How do we know? Signs.

Springish Feelings

Springish Feelings

First signs. Birds singing. Just a few trills one late February morn when the sun happens to burn through the still chilled world. My pulse quickens and a smile softens my whole sleepy self as I let Mollie back in. “Birds are singing!” I say to no one in particular as I wander off to get my first cup of coffee and begin the morning routine.

The sun is warmer. Stand against a southern exposure. Soak it in. The snow and ice are melting at the edges. March 1 and the drip, drip, drip off the back porch is not rain, but ice melt running through the downspout. Birds are singing from tree to tree and yard to yard. Two black squirrels chase each other up, down and around the oak tree. More signs.

Our drive has muddy edges now. Winter shoveling has mixed in the edges of lawn with snow and ice. The driveway is a mess, but it’s also not icy, and there are dry clear spots. We can see bits of lawn around the maple and pink dogwood tree. Can crocuses be hiding just under the edge of snow? Wonderful, glorious signs of spring.

Snow Day Fun

Friday January 9, 2015 was AJ’s first snow day this year! Snow falling, blowing in strong winds, black ice on roads, predictions of more snow all morning. The snow tapered off, but the driving in spots was bad. Historically, the over 130-car pile-up on I-94 between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo which claimed one life will probably be used in record books. One of the semi-trucks carried 400,000 pounds of fireworks, adding special effects and fire to the tragedy.

Nana (that’s me everywhere I go, usually AJ’s Nana) was energized when she woke up after being able to sleep in, aaahhh, the excitement of snow day hitting her as if she was the one not having to go off to school or work! I had mentioned online that I’d try a recipe for Eggs In Nests from Facebook if we did have a snow day. Standing in the kitchen I weighed my options. Of course, I had no real responsibility to anyone to show up with that food, but still, how often do you get an unexpected lazy day? Trying something new won the day and I went out to the garage cabinets where I store some of our less frequently used appliances. We would have Belgian Waffles with our eggs and bacon and the waffle maker needed to come to room temperature from -5 or whatever it was at now.

I quickly decided which order the egg dish, bacon and waffles would have to be prepared if I wanted a plate of hot breakfast. I had found recipes online for both dishes. The video of the yummy looking eggs had been in an Eastern European language and I had no idea how long to cook it, or at what temperature. And the breakfast challenge was on. See the photos. My family is pretty lucky I have these energy attacks that only cooking will satisfy. I wasn’t even through after breakfast. Spaghetti was on the dinner menu and in the afternoon I made homemade Italian Herb Bread to go with it. So good, and I rarely make it for us, usually for parties or in the past for clients of my personal chef business.

I’ve started with this weekend but of course we are 11 days into 2015. Is this the first interesting thing that has happened, you say? Maybe the most fun for me. Let’s see…The New Year arrived, sneaking in without a huge party. We toasted with my favorite, Asti Spumante, and quickly went off to bed. New Year’s Day we had the football game of the year to watch: our MSU Spartans in the Cotton Bowl against Baylor. It was super exciting in the last five minutes and when we actually WON!

I also went to my mom’s for her annual New Year’s Day Soup Kitchen neighborhood open house. This year I made White Chicken Chili and Russian Sweet Cabbage Soup (Stuffed Cabbage Soup). Mom made Shrimp and Corn Chowder. It was a very good soup year, except for the two vegetarian guests. We normally have a veggie soup whether we plan it or not, but this year failed to make one. Note for next year! The attendance was lower this year. We all missed my dad who passed away last March. Our first big holiday season without him was different, but I think throughout we have included him as often as we could by remembering and telling stories from our life with him. Two friends had gone to the Cotton Bowl and another family was away on vacation. The group that came by was lovely to chat with. I lived in that home from age 13-20 when I married, and then briefly from 87-90 when I went back to school. My mom’s neighbors are my neighbors. Plus my own home is only a few blocks away and across one major road.

The first week of the new year was just a bunch of appointments and getting back into the school routine. Then Friday was so much fun. Friday night I went to my friend’s and watched the whole recording of The Red Tent in one sitting with a few others. I had recorded it, but didn’t know if I’d ever get 4 hours of TV time at home. What an amazing job they did bringing Anita Diamont’s book to life.

Not to let fun drop from the menu, I decided to go to the Library’s Maker Studio Workshop offered Saturday from 2-4 pm. The project was to make a T-shirt pillow. I planned to use my Northern Exposure T-shirt. Awesome, right? After searching a dresser, the entire closet shelving and a box headed for Goodwill, there was no Norther Exposure shirt to be found. I had found a few others as possibilities and ended up making a pillow to forever memorialize a trip Peggy and I took to New York City. See pictures.

Look for the good, stop to have fun, and remember, everyone has a story.

Eggs in Birds Nests, Belgian Waffles and Bacon

Eggs in Birds Nests, Belgian Waffles and Bacon

Lucky Family here!

Lucky Family here!

I love my finished pillow. Also the new nightgown my mom made me for Christmas. Warning: selfie lighting and focus about as good as ever.

I love my finished pillow. Also the new nightgown my mom made me for Christmas. Warning: selfie lighting and focus about as good as ever.

The front

The front

The back

The back

What’s up today in December?

Today was the last day of school for my second-grade grandson before winter break. Students wore their pjs and had a Polar Express-theme day ending with movie viewing. Reports are a good time was had. My sister-friend and lifesaver many times over just stopped by with a special gin delivery! We had tried a new Michgan-made brand in our gin and tonics earlier this fall and she meant to give it to me last Monday at our annual Scrabble Sisters Christmas (and my birthday) get together. Of course, this gin was no where to be found when she went to purchase it but now it is here, sitting on the end table waiting patiently for me to finish my post and get on with the cocktail hour. It’s 5:02 pm already.

