Friday, December 19, 2008

p.s. if you feel like bawling your eyes out...and pound cake

....get your hands on the movie "p.s. I Love You"

It was the sole reason (besides the three cups of coffee I had after supper and an amazing pound cake with warm lemon sauce and ice cream dessert, but, more about that later....) I was up until nearly 2 a.m.  Ahem.  Yes, I said 2 a.m.  I've been mean and cranky all day.

If you need a good cry, watch this movie.  Oh, and it's different from the book, so try not to compare the endings.  Although, since I'm unable or unwilling (debatable) to take my own advice, I preferred the books' ending.  I knew you wanted to know.  (wink, wink!)

About that pound cake.  A good friend of mine recently asked me if I knew why "they" called pound cake, "Pound Cake".  And I told her that I thought it was because in the olden days, there was a pound of everything in it.  Butter, Eggs, and Flour, and...Sugar?  Anyway.  I got nosy about it and decided to investigate, and this is what I found.    

My cake, compliments of C&H Sugar,  didn't look anything like theirs, but here is what it did look like:

My photography, as usual, isn't as stunning as hers, or hers, but I managed to snap a photo before it was all gone and miraculously got it from my camera to the computer, so I'm pleased.  Besides, I hear "out of focus" is the new pink.  Or was that brown.  Can't remember.  Must be the lemon fumes.

The lemon sauce is what really slams the door on this cake.  It is nearly drinkable by itself.  I tried it.  Don't think I didn't.  Of course, as you might have noticed the blackberries are missing but when our blackcaps come around next summer you can bet I'll be putting some of them up for occasions such as these..  The mint IS from a pot in my kitchen, it's gotten a little leggy - but it'll come around in the spring and really added another dimension to the taste of the cake and sauce. 


Oh-Kay.  I have to go now.  Not because it's past my bed-time but  because I've posted a ridiculous amount  of posts today on the blog frontier and now I have to go, er...uh - wash my hair.


When my husband left the house the morning of my birthday without saying "Happy Birthday" I must admit, I wasn't singing his praises.  So, after a day of a being chauffered (sp?) to a doctor's appointment with Papa Lou and Eddie, then lunch, and some grocery shopping,  when I came home there was a birthday card and a HUGE box of chocolates waiting for me.  From my husband. 

Bubba and Wendy had cooked an entire delicious supper and then came the beautiful german cake.  And coffee.  And the neighbor. 

And the other neighbor.

And the OTHER neighbors.  And their parents!  And then, Becky, and her kids. (missed you Steve!)  And let us not forget the chocolate cake she brought. (she called it the "I don't need a man cake" and, I gotta say - if, God Forbid, I was sans husband, it might suffice, at least temporarily...) (please, no comments about the sans husband thing...I was only kidding.  seriously.)  But really.  The cake was THAT good.  

Huh? Wha?  OH! THIS IS A SURPRISE!!!  (I'm fast, I tell you....really quick to catch only took me an hour)

And it was.  It was great.  I had the best birthday in a long, long time.  Thank You Becky for calling my husband and saying, "what are you doing for your wife's birthday?" and when he said "nothing", for saying, "well, you have to do something! Call your friends and neighbors and I'll make a cake."  Thank you very much.

(an aside:  come to find out, in a later and very much animated conversation and after being with my husband for over five years I FINALLY found out WHY he doesn't make a big deal over birthdays...that story will have to come later, probably after the "shit has followed us here" story...stay tuned.) 

And while we're rolling credits, thank you very much Wendy and Bubba for the wonderfully tasty supper and for every little (and big!) thing.  Just thinking of me, and taking the time is really most special.  

And now my computer will most likely officially crash and end this post.  At least the fan is going like crazy and it sounds like it's...fallen and can't get up.

So, let's see if I can get some more pictures on here, just to push the envelope.  

(just to let you know how I am self taught with computers - I will at some point, in the future, figure out WHY I have underlined text.....but not right now.  I think it has something to do with the uploading and sequential typing after of photographs..., but I digress)

Here we go.  This is better.

Hi !

Oh what a night.

Surrounded by young and old (aka: wise).  What a gift.

Happy Birthday to me!

