Saturday, May 31, 2014


For the uninitiated, this is the clematis I planted this year (not to be confused with the clematis I planted last year, the year before, the year get the idea!). That feathery appendage on the right is the remnants of the one bloom that came with the plant.  I refer to it as the teaser!  The gorgeous flower was just a bud when planted and currently rests at the top of my pride list, right next to the spigot (see Thursday's post).  Immediately to the right of the present and below the past lies the future...the hope of what is to come.  Like last year and those prior, the possibility of success exists.  Granted, past experience would suggest the improbability of such an event, but yet, where there's we will revel in the present, remember the past, and hope for what is to come!  All is good, and you are loved!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Phriday phood catch up

As promised...two for the price of one!  Of course, the cost of one is to listen to my lament.  Remember that tooth post?  Well, it seems that I was still having pain, so in a pique of curiosity, I stuck my finger in the extraction site and found something hard and sharp.  Since it is Friday, my dentist is gone, but the angel of mercy with whom he works has agreed to come in and check it out this afternoon.  Until then, it's Advil and keep my dang hands out of my mouth!  Of course, cooking and eating will make it better, especially if they're my favorite foods,  so here you go!  Enjoy and know how much you are loved!

Butter and cream scones
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
11 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy cream
granulated sugar for sprinkling
(Can add fruit or other flavorings as desired.  In fact, my espoused likes them with Reese's Pieces!)

Blend flour, sugar, and baking powder in food processor.  Add butter, cutting in by pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Remove from processor and place in large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the cream.  Using a fork, stir until just moist.  Place dough on floured surface and gently knead until smooth, about 6-8 times.  Divide dough in half.  Pat each portion into a 3/4 inch think round.  Cut each round into 6 wedges (as if cutting a pie).  Place the wedges on a lightly creased baking sheet, about an inch apart.  Brush tops with remaining 2 Tbs. of cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees until light brown, about 18 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and cool as long as you can stand it.  Slather with butter and/or jelly and smile!

Hot Cheese Dip
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
1 cup fresh parmesan, shredded
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients.  Place in a prepared casserole (sprayed with vegetable oil) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve with crackers, bread, or anything you wish.  Makes an excellent addition to any sandwich!  There are few guarantees in life.  Serve this and you WILL be a hit!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The spigot

Here's the deal.  I am handyman impaired.  When I hold a power tool in my hands, shudders can be felt on the Richter scale!  I recognize inept.  In fact, I revel in inept.  As my good friend, little Ruth Marie says, you work your whole life so you can pay someone to do the things you can't/don't want to do.  That would be mostly things having to do with tools.  Yet, for some reason this morning, I was possessed by a demon that suggested I should at least see why the spigot in the west garden was leaking,  with shovel and small trowel in hand, I approach said spigot.  I commence.  I remove the lawn edging that is currently in front of the spigot.  It comes apart in one piece as it is supposed to.  I celebrate.  I then proceed to dig a small trench in front of the spigot to expose the connection to the water supply.  Yup.  It's leaking.  There is a wire clamp holding the supply hose to the supply valve.  I tighten it.  I then walk all the way across the yard to turn on the water.  When I return to the spigot, visions of Old Faithful greet me.  Water is spurting out.  I return across the yard at a more rapid rate and turn the water off.  Back to the spigot.  I surmise the problem is the connecting hose has slipped up and water is coming out the bottom.  Have I mentioned the spigot is attached to a 4x4 with two C clamps?  I know I have to move the faucet down, so I have to remove the C clamps.  Different screw driver.  Into the house I go for a Phillips.  (No. Not a shot of vodka!  The screw driver!). Back to the faucet.  Remove the C clamps.  Push the spigot and connecting hose to secure it to the water supply. Open up the hose clamp (using a flat head screw driver) move it down over the supply valve and the connecting hose, and tighten to a fair-thee-well.  Walk back to turn on the water.  Amble back, somewhat trepidously, knowing my penchant for solving problems such as these.  No geyser.  No drip.  No wave on the standing water from before.  And yes, I had actually turned the water on.  The celebratory dance was one for you tube!  Emboldened by my obvious new-found skill set, I re-attach the C clamp.  Notice, I say camp.  Singular.  There is that omnipresent niggle that all this will come undone, so let's not hastily make more work than necessary when it's time to fix the fix.  That was seven hours ago.  The 37 times I have been by to check, it's still fixed.  Do the math.  1 shovel.  1 trowel.  2 screwdrivers.  Equals 1 fixed spigot and one very proud quasi-handy person.  And just between us, you will NEVER know if it all goes bad!   Celebrate all your victories and know you are loved!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Really? Eight hours?

