jaguars play but there was a definite big college football atmosphere. A fellow trying to find his friend was overheard shouting into his cellphone,"Okay, that's easy! You're wearing a red shirt and khaki pants just like the thousands of other dudes walking up!" With the Crimson Tide playing the Garnet and Gold it looked like we were all rooting for the same team. Hubby wore a Stanford hat to confuse everyone. FSU played a good second half and won. Hooray for our side!

After dinner we dropped Lucy and her friend back at their dorm and bravely said goodbye. I don't worry about her because she's smart and capable and has strong faith. But I'm free to miss her as much as I want. And that's a lot.