One Crazy Night

I made these strawberry shortcakes.  Oh. Goodness. Me.

I thought I had once made a shortcake biscuit called a "cream" biscuit, but alas, in my 27 cookbooks I could not find the recipe.  So I made one up.  I can't remember how much of what was in it, but they were really, really good.  No, scratch that, they weren't good, they were phenominal.  But who am I to say.  

I'm looking forward to doing that again.  And again.  And again.

Life is Good

And I have proof.  

You know that old saying, that people come into your life for a "Reason, Season, or Lifetime" ?  I say that there are rare instances when there are people in your life for all of the above.  A line between the three can't be found.  It's permanent.  Immovable.  Immeasurable.  And most of all, I'm convinced that life is so good ~ because of the influence of God.

Don't get me wrong.  There is such a thing as hard times.  Things we don't understand.  But if you can, look past all that, have as many dinner parties as you can.  Smile.  Laugh heartily.  Smile again.  Smile some more.  Invite your friends over regardless of fish or potatoes.  Enjoy every facet.  Each nook and cranny of your friendship.  

It's true what they say.  Life is good.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For No Apparent Reason

and, for your non-apparent (to me, anyway) enjoyment, a few photographs that catch my fancy:

I've come to the conclusion that I'm missing summer a wee bit. The 21st of December isn't even here yet. Oh dear!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What we do here at Hope Farms on a Sunday morning

Help Dad dig fence-post holes.

Sit in fence-post holes.
Hmmmm.... What are you doing now? Oh - yes, I suppose you ought to get those boots out of there.

When I grow up

I want to be like this lady .

From the NY Times

August 25, 2003

Connie Reeves, a Cowgirl Until the End, Dies at 101


Connie Reeves, who was very likely America's oldest cowgirl, died in
San Antonio on Aug. 17, 12 days after she was thrown from her horse, Dr Pepper.
She was 101.

She was riding her favorite horse, a 28-year-old paint, on the morning
of Aug. 5 when Dr Pepper threw her over its head. Her neck was broken, but she
was not paralyzed, The Kerrville (Tex.) Daily Times reported. The Associated
Press said she died of cardiac arrest.

Meg Clark, owner of Camp Waldemar in the Texas Hill Country, where Mrs.
Reeves taught riding for 67 years, said she had been riding more this year than
in previous years and was delighted that Dr Pepper remained so spirited.

''That was how she wanted to live her life, and that was how she wanted
to end it,'' Ms. Clark said on Wednesday. ''She wanted to be on horseback.''

As a baby, Mrs. Reeves was photographed on a horse -- as well as on a
cow, something she could never quite explain -- and went on to manage a ranch
and teach about 30,000 girls to ride over the years at a summer camp. She could
herd steers, shear sheep, kill rattlesnakes and cook for hungry cowhands.

At first she did not think she deserved to be inducted into the
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in 1997, but then decided she had as
much right as the next lady, given the things she had done and the things she

She knew, for example, that a horse could smell fear. When she ended up
with one leg shorter than the other after falling from a horse, she did the
sensible thing: she had the heel of one cowboy boot raised.

Mrs. Reeves's greatest fame came last year when Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall
of Fame in Fort Worth. Reporters could not resist interviewing the hall's oldest
member, whom the event's organizers were more than willing to make available.

After all, a quotation from Mrs. Reeves, ''Always saddle your own
horse,'' had almost become the hall's motto. Liz Smith began a gossip column by
suggesting, ''It's not a bad motto, even if you are just getting into your

Many things Mrs. Reeves did seemed to make history, particularly in

She was one of the first women to study law at the University of Texas,
and she started one of the state's first girls' drill teams, a movement that
grew into a Texas passion. The 10,000-acre ranch she and her husband managed was
owned by Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1998, Mrs. Reeves won the Chester A. Reynolds Award for major
contributions to the Western way of life from the National Cowboy and Western
Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, one of two women to do so.

Constance Douglas was born on Sept. 26, 1901, in Eagle Pass, Tex., on
the Mexican border. She swam in the Rio Grande and rode horses with cowboys. Her
grandfather gave her her first horse when she was 5. The family moved to San
Antonio when she was 16.

