Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I have been painting birdhouses with my kids- you know in Chicago, how they had the decorated cows all over, like arty landmarks? I am going to put these all around our place up north, and give them to my family members, my own arty statement. I find it very therapeutic, the detailed painting work. (Thanks for the picture from my reluctant, but oh-so-talented daughter Margaret)

It's good I've got a therapeutic craft, because yesterday was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Ever have one of those? At work my dyslexia was on parade. I got off early, rushed to a doctor appointment, only to find it was for NEXT Monday. Total D'oh.

Then, news of the weird dept: Sue, my co-worker claims she NEVER dreams, and last night she did, and I was there. (We had the flu together, boring dream, but there I was.) A teeny bit weird. My sister called me at work this morning telling me I was in HER dreams last night, too! (She and I were trying to take our grandmother up north, in a rickshaw. Another odd dream...) So, I was all over people's dreams last night, I feel honored, and a lil' creeped out, all at once.

The good news? Petey's neck lump is ruled fine, and I'm so glad he's okay. He is the sweetest dog. Turning a year and a half made such a difference, his behavior has been lovely.

I finished The Circus in Winter, I liked it but didn't love it. I have started Mrs. Kimble, so far it has been pleasing, telling stories of life in the wake of a duplicitous male, the women he sweeps along,and leaves behind. The reviews kinda panned it, I am interested to see if I will agree, if feel the story holds up.

Okay, I think I have recuperated enough from the weekend and yesterday to lay out some cards...
"What do I look out for this week?"
Well, the Knight of Wands- Delays, setbacks, stuckness. A loss of confidence, trips me up.

To support me is The Empress- if I can get going, the Empress will keep me moving, with momentum this card could be very productive. A passionate approach to life, to love. A time for mothering others, for mothering myself.

Finally, the 5 of Cups- recovering from sorrow and moving forward. Fresh starts.

Okay, onward and upward, as my Daddy said. Tomorrow WILL be a better day, dammit!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday night. Big, BIG, sigh. Monday looms before me. It felt like a kinda short weekend, Friday night I was sick (bad salad at Garfield's?) and Saturday I wasn't that great. I finally got my mojo on, and it's Sunday. Good news, tomorrow Peter Jennings (seen here as a puppy) has his vet appointment, and his big lymph node has gone down to almost nothing, I think these meds have done the job. The Vet made me terrified, talking about biopsies and stuff, hopefully tomorrow I'll find out he's just a pessimist and Petey is fine. And I may shop for another vet. He said he just likes me to be "prepared for the worst, and if it doesn't happen we can be happy." I think I would prefer a vet who said , "Let's try these meds" before mentioning biopsies. Okay, done ranting.

I went to a lovely baby shower for my niece, Deb, at the Midland country club. Beautiful day, pretty people, yummy food, and oh my gawd- the presents! It's amazing all the STUFF it takes to raise babies now. My eldest is...choke...sob... almost 24, and my youngers are 14 and 15, not quite like I had babies in the dark ages, but I might as well have. Special seats to line grocery carts, little ducks that float in the bath and tell the temp digitally- my eldest came early, we brought him home and he slept in a drawer for awhile. I don't know, it looks easier in some ways, more complicated in others. I think I'm glad I'm done.

I am 46. My mother had me when she was 46. She was wonderful to me, we were kindred spirits, but geeez, I cannot imagine having a baby now. of course, I AM an absolute nut about my dog.

I should turn up some cards, but I want to go hang out, do laundry... Tomorrow I'll turn some cards.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Listening to Modest Mouse, it suits my evening. The World at Large. What a lovely evening to live in the country, the peepers singing, the fireflies flashing.

I'm plowing through The Circus in Winter; it's vignettes of circus performers lives and how they become intertwined with the small town they winter in. I read Water For Elephants and became interested in the subject. That book was a little too melodramatic for me, although this one may be a little dry. Perhaps I'll one day find my perfect circus story. (Like Goldilocks and her quest of "juuuust right" in her life.)

