Saturday, April 30, 2016

May Meditation

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir

April Poetry

"Let me arise and open the gate,
to breathe the wild warm air of the heath,
And to let in Love, and to let out Hate,
And anger at living and scorn of Fate,
To let in Life, and to let out Death."
-  Violet Fane  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Goals for the Week May 1 - May 7, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading
     Old Favorites Sing Along

     2 Fruits Daily
     Water 36 oz.
     Exercise DVD

     Finish scrap 9-Patch
     Layer and baste Starz

     SPQR by Mary Beard
     The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
     Becoming Queen by Kate Williams

     Pancakes and Sausage
     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
     Chicken-Rice Bake
     Cutlets, GMP, GB      

     BLPOA Annual Meeting

     Visit to Hermann Park Gardens
     Make Reservations for autumn trip to Montpelier, Monticello, & Mt. Vernon. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Around OakMeadows

It is 195 days until the election is over. Can we stand it that long?

Last night I got up at 10:45pm and put the Slow Cooker Beef Stew into individual containers and finally got them in the refrigerator.  Next time, Florence, make sure the Slow Cooker is plugged in as well as turned on.  All is well that ends well because dinner is now cooked, ready to heat and serve, and all the cleaning up is done.  But still, next time, check the plug.  

The Rainpocalypse was back this morning but fortunately it didn't hang around like last week.  Wind, Rain, Boom/Crash, and gone. Yes.  And the good thing is that it is blessedly cooler and less humid!

I found a Citizen Scientist website for a Nest Watch program sponsored by Cornell's Ornithology Lab and the Audubon Society.  I will look into it today and maybe sign up.  It would be easy to do with our barn swallows.  We shall see.  

I am watching my way through the last season of Downton Abbey.  Most of the story lines are repeats, although Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes did manage to get married in the episode that I watched last night.  I mostly watch it to see the gorgeous clothes.  I realize that only the gentry dressed like that but I do think people in general put more care into their dress than we do today.  Which of course has its good and not so good sides.  

JMM is still borderline sick. Congestion and fatigue and irritability.  TSM went back to the doctor and got antibiotics for an ear and throat infection.  I think at least part of her being sick is due to stress.

I have 16 of the 25 blocks that I need for my scrap 9-patch quilt done.  Next I need to cut out more squares for the remaining 9 blocks. So 81 squares to cut.  What an improvement rotary cutters are over scissors! 

We are planning a trip to Montpelier, Monticello, and Mount Vernon the first week in October.  What got me to thinking about this was the biography of James Madison that I read recently.  I gained so much respect and admiration for him that I wanted to see his home.  Madison and Jefferson were close friends and neighbors and since I've never been to Monticello, I added that on.  And while we are so close to Mount Vernon, I'd like to go back there too.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April Meditation

"Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving... wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sun shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us..." ~ John Muir

Friday, April 22, 2016

April Poetry

"May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart ...something good is going to happen to you.
May you find harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing that lies at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you be set free from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you,
mind you, and embrace you in belonging.    
-  John O'Donahoe  

April Goals

     Daily Bible Reading

     Water 32 oz. daily
     Exercise DVD daily 

     Layer and baste Starz quilt
     Finish piecing blocks for scrap 9-patch

      SPQR by Mary Beard
     The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
     Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen

     Saturday-- CB Hash, CS Corn
     Sunday -- Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew p.59. 
     Monday -- Shrimp Jambalaya 
     Tuesday -- Pan Roasted Chicken, Onions, & Mushrooms Cauliflower 
     Wednesday -- Spaghetti & Meatballs 
     Thursday -- Leftovers
     Friday -- Out

     Clean front porch
     Trim hedges along brick walkway


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Memory: Small Businesses

Memory: Growing up in Galveston--Small businesses 

Galveston is an island just off the Texas Gulf Coast. When I was growing up there in the 1950s it had a population of around 40,000.  There were several major employers on the island the UT Medical Branch with its hospital and medical school, the Port of Galveston, Lipton Tea, and CocaCola had a bottling plant there. (Do you remember the glass bottles with the name of the town where it was from impressed on the bottom of the bottle?) The City of Galveston's police, fire, and public works employed many and since Galveston was the county seat there were county employees also.  But as I look back there were so very many more small businesses than there are today; no WalMarts or Home Depots. There was a downtown with many shops and theaters but no malls or big box stores.  

Of course the first small business I remember was my mother's beauty shop which was located in a small room added on to our house.  I absolutely loved that shop and all the ladies who came for their weekly shampoo and set were like aunties to me. I loved to listen as they chatted with my mother while sitting with rollers in their hair under the hair driers.  There was little that went on in Galveston that didn't get discussed under those hair driers.  

Then there was Mr. Carrubbi's pharmacy, Airport Drugs.  Before Hurricane Carla, there was a lunch counter in the store and it was such a highlight to get a soda at the drug store.  Mrs. Carrubbi had her hair done on Fridays at my mother's shop and I remember she taught me how to swim. 