Her father was a lawyer, and her mother was so genteel that she refused
to go to the grocer's without gloves and a hat.

Mrs. Reeves graduated from Texas Women's University in Denton as a
speech major and then attended the University of Texas School of Law, but left
to take a job because her family was short of money in the Depression. She
taught at two San Antonio high schools. At one, Thomas Jefferson High, she
founded a drill team called the Lassos, which is still in existence.

She also started a riding stable to teach city boys and girls how to
ride and care for horses. Although the stables were successful, she accepted a
position as riding instructor at Camp Waldemar in 1936 for $50 a summer. She
eventually taught Western and English riding styles to the granddaughters of her
original students.

She came to the conclusion that horses respond best to women.

''The harsh voices and rough bark of boys and men seem to frighten
horses,'' she wrote several weeks before her death in a script for a video about
riding. ''The same horse that refused to take the bit in its mouth will accept
it from the more gentle hands of a girl.''

At the camp she met Jack Reeves, a former rodeo star, trick rider and
keeper of the camp's horses. They married in 1942; he died in 1985. They had no
children, and she left no immediate survivors.

''I'm sure glad I don't have grandchildren,'' she said in an interview
with The Associated Press last year. ''The world today, it's disturbed.''

The cowgirl found her own peace on a horse.

''I still ride alone,'' Mrs. Reeves said in an interview with National
Public Radio last year. ''Sometimes I'll just get on the horse and go down to
the river. We'll just ride up and watch a little baby fawn nursing or watch the
birds in a nest.

"As long as I'm alive, I'm going to be trying to ride a horse.''

Friday, November 14, 2008

If you can...

You really need to make these. I had to use the word 'need' because Chocolate and Want just don't go together as well as Chocolate and Need.
I don't have the typical supposedly female addiction to chocolate. I don't generally need it. Or want it. But IF I need and want it, watch out. Bring on the ice-cold moo. Er, I mean milk.
See the third photograph? Yeah, that one. See the top of the brownie? How it's crisp and flaky looking on the top and densely chewy looking on the bottom? Oh. My. Goodness.
They were SO good.
Grab a bowl and a wooden spoon, here's the recipe:
Hope Farms Brownies
1 2/3 C sugar
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) butter (real butter, not that "one molcule away from plastic" stuff)(oh, and softened)
1 oz (one square) of unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp heavy cream, or 1/2~n~1/2, or milk
2 lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C baking cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325* - grease a pan (don't use butter to grease a pan - it will be absorbed by whatever you are baking - use non-stick spray or shortening...)
M-kay. Melt square of chocolate in metal bowl over almost boiling water. Cream butter, sugar and cream together. Add melted, but not HOT, chocolate. Mix well. Add eggs, mix well. Now the vanilla (oops, yeah, it's ok if you spilled some extra in there...)
In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into chocolate sugar mixture. Combine well.
Attempt to pour mixture into greased pan. Lick fingers. Lick spoon. Ponder whether or not you would get too much chocolate on your chin and forehead if you attempt to lick the bowl. Decide the evidence would be overwhelming and wait for the brownies to be done.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until done.
Decide that chocolate is now officially a need instead of just a want. When brownies are all gone and husband wants one, blame the toddler.
I made these a couple weeks ago. They didn't last 24 hours.

Off The Grid

For some reason I want to type the words, "The old man and the sea" but, just isn't so. It's more like, the old man and the earth. All the bushes around this house? Blueberry bushes. Then grapevines. And some fig (a dozen or more?) trees. Oh, and let's not forget the apple, pear, and so on. There's some grafting of different fruits on one tree going on here too but I forget what/how.
This house, he told us, was out in the woods somewhere, and moved to this location. He's owned it and the land aound it for oh...about 35+ years.

I can't tell how old he is. At first glance, if he were in any other setting, he looks like a homeless man. But it isn't so. He's far from homeless. He's rich, if anything. Maybe not in the sense of gold bars, or stocks and bonds, or even cash in a checking account. But, I'm reminded daily, to never judge a book by it's cover. Wealth, by any name, can mean a myriad of things.