I am also working on a huge painting project, I'm always going around with brightly colored fingers. I'll post pictures of that project soon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Big storm last night, lots of pyrotechnics.After my many adventures with lightning-I seem to attract it in a wicked way- I get a little more anxious than I did in the past. Historically, I LOVE a good storm. I woke up with my daughter, frightened, and snuggling in. What a sweet feeling. She's 15 and I don't have much longer for that stuff...

Out to lunch with a friend on this gloomy day, that brightened it up much. On a whim we got pedicures together, bliss. It was a lovely way to end up the week.

I'm going to lay out a card for the weekend, let's see what I come up with. Gosh, this is weird. I've had a friend on my mind, and these cards makes me think he's having some worries and confusion. But, that's not my issue. He's beyond my reach. Soooo, I ask the cards to please tell me something for ME...

Well, not great, but realistic for me. The 7 of Wands, reversed, tells me I'm feeling more overwhelmed lately, more stressed than I was feelings. The 6 of Swords sees me moving forward but not so joyfully. And with this I agree. The end of this week has been more a bit stymied. And I end up with the Queen of Wands, I think I am reflecting more of her traits- a bolder more social outlook, instead of my usual Queen of Pentacles earth mother. I need to find a way to blend the characteristics to my best benefit, and to work to bring joy into my life again. (Not huge and scary, I just have to shake the blahs, and a hug from a friend and a pedicure was a good start!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Well, my wonderful nephew, Timmy (see Friday, Feb 16th ), a big deal critic on Rotten Tomatoes, has been trying to bring me up to speed on utube, music, etc. He suggested Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, knowing my penchant for girl singers who can blow the roof off... Man, Sharon is GREAT. Download How Long Do I Have to Wait, but watch this video I found...

JAMES is home! We got to the airport with no minutes to spare. I jumped out of the car, while Dan took a couple of turns around Metro. I made it to the baggage claim JUST as James was coming down the escalator. We got his suitcase, and when we got outside Dan was coming by the door for the 3rd time- all was perfect.

It's a foggy morning- all the little cobwebs in the grass are illuminated by dew droplets. There are so many of them; crazy they were all there, we just didn't see them without the illumination of the dew.

The The Memory of Running is a little like that. Through the business of living life Smithy Ide has become numb and dulled to the beauty. He winds up on a cross-country Bicycle "quest" which reawakens him to his possibilities. It's like a rebirth for him, and it encourages the reader to appreciate the world with new eyes. Like the cobwebs on my lawn that were always there, it took the dew for me to see it. Sometimes it takes a great life crisis to force us to rededicate. This description of rediscovering bananas is a little thing, but it hit me profoundly. How we can lose our appreciation for life so easily and slip into bitching about stuff...
"I... ate breakfast. Bananas again. And an apple and the biggest Bran Muffin I had ever seen for a dollar. But Bananas, I want to say, bananas you forget. How else can I explain them? I love them. Everything about the texture and the chewability of bananas is me, but I'd just stopped eating them. I'm happy I found bananas again."

Appreciate the small things today, look at the minutiae of life with more patience and appreciation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The storyteller my sister gave me sits on my windowsill... She GETS me.

Well, I hardly had to try to work up a story. Stories just naturally HAPPEN to me. This is one I will have a hard time telling my husband; it makes him crazy how I get all entangled in stuff... ("Can you you EVER not talk to people??" he says...)

Anyway, I'm at Meijer and there's this DARLING little old lady checking out in front of me. My first, and I'll admit, uncharitable, response was "she is soooo not express..." She had few items but was moving slowwwwwly. Well, looking closer she had walker, a cane, and Depends in her cart. How much more vulnerable can you be?

So, I hear her ask the cashier to call Dial-a-ride, and identifies her address. She lives on the same country road I do. Okay, this is where the first drumbeat of conscience hits me... "You should give her a ride home.."

