Gifts from the Past

It seems logical that today is the birthday surrounding another favorite author (the artist, not the author). I can get completely lost in the words of Carroll as Alice wandered through Wonderland. This musing is one of those things I thought was ‘Curiouser and curiouser.’

john-tenniel-46

One of the things I try to do each day is write down blessings in a notebook. Ages ago I read a book by Ann Voskamp called 1000 Gifts, it spurred me to write down three blessings or gifts a day. I used to post them on my blessings blog frequently and put them in the notebook daily. I left the notebook in Oregon when I went north to care for mom and it has been hard to get back into doing either one!  Anyway, one of the prompts for this week was ‘gifts from the past that help you trust the future’. I was stumped this year, so I went back to see if I’d written anything down for that date before.  I had.  Something I love was scribed. Bulbs. I have so many flowers given to me by others and when they bloom, they remind me of that person. Yet, how is that trust for the future? Perhaps it reminds me that life goes on after death? Gardens are HUGE for showing the cycle of life. There is every stage in a garden from sex to embryo to death and coming back to life again. Especially with a bulb. I have tiny Tete-a-Tetes blooming at the moment.

IMG_0338

Thinking further, I definitely have a problem with trust. (More than likely from deep seated bits of my childhood.) Most of the people I have trusted fade away, they are still trustworthy, but their mindset has moved from being close to me. That is part of that life cycle thing, yet it still presents a skewed outlook in my Kris world. I push people away, too. (I have a tendency to be rather naive, but that is totally different from trust!) I was trying to think of persons I trust at the time of this typing and there are several who hold parts of me, but I’m not sure if anyone has all of me completely. (Let me wax even more philosophical!) Does anyone know all of anyone??? I am reminded of that line in ‘Ground Hog Day’ where Phil says ‘Maybe the real God knows so much because He’s been around so long.” When you are around someone a lot, do they know you? I can honestly say The Craftsman doesn’t know all of me. Some of my readers know more of me than most and probably more than my family! (Blog babbling can be a bit much, I’m always humbled by people who read and respond to me!) However, this relates to trust in people. It isn’t where the prompt was going, I don’t think!

I reckon continuity is what I see Around the Korner of this mind wander. A noun to depend on.  Birds are migrating, plants are growing (albeit not when expected), my boys are level headed (for the most part!!), and when I mix certain ingredients together, I manage to get cookies. The different things may not be exactly like they are supposed to be, but they show seasons and growth and seasonings following a plan. And this Friday, when I looked out the window, I saw some of my purple crocus in bloom. Finally! (the catmint is showing and tiny violets are appearing in the yard..still too early to do any digging, the soil is incredibly chilly.)

So, what is something from the past that helps you to trust in the future? Do you have a crafted item that reminds you of this? A plant? Does your family? A pet? It has taken me more than two hours to come up with this post, I’m curious as to what others might hold as a promise for tomorrow or beyond.

 

Wonder

There are moments when I think I need hammered upside the head. (often!) I run across thoughts and stories and comments that all say the same thing and they are generally in a theme I’m familiar with, but not realizing at the moment. This week is another one of those.

I have a favorite book (OK, I know, I say this all the time, but it is true!! Almost every book I’ve read has special bits in it and so I class them all together under favorite!)  Each book, experience, person, and interaction shapes a being in some way. This particular read was an important tool in who I am (as nebulous as that topic is!). It is called ‘A Touch of Wonder’ by Arthur Gordon. It isn’t a churchy book, it is an inspirational one. It isn’t a chapter book or a teaching book, although it does teach. It is full of stories of wonderment. One of the best ones is the last, the story where the book title comes from. (I’d take a photo of it and share that way, but the iPad did that best and well, as you know, it is toast!)

“  ‘There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle….’

This inscription was found on a small, new gravestone after a devastating air raid on Britain in WW2. Some thought it might be a famous quotation, but it wasn’t. The words were written by a lonely old lady whose pet had been killed by a Nazi bomb.