I wondered who he was, and where he was from the first time I saw him. He doesn't drive a pick-up. Or a car. He rides a bike.

As an aside, this tree is a Holly tree (bush?). It's the largest Holly tree-bush I've EVER seen. He said it's been there since he was a kid.

Yes. I said he rides a bike.

And to church every Sunday too, and near as I can tell, rain or shine.

In an effort to keep his identity somewhat safe (since when is anyone's identity 'safe'?) I'll call,.... Mr. P.

I've only talked to him a handful of times, and I've always gotten the feeling he's a bit shy which could also be construed for anti-social, or the unlikely 'snobbish'.

But that's not the case either.
I must admit, as we stood there talking with this man, my eyes drifted to the shirt, which not altogether too terribly tattered, was missing a button or two. His jeans looked like they could use a good wash and his sock feet in loafers that were nearly too big looked second or even third hand. I almost started to feel sorry for this man, and then I realized, that his wealth could not be measured. Then, I started to feel sorry for myself. Not in the traditional way of "poor me" but in the way that I began to recollect the waste that I've allowed or the missed opportunities to connect with someone in a non-tangible way.

It seems also that there are not many words necessary with these photos. But then, you might start to wonder if it was really ME posting this. As opposed to someone less wordy. So I have to just prove to you by these here unnecessary words that my identiy is safe. For now.

This is his parents' house. I suspect they're long gone, but he and his brother seem to be the caretakers. And, incidentally, where this gentleman farmer keeps his blueberry harvest. How do I know this? Ah, because he has given us blueberries, not once, but twice now.

I learned, and since forgotten most of them, a good many things that day. Mostly I was struck by his vocabulary and the knowledge he has about the land, and trees, and the mafia. Did I say that out loud? Oh, well, he read some books - and was telling us about the basic story line. What got him started was a hat that a friend of mine was wearing. It says "GodtheFather" in letters akin to "Godfather", and that's all we needed for a conversation starter. But enough about that.
Mostly what I learned is that this man needs nothing. His contentment is virtually tangible. It was an honor to spend time with him.

And THIS, my faithful readers, if you're still with me, is Mr. P.'s GRANDPARENTS home.
Is this or is it not, magnificent?!?!?! I mean, WOW! Original. Unpainted. HUGE. I know I'm not supposed to covet anything, (please forgive me Lord) but......this house, is incredible. And empty. But not for sale. Most likely it will fall into the proverbial black hole which is commonplace around here.
Old "homeplaces" don't get sold. They get passed down, but see, our (or at least my) generation is on to bigger and better things. New tract homes. New BMW 530i's. New shoes. And Rolex's. Hence, since this is 'just an old pile of board and beams' it sits. Alone. Unused. And severely underappreciated.
I saw something poignant a few months ago and I wrote it down. (yes, I know - unusual anti-fieldmouse behavior) it says; A house is built with board and beam, and a home is built on love and dreams.
Home Sweet Home.
p.s. it's really making me mad that I can't figure out how to align my text without it sliding unreadably down the right side of the photographs. Grrrrrr.

Friday, November 7, 2008

How To Handle Stress

This has always entertained me to a ridiculous degree. When I worked full time it seemed funnier. Now that I am the mother of a three-year-old, they don't seem so far-fetched....and actually, I've done some of these things....

  1. shove 39 marshmellows up your nose and try to sneeze them out
  2. use your Mastercard to pay your Visa
  3. pop some popcorn without putting the lid on
  4. when someone says "have a nice day", tell them you have other plans
  5. find out what a frog in a blender really looks like
  6. forget the diet center and send yourself a candygram
  7. make a list of things to do tht you've already done
  8. dance naked in front of your pets
  9. put your toddlers clothes on backwards and send him off to preschool as if nothing is wrong
  10. retaliate for tax woes by filling out your tax forms with roman numerals
  11. tattoo "out to lunch" on your forehead
  12. go shopping. buy everything. sweat on it. return it the next day.
  13. pay your electric bill in pennies
  14. drive to work in reverse
  15. relax by mentally reflecting on your favorite episode of the flintstones during an important finance mtg
  16. refresh yourself: put your tongue on a cold steel guardrail
  17. polish your car with ear wax
  18. read the dictionary upside down and look for secret messages
  19. bill your doctor for time spent in the waiting room
  20. braid the hairs in each nostril
  21. write a short story using alphabet soup
  22. lie on your back eating celery, using your navel as a salt dipper
  23. stare at people through the line of a fork and pretend they're in jail
  24. make up a language and ask people for directions
  25. tell your friendly neurosurgeon that you are here for a brain transplant

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We all have stuff. You know, stuff. Like, well. Stuff.