It's been a long time since I put in an eight hour day!  Working, that is!  Well, I just did, and my assets are dragging...but I enjoyed the process immensely!  I cooked for a dinner party of 18 and we had some extremely interesting food.  Perhaps the most interesting was the crab stuffed chicken breast wrapped in bacon and served with a chipotle pepper sauce!  I thought it was yummy, and apparently so did they since they cleaned their plates!  I wish the food could have been hotter, but you never know how long a presentation may be before service begins.  The whole process does remind me that I'm not as quick as I used to be! Anyhoo, it's time for feet up and brain off!  For those of you who do this eight hour thing every day, my hat's off to you!  And all of you are loved!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth

At 3:00 this afternoon, I lose one of my very best friends.  I have been told I cried a lot when I first met it.  I am going to be a big boy and try not to cry when it goes away!  For some 59 years it has served as a constant companion, worker, and friend.  It has had various difficulties in its life, but has always been there when I needed it.  Oh, on occasion it has caused me great pain, but working through the pain only made me realize it's import.  Alas, no longer.  Recently, part of it decided to break off and push through it's housing.  Enough is enough, and so with great anticipation, (not necessarily positive!) it's hasta la vista, molar.  Never fear.  For a king's ransom, a new one will take it's place.  Hopefully, it, too, will see 59 years of service!  Remember to brush and floss, and know you are loved!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hi, Lily, Hi Lily...

There are very few flowers that really blow me away.  Okay, that's a bold faced lie.  They all blow me away.  But perhaps the cyclonic effect of an Asiatic lily stands above most other breezes.  There's something in the amazing brilliance of color, the symmetry, and the way they outshine everything around them.  Oh, and they bloom early in the season, giving them a true head-long lead.  Tonight was especially seductive in terms of light and contrast.  So perhaps I'll just let the pictures say "Hi low!"  You, like the lily, are beautiful and loved!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Lester, Arvin, Hank, Ted, Reuben, Stub. Cliff, Norris, Bud, Kenny, et. al., and of course, Sam!  Who, you might ask, are these amazing people?  The first two were my dad's brother and brother-in-law.  The next four were my mother's brother and brothers-in-law.  The next group were brothers and brothers-in-law to my mother-in-law and father-in-law (some of whom I never met and some whose names escape me right now).  And Sam.  Geneologically speaking, they would all be my uncles, and that's what I'm crying.  I'm not sure whether it's the lack of sleep, the presence of years, or my genetic predisposition to wussdom, but I'm pooped!  The beautiful thing is, this is a solvable problem!  A little diet Pepsi, a short stroll to Nod, and a never-ending list of  blessings and I'll be right as rain.  Oh, please let it rain!  Now if only Ann, Doris. Gladys, Zell, Vic, Edith, Nina, Nettie, Winifred, and Avenel could offer their advice!  I'll dream of you, for you are loved!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ain't it the truth!

A happy person is not someone in a certain set of circumstances,
but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes!

Often, my Pollyanna approach to life gets me in trouble.  People cannot believe I could be happy all the time.  I'm not.  In fact, get me talking about certain social issues, and the Irish flairs up!  But I believe the saying has merit.  I could choose to live my life angry, or sad, or depressed, or let someone else dictate my mood, but I choose happy!  And after all, it is a choice!  

