Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Line of Blue

When Melanie was pregnant with Mei-Ling I shopped both pink and blue until we knew for sure that it was a girl. So today I went through the baby storage bin I had tucked away in a closet, taking out the little blue clothing. Some of it, actually lots of it, little smocked bubble outfits, so very English looking. Certainly reflecting my taste in baby clothes. I suspect Melanie and Casi will opt for a more modern look, but Grammie can still play dress up baby when he comes to visit.
I washed a load of little blue sleepers and blue blankets and stood back when I was done, trying to imagine the joy of another baby in the family. Tiny smiles and the profound beauty of a sleeping baby in my arms. They grow up so fast, each moment cherished for exactly what it is, precious.

I wandered around a bit after the baby clothes were hung up and marvelled at the small changes that come from one rain this time of year. Things perk up so fast. I am looking forward to fall planting, playing in the dirt in a constructive kind of way.
Watermelons are still growing in the garden and promise to provide a luscious treat soon. There is never a time I don't think of the garden as an incredible blessing. To see life sprout from a seed and turn into food for the table is always a miracle to me.
Its a quiet sort of day, the kind I seem to like the best of all. Slow and easy, flowing along with some unseen, unheard rhythm of life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fantastic News !

I better stock up on blue yarn and blue fabric, and more than a couple spools of blue thread. The ultrasound today showed a boy for Melanie and Casi. And the best news is, this little one has two kidneys, and his heart looks good, blood circulation looks great and the spine looks normal. All the things we worried about due to Mei-Lings heterotaxy polysplenia and other health issues.
Melanie said that when they had a straight on look at his face, this little one looks just like his sister with a fat round face. For my side of the family, this is the first boy in a couple generations. My father is actually the last one bearing his line of the family name. I had all sisters and I had two girls and my sister had one girl.
We are feeling very blessed tonight !

A Bit of Rain and some thoughts

A few sprinkles are falling this morning, and from the radar pictures, it looks like the rain might stick around for a few hours. I couldn't be happier. We need the rain for the garden. It's all tilled and ready for fall planting next month. The grayness of the morning has however made me feel lazy and thinking about spending the morning with my head buried in the pages of a good book, a cup of Old King Cole tea by my side.
Miss Mei-Ling will be coming for a visit this afternoon while mommy and daddy go to the Doctor. Melanie is seeing a high risk pregnancy specialist, same one she saw periodically when she was carrying Mei-Ling. We are hoping they do an ultrasound so we know for certain if its a boy or a girl. Melanie is still experiencing very bad low blood sugars but is sick less often now.
My dad was fitted for his mask for the radiation therapy. 7 weeks of treatment, both chemo and radiation. My heart aches thinking about him having to go through all that. He is a fighter though and will do what he has to and somehow make the best of it, that is who he is.
We have made the decision to sell our goats. As much as I love them, I also love being able to be free from milking every 12 hours. Emery and I want to spend some time going places and not being tied down to chores. We have done that for decades and our time of having milking animals seems to have come to a close. Running through my mind is the phrase about its not the things we have done that we regret, but we regret the things we did not do. I think we don't want to have those kinds of regrets later in life.
I am not so filled with that inner fear of a world going awry and me having to be self sufficient so we can survive no matter what happens. Life is short, and one needs to be mindful that there are different stages to life. This is a different stage of life for us. We will always be into a simple lifestyle, that's part of the core of who we are but as I have said many many times, simple living is so much more about how our minds work, whats important to us and our motivation for doing whatever it is we do.
To be honest I am having great fun discovering new interests and spending a little bit of time on the things I never had time for when the children were all still in the nest. And we are done with the farm chores as a teaching tool for our children, that stage is over with and we are so happy we chose to live the way we did and teach the children the things we did.
No regrets is the way I want to feel at the very end of my life, so I am embracing the moment and living spherically and in many directions so that I don't miss one good thing !

