Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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WITH NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES being furiously dug and pumped and pick-axed out of the ground at an alarming rate, and growing ever scarcer, I'm all for cutting back on the use of them, as long as I don't have to expend too much of my own (admittedly renewable, but often precious) supplies of energy. So while I can't quite imagine working my fingers to the bone on a scrub-board, it's nearly as difficult to think of tossing a whole load of freshly-laundered towels and washclothes into the electric dryer on a day when the warm summer breezes are so happy to oblige. They even indulge me by infusing the laundry with that lush, green and sunny scent of which I'm so fond!





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Monday, July 27, 2009

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ONE WHOLE YEAR AGO.
It's when I first put a little blog posting out there.
I blogged about blogging.
Then I just kept bloggitty-blogging,
Sometimes like a swimmer, lapse after lapse,
but never stopping the bliggitty-blog.
And what started with a readership of one,
grew to be a whole...great big...entire...
HANDFUL!

To be honest, I don't really know how many
dear readers I have. Maybe more than a handful,
perhaps a bucketful. Or a bathtub-full
(oh merry scene
).

But I'd like to say,
Even if the tub's not full,
I'll keep the blogspot faucet open.
And I'm ever so grateful for your smart and interesting and kind and clever and funny and astute and witty and clueless comments (I didn't mean it--no clueless ones--just said that for the alluring alliteration)
. Yes, I think the world of you, dear readers!


So here comes another year.
Yada, yada, yada.
Bloggity-blog-blog.


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Friday, July 24, 2009

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SIMPLY SPLENDID SUMMER SUPPER:

1. Rapidly say that title five times in a row. Now have another glass of wine.

2. If you, yourself, don't have a garden, look around for someone who does, preferably a family member who has planted it right on your property, so that you are able to have your kitchen well-stocked with all the necessary ingredients ahead of time and you've gotten them washed and spiffed up for cooking. Otherwise, it might take you longer than the five minutes it took me to prepare this dish tonight.

2. Put a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet, get a tissue and prepare to cry.


3. Slice an onion--or two. Or three. Depends how big your skillet, your supper crowd, your desired ratio of onion to other splendid ingredients, your appetite, your imagination, your ego (oops, sorry, I'm getting carried away).

video

4. Even if you don't know beans about cooking, believe me, you can still serve up this splendid supper. Did I say beans? That would be GREEN ones. Pile them on!


video


5. Chop up some freshly-dug potatoes. And then, (I feel a bit foolish saying this, I mean, I know you're not a complete nincompoop; I highly suspect each one of you, dear readers, knows exactly what comes next, if not, in fact, all that came before as well, but I'll just say it anyway to be sure all is clear)---add them.


video

6. If you have it, top the whole pile with a piece of pork--preferably ham or pre-cooked bacon (only if you have it, of course. Don't run around looking for someone with a pig)



7. Add some water and a tight lid. Turn the heat to low.

8. G0 back to the hammock*.





9. Twenty minutes or a half-hour later when everything is tender, you can tenderly serve it to yourself and those you love.









10. OPTIONAL (but highly recommended)-- Have this for dessert:

















*Final note: I couldn't bear to say this while you were lolling in the hammock, but you really should check the water level in the skillet several times...it's disaster if you let it simmer dry. Just a few times--add at least a half-inch of water and turn it low. Okay, that's all. You can relax.


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

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IF THERE WERE TO BE A PRIZE FOR THE most stunningly beautiful vegetable, I should think that the beet would win, hands down (purple hands, that would be).



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Monday, July 20, 2009

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I SNUCK OUT OF THE AREA for a couple of days last week, down to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a great place to be when the fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high. Though I didn't see those particular signs of summer, I did see a lot of cool blue mountains. It was so good to see those mountains again, as I hadn't caught a glimpse of them for far too many years and they seem to take up space in the nostalgic part of my used-to-be.





The thing is, I also have a dear aunt who lives there and she, too, I hadn't seen for far too long, even missing the grand celebration when she entered her tenth decade. Which is why, when a sister-in-law of mine who is visiting from Olympia, Washington, informed me that she was taking her mother (who happens to be my cute little mother-in-law) to visit her mother's sister (my sister-in-law's aunt, of course) I quickly asked to hitch a ride; though, truth be told, in the end they hitched a ride with me.


As if there weren't enough relative-visiting to be had in this place already, I could not miss seeing the one relative I've known longer than any other. We spent time in very close quarters long before we saw the light of day. And ever since I took a look at the world and hollered for him to follow me, we've been pretty good friends, my twin and I. So now you see, I had him and the three other relatives with whom he hooked me up (sis-in-law, nephew, niece) to visit while there. To them, I had "Thanks for the bed-the walk after dark-the trek to the farmer's market," to say among other things.




