Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Did I Mention the Cream?

At the first sign of a nip in the air, 
at the first feel of chill as my bare feet walk across the wood floor,
at the first sight of thick, wooly grey skies and dull light through the windows,
it's all about the tea!!

Is it possible to drink too much tea?  Tea for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Ginger Peach, Classic Indian spice, Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut.

It's not just the tea, it's also the cream . . . or in my case, the half and half and . . . 
and the honey . . . and did I mention the cream?

Which is why on Tuesday morning,
when I discovered the half and half was gone
the tea looked less desirable, uninteresting, downright disenchanting.

(Did I mention the cream?)

And so, necessity being the mother of invention and all that,
it did not take long to invent the Classic Indian Spice and Eggnog Tea Delight.

Giant mug of Classic Indian Spice tea, a long sweet pouring of egg nog, and a little honey
because it's hard to make tea too sweet.

It will take more than the absence of cream
to separate a girl and her tea!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Successes, Failures, Skills, and Controversy

Time for a few reflections on Thanksgiving 2012.

Most Controversial Thanksgiving Decision - Small and Simple.

Usually we are with the cousins, go out of town, have a family over, etc.  This year, it was just immediate family and my parents.  Still 9 people, but for us small.  And I kept it simple.  This year I did not:

* Brine the turkey
* Comb the woods for fall foliage and make fall arrangements
* Create place cards
* Come up with a new Thanksgiving centerpiece
* Make any recipe with more than 3 steps

I said it was a year for small and simple.  Some of my cherished offspring said it was a year for boring.  I said the one who bakes the turkey makes the decision.  Case closed.

Most Successful New Recipe Attempt - The Pie That Will Make You Cry (Pioneer Woman)

My husband loooooves pecan pie.  And since I have never made one, I have been somehow deceived into thinking they were hard.  Huh?  Enter Pioneer Woman and her new and improved, best in the world Pie That Will Make You Cry.  Wow.  Easy and delicious.  No fail!!  If he asks, however, please tell my husband I slaved, agonized, and walked the thin line of sanity to bring him this triumphant creation.

Most Unsuccessful New Recipe Attempt - Carrots Grand Marnier

Aaargh!  I have looked at these in a favorite cookbook for years and was convinced that this would be the crowning glory of my Thanksgiving table . . . Carrots Grand Marnier.  Actually they were chewy, sticky, and slightly dehydrated . . . looking more like I had made them over a campfire on the Appalachian Trail than a crowning glory to my Thanksgiving table!!  My parents and my husband both took generous spoonfuls because they are over 40 and have been well trained that when there's a new recipe on the table, you better take some and put a smile on your face while chewing.  My aforesaid cherished offspring passed them quickly to the next pair of hands looking as though they were momentarily distracted by a passing cat out the front window and it somehow slipped their minds that a bowl of carrots was in front of them.  My cherished offspring are, obviously, under 40 and have apparently not been well trained about new dishes, taking, smiling, and chewing.

Most Unusual Thanksgiving-Related Activity - Hand Turkeys

Several days before Thanksgiving found two 18 year-old seniors in high school at the kitchen table, inexplicably making "hand turkeys."  They said it was to earn extra credit in senior English.  I once again wondered about the use of my tax dollars.

Youngest Daughter was delighted to have some company on an art project.  And she went on to create hand turkeys for each member of the household . . . which is what being 9 on a holiday is all about!!

Best Newly-Acquired Skill - Peeling!!

This Thanksgiving, Youngest Daughter learned that nine year-olds can peel fruits and vegetables and not remove a layer of skin.  She did a marvelous job, and I congratulated myself on introducing another helper into my kitchen.  Next year we'll tackle the art of the roux . . . or maybe the flambe'.

Thanksgiving 2012 - Like most Thanksgivings, this year was made up of recipe failures, recipe successes, new skills acquired, old skills polished up, decisions that made some delighted and others frustrated, lots of good food and time spent together.  The yin and yang of life and living together that make up family and remind us of all the reasons to be . . .


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Dreaded Family Photo

Please tell me if anything strikes fear into your heart as much as the prospect of prepping for a family photo!! Last month it was time.  Time for a family photo.  Time for 7 individuals with separate work, school, and volunteer commitments to get their schedules all coordinated and clothes pressed and smiles on.

The caveats started upon the announcement of "family photo time."

"I'm not wearing long pants."

"We better not look match-y."

"I'm not smiling."


Clothes were laid out, analyzed, reworked, discarded, replaced.  Until the "no match" daughter and the "must coordinate" mother could both be pleased . . . or at least worn down in their resistance.

Hair was combed, teeth brushed, shoes found, attitudes adjusted.

We headed to a cow pasture.


The photographer said the land was for sale and that no one would mind if we used it for our family photo.

Apparently no one ran that by the cows.  One cow was especially upset that we had moved into his herd's grazing area and let us know in no uncertain terms that we were not welcome.

And then we smiled and posed and teased each other and talked to the cows.  And when all was said and done,

we never had so much fun at a family photo session . . .


Saturday, November 17, 2012


If you are around our house at 5:00 in the evening, you will hear a sudden flurry of activity.

One certain 13 year-old boy will grab up his camera and with much dashing, clomping down stairs, scurrying and slamming of doors, he will be up the driveway, across the field, and over to the lake . . . before it's too late!

He will be looking at the sky.

Because right now, his current obsession is sunset pictures, taken on the IPod and posted on Instagram.

I love them---these pictures of the nighttime sky, with all its wideness and wildness and swirl of clouds and rich colors.

That last joyful shout of pigment staining the sky  . . .

. . . before the sun slips below the sill of the earth . . .

and all is dark . . . and still.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How Did I Get Here?

This is what I have been eating . . .

sleeping . . .

breathing . . . 

dreaming . . . 

as I register athletes,
 review volunteer schedules,
 oversee team pictures,
shop for concessions,
 order uniforms,
 pay refs,
 and many more et ceteras.

And I wonder . . . 

how did this happen

to the girl

who never watched sports in her life

and only was a cheerleader for something fun to do

and who loved nothing more as a child

than to sit in a flowery field

and read books