Making

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August

Try as I might, this shot never quite turned out as I hoped, so squint your eyes and work with me here.

Do you ever make vision boards? I hadn’t made one in probably twenty years, but as I was watching Dr. Pimple Popper (oh, yes!) one evening last week, the spirit moved me, and I obliged. I could not find the glue, so it is this delicate and imperfect creation, akin to a sand painting, waiting to be scattered to the four directions to potentiate this very august dream.

My beautiful, witty, and hilarious best gal, Andie Card! We’ve been friends since we were sixteen, with a giant book of cherished memories under our belts. We hadn’t seen each other for a well over a year, all this COVID misery destroying the best laid plans. Her pup insisted on being in the photo, and I give you more and more of a glimpse of him edging in, which explains my smirk in the first picture. I am trying not to laugh at him doing his best photo bomb! The pictures aren’t perfect, but our love and friendship surely is.

My parents! We stayed a couple of nights at their house, my growing up place, playing Spades, Sequence, Boggle, and Code Names. Eating and eating, all manner of homemade goodness, plus my best prickly pear margaritas and some Popeye’s fried chicken! Not too shabby.

I made my Mom’s necklace!

The park of my childhood universe, Little Dry Creek, through which I ventured to school for seven years in all manner of weather, and played and played and played. Most striking are the trees, all grown up and wise in sunshine and shady ways.

My Mom and I made Vivian Howard’s banana pudding (from Deep Run Roots), which tasted most spectacularly of said fruit, a whopping nine of them in the mix. A true labor of love. WOW!

Shooting for that corner pocket. My Dad won more games than Greg, but it didn’t really matter, all the fun they had playing.

S W I N G ! !

post script

Due to multiple problems with the J & J vaccine, I got my first Pfizer shot yesterday. Much gratitude to ALL the wonderful people who made the process both kindly and dream-like in speed and efficiency at the Broadmoor World Arena. WOOT!

In the same vein, COVID falsehoods and conspiracy theories debunked.

I am not a religious person, but a very, very spiritual one. And though my Dad has read the bible daily, for as long as I can remember, I have never had the desire or inclination to do the same. I’ve found people’s interpretation of religious texts, and religion, as a whole, to be more dangerous to the general population than not. The Crusades, Islamic terrorism, Hindu & Buddhist extremism, the sexual abuse of priests and pastors on the innocent, the list goes on and on and on.

That being said, there are two very powerful notions of God that are with me daily. That he or she resides within every body and especially that a person can encounter God any place, any time. I always had difficulty believing this when encountering the cruel people of the world. Why would God reside there, when there are far nicer places to be? But then I thought about the awful person being an instrument of teaching for others, for me. God works through that person to show me how NOT to be. What to stand up for and rise against.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about how when I was little and would see a brilliant sun beam, I believed God was shining a light on a person in need. How the thought left me joyful. The sticky bit was in wondering if the person knew it. How often are we aware of that brilliant light shining on us? How often do we take the time to recognize the beauty and love around us? I think it’s time I do more to seek that awareness. That presence.

And a perfect tie-in to the photo up yonder. When my Great Aunt Mary died, my Grandma Tess found hundreds of Catholic medals in her room. I took maybe a quarter of them and fashioned a necklace with a few of them a while back. I liked the spirit of it, of having metal worn by her prayerful hands, but the look wasn’t quite right. I took it apart and made this one, with all my favorites. It jingles and sings, speaking loudest of her, while buoying my spirit, too.

Our cute little woodsman incense burner, which we bought at a magical holiday market in Pittsburgh, continues to delight!

Not nearly often enough, we empty, scour, and refill the refrigerator. I, in my maniacal delight at soldierly, short to tall rows of jars finds it oddly comforting, opening the doors, even when I need not a thing, just to gaze upon it and marvel.

We had a few meals out in the world before COVID numbers began to creep up, and up, and up, but have since relegated ourselves to 100% home cooking. Ribs with salad and sweet potatoes; Asian glazed drumsticks, fluffy rice, and a mess o’ spinach and roasted pepper; herb drumsticks and roasted broccoli some of the prettiest lately.

A walk or two a day keeps our spirits soaring. So, too, does playlist making, reading – books and magazines alike, Star Trek Discovery gotten from the library, The 2017 iteration of Twin Peaks (so YOU, David Lynch, and I must add how beautiful his silvery locks are!), sipping the hottest of coffee with creamy homemade almond milk come the weekend, bedtime cuddles, and chats with those I love.

Such lovely soup weather we are having. This is lemon chicken & rice.

Hearty beef chili with pinto beans and plenty of New Mexico and pasilla chiles.

Topped with an egg for breakfast the following day. Um, yeah…

I am still making soap, and I daresay these are my prettiest bars! After initially going gonzo with various butters and oils, scents and add-ins, I have whittled down my favorites. The top is a rather luscious goat milk, of which I made two varieties this time: plain and lemon-bay leaf, which smells like summer all year long. The speckled variety in the center photo is orange-rosemary-mint, our dreamy shampoo and body bar. Truly. The white bar is unscented 100% coconut oil and slated to be our new laundry soap. I’ll tell you how it goes. In the mean time, it’s so pretty to look at. They all are, really.

Greg and I bought these summer strolling straw hats a few months back. Fine breezes filter through the weave and can be shaped, via the magic of hot water, any which way. Our only beef was a lack of personality, so I beaded hatbands, officially jazzing them up. Or maybe cowpoked up? Whatever lack I have in ranch vocabulary is made up with their style. Greg’s is the one on the left. Each probably took about 20 hours and hundreds of beads to make, so if you’d like to give it a try, get ready to invest some serious time.

The butterflies this year! Eeek….

grape & rosemary focaccia

It’s peach season, y’all! I made peach rhubarb pie and two flawless batches of jam, beautifully colored by some of the rosiest fruits I’ve ever seen. Definitely worth all the chopping and sweating over roiling pots. And a note of recommendation, my dear neighbor Barbara, who has decided her canning days are long over, gave me her steam canner. If you don’t already own one, I cannot recommend it more highly. Instead of filling a GIANT pot with water to seal your treasures, you use only a few cups! No more heavy pot hassle or jars breaking after bumping into each other. My canning world has been revolutionized.

I smoked more trout and made chowder, adding shrimp and, in one of those sneaky swaps for some of the heavy cream, a pound of cauliflower to the broth, simmering until soft then whirring into oblivion in the Vitamix before adding potatoes and the fish. So delicious!

A crazy delicious salad with lettuce, nasturtiums, and purslane grown in our own back yard. Purslane (pictured below) is considered by most to be a weed, but if you’ve got it growing around your place, give it a try! It’s kind of citrus-y and has a nice texture.

Our first kohlrabi! Such a looker, purple and alien, but so yummy! Depending on your reference, it might taste of broccoli & radish, turnip & potato. Maybe even artichoke. Whatever your tastebuds, it’s a delight to watch it grow.

Young bucks….

The front garden is in full splendor and the wildlove (mistyped wildlife but am keeping, because duh) is in heaven….

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