Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Got inspired by my dad's letterman sweater.
Do you think I make a swell 50's kid?

Put this bag together this afternoon when Isaac announced that he couldn't find his plain canvas bag. I've always wanted to make a Halloween themed trick-or-treat bag. Fun project.

My brother showed up at our house a month ago out of the blue to surprise Isaac with this cool light saber he found. So sweet of him, making this little boy so happy.

Young Medusa

The Great Candy Trade commences.

Jane, who couldn't resist coming home again tonight for the festivities, fixed a great pot of chili for dinner while we were out. It sure hit the spot.

Hope you enjoyed the day where you live!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


(I'm sorry, but this picture cracks me up everytime I look at it.)

:: school librarian substituting (found out I can turn on a good Dracula voice when required).  
:: Bombay House dinner date and long talk in the hospital parking lot. 
 :: Meditation 101 class. I needed this. 
:: flag football tournament results in broken finger for Sammy-Boy. Back to the hospital we go. And basketball season starts in a week. Not a happy camper.
 :: sewing room 
:: groceries
  :: pumpkin carving with the kids. 
 :: Isaac gets embarrassed with Mom dancing around the living room to Deadman's Party and Monster Mash.  
:: church
 :: chocolate (and vegan to boot) cupcakes for a special after dinner treat.
:: taco dinner and hanging out with all the gang.
:: Mane visits and brings treats. She's so good to us.
:: we light up the jack-o-lanterns.

Friday, October 28, 2011

a little halloween prelude...

The other night I was lying in bed.
Waiting for Isaac to get out of the shower.
To put him to bed.
Lots of laughing going on downstairs.
Grunting and moaning and someone clomping up the stairs.
 Isaac runs to me.
Sam transformed into Yoda monster guy.
(Eliza took these pictures.)
Walking backwards with arms out weird looking.
We laughed and laughed.
Original plan was to lie in Isaac's bed. And wait for him there.
He had second thoughts.

Sam and Eliza got the Halloween dress up box out.
I meandered downstairs. More laughing upstairs.
He models his way down to me:

Yoda Granny
Yoda Pioneer Girl
Yoda Marley (He found my dread lock witch wig from last year.)

I begged for pictures. Said I'd pay him. For the blog, Sam.
I need something good.

He said no way.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash Soup (vegan)

This was so good last night. Good enough to share.

Since this month is all about pumpkins and squash and all things orange, and since I have more than I know what to do with, I thought this soup would be the perfect fit.

This soup has a lot going for it; just right for a nippy fall evening and made extra enticing with some of my other favorite ingredients: curry and coconut milk. (LOVE.) The garbanzo beans not only give it a welcome protein boost, but add another creamy dimension. You can't go wrong with that.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, diced
6 cups broth
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
1 can (or 2 cups) garbanzo (chickpeas) beans
2 T. maple syrup (to taste)
salt and pepper
shredded unsweetened coconut sprinkled on top for garnish

Place squash, apples, and large onion in pan. Add enough broth to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer. Cook until tender. This will take about 30 minutes. Add beans. Using an immersion blender or doing batches in a standard blender, puree contents in the pot until smooth. Add curry powder, maple syrup, and coconut milk. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve warm with a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

Another option to make it a little heartier: Add some leftover brown rice or quinoa near the end. Allow time to warm the grains.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Noticing: temperatures dropping, clouds moving in tonight.

Getting: Isaac's store bought Jedi costume. Resigned. Cheaper than homemade, plus no pattern found at the fabric store. He's happy enough. And that's what counts.

Preparing: a batch of maple pecan and blueberry granola, hot chocolate mix, caramel dipping sauce for sliced apples.

Creating: an African/Eastern inspired tunic (for me just for fun) constructed from a large piece of beautiful fabric brought back by mom when she came home from Mozambique several years ago.

Listening: U2 and Fleetwood Mac earlier, Eliza's upcoming 8th grade mock trial this afternoon. (She'll hold her own as the prosecuting attorney.) Comic strip comparisons tonight.

Seeing and Laughing: Lucy (our neurotic doggie) flipping out on hearing the phone ring just now.

Eating: breakfast- two pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and a green smoothie, lunch- bowl of spaghetti squash, a slice of homemade bread with almond butter, another cookie. Dinner- inspiration and recipe from here,  (so relieved and happy they were liked by all), roasted lemony potatoes, steamed asparagus, grapes. 

Exercising: nothing; no running since last Wednesday. A side effect of the kid's Fall Break, I think. (Yes, I'm rationalizing.) I need some major motivation. Worried that I'm developing a lazy streak. Tomorrow's a new day, though.

Entertaining: game of Sorry with Isaac for the last two days.

Reading (and revisiting): Anne Morrow Lindburgh's Gift From the Sea.

Loving (and welcoming back): autumn leaf flannel sheets on the bed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

around the house autumn style

Isaac and I finally got the front porch set up. I made this scare crow gal many years ago and we've decided that it's not officially fall unless she's out.

Her raffia braids are so dang cute. My favorite part.