I have always remembered those words, no so much for their poetry and imagery as for the truth they contain. In moments of discouragement, defeat or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things, usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind—in fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved.

No man is so poor as to not have many of these small candles. When they are lighted darkness goes away…and a touch of wonder remains.

I had a hard time the last day or so deleting mom from her kindle and taking it over. I’ve been absorbed into so much of mom’s world and have kicked every step of the way. I am so tired of spending money on mom that I will never ever see recouped and yet, when it came time to deregister this small electronic device, it took a few days (it might have been longer, but I really wanted to finish the book I’d started!). It seemed as if I was trying to erase her.

This Sunday, I was thinking about how much of her life has gone on to bring joy to others. People have sent me pictures of skirts, scarves, holiday décor, and told me stories of where mom’s SABLE has spread. Her cat lives in Oregon, I wear her gold nugget watch, and now I’m using her Kindle (for now, I really truly much prefer Apple over Amazon!). She’s not gone, she never will be. When I eventually finish up north with the stuff of Mum and I can finish down here with the SABLE brought back (I refuse to EVER do this to my boys and if I die before I get things sorted here and leave mom’s and my stuff, I’ll move to the far side of the Kingdom of Heaven for a few centuries til I’m not grumpy at mom anymore! I am going to have to unload stuff up there for pennies or donation. I’m not thankful for that, but it will have to be. I cannot keep lollygagging around with this job!). I am looking forward to the day when I can finally step away from hers to see where my own life is going.

In the meantime, I am going to remember to look for candles to keep lighted and the wonder in that magical light. Such as being able to actually walk today without much pain and while outside finding tiny itty bitty spears of daffodil and crocus barely clearing the dead grasses of last summer around the melting snow. (NOTE: this particular pic is from awhile back)

IMG_8635

One more sleep til 2020

One tends to reflect on the eve of a new year. (nose crinkle) This last day of January, I feel better than I have in ages. Still horrid, but not too bad at all. I self-diagnosed and think I hurt my back this last summer moving boxes. It aches and aches and I was almost in tears the other night. It even hurts into my right butt cheek! I see the MS specialist on Monday next, we’ll see if she addresses something other than MS. (Often a specialist will send you back to your regular doctor for other issues. Annoying, but I guess it is less hassle for them.) I don’t make resolutions or plans. It is almost another day that has a lot of  noise at midnight and not much else. So, to reflect from the bottom up. .

This last year I’ve read 171 books (in 2018 I read 154), most of them are old friends, but some are brand new reads. I’ve not baked near as much as usual (today I did make an odd batch of cookies, it only made about 4 and a half dozen). I did get much of mom’s house cleaned, even if there is so much left it makes me want to scream! I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on that place and mum with no to little hope of recouping any of it. I’ve not heard from the IRS to see if they are going to seize her property. It is in my name, so I’ll just go on like it does belong to me and go from there. I do not have all my holiday cards sent, I reckon I’ll finish that in the New Year. (Last year I didn’t send more than a few, so getting out more is a positive step.) I created new gardens and was a part of a November/December cycle of sick. I purchased a fitted bra, ran off and met mushers, and realised how people will step up to help in the most frustrating of times. There are a great many good people in the world, I’ve met quite a few this last summer. It has been a year with more positive than not and I am grateful.

The oddest thing. I’m a fretter. (It makes for a good story later) I tend to whine (like my followers don’t know that! Lol). I tend to fold up into naps when the chips are down and hide in fiction. The other day I got the oracle fairy cards I have and stood outside with no real question to have answered other than vague thoughts of the future and what might be next. I shuffled and dealt myself three cards and came inside to set them down on the table. I don’t know much about reading these fairy cards, I have a tiny notebook that has meanings inside.

