Face It, Winter’s Coming

It’s hard to believe it’s almost the last day of November and I’m outside, and it’s  61°F.  I’m enjoying the last few hours daylight and tending to some last garden tours that seemed to slip my mind or got put by the wayside until today.

As I sadly carried the window box planters,  with green and still growing strawberry plants,  from the front porch around to the backyard, and pulled my two year old sage and lemon thyme plants from their pots, I realized why I’d put off this last garden chore…denial of the approaching Winter.   These last bits of greenery greeted me every morning on my way out the door and every afternoon when I got home since Spring.  It was bad enough when the baskets of petunias were done and put up for the season.  Now, without the lovely ceramic flower pots and planters brimming with trailing strawberries, the front steps look bereft, barren, naked.  And lonely.

Despite having a couple of  heavy frosts over the last week, the herbs were holding up remarkably well, and the strawberries have new growth.  However, overnight temps in the teens next week, will most likely put an end to that.

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The plants will overwinter in the small, heavily mulched kitchen garden.  Once the frost kills them back, I’ll mulch them with straw as well.  Funny thing, after the sage and thyme died back last year, I yanked them out of the smaller pots they were in, and tossed them by the compost bin.  There they lay, all Winter long, roots exposed, so it was very surprising to notice new green growth one day, when taking scraps out to dump.   I’ll be putting them in much bigger planters next year, planters that won’t freeze up and bust, like the ceramic pots they were in.

There’s weather coming in, darker clouds are rolling in, and the wind has picked up a bit.

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Probably should head inside and get dinner started.

Till next time, friends…

Have a wonderful evening!

 

 

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What Is Culture?

via Daily Prompt: Culture

What is culture?  When you hear the word ‘culture’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?  Does it differ from when you were younger?

Growing up in the 70’s, culture, to me, meant things like the opera, the ballet, museums.  I had a very narrow definition of culture, largely because I was a farm kid, and my introduction to “things of culture” were books and the classical and vinyl records my mother had.   As I grew older, I understood it to mean differing beliefs, traditions and ways of life among different races, religions, and countries.  I discovered that even within individual countries, regions often had their own cultures.

Here in America, we’ve begun to use the word in another way, a way that doesn’t have such an enlightened meaning behind it.   We use it to describe negative things, like “rape culture” or “culture of greed”.  Increasingly, it’s used as a derogatory term, as if cultures other than white Christian American are somehow wrong and not worthy of even the barest understanding.

I would like to know where respect for others’ ways of life went.   Was it ever really there in the first place?  Or was it just lurking in the shadows until now?  Something to ponder, for sure.

 

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Saturday Afternoon~Late November

On this peaceful Saturday afternoon at 2:40, I’m in the kitchen, tending to laundry and kitchen chores while nursing a tender lower back that still feels as if it could lay me low at any moment.  I’ve already done ice packs and stretching, and, with the addition of a muscle relaxer, it’s holding its own.

I woke up early again this morning, well before daybreak.  Ever since the time change a couple of weeks ago, I’ve consistently woken up around 1:30, sometimes 2:30, every morning, restless, anxious, and uncomfortable.  For some reason, (I suspect Seasonal Affective Disorder), the “fall back” in November is particularly hard for me.  About the time I get adjusted, it’ll be time to “spring forward” again.

I had a yearning for some classical opera this morning, so I’m currently delighting in this lovely piece-

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-which was preceded by this-

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-and it’s just making the afternoon feel a bit more peaceful.

As I listen to another selection by the incomparable Pavarotti-

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I’m reminded of the mother of the main protagonist, Dave Stoller, in the movie “Breaking Away”, which was filmed locally.  (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it).   I’m thinking in particular of the scene where she is doing the dinner dishes, lip syncing to an Italian opera, very much in a far away place, as she sways and gestures, while up to her elbows in suds. That’s about how glamorous I feel, in old longjohns, battered old tshirt and a denim shirt over that, sleeves rolled up, gloves in hand, ready to tackle the dishes-

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Yes, my dishwasher is old, about ten to fifteen years or so old.  But it works, and that what matters.

Heres a handy kitchen tip: I’m sure you’ve seen the new cleaning strength vinegar from Heinz-

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This stuff is awesome!  I use it in the rinse dispenser instead of pricey rinse aids, and quite often, pour in a 1/2 cup during the main wash. We have hard water, and by using this, with it’s acidity percentage of 6% vs the 5% of regular white vinegar, it really keeps the limescale from building up on the heating element, plus it makes the dishes sparkle!!

Fresh out of Turkey Day leftovers, (having frozen what remained for enjoying some cold Winter night), I settled on ‘Sketti. The Italian sausage is cooked-

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-and, I’m cheating a bit on the sauce (thank you Emeril)

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-and I didn’t grate fresh Parmesan, I used store bought shredded-

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But after all the from-scratch cooking I do, not just on holidays, but most days, no one’s going to complain about some semi-homemade comfort food, especially when it’s been a cold November day, and this dish is quick, hot and comforting.  Feel free to adjust spices and herbs to your liking, use good ground sirloin, a mix of beef and Italian sausage, or make it vegetarian.

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If you’d like to whip this up, you’ll need:

1 jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice

1 lb. browned Italian sausage

1 T. Italian Seasoning

1 t. Oregano

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 lb. pasta of choice

grated real Parmesan

Brown the sausage, add sauce, herbs, salt & pepper and simmer while cooking the pasta   Drain, add to meat/sauce mixture and throw in a couple-three good pinches of grated Parmesan.  Heat and eat!

It reheats well, and it’s even better the second day.  Can also be frozen in bulk or individual servings for a quick meal later on.  Pair with a salad, bread and a beverage for a meal.