Ever see the movie Home for the Holidays - with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. and that really hot, er, uh - handsome man who plays Robert Downey Jr.'s friend? (what IS his name...I wish he lived next door) (not really) It's directed by Jody(ie?) Foster. Not that that means anything to me, but it has a nice ring to it. Plus it might impress someone that I know who directed a movie. Made, like - 15 years ago. Or more. (huh? wha?)


When we went back to SoCal we cleaned out the retired UPS pup trailer. (pup suddenly sounds like a pet name for an inanimate object. I might have to employ that here at Hope Farms.....maybe the gate needs a nickname....) Twenty Seven feet by eight feet of glorious


Stuff in boxes.

Stuff in bags.

Stuff stuffed in bags and then in a box. Stuff bulging out of bags. Stuff High. Stuff Low.

This reminds me of a story I need to tell you, it's called, "shit has followed us here", but that's for later.

Back to stuff.

The good news is: it's done. The stuff has been eliminated, sold, trashed, given away, "on loan from God" (I'll get to that later too) and some of it, was packed into 12 boxes, with a total weight of 565 pounds (!), put on a pallet, shrink wrapped (by my ever-so-patient-and-accomodating husband (THANKS HONEY! Muah!) and labeled with a weigh-bill. Or, bill-of-lading. Or, manifest. Or, truck-driver's instructions. Whatever you want to call it is fine with me.) and sent HERE!!!!!

I even told the broker that it was being delivered to "Hope Farms", so as to eliminate the $75 "residential delivery" fee. (what? well, I could see that if I lived in a condo. Or a tract home. Or, a neighborhood, period. So, ok, I get it.)

It came. It got dropped off. And I hand trucked (with my ancient wheel-barrow/handtruck/toddler-hot-rod thingie) (hey - maybe that's what I need to assign the coveted nickname "pup"!?!) all 12 boxes to the back deck (see this post)(and then, remind me that I need to download and then upload the finished pictures of said deck) and then......I left them there.

Only for a few hours. Then, I commenced to jump headfirst into knee-deep S-T-U-F-F. It was like Christmas, except, I had seen this stuff before, and there was no ribbon tied on so tight that it hurt your fingers to untie it. Stuff, glorious stuff.

So now that chapter is written and the door is closed on the California stuff. It's now North Carolina stuff.

All that to say, no matter where it is, stuff is still stuff. More interesting and important stuff tomorrow. With pictures (which always makes pointless boring posts MUCH more interesting....)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fru-gal-ity *updated*

I like that it has "gal" in it. In the 'good ole days' the word "gal" and "guy" was used more often than "chick" or "dude". Speaking of simpler times, I have spent the last couple days researching some do-it-yourself things, and on the top of my list, is laundry detergent, out of sheer determined curiosity (or, the fact that I've run out, and am days away from shopping day) I found a couple recipes. One for powder, and one for liquid (or, gel, as it were). I prefer liquid over powder for the plain old reason that the powder collects in the crevice of the lid of the washing machine and it bugs me. You know that crevice I'm talking about. Yeah, that one. I can't have anything in there.

Turns out I should be able to make my own laundry detergent with Arm&Hammer Washing Soda, Borax, and bar soap (your choice). Oh, and water, - if you want to make the liquid kind. The cost per load will be around $.03. THREE CENTS. C'mon all you farmhousewife wannabe's - that's classic! Three cents per load of laundry?? Now if I could just turn the barnyard gasses into electricity to run the dryer (during the winter only, of course) I'd be the Queen of my farmhouse castle. Wait, I already AM the Queen.

A 'fabric softener' is white vinegar added to the rinse cycle. (I'm thinking there's no reason my Downy ball can't hold vinegar for that purpose, right?)