And on a happy note, I missed posting a recipe yesterday.  I apologize.  Look for two next Friday.

Stream of thought is an interesting writing tool.  Miss Loosewheel was the master of writing just what she was thinking.  Non-sequiturs be darned!    Come to think of it, it was probably she who convinced me that I could choose how I wanted to spend my days.

Have an absolutely stunning new week, and know you are loved!

Friday, May 23, 2014

I remember when...

I could plant 24 tomato plants without an accompanying creak of bones!

I could plant one short row of onions without having to kneel down to do it!

I could ride in the back of a pickup without people snickering!

I could get into the back of a pickup without having to step on something!

I could get a whole beer drunk without half of it winding up on the table and/or my shirt!

I could go to bed after a day's work without the need of Advil!  Copious amounts of Advil.

There were so many more things to worry about, and fret over, and complain about.  Old ain't bad!

You were loved.  Oh wait.  That's now!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A little bit of sun...

Would have been better than a lot of sun...especially since I thought it was necessary to expose as much of my body as is legally possible whilst roto-tilling the gardens this afternoon!  I was not cognizant of the effect that exposure had until I stepped into the hot shower..and out again extremely quickly!  Heat on sun burn is my new go-to method of torture.  I guess I just can't be satisfied.  I hooched all winter about the weather, and now that it is gorgeous, I spend too much time in it and hooch!  Oh wait.  I have the's hooch.  A cold beer, a feeling of accomplishment, and the knowledge that I have readers to love, and life is good!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Two wolves

We're on our way home from Brookings today when we come upon a car with a back window that seems fogged over.  Since the humidity was high and the temps were coolish, I wasn't that surprised.  It was only when we were right behind it that I saw it was actually one of those new window coverings like you see on public transit--the kind that shows a picture on the outside but can seem perfectly transparent from the inside.  The picture was an absolutely gorgeous depiction of two wolves. And it immediately reminded me of a bulletin board I had used so many years ago.  Thankfully, I saved the saying, (which, in true teacher fashion I'm sure I stole from somewhere else!) and it went like this:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 wolves.

 One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

 The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and

 The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his
grandfather, "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Who knew a car could make me philosophical?  Since I believe people learn more from what we do than what we say, we need to be aware that we are feeding the good wolf!  

I'm sure glad Cath had that appointment!  Reminded me that you might be hungry!?  Allow me to toss you a are loved!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Almost heaven

According to John Denver, we must be in West Virginia!  A day without significant wind.  Great bike ride.  A day of planting.  Understand, it will take several more, but as I write this, my fingernails are dirty...up to my armpits; my knees have seen more time on the ground that a repentant hooker; my body is a pinkish tone that may increase in hue; my lunch today was a home-built chocolate chip cookie; and you would probably have to use a crow bar to convince the corners of my mouth to turn down.  This is truly what life is about.  Of course, I probably got about 1/10 done that I might have in previous years, but I have figured out (slow that I am) that it isn't a race.  It's okay to stop and admire the work you've done, and if you're tired, QUIT!  Besides, if I'm going to be clean by supper time, I have to start now!  Take me home, country roads!  Know you are loved!

Monday, May 19, 2014


If you were to look this up in the "picture to the right" dictionary, you would find little Billy smiling back at you!  Just now, Cath reminded me we need to get our nephew's graduation card in the mail.  He graduated yesterday!  This reminded me we also have to get his uncle's card in the mail.  His birthday was 11 days ago!  Oops.  It really is no indication of our care for these individuals (or any of you whom we have been tardy in recognizing), it is because I have the shortest memory in the world. If something comes up between the reminder to do something and completing the task (like I'm old and if I stand, I have to pee!), the task goes uncompleted.  Such is life in the slow lane!  Ah well, I guess my picture in the dictionary is better than on the post office wall...which reminds me, I was supposed to pay my taxes sometime...I'll do it after bridge.  Later, gator!  Know you are loved!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Flashback 15 years