Table set for the evenings meal. Might not have time to do it later when the wee one is here, since I just don't want to miss one moment of her sweetness with being busy in the kitchen.
Pollo alla Cacciatora with Polenta is on the menu for tonight

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Endless Summer, or so it feels

By the end of August, a lot of the talk around these parts is how anxious everyone is to have summer gone and the heat replaced by temperatures you feel like you can bear. Today its 100 degrees F and it feels hotter than that. The ground is dry, the garden looking more like a waste land than a place of hope. You get excited when clouds build and one can only hope for a stray shower to refresh not only the ground, but you.
We have more than a month of hot temperatures ahead of us here in north Texas, and I am praying it goes by fast.
I was just outside with my camera, thinking there isn't a whole lot I feel like photographing. It all looks brown and dry.
A shell of a cicada, shriveled green bean vines. Tilled soil that feels more like fine dust than dirt. It just doesn't seem pretty to me, and that is partly due to my distaste for this heat.
The kittens are cute and follow me around like I am a second mother, no doubt from all the goats milk I dish out to them each day.
I find myself dreaming of the smell of woodsmoke and the feeling of frosty morning air. Wishing for the need of sweaters and wool socks. Of snow flakes and ice on the water buckets. It is feeling a bit like summer will go of forever and it looks like Harry is feeling the same way as he hangs his paws off the bridge, trying to find a bit of a breeze.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our Evening Meal

It looks like it was a fussy meal, but it wasn't. Apricot halves for first course, filet mignon, baby carrots and leeks cooked in butter, and roasted fingerling potatoes, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary. For dessert a simple piece of chocolate served in a tiny cordial glass. Candles, a handsome man across from me and the Bernardaud "Cafe Paris" dishes Emery gave me last year that I love. I only have two place settings, but that works now that we are empty nesters. Since getting back to my "French Women Don't Get Fat" lifestyle, the pounds are coming off. 8lbs in two weeks. Life is good, simple but good.

Lots of Cooking and Baking

The last couple days have been busy ones. Had a little party at my house on Sunday, all girls so the food was "girlie" too. Since Julia Child's recipes have gotten me out of my "same old same old" slump I used her recipe for Chicken Salad, which was fantastic and made little sandwiches for the ladies and for dessert we had French Macaroons (used Martha Stewards recipe) and a simple to make Chocolate Hazelnut cookie that was made with Nutella, flour and an egg. They were really yummy too.
I tried to keep the sweets in the color theme of the party, brown and pink...even filled a big bowl with chocolate malted milk balls and the strawberry malted milk balls, creating the perfect polka dot match to the table covering.
It was fun and honestly, stepping up the cooking a notch has been fun and it sure seemed like the food was a hit, nothing was left !

And the Winner Is !

Emery pulled a name out of a hat, his hat and the name is .......
Hazel just email me at and we will work out the details of getting the give-away to you.
Thanks everyone for participating and for all the kind comments.

Final Day for Give Away

The drawing will close at 5 p.m. central time and will enlist the help of Emery to pick a winner. I will be announcing the winner this evening...stay tuned : )

Give Away Has Arrived

Finished the projects for the give away celebrating 900,000 hits to my blog since I started keeping track of them .
Just finished the fall apron and tea towel and along with that I will include a pair of my hand dipped bees wax candles, two bars of my home made soap and a ball of my homespun wool.
To enter, leave me a comment or send me an email at
You should be able to click the photo to get a closer look at the fabric. Its a fall print and not a Halloween print.
I will keep this post up the top for one week and have the drawing on Monday, August 24th. Feel free to link this post to your blog
The new posts will be below this post until after the 24th

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Charleston Cycle Chic

This is a good way to go green and be cute while doing it

Cycle Chic

Its time we brought this to our own neighborhoods... I am planning on getting a local group of Chic Cyclers together

Free Patterns For A Week From the Commercial Pattern Archives

For those who love to sew the University of Rhode Island, Commercial Pattern Archives is offering a free week.... Patterns that are amazing
here is the LINK follow the direction on how to log in as a guest that they provide on the site.
It's simple Log in as Guest and password is Pattern
this is what it states on the web page....There are handwork patterns and quilting patterns too !
"Commercial patterns are full-scale tissue paper clothing patterns used by the home-sewer to create garments and accessories issued in the States as early as 1854. Originally full-scale patterns were included as supplements in fashion periodicals such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine and sold through by mail order."
Make sure to have a new print cartridge in your printer so you can print all the patterns you will want and Happy Sewing !

