Monday, October 21, 2013
Morning Coffee Chat -
Good Morning dears. There's coffee, cookies and Angela has Banana Cake for us, too.
Yes, I finally got busy in the baking area this past week. I made cookies for us and put several batches of dough in the freezer. These should be powerful cookies because I stirred a lot of prayers into the dough as I made them on Monday. It wasn't a good day. Again we had frightening news. It's so hard, so hard, at times to hold on to faith and not let fear ride roughshod over you. I hung on only because we were waiting on a miracle and there were to be more test results on Thursday...With every ingredient I put in the bowl I spoke out my heart to God. I mixed up four different cookie doughs that day.
If I'm a bit disturbed I usually work it out in one of two ways: I clean or I cook. This week I cooked. Sunday I made up a couple of makeover leftover dishes (gee, I hope I remember to take photos of them when I thaw them to cook!) and an extra entree for later this week. Monday I spent all the morning mixing up cookie doughs and baking and preparing dinner.
Well I've cleaned, too! I've been determined to get my guest room, craft area, and flea market booth stuff organized and straightened up and to make that room comfortable for company. By Monday evening I'd made a sizable dint in the organization of the room. My big goal was to clean off the sewing table so that I could move it down on the wall and in front of the window. The room has the most awful lighting and sewing is strictly a sunny day affair at present. I'm hoping to increase my vision. I had it all cleaned by Tuesday evening, though I've yet to shift things about so I can move that table down to the window. Mind you there are things stacked around the room at the moment, neatly stacked, but stacked. I'm going to have to figure out some extra storage.
One area I was surprised to find filled and overflowing was my fabric stash. I don't usually purchase yardage off the bolt. Normally I grab up remnants from thrift stores and end cap clearance baskets. I was surprised when I went to add my latest two pieces...there was nowhere to put them! Not even if I shifted things about. Makes me think I ought to be sewing.
I want to work on the quilt that I set aside last year. I want to finish it and then get to work on the next half dozen that are in my head, some of which I've already purchased fabric (remnants I've liked) to make. I don't need quilts, but I apparently DO need to make them, so I mean to get busy on that sewing.
You know I've written a lot about how things haven't turned out as I expected. And it's true, there are many areas of my life I thought would be different. There are relationships I hoped to improve by being here in this place, on this land. That didn't happen. There were dreams I held for this period of my life that simply haven't turned out either. That's life. I can sit around and be bitter over those things, but why waste all that energy on negativity? True, I'll complain now and then. Sometimes the ideas of what we might have been, where we might be in our lives if this or that had been different, well those ideas just come along with elbows out, jostle you good and hard and now and then they get in a well placed kick to add to the hurt and discomfort they bring along with them.
But... there are great things about my life, things I didn't plan on, either. Because we moved here I was able to spend a lot more time with Granny than I might have otherwise. Being here was good for Amie, Samuel and Katie, too. And if the relationships I hoped to grow didn't, well at least I have a clearer idea of why they can't grow. I never expected to be where I am in my faith walk. I can say for certain that this is one experience I am so glad I didn't miss! I may have taken the first step while living in another place, but it's because I was here that first step became the journey.
I might never have discovered how many things I do enjoy like history and family history, and genealogy. I love that I am able to stay at home, even though the children are grown, and now that John is again working night shift it means we spend a great many more waking hours together. I'm enjoying having my little potted garden, which inspires me to want to do more. I really like thrifting and having the flea market booth. I never dreamed I'd feel such a strong urge to be planning (and hopefully soon sewing) quilts and the opportunity they give me to be creative. And that's the Sunny Sue version of My Life.
Last week I mentioned green boiled peanuts and someone asked me "What are 'green' peanuts? And why would you want to boil them?" Well let me be the information booth on this one. Peanuts grow beneath the ground, like potatoes and carrots and onions, although they are officially classed as a legume. They are the 'seed' of the plant. The tops have tiny leaves and they grow low and close to the ground. The peanuts form in the roots of the green plant. When the peanuts are mature they are plowed up and then they are combined (a combine in this case is the machine which picks them up off the ground, the word 'combined' is the action word for that process). The combine separates the nut from the roots and the stems and leaves. At this stage the peanuts are called 'green' which basically means they are fresh and just out of the ground. So there's your explanation of what a 'green' peanut is.
