Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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I RAISED A GLASS THIS EVENING to the momentous event that occurred seventy years ago this very day. Sans that happenstance, good heavens, I don't know WHERE I'd be!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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AND NOW IT'S BACK TO FULL- TIME REALITY for me, Reader Dear. Combined with the first whole day without the cheerful clatter of extra loved ones in the house is the dreary effect of weather that is darkly dense and gray.

So I broke two eggs into a skillet for lunch, and it was like looking at the sun with double vision. I felt that the spinach, onion and chopped red pepper provided a pleasing framework, and that lit up my day as well (really, Dear Reader, it takes so little on a day such as this).

Also breaking the gloom were the lights on the neighbors' many outdoor Christmas trees
(though I do prefer solar-powered cheer).

For supper my yard man and I ate the last of the leftover turkey out of the fridge,* prompting me to classify the meal as our Fifth and Final Feast of Thanksgiving.





*(Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, may still be gracing our meals as we dismantle the Christmas tree, [yet to be mantled!]).
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

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THE CARETAKERS OF MY SMALL ACTOR had to bid The Yard Man and me farewell this morning. They left behind a night light, a phone charger, a washcloth and a pair of socks...but, alas, they took the Small Actor with them.
They left while the day, very much like the small actor, was relatively young.

The weather being so ideal for a hike, my other small star-- the Little Actor, et al (all those of us who dote on him and were planning to come back from the hike and heat up the Thanksgiving Day leftovers for one more family feast) took ourselves to an ideal spot for such an endeavor....and took one!

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It was lovely and free for the taking, and we took it with relish!
(Much like we took the repast that followed,
which we took with [cranberry] sauce, as well).
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

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A SATURDAY THANKSGIVING DAY
is what happens when Saturday is the only day that works for everyone in the family to come together to eat turkey and filling and sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and potatoes au gratin and broccoli and cranberry sauce and pumpkin cheesecake and Happy Baby Organic Puffs.
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A spectacular sunset is what happens when the Saturday Thanksgiving Day has been a very good one, including a short re-enactment of the very first Thanksgiving Day (in which sweet potatoes are introduced as a brand-new food), and ending with a horse-drawn wagon ride to the vegetable patch of the yard man and the gleaning of broccoli and cauliflower and beets by those who call the man "Dad."
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Friday, November 25, 2011

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THANKSGIVING WEEK OLIO.
DAY follows day, and it is wonderful and awful at the same time. Wonderful, of course, in that the house teems with loved ones with whom I rarely get enough time. I'm continually grasping at minutes here and there in which to relax in the moment and forget entirely the fact that the next meal is always just a few hours away. (Giving you a big slab of a clue as to what may be awful about it). If it's not some other quotidian task, then food procurement, food preparation and food clean-up are forever grasping at me!
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"I'm calling because I've got a mouse problem," said a tenant of mine today. "I caught one in a trap, and I need one of your maintenance workers to come and take it away. I absolutely cannot touch a dead animal!"
"Sorry, I don't have any maintenance workers that do that," I told her. "You should get some of those traps where the mouse goes inside and you never have to see or touch it."
"That's what I've got!" she said. "But I can't even touch that! I just can't do it! I really, really CANNOT touch dead animals! Do you know of anyone who could help me out?"
"Well," I said. "I guess I could do it myself. I will have to shriek and holler and shudder, but I should be able to do it."
When I called her back later, she informed me that her son-in-law had done the deed.
(Three cheers for the son-in-law!)
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My yard man took his whole family (with the exception of his son-in-law, who went to work today--three cheers for the son-in-law!) to Green Dragon Farmer's Market. Fortunately, I was part of the entourage, as well as my two tiny actors. The weather was simply marvelous on this Black Friday afternoon...and the market-- oh my!
(There's too much to say,Reader Dear, so I don't think I'll try. The best I can do is promise a description by and by.)
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Movies: An Evening Trilogy

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

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THE THANKSGIVING DAY TURKEY meal enjoyed today by the yard man and me, three of our descendants (and the father of one), numerous siblings, in-laws, cousins and kin was hosted by the yard man's brother-in-law and sister. I was so elated about the bright sunshine after three days of Noah's Ark-type rain, that even without turkey I'd have been surfing on a very grateful feeling.







