Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer - Going Fast

Today I’m feeling all poetic just because summer is drawing to a close. I know because everything looks kind of dusty and worn out. And yet the air seems a bit expectant, like something is coming. Fall. Felt it in the crisp air this morning and I had to put my fuzzy robe on before I went downstairs for coffee. Feels kind of nice and a little sad.

Here’s a poem you might enjoy. It appeared in Good Old Days back in 2009.

Last Picnic of Summer
By Susan Sundwall

Before she sheds her flowered dress
sweet Summer grants one last caress
and wraps her suntanned arms around
the peaceful place my heart has found

She bids me listen just once more
for water lapping on the shore,
and children thumping on the sand
to music from the oompa band

Picnic tables piled high
with buttered corn and cherry pie;
fireflies are sheer delight
blinking, winking through the night

We find some marshmallows to toast
then through the flickering fire, the ghost
of Summer who, with gentle laugh
goes slipping down bright autumn’s path

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ad Icons

As we sat playing pinochle with friends the other night, we began talking about commercials. You know, the kind that advertise products we may or may not need, but whose companies have hired excellent ad men. Someone mentioned and the cornball Captain Obvious who touts for them. I said I loved the Geico gecko. Well, that got the ball rolling didn’t it?

Hang on – here comes Memory Lane.

“Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!” There he was, Mr. Whipple, lurking there in the aisle of your favorite grocery store. The big sneak. Scared the poop out of any shopper who dared put the moves on an eight pack.

Met himself coming and going did the Dunkin Donut guy. Pudgy, cute little mustache, and a gleam in his eye. “Time to make the donuts.” That was his line and he said it with passion and bleary eyes seeing as how it was always 4 in the morning in his world.

Madge. She dipped your fingers in emerald green liquid and patted your hand when you gasped, “Dishwasher liquid!” Yup, Palmolive had a great spokeswoman in that gal. Loved her.

A good ad campaign is the stuff of legends and gives a certain cache (whatever that means) to an era. Remember “Got Milk?” How about “Where’s the beef?” "Have it your way at . . . " fill in the blank. Your mind is churning like crazy now, isn’t it?

I could go on and on, but there’s, right now, a break from all the horror of world news and I think Flo is starring in another Progressive commercial – a new one! Gotta go.

Okay, I’m back. Have a few ad icons of your own you’d like to share?

Image: supakitmod                                             Free Digital Photos

Monday, August 25, 2014

Enter the Giveaway!

I was so touched to be asked by Karen Lange to guest blog at Write Now. Karen is an excellent writer and friend. She authored Homeschooling 101 and has a lively blog following. I hope you enjoy my small bit and will enter for the giveaway. Here’s the link

Thank you, Karen!

Image: Free Digital Photos

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Garden Recipes!

By the end of this day I’m going to be a dishrag. The garden is past peak which means all the good stuff, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, basil and cucumbers, are waiting to be “dealt with.” And with autumn fast approaching I’d better hop to it. But before I do I’m going to lay down a few recipes for you. All using garden fresh produce. Sounds kinda fun, huh? Here we go.

Glazed Carrots

2 large carrots
Brown sugar

Clean carrots and cut into sticks or coins (some call them). Simmer with a little salt until tender and drain. Drop in a chunk (2 TBS.) of butter and an equal amount of brown sugar. Swirl in pan and get ready to fight off the kids and their dad who will try to snag a few before they’re in the bowl and on the table.

Garlic Tomato Salad

I don’t know what else to call this but it is so good for you and really really bad for vampires.

Cut two or three of your gorgeous tomatoes into chunks. Place in a bowl and salt them. Roll up three or four basil leaves and then chop them quick like an enraged Food Network chef. Add to tomatoes. Chop up as many whole garlic cloves as you like and add them to the tomatoes and basil. Now take some Italian dressing and generously add to the salad. Set in fridge to let flavors blend.

Before serving grate some Asiago cheese over the whole mess and eat it with a nice chewy Italian bread. You will be drinking the juice from this one. It’s sooo good. Just don’t expect any passionate hugs and kisses from anyone for a while. Especially if it’s someone named Vlad.

Hope you enjoy – I’m off to make pickles and can up some tomatoes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Human Kitchen

So I opened my Chrome browser a couple of months ago and saw a link to “the first peek” into the NYC apartment of Chelsea Clinton and her husband. Beautiful – of course. And what drew my attention the most wasn’t the furnishings in the living room or the opulent bathrooms. Nope, in cases like this, I go for the kitchen. It’s the room I relate to the most. My two passions in life are writing and cooking. But I have to tell you I could NOT relate to the kitchen in the virtual tour before