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Julie and Julia", an Inspiration to many

As you may have read, Melanie and I went to see the movie Julie and Julia just a short while ago and I have to admit, the movie ignited a spark in me to step up my cooking a notch or two. I had like so many other women, gotten in a cooking rut. Making the same things over and over and thinking when I sat down to eat..."another ho hum"meal. Just a few days after seeing the movie I was regretting that I had sold my copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking at a yard sale several years ago. I looked up Julia Child's recipe for boeuf bourguignon and set off to get all the ingredients and spend five hours preparing the meal. It was more than worth the time. Sitting down to that meal, was an experience I will never forget. I felt accomplished and something else happened. I noticed that you could taste the flavor of the mushrooms, the distinct taste of the onions and of the beef. The mushrooms didn't have an onion taste or a beef taste etc. Each bite distinct. I realized that often times my meals sorta had a run together kind of taste, which isn't bad, but it isn't oh so wonderful either. Casseroles sort of blend everything together. I ate this boeuf bourguignon slowly, savoring each bite, I ate less too, since I chewed slowly and deliberately. Now, all I plan is meals that are "wow !" I was inspired by the movie, by the concept of food being one of life's greatest pleasures to be slowly enjoyed and at the same time, I am eating better food, less of it and have lost 8 lbs.
Yesterday I went shopping, trying to find a copy of Julia Child's, "The Art of French Cooking" and there was not one to be found, actually there were NO Julia Child cookbooks of any title....each bookstore, new and used alike, said the same thing, they are flying off the shelves since the movie came out. I guess it has inspired many to do some gourmet cooking !
I am glad to see this little movement towards fine cooking. Maybe it will slow us down a bit in our eating and enlighten our palates so that we desire to eat slower, desire to savor the moment and find fast food a bit unpalatable.

Thanks Julie & Julia !

Daughtry - What About Now

A good reminder that we can make changes....often just one step at a time, but if we all take that step, there is profound movement

Life Isn't Always Easy

One thing I know for sure, life isn't always easy. I have had some really difficult things to go through in my life, one of the hardest was hearing the words from the Doctor nearly 20 years ago say, "we don't think your daughter will make it through the night." I pleaded with God at that moment and bargained with Him, "whatever it takes God, let her live" and then I watched them call a code on her, ready to inject her heart and at that very moment I prayed, "your will God" and hated that I prayed that. Within in second, her vitals returned to normal. I have never viewed God as some sinister character that watches us from above wanting to know just what we would do if it took it all from us. I just don't like that kind of concept. I sure wouldn't test my children's love for me that way, I love them too much to do that or play that kind of game. But whatever...we were able to take our precious child home from the hospital and feel very lucky to this day. I felt some of those same feelings with Mei-Ling and felt the pain that Melanie and Casi have felt as they went through that same kind of horror that we went through when we almost lost Melanie. I suspect only parents that have gone through this kind of thing can understand and relate to the fact that even now I am not willing to let Melanie be alone when she is so fragile.
I have lost loved ones, and know that pain, the emptiness that comes with it. I have been threatened with incredible danger and yet, nothing can compare to how I felt when we came within a hair of loosing a child. I always told God, that was the one thing I could not handle and that I would no doubt curse Him if it happened. That's just honestly how I feel. No need to tell me the error of feeling that way. It is what it is. To this day, I have in my cedar chest, the small undershirt Melanie wore when she was rushed to the E.R. its cut up the middle and up the sleeves. Some sort of strange reminder for me that we are indeed blessed to have her still with us. Emery can't even look at it. Melanie understands now why I have kept it, she has her own reminders for Mei-Ling.
Right now my dad is beginning the fight of his life, cancer has invaded his body and I hate that. There is nothing fair about it. And I am struggling with wanting to be with my dad in Florida and yet just down the road is my child, an adult yes, but her life too is in danger. Her blood sugars go so low that in a moments time we could loose her and the tiny one she carries within her. When Casi is at work, Melanie is alone and I have to, want to, need to, be there for her. And then there is sweet Mei-Ling, if Melanie is hospitalized. She has some real medical needs and not everyone knows how to care for her vesicostomy.
I am not trying to justify why I am not heading to Florida right off to take care of my dad. Maybe more to explain with all my heart why it is that I have to, need to, be here for Melanie. The last time we had to call the ambulance for Melanie, she had called in a tiny voice..."mom, I need help" Emery and I flew out the door, drove the short distance between our houses, it took less than 5 minutes for us to get there and find a passed out, cold, bluish girl. Totally non responsive. The paramedics were there in just a couple minutes and could not revive her either until after they got an IV flooding her. It was for me, that same horror of nearly 20 years ago. Folks can yell at me all they want but I am not going to leave Melanie and our unborn grandchild right now. I do wish I could be in two places at once, but I can't. Life isn't always easy and the choices we make, not always popular, but, I have a habit of making unpopular choices that all seem to work out in the end. We all need to live our lives according to our hearts and that dear friends is not always easy.
Heartstrings tug in all directions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009