According to the paper, it was 15 years ago that I started what we have come to call my year as Miss America.  No tiara, no sash, and no $32,000,000 in scholarships, but a year that will live in memory.  South Dakota Teacher of the Year.  What an amazing honor!  And while I'm still not convinced there were any other candidates, I proudly claim the award.  I believe EVERY teacher deserves the least the ones that love what they do.  I'm not naive enough to think all teachers are exceptional.  Like every profession, there are those who do it for the money(!), some who do it for the summer months, and some who do it because they've done it and don't want to try something else.  But the vast majority of the teachers I know ascribe to the philosophy that  people deserve the right to make themselves better, that all people deserve respect, and that education is a means to a better world.  And more importantly, they do it because they love their subject, they love their students, and they themselves love to continue to learn.
Because of the award, I met an amazing group of educators.  We quickly bonded and became a family.  Because of the award, I started my encore speaking career.  Because of the award, I've discovered "world peace"!  Oh wait...that's the Miss America thing again.  Thanks for letting me walk down memory lane.  Thanks for constantly supporting education, and thanks for allowing me to love you!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The rewards

If you follow me on Facebook, you will understand of what I speak.  This has been one of the most enjoyable weekends I can recall, and it has to do with the four guests we have had.  It started with her.  Actually, it started with her parents.  We went to visit them and met her for the first time.  Bright!  Charming.  Engaging.  And willing to put up with us.  She was an amazing child, who, as she grew, became even more amazing.  Well, except for that eating thing.  I never understood how any one individual could take as long to eat as she did.  But had her folks asked, we would have taken her in a moment.  That may be the highest compliment I have ever paid!
Then off to college where she met him.  A gentle man.  A wit.  And he was willing to put up with us! They married.  The had two children.  She is now a sophomore and a clone of her mother.  Caring.  Bright.  A debater!  She is a joy with whom to visit and hang.  He is going into seventh and epitomizes the way a young man should act.  Inquisitive.  Bright. Engaging.  And they are willing to put up with us.  As a family unit, they symbolize all that is right with that social structure.  They do things as a unit.  They treat each other with humor and love.  They respect each other.  And thank you very much, they seem to enjoy our company!
It's only Saturday.  We have one more day to eat and laugh and enjoy.  And we shall.
May you be so lucky to find such a family in your lives.  And know you are loved!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Phriday Fhood Philosophy Revisited

I had the pleasure yesterday to work with a young lady who has just graduated from college and was looking for help on interview skills.  First, I was extremely pleased that she thought I could help her.  Second, I was extremely upset that Career Readiness and Employability (a class I wrote and taught oh so long ago) is no longer an option at the high school.  Egotistically speaking, I thought it was one of the most important life-skills classes that any student could take.  Of course, I thought that the teacher was amazing.  In fact, the teacher who inherited it when I left was amazing as well.  But kind of fell into disrepair and went the way of elimination.  What could be more important than knowing how to look for a job, how to write a letter of inquiry and a resume, how to interview, how to work as a team, and how to move from one job to another without burning bridges?  For the most part, we all have/will do it at some time.  Well, the young lady will do well.  She is concerned enough to ask for help, bright enough to take what she needs in terms of information and incorporate it, and motivated enough to actually make some changes.  And I got to teach.  I see it as win/win!  It added a little spice to my day.  And so does today's recipe.  (How was that for a segue?)  The Beer Barbecue sauce adds a little zest of life!.  Give it a try and know you are loved!