The first card was upside down. This (the booklet says) means it is difficult. The card was ‘Rise above problems’. To step back, let go and be at peace. The second card was also upside down. It read ‘New Opportunities’. This one had a drawing of an open window on it telling me to stop looking for a door and take the window. To trust and to go to new places. The last one was face up and was ‘Breaking Free’. To stop being afraid and let go, although this one also talked about being responsible. The odd part? I’ve been seeing and hearing these thoughts all around me. In books I’ve been reading, in sermons, in other blogs I have read in my email.  To stop being afraid and to let go and to be myself. To let go of what might happen with the house and just do what I can. To trust those around me instead of just existing with them.  I am not the horrid person I think I am (although, there is a FB quiz that tells your inner you and your outer self. Outside I’m Snow White, inside I’m Darth Vader!)

5C5DD472-C655-412E-8B79-C46430DD8C59

It is easy for me to get back into that person who serves and does and pushes herself away for others. I know I am a fortunate person. I have nothing to do except chores. I can read or play word games that annoy me because what the heck does that word mean and why did they use it and not something normal that won’t play anyway? (sorry, bit of a pet peeve there) Granted, I often am ignored and at the same time, I’m noticed.

Little Bear helped me research the Christmas present I wanted and he made sure to get it for me with his dad on Black Friday. The Craftsman gave me cash to help pay for a passport and Little Bear gave me a gift card for Amazon that I will use to get gifts for my family for birthdays. (because any of ‘my’ money needs to be spent on the house) I did not get a stylus or the energy bars I suggested might be nice stocking stuffers. No matter, as Little Bear said, I can use the Amazon card and get a box of styluses! So, yes, I am fortunate. Jake is using a lot of things she’s conned from mum’s and tells me this via fb or in brief calls. The antique dishes and silver and crystal and furniture. I’m glad they seem to be making her happy. She’s losing weight (now I’m the fat one! lol), spent a weekend in Seattle with her oldest, and seems to be busier than ever. I hope she can pen time to help me into her schedule next summer, but if not, it will be ok. I’ve learned how to wait, but I’ve also learned not to. Life happens in spite of what we want!

I don’t know what sort of exercises might need done to help make my back and right arm/shoulder feel better. I don’t know much at all. Yet, I am blessed by different friends around me online who encourage and care and let me grow. And someday The Craftsman might just do more than rest his hand on my hip or thigh and go to sleep!!! (OK, that latter might be expecting beyond reality, but I do love fiction!) YIKES! One thing I need to remember is to pay attention to the kitchen when I’m not in there. I was typing away and plumb forgot I was boiling eggs. Thankfully, there was about an inch of water left in the pan when I walked in to find a snack. I reckon it is a good thing I don’t have a lot to do, I don’t do what I need to very well! Silly, Kris. (Perhaps that will change..probably not!)

All in all, I think the best thing to do this next year is to focus and ‘Always Look on The Bright Side of Life‘. Shall we? (YouTube)

All around me

The last weeks I was home, I found so many interesting things in the sky and the shine of sun and my world. Here is the sunset showing through birch bark and then sap frozen as it was dripping off a trimmed tree.

Stormy clouds behind (they never did turn to rain!) and a moon feather on the branch!

Later, on the lake I found a lesson. In front of me the Alaskan colors of fall were reflecting the height and breadth of their beauty.

20191010_183145

Then, I turned around in the kayak and spied a stunning sunset.

20191010_183323

I saw that focusing on just one view leaves out an array of beauty. I realised that in the brilliance of death, there is life. I noticed that a sunset and autumn is more than an ending. It is a promise. A promise of a new tomorrow, a spring after a rest, and peace. Change is a part of life. When we don’t move, we are stagnant and stale. A butterfly is a voracious caterpillar before it rests in a chrysalis, where it becomes goo. Goo that eventually becomes another butterfly that has to break from a self inflicted  imprisonment. Cycles or circles are important aspects of our being. We cannot stay in one spot, we must move on.