I was thankful that the small lake at the bottom of the hill had disappeared by this morning.




I was grateful that Thanksgiving Eve I'd had all the ingredients for a chocolate cake with fudgy frosting, that I thought of a way to mount fall leaves atop it (If you really must know, Reader Dear, I inserted a plastic straw and managed to remove a tiny plug of cake; then I reinserted the straw, cut it to fit, and inserted the leaves; voila! the cake did not taste fantastic, but the look was impressive!)


I was grateful for that twenty-five-pound turkey and that good rich gravy, the delectable bowl of home-grown corn, the candied sweets, the potato filling, the cranberry sauce.....*.

really, quite grateful for every last bit of that Thanksgiving meal. Except, uhm...possibly those last few bites of pumpkin pie. That final small piece of pumpkin cake roll.






























But thankful--oh, my goodness, yes, thankful! Still thankful.

Thankful for this day on which to be thankful. Thankful I can tell you about it, Reader Dear. Thankful for you, Reader Dear, oh, ever so thankful!

I'm thankful for having so much about which to be thankful.
Believe it, Dear Reader--
I am thankful!

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*(and all the et cetera...)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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MY HOUSE IS (already) FULL of holiday happenings, Reader Dear!
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There is (already) a lot of eating and drinking going on!
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With two experienced actors in the house,
filming is (already) in full swing, as well!
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My two (tiny) leading men will be appearing in many
of my upcoming productions. Yes, I'll be filling the holiday
marquee with their movies, Viewer Dear!
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The Book.
Starring the Small Actor as an eager infant, and with
the Little Actor playing the role of a toddler bibliophile
who is ever so slightly threatened by the enthusiasm of
the younger character.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

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HAPPY GET-READY-FOR-TURKEY time, Reader Dear!
By tomorrow the Small Actor will be here with his caretakers and I'll be doing some movie-making.











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Sunday, November 20, 2011

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I AM BACK, READER DEAR, along with my yard man, from our almost-heaven West Virginia vacation of twenty-six hours. This faux-wordy post will tell of our trip to see our dear friends: in which we drove up mountains and down mountains and through mountains to their home in the mountains.
























And then the stay with our angelic host and hostess (oh, the divine food [which included our first Thanksgiving meal of the season] and the sweetness of time spent with friends [which included a chance to meet Dave and Rhona (if the enemies of my enemies are my friends...then, great gabbing goodness, even more so are the friends of my friends!)])!
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If your mouth is watering at the sight of this fabulous food--the roasted chicken in filling-stuffing-dressing; the melt-in-your-mouth sweet potatoes; the red-pepper-topped zucchini salad; the peaches-and- cherries fruity delight, keep in mind, Viewer Dear, you haven't even seen it all! There was homemade bread topped with homemade jam, and homegrown corn, and...well, what have I forgotten?! Oh, yes...there was PIE!



Should you happen to know this friend of mine who made this pie, Reader Dear, you would know it was likely to approach perfection. I'm here to tell you it stepped right over into "No crunchy-topped Wild Huckleberry-with-Cranberry pie could be better!"







And that's not all (that I have to say)!
(As you'll see tomorrow, Dear Reader, if you'll only come back for another look...

Friday, November 18, 2011

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A NEW LAW OF NATURE may have been discovered, Reader Dear! It's a somewhat odd phenomenon; I've been studying it over the course of many years. Finally I'm prepared to present my hypothesis. And here it is: Knowledge that one will be gone from one's house in excess of twenty-four hours produces a compulsive urge to sort and organize clutter and clean out one's closets.

It appears it's immutable, this law; there's a possibility it applies only to myself. My yard man and I made plans last week to go and visit friends this coming weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday. Like clockwork, the impulse hit me hard this morning: I've got to clean up and clean out!

Thus, from beginning (which, alas, did not occur at sun-up) to end (which, alas, did not occur at sundown), today I was a whirling, chaos-busting dynamo! I did laundry, vacuumed floors, cleaned out drawers, reorganized food in the freezer, collected thirty-seven empty egg cartons from the basement area where The Yard Man stashes them and won't be needing them now that his egg-laying hens have grown old and tired. I sorted through books, and papers, and baby items outgrown by both the diminutive actors who will be acting for me in my Thanksgiving movies next week. In fact, I'm still at it, Reader Dear--trying to systematize my disordered thoughts and give you an organized list of all that I did today while under the influence of this quirky law of nature. So here's the thing-- I'd like to keep going, but I've got to stop. I said to The Yard Man, "Let's set out for West Virginia about sunrise tomorrow."