Beer Barbeque Sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 pound butter
2 minced cloves garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 Tbs. celery seed
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 bottle stale beer
1 small bottle catsup
Directions:Combine all ingredients.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat--simmer 5 minutes.  Stir frequently.   Cool, cover, and refrigerate.
Pork Chops--Place 6 thick cut pork chops in deep dish.  Cover with hot beer barbeque sauce and cover with foil.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Place chops on hot grill and turn every 3-5 minutes.  Cook until done, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Chicken--Combine chicken pieces with beer barbeque sauce.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Remove from sauce and place on grill.  Cook until done.  Turn frequently, basting with remaining sauce

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The art of cleaning a bathroom

I am a slob.  I am a man.  The two are not always inter-related, but for me, unfortunately, they are.  This does not bode well for the bathrooms in our house.  I truly aim to please.  I'm just not all that accurate.  There are, I realize, obvious solutions to this problem.  I could just step outside.  I am so equipped.  I fear the neighbors might object, or I might object to the derisive laughter.  Whatever.  I could sit down to pee.  I recall staying with an uncle of Cath's who opined, just as I walked into the room with my new necklace/chain, that "any man who wears a necklace probably squats to pee."  I'm NOT going to do that.  I do still wear the chain (it was a 10th anniversary present from mi esposa!).  The final alternative is to clean up after myself.  I have learned how to do that.  It includes paper toweling, an astringent cleaner, and a little elbow grease.  But it's only fair.  Sort of like life.  I have made my share of messes because of the choices I have made.  But I have done what I could to clean them up.  Sometimes, it takes more than a paper towel!  Ah well!  As it said on the wall at some bathroom or other (it may well have been Uncle Russ's!)  Our aim is to keep this room clean.  Your aim will help!  I aim to always try to clean up.  And I hit the target every time when I tell you that you are loved!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The little things

In his novel You Can't Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe states, "In the infinite variety of such common, accidental, oft-unheeded things one can see the web of life as it is spun."  Now, if the very nature of this literary citation does not immediately increase my readership by ten fold, I will be surprised.  Or not!  But the statement has always niggled at me.  You see, I've always been an event kind of person.  You know, those big things that blow you away--birth, death, graduation, wedding, a truly unique and funny joke--well, you get the picture.  I know graduating from school (twice) had a profound impact on my life.  I got to spend it working.  I know marriage has had a profound impact on my life, and will continue to do.  Thankfully, I have yet to experience the death part, and I'm more than willing to wait for that.  However, I think Tom (my close personal friend!) has it right.  While the momentous moments provide benchmarks for a life, it is what happens between the benchmarks that make the life.  The people we love.  The daily routine.  The fortuitous interventions.  They are the things that mold our being.  The web they weave is the legacy we leave.  So today, I celebrate the little accidental things.  And as always, I celebrate you (no little thing, indeed!)!  You are loved!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The joys of aging...I count them three

Teeth like iron!  Every dentist I went to was amazed I had a full set of 32. Wisdom teeth--perfectly normal--not growing sideways or incapable of poking their way through.  Mouth just the right size.  Of course, there was that one dentist who wanted to pull them because they were "doing no good."  There was nothing wrong with them, they were up to no good.  I came to the conclusion that this particular dentist didn't need my business.  But then I got older, and one of the molars decided to split in half.  Apparently, the steel had begun to rust.  Out it came...and then the one behind it.  Now there are thirty.  And the next one in line is on borrowed time.  Seems as how it had a root canal, so has no pain...except when the root fractures and pushes its way through the gum.  Time to say goodbye to number 30, but that leaves too big a hole, so we are going to replace it.  Can you say implant?  Can you say goodbye to my convertible for yet another year?  Oh well, at least I will have 29 amazing teeth, and one prosthetic one!  Not bad for a coot.

Vision like a youngster--clear and repaired to be that way.  Spent the money.  Went from legally blind to no glasses.  One of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.  For the last 14 years, I have seen well and enjoyed the feel of breezes on all of my face.  Now, however, the right eye has a cataract.  Not so clear, the vision.  But it is repairable as well.  Maybe the convertible will have to wait two years.