Till next time friends

~~~Have a happy Saturday!!!~~~

 

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Thanksgiving 2016

This has to be the most relaxed Thanksgiving of my adult life.  Nowhere to go; my in laws holiday dinners are largely a thing of the past.   Those big get togethers started unraveling several years ago when my father in law died at the end of September 2009.

Since then, a couple we lived next door to when our daughter was born, who “adopted” us, have died,  so there hasn’t been that family get together in several years now, though we are still very close with their daughter and her husband.  More recently, my brother in law’s son, who was killed in a head on collision barely three blocks from his home.  No one felt much like celebrating this year.

My mother in law decided against having thanksgiving dinner at her house, as hardly anyone showed up last year.  We couldn’t go because Dearest was sicker than a dog, much as he is this Thanksgiving.  Since she went to my sister in laws, we opted to stay home and have our own little Thanksgiving dinner.

I bought a small, boneless fully cooked half ham, because, let’s face it,  a forty dollar spiral sliced ham for two people is a bit much, when the one I got was only a bit over twelve dollars.  It’s currently heating up in the oven-

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-accompanied by a brown sugar & pecan topped sweet potato casserole.

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Parkerhouse rolls (from scratch) are done-

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-as is a huge  bowl of homemade potato salad –

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-Fresh green beans are gently simmering in a bit of bacon grease and a few slices of bacon-

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I decided against any dessert, neither of us wanted any, and I would have been hard pressed to fit a from scratch pie into everything else I prepared.  I plan on making something tomorrow, something with apples, maybe.

“Thanksgiving with The Duke” is on AMC, bringing memories of my dad, dozing in his recliner, and, as The Sons of Katie Elder and El Dorado play out on the tv, I can’t help but think of him, as I’m bustling around the kitchen, slicing, chopping, mixing, stirring…memories, some uneasy, from my childhood.

My mother, using a turkey baster to get pan drippings to make giblet gravy from the drip pan of the Farberware electric rotisserie, set up out in the linoleum tiled breezeway of our ranch style home, dutifully turning a fat turkey, slowly but surely, turning it to a delectable golden, crisp brown.

This isn’t to say it was a warm and happy family time, not in my teen years, anyway.  By the time I was 14, it was fully a house of volatile rage, waiting to explode on the slightest nudge, fueled on one side with an immovable, unforgiving nature, and by whiskey, disappointment and anger on the other.  Another story, just not for today.

I shove the bad memories aside, and this leaves me to dwell on the parents I had when I was very little.  Back when we were a happy family.  When I felt safe and loved, not caught in the middle of a war, very often bearing the brunt of it.  Not a good path to be wandering down, as the holidays make me weepy these days.

Dearest and I both woke up headachey and with very stiff shoulder, neck and back muscles, courtesy of a weather front that moved through yesterday, making it a chilly, gloomy and rainy day and most of the evening.  After some stretching and use of a percussion massager, I felt better, and fixed us a small breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.  After cleaning up from breakfast, I started cooking our dinner, doing cleanup as I went, like I was taught in Home Ec class.  (They need to bring that class back).

Six hours later, most of which Dearest spent in bed, we sat down to a wonderful dinner-

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-Neither of us dressed up, him still feeling puny and weak, in flannel pj bottoms and paint stained tshirt, hair rumpled and needing a shower, me in an equally ratty tshirt and zip up hoodie, an old pair of Nikes, and a cast off pair of his old thermal longjohn bottoms-

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-My hair, though braided and tucked in a clip, is in it’s standard state of disarray.

Though we don’t say it out loud, we have much to be thankful for, and we are, every single day.   Just being together, he and I and the precious Baby Girls, in our little home, is enough for me.

I hope wherever you were today, you were happy and loved, and with family or framily.  I hope you smiled, had a good laugh, shared hugs and had a contented heart.  I hope you recalled, fondly, those no longer here, and cherished the ones who are.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!  Enjoy those tasty leftovers tomorrow!

 

 

 

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Midlife

Wash away all your childhood dreams
Look to your heart, the in betweens
Quietly you wonder, should you just call it a day
No one would notice, anyway

Watching your Life as it passes by
Face to the glass, a breaking sigh
At the end of it all, what will you say
When it’s undone and gone, you’ll just slip away

A perpetual State of Being
Looking, looking, but never seeing
The Heart, it tears, the Soul, it sighs
A caged wild hawk, with beating wings and muted cries

These Seasons of my Life, how they roll on past
Fleeting Days, how I wish they would last
A finer truth in a time of rust
Spread your wings to dance in the dust

(Originally posted on July 1, 2011)

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Blog Merge

So, I’ve had a blog over on Blogger.com for a few years now, Three actually, one a general post blog, one a creative writing blog and the third one, well, I had intended to be more everything, how I really feel about things, but it never really went anywhere. I really don’t want to switch back and forth, so I’m considering reposting some, if not all, the various posts here on WordPress. Then I think, no, no, I really don’t want to do that, but then I think, well, why not?

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Rebellious

I was born

Back in the 60’s

With a heart that was a little wild

I had no brothers

Or no sisters

Yes I was an only child

Now a rebellious heart

Has made me strong

But it’s done some damage too

All my life

I’ve done what I wanted

And Babe, you know that is true

They tried to send

Me off to church

Sitting in that Sunday school

But I asked the difficult questions

They made me leave

Because I wouldn’t be their fool

It’s a lonely road

When you’re a square peg

Trying to fit in society

Children are cruel and adults are too

When they sense your non conformity

Now my dreams

Have come in handy

When life becomes a bit too much to bear

Along with music, oh sweet music

It’s kept me sane in a world that does not care

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