Crazy right? Make your own laundry detergent. I know what you're thinking; Costco has it in bulk for $xx.xx - but here's the thing - you have to drive to Costco (which, for me is about an hour away) and there's also the issue of the emptied plastic container - which if not recycled will last about a million years in the landfill.

Frugality is good. I would even go so far as to boast that 90% of what is in and around our little farmhouse is second-third and even fourth-hand. Thrift stores, flea-markets, antique shops, are our Saks-Fifth-Avenues of choice. Reduce - Re-use - Recycle. We should all do it.

Besides, it sounds like fun to mix up a five gallon (used paint container of course) bucket of glop.

Again, I can't say it enough. Life is good.

p.s. I must give credit where credit is due - I found a likely laundry detergent recipe here and also here, which incidentally, was my favorite. I bounced around his site for just a little while (hours!) and thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend you do the same!

Dr.'s Appointments

It's true. I have been to see the Doctor. She told me "there is no cure for you. Just keep doing what you're doing".

Imagine my surprise?!

  • Lowered my cholesterol (must be those farm-fresh eggs, I heard they were lower in cholesterol than the store bought ones)
  • Lost some weight (maybe the gardening, wood-floor-mopping, and toddler chasing)
  • The results of the blood tests of which they tested what seemed to me to be a million things all came back negative. That's positive. Affirmative. Whatever.. you know what I mean.

So now I have no excuse! On the other hand - I do have to have surgery to repair my eardrums, and have a small bump removed from my back. But seriously, now that you're as bored as having sat in a waiting room, I'll end the medical stuff.

Being a farmhousewife is apparently good for one's health!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Huh? Wha?

I saw a lot of things, people, and places when I visited SoCal earlier this month that serve as poignant reminders of why I live where I live. Having been born and raised in SoCal - I became blind to the blatant fact that it's a desert. Devoid of much rainfall (incidentally, since the season had begun, there were zero inches of rain - that's July, August, September, and the beginning of October with NO WATER from the sky) and just, ...brown. I mean, brown is a nice color. The comforter on my bed, in fact, has brown in it. How do I love thee (brown) let me count the ways;

  • love the look and smell of leather (think horse wear)

  • in keeping with the horse theme - think horse - brown is a good color for a horse

  • love the golden brown crisped skin of a roasted chicken

  • brown shoes (a girl must have several different pairs of brown shoes - it's non-negotiable)

  • otherwise a mystery is the brown that one cleans out of a barn. It went IN green. Go figure.

So, back to SoCal. You see, it took me living somewhere else for a year and a half to really realize how much I appreciate living somewhere else (where it is GREEN) (we'll talk about green later).

It does have it's good points - like....uh, rainfall? Which of course is really helpful when you're having a picnic. Or outside at all. (was that a sentence?) Anyway, I once defended SoCal with a passion. And now, I jokingly and seriously say; you couldn't pay me enough to move back there. Oh, back to good points; okay...uh - close to shopping, close to beach close to mountains. But the trade-off is smog, traffic, mean people, brown-ness, and of course, the earthquakes and lovely Santa Ana Winds that set SoCal on fire every single year.(timely enough -those Santa Anas where whooping it up the day we flew back to NC - dust storm and all) Those that live in SoCal passionately defend it because - well, because they live there. I did too.

On the last Friday we were there we went with family to Disneyland and had a ball. A three-year-old is just prime for a day at Disneyland. He had a blast! And we didn't even have to rent a stroller, but we did have to take out a second on the mortgage to pay for it all (which makes me think of airports, and how they get away with charging $4.69 for 20 oz. of water. And we think gasoline is expensive?).

At the end of the day, after walking to the tram, and then walking to the car after the tram, I saw a VW exiting the parking structure. A Jetta, black, and shiny, and...IT WAS A GLI!!!! (those of you who know me, know that I'm a VW freak) Naturally, I turned to gaze at it longlingly, with fond memories screeching around every corner in my mind and then...

I saw the license plate.