Attitude of gratitude.  I can eat.  I can see.  I can pay to be repaired.  And I recognize to what degree the people with whom I eat and the people I want to see have engendered said attitude.  To all who make me all who make be all who make me glad I am alive, I say thank you.  You are loved!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Burning questions

1.  Why is there moss growing on the west side of the tree in front of our house?  Is this another trick of Mother Nature just to confuse me?  (Sorry, that was two questions!)
2.  Why is it I can remember what I ordered to eat on my first date but can't remember what I had for breakfast (Rhetorical, PLEASE!)
3.  Why is the front seat of the Neon the logical place for the dog to deficate when I pick her up from the vet?
4.  Why didn't I know that Cath had refilled the cleaning spray bottle with vinegar water?
5.  Does anyone know how to get the smell of vinegar out of car upholstery?
6.  Is it really true that South Dakota does have four seasons?
7.  Follow up question...what season is this?
8.  Who was the genius that designed an air conditioner motor to also run the defroster?
9.  If one train left Chicago at 9:00 pm, would it ever meet itself?  (I think that's how the story problem that haunts me to this day was worded!)
10. Do you know you are loved?

If the only question you could answer was number 10, and you answered yes, the teacher in me gives you an A+!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What a mother!

Very few men have been as lucky as I!
Anyone who knew my mom loved her.  She was a witty, caring, unique lady with an amazing gift for making you feel important.
Anyone who knew my mother-in-law loved her.  Her quiet resolve and her attention to good made her unbelievably kind.  Not to mention she raised the most amazing daughters.
My sister?  Well she's a mother, too.  And she has three of the most delightful young adults I know!  She has taught them the power of love and respect for everyone.
My sister-in-law?  Two stunning young ladies whose care for those around them is legend.
Then, there's the next door neighbor, who after 38 years of serving in that capacity is as close to a mother figure as we have.  She cares, and for that we are seriously grateful.
Of course there are the friends we have made who have children who are successful, charming, witty, and most importantly, kind.  How could they not be with the role models they've had?
Yup.  Lucky.  And here's the thing.  I've also been lucky in love!  Although we have none of our own, I know that Cath has molded so many children into the kind of people we all can be proud!  Today and everyday I celebrate the women in my life!  You are loved!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

And it was...

Magical!!!  I feel terribly "Wicked"!  What a way to spend an afternoon.  The wizard was not dead, and the smile on my face will not fade for a while!  Sometimes, less is more, and perhaps the best thing to say is I LOVED IT, and I love you!

It's a matter of degree

Mine happens to be speech/theatre...with a minor in English.  Today, I get to enjoy that degree with a visit to Omaha to see "Wicked".  I've been listening to the music for quite a while, and I'm excited to finally put actions to words.  Theatre to me has always been magic.  It is an opportunity to leave myself for a while and enjoy seeing life through the eyes of others.  Sometimes, that alternative vision can be painful, but I never leave the theatre the same as I went in.  I'm smarter, or happier, or more caring.  I'm quizzical, or upset, or angry.  But mostly, I'm amazed.  How good playwrights construct an alternative universe amazes me.  How good directors bring their own interpretation to that universe amazes me.  And how actors can go beyond their normal lives to let me see that universe amazes me.  And the amazing thing is, I continue to have the opportunity to be amazed.  I guess that degree has "changed me for good."  Told you I'd been listening!  May your day be filled with amazement and the knowledge that you are loved!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Phriday Phood--man does not live by bread alone...

Here's the skivvy today!  I have discovered a task that is much more onerous than I remembered, and I remembered disliking it immensely.  It starts with the garage.  The old garage.  The peeling, rotten paint garage.  In a pique, I decided to put the snow blower away and plug in the lawn mower so I could use it next week.  While there, I decided I may as well straighten the garage.  In my perambulations, I come across a paint scraping device.  Hmmm, says I.  Perhaps it is an omen?  So I takes this little device with me outside and give it a test scrape.  It works.  CRAP!  I really do love to paint.  I hate the prep work.  And I DETEST scraping.  But the dilapidated look of a peeling garage really diminishes the look of the property, so I have decided it is time to clean up my act.  I start scraping.  And swearing.  And swearing louder!  Being somewhat sane (okay, I realize that may be a stretch) I decide that it makes sense to do a little at a time so I don't go off the deep end.  One section (a very small one) is done.  I am now washing clothes, and let me tell you, the task is much more appealing than it was before I started scraping.  Go figure.  Anyhoo, that's my Friday story and I'm sticking to it.  I do think, however, that it might be a good night to make bread.  And here's the fun thing.  You too can make the best bread you've ever had (okay, but it is really, really, good...and so easy.  Put it together with a steaming bowl of soup, and life is amazing (see, I told you you can't live on bread alone!)  Enjoy and know you are loved!