20191014_164625

TnT gave me (I actually brazenly asked if I could have it!) this incredible flat stone. In our modern ages, it is a spirit rock/stone. Yet, it is more than that. This was created from sediment or rocks falling from the bottom of an iceberg floating in a lake eons ago. Once it reached the lake bed, it solidified and the ‘new’ rock traveled down a waterway to where it might be found. (this is a brief history of concretions) I love it because it shows me even rocks can change, because it is so beautiful, and because it has so much to say to me in every aspect.

Always stop to search, discover, and share. (Old Scouting motto for Tiger Cubs, but I love it!)  One of the neatest parts of this thought is that what you learn might just help someone else in some form or another.

Running Away Part 1

I’m a bit sad at the moment. I was wrong and I’m cold. (I didn’t realise I had an estimate of where the problem was for Digman. I told him the wrong spot. He was close, but not exactly. I’m also saving pennies by not turning up the heat, I spent too much last week!) So, since I’m sad, I am going to share a smidge of my running away in a few posts. It was an absolutely splendid incredibly expensive time!

Wednesday, I decided I needed away. I didn’t want to go where I knew anyone (I did know one person, TnT.  Great fun and  tons better than many!). So, I started out that morning. It was a meandering trip north!!! I had to make an appointment for mom’s car (The Craftsman told me I should check the oil, which told this non mechanic nothing. I sent a picture and he said he was pretty sure I’d be ok, but to make an appointment for it). That is for next week. I then went to a bakery that is closing and spent almost 100$ on presents and a couple items of baked goods. It is called The Moose is Loose and sells only baked goods and moose merchandise. It will be a much missed spot in the area. After that I stopped to get a bra fitting. I’ve never ever done this, I’ve always wanted to, and so I did! (It was also expensive!) I’ll write up a post for that stop by itself. I learned a great deal!

While I drove, I stopped where and when I wanted to. It is pretty late in the year, so there isn’t much out there. I did see a flock of swans. It was a lovely day and I was entirely enjoying myself. However, I discovered I was taking too long and got to Seward much later than I’d anticipated. So, I resigned myself to staying two nights. (I wasn’t planning on it, but I had sort of thought I might!)

20190926_093616

I hadn’t planned staying anywhere. I really should have. The first night I was in a quirky place with a bathroom that left a lot to be desired. Even at 5’2”, I had trouble sitting properly on the toilet! The internet was good, but when I plugged in my iPad, the outlet sparked!! The shower was lovely, however. I very much liked that!

The next day I visited two local dogsledding spots. The first was for the Seavy team. I didn’t get to see any of them, I did hear the dogs. As you can see, you need to go online to make reservations. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough money, but tentatively thought about trying to get in the next morning. I had been texting a friend and she told me about another team nearby. These guys I had wanted to meet, but never imagined I would. I drove in their lot and Sarah was outside with a bunch of puppies! She let me in the pen free of charge and was a dear. When you see Iditarod mushers and their teams online, you don’t really actually see how nice a person is. As I was leaving, her partner, Travis, showed up. TWO of them in one stop!!! I was in Iditaheaven!!!! I met several wannabe sled dogs and a couple of adults. I should have taken more photos, but I was in a bit of a …I cannot even say what I was!!! Excited is too understated. (I’m still excited just typing about it!!)

Before I left, Sarah had suggested I stop at little place in town for lunch and said to definitely have the cake. I ate in my car, but since I my next stop was near the shop, I did get cake. Strawberry cheesecake that took my two days to eat!! (8$) After that, I went to my main destination. The Sea Life Center. Which will encompass the next post!!!

IMG_9802

Favorite Morning Song

I was blessed to see a “Silver white winter melting into spring” this morning, I went outside, dancing dodging drips from the icy branches, and grinned! A million songs popped into my head to celebrate the morning. Church ones, pop and rock tunes, and of course, my all time favorite whistle. “Sunny day, keeping the clouds away…” Yes, the Sesame Street theme song. (Or it was a million years back, it’s probably changed..) No matter, when you see a beautiful morning or day in front of you, do you have a song that jumps into your mind?