Let there be many windows to your soul,
That all the glory of the universe
May beautify it.
Not the narrow pane
Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays
That shine from countless sources.
Tear away
The blinds of superstition;
let the light
Pour through fair windows broad as truth itself
And high as God.
Why should the spirit peer
Through some priest-curtained orifice, and grope
Along dim corridors of doubt, when all
The splendor from unfathomed seas of space
Might bathe it with the golden waves of Love?
Sweep up the debris of decaying faiths;
Sweep down the cobwebs of worn-out beliefs,
And throw your soul wide open to the light
Of Reason and of Knowledge.
Tune your ear
To all the wordless music of the stars
And to the voice of Nature,
and your heart
Shall turn to truth and goodness as the plant
Turns to the sun.
A thousand unseen hands
Reach down to help you to their peace-crowned heights,
And all the forces of the firmament
Shall fortify your strength.
Be not afraid
To thrust aside half-truths and grasp the whole.

~Ella Wheeler Wilcox~

Serenity amid Thunder

Sometimes I read through the old posts on my other blog, which is now set to private and see what I have learned, or what I still need to "get" In March of 06, I was dealing with a person consumed by worry and fear. It was a lesson I am grateful for. I learned a lot from that experience.
I read this post and thought that I am still on the quest for serenity, full and deep serenity that nothing can shake, the kind that can be found even during the most trying of circumstances. Here is what I wrote then.....

Rain is falling in copious amounts this morning. Thunder is shaking the silence, but still there is a feeling of serenity.I thought about that while I was quietly reading. The sound of rain beating on the windows, the wind stirring the new leaves as if they were tiny green kites stuck to tree branches, trying to break loose. Cars passing with that unmistakable sound of driving through deep puddles.Music softly playing in the background, a CD titled "Spa". Relaxing piano music. The spicy smell of red lentil soup simmering on the stove, candles lit, it feels perfectly serene in this moment. The loud thunder having no effect on the moment.Perhaps serenity is deep within ourselves and attaining a serene mind would be something that could not be taken from us in any circumstances.I looked up the definition of serenity and found what I knew..."the absence of mental stress or anxiety ". Yes, I can see that would be something we could strive to maintain under all circumstances. What practice it would take to achieve ! Having learned long ago that worry is often so much greater than the reality of what unfolds. It has grown to be a worthless mind game to me so I worry less and less each passing year. What I would worry about, what I expected to happen, almost never did. And if something difficult did happen, the worry had been worthless energy spent. You change what you can change and what you can't change, worry does no good.Maybe discovering this is a step to finding more serenity in my life. Aging is indeed a blessing for learning things like that. The rain drops on the rose bushes, reflecting all that is around them. The sight of the tiny globes of water seem to exemplify serenity no matter what is happening around you. Lessons from nature, once again.

Thinking about stressing out over things that never take place

Today as I was stripping wallpaper off my kitchen walls, I was thinking about life and how strange it is when folks over-react to a situation before it even takes place, sometimes within that situation anger arises, tempers flare, words are said or inferred that just bite to the core....and when the situation never manifests, all the worry and the frantic behavior was all just a terrible waste of time. Ugliness for nothing....but the reaction to the "maybe's", the results of what was said and felt cannot be forgotten. Forgiven but not forgotten. I think perhaps there is profound wisdom in taking a wait and see attitude. So many folks spend a lot of time worrying about things that never take place or things they cannot change and in that process they often loose more than just time. Maybe its a control issue. Actually I am pretty convinced it is. Perfectionism seems to be tied up in that a bit too.
Lessons learned in life by mistakes as well as by victories.
I wrote a bit about Perfectionism way back in 2007 and today when I re-read the words I wrote then, I understood that it can apply in many situations. I am still learning about people, still observing myself and others, still seeing that so much of our lives are spent on "what if's" that never arrive and what a waste of time reacting to what might only happen can be.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