Skillet Bread
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 5/8 cup (1 1/2 cups Plus 2 Tbs) warm (110-120 degree) water
Stir flour, yeast, and salt together.  Add water and mix well.  Cover with oiled waxed paper and a towel.  Let rise 12 – 14 hours.  “Plop” onto a floured board.  Incorporate a little flour and knead lightly until dough is easy to handle.  Place into a greased bowl.  Let rise 3 more hours.  Place heavy skillet with cover in oven.  Preheat to 400 degrees.  When hot, remove skillet, uncover and spray with cooking spray.  Gently roll dough into hot skillet and cover.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover.  Bake another 30 minutes.  Cool bread on rack.  Loaf is crusty, porous, and grained like peasant bread.  GREAT with soups and especially good toasted with lots of butter!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wick? What wick?

At times, we have bee accused of burning the candle at both ends.  I must say, you get twice the light that way, but when you get to the middle, oh my!  It is one of those weeks...convention Monday through Wednesday followed by a bridge date Wednesday evening; retired teachers' meeting this morning with fresh made carrot and walnut muffins followed by another bridge club tonight, and a flying trip to Omaha to see a production of "Wicked" this weekend.  Sandwiched in there was a trip to the dentist to discover I need to have one fewer tooth than I now have!  As a result, we're kind of shell shocked and wandering around with that glazed look in our eyes.  But you know what?  We do these things out of choice!  And busy is a better B than bored!  So we'll redip the candle tomorrow (right now, a day off!) to add more wax, maybe temporarily extinguish one end, and prepare for the next onslaught!  Resiliently, I would remind you that you are loved!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Imagine that!

As I sat, listening to yet another interpretation of the new AARP program "Life Reimagined", I heard the presenter discuss triggers...those things in your life that precipitate change.  It got me thinking.  I have a variety of triggers.  Lately, thanks to this hangy-on cold, I haven't slept well, so I eat.  Sometimes, when I feel a bit over stressed, I eat.  Whenever I'm angry, I eat!  If the weather changes, I eat.  Lots of triggers, the same result.  Face it.  I eat like a horse.  Is that why they call it a "Trigger"?  Roy Rogers, eat your heart out!  And the rest of you...know you are loved!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The artist

Of all the things I can't do, creating a piece of art ranks right at the top of my oh poop list.  I can see things.  I can visualize things.  I can be tempted to recreate these things in an artistic form.  But there is a significant disconnect when the attempt reaches my wrists.  My hands just don't get it.  My stick people are even hard to discern.  So I have learned to revel in the abilities of others.  What, you might ask, is the precipitor of this day's ramblings?  We are in Sioux Falls and this morning enjoyed the sculpture walk.  The walrus and calf were stunning.  The fat bird sang to me.  But the zebra...oh my god, the zebra.  What a stunning piece.  The power.  The coloring.  The mood.  It was something of which I will marvel for some time (Cathryn would not let me take it home!).  There were some I didn't understand.  There were some I understood but didn't like.  There were some that made me think my stick people might be okay (actually, that is a lie, but it sounded good!).  But each was unique.  Each was a vision, and each was a statement the kind of which I cannot make.  But I can and did enjoy!  If you can, create a piece of art.  If you can't, enjoy the work of others and make your life your masterpiece!  And always believe that you are loved!