It said;


I found this extraordinarily amusing and laughed the whole way home. I miss my Jetta. And I have been known to say "Huh? Wha?" quite often as bad as my hearing was. It was the final chapter of SoCal for me, epitomized so well by 1. a car (out here, nobody cares what you drive) and 2. the Huh? Wha? was a reminder for me that living in SoCal was so fast, you scarcely had time to listen to anyone, let alone yourself.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Like a lot of folks nowadays, I have TWO sets of In-Laws. As does my husband. Let's attack his first, because,...well, just because.

His Mom, "M" - whom I call "Mom" is one of the most creative, talented, soft-hearted, strong women I have ever met. And her husband "S" is kind, intelligent and extraordinarily thoughtful and conscientious. She is a hard act to follow. Gives even the virtuous Proverbs woman a run for her money. Seriously.

His Dad, "L" - whom I call "Dad" is very consistent, reliable, easy-going and generous. His wife, "C" - whom I call "C" is loud, tell-it-like-it-is-regardless-of-who-what-when-where-why, and also generous. And funny.

(m.s. please feel free to ask yourself, where is she going with this? p.s. I decided to make up the initials "m.s." to mean "Mid-Script". Just like "Post-Script" but, in the middle. Get it?)

Now that we live where we live, we don't have any family that is within 'dropping by' distance. Visits from In-Laws are planned with estimated stay days divulged in advance. For example, "I'm coming to visit from October 13th to the 20th."

This way I can clean the entire house the morning of the 13th and call it good. Except when I realize I forgot to change the sheets on the guest (read: Eddie's) bed.

I love it when I have company. My MIL (mother-in-law) once told me that company is like fish - it stinks after about three days. I once told her, rubbish and poppycock - it's at about ten days that company is like a rotting potato in the pantry. You don't smell it until it's too late. Nor can you find it. It exists somewhere in that pantry, but you're too lazy to clean the pantry. Just kidding. I never told my MIL that. But she did tell me the fish thing.

All this talk of In-Laws has made me think of the movies "Meet the Parents" and "Meet the Fockers". If you haven't seen those movies, I'm sorry. You've missed out on some really good belly laughs. I can't decide who's better; Ben Stiller, Robert Deniro or Dustin Hoffman. I enjoyed all of their characters immensely.


The point is, In-Laws are fun. And occasionally annoying. (c'mon, we all know that we are JUST as annoying to our In-Laws, as they can be to us) For instance, we had the pleasure of FIL visiting last week from Monday to Friday. After the third day (remember the fish?) I was going around the house with my mother-of-all laundry baskets collecting the small piles of laundry from the small-fry baskets. I went to Eddie's room to collect the dirty laundry from that basket. (FIL & Eddie are in Eddie's room, playing with the new firetruck that "Papa" brought) I pick up the dirty laundry from the small basket and put it in the big basket. FIL says to me, "Are those clean clothes you have there?", as he points to the big basket, while I'm putting dirty laundry in it.

Huh? Wha?

'scuse me?

"No Dad, these are dirty" is what I said. But what I was thinking, now that's another post. But I'll give you a hint.

What kind of question IS that? C'mon people. (I know, I'm mean huh.)

Thing is, if that's the worst thing I endure from In-Laws, I've got it made. And I do. I honestly wish they would visit more often.

Life IS good.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Well I said I'd come back, I just didn't say when!

Oh-kay. So. About Supper. Let's say I don't entertain nearly as often as I'd like to. But lately, I've been listening to my jiminy cricket and inviting folks over to eat. Last Tuesday we had the pleasure of hosting L & C for supper. I marinated chicken breasts, grilled them, and had brown rice, and peas with sauteed red onions, as well as a green salad. Father-In-Law arrived Monday night, so all around it was a great supper with good lively conversation. Simple food. (Thanks C for the chunky apple cake! SOO good. She even brought the recipe, AND a bunch of the apples)

I love having people over. I don't mind cooking. I don't mind the dishes. I don't mind company staying too late. I don't even mind them using my "good towels". Wait. I don't have "good towels". No matter. Every time I invite people over for supper, it is a refreshing and fulfilling experience. Even if before, there was a hesitancy, that personalities might clash or such. I have learned to not pre-judge. I have learned to extend a supper offer even if I don't feel like it. I have learned that having supper with people is important. It's a nice way to "give" if you don't have $ to buy gifts, or even $ for gas money to go visit these people. It's my way of opening my heart, when I open my farmhouse door.