So far I’ve today I’ve located bunches of pictures I want to send with some of the cards I’ll get out, hopefully before Christmas. That’s always my hope. I’ve put off running to the store to the point where now I’ve got no choice but to go to the least out of the way grocer, pick up the fewest and most urgent items and get the heck out. Did I mention it’s 5:02 on Friday night the last weekend of shopping before Christmas 2014. They just had the pace car leave the track, the gun went off, shoppers are probably backed up on our main drag through 2-3 main intersections. Yikes!

I also located the Christmas card holder, added photo display cords with little super-magnets on either side so we could actually display all the cards, especially the photo cards with my friends’ grandkids on them. So happy with my solution. I tacked these right below the ceiling so the cats can’t reach the weight that keeps them taut. My cousin is a photographer and he recommended these as a quick way to display and change out your photos. Cool, bought 5 but the house is always such chaos I hadn’t decided where was my best spot. So I’ll start with bonus card space and go from there.

Hope to do more decorating tonight, baking over the weekend, and keep celebrating that birthday which is really not until Sunday. Last year of my 50s coming up as I turn 59!
Breakfast with the family tomorrow, class at Painting with a Twist tomorrow afternoon, dinner and a movie with my husband on Sunday. I think I’ve got it covered. Oh, and right after I get back for that wacko store run, awesome Double Gin and Tonic with Two Limes, house special. Take time to smell the pine trees, hear the bells, play with the kids and sing. It’s that special time of year. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

Blogging101

TODAY I realized that my course has DAILY assignments LOL. I’m too old for school!

Assignments to date:
Who am I and Why am I Here: Introduce Yourself

Say Your Name: Edit your Title and tagline

Say Hi to the Neighbors: Find 5 new topics and 5 new blogs to follow

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to figure out 1) how to save the draft I worked on Sunday for assignment 1 before I lose it because unlike the examples I see, there is no SAVE BUTTON. FRUSTRATION. 2) how to put images with the post-I did this with an earlier post (2012!) but when I uploaded some new images to the media library, new skill, I then thought I was attaching one to my post. It is sitting on the blog under the word >image< I don’t think it’s public, maybe it IS attached to the unsaved draft. 3) I changed my theme because the other one was boring, then began to wonder if I need two blogs, one for family, crafts, recipes and such, the other for topics around my memoir, money, poverty, bankruptcy, politics, rant-a-day, foraging (for food and money) and the end of the middle class. I was going to have pages for these areas on one blog so I wouldn’t be running one falsely cheerful blog and one just-shoot-me depressing blog. Seeing that I’m 3 days behind in my assignments and my primary concern was even being able to successfully maintain a blog at all, that’ll be one blog for now. What was I thinking?

I’m going to post this, take a shower, go outside and plant some mums on a perfectly beautiful fall day. Later, I will attempt an assignment or two or three. Posting anything is a win for me. See you all back here real soon!

Here’s Some Spin: The Morning After

Last night America watched the first debate between candidates Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. The analysis by pundits post-debate gave the edge to Romney citing the President’s “rustiness” in debate skills, failure to use the best weapons in the campaign’s arsenal, and his lack of response to certain statements by his opponent.

I woke up this morning with a revelation. Our very intelligent, eloquent, clever President did not suddenly lose his faculties when confronted with Mitt Romney Full Blast. One piece of his plan was to let as many facts and figures as possible spew forth from the other podium in the allotted 90 minutes. Mitt’s mastery of mendacity is legend. With Mitt Romney Full Blast, the number and repetion of Obama’s “mistakes” and Romney’s “promises” was greater than the President could have imagined, thus creating a fact-checking frenzy. Those have been squarely in Obama’s court during this campaign. I believe I heard Romney say the exact opposite of statements made previously but I’ll leave that research to people with more time to sift through the debris.

A second piece of the plan was about style. Debates may have a certain protocol alll their own, but the President chose to demonstrate visually that cooler heads will prevail. Mitt Romney Full Blast bull-dozed Lehrer easily and repeatedly insisted on getting the last word. The President looked presidential, and mostly respected the moderator.

In short, I realized it was a case of giving someone enough rope to hang themselves; a chance to dig themselves a hole and just get in deeper and deeper.

Perhaps I’m the only American who woke up realizing the wonderfulness of Obama’s restraint last night. It came to me that his reserve was the only way he could keep from telling Romney what he really thinks about all that. Usually when I see something, I discover I am not alone. This is reassuring. We’ve got your back, President Obama.

Flowers, herbs and veggies, oh my!

So…I bought the rest of the plants I need for my gardens in all 3 locations. This took a couple hours and it was HOT today. By the time I loaded and unloaded the 5+ flats of gorgeous, delicious fragrant annuals, herbs and veggies, it was clear a siesta was in order. After this lovely break, we had an early dinner, then I went to my community gardener friend’s house to dig up more plants because, nope, I just can’t get enough. Drove to Northwind Community Garden and as the sun set, I planted the day-lilies I had just dug. What a beautiful night! Too little time to plant what with all the plant gathering! I had hoped to at least get to the planters in the back drive at church, but lost the sun and my energy. Jim was very happy that I made us Brownie Ice Cream Sundaes since I needed something to spur me on through my evening chores: making Vegan Peanut Butter Cups for tomorrow night’s potluck, putting sheets on my bed and showering off a hot days worth of garden dirt and sunscreen. Bon soir!

20120519-234823.jpg

Hello from Fly-over Country (the Mitten part)!

Welcome to my very first blog, my very first blog post! It’s a sunny May day here in mid-Michigan, which means I am not going to sit here and rant, howl or wax nostalgic about anything at all. I will be purchasing plants, digging in the dirt and creating gardens everywhere. Details when the sun sets. Happy day, world of friends!