I don't want to freak her out, and maybe she's USED to riding public transport, so I buy my stuff and watch as she feebly attempts to get out the automatic door (she's moving soooo slooowly the doors keep trying to close on her) Well, I go and help her out the door, and there's nowhere to sit but bags of salt, and there's this beige-looking, smelly guy, with fat hanging over his shorts sitting on those, and I can't just leave my frail little old lady with him. (Did I mention she smells really good??) So I stand with her, but it's humid, and she's getting even limper, so I tell her I'll just drive her home. And I do. And she tries to give me her dial-a-ride dollar.

I didn't realize how much I missed taking care of my invalid parents. I miss them when I'm on a walk in the woods, or when I have something I would like to tell them. I DO miss them healthy, but I guess this was the first time I realized I also miss caring for them when they were older and unwell. Hey- I am no saint, there were some awful days and some long-ass nights, but, it was such a tangible way to show your love. And they were so grateful for the help.

As was my little old lady today. It made me feel good. So I turned down her dial-a-ride dollar.

Listening to: Digest- Ben Taylor

Monday, July 23, 2007

I miss my James, he's been my lil' buddy this Summer. But he's got a travelin' heart and he's off with my sister in RI. (My sister, who understands his traveling heart, and is his travel mentor, has plans with her husband for a walking trip of Ireland and a Natl. Geographic Cruise to the Galapagos Islands... How cool is THAT???)

Sweet words from a long-time client in Texas- "I believe in you and don't think this is just entertainment. You've so often hit the nail on the head, for years now." She also liked my new haircut... aww. It's really something when your web relations notice more stuff about you than your family...

Newest download, from Elvis Costello's Celebrity Playlist on iTunes, Arctic Monkeys - Florescent Adolescent, it sounds like early Elvis. Lotsa fun.

I'm giving my dog, Peter Jennings his meds, religiously. The Vet made us fear LYMPHOMA in a big bad way, but I think his lump is reducing. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Okay, today I'm a fairly boring diva, I'll work up a great story and some card action for TOMORROW!!!!
Music Wayyyy in my head- Fidelity-Regina Spektor My daughter is disgusted by my taste, but Regina's "it breaks my hear-rrr....t" just kills me. She makes me smile.
I just finished
Inamorata, it was a really delicious read. On now to The Memory of Running. So far it's interesting, but not compelling. (Which is good, I have readings to do..)

How about a card for me for Monday, as I start the week...
Hmm, I need three today, these three are my message I can tell.
The Page of Swords and the Moon, reversed, with the 9 of Pentacles as a blessing at the end.

Page of Swords tells me I need to stop protecting myself so hard, and get on with my life. The Moon tells me I need to keep in touch with my spiritual side, with my intuition and dreams. I think the cards tell me that I'm so focused on protecting myself, I'm closing myself down.

9 of Pentacles is a woman who finds peace in her own company, who tends her needs and comforts. This feels good now, the focus is good, i just have to make it go soul deep.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I am inundated, but not yet satiated with green beans... snap snap, pitch them in the pan. I'm prepping to make dilly green beans. Peter the dog loves a crispy bean and settles in for a good chew.

Recipe for dilly beans...
2 pounds green or yellow beans (I use a combo..)
1/4 cups canning salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 0r chunks or whole fresh hot pepper)
Cloves of garlic, Heads and chunks of dill and stalk

Trim ends off beans. Combine salt, vinegar, and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add dill, at least 2 cloves garlic, and pepper to each jar. Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Cover with caps and process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

How about Margaret's favorite Green salsa?
8 ounces fresh tomatillos

2 green onions (leave 2 inches green stalk) sliced
1 teas minced seeded jalapeno
1/2 teas minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Remove the papery outer skin and stems from tomatillos. Cut into 1/4's and place in saucepan. Cover the tomatillos with water and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until JUST soft (2-3 mins) Drain immediately, rinse under cold water, drain thoroughly. Cool to room temp.

2. Place cooked Tomatillos, green onion chunks, jalapenos, garlic, and lime juice in a food processor. Pulse on and off about 10 times until well combined. Add cilantro and pulse another 10 times.

