Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Family Birthday, Gossip, and UPdates

My father and my sister had birthdays yesterday. Dad turned 75, Sis turned 39 (again!). My brother-in-law has a birthday this Friday. So, I offered to cook a meal for the birthday celebration on Sunday. My only request was a menu. Picky eaters and such. The response was..."Anything is fine with me" three times.

But I know that my BIL doesn't eat cheese, my sister doesn't eat fish, and my dad wants comfort food.

I decided on something easy for me, and generally well received. I made a Five Hour Stew, a salad of leafy greens, mandarin oranges, green onions and sugared almonds. I know that one of my nieces and my mom love a raspberry vinaigrette, so I used it on the salad. I also made cornbread and served a marble cake with white butter-cream frosting from Publix.

This meal was very well received.

We had very good news regarding my cousin's husband. He spent three weeks in intensive care at the university hospital and was then moved to another hospital with pressurized rooms to assist in his lung function. He was moved to a rehab center for a couple of weeks before going home. He has been driving himself to work for a few hours a day. Talk about miracles!

Sis called Sunday evening as I was preparing to go to my safe place due to tornadoes in the area. She had some really good, happy gossip to share.

There was a childless couple who worked with the youth at church when I was in my early teens. They later had children of their own and changed churches but remained close. Jimmy died unexpectedly several years ago.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I became friends with a lovely lady from church who was married with a teen son. She was the life of the party everywhere she went. She died after a long bout with cancer a couple of years ago.

The widowed spouses found each other recently and have married. I'm so happy to hear this. It just seems right.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Morning In A Small City

I live in a city of about 30,000. Too big to be a town, rural enough to retain the small town feel. And while fighting the same fights as the bigger cities, it still retains a certain charm.

Like today, when I rose early and headed to the farmer's market on the town square for some honey and butternut squash. Then I stopped by Walmart, where I spotted the Amish out shopping. The Amish around here really love Walmart. The men were outside chatting amongst themselves beside the buggies, the women and children inside shopping. It is a beautiful autumn day and the men in those straw hats, dark blue shirts, black slacks and suspenders were somehow brighter than the colors would lead you to suspect.

I headed over to the local mall which, like so many malls these days, was quite dead. The few stores still open were not particularly busy, but it was early yet. I stopped at a yard sale or two, then headed to the local coffee house.

Buckhead Coffee is in a mid-century house on a fairly busy street and is almost impossible to get into on a Saturday. Today was no exception. I arrived at a little before eleven and the line was out the door. But, Oh My! The vanilla ice cream coffee was amazing! And, when compared to the cost of, you know, The Big Guys, it was a happy little treat.

So, after a stop at the supermarket and the drugstore, I'm back home for a while. I need to make some cookies and do some laundry. It's just so hard to motivate myself to stay inside on such a lovely day. Maybe I'll walk to the library and back.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is It So Wrong?

To admit that my heart skipped a beat when I read that McDonalds is bringing back the McRib?


Sweet, spicy sauce, tangy dill pickles, tender pork, crisp onion and crusty roll.

Please, don't get me wrong, I don't eat fast food often, but I will have to have at least one McRib.

And no comments about my heart skipping a beat due to the fat laden, cholesterol raising qualities of McDonalds...I know, I know. But everyone needs a vice to make them interesting.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reader's Delight

I am a reader. I have always been a reader. I treasure books like others treasure jewelry,exotic stamps, rare coins. I grew up in a home of readers and cut my teeth on James Michener, Irving Wallace and even Harold Robbins. I was taught to think of a library as reverently as a church.

I love good fiction but am not opposed to really well written non-fiction. I don't care for Sci-fi, but am open to almost anything else. My current leanings are mystery (from the essential comfort of a cozy to the gritty darkness of crime novels), fantasy (from faeries to vampires), and chick lit. But most of all, I love a well written novel.

Because I am a reader, I tend to skim; to read fast and skip extraneous narrative. I sometimes feel guilty for doing this, thinking of the time and effort the author must have put into the work, but there are other things to do, other books to read, and so I skim.

And then, once in a blue moon, I encounter a book so beautifully crafted that I find myself devouring each word and phrase and going back to re-read favorite paragraphs. Cry, the Beloved Country was one such book. All Over But the Shoutin' was another. And I currently find myself mid-way through yet another.

Words--ordinary words--organized and composed so as to create emotion and experience. Words we ourselves use on a daily basis suddenly so elegantly presented as to make us feel smarter and better for having read them. One must savor these experiences; take them to heart. These books...these gems...are rare and lovely and worthy of esteem and must be shared.

I offer to you today The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.


I encourage you to pick it up and read the first fifty pages. I believe you will be as impressed as I.