There are two things you can do with a green peanut: boil it or dry it. Boiled green peanuts are, as I shared, a seasonal treat and not a bad one either. They have carbs/protein. You boil them in the shell and as they cook (a L--O--N--G time) the shell softens slightly and the peanuts inside become more tender. In order to eat them you must shell them. The texture of a boiled peanut is like al dente pasta, with the occasional one that is soft like a cooked bean or pea. Now I don't have a clue who first boiled a peanut or why they decided to eat them. All I know is, they are part of the food heritage I grew up with and I like them a lot and I enjoy them as much as I do peaches!
Dry peanuts which are roasted are the main product used to make peanut butter and peanuts (dry or roasted) are used for more things than I can name at the moment. I really should study up on George Washington Carver who discovered more uses for peanuts than you'd imagine. Suffice it to say it's not just peanut butter and jars of salted nuts to set out at a party.
I really can't tell you a lot about what I did last week because much of it had been spent in a sort of dazed prayer...Isn't it funny how weeks just zip right past you and then they suddenly slow down and you feel that you've been wandering through thick fog? That's been my week this week. I didn't feel up to big errands on Tuesday, nor thrifting (you see?!). I stuck to going to the bank and post office. I stopped at the local Family Dollar to pick up new dishcloths, having discovered mine were beginning to be full of holes. I walked about a little and got some curtain rods and then I went down the Fall decor aisle.
I spied some leaf plates I'd seen on another blog. Plates that I thought would go nicely with a set of plates I purchased at a yard sale. Yard sale plates I can't quite make up my mind if I want to keep or sell. There are four of them and so far I've styled them two different ways and the leaf plates would make a third...so they are certainly versatile. These leaf plates would make cute salad or dessert plates to go with those plates...but remember I haven't yet made up my mind to keep the plates I bought them to pair with. I'm still debating that purchase. I have left them in the bag with the receipt in case I determine I shall return them.
I am pretty sure I bought those plates more as a comfort purchase than a real desire to have them, which is why I'm hesitant about taking them from the bag. I'd rather make an unemotional choice to keep them. The leaf plates were very inexpensive, already marked 60% off, so they were less than $1 each. It isn't the price that makes me hesitate. I might really like them, but all I can see them through at the moment is this desire to feel better/soothe/ perk me up. Emotional purchases are a lot like emotional eating. I am cautious when I realize I've indulged for the wrong reasons. It's something I've learned requires me to be strong and practice self-control.
John has gotten me interested in "American Pickers", one of the better reality TV programs. I've very much enjoyed watching a lot of past episodes but I think the one I enjoyed the very best was one I saw one afternoon this week. The guys went to South Carolina, and the show opened with them in Pickens, South Carolina area. Pickens is dear to me because it is where my great grandmother lived and where Grandmama was raised, in a little community called Six Mile. That episode sent me down the rabbit hole. I went looking for information about the area which led me to studying the genealogy of that side of my family. My great grandfather was alive until I was in my teens but I never saw him, ever. Knew my great grandmother well, but my grandfather was a wandering sort of soul who came home about long enough to give Grandma a new baby and then he was off again. I don't know if they divorced in later years or remained married..
Well that little bit of research paid off last night with a photo of my great great grandfather and great great grandmother.
Like my Big Mama's home, Grandma Stewart's was a small house and I suppose if I had been raised differently, I'd have thought it poor. She didn't have indoor plumbing until I was in my teens. She drew buckets of water from the well, marched up and down a set of back steps that took my breath away as they seemed so high and had no railing to steady yourself with. The outside of the house was weathered wood. Indoors was neat and clean but the furniture was old (1920's - '30's) but impeccable. She heated and cooked with wood, too. She was a nice looking woman even in her senior years, with beautiful white hair that had a natural wave (which Grandmama and Daddy got and I didn't) piercing blue eyes, lovely high cheekbones and a ready laugh.
Our waiting and prayer time last week paid off Thursday with some good news. There is need to wait yet for further tests but I am rejoicing because a positive change took place and that change was not possible per medical professionals. Katie wouldn't give in to joy then, and after the emotional ride she'd been on I don't entirely blame her for being a little afraid to celebrate even good news, but I think she at least felt some release of tension. I know I did. I had called in every prayer warrior I knew and I couldn't stop shaking or gasping with relief when those test results were announced to us via text Thursday morning.
We were very late leaving home that morning. I think, though we neither of us said it, we were both waiting for that call or text from our littlest girl before leaving to do our grocery shopping. It did seem the world was a pretty good place Thursday. Complete strangers chatted with us as though we were old friends and each time we were told to 'have a blessed day'. Well they had no idea how blessed we already were feeling! But we accepted their blessing. I don't think you can have too many of those, do you?
