It was only a month ago

Inspired by Cee’s Flower of the Day

SixWordSaturday

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yellow roses
Six Roses – but one is hiding

 

Is it just me or does Valentine’s Day seem like a really long time ago?

Was it only one month? Four weeks exactly…on February 14th…when my husband handed me this stunning bouquet of six yellow roses?

Happy Valentine’s Day! We tried to figure out how many Valentine’s Days we had spent together, but settled on “over 40…”

Since that day, my life has taken off on an alternate trajectory. Or so it seems.

The morning of the 15th we discovered water had leaked into our bathroom from the condo above us. Our upstairs neighbor left her faucet running unattended into a clogged sink. Water poured through our bathroom ceiling. In condo land, she isn’t held financially responsible. And so it began…the reports…phone calls…repairs…cleanup…costs. The worry about mold. The hours I’ll never get back. Finished just yesterday.

There was a happy four day interlude during a trip – which may be my last one for a long while – to Washington DC to spend time with my children and grandson.

Reports of a new virus started popping up in the news during that visit – the 3rd week of February – but I paid it no mind. That’s happening in China after all.

Then a week ago, news of a crisis affecting one of my sisters activated an intense worry-filled texting chain and phone calls with extended family I had not been in close touch with for many years. However, as many of us realize, a crisis – a matter of life and death crisis – can open a space and lower boundaries – at least for a while. Because…it’s family and you love them. We reach across the divide…anxiously searching for answers. Solutions. Each day and night fraught with worry. Feeling helpless and intermittently hopeless. Emotional support can only do so much.

Today is looking somewhat brighter. Hopefully her crisis has passed enough to be manageable. For now. We cautiously breathe just a bit easier.

The texting chain has now switched to the coronavirus and its affect on all of our lives. Another serious and potentially deadly situation. More anxiety piles on.

Sixty four texts greeted me this morning filled with humorous memes, cartoons and reports of people searching for toilet paper. Long lines at the grocery store. Stockpiling in case of quarantine. The family texting chain continues. Desperate for connection. In a new crisis.

Four weeks ago was Valentine’s Day.

Six yellow roses brightened my day.

Photo a Week: Christmas Memories

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Christmas Memories

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO OR MORE PHOTOS OF YOUR CHRISTMAS AND/OR HOLIDAY MEMORIES.

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Christmas memories fill up my photo albums. All the best ones involve my family…when our children lived at home and we celebrated together.

Choosing just a few was indeed difficult…

One of my favorite memories was the year my son was a fast moving – very curious – toddler. At the tender age of 13 months, he was able to dash from one end of the living room to the other, quicker than we could catch him.

The Christmas tree presented a special challenge that year…as he was fascinated by those shiny things hanging from the branches. As well as the colored lightbulbs strung on green wire. Which he could unscrew, shouting HOT! HOT!

Barricades were in order…

christmas barricades

…until we removed them on Christmas morning…

Which presented the perfect opportunity for ornament inspection and removal…while daddy and big sister were opening their stockings and getting their pictures taken…

christmas 1988
1988

However, nine years later…

decorating 1997
1997

..he was the expert at hanging the ornaments up ON the tree.

One more special memory.

 

 

 

 

Nostalgic Cookie Sing-Along

Inspired by:

Lens-Artists Challenge #75: Nostalgic

…I look forward to seeing the nostalgic moments that are most special to you. Past holidays, times with family and friends, travel moments, or just something that reminds you  fondly of days gone by – it’s your call. Give us a small peek into the things you’re nostalgic about.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #76: Music

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Get out the red and green sprinkles!
And the tiny chocolate chips!
Cookie sheets!
Cookie cutters!
Start the music!

It’s Time!

IMG_1598

When I was raising my children – and by the time each was around 2 years old – we made Christmas cookies together as a family. Simple cream cheese sugar cookies.

We used the same aluminum cookie cutters I used when I was a child.

Our tradition? I made the dough the day before so it was easier to roll out.
My daughter – and then my son – learned how to use a rolling pin and press a tree or bell shape into the flattened dough.

1992 t
Let the decorating begin…

Creativity was serious business.

The teenage years sparked unique decorating ideas such as the occasional anatomically correct gingerbread man. Ahem. All in good fun though…

Every year we were accompanied by the Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along album pumping through the speakers (yes, we had speakers in the kitchen!)…and the clicking of the Canon camera.

My husband, I and the “kids” continued this annual family tradition for over 25 years…always accompanied by Big Bird, Cookie Monster (of course!) and the rest of the gang.

Cookies in the making. Oven warming. Four voices singing – the muppets’ lines memorized to perfection…

It’s that time of the year
When we all want to hear
A Christmas sing-along…

Or

Count, count, count — counting the days,
Count, count, count — counting the day…
I’m counting the days, ’til Christmas day is due…

(just a sample taste of this fabulous album – released in 1984 – just in time for our family).

A bit of nostalgia I never tire of revisiting…

1995 k t cookies
Cookies!
Decorated or about to frosted!

…both in pictures and in song.

Photo a Week: Babies

Inspired by Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Babies

Super cute, super funny, super whatever, human, animal, or whatever, we want to see your babies!
IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) THAT FEATURES BABIES.

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I don’t need much inspiring when it comes to baby pictures. And there’s no way I can limit this post to three photos. Be warned.

I have always believed that babies are the most fascinating subjects for photography. They are just…who they are. Their faces…their expressions…. Transparent. Open.

