Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Have I Been Doing Lately?

I've been listening to a concert pianist…

I've been watching a prima ballerina...

I've been watching the ballerina turn into a tomboy…

I've been strolling through the garden
with a delightful companion…

R.H. and I loved seeing Nora have fun with her daddy…

And have sweet moments with her mommie…

All too soon it was time for them to pack and gather toys.

After bidding goodbye to our sweet granddaughter,
her Uncle Zack came home to spend a few days here
with our granddoggie Bentley
so that Mom could keep the tomato soup 
and grilled cheese sandwiches coming--
you guessed right, 
he had one of the nasty summer bugs going around.

But this afternoon we waved goodbye
and sent him home with homemade chicken soup.

Little Nora (and her parents) went home.

Then Zack went home.

Now we're alone again.
It's hard to say goodbye.
But it sure is quieter.

P.S. Here's a picture Zack sent tonight of Bentley back at home in his own bed. Isn't he an adorable granddog?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beauty or Glamour?

"The majesty of beauty is its gracious wholesomeness."

"It has become the habit of our times
to mistake glamour for beauty."
This concern is expressed trenchantly 
by Robert C. Morgan:
'Beauty is not glamour.

'Most of what the media…
the fashion world…
the art world has to offer is glamour.

'Glamour, like the art world itself,
is a highly fickle and 
commercially driven enterprise
that contributes to…the "humdrum".

'It appears and disappears…

'No one ever catches up to glamour.'"

John O'Donohue in
Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Shopping Gene

I came across this snapshot recently.

It is of my grandmother and her sister

(or perhaps a sister-in-law)

in downtown Asheville, North Carolina…

Grandma is on the right side,

and they are obviously in the big city

for a bit of shopping.

Now I know where my mother, sisters,

and my daughter got their shopping gene,

although Grandma looks as if she 

might be thinking,

"Let's get this over with."

If so, she passed that gene down to me!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Prayers Asked

Would you please pray for my friend Tammy?

She blogs at The Peanut--see here--

but she is following doctors' orders

not to get online until her health improves.

I'm labeling this post "family" because 

Tammy is like family to me.

Swift recovery, dear friend!

Slipping in a little kitchen vignette attempt here just to have a picture on this post.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Confetti in the Air

I need a little confetti tossed in the air even though there's nothing big to celebrate, not obviously anyway. I'm searching for beauty in the ordinary because that's mainly what my life is, ordinary, and thank God for it. 

As always, I turn to books and to food to lift my spirits, or better yet, to food in books. I came across an old 1927 book recently by Sophie Kerr, a book of short stories called Confetti. 

As a collector of vintage women's magazines, my heart always goes thumpety-thump when I see Sophie Kerr's name on one of the wonderful fiction stories in an old magazine. Finally I bought one of her novels. 

I don't have any words of my own for the pictures I'm showing in this post because they are simply pictures of an ordinary supper R.H. and I had, just chicken and broccoli, mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas, as ordinary as you can get. The dishes are from Goodwill and the pattern by Poppytrail is "Zinnia." And I put an ordinary old milk jar from Jersey Farms on the table and stuck ordinary front porch zinnias in it. 

Actually, the zinnias in the picture above are not even in water because they are faded blooms I deadheaded where they wouldn't suck nourishment from the new buds about to bloom. I could not bear to throw them away because the faded colors seemed as beautiful to me as when they were bright. Like the old 1927 book, they are still lovely.

Here are the pictures of our ordinary supper accompanied by excerpts from Sophie Kerr's anything but ordinary short story "Knife and Fork." Most of you will skip Kerr's story and that's all right. It will just make you hungry anyway.

"Millie, being now over thirty, was wondering why she wasn't married, and whether she would like to marry." 

She considered four prime bachelors of her acquaintance. They were:

Jameson Lowe, "a widower and the best connected."

Gerber Rudd, "good looking and considered intellectual."

Tom Vandiver, "had the most money."

and Dr. Charlie Mardell who, "wasn't anything in particular, but then, he wasn't hopeless."

Millie decided to give a dinner party and invite all her bachelors. Among the other guests she invited were two youngish widows, Ethel Devyne, a poor widow left to care for her in-laws, and Margaret Burton who "eked out" a small salary at the Court House. She also included another old friend of hers, Miss Lena Pattee, an "almost pretty" high school teacher. None of these ladies would give Millie any competition.

At the first dinner party, Millie concentrated on Jameson Lowe. Her cook served:

Green Melons Dashed with Lime Juice
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Finger Sandwiches of Brown Bread and Caviar
Light Lobster Souffle
Hot Rolls
Cucumber with Oil & Vinegar & a Suspicion of Onion
Breast of Guinea Hen on Crisp Irish Bacon
Rice Croquettes with Dab of Current Jelly
Green Beans

Orange Ice with Curacao
Pecan Macarroons

After this dinner party Mr. Jameson Lowe proposed to Ethel Devyne.

Millie did not lose hope. Jameson really wasn't very tall and he did have that large bald spot. She set her cap instead for wealthy Tom Vandiver. 

