Saturday, September 29, 2012

It takes a heap 'o livin' in a house 't make it a home...

Words I've always known to be true, but sinking truer on this night, especially.

He lays long forgotten train tracks, filling and spreading out all over this floor. This room. 

Twenty years worth of memories wash over me. 

He begs me to iron his spiffy duds because he knows I'll get it right for this big date. So I do and then he remembers, twenty minutes before his pal comes to pick him up before they head off to pick up their dates, he remembers in a panic that he'd forgotten that he needed buttons sewed onto those skinny gray pants of his. A requirement for suspenders. 
A new fashion trend? Maybe, but either way, I love the look. So I scramble and we fuss over him. Getting him out the door. And before he pulls away, I run the essential and forgotten corsage out to the car. 

She brings her room mates home so they can cook up a storm. Cooking up a Mexican food fiesta dinner for her church congregation to share. So proud of this girl's confidence and can do attitude to take on such a task. 

So they crank up their tunes and chop and dice and talk and laugh. And I'm thrilled to share in their joy and their talk and fix up my own offering for them to take a much needed break. To fill their bellies. To fill their souls.

 "It's so nice to be in a real home. With a mom. To eat a real meal!"

... A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

~Edgar Albert Guest

Thursday, September 27, 2012

morning glimpses

these are good days. full days. days filled with home and out and abouts and errands and birthday celebrations and cooking, feasting, enjoying, and visiting with these cherished and beloved friends and parent teacher conferences and crisp, clear morning runs and garden harvesting and father/son football games and homecoming dance dates and late night homework and late night parent child talks and music that's that's practiced and music that's listened to. 

these days that are almost filled to overflowing, but with just the right amount of a margin to it that's so necessary for my well being and contentment. time enough for quiet. time enough for sitting. for seeing. for thinking. for writing. for reading. for an afternoon nap. for peace.

a happy balance.

the slow and warm mellowness of this new season that's upon us now. all this abundant beauty that's almost too much to take in.

i love it all.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

autumn... if you were a man, i'd marry you

Wasatch in Autumn
September 22, 2012

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it, and
If I were a bird, I would fly
about the earth seeking the 
successive autumns.

~George Elliot

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

how 'bout a piece of pie?

No real special occasion. Just feels like an apple pie kind of day. (You can feel it in the air.) Isaac says so. He urges me on. "It's been so long, Mom." Already five o'clock and I haven't even started dinner. So I get busy. Pastry dough and peeling taking precedence over meal making sustenance. Warm up Saturday's tomato soup. (Hey, that's a good idea.) Walk out to the garden to gather some tomatoes and a cucumber for a salad. Stick some bread in the toaster. Light the candle on the table. 

Nice and cozy way to welcome them home. 
To the dinner table. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

building community: a neighborhood salsa party

We are blessed to live in a great neighborhood. To be surrounded by such good people. People that we've come to know and love. Neighbors that are there for each other in the good times and in the bad.
These types of communities just don't happen. It takes time and effort to build trusting, caring relationships. Most of the time, it takes one person to make the initiative, to extend a hand of fellowship and friendship.
Our backdoor neighbors did just this thing last night. They had made little fliers that were put on every door late last week, inviting everyone to their home for the "first annual neighborhood salsa fest". This tradition had been carried on for years in their old neighborhood and they now wanted to share it with ours.
Each household was invited to come and gather in their front yard at dinner time. Bring your own chairs, your favorite salsa and chips or a dessert to share with everyone. They'd provide the paper goods and water to drink. 
What a great idea. And how timely, knowing that most of us who have gardens are more than happy to share our tomato harvest bounty in the form of salsa. And holy smokes, there were so many different and delicious offerings to try. A salsa frenzy like no other. Some with added beans, corn, peaches, and mangoes, and avocados to make things a little interesting. Some mild and some with a little kick. Some store bought and some homemade.
Oh, and how fun to see that one young woman had brought a platter of homemade chocolate donuts she proudly made to share on the dessert table.
So we pulled our chairs around a circle, sharing stories, catching up, and comparing what we'd piled on our plates. A group of little kids gathered across the street in another yard to play a game of tag. It was a beautiful clear night with just a bit of a end of summer chill coming on.
A true feeling of community that I just loved.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

a bit of journaling

harvesting: amazed that this one ornamental gourd plant produced such an abundance. They'll add a nice fall touch around here. Also, brought in another huge load of tomatoes and peppers. Sam is requesting more salsa. 

creating: decided it is time to welcome autumn's (almost) arrival by decorating the fireplace mantle. Oh, I just love this time of year. My favorite.

looking: little pots of mums on the front porch. Decided to pull out the summer plantings (they were getting a little too ratty with neglect) and exchange them for a more seasonal look. I've never done this change from summer to fall re-potting. It'll be nice when we'll harvest the pumpkins and put out our scarecrow girl.

listening: Jane's got me hooked on The Civil Wars. Love their sound.

smiling: so amazed and surprised late this morning to look up, see the door open slowly, and in walks Jane all sweaty and obviously tired. All with a wide, proud smile on her face. She went for a run and kept on running-- running all twelve long miles from her apartment to home. She did the same thing one Saturday last spring and she said she felt a lot stronger this time as running has become an almost daily routine for her. I gave her a big high five, smiled big myself at her and this huge accomplishment. She's thinking a marathon might really be a possibility. Totally, Jane. Let's do it.

reading: speaking of running. I was excited to pick up this book yesterday at the library: Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek. Vegan, plant based diet angle. Cool. 

outing: been wanting to take a drive up the canyon to do a little leaf peeping and decided today was the day, inviting any kids that wanted to come along. Wish there was more time for a hike. Looks like we still might have a few more weeks before things peak as far as the vibrant colors go. 

