This picture just popped up on FB this morning on the site for Bruce/Exeland…and tears immediately filled my eyes. Esther and Charlie Turner. They were close friends of Mom and Dad. Whenever Esther and Charlie had been in Bruce shopping, the place they stopped for coffee on their way home was Mom’s and Dad’s house. I remember all of them sitting around gossiping and laughing. Charlie was an old lumberman from the days when lumber was king in that part of Wisconsin…and he loved telling tall tales which mesmerized this little kid that was me. They did not have much but they had big warm hearts. Their house was four rooms and you had to use an outhouse. Yet the house was always immaculately clean. Sometime us kids (me and their grandkids) would camp out under the stars in their front yard. No tent. Just blankets and pillows and stars over our heads when we eventually would fall asleep. A big breakfast always greeted us the next morning. Esther and I would go looking for Christmas trees together (I was 10, 11, and 12 years old) in the woods across the road from their house. I remember both of us plowing through the snow hauling our trees behind us and she being so patient with my 10 year old babbling. When Charlie died, she remarried and it was not a good marriage. I don’t believe it was abusive but she was not the same. When Esther died it was at church (the Island Lake Church of Christ) during service. She was with a friend…and the friend felt her suddenly lean against her…and Esther was gone. This picture…these memories make my heart ache. It aches because the times shared were so pricelessly wonderful…and it aches because they are now gone and only alive in my heart. How fleeting these moments are??? I wish I could go back and experience them once again.
It is now Monday morning and I am sitting here enjoying the luxury of a hot mug of coffee, of the lights being on as well as the warmth of heat.
Yesterday was not the same as today. Saturday night the power went out about 9:00...and it did not come back on until 1:24 yesterday afternoon. The reason I know the exact time was because I was sitting the clocks on the stove, coffee maker, etc.
We'd gotten a good bit of ice from late Friday night and into Saturday morning. Then Saturday night the rain, ice and snow returned with a vengeance bringing down tree limbs and trees themselves. The point where I lost power was close to the corner of my yard where it interdicted my neighbors yard...a tree in his yard came down taking out the electric wire(s).
The long and short of me talking about this is that I hate ice storms. I can deal with snow. I can deal with cold. But ice is just plain destructive. However, I am also thankful for the goodness of neighbors who had power and invited me into their home for warmth, coffee and breakfast. And for other neighbors who also had power and baked cookies and distributed them to those of us without power.
I came away from this event with a tremendous sense of community. In these very troubling times, these goodnesses are beacons of hope.
It was a Friday afternoon and evening at the wee cottage in the woods...
The weather was blustery and cold outside...
Meanwhile inside it was warm and cozy...with a fire burning in the fireplace...
It seemed to me, then, the be a perfect afternoon and evening to be cooking & baking...so I made a batch of chicken noodle soup as well as baked "Symphony Brownies"....
And along the way I had a cocktail or two or three or....(you get the picture)
All in all, it was a most perfect winter Friday night at home...for which I am most thankful. Wish you could have been here. ;-)
A good friends passed on to me this idea/recipe for a brownie...or bar. It is excellent. The basic ingredients are your favorite packaged brownie mix (8x8 pan size) and two Symphony bars...plus oil, eggs and milk per brownie mix instructions.
Mix together the brownie batter per the directions on the package. Pour 1/2 of the batter into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Top this with two Symphony bars. Pour the remaining batter over the top of the bars...smooth to edge of pan.
Bake per directions on brownie mix package. In my case it was 30 minutes and 350 degrees.
Enjoy. Really, enjoy!
What's for dinner tonight? Well, that is a long story. CJ was scheduled for a 3pm grooming appointment in Lindstrom (a good Chinese name). I'd had his carrier out for a couple of days so he would get used to it. My routine to trick him into his carrier is to leave the house for a hour or two, then come home, pick him up and put him in the carrier. Trust me, it will never happen any other way. So...in my hour out of the house I stopped at the Frederic Market where they had a sale on chicken breast halves...and I bought a package. I then returned home, picked up CJ and put him in his carrier according to plan. While on the way to the groomer, the groomer called me and said he was sick. Appointment cancelled. We returned home. CJ is napping and I have been cooking. The glaze on the chicken breasts is a combination of Lunardi's Thai Ginger Sauce and Orange Marmalade. Dinner tonight will be chicken and a simple salad of greens, chopped red pear, toasted walnuts with a red wine vinaigrette salad dressing. Pic attached is of the finished chicken breasts.
BTW, there is no recipe attached for this meal...it was complete improvisation using whatever was in the cupboard. For instance...the Thai Ginger sauce is Lunardi's own recipe and cannot be found anywhere but at a Lunardi store.
It is my conviction that thoughts are powerful tools. Our thoughts create our reality on a daily basis. When these thoughts are put into the spoken word, they become even more powerful. And lastly, when these thoughts are written down they gain a strength and a permanence.
I've been thinking about the direction in which I want to take my blog. This thing...this blog...is the reason I get up in the morning. Consequently because it is so important to me, I want to add to it...to make it perhaps even more interesting those of you that come upon it.
As Mark Twain said: "Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life."
So this area of my blog..."Residual Thoughts" is going to become an area of comment about life whether is be a story about the day...or a commentary on the interesting world in which we live.
I hope you will enjoy this as much as I do...
My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be...
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky...
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow...
~Robert Frost, "My November Guest,"
Cosy fire a-burning bright,--
Cosy tables robed in white,--
Dainty dishes smoking hot,--
Home! And cold and snow forgot!
~Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron
"We seldom think of November in terms of beauty or any other specially satisfying tribute. November is simply that interval between colorful October and dark December. Then, nearly every year, come a few November days of clear, crisp weather that make one wonder why November seldom gets its due.
There is the November sky, clean of summer dust, blown clear this day of the urban smog that so often hazes autumn...
There is the touch of November air, chill enough to have a slight tang, like properly aged cider. Not air that caresses, nor yet air that nips. Air that makes one breathe deeply and think of spring water and walk briskly."
“The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.” ~Khalil Gibran