My brother is a professional stained glass artist. When I saw this beautiful maple leaf sun catcher a few years ago hanging around my parents garage, I begged to buy it from him.

autumn nature table

seasonal book basket by the fireplace


Sunday, October 23, 2011

an elder

Today, my sweet son Gary was ordained to the office of Elder in the priesthood of our church.

Words cannot express the joy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

last day of the farmer's market

Eliza and I have had some fun adventures this fall while everyone else is off at the football games.

Today was a perfectly beautiful autumn day and we decided to head up to the big city downtown farmer's market. It's kind of become a tradition with the both of us. This probably is the third year we've gone together.

We both appreciate the quirky art and handcrafted goods. We strolled. We tasted samples. We people watched. (Lots of interesting folks here.) We ate some goodies.  We took it all in. We left with a bag of peaches, a gorgeous head of leaf lettuce, some bell peppers, 3 bars of yummy homemade soap, and two little pottery bowls to house salt and pepper next to my stove.

We decided we weren't done. We headed up to the university museum of art. First time for Eliza to see a broad spectrum of art through the ages. We even got in free.

These types of outings feed my soul.

Hope you're enjoying the day, wherever you are, too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

would you like a cup of tea?

Gary came over last night and brought me this nice teapot. He purchased one for himself at the Middle Eastern market when he was there a couple of months ago and raved about it to me. I told him that the next time he went to that market, it would sure make me happy (just a slight mother-hint, here.) if he picked up one for me. I've never seen one like this. 

I'm in love with it and here's why:

  • quality stainless steel construction.
  • aesthetically pleasing to my eye. Beautiful simplicity.
  • meant to be heated on the stove top, it will brew and hold close to 6 cups of tea. From boiling the water, to steeping, to straining, to pouring a cup at the table- it does it all! A whole lot of tea can be made all at once to warm up and enjoy later in the day.
  • designed with little holes inside to strain loose tea leaves.
  • attached hinged lid- no small part to misplace or lose.
  • economically priced- I think he paid around $15.

Gary learned to love tea when he spent time in the Middle East (Egypt, Jordan, Israel) for a college study abroad a couple of years ago. Arabs are such hospitable, warm people, he found. He said that whenever you enter a shop or anyone's home, a small glass cup (never a mug) of tea is always offered. The proprietor or host pulls up a chair, you sit, he sits, you shoot the breeze, all very unrushed. It's an experience. They love their tea very sweet, too. Since we don't drink caffeine, his hosts would be surprised when Gary asked for peppermint. Of course, they graciously obliged.


Hospitality is a huge part of the culture. There were so many times when Gary would meet another student  (for the first time, mind you.) and he would be invited on the spot to dine at the family home that evening. The whole extended family would often show up and they would feast for hours- On the floor, sitting on rugs, sharing a communal platter of roasted goat and rice, eating with their hands. It was awkward at first for my son, but through all this genuine friendship and hospitality shown, Gary, of course, learned to love and cherish this culture.

What an experience.

All this, besides turning him into a raving tea aficionado like his mother.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a scare

I was put through the ringer today. Sick with worry, uncertainty. 

Sam jokes a lot. I remember hearing him laugh sometime this summer with the girls about the funny bump on the back of his head. That he didn't want a buzz so it wouldn't stand out. I, regrettably, didn't pay close enough attention. He talked about it recently, this time, more seriously. My mama bear instinct engaged; perked up this time. This bony lump, a protrusion on the base of his skull, getting bigger he said and hurt when you pressed it. He's been having frequent headaches. A big one Friday night and another, towards the back of his head last night. Sleeping, tired a lot. (Not uncommon, I've seen, after raising four teenagers.) Coming up for breakfast, nauseated a lot of the mornings.

I sent him off to school. Uneasy while doing the dishes. I started connecting the dots. Worry set in my frantic mother mind. Worst possible scenario thoughts, as you can probably imagine, spiralling downward.

I set up a doctor appointment. Surprised Sam at school, ready to check him out. The doctor, visibly concerned, ordered blood work and a CT scan to be done at the nearby hospital. Sam seemed unfazed. I was trying to hold it together. We went home and waited. I can't tell you how nervous I was to get that phone call the doctor promised. Major sitting on pins and needles.

"Good news", the first words out of his mouth. Oh, sweet relief. His blood work couldn't have been more perfect, he says. Pediatric radiologist reports no sign of any tumor, or abnormality in the brain. Most likely some sort of bony protuberance where the plates of his skull come together. Perhaps buckling, likely with all the growing he's done this past year. I'm not kidding when I say that he's grown a foot or two. Taller than his dad, if you haven't seen him in a while, you'd be amazed at this 15 year old kid. Headaches might stem from the pressure. It should ease up. Nothing abnormal or dangerous, he says.

He and I crashed later this afternoon. Sleep, a way to decompress all the uncertainty. I slept so deeply; so uncommon for me with a nap. He did too. Made his appearance after dinner was all done and put away.

So relieved. So grateful.

A lot of things scare me; snakes, math, haunted houses. But when it comes to my kids... their safety, their health, their futures, these are the things that undo me the most.

Monday, October 17, 2011


No real inspiration for a post, not really in the mood, until I saw this picture Jane posted on Facebook a little while ago.
 Of the both of us when we were in Wisconsin this summer.