Just love the quakies. So beautiful.

Love this shot of Eliza, too. She made sure to grab some leaf specimens to put in her nature journal. Hopefully next time, we'll bring home lots of colored leaves to display, press, and craft with.

thanking: the gift of sweet and cherished friendships.

cooking: with all those tomatoes that are coming on strong in the garden, I thought I'd cook up a (quadrupled) batch of tomato soup to put away in the freezer. Wish you could smell what I smell right now.

eating: Isaac begged to stop at the roadside stand on our way home from the canyon for more peaches. We can't get enough of them.

feeling: Some of you may notice that I've disabled comments here on my blog. It's something I'm sad about and have thought long and hard over. My last post had some photographs that Isaac had taken of me and a reader wanted to let me know that he/she mistook me for a man until they saw the earrings. That hurt. To the core. (Oh, these life long struggles with self image!) And I don't see how it could have been unintentional to say a thing like that. It seems, for quite some time, that there's been a consistency of personal attacks on me. I hesitate to even acknowledge this here, as I don't want to give this person validation. 

So that's the unfortunate way of things, I guess. I love communicating with my readers; I love to hear feedback from you. I've so enjoyed and appreciated every positive, sincere, and kind gesture you've shown me in the true spirit of love and understanding. There have been many of you whose communications, especially by email, have blessed my life with the wonderful blessing of friendship. That's the avenue in which I see the dialogue, that I so appreciate, between me and my readers being able to continue. (Since I also link my posts on Facebook, that is also a way to connect with me.)

wishing: After the pain of Thursday's post, sadly witnessing a young driver motion an obscene gesture (and it wasn't a quickie, either) to another young driver on the road today, and seeing so much hate, intolerance, and misunderstanding to the point of violence happening not only in our country, but spreading all over the world... how I wish there was more civility, kindness, understanding, peace, and good will toward each of God's children. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

counsel for the cook: the work we do

"As you prepare to cook, clean the kitchen surfaces you will use and the table on which you will eat. When the space is prepared, light a candle if you have one somewhere in the kitchen. Let the light be a reminder of God's presence at all times and in all places, but especially in the moments of providing nourishment. When you're done cooking, move the candle to the table. Whatever you cook, take time for the preparation to be done with care. As you cook, pray for those who will eat it. Set the table with care. Fold the napkins. Arrange the food carefully on the dishes. Slice. Garnish. Drizzle. Make it as beautiful as you can."

~A Place at the Table
by Chris Seay

Monday, September 10, 2012

it's what's for dinner

This is the perfect season, the pinnacle actually, for homemade pizza as far as I'm concerned. The more veggies piled on top, the better. How satisfying that almost every topping (except the mushrooms, of course) was gathered from our own garden. Sweet bell peppers, thinly sliced onion slivers, tender zucchini, perfectly ripened tomatoes, and little ribbons of pungent basil sprinkled over top for an extra bit of "pizza"-zz. 

So utterly mouth watering. Really nice, too, to accentuate these flavors by dipping each mouthful in a little puddle of balsamic.

Who says you need cheese for pizza perfection?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

friday and saturday joy bringers

:: writing a five page handwritten letter to a friend.

:: making these peppermint patty bars to tuck into a "love and miss you" care package (also for that friend.) Thinking that another batch of those delectables is in order. For sure.

:: satisfying my craving for (vegetarian) Peruvian food.

:: strolling an art gallery with him. Our kind of entertainment.

:: the amazement at finding myself sleeping in until 7:00am on a Saturday morning. Any morning, for that matter.

:: snuggling in bed, listening while rubbing this young son's skinny little legs as he (with eyes all wide) shares with me his excitement, pride, and wonder at himself. How he ran-- oh, so fast-- faster than all the rest, beating his personal record, too.

:: forgoing, happily, my morning run to make them all a cozy, extra special breakfast porridge. Watching that steam rise up, hot and slow, in the window sunlight that's streaming through.

:: seeing him all wrapped up snug in that robe of his. First time in a long time. A chill in the air this morning. So excited for autumn's official arrival.

:: poetry reading that nourishes my soul.

:: lazy start to the morning with an interesting podcast interview. (of said poet.)

:: since football season is here, and that means only Eliza and I will be left at home, (we don't mind that at all, do we, Eliza? No, of course we don't.) these days call for special mother-daughter outings. Yippee!!

:: wow, I never get tired of this place.

:: we meander through the art museum gardens.

:: soaking every bit of it in.

:: indoors as well as out. Drawing inspiration, peace, quiet, and even more beauty. More soul food. 

:: can't get over the look and the loveliness of her braid. Her go-to hairstyle that she just whips off without even looking in the mirror. Everywhere we go, people ask and look and comment. They agree with me, I guess.

:: afternoon naps on the couch.

:: a clean bathroom. Ah...

:: a quiet evening at home to look forward to. A nice, steamy mug of Chai and Eliza's request of roasted chickpeas.