The sun comes up early! And you know without a doubt, Reader Dear, I can't change the laws of nature!
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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VEGETABLE SURPRISES--The ABC's: A Bagful of Beets; Broccoli; Collard greens. That yard man of mine is tending to his fall garden patch these days. Every so often I find a surprise delivery on the kitchen porch.

Here's how I worked yesterday's abundance (which included four freshly-laid eggs from his hens) into supper: I scrubbed (and scrubbed) and trimmed and roasted about a dozen beets (And told the yard man, as we ate them like candy, peeling off the skins with our bright pink fingers, "These little buggers are just barely worth the effort!") A few of them I sliced and added to the green salad I made.

There was a bounteous bunch of collard greens, and those I washed, trimmed and loosely chopped. I sauteed a chopped onion, then added some strips of ham and let those slightly brown before adding the collards. Then I covered the skillet for about ten minutes and let it all cook into a dish to die for. My yard man has never been much of a greens-eating fan, Dear Reader, but you should have heard him rave!

As for the broccoli. I'd been singing, "Green green, it's green they say, on the far side of the hill. Green green, I'm going away to where this meal is greener still."*













But then I thought, no--there's a reasonable limit to the greenness with which this meal should be imbued! I steamed that head and put it in my freezer.
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*New Christy Minstrels, my dear.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

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DEAR ME, DEAR READER. AFTER extolling the virtues of having access to my own, personal computer geek, and hopping up and down with glee over the (now obviously misconceived) notion that after one visit with him it would all be smooth sailing (aka blogging) from here on out, I'm suddenly brought up short. Well, what I mean to say is that the size of everything on the open computer screen was suddenly brought up short! And I mean short as in teensy- weensy-teeny-tiny-what-the-heck short! Ideal for a very small elf. Or a mouse. Printed up in newspaper form, even a praying mantis might find it quite manageable.

Here's what I said to myself when, without warning of any kind, there came the abrupt shrinkage... (Uh, on second thought, I shall only tell you what I attempted to do about the severely restricted dimensions) Enlarge the font!! I desperately tried to make the open box on the computer screen larger than the size of a credit card! I squinted, and worked for parts of two full days (well, the minutes were ticking past midnight).

And now this abrupt and sudden ending: Paul Bunyan came strolling into Lilliput!




( I was able to find "zoom in" Reader Dear).

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Friday, November 11, 2011

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THIS IS WHAT I WISH I'd have done today, Reader Dear: I wish I'd have written eleven checks for eleven dollars and eleven cents each and sent them to eleven needy causes. And I was thinking, too, how nice if I'd given eleven flowers to each of eleven friends, and eleven kisses to eleven loved ones. Why didn't I sing eleven songs? I wish I would have. And baked eleven cookies, each with eleven chocolate chips. I wish I'd pulled them from the oven in the morning at eleven-eleven, and eaten them with The Yard Man at eleven-eleven at night. I could have told him, "Eleven let you have the extra cookie!" Eleven times I thought to do eleven things. But...(sigh)...eleven times I let the chance go by.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

I want to undo.
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I AM CHORTLING! CAVORTING! KICKING up my heels in jubilation!

It is simply astounding, Reader Dear, what transformations can occur when one has a completely uninterrupted hour with one's own personal geek! One may ask oneself, "Why ever did I drag my feet, procrastinate. and delay in going for this consultation?"

"What is it that you want to do?" he asked, this charming and handsome white knight. He seemed so confident and agreeable.

So I poured out my litany. "Ever since I got this new laptop, things haven't been the same. I've been gritting my teeth and groaning, grumbling and grousing because I can't do what I used to do!" When he smiled, I added, "The first thing I want to do is 'undo.'

"What do you want to undo?" he asked.

"I just want to undo....well...the last thing I did," I replied. "In the past, if I accidentally deleted something, I'd just click 'undo' and there was a resurrection!" (Er. Dear Reader, I may not have said resurrection. I might have said something like..." it all came back").