So. if you haven't gotten the idea already, I can tell you that in the two days of visiting, I was racing around each day--from my brother's place to my Aunt Osie's place, to the house of my mother-in-law's sister. Not to mention little jaunts with each and every one of these dear family ones.






And I was getting flashbacks to previous periods of my life--to a time when I would come to this area as a child to visit my big sis Shishe, four hours from home in a private high school dorm. My parents would get us a room at Marvilla Motel--the most modern accommodations in town, and we, their four other kids, would bed down in roll-away cots and sleeping bags on the floor. What a novel experience to retire for the night, street light seeping in through the pulled draperies, and listen to trucks shifting through their gears on the highway past the motel.



I looked carefully to see if this lodging place still existed, and there it was! I spotted it in its worse-for-wear condition and stifled the urge to go inside and ask to see a room. After all, it's now...dear me...the Budget Inn.

And then I drove right past another establishment that was a fixture during my time as a college student in this area. It appears the years have been kinder to Jess' Lunch than to the old Marvilla, but I'll bet there are no longer hot-dogs to be had for 25-cents.





Of course, one fine old structure on the city square I did not doubt I'd see. Surely it will last as long as I keep going back to have a look.







It's interesting to see these buildings again, but it's those blue mountains that make me go a little crazy with the camera.


Especially when I'm heading up the road and a summer rain is rolling in over them.


I had to keep swerving off the main route and driving up strangers' driveways to get the lofty views (much to the trepidation of my traveling companion at the time--I won't name names--who thought she was going to die.

You see, these were very steep driveways, yes.







And surely the brakes might fail as she sat in the car.
While I merrily snapped my photos,



she'd go careening down, down in the runaway car. Wouldn't THAT have made a sorry picture!)
But all's well that ends well, so they say.


And just look how well this post ended--with that colorful arch in the sky!



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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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WHILE I CANNOT IMAGINE complaining about the weather we've been having--it's exactly what I would order if one were allowed to fill out a little form each evening with the next day's preferred conditions: 82.2 degrees at 4:00 pm. Clear with high scattered clouds. Low humidity. Slight breeze--it does leave my flowers a bit thirsty.


Today's one more day of sunshine prompted me to unreel the garden hose and give the dry flowerbeds some faux rain. It should tide them over until a thunderstorm happens to scatter itself right here tonight. While I was outdoors, I got you an update on the poultry,


with a picture that provides a small update on the garden, as well. You must realize that my daughter wouldn't be pitching fresh garden produce to the chickens were it not at this point in the what-on-earth-will-we-do-with-all-this-abundance-of-monstrous-green-vegetables stage.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

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I HAVE A DAUGHTER who completes her third decade of life tomorrow. Hers is a life that began at 1:23 pm on a Friday the thirteenth. While it wasn't the 7:09 pm (am would have worked as well) on 7-9-79 with a weight of 7 lbs, 9 oz I was secretly anticipating, the thrill of hearing the words "You have a daughter!" was more than enough to compensate for any and every variation.

As I labored away in the birthing room of the hospital, I focused intently on a peace lily plant which sat nearby on a table. If things don't get any worse than this, I thought, I'll be okay. I studied the flower and the form of the lily. Of course the pains intensified. Well, just so long as they don't get any worse than this, everything will be alright. They got worse, indeed. But still I focused on the lily. Okay, this...this I think I can take. Just please, please...no more than this.   Ultimately, after the pain grew, oh, wildly worse,  out slipped my lovely baby.

I forgot about the pain. I forgot about the lily.


Later I discovered, all unawares, we'd actually named our daughter Lily (It's the Hebrew meaning of her name.  Close enough!)  I got my fascinating coincidence without those nines and sevens!






This evening we celebrated the three decades, the thirty years, the birthday (Fruit pizza being the traditional stand-in for this particular birthday cake) And, we celebrated the fact that my daughter will be celebrating a birthing day of her own come November!

Hmm...perhaps 11-09-09 or 11-11-09.  At 11:09, of course.

Happy Birthday, dear Suzy-Q!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

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HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOON LATELY? It is so round and luminous and filled with such beauty, majestically traversing the night sky, it makes me want to weep.





You may wish to "click" on this to enhance the viewing; even then, sadly, I've made a pathetic attempt to grab hold of a spectacle of such magnitude, I'm afraid I've over-reached.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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I KNOW THAT EVERY DAY IS A GIFT. But today...ahh...the extra-special wrappings! Today came presented with a fabulous sheen of clear, sparkling sunlight and a pretty little bow of gentle breezes. When I went to the mailbox to post a bill payment, I was only outdoors for a minute or two, but picked up an infusion of happy-to-be-alive that had slipped directly from the gift package.