There is something very calming about going out to the herb garden and the vegetable garden and picking all the things you will need to make a certain dish, or at least the majority of the ingredients you will need. Its a time that can clear the cobwebs out of your mind, especially in the early morning while the air is still cool and the breeze is gentle, as if to give you a gentle hug around the shoulders. Comforting you.
This morning with much on my mind, I opened the green gate and entered into the fragrant little herb garden, to carefully pick just the right basil leaves and just the right amount of the most tender oregano for my tomato and fresh mozzarella salad. In no time at all, my mind felt freer . There were garlic gloves in the basket in the kitchen, picked from the garden and fresh tomatoes, a little less than perfect from the harsh summer heat, but full of flavor non the less. Mozzarella, fresh and delightful. Some olive oil, a bit of red wine, salt and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, added to the blender with the fresh herbs makes a delightful salad dressing for the cheese and tomatoes. Chilled and full of flavor by the time our evening meal is ready. My fingertips full of the scent of herbs...natures robust perfume.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Frankie J - Daddy's Little Girl

this is how I dad's cancer is spreading fast and there is just nothing fair about it. I hate cancer

Monday, August 17, 2009

50 Things That Make Me Smile

What a wonderful weekend I had. Saturday evening friends and family came to help me celebrate my birthday and the party theme was rather hippish, since it was also the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. We had pizza from my favorite Italian restaurant and a wonderful Italian Cream Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato. All my favorite things !
The gifts were all wonderful and the evening was filled with good conversation and many laughs. The wee girls played so well together, it was great fun watching them interact.
I felt so blessed in so many ways. When it comes down to it, life is really about the people that love you and that you love...being friends with them, enjoying spending time together.
Sunday Emery and I did some work around the house. In the kitchen, we took the cabinet doors off where I keep my dishes, it gives the area over my sink a more open feel to it and now I am moving things around so that we can take down some cabinets so we can put in a kitchen window. When we put an addition on a few years ago, I lost my only kitchen window, so now we are ready to add a new window and I can't wait. Small changes that make a big difference.
I am one of those people that loves change and am always changing furniture around and painting rooms different colors.
On a totally different subject, this morning I was out doing chores and watering the herb garden and thought about what a simple joy this task is, when the water from the hose hits the plants, their wonderful scents explode into the air and fill the space around me with such good smells. Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint, Thai Basil, Germander, Lavender and a few others.
I have made it a habit to surround myself with the things I love the best in life, and this includes flowers and herbs and fresh veggies and fruits.
Every once in a while I make a list of 50 things that make me smile, that give me a good feeling and here is my list today. Its good to think about the things that make us smile !
1. Love
2. Emery
3. Our children
4. Our grandchildren
5. Roses
6. Birds singing
7. A clean house
8. Music
9. Picking fresh herbs from my garden
10. The idea of riding a bike with heels on
11. Stepping on the scale and seeing a weight loss
12. My new dishes
13. Champagne
14. Good coffee
15. Star gazing
16. Waking up each morning
17. Holding hands with Emery
18. Love notes
19. Mei-Ling calling me on the phone all by herself
20. Fresh flowers on the table
21. Incense burning
22. Coffee at my favorite cafe, sitting outside
23. The idea that autumn is on its way
24. Little kittens
25. Harry hopping in the car for a ride
26. Fluffy towels
27. A good bargain
28. Reading a good poem
29. Pink bicycles with a basket on the handlebars
30. Shopping with my girls
31. A cheery hello on the other end of the phone
32. Hollyhocks
33. Fresh asparagus from the garden
34. the scent of lavender on my pillow
35. Clouds
36. Bright sunsets
37. Massages
38. Speaking French
39. Beautiful lace
40. Finishing a pair of knitted socks
41. Facebook messages
42. The smell of a new car
43. Baby animals
44. Shopping for baby clothes
45. A snuggle from a toddler
46. A song on the radio that brings back good memories
47. Bare feet and grass heavy with dew
48. Birthday cake
49. Emery's cologne
50. Picket fence

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How Time Flies ~

Here I am with my mom, 55 years ago...well, almost 55 years ago. I was 5 days old in the photo. It was the day I came home from the hospital. When I was looking at the photo I though, wow, my mom looks good there, hair all fixed and looking trim as ever. She had on a black pencil skirt and heels on too. I look a little scrawny but I was 7 lbs 15 1/2 oz, you'd think they would have given me that 1/2 oz more and made me 8 lbs even !