Airport Drug Store was located right next to the Stop and Shop Grocery store. I can't remember the name of the owner but I remember turning in our 12 Coke bottles for the deposit on them. I remember the signs outside that were hand painted telling the prices of items on sale that week. It was minuscule in comparison to the huge mega markets we have today.  But at the time I knew the name of everyone who worked there and they knew me. 

Downtown was Mr. Druses' Furniture Store where I went on the bus all by myself to pick out new bedroom furniture after Hurricane Carla.  Just across the street was Eiband's Department Store which was a little pricey for our family. I went to school with Mike Martini whose father owned the Martini Theater.  Nathan's Dress store was out of our price range too but I when I taught first grade, I had their little boy, David, in my class, who, by the way was the brightest child I ever taught. I think he is now a teacher at a private school in Houston. There was Rudy's used cars owned by Rudy Riehl who lived across the street from us and whose daughter Kathleen was my best friend through elementary school. 

Our family doctor was Sol Forman and he even made house calls on occasion. His nurse, Mrs. Arthur, had a daughter that I went to high school with.  Dr. Forman's office was in the house where he grew up. 

And how could I leave out the Teenage Shop where my sweet mother spent much of the money she earned doing hair buying me clothes. It was owned by Mrs. Lipnick and another lady whose name escapes me right now. These ladies were like second mothers and helped me pick out clothes when I wouldn't let my own mother pick anything out. 

Mr. Malloy at Perry's Dime Store gave me my first job--cashier during Christmas break. Maria's knitting shop, the Amapola Cafe, Mr. Pace's Plumbing. 

So many businesses and we seemed to be woven together in a community in a way we really aren't today. It was a good place and time to grow up. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rain, rain, go away...

For the last 12 hours it has been pouring rain. Usually a thunderstorm will thunder, lightning, and rain for a couple of hours, clear up, and be done with. Not so this time. I had been watching the Accuweather radar showing this massive yellow, red, and purple rainpocalypse move closer and closer but it looked like it would stay north of us.  Needless to say, it didn't. Not only did it not stay north of us, it has moved in and stayed long past its welcome.

My family is flying home from Europe today via Chicago late this afternoon.  Well, nothing is flying around here this morning and unless things clear up soon, I foresee a protracted visit to the Windy City. And with many of the roads flooded getting home from the airport will be impossible.

Well, the cats and I are warm and dry here at home. We even have electricity so far.  But the Accuweather radar does not look promising.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Carrabba's Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

    • 1 lb Italian sausage ( You can also use Italian turkey sausage)
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, chopped
    • 2 large carrots, chopped
    • 1 small zucchini, chopped
    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 2 -3 garlic cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • 2 cups dry lentils
    • black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
    • parsley


  1. Brown sausage; drain off fat.
  2. In a large pot combine all ingredients bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat,cover.
  4. Simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are tender. Add water if necessary, for desired consistency. I like to puree about 1 cup of the soup and add back to pot to give it a thicker consistency.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April Meditation

"We humans look rather different from a tree. Without a doubt we perceive the world differently than a tree does. But down deep, at the molecular heart of life, the trees and we are essentially identical." ~ Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Friday, April 15, 2016

April Poetry

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."
-  Mary Oliver

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Goals for Week of April 17 - 23, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading 

     Soup/Salad for lunch
     Exercise DVD

     Piecing 9-patch

     A Country of Vast Designs by Robert W. Merry
     SPQR by Mary Bears
     The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson

     Chicken Tenders, GMP, GB
     Hamburger Pie

     House Cleaners. -- Tuesday
     Yard crew -- check to see what day they are coming

     Call Sherry about Pot Luck
     Lunch with P&W&C&B 

Around OakMeadows

With JMM away for 12 days, I signed up for a Medical Alert system. I checked Consumer Reports and Medical Alert seemed to have what I needed and did not require a contract.  It is $145/quarter. They sent a pendant that I wear around my neck and a bracelet which I don't use because it is black and ugly.  There is a small monitoring device that I plugged in. I did the testing to make sure it works and it does.  I've set it off accidentally twice, once I bumped it against the kitchen counter and once I dropped it. To cancel the alert you simply press and hold the button. So now if I slip and fall, there's a good chance someone will come to my aid in a timely manner.  I hope. 

We have more Monarch butterflies than we have ever had.  I counted 12 chrysalis on various places around our back porch today.  Our poor milkweed patch looks so bedraggled.  We need more milkweed! 

I've put my Starz quilt on hold until JMM gets home and can help me layer and pin it.  In the meantime, I have started a nine patch using fabric from my leftover stash.  

I finally finished the biography of James Madison. It was long --671 pages.  But it was excellent!  What a brilliant mind!  (It also made me feel a little better about our current political free-for-all after reading about the political fights before, during, and after his two terms as President.  Congress could be just as ornery and obstructionist then as now.)

