Sunday, June 28, 2009

Buying Shoes for a Sister?

Is that possible? You might know a shoe size. You might know a favorite color. You might know....what else is there? What else would you need to know?
Shoes are so personal! Do you want someone, even your best friend or sister picking out your shoes?

This weekend the pressure was on! I received a phone call asking me what I was cooking for the week. As you know, my sister and I trade meals every Sunday. We don't usually share what we are cooking ahead of is always a surprise....not at all like picking out a pair of shoes for can be disposed, hidden in a purse (remember Sophia from Golden Girls), eaten while holding your nose, or given to the neighbors that won't let you know that it wasn't good just to be nice or maybe they will pass it on to the next neighbor who will pass it on to the next neighbor. Maybe just maybe, it will end up back on your doorstep. Wouldn't that be funny? Just try to do that with a pair of shoes!

Over the last almost two years (time sure does fly) that we have been cooking for each other, there have been a few flops, but not usually on the same week. She had already cooked, tasted, and critiqued her dish for this week. According to her, it was not good and I was challenged told to cook "something good" or we just wouldn't weight loss program? What to do? What if my taste was different than hers?

In my family, we play a little game when trying to decide where to go eat. It goes a little like this....What do you want to eat?....Food...What kind of food?....Good food...What kind of good food?...Real good food....What kind of real good food? This goes on until someone just makes a decision and that is that!

What happened to the time when there were few choices? You ate what was put on the table and everyone was happy to satisfy their hunger. Mom made the decision and that was that. Shoe stores were limited,, brown, white, and dye to match for a special shoes, school shoes, work shoes, Sunday shoes... Was life easier or just boring?

I made a decision... Sunday Dinner recipe...the pressure was off when I settled for boring, easy, and comfort...old faithful, tried ant true.... Company Chicken . My partner in Sunday Dinner recipes could have prepared Chicken Tetrazini or Spaghetti D'Amore. Either would have been alright with me. (Her dish was good...recipe to be shared after she gives it to me.) To make up for what she thought was so bad, she made a family (and neighbor) favorite much for the new weight loss program!

Easy Apricot or Peach Strudel

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sour cream
1 cup butter
1 jar of apricot or peach preserves
pecans (optional)

Mix well first three ingredients together. Let stand in refrigerator at least one hour. Then divide into fourths and roll dough about 13 inches long and 8 inches wide. Spread preserves along the long side of dough. Sprinkle with coconut and pecans (optional). Roll up in jelly roll fashion and seal ends. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 18 to 20 minutes. Wen done sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Slice at an angle. Makes 48 slices.

With that sitting on the kitchen counter for the next few days hours, I hope I won't be out shoe shopping because I need a new size!

If the shoe fits, wear it well!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Barefoot in the Park Crack Garden

Not so know me, and not so naive, either.

Last night after working on a small project in the backyard, I proclaimed to my youngest son that he should go take a look at my "crack garden". Of course, we had to discuss what I had just said. He tried to explain to me that "crack" doesn't is manufactured. How naive could I be?

Don't children always think that their parents are naive to the things of the world? Wouldn't it be great if we could be? Maybe they want us to be "innocent" just like we want them to stay "innocent".

There was a time when I was so naive that I thought Watergate had something to do with the Trinity River in Dallas. That was a time when wedding dresses, shag haircuts, and the latest in cork soled shoes were of more concern to me than what was being discussed on the news.

When children became a part of my everyday life, it was very important for me to be well informed. I would say, it became a matter of protection. If I didn't know what was in the world, how could I know how to protect these precious lives that God had entrusted to me. I had to know. I was to live not of the world, but rather in the longer naive....a shock to my children because I don't always share everything I know until the time is right.

So when I wanted my son to visit my "crack garden", I was just having a little fun although it really was a "crack garden".

I had been spray painting some metal flowers and while they dried I stuck them in the "cracks" in the ground. In a hot, Texas summer, cracks in the ground can happen overnight no matter how much it is watered.

You may wonder why I was spray painting metal flowers. I stole an idea from a friend...thank you, Marcy!

which led me to some other ideas to add color to my garden.

My little red wagon gets too hot for real flowers to flourish. I I have flowers where flowers won't grow!

I love my still needs a little work...a garden always requires work, but what a great place for a little whimsy, reading a book in the swing, listening to running water in the birdbath,

and enjoying the "fruits" of our labor....

...yes, we have grapevines that really produce grapes!

I will be not of this world, but in this world...not so barefoot and not so naive!

If the shoe fits, wear it well!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Agony and Defeat of Stilettos

Stilettos have very high, thin heels. Your posture is changed when your feet are styling with stilettos and a balancing act is required not to twist an might take some practice. While wearing these body slimming wonders, a quiet entrance into a room just won't happen. The tap, tap, tap will be noticed even in the noisiest room.