Mei-Ling reading her book about the cho cho

A little video clip of Mei-Ling telling me about her book. This child adores books and already knows her letters and the sounds they make. She has a collection of books with her at all times.

It Took 5 Hours but boy was it worth it

If you want an extraordinary meal and have about 5 hours to spend in the kitchen, this is the meal for you. It was worth every single minute of my time and there was a profound sense of accomplishment when it was done and the first taste was taken. Celebrating my shared birthday with Julia Child with her recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon a La Julia Child
Inspired by Julie and Julia, the movie

Saturday Morning Ramble, thoughts on turning 55

Sunshine, warm temperatures, summer heat actually, not a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze.
Goats calling me to feed them, and chickens clucking. Herb garden vibrant once again with all the new growth from recent rains. Watermelon plants spreading out further and further, melon's ripening on the vine. Roses in bloom once again, with their deep pink flowers showing off to the world just how beautiful they are. My little world is quiet this morning. A few birds singing and the same unfriendly squirrel yelling at me from the ash tree by the water spigot.
Morning chores are my favorite, I am not in such a hurry and the day is new and everything seems fresh and new like the day.
I am a bit excited today, like a child....its my birthday, and I love birthdays. 55 sounds old to me, but I sure don't feel old. How well I remember thinking as a child that anything over 30 was ancient and that at my parents 25th wedding anniversary party, I kept thinking that they didn't have much longer to live now that they were that OLD. They were still in their late 40's at the time. It seems now I consider 99 to be old.
I like where I am in life. I like this age. Still can do all I want to and there is a feeling of freedom that comes sometime after 50 and I like that feeling. Not wild freedom, but freedom that comes from life experience. You have figured out what is important and what isn't. You give up trying to put up with things that make you miserable. I think being a people pleaser sort of looses power over you and that for me is a good thing. I am finally me, authentic and not afraid to be less than perfect, not afraid to be wrong or not able to do it all. I love being a Grandmother, had no idea that it was going to be this much fun. I knew it would be wonderful, but not this wonderful. And my children only grow more dear and we seem to grow closer and closer all the time.
I thought a lot about love while I was doing chores this morning, since Emery dashed out of the house first thing this morning to get me one more birthday surprise. I was thinking that love is better than ever at this age. We are so secure with one another, we can read each others minds it seems and there is time to date again. Sit across the table and look at each other, star struck like teenagers, butterflies in our stomachs at the sight of one another across a crowded room.
Our simple life that seems to be as close to perfect as I ever imagined. And somehow we have managed to feel like we have it all. Simplicity.... and still that profound excitement that comes from really living life and we know its a real blessing to be so healthy that we are not hindered in any way from doing the things we want to.
Turning 55 is wonderful when your life is filled with so much love and you feel a deep peace that is seated in contentment for what you already have.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blogs That Have Inspired Me This Week

Cycle Chic from Copenhagen Has me planning on getting a group of chic ladies together for bike rides along the trinity river

Une Femme d'un certain age has gotten me to step it up a notch

Fashionally Fab at 50 plus need I say more....

French Essence beautiful

Fat, frumpy & fifty... a great look at life

Parisienne Farmgirl lovely and a combination of life I can relate to

Paris at a Certain Age ah yes

Paris Breakfasts breathtaking photography and paintings, that inspire me to eat beautifully