(I’d highlight and italics words, but I forgot til now and trying to go back and select a section is proving ridiculous. My last post on costumes, the WordPress site tweaked it horribly. I didn’t notice til I read it much later.) 

 

Sticks or Straws On the Range

Freddie was a tiny woman from England. (I wish I could find a picture of her!!) She and her husband, Roy, would often visit their daughter on the Oregon coast. I was blessed to have purchased their former home near by.  (Actually, our  houses were so close we were neighbors separated by a rickety pole fence and only seconds from each other!) She was shorter than my 5’2″, with an iron grey bun on the top of her head. When she let it down, her hair went past  her English buns. Roy was a few years younger and a million miles taller, she called him her ‘boy toy’. During WW2, Freddie was an air raid warden no one messed with.  When her daughter moved to the US, Freddie and Roy did, too. Then they left again only to be frequent visitors. When we met her much later, one of the things we remember best was her baking. Freddie’s scones and cheese straws (also known as twists or sticks) were only surpassed as favorite treats by her tasty fingers dipped in chocolate. (shortbread cookies, I think) I’ve always tried to recreate the cheese straws and my searches online seemed fruitless. Probably because I stopped searching after a few years!

img_8385

After posting my last attempt on here, I had more recipes shared. However, I used the old cookbook version instead of the pastry puff one.  (I’m pretty sure Freddie never used anything refrigerated in her straws, except cheese!) Using Colette’s 1950’s find, I mixed and rolled and baked happily. The straws didn’t turn out the way Freddie’s did. (Perhaps she did use milk and baking soda…I imagine the old baking hand she was tweaked recipes to suit her tastes!) I didn’t quite get 50 straws, my cutting wasn’t entirely exact! But, what I ended up with were addicting and are almost gone in less than 24 hours. (I think I made 40ish of varying sizes) The bent straw in the photo above is because it twisted off the pan and was baking down against the side of the oven. (YIKES!)

I did need to find cup and temp equivalents to match the given recipe (silly Americans to not use the metric system~) and I ended up using a LOT of water to get the dough to stick, instead of the 4 TB. I was surprised at how little cheese was needed to make a cup of shredded product and it took a bit of time to cut the hard butter into the flour properly. I didn’t put in seasonings and that made the first pans of straws rather boring in taste. (I have powdered mustard on my list for next time, the other is in the cupboard!) However, as stated above, it was a win win experience when complete. Everyone I gave a straw to, liked them. The straws didn’t appear to mess up my glucose. Even the next day people snacked on them sans reheating. I will make them again with the proper seasonings inside the mix instead of  putting Mrs. Dash on the outside and try to recreate Freddie’s straws with this recipe…..and a few ideas I have. (I recall hers as being more substantial, not so skinny and fragile)

This recipe is why I love blogging. Connecting people to each other in words…and in flavors! Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their ideas and especially to Colette. Happy Baking Sigh!

Crossing cultures On the Range

IMG_8372.JPG

I have been not exactly busy…but well, walking upstairs to my laptop is a lot of work. The main desktop is often in use when the kid is home and I tend to have other things to do during the day, when it is free. (wow, that was a bit of a sentence!!) I need to get caught up on the blogs I read in my inbox and add the comments I think when I read them! Oh if there was a way to instantly add those comments…ok, maybe not!!! lol

One of the things I baked recently was an experiment. OK, not exactly, but somewhat of one. When we lived on the Oregon Coast, my neighbor’s mom would visit from England. She’d make these amazing crispy tasty cheese twist treats. She called them cheese straws and a few times she made them, her daughter and I would try to figure out her recipe. She was of the generation of a scoop of this and a handful of that and a pinch to make it taste better. Needless to say, we never managed to get her recipe. It would completely muddle her when she’d grab a handful of flour that we’d want to measure!