An hour or so later I took a little trip through the countryside to collect some curtains that a good seamstress and good friend (how lucky is that?) had sewn for me. Way out in the boonies is where this friend lives...fortunately for me, on this day of perfect weather (and I definitely stand by that classification.)


When I thought to record some of the idyllic pastoral scenes for you, it was difficult not to brake every time I rounded another curve or topped another hill (and believe me, this rural section of the country is quite well-supplied with earth swellings of various sizes.)









Because of which, curves are plentiful. And caused me some consternation when I saw a strange-looking obstacle in the road directly ahead of me. As I was thinking of how to maneuver around this odd contraption, I crested the hill and saw the road curve sharply to the left--with mailboxes on the right.

Did I learn anything? Just a little further on I was fooled again--amazing how that tree ahead is practically growing out of the road!

























I passed a wise person making hay,

and some other creatures who may also be wise, eating hay while the sun shone.


Mostly it was just miles of this--the green, the white and the blue.


Some spots were heavy on the green,

others had an emphasis on the white.



Most views spread out before me were an awesome combination. Earth and sky and....large masses of fine droplets of water, technically speaking; but why am I speaking technically? It's most certainly a poetically-speaking sort of a day. Earth and heavens and...billows of ephemeral soul-stirring whiteness.






Other than the ten minutes spent in a church parking lot taking deep breaths and telling myself that excruciatingly slow-moving government vehicles have every right to travel the same roads on the same gorgeous day as myself, the whole trip was an exquisite pleasure; and even that little interlude of inspiring spire-gazing while I waited for the offending vehicles to creep right on out of my path was not without its positive aspects.











After I got to my friend's house and picked up the curtains, I got to turn around and take the whole trip again, and I discovered that all of the scenes looked just as good in reverse, and...




...amazingly enough, so do the curtains!





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Sunday, July 5, 2009

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THERE WERE BRIGHT BURSTS OF COLOR AND LIGHT EXPLODING overhead last night. But when I got up early this morning, lo and behold, there was another impressive display in the sky. Peacefully and quietly, the morning was painted with color and light--every bit as awesome as the cracking and popping and booming display a few hours ago.


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Saturday, July 4, 2009

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I HURRIED TO PUT THE DEVIL IN THE eggs, so as not to be late to the Fourth of July cookout with extended family.

And then I gave it a dressy disguise...

...and carted it off to compete with all the very angelic side dishes--the bowls of summer fruit salad, pasta salad, cole slaw, baked beans, first-of-the-season corn-on-the-cob.


The weather behaved so admirably, as did the neighbors with their slightly illegal fireworks...







Of course, there was lots more fireworks viewing to be had--en route home, and far into the evening--teeny tiny displays on every hand.

video.. video


Altogether, it was a lovely Independence Day celebration. I'd give it fifty stars.
Maybe even throw in a few stripes, too.

And just look how we cleaned up the devil...!


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Thursday, July 2, 2009

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IT'S LILY SEASON. LOVELY LILY SEASON. Seeing as how they are on my short list of favorite flowers--partially because they come in my favorite colors--I thought I would catalog all that I saw today, beginning with the ones on my dining room table.


These are from the overgrown mass in my flower garden, and while they please me, I'm even more fond of the ones growing in lush abundance beside the roads. They're so generous with their wild orange beauty.



I rather soon realized, however, that you, Dear Reader, would likely get exasperated, if not downright irritated, were I to show you every single one of the clumps of lilies along my path today as I drove to Fair View to unlock #15 in order that two very efficient young men could take a thoroughly fogged-up patio door out of its sliding track and place it over two sawhorses and operate on it. (The glass-replacement surgery was fascinating.) And then you might even now be mumbling to yourself if I'd kept snapping pictures en route to the Home Depot store (where I spent fifteen minutes in aisle three trying to obtain a few electrical outlet cover plates in non-breakable nylon and in the color off-white [ivory would have sufficed, as would have ecru, beige, tan, buff, cream, oatmeal, sand...geez, I'd have even accepted camel!] You can bet I was doing plenty of mumbling myself until I went to procure a 33 and a 1/2 inch dowel rod in aisle eleven and a young man in an orange apron stepped right up and produced one with a hand saw in less time than it took to even find an employee in aisle three.)


Oops, wasn't I speaking of the ubiquitous lily? And determining not to show you too many of the ones I spotted? Yes, Dear Reader, I was. And therefore, although I relished the sight of many glorious clumps and groupings and expanses of them today, I'm showing you very few. Even if you care no more about lilies than a horse's--you know--rear-end, you're not likely to feel I've overshared.


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