Seeing this made me happy.
Put a smile on my face.
So nice to know that we're friends.
And knowing that she's glad of it, too. 
(How many kids do you know display photos, unabashedly, of themselves and their parents to their social circles?)
Parent relationship still the same, as ever, but heading toward a different place.
A deeper level of understanding and friendship.
Enjoying each other and having fun. 
Finding that it's something I'm needing and seeking and appreciating more and more as these kids of mine grow older.

Saturday night was spent together.
Just she and I.
Bought her some tights and a new cold weather dress at Target.
We ate curry and a huge honking bowl of sweet potato fries at Guru's.
(Where has this place been all my life?)
I listened to her.
She listened to me.
 We watched Forrest Gump on the bed, later. 
I stroked her hair.

In the creation of every friendship, for the sustainability of that friendship, there has to be a need met on both sides.
I'm glad she needs me.
And I'm glad I need her.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


oh, little leaf.
did you know that this brilliance,
hues so glorious now
were there,
part of you
all along?

veiled by summer's
season of productivity
obscured then
by common green
from watchful eyes
like mine.

new season brings
and yet almost overnight
this transformation
a second time
awed splendor
unique from
all the rest.

a radiance,
albeit fleeting.

shine on.

thankful thursday

In the village store someone
says, "I heard the geese go over," and
there is a moment of silence.
Why this is so moving,
I do not know.
But all of us feel it.

~Gladys Taber

~in the last week or so, we've seen (and heard) several formations of geese heading south. This gives me a thrill every time.

~as I began my run yesterday morning, I was awed to see the moon so luminous and so large, hovering over the western horizon. As I headed towards that direction, I watched, enthralled, as that big ball of light slowly faded away.

~That was a beautiful sight, as well as the hazy mist of woodsmoke floating about our neighborhood.

~the heady, mellow "our house smells like fall according to Eliza as she walked in the door after school" perfume filling the house as the pot of pear sauce simmers on the stove and the dehydrator runs all day and night.

~for Jane being close enough that I can go when called and take her to get stitches. Here's what happened: When Jane was pulling out a bowl from the bottom rack of the dishwasher in her dorm last night, a knife that was put in (sharp point facing upward) speared her poor hand as she reached in. So grateful that it was only the two stitches and that tendons weren't involved.

~that Eliza can confidently take over the not really started dinner preps and whip up a mean stir fry dinner.

~for a stack of delicious books to look forward to. (Did you know that a good book can be delicious. Yes, it can be, if it's the right one.) Going back again to re-visit one of my all time favorites- the name's too long to type out; You'll get it when I say Guernsey, yes? I guess I was in the mood for more WWII era after last week's book and this is more of an upbeat approach than most. If you haven't read this delightful novel, do yourself a favor and nab it.

I put the What I Eat book on hold at the library after seeing it was by the authors of the popular Material World: A Global Family Portrait series. These books open your eyes to the details of how the peoples of the world live, and how they all compare to each other. Did you know that I've decided (I think) that if I go back to college, I'm seriously considering majoring in Anthropology. I've always had a passion and interest in world cultures and this would so be up my alley if getting a job and making money were no issue. 

And these last two books are exciting. Both written by a former monk, The Care of the Soul is described as a "guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life." Fact: I'm attracted for some reason to monastic life even though I'm not a Catholic or Buddhist. It may surprise you how much I've read about the daily life of nuns and monks. I guess it's something about the solitude that I find so fascinating. Fact: I love seeing the holy and the beautiful in the ordinary; the daily rituals of life. So naturally, a good book for me.

~the blessing it is to have friends. Bosom friends. (as Anne of Green Gables would say.)

~what would I do without you good people (and so many new readers, it seems) who stop by here and follow this life of mine. I can't thank you enough. It's one thing to write for yourself, but it's another thing when what you write resonates and means something to others.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


"All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin."

This sacred partnership
between me
now come to fruition.

Nature's glorious palette,
colors so vivid,
textures so varied.

If only we will

Season of such brilliance.

Every bowl, 
every basket and bucket
filled to

"...that there is not room enough to receive it."-
Promises surely fulfilled.

Every fruit
bearing seed
for another season.

This never ending cycle.

Your part:

a bounteous
never failing
so freely

of sunlight,
of rain,
of warm rich earth.

A portion of land
set aside,
not only for the filling of bellies
or larders,

but seeing more and more,
this holy piece of ground
a blessing.

A place to seek
and a place
to find
for a hungry soul.

This is grace.

The woman:

She does her part.

She plans.
She plants.
She waits.
She tends.

Not afraid of the toil.
The soil.
Beads of sweat
pouring down her face,
that salty sting
blinding her eyes.
Nor the dirt 
under her fingernails.

Oh, no.
She's not afraid.

The garden is her teacher:

We reap what we sow.

Work brings strength.
On the inside,
on the outside.

Sometimes things don't flourish,
even after all your best efforts.
It is what it is.

"Because I have been given much,
I too, must give."-
a way is

And now
another year,
another season
nature's rhythmic
turned once

through it all,
the woman found

And her joy