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This past Sunday morning I was sitting on the sofa, head in hands, complaining to Emery that I was feeling uninspired. "I need to be inspired" I kept saying to him and God love that man, he has the patience of a saint and the wisdom of Solomon, he just asked me calmly, "what can I do to help ?" and I was still in my woe is me sort of mood, feeling uninspired about my life. To be fair on myself here, I have a rather, artistic sort of temperament, which really is a comfortable way of saying that at times I feel led more by the mood of the moment than by reason. Such was Sunday morning. I felt fat, (well I am) and I felt bored with the meals I have been making, and I wanted to transform the house in an instant into a well matched chic country home. And at the same instant I wanted to be thin, chic and wear what I wanted, not just what sort of hid what I was trying to hide ! I wanted to go someplace that would inspire me to get my inspiration back...inspiration to live more vibrant....You can imagine this conversation had my sweet gentle man looking a bit confused. "What exactly is it you are wanting ?" was the expression he wore. Hard to explain something you can't quite understand yourself ! Having an empty nest makes you feel a little undefined at times and I think this is a bit where I am coming from. I am busy, my life is full and I love it, but there are times when I just don't feel well defined as a person. Even this homestead life feels a bit like my worn out sneakers that I wear to do chores. Old and not really serviceable any more. Simple living is a deep part of who I am, but farming feels not quite right for me now. I guess with the children gone and our responsibilities so different, I am thinking about heading in a different know they say, we don't regret what we have done as much as what we didn't do, and I am nagged by that thought. Emery and I have money to do as we please, and the opportunity to do it, what if we are suddenly old and regret that we didn't head off to this place or that place that we have always wanted to see ? We never had a honeymoon and maybe now is the time to take it, not be so tied to a farm life that never lets us be gone longer than 12 hours at a time. Maybe now is the time to have those long leisurely drives in the countryside, complete with a romantic picnic at some gorgeous spot, without having to worry about feeding the animals or feeling like we should have spent the entire day working in the garden. This doesn't mean I want to give up simple living, just redefine it a bit to fit with where we are in life at this moment.

I saw the movie Julie and Julia yesterday with Melanie and it inspired me...there were pieces of me in both characters. I have always had a fondness for Julia Child, we share the same birthday and this movie was just what I needed this week. It even inspired me to cook more and embrace the joy of cooking. I have seen just about 4 movies in the last 40 years at a theater. I have to admit that sitting in one place for over 2 hours is not an easy thing for me. I see on average I guess, one movie a decade in a theater. Julie and Julia is one I would go see again. I loved it. I laughed, I sighed that sort of "oh I so understand" sort of sigh and felt good when I came out of the theater.
I am even planning on dusting off my own copy of Julia's book and working through some of the recipes. Life is not stagnant, it changes and change is good. I feel inspired once again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Longing for Cool Weather

Sunshine all around me, and a bit of excitement in the air as whispers and plans are being made behind my back for my upcoming birthday celebration. This morning, breakfast on the porch, fresh fruit, iced coffee, fresh bread and of course music of nature playing in the background.
I have a full day planned. Time to go through the closet and "dump the frump". And also time to go through the sewing room and pass along the things I will never use. Fall is approaching and with that comes a time for me when I get major projects done. Get some painting done in the kitchen. We decided the room needs to be lighter in color and so that means a bit of painting.
And I have not finished putting down the new flooring in the living room. Summer is a lazy time for me, the heat just takes away my ambition and although I do what I need to do, I don't feel much like going beyond that. Fall time, makes me feel alive again. I love a chill in the air and the comfort of a good sweater and wool socks. I love the smell of apples and cinnamon and wood smoke from the stove. I love rosy cheeks that are born of a crisp northern wind. I am ready for summer to be over, but here in Texas, we have a ways to go. September is always a hot month and even some of October.
For today, I will busy myself with chores that speak of anticipation for the cool weather to come. It makes me feel hopeful that it will indeed arrive in due time.
The garden is ready to be planted next month and soon it will be time to blacken the wood stove and make it look new, and also allow for a couple fires with windows open so the blackening can burn off and the smell exit by way of the windows. We will have our wood delivered and spend a day stacking it together. Chatting while we work and laughing at silly things.
Life is good and I am very blessed to have what I consider a very sweet simple life, surrounded by so much love.
On a side note here, Melanie has a Doctors appointment this week and we are hoping the Doctor will discover if it is a boy or a girl. Melanie will be 16 weeks along in just a couple days.
To me, this is going very fast, but not so sure Melanie feels the same : ) She is still feeling sick almost every day and has extremely low blood sugars all the time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Cycle of Life, History repeating itself

