Saturday, August 16, 2014

THE SMELL OF HOME


Zucchini bread is one of the few foods that immediately takes me back to my childhood.  The smell of it reminds me of summer at home, breezes in the heat, and Mrs. White, our neighbor.

We children visited Mr. and Mrs. White ten times a day, I believe, as we rode our bikes up and down the country road.  It seemed there was always something interesting going on there, in an old-fashioned way--rug-beating, bunny petting, gooseberry cleaning, hand-milking of the cows.  One day, Mrs. White offered me some zucchini to take home.

What would we do with it--how should we eat it?  I asked.

You can make bread with it, she said.  And she gave me this recipe:

Mrs. White's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs--beat until foamy
1 C. oil (yep, you read it right!)
2 C. sugar (yes, this is correct too!)
2 C. grated zucchini--include the rind
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix these lightly but well.  Add:
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. nuts

Bake at 325 for 1 hour in two greased loaf pans.  Remove from the pans at once.



Then I'll never forget what came next.  In my young ignorance, I asked her what it meant to grate the zucchini and she told me that you just use the grinder, ya know.  No, I didn't know...so she showed me.

The Whites had two porches.  The winter porch was glassed in, and you could put things out there in the winter, such as food you had no room for in your refrigerator.  But the summer porch was an addition to the house used for all those hot tasks when you didn't want heat in the house.  It was open to the breezes.  It was like a wonderful workshop just for ladies, all set up for serious work--the ironing board with heatable flat irons, the canning supplies, and THE GRINDER clamped to the old wooden table, all ready to go.




She grabbed that zucchini and ran it through the grinder before I could blink.  I was so very impressed. But I was also sad, because I knew that we did not have a porch with a device attached to the table like that.

Nowadays I reach for the hand grater from my cupboard when I make this bread, but I almost always remember Mrs. White when I do it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

 HOUSE WITH A VIEW


I recently figured out that I am more of an "open sky" kind of person than a "woodsy view" type.

Here is what I see out of my window.  When we moved here from Kansas 23 years ago, I couldn't feast enough on this glorious green.



But I've always felt "hemmed in" and going to visit my hometown in Indiana is a great joy.

Taken by Ann Bradley in Argos, Indiana

Upon this new revelation, I see that if I lean forward a teeeeeny bit, I can see more sky.  What a YAY kind of feeling it gives me!


I need a HOUSE WITH A VIEW.  Meanwhile.......I'm leaning.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DOING THE WORLD


A very kind person from France was worried about me and wanted to see what I've been up to.  That's an incentive to blog, that's for sure!  I haven't been as well as I would like to be, but we had a family adventure a couple of weeks ago that's worth writing about:  we went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida!



We stayed at a beautiful resort patterned after Mardi Gras/New Orleans.  I loved walking to the bus every morning to zippy jazz music.  Our room was on the Rue d'Baga.





We went to celebrate my continuing recovery from cancer treatment.  Here I am with my nemesis and helper, The Incredible Hulk.  (you can read my thoughts about him and cancer treatment here)



Being at Disney can give you experiences about as close to the real thing as I'll probably ever get.  We went on a Mission to Mars as astronauts, test-drove a car, and went on safari:





We visited many countries around the world.  I even met someone from Molepole, Botswana (for those of you who are fans of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency).

We went to China.

Terracotta soldiers (replica) in China



We ate in east India.



We went to Monsters' University, where I saw my good buddies Mike and Sulley.



And we visited the Beast in his castle, where they had set up dining in his ballroom.



My son and his wife drove from their house 2 hours away and joined us for 3 days.  Here we are in the Himalayas.



At times, it was fairly cold, but we managed.



And we saw some serious fans.





Sunday, December 29, 2013

CHRISTMAS 2013


  Our son and his wife visited from Florida.



 They arrived at 1:30 AM on Christmas morning; we stayed up even later.  We awoke to slight snow.


My younger son and I hid the wheelbarrow in the car until my husband had gone to bed.  Although it's for my husband, the cat thought he himself had gotten a gift.


Wheezy got a huge amount of attention.


My son's wedding was three years ago; we used this frame for a photo booth we had set up for the wedding reception.  Now we get it out every year at Christmas.






I also purchased an art print for my husband's office.  Can you tell which one it is?


My husband had the wonderful opportunity of introducing a little boy to the wonders of Dr. Seuss:  One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.



We ate a huge amount of chocolate.



The brothers had a LAN party and stayed up very very... well, till the one computer overheated.





Saturday, December 28, 2013

HE'S GONE HOME


Our shelf/elf monkey left early Christmas Eve to "help Santa" (said his quick note).  Makes you wonder if Santa sent the monkey to our house in the first place because he needed some peace and quiet at the North Pole; but anyway, here are some of the "highjinks" our monkey got up to before he left:

He ran a sack race with some of the crew at our house.



He ziplined through the living room.



He was rude with the family photograph (which does not have him in it).



He teepeed the Christmas tree.



We will miss him, but perhaps he will visit again next year.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER


Wrote this years ago, but never posted.  Today is the day:

This year on Christmas Day, my husband’s mother told us it was her best Christmas ever.

This could be a silly statement, seeing as how she is in a nursing home, in a wheelchair, and hardly knows who-is-who or what-is-what. Because she had a nap before we arrived, she wasn’t even sure it was still Christmas when we visited.

And yet, it gave us all pause. My sister-in-law was greatly moved because she said it should really humble us, we who have so much. Mom has so little and yet is so grateful for what she does have. How poor of us to dare complain about ANYTHING after that!

I myself am very moved by the grace of God toward Mom. How unfailingly kind He has been toward her in her older days, causing her not to realize the passage of time while sitting alone or not to be aware of pain and loneliness. If she does have any emotional hurt (which I don’t think is often), she finds solace through holding the Bible in her hand and staring at the page.

His grace in this situation extends to us too. We do not have to agonize so much because we can’t spend every minute with her. How comforting it is to see her passing into His presence this way.

Romans 15:13~~ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, December 22, 2013