Happy. Sad. Tired. Bored. Sleepy. Curious….the list is endless.

Choosing just a few family photos for this challenge was…challenging! They were all taken with a Canon 35mm (film) camera – except for the last one which was with an iPhone.

When my kids were babies, I took a weekly photo during their first year. I think they got used to it…all I know is I got some interesting glimpses into their personalities.

For instance, my 10 month old son first thought it was hilarious…then not so sure……then I’m outta here.

My daughter loved getting her picture taken anytime, anywhere.

kris baloons

Although easily distracted by rug or blanket fibers…

…which soon became an afternoon snack…fine motor skills already well developed.

When my grandson was 10 months old, he enjoyed his first tour in a shopping cart up and down the toy aisle with Grampa and me…

shopping

…clearly amazed at the experience.

 

 

Pie Tales

pie banner


I’ll bring an apple pie!

A few weeks ago, our new friends who live down the hall invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with them and their extended family. We were honored. Also grateful, as we were not going to be able to spend it with our adult children and their families.

It’s an unusual kind of apple pie...I warned my friend. The apples aren’t peeled. There’s no top crust… I also have to make it gluten free.

She was fine with whatever I wanted to make.

It is also huge…filling a lasagna pan.

At Thanksgiving, there is no such thing as moderation. Ever. Especially when it comes to pie. The turkey? The stuffing? And all the rest?

Just the path to pie.

In Thanksgivings past there were always at least 3 kinds of pie at my table…to go along with family shenanigans and card games (as shared in my 2018 Thanksgiving story). I miss all of it.

The most popular? “Hearty Apple Pie” – each slice 2 inches high by many inches wide.

Well, it has been a few years since I made this pie. After downsizing and moving and spending Thanksgivings by ourselves, there was no need to make one until now.

I still had the old family recipe.

As I assembled the ingredients yesterday, I thought…what could go wrong?

First step: substitute gluten free flour blend for the real thing. Press into the pan.

pie crust

Doesn’t quite look the same, but should be fine in the end. It’s PIE after all.

Next step: Core the apples. Can’t mess that one up.

apples cored

 

Next step: Slice apples in the food processor.

Um…the food processor doesn’t work. I tried a different outlet. Nope. My husband and I tried several variations of blades and positioning of the “pusher assembly” and the cover. Still nothing.

Find the directions! 

A fuzzy memory rose to the top of my aging brain. This was the new(ish) food processor we had gotten about 10 years ago. It had replaced the nice simple one from 1978. Back when there were no complicated safety features. When it was your own fault if you stuck your finger in when the blade was running. Back when you popped the blade in, snapped on the cover (the only safety feature) – added the apples through the hole in the top…and voila! sliced or chopped results.

Much simpler.

Not anymore. The current small appliance companies are in the business of saving us from ourselves. Which, in many cases, is necessary. As it turned out, there were 3 different steps and clickings into place that I had to perform before even one apple could be sliced.

I was annoyed for 2 reasons. First that I had forgotten what to do and second, that it had become necessary to make devices so complicated that I had to remember this sequence in the first place. (probably a third reason as well – that I was turning into the old fart I never wanted to be…complaining about newfangled stuff…).

Anyway, after much huffing and puffing and locating the directions…success.

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Next step: Mix with lots of yummy spices. No holding back here…

mix apples

Next step: Transfer to the waiting piecrust…

ready to bake

(fyi: covered apples with brown sugar, almonds and dots of butter which look like cheese…but aren’t)

After baking:

baked

Extra Large Apple Pie ready to share…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

(where there’s no such thing as moderation)

 

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #74: Moderation

Wishing

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #72: Wish

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Close your eyes.

Make a wish.

Blow all the candles out at once!

So your wish will come true…

 

birthday candles011 copy 2

A healthy baby.

One, then two.

Wish them strong and happy.

Wish they always follow their dreams.

Stay safe from year to year.

Wish them confident and sure.

Lives full of love

and

light.

 

So thankful…

For all those years

I blew out every candle.

 

What do I wish for now?

walking together

More time.

 

 

 

Corner Forsythia

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo: Back Catalogue

My challenge to you is to find an image in your back catalog that still grabs your attention and share it…if you want to re-interpret the image with what you have gained over the years, feel free to do so.

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corner forsythia 2010

There is just something about this bright yellow flowering bush that I am drawn to.

Is it because one flourished in the corner of the front yard where I grew up? Or, more specifically, where I lived when I was 4 to 11 years old. Where the vast majority of my happy moments were spent outdoors. That particular forsythia was actually situated in the next door neighbor’s yard…right on the lot line. I always thought it was ours.

Is it because the happiest of my childhood family photos were taken in front of it? On special days when I wore a dress-up dress with my stick straight hair fancied up and curled for the occasion. Which was usually Mother’s Day or Easter or my birthday. My grandparents were often there. Or dear family friends. Gathered around. Smiling.

 

1960-4
corner forsythia 1960

Whatever the reason…

When I was all grown up, a homeowner and married with 2 children of my own, I mentioned how much I’d like to have a forsythia in the front corner of the front yard.

So on Mother’s Day 1990, I got one. And then another one for the other front corner a year later.

There were many places where happy family photos were taken while my children were growing up. Both indoors and outdoors.

 

forsythia 1991
corner forsythia 1991

But there was always something extra special about the front corner of the front yard and that bright yellow flowering forsythia…

For a brief few weeks every Spring.