I went in on Friday morning to work on my booth a bit. I was very disappointed to discover I'd sold nothing in the past three weeks. Not.One.Thing. I came home upset and John gave me a rousing pep talk and then gave me another when I didn't perk up the way he thought I ought. He assured me I had expected too much and should just wait it out, 'six months to a year,' he said. He said if I was having fun at this, I should just enjoy it. Well I do have fun but I really wanted to make a little money at it. I'm continuing to use my allowance only (unless he blesses me with a gift of extra cash now and then) so it's not a sacrifice from our household budget. I'd hoped to have enough money generated to sort of pay for itself (rent and supplies) with some to spare to help out our household accounts and eventually to move to a bigger space. John assured me I should just give it time.
He finally asked me if it all did go bust, what would I have? I looked at him and said, "Well I'd have a lot of pretty things that I really liked when I bought them that I could bring home to play with and use...and there would be new shelving for the shed." He nodded. "So you're not really out anything, you're having fun, if it does go bust, you still gain...give it time and enjoy it!" Yes sir!
I did note that the really lovely booth that was across from mine was GONE. She set up the same time I did and there was nothing left there to indicate she had ever been there. I couldn't help but think she'd given up awfully quick. I was sorry as could be because it looked really sort of professional with her nice booth right across from my nice little space...
Now I'll be honest. After waiting through the slowest week ever for news and riding high on Thursday
because the news was good, I crashed and burned on Friday. It wasn't just the lack of booth sales that got me down. No indeed. I woke with a grouch over something that truly suits me just fine, but that morning it wasn't fine, it was just not even tolerable. I gave myself a hard talking to and went off to shower and that didn't help a bit. I was a little peeved that John didn't make breakfast (and why should he have?! He knew I wouldn't want eggs a third morning and since that is what he'd make there was no point in attempting to prepare breakfast).
I was unhappy with the amount of housework that appeared to be needed, grumpy over the coffee having gone off and getting cold even though I was the one who got up late. The weather was muggy and too warm, not at all autumn-ish. I went to work on my booth and felt hard disappointment and dissatisfied with what I had to offer though I'd give eyeteeth to bring home at least 90% of it for my own use. There was the lack of sales to add to my angst over all. I went to the grocery to pick up the loss leaders and forgot the one item I really wanted to stock up on. I came home and saw the broken back steps and the roofless pump house and the lack of progress on the non-existent back porch. I saw the yard needed mowing and the rest of the yard looking more than a little tatty and unkempt and my life was bleak as could be. I wasn't in the least phased by coming indoors to find the laundry done and the floors freshly vacuumed either...The house fairy had apparently dropped in and I was ungrateful as could be!
I realized after I'd come indoors and whined at John, that I was likely releasing tensions of the weeks just past. Yes, the very same woman who felt so mightily blessed Thursday looked at the same world Friday and complained. Shameful! I am sorry to say that my husband had to point out that fact to me before I recognized what a rotten apple I was being. Did it straighten me up and make me feel any better? Not a lot. Instead I did that martyr thing and pushed to get the dinner prepared and the housework done 'sulling up' as we call it here in the South at all that had been put upon me, but eventually I sorted myself out because my husband was quite right. I was the same blessed, mightily blessed, woman of the day before and my blessings didn't go away overnight.
I stopped and took some pain reliever for my hip pain (amazing how a nagging bit of pain will eat away at normal good nature), gave myself a much needed pedicure (amazing how shiny new polish can help bring a small change in attitude about), looked about my clean neat home and realized I'd nothing left to do except whatever I chose to do. So I took up my current good book (another Emilie Loring, Throw Wide the Door), and my genealogy notebook and had a cup of coffee and a chocolate chip cookie and let the last of the afternoon pass me by. Yes, I felt better. It helped tremendously to really rest, something I haven't done a lot of lately, since I truly do tend to 'work through' my worries.
I woke Shabat morning with that hip still aching and knees that decided they needed to join the party. The air was cooler but the sky was still heavy with clouds. I did get to watch a pretty awesome sunrise, which helped a bit with my attitude. There's nothing like a sunrise or sunset to put things in perspective usually. We went off to synagogue and I was quiet and withdrawn which unsettles my husband mightily. The truth is when I can't get alone time, I'll manufacture it a bit, but he feels I might be upset or sick and so he worries. I put down my book, which I'd normally not carry along but had this day, and enjoyed the views along the way. There are a few vague signs of autumn color beginning to show up.