"I'll show you," I said. I opened up a blog window and typed: I want to undo*
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*You see, Dear Reader, it's still there (at the start of this post)! Because then I didn't know what to do; I didn't want to undo I want to undo, because I wanted I want to undo. I would only want to undo I want to undo if it were accidentally undone. Then I would want to undo the undone I want to undo, which would bring back I want to undo. (He said it didn't really matter if I didn't want to undo I want to undo. And it was true. Without undoing I want to undo, he helped me ' undo' [and with other issues, too] For which I gave him a big thank-you [with no 'undo'].)
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Uh-oh, what's the matter? Have you come undone, Reader Dear?!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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SALMAGUNDI STRAIGHT AHEAD


Today's weather was a direct invitation to congregate with friends and eat lunch, and chocolate, and chocolate, and chocolate (Yes, Dear Reader, we ate three distinctly different varieties. One might call it a salmagundi of chocolates!*)






*One of which was this extravagant chocolate artwork (a three-way share, lest you suspect overindulgence,** Reader Dear).

While partaking of the chocolate dessert, my friends and I spotted a blogger! (Well, you can't see it, but he's got a camera, and he's fiddling with it, setting it to record a scene). Of course, I've got no proof that he's a fellow blogger (and that's because I've got far too much decorum to ask outright. [Ahem]).

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Following lunch and chocolate and chocolate, my friends and I wandered around the town, through a salmagundi of one-of-a-kind shops, where one can find so many creative works of art, and gifts, and clothing, and sometimes even a comfortably relaxed canine named Tetter. ("We named him that because when we were trying to come up with a name, we were tetter-tottering between several choices," his owner told me. [Dear Reader, she volunteered the information; I've got far too much restraint to have outright asked. [ Oh, indeed].)














Later in the day--the frabjous, sunny, sixty-seven-degree day--I had one more chocolate with my friends and then had to bid them farewell. After which I reveled no more in chocolate and friendship, but tried to immerse my spirit so fully in the autumn radiance that, should there be no more of such resplendent warmth until sometime next April, I will survive unscathed.

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This involved a walk in my park.







Which ended much the same way as this salmagundi is ending--with a sunset to the west.












And a pie-shaped moon to the east.








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**Absolutely the case!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



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DID I REALLY WISH TO EXAMINE the bowels of another refrigerator? It's a definite no, Reader Dear, but what could I do? My tenant had to go to work; I couldn't ask her to take a vacation day just to move the contents of her refrigerator from the insulated box where she'd stashed them, to the new fridge being delivered mid-morning.




Yesterday morning I got the call: "Sorry to bother you, but my refrigerator is not working. I ate a yogurt last night, and it was fine. But this morning, I took food out, and it was warm. I guess it died overnight!"









So I took a Sunday morning trip to Lowe's, and... aarrrgh...breathe in, breathe out...try to think only thoughts you would be willing to verbalize in church...I spent a whole entire HOUR there, ordering a fridge for my tenant. I could enumerate all the reasons why it took such an inordinately long amount of time, but...

....but...
....but....
....but...WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?!





The really cool thing is that the new fridge arrived without a hitch this morning--easy out with the old; easy in with the new! It didn't take me much more than five minutes to transfer all the tenant's food items, scooping the ice from her insulated box and putting it in the fridge drawer with the meat.









I was so tickled by that turn of events (er...turnover of fridge), that on a sudden inspiration, I went and took a walk in my park.




Ahhh...breathe in, breath out.

Monday, November 7, 2011

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CURLED-UP CURRY DISH.
2 Tablespoons Curry
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Fennel
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Coriander
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One Cup Split Peas
Two Cups of Water
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One Cup each of Bell Peppers/Onion
Two large Cloves of Garlic
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Three or more pieces of chicken, with or without bones
(If you want to do it the African way, says my twin, leave the bones in)
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Coconut Oil
Optional--Coconut Milk
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Rice (Jasmine or Basmati) or Couscous
Optional toppings: Raisins, Peanuts, Other nuts, or seeds
First, Dear Chef, you should set the peas to cooking, as they must cook until mushy, with no standing water. Toward the end of their cooking, as they are approaching a perfect state of mushiness, be sure to to protect them from burning by stirring and adding a bit of coconut milk or water.
Next put a dollop of coconut oil into a skillet and add your handfuls of veggies. When you have sauteed them until tender, push those soft-hearted vegetables to the side and tilt the pan to allow the coconut oil to sneak over to the free side. Here you can dump your fragrant load of spices.
