3. Place in bowl, salt to taste. Refrigerate covered up to 3 days. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pesky's Fried Green Tomatoes
(This flour mixture is great for frying fish, too. )

6 to 8 Green Tomatoes-
Wash and slice ¼ to 1/8 inch thick. (Thinner will be crispier)

Egg Mixture:
2 eggs, beaten¼ cup buttermilk Add buttermilk to beaten eggs. Mix well.
Flour Mixture:
2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Instructions: Dip the tomato slices in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour, and place in a frying pan with heated oil. (For true decadence add a ¼ cup of bacon grease to the oil.) Fry tomatoes over medium heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Sweet Dreams!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

In the picture admire my daughter on the trampoline. Is that not the essence of youth in summer???

Old picture though, today it's all soybeans ruffled by thew breeze.It's prime time for gardeners, and today is
farm market day in town. I was determined to get a bunch of stuff for canning. Last year was a trial year- I did a lot of small batches of pickles and savories, trying to see what we really liked. This year I know, we cannot have too many hot and dilled green beans. I bought 1/2 peck of pickle cukes, and pounds of green and yellow beans. I'll be busy with that this weekend.

I also got-

  • Basil! I'm making a pesto, AND a fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil salad. The secret is capers, which make almost everything better for moi.
  • Fresh eggs!
  • Fava beans, in pods, and ready to shuck
  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries!
  • Sweet cherries
  • Bulbous, juicy Garlic bulbs
  • A giant cantaloupe {or Muskmelon, my mama would say...)
  • Teeeny, tiny new potatoes and squash babies
  • Tomatillos, wearing their little coats, all ready to be made into my daughter's favorite green salsa.
  • And... a drum roll pleasssse... the very first vine tomatoes and MOST importantly, green tomatoes all ready to be breaded and fried!

Tomorrow I'll post the recipes for the delicious stuff I make.

Well, in typical "you can't take me anywhere" fashion, I locked my keys in the mini-van, and we returned laden with our market bounty and oh-so locked out. Adding insult to injury, I could SEE my jaunty, bright YELLOW, summer purse taunting me from the car... a locksmith soon st us on our way, and recently my husband backed into a pole and SMASHED my rear backing light, denting it pretty badly. So, there wasn't much he could say about my crew up.

The main, salient point of my morning was seeing Sister Pat. She, is a GODDESS, my English mentor at College. I saw her pull into the Farmer's Market as we waited for our car to be opened. Then, I saw her at the grocery store, and this time, figuring it was kismet, I said hello... She was wonderful as always, and as always said, "Laura, when are you going to DO something with your writing??" (She has a wonderfully mellifluous voice, which resounds in your head, dramatically...)

Hmm, it echoed cosmically in my head. When am I going to? Good question. (The Magician is about written projects, too. Lot's of stuff lining up now....

Off to ponder, and shuck fava beans.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hey y'all. I have been a world of hell dealing with my verizon DSL- 2 hours and 10 minutes just this week alone. However, I am at last back online with my desktop, the "mothership", and I'm finally able to do some updating on my website.

This has been a crazy summer, my life has been turned upside down in many ways- my kids, my friends, even my little dog- but I am amazingly at peace just now. I feel things are moving along as they should, even the bad stuff seems to have been for a bigger reason.

Feeling like this, I was curious about what card I would turn up for me... I shuffle and turn over the
Magician card- that's a good one! It's about creative projects, and I have been taking up my painting again. I'm feeling creatively productive (I'm canning this weekend, dilly green beans...) This card is about feeling solid and strong and rather than just thinking about changes like the fool, the Magician takes the ideas from the head and translates them to action.

I turn over another card for advice, and I get the
Hermit, reversed. This is a call to avoid isolation, i need to be sure to get out in the world. Well, I'm going to my girlfriend's party tomorrow night, so that should solvew that problem!

My cards make me feel better and I'm off to read my EXCELLENT book,
Inamorata. Do you like to read? Paperbackswap.com has changed my reading life!
Finally, my most favorite new downloads-
Fidelity-Regina Spektor
The Ocean Breathes Salty- Modest Mouse
Young Folks-Peter Bjorn and John
Finding outr True Love is Blind- Louis XIV