I looked online, but nothing ever quite matched Freddie’s. I’m afraid it is gone with her now, but I decided to try and make them again. I used my basic biscuit recipe (what Freddie called scones) and it was too soft. Little Bear called them twists and I suppose that is what they are! The straws were good, but not exactly right. I’ll keep trying and maybe less baking powder next time…..

Molasses Crinkles On The Range

Ok, they are actually in the oven, but ‘in the oven’ isn’t quite the same as ‘on the range’. Especially since I’m now residing in the middle of fields of winter wheat. This area is well known for wheat. Much of this product goes into crackers and baking mixes. But, I digress!

This cookie is one of those I make no matter what time of year it is. I shared the recipe link for these last week, it’s definitely a favorite cookie to make. I wasn’t going to do them again for awhile because they weren’t being eaten very quickly. Then, in perusing another blog, I remembered what I didn’t do this year. I almost always dip the bottoms of these cookies in chocolate. Many recipes suggest dipping half a cookie in white almond bark. After doing this, Little Bear asked why I only put in half of the cookie. He did say it made half easier to dip in milk, but it was curious. So, after some experimentation with drizzles and dipping, I began covering the bottom of the cookies and happiness reigned once more!

Since, I have some pretzels in the chip drawer and a lot of white and chocolate flavored almond bark, I decided to spend part of the weekend covering things in candy. I even had some icky coconut cookie roll tube things Little Bear got as a freebie in a store. They were in dire need of flavor help (The Craftsman liked them, the kid and I did not. Mostly because I cannot stand coconut unless it’s on my skin!). So, after much trial and mess, I filled the things with chocolate!

All in all, it was a lovely way to end 2018.

 

 

Crazy Cat Lady Cat Nips

Of course, maybe I’d end up like one of those crazy old people with, like, sixty cats. And one day, the neighbors would complain about the smell, and it would turn out I’d died and the cats had eaten me.

Still, it might be nice to have a cat.” Alex Flinn

IMG_8007

Last week I received a gift from an author. Not words (she did send book swag, see photo!), but a purrfectly chosen package of meow-valous fun. SE Isaac and I have followed each other for a while now. I’ve purchased some of her books and we’ve sent postcards and different purrcels back and forth. This one, however, takes the catnip. I’ve texted the photo below to several people and shared it in person. Responses have been absolutely pawslapping.

IMG_8004

In one of the postcard thankyous I sent south, I mentioned I cannot wait to get an injury so I can use the awesome band aids. They will be a great addition to a first aid ‘kit’! (I may put the mouse tattoo in a letter) I have scribbled out the ‘to’ on a gift tag stickers and added them to envelopes. I was surprised the mints weren’t catmint flavored, but they are tasty! To get real mail is such a lift, it brings one’s felines up 100%!

I reckon my purrsonailty might be similar to a Crazy Cat Lady, but I’m only around Mom’s in AK and haven’t seen the two in Oregon in ages. I do know one of my favorite colors is purrple (which is the color of the swag bag I was sent!). Purrhaps, being crazy about cats starts with a whisker and hairballs from there? Or was it something I’ve carried over from a different life? The whole idea is furry interesting.

I wasn’t sure my imagination was up to scratch and could litter this post with plays on words by myself. I did find most of them on punpedia.org. I also thought about cat burgling amewsing puns from another author blogger, but I will link one of his meowsers here and you can see what kinds of castastrophe’s he’s created on his blog for yourself and buy a book! (or you can just flea the appawling sentences and skitter elsewhere!)

As I paws and reflect on those I’ve met online, I am beyond thankful fur the love. I especially appurr-ciate my purrticular purrky pen pal, S! (She’s even edited and added to an erotic romance called ‘A Guide to Claiming a Scaredy Cat, so maybe her pawsition is also one of a Crazy Cat Lady!)

IMG_8001

Added the magnet to my shrine of special things!