Monday, May 5, 2014


I hereby proclaim...I prefer green to white.  It was a perfect morning for a little exercise--a light breeze from the northeast.  The sun, shining brightly (at least part of the time).  The toilets in the park are open!  If I hadn't been running, I truly would have enjoyed the experience.  However, since I was, I had time to utilize my senses.  There truly was the scent of spring in the air.  At some point in my run, something was blooming, and it smelled divine.  (Or perhaps it was oxygen deprivation!)  Likewise, as I headed for home (the only enjoyable thing about running!) I noticed the grass.  What a gorgeous shade of green.  And I realized that just as the cold and dead season of winter was finally gone (at least until the next snowfall, possible at any time in South Dakota), the rebirth of plants and this animal were apparent.  Bring on the green!  I'm ready.  And you are loved!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sing, sing a song

As I vegetate in front of the brain sucking tube, it strikes me.  Music.  My, how it can draw you in to a scene.  But this doesn't surprise me.  I've known for years what impact music has on my soul.  It can truly soothe the savage breast.  It can also arouse it!  Put "Old Time Rock and Roll" on the speaker and watch my feet move, my body twitch, and here me start to sing along.  Meat Loaf?  Oh yeah!  The amazing thing is, I also love the classics.  You should see me at a symphony concert (unless they are debuting a new original I don't get it piece!).  I groove.  I sing...okay.  I play the piano...okay.  I played brass...pretty well.  Music is a great part of my life.  So it's okay to vegetate, if only for the music, right?  Finally, an excuse!  Sing yourself a happy song and know you are loved!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The people we choose to love.

When teaching my career readiness class, we used to talk about making choices.  We choose with whom we become friends.  We choose the direction our employment heads.  We choose the diet we decide to follow.  We choose whether or not to accept the consequences of our choices.  And we choose the person with whom we will share all these choices.  I maintained then, as I do now, that is the most important choose we make!  I can truthfully say I have NEVER regretted my choice.  The woman I married is an amazing teacher, a caring family member, and a concerned citizen.  She accepts the fact that we are in control of our reactions.  She learned at an early age that if there is fault for something, there is usually enough to share.  She realizes the impact of positive reactions and remarks.  She has a deep, abiding faith and lives by the tenets of those beliefs.  Se sees the folly in foolish actions but the inherent good in the individual.  And she plays a wicked game of bridge!  To say that I am lucky would be an amazing understatement.  To say I love her would be the truth.  And I choose to tell the truth!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Phriday Phood Philosophy--the unexpected

Who knew that mayonnaise, pineapple, and carrots would come together in such a wonderful way?  Each ingredient falls into my "favorites" category (witness the three gallons of mayo sitting by our back door!).  But toss them together with a few other ingredients, and you get the most delightfully decadent carrot cake you can imagine.  Frost it with cream cheese frosting and you have a party of flavors waiting to explode on your first bite.  Sometimes the whole IS greater than the sum of its parts!  Give it a try and know you are loved!

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple
2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. walnuts

Mix first 5 ingredients. Beat the next 4 ingredients separately. Add the two mixtures together. Beat well. Stir in the carrots and walnuts. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tests done. 9x13 of 2 layer pans.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Clouds, moisture, wind, and

I don't recall when last I have been as impressed with the weather.  The winter?  It was cold.  And long.  The spring?  It has been cold.  And damp.  And windy!  When I looked out the window this morning, this is what I saw:

The orchid was a birthday gift two years ago.  Somehow, it has managed to survive and thrive.  It provides a constant reminder of the power of friendship!  No matter how blustery and cold it may be, the beauty and grace of this amazing plant brightens my soul!  So too do the well wishes and love of the quality friends I have been lucky enough to make.  Sometimes, when a day isn't quite what I want it to be, or things don't go just the way they are supposed to go, all it takes is a quick glance out the window to see what I really do have!  The eye is captured by the orchid, and the soul remembers the joy of the people by whom I am surrounded.  The day?  Well it's a lot brighter!  And I?  I am thankful!  Know you are loved!