I may be moving my blog to WordPress because I am unable to load photos using Blogger. We shall see. 

It's been quiet around OakMeadows this past week. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

This is from Pioneer Woman's Dinnertime Cookbook.  It is good and makes excellent leftovers. 

2 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces 
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste 
1 large onion, finely diced 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
One 25-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce 
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced parsley 
1 pound penne, cooked to al dente and kept hot 
¼ cup Parmesan shavings, plus more for serving 
8 ounces (½ pound) fresh mozzarella, cubed 
12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season it with salt and 
pepper, and cook for 2 minutes on the first side, until golden brown, then flip and cook for 2 minutes 
more, until totally done. Remove the chicken to a plate. 

Add the onion and garlic to the pan. 

Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown.  

Reduce the heat to low and add the marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, and ½ cup water. 

Stir the sauce, then add the parsley and stir it through. Let the sauce simmer for 7 to 8
minutes more, stirring occasionally. 

Place the pasta on a large platter, drizzle on a little olive oil, and sprinkle on some Parmesan shavings. Throw the mozzarella into the piping-hot sauce ; stir it through, allowing the cheese to begin to soften and melt. 

Before the cheese fully melts, ladle the sauce onto the pasta.

Sprinkle on a bunch of basil at the end, then dig in! It’s a cheesy wonderland in there.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April Meditation

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy."
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Friday, April 8, 2016

April Poetry

"The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people goin' by
I see friends shaking hands saying, "How do you do"
They're really saying "I love you."
I hear babies cry, I watch then grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know;
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world;
Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
Oh yeah!"
-  Louis Armstrong  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April Goals

     Daily Bible Reading
     Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts

     Healthy Snacks
     Exercise DVD

     Piecing 9-patches for next quilt top

     Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketcham
     SPQR by Mary Beard
     The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson

    Vacation Menu

Monday, April 4, 2016

Around Oak Meadows

The fields are so beautiful this year. The wildflowers are spectacular, bluebonnets, paintbrushes, primroses, all just painting the meadows.  We had a mild winter with plenty of rain this year so the wildflowers are exceptional this year. The fields of corn are about 8 inches tall now. But it is the rice fields that I find so lovely. Right now they are just a misty green, but soon they will be the most beautiful emerald green and then before harvest they will be golden. 

We have 3 swallow pairs nesting on the front and back porches. I can hardly wait to see the babies.  Only one hummingbird has shown up so far but we are ready for however many show up.  We are having a spectacular Monarch spring. There are currently 10+ caterpillars chomping away on the milkweed beds, even the new milkweeds that we just set out have had caterpillars eating away.  I saw 3 jade green chrysalis on the under side of the bird bath. And there are several Monarchs flitting around. This is so different from last year when we had virtually none until August. Well, if they will keep coming, I will keep growing milkweed for them. 

I love to read Ronni Bennet's blog Time Goes By. She discusses so many things that appeal to me.  Today she wrote about how her convictions had changed over the years but what caught my attention was this part,

"I'm surprised at how much happier I am than during my youth and middle years. I don't mean giddy or silly or even that I necessarily laugh more. Contentedness is probably a better word. This might be related to the fact that I'm getting better at knowing the difference between what I can change and what I 
can't, and even when I fail at that, I don't get angry as I once did."

Did this ever resonate with me! I am more apt to see things and people more as they are and less as how they "should" be. I do what I can and let it go.  If people have been unkind or acted in foolish ways before, most likely they will remain foolish or unkind.   It has been a pleasant surprise to me how happy and content I am at 68. I spend my days mostly doing pleasant, quiet things. 

Well that's about it from OakMeadows where the cats are all fat and happy and so are the people. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Menu

April Menu

1. Out
2. Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Toast
3. Pancakes, Sausage
4. Baked fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
5. Chicken-Rice Bake
6. Steak, GMP, GB
7. Leftovers
8. Travel
9. Travel
10. Travel
11. Travel
12. Travel
13. Travel
14. Travel
15. Travel
16. Travel
17. Travel
18. Travel
19. Chicken Tenders, GMP, GB
20. Hamburger Pie
21. Leftovers
22. Out
23. CB Hash
24. Slow Cooker Beef
25. Shrimp Jambalaya 
26. HBs
27. Spaghetti and Meatballs
28. Leftovers
29. Out
30. Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Meditation

"From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." ~ Charles Darwin, born Feb. 12, 1809

April Poetry

"For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise." 
-  Folliat S. Pierpoint, For the Beauty of the Earth   

Friday, April 1, 2016

Goals for Week of April 3 - 9, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading
     Just Show up by Kara Tippetts

     Healthy Snacks
     Exercise DVD

     Layer and baste quilt

     Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketcham
     SPQR by Mary Beard
     The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson

     Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Toast
     Pancakes, Sausage
     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
     Chicken-Rice Bake
     Steak, GMP, GB