The dinner was superb:

Hors d'oeuvres
Clear Jellied Tomato Soup
Wafers of Cheese Sprinkled Toast
Filets of Sole
stuffed with Shrimps with Tartare Sauce
Small Potato Balls in Parsley Butter
Crown of Lamb
Fresh Mint Jelly
Peas on Artichoke Bottoms
Baking Powder Biscuits
Salad of Watercress, Endive, and Celery

Strawberry Bombe
Black Chocolate Cake & Almond Icing

You guessed it; it wasn't long before Lena Pattee, the almost young high school teacher wore an engagement ring on the third finger of her left hand. At least Millie won't have a lifetime of listening to Tom's bad jokes. 

Gerber Rudd? Not much money there but he did own a small select bookshop. Millie pictured the future Mr. & Mrs. Rudd having quiet evenings of reading together before the fireplace. A third dinner party was planned. Millie vowed it would be her last as an unmarried lady.

Cook prepared this feast:

Golden Pink Spanish Mellon with Rum
Strained Gumbo
Cheese Straws with Cayenne
Tiny Crab Shells with Crabmeat
Melange of Celery Hearts and Watercress
Roast Ducklings
French Fried Sweet Potatoes
Jellied Spiced Apples
Cauliflower with Hollandaise

Souffle with Brandied Cherries
Cafe Brule with Burned Cognac
Black Hot Coffee

I'm so embarrassed to tell you that Gerber Rudd proposed to Margaret Burton within minutes of eating Millie's fabulous feast. She "wondered profoundly how she had ever come to imagine that Gerber Rudd was a clever man!"

Only one bachelor remained, Dr. Charlie Mardell. "Millie decided to make the best of it." Instead of a fourth dinner party, she planned to one day consult Dr. Mardell "for that queer burning sensation she sometimes felt about her heart after a meal."

Feeling better, Millie opened the Sunday paper to the society page. There she read:

"Dr. Charles Mardell Weds Childhood's Sweetheart"

Millie only stopped crying to go to the dining room for her lonely supper. The cook had lovingly prepared:

Chicken Smothered in Brown Gravy
Green Peas
New Potatoes Persillade
Crisp Buttered Waffles
Cream with Maple Sugar

Millie "took up her fork" and...

"She was consoled."

And so am I.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The World In Which You Live

"See it now;
the world in which you live,
the world around you.
You don't have to travel to do it…
beauty is where you find it."

Faith Baldwin

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Feeling Sad

There's been a heaviness in my heart since yesterday

when I heard of Robin Williams' death.

I know I'm one of many.

He made us laugh in so many movies.

And now to find out that there was so much sadness inside him.

That makes me sad.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Just a simple Sunday morning breakfast…

With the sports section for him….

to celebrate our Tennessee Titans' 
win last night over the Green Bay Packers.
Yes, it was only a pre-season game,
but a nice start for the new coach.

And the Portfolio section for me…

As a Super Fan of Johnny Cash
I have to read about the restoration 
of his childhood Arkansas home
while I eat my breakfast dessert of
one homemade buttermilk biscuit
and some Sour Cherry Jam. 

Getting ahead of myself though,
first there's BLT's on Publix's
5-Grain Italian Bread.

Simply because R.H. stopped by 
the Farmer on the Hill,
as we call our local neighbor who 
sells the best homegrown tomatoes 
in a roadside stand.

These tomatoes just beg to be made
into BLTs, so we do.

Our heavenly Father,
we thank you for our many blessings…

And I'm thankful for a husband who doesn't fuss
when at the last minute his wife says,
"Grab the camera, R.H., this table is
too pretty not to photograph."

And he, grateful that this is one table that
hasn't required hours of planning and staging,
does just that, even thought the bacon 
cools off a little bit.

It was a good Sunday morning breakfast.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 13

The Simple Thing of Life Are the Best…

Like a crisp green salad.

"Ho! 'tis the time of salads."

[Laurence Sterne in The Life and Opinions
of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman]

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Humble Zinnia

"Among some of the more ethereal and esoteric of cognoscenti,

the humble Zinnia is held to be of the lower orders…

"And here again Kipling was right:

to walk with kings nor lose the common touch

is as applicable to gardening as to society.

"I had far rather see a farmhouse front yard ribald with Zinnias

than most of the Gentiana jewels I have been expected

to enthuse over in English gardens."

Richardson Wright
Editor in chief of House & Garden
for more than 35 years.
From his The Gardener's Bed-Book.

After cutting zinnias this morning I put these in a favorite piece of old Fiesta.

When I snapped this picture,

the perfect circle of the little handle reminded me of a marriage.

It is a sturdy little thing even though the chances were

it might easily have been broken over decades of use.

My mind has dwelt on a particular marriage today,

that of my mother and father.

It might have easily been broken--they went through a war,

health issues, worries over 4 daughters,

financial struggles, 

things that most couples face over the years.

 But it was a sturdy marriage.

If my father were still alive today,

Mama and Daddy would have celebrated 72 years of marriage.

You were both as humble as garden Zinnias

and you had a beautiful marriage.

Happy 72nd Wedding Anniversary.