Stir and fry that lovely Cardamom et al. After a minute of so, so as to keep the spices from a ruinous burn, pour in the three-quarters cup of coconut milk (or water) and mix the whole pan contents into a bubbly delight.
Okay, now, Chef Dear, what I neglected to mention, back when you were chopping the veggies, is that the water for the Rice (or alternative) should be measuredly waiting in a pan on the stove, with the grain of your choice also waiting sedately nearby. Lacking a sous chef, you will also need to have the chicken simmering away on the stove. Instructions for this are simple: Put the chicken in a pan with coconut oil. Fry it. (Do you really need more, chef that you are, Dear Chef?) Assisting my Twin, I used boneless, cut-up breast meat [it was what I had] Come to think of it--that twin of mine did say that if you've got bone-in chicken [the African way, you do recall], it doesn't have to be completely and thoroughly cooked in the pan. It can be partially cooked, then added into the veggie-spice mixture and simmered to done-ness).
So now, "done" is the operative word! Mix some of the spices and vegetables with the peas, some with the chicken. Or mix all of the cooked dishes (except for the Rice) into one, adding coconut milk or water to your desired consistency.
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And, then!
Rush everything to the table--the Curled-up Curry, the Rice and the optional toppings.
Along with your eagerly salivating friends and or loved ones (and I sincerely hope they are many), Chef Dear, dig in!





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Sunday, November 6, 2011

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YES, PLEASE, I'LL TAKE THAT HOUR out of my Savings Account now, and...uh...will there be any interest added? At least a minute or two?*


*Next time an icy day presents itself, when the high temperature is much too low, and the low is much too high into the minus figures, I've decided, Dear Reader, to deposit several more hours into savings. How sweet to make the withdrawal on a day similar to this one-- interest or no interest!

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

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I SPENT TODAY, Dear Reader, with the first person to ever curl up beside me. (It was tight quarters; we spent nine months in that position!) He showed up yesterday evening for a weekend visit, and we whiled away several hours reminiscing, my twin and I. Then this morning we headed out for a jaunt in the city, first to Central Market.

"Asante!" my twin said to the guy selling African food. Ah...the guy responded in kind, and the two of them took up a conversation in Swahili!












We walked around the city in the bright autumn sun, and later in the day, this brother of mine cooked up a curry dish for supper. He's a regular Martha Stewart when it comes to curry, Reader Dear.



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So that's how it is with this twin of mine. He's a multi-lingual, multi-talented marvel!

("I made myself a boat," he said, "when I lived in Africa. "When I got it in the water, it leaked like a sieve." But my goodness, Reader Dear. He's sucessfully made himself everything from A to Z [shoes to clothing (a suit, by golly!) to musical instruments, and all those other creations too numerous to mention]!)




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*Though in my youth, Dear Reader of mine, I pondered a God who would let me mutter blankety-blanks at the sewing machine and throw down the fabric in disgust, while heaping that one he'd curled next to me with all this talent, in the end, you see, I get to eat fantastic curry!


(Tomorrow, Reader Dear. I'll give you the details manana!)
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

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I'VE GOT A GOOD THING GOING, Reader Dear! I must just keep focusing on snow, and...abracadabra, one warm day follows another! Yesterday the weather temperature reached all the way up to shirtsleeve! An errand took me near that goosey park where only the day before I'd taken a gander at the dandelions and green trees. Once again I took a spur-of-the-moment walk, and everything was as it had been: the geese still gracefully gliding, the grass still green.









Then suddenly I came upon a curious thing: right out among the trees, apart from any other man-made object, sat a small wooden chair. It had not been there the day before. No one was in sight to claim it or explain it. Hmm. Now sometimes, Reader Dear, life's questions are never answered* (for me, a source of much consternation). Yesterday, however, I had only to continue on the pathway of life (happily, it coincided with the path in the park), and ahead, around several curves, lay the answer to all my questions concerning the meaning of chair.*





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*The chair was a distance away. I didn't just take it for granted. I asked.

























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