Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jonah: turning 9 and heading for Tennessee

Jonah, Jill and I went to Safari night at the zoo where all the rides are free. We used our zoo passes and headed straight for the sky ride which we usually can't afford. After a little trepidation, Jill got on and loved it. We had to leave our flip flops behind (in case they got dropped somewhere in the zoo, even in an animal cage). Next we rode the train, fed the budgies (parakeets), petted the goats, rode a pony, played on the playground, danced at the Radio Disney exhibit, visited the gift shop and then went to the concert in the park where Jill scored a free frisbee. I'm trying to spend time with Jonah since he might be gone for most of the summer visiting his Dad. Today we are going to try to go see "Up" at the movies. Jonah's birthday is on June 12, but he may be in Tennessee by then so his Mom wants to plan something before he goes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

perfect moment

I spent many years working in a cubicle, being somewhere I didn't really want to be for 8 hours a day. Even though I was blessed to have several great jobs over my lifetime and found satisfaction in my work and made lifelong friends, like many other people I always craved the luxury of time, solitude and nature all around me.

I was inspired to write a description of my perfect moment by "Wishcraft", a book written by Barbara Sher. Check out where you can actually read the book online. I think it is Chapter 3, "Wishing" where I read other people's descriptions of their perfect day. I enjoyed writing what turned out to be more like my perfect moment. I looked at it every day and always found it soothing and inspiring. I also hung pictures from the "Out on the Porch" calendar all around my windowless cubicle and found them very comforting as well.

I had to recreate the perfect moment from memory since I have not been able to find the box where it is stored since our last move. Doesn't matter. I remember it well and have visited it many times in my imagination with friends and family members who might be far away or even gone forever.

I looked for stock photos of mountain cabins, but I could find nothing that matched my imagination so well as my friend's actual cabin in Kentucky. It seems she is living my fantasy even though when we met she was the Big City Career Girl and I was the one who wanted to live in the woods. Life is full of surprises. My friend's blog is listed here on my blog. She is a crafter of beautiful handmade soap and skin products at I imagine she will be surprised if she visits my blog and sees pictures of her own house.

Perfect Moment

I am on the wooden deck of a mountain cabin. Sun light is filtering through the leaves above. It is warm and still and the sound of chirping insects fills the air. There are two deck chairs, some potted plants and a small table on the deck. A cat is sleeping in one of the chairs. Inside the cabin is dim and cool and a pot of stew is simmering on the stove. A small creek trickles below and runs into a cool, clear river further down. I hear laughter from that direction. I will be joining the others soon, but right now I am working on my laptop computer. A deadline and a pay check are waiting, but the work is going well and I am almost finished.

In the distance, I see someone walking toward me. As she gets close, I am surprised to see my old friend. "Don't worry," she says, "others will come." She comments on my tan skin and slender figure. Laughing and talking quietly, we inspect the garden and stroll down the path toward the river.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

peach pie

2 cups of flour (approximately), 1 stick of margarine, 1 teaspoon of salt and a little ice water. No wonder pie crust is not good for you!

Last night I made a pie. My husband asked, "Why didn't you just buy a crust?" Good question. You can buy ready made crusts, pie dough rounds or pie dough mix in boxes or pie dough in biscuit tins and they are all good. So why make one?

I'm just fascinated by the idea of taking a few simple ingredients and creating something really special. Also, I found an old pastry blender in the drawer which renewed my enthusiasm for homemade biscuits and pie crusts, etc.

Anyway, as you might be able to tell by the quantity of ingredients, this was supposed to be a two crust pie. But when I began to roll it out, it was still a little crumbly even though I had rolled it in a ball and chilled it in a baggie for a while. It was not rolling out properly. The one thing I learned from my past attempts at biscuits is that continuing to try to make it pretty is what makes it tough as shoe leather so I just put it in the pie plate and used what should have been the top crust to build an edge around it.

For the filling I used two cans of sliced peaches in syrup which were on sale. I added some cinnamon, a little extra brown sugar, a pat of butter and a couple of tablespoons of tapioca spinkled on top for thickening. I cooked the filling on top of the stove and pre-baked the pie shell for 10 minutes before putting the whole thing in the oven for 20 minutes more (at 400 degrees).
Anyway, it was GOOD! I even liked the rustic look. With a little ice cream on top. Ymmm. The crust was flaky! And it actually had a flavor! Enough success to make me try again soon. Already had another piece of pie for breakfast. (See picture above).