At present I am dealing with what I am afraid has to be called, "the same old thing". It's not a good thing in this case, it's just history repeating itself, and sad to say, its happened way too many times. It was two years ago yesterday that I wrote a post about having "toxic people" in your life and knowing when to cut the ties. When I wrote the post I was thinking about my in-laws but this time its not, its my extended family.
Life is not always easy, not always pleasant but there seems to always be a solution to whatever comes up. The solutions are not always pleasant or easy but they do, do the job.
Right now I know that I have to forgive her, but forgiveness does not mean you have dinner with the offender, or even talk on the phone, it may just mean you just don't hold on to the hurt in a way that causes you pain.
I am reading my own words from the post The Toxic Factor and realizing what I need to do.
Family relationships are what they are but sometimes we just need to take control and stop being treated badly. You see, the power of our words good or bad can change lives and relationships. For most of my life, I have been dealing with the unkind and untrue words of another and its time for me to not let it happen any more.
As you may have gathered, I just needed to get this out of my brain, my heart, and off my shoulders and see it written out. To help me firm up my convictions to stop this. Maybe some of you can relate to having someone in your extended family that just is over the top at times, but hides behind a thin sugar coating so very few on the outside ever see the truth and certainly the story never stays the same as they retell to others what they said. I am feeling a bit beat up emotionally. This too will change as I am surrounded by love and compassion by those nearest and dearest to me.

Love After Love

Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart to itself,
to the stranger who has loved you all your life,
whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Feast on your life.
~Derek Walcott ~

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Having It All...Chic and Homesteading

This morning I was out doing chores and thinking that with a little planning and some careful attention to the details of life, you can really have it all. By having it all I am thinking about living life spherically, in many directions....all at once, without being scattered and unsettled.
There are times in my life when I need a kick in the seat of the pants to get out of the slump of being a bit lazy on how I dress. For me, its easy to get back to the jeans and tee shirt look and be a bit frumpy looking. I wrote about this very same subject in 2006 in a post I titled There Was A Man in My Closet and another time a few months after that when I wrote My Style is Slipping It appears I haven't quite learned my lesson. I am back to the jeans and tee shirts, forgetting to comb my hair some mornings and just not working at looking good. But the other day on a shopping trip to Goodwill, I felt that tinge of desire to be chic, to dress with a little more care. It does something to a woman to look her best, makes you walk a little straighter, hold your head up a bit higher. I had been thinking about the fact that Emery and I have not gone on any dates to our favorite side walk cafes in a while and I have not worn my red shoes with matching purse in ages. I have not fixed gourmet meals for us or been mindful to place my food on pretty plates and linger for hours over one meal with the man of my dreams.
It has seemed that in my personal history, its been an all or nothing type road I take. All chic or all farmer ! What a contrast, but wait....this morning I thought, why not have it all. Why not live a bit of both worlds. Why not dance the night away by candlelight on the porch with Emery after doing chores ! Why not have fashionable clothing hanging next to my farm clothes ! Why not have cuter farm clothes ! Why not vacation by the shore when the goats are dry and not needing so much attention. Why not slip into something chic on the weekends and wear a bit of make-up and head out to the little restaurant we love. With our children all gone and Emery's work so successful, we have plenty of money to spend, but we are still frugal, careful with what we have, but at the same time, we can have some fun with what we have. More likely to help our children out than to buy brand new cars or designer labels first hand and I like my second hand Prada just fine. Why not weed the garden in a cute sun dress and wide brimmed hat ! No need to forget that I am a woman while I am milking the goats or gathering eggs. Now hauling in some hay might just require taking out the tee shirt and jeans, but they could be cute ones.
Why not get back in the habit of fixing intensely tasty meals that have long and romantic sounding names to them. Why not take the best of both worlds and celebrate the feminine even while cleaning out the barn. I may just start a new trend....Chic Homestead Chick or Chic Farmer Wife. When I let go of the chic sort of side of me, I tend to let things like my eating, my dress, my style turn into frumpy bumpy and lumpy and in doing that, it seems I bury a part of me that is so alive and so vibrant and that I really like.
I am going to have it all, yup, that's what I am going to do
In 2008, I wrote almost this exact kind of post I Get Lazy . Maybe time to do a little re-reading from "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano and her second book, "French Women for All Seasons". .

Melanie doing goat chores with just the right look for a chic homesteader
My new dress, black, chiffon skirt, it swishes when you walk across the room....oh so retro and oh so lovely...perfect for a dinner date with the man of my dreams. With the price I paid for it at Goodwill, I could feel comfortable doing chores in it : )

Friday, August 07, 2009

Taking Time To Smell The Flowers

There is a list of things I should have been doing, but the sunshine was glorious this morning. Sunshine and shadows just fascinate me, the contrast of color, how one side compliments the other. Realizing this very moment in time will never be again, I opted to head out in the sunshine with my camera and try to capture some of the beauty around me. Flowers, critters, silly kittens, new growth in plants, insects and then there were the places that just begged to be explored.....beckoning me.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...