I laughed ruefully during the morning sermon...it was about faith and the young man sharing this morning said how hard it is to take that first step and second, when there are naysayers about. I felt that this past week to a certain extent. Let's face it: look for acceptance of a situation and people will join you all day long, commiserating and cheering and kindly. Ask for a miracle... let's just say you learn quickly who is willing to believe in God given miracles and who would rather just accept the situation as it is. When I laughed, Rabbi (who was not the speaker this weekend) looked over at me and smiled hugely. I think he knew all too well why I laughed.
We were late getting in from synagogue. I dressed up a frozen pizza with cooked onions and mushrooms and ground beef for our dinner. John took a nap afterwards, with football on TV. I went back to my genealogy searches. John was supposed to work but just as he was ready to walk out the door, he got a text from his boss saying he'd work it instead. I was sorry to see that bit of extra pay slip away...and that bit of alone time too, but the end result was that I had my husband home to snuggle with under the quilt that night when it turned off almost chilly.
Sunday dawned as sunny and clear as Saturday had been heavy and overcast. A lovely morning, my outlook and my hip all agreeing that it was a good day, lol. I made a breakfast of buttermilk pancakes and a sort of fancy dinner for us. Nothing much to the day because we really do rest a bit more on these weekends. Light housework, dishes, meals yes, but no big hard projects, no deep cleaning. Those jobs wait for weekdays. The house usually holds up pretty well from Shabat evening to Sunday morning, so it isn't strictly necessary to do deep cleaning that day.
I was sort of unaware of news this weekend so didn't hear until Sunday mid-morning that the government had 'settled' the budget. I want to share information from an article I read last weekend in our Sunday paper. The interview was from a Washington financial official and he explained all about the debt ceiling and honestly by the time I read the full interview I was downright mad. His explanation really was a lot of whitewash. "Raising the debt ceiling doesn't mean we'll be increasing spending," he explained. "It means we can borrow the money to pay our bills." WHOA. Wait a minute... BORROW money to pay the bills? Hmmm? How does that work?
If I'm in such poor shape that I go to my local bank and explain I need to borrow money in order to pay my bills, they aren't likely to give me a loan (aka 'raise my debt ceiling'). There was a lot of talk from him in that article about how 'morally' we should pay our debts and not leave loan payments outstanding (agreed 100%) but I can't see a 'moral' thing about overextending yourself to the point that you MUST borrow in order to pay money you already owe. This official went on to say that if the debt ceiling were NOT raised, then necessary steps would HAVE to include withholding SS disability checks, veteran's disability checks, WIC, Medicare, and other fundings that already have money set aside to cover their payments for a few years to come yet. I thought it particularly underhanded to threaten those people.
I could name a few grant programs I'd much rather see lose funds...exercising shrimp for one, the effects of methane gas from cow flatulence. There are plenty of special interest things I'd be trimming out of the federal budget were it my household funds!
Now normally I happily accept comments but for those of you who want to disagree with this portion, don't bother. I'm voicing my opinion and not debating. There's no defense for our government overspending it's funds and that's all there is to it. I don't care if it's a Republican administration, a Democrat administration, an Independent administration, a Socialist administration or a Feather in My Cap administration. It's not a party thing. If I live beyond my means, I need to trim my spending or lose my financial standing. Period. Spending money I don't have and overreaching my credit limits and ability to repay is called STEALING and encouraging someone to give me permission to overspend some more isn't going to solve a thing.
I took a few minutes to look for new recipes Sunday morning and found one right there in my favorite old cookbook, right next to one I've made a dozen times. It's new to me! I've never once looked at it in all these years, but it sounded different and the combination of flavors is bound to be pleasing so I'm going to attempt it. I found another twist on an old favorite online that I hope to try as well. I found another cake recipe I'd like to try, but I'm not convinced I'm going to make it. I will do some sort of baking this week, of that I'm sure.
Well dears, time I wound this up, I guess. I have plenty of things to do, lots of projects on my list and this month is fast fleeing now that horrible week of waiting is done. I hope to sneak away from home this week and go back to our mountain. I thought I'd pack a picnic lunch if John seems willing and maybe go poke about a thrift store or two if there are any open. We'll see...there's always so much to do!
See you next week!