Supper isn't shared enough. You're officially prompted to invite someone(s) over for supper. Keep the menu simple. Don't worry about the dishes. Give what you have. And see what happens.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So many things to write about.

And yet, there isn't the energy or the focus right now.

I'm going to come back and write in a glorious fieldmouse fashion. Here are the topics: (talk amongst yourselves)



Doctor Appointments


I think that's a long enough list to start with.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It all started when we bought this farmhouse...

This was April 2007. We'd been here about a month. We had to tackle a few things INSIDE before we could get to the OUTSIDE.
Fast forward to July 2007 - the addition comes off.
My husband is so fast, he'd already taken the roofing off before I could get the camera and take pictures....
Hi Jr.!
The week of The Fourth of July, last year, 2007.
I'll move quickly through this, because we're talking over a years' time here. This is the East (ENE) side of the house. See how the wood on the side of this addition doesn't match the rest of the house? Good.(if not, that's ok - it's hard to see!) Well, that's where the 'addition' was put on. The story we were told was that in the 1940's, the Health Department for this county needed a place to give vaccinations for the Polio Virus, and this community being one of their 'stops' - the owners of this home agreed to put on an additional room - with it's own entrance - just for that purpose.
It was falling down, and dragging the "mother-in-law's" quarters with it. The floor had been cut out (perhaps the previous occupants were in need of firewood? who knows) and it was a mess. I should probably have photographed the inside of the room for documentation's sake. But, I didn't.
As you can see, the house had been painted (several times?) since the addition had been added.

Yes, I put this picture in twice, not only to make you wonder if you were seeing double, but just to reiterate how very ugly this portion of the house was. For over a year. (because we were busy w/inside projects, which I will get to later. much later.)
Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Can we say Ugly?

Here is the destructor. At his best.
Fast forward to August 2008. For some reason, beyond our comprehension, some brainiac who shall remain yet un-named (oh who cares, his name was Watson) CUT A HOLE IN THE WALL to place a very large, heavy albeit in-working-condition 1969 air conditioner in it. So, since husband had painted the house up to this point, it was time. To fix what was ugly, and make it beautiful. And yes, that's Jr. in the hole-in-the-wall.
Hi Cutie!
Oh so sweet - blowing kisses to his mother! uh..what were doing? Oh YES, the house. Ok.So this is where we got to by the third weekend in August. The exterior has been scraped, caulked, and primed by Mr. Go-Getter and I...uh...kept him fed and chased the toddler. And, primed the chairs that are sitting on their backs, on the saw-horses. The couch is sitting on the unfinished portion of the deck. A story about this furniture; (There's always a story, don'tcha know) When we first moved into this house, we didn't have much in the way of furniture. So, our neighbor's dad brought us this set. It is Big. It is Heavy. It is Ugly. And I think it's from 1977. In the heart of ugly-heavy-big furniture era. The cushions, mercy-me, are...well, let's not talk about them. Anyways, we are so grateful for the givers in this neighborhood. Turns out, the guy whose furniture this IS, is now married and his wife won't let him have it back. So we decided to turn it into our deck furniture. Isn't this a way to 'go-green'? Recycle, Reuse, and...refinish.

You can see here that he replaced the door, with a door that had nice windows - to let light into the bedroom, and fixed the hole in the wall with a nice window, to let even more light into the bedroom.

All primed, and ready for paint. But wait...
Not done yet. Still have to prime the rest of the deck. Which is comprised of the ceiling of the house hubby tore down last spring. It's bead-board. And has seen many colors over the years as you can tell in the next picture.

I scraped and he caulked. Then I primed. Then, he painted.
The red is 'barn and fence' paint. Just so happens it's a near carbon-copy of our "Brick Dust" trim paint. Who knew one could come so close with OOPS Paint?

From the inside lookin' out.
And here, as you can see, the house has been painted as well as the deck. I'm still not finished. WE are still not finished, but I'll come back and update this again. Later.

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

my grateful button