I could not let today go by without a word. Wishing "Happy Father's Day", has a new meaning for me. There is no one here on earth for me to express my deep appreciation and daughterly love. Just a short six months have passed since my daddy left this earth to live with his heavenly Father.

I am not grieving that loss today and definitely don't feel the agony and defeat of stilettos because I know where he is. My posture is different. My heart is not heavy with grief, but light with rejoicing...he would not want it any other way. I don't think of his passing without thinking of where he is. A few weeks ago, several people that Daddy knew well, joined him in Heaven. I imagined him greeting them with his left hand on their shoulder and his right hand reaching out to welcome them to worship...that is what Heaven is about. As Father's Day approached, I thought of visiting the cemetery...

but....he is not there. I honor him today and every day by the way I live...the way he taught me to follow Jesus.

Grief knocks you out of balance like walking on a thin, high heel. So many times in the last few months, I would have loved to laugh with him over a corny joke, ask for his wise and godly advice, or, yes, brush his dentures, trim his fingernails, or cut his hair one more time just as I did so often during the last years of his life. I have caught myself, unaware, heading in the direction of his nursing facility. (Haven't you felt like the car, having it's own mind, directed itself to a particular destination?) I would not ask him to come back if I could, but I do miss him.

For the last two days, we had our annual family garage sale. As we were packing up the last few many items that did not sell, I folded and boxed what was left of my daddy's clothes. I pulled the blue plaid flannel shirt that he wore to my nose to see if his scent was still there. The shirt had been laundered and sat in the Texas heat for two days. His scent was not there. Grief wanted to sneak in, but like the ping of a stiletto on a wood was loud and daddy is not here.

Grief is like putting on a pair of stilettos...a change in balance, posture, and awareness.

If the shoe fits, wear it well!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One Pair of Cowboy Boots in My Closet

My husband and I have separate closets, but if we didn't, that number would change from one to three...steel toe boots don't count as cowboy boots. I've had my cowboy boots for a long time. The only reason I have them is that a Texas gal from Big D needs to have a pair. I can't seem to part with them. Every year about this time, we have a family garage sale, but those boots always seem to end up back in the top of my closet.

This gal from Big D is definitely a city girl. I like having a shopping mall close by even though I'm not seen there's there if I need it. I like a grocery store just around the corner...I might be out of something...never been good at making substitutions. Schools within walking distance is a must...I hated walking to school or standing at the bus stop. Maybe, there really isn't any part of me that screams country, except for my cowboy boots that sit on a shelf at the top of my closet.

Now, I do like old things and some of them come straight from the country like my grandmother's butter churn...

an old metal nesting box...

and a milk can turned birdbath...

So maybe, "I'm a little bit country and a little bit whole lot rock and roll city...".

Last weekend, we spent a couple of days with my in-laws. They live on the outskirts of a small Texas town, population 77, in Blue Bell country. It is a quaint little town with several family owned dining establishments, gift and antique shops, as well as bed and breakfast lodging surrounding a town square with a mercantile (an all-you-really-need store) a short distance down the road.

I may be a city girl, but occasionally, the country is comfortable just like a well worn pair of cowboy boots. Life is a little slower and a walk through the trees to a secluded area where watermelon grow...

....does a body good.

My husband's parents have a garden that provides fresh vegetables for their dinner table. They enjoy the "fruits" of their labor and share them so graciously to anyone that pulls up a chair. Nothing fancy, but everything good! My mouth waters with the thoughts of her home cooking and freshly picked vegetables.

Out back my mother-in-law has chickens...

...and she gathers eggs every day.

I have never known anyone that has their own chickens much less gathers their own eggs. Remember, I am a city girl. Agnes fries fresh eggs in the morning and many times there are fresh boiled eggs on the table at other meals. They are wonderful! I eat more eggs in just a short visit than I probably eat in a month at home.

During our visit, my husband noticed that a blue bird had been coming in and out of a birdhouse along the fence row. My curiosity got the best of me so I took a walk up the road just to take a look inside finding several very blue eggs.

Early the next morning, my curiosity took me right back up that road only to jump in surprise as a blue bird came flying out just as I approached. I had been an intrusion and mama blue bird was protecting her home and new family. Only a few days after we returned home, our 11 year old niece and my new found texting pal, who had also been visiting my in-laws, sent me a picture of the baby blue birds, but I can't figure out how to post it.

Eggs...fried, scrambled, boiled, baked in a cake, or the beginning of new life.

Sunday Dinner recipes are full of the incredible, edible egg...

Egg and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Crumble 8-10 slices of bread and place in bottom of a 9x13 pan/dish.
Cook and drain 2 lbs. of sausage.
Spread sausage over bread and cover with 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.
Mix together 1 ½ cups of milk with 4 eggs.
Spread over bread, sausage, and cheese.
Cover and let stand over night in refrigerator.

In the morning, mix 1 can of cream of mushroom soup with ½ cup of milk.
Pour evenly over dish.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.
Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese to finish.

Egg and Spinach Casserole

3 pkg. frozen chopped, thawed, well drained spinach
4 1/2 cup cottage cheese
3 cup grated cheddar cheese
9 egg
6 T. canola oil
1 tsp garlic salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper

Stir together all ingredients. Pour into 9x13 greased pan. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes until brown/bubbly.

Age old question....which came first the chicken or the egg?...which came first, the city girl or the cowboy boots?

If the shoe fits, wear it well!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Momma Needs Gets a New Pair of Shoes?

Years ago, I started claiming every non-clothing item that came out of the washing machine/dryer. All of this was in an attempt to get everyone to check their pockets before letting them land on the floor in the laundry basket.

I have found many things...some of which my children don't know about...some that gave me great insight to their lives. Chapstick, rocks, cell phones..OOPS!, small amounts of change, keys, and notes of the love kind....just to name a few.

Not only did my children learn to empty their pockets, they learned at a fairly young age how to do their own laundry and it didn't hurt them one bit. I like to say that it was an important step to independence.

There were and still are times when I will help out when entertainment calls louder than laundry or when laundry becomes overwhelming...welcome to the life of a mother.

But today, after a long weekend away...just wait until you hear about that, I found the mother load lode. Not a load of laundry...well, come to think of it....there were several loads, but a load lode for mother. Look what I found...

Mother load lode, indeed! Don't you agree?

I'm not sure if it was left in the dryer after the "only bird left in the nest" did some laundry while I was away or did my hardworking, world traveling, steel toe boot wearing, tree frog catching husband leave the mother load in his shirt pocket...his favorite place to carry bills.. one that spend, not the dreaded mail invader type.

Both, husband and son, will probably claim it, but there will be only one truth!

Maybe, I don't have to tell either one at all. If I keep the laundry done, my husband will have no need to go to the laundry room to claim the mother load lode and it will be a couple of weeks before my son's floor basket will be overflowing.

So...does Momma need get a new pair of shoes?

If the shoe fits, wear it well!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Do They Ever Make Shoes From Frog Skin?

I know that boots and purses are made from alligator, crocodile, snake, and even cows....leather....but, frogs? If anyone is ready to explore the possibility, I have the source.

We have a pond on the side yard of our house, right under one of our bedroom windows. (I have suggested that we move it to the backyard very soon.) Ponds with running water should be a source of tranquility and peace...a place of solitude.

Not this one! Every spring, during mating season, our pond is overrun with small, slimy, bumpy, wiggly, loudly croaking adorable creatures...and I have to remind myself...created by God.

The noise is obnoxious and anxiety-producing each and every evening just about sunset. Its sound has about the same affect as a snoring husband. Does anyone understand?

We have often thought that they sprout wings. Yes, wings! Every evening, my hardworking, world traveling, steel toe boot wearing husband becomes a tree frog catcher. He can catch two frogs in one hand and deliver them to the greenbelt that is adjacent to our neighborhood to release them into a creek that should make a happy home for those pesky, noise making adorable creatures...created by God (yep, I have to remind myself often). Several times when he returned home, the croaking had already begun again. See what I mean? It is as though they had sprouted wings and returned before he could get back home....or.....are there so many that we might be a source for some shoe manufacturing company?

One day this week we were grateful for the presence of the frogs. I can't believe that I just said that....but...this is how the story leaped forward.

My husband was searching all around the house for his favorite pair of glasses. No, they weren't on top of his head. He even went so far as to give the pond a good cleaning to see if they might have fallen out of his pocket into the pond while catching frogs.

I know that you are thinking right now that a frog was wearing them or had dove to the bottom of the pond to retrieve his glasses as a peace offering or as a down payment for a permanent home for his family. Now, that would be silly!

What really happened....with my help...I only hold the husband caught one last frog and ever so carefully toted it to the creek. As he was about to place the frog at the edge of the creek, he spotted them.....his favorite pair of glasses...nestled among the grasses.

His glasses must have fallen out of his pocket several days prior...that's how long they had been missing. No one had found them...maybe no one else has to return frogs to the creek.

That means...we have control of the market for tree frogs. I think we may have just found our way to the Big House. We'll be rich...I can see it now...everyone will be wearing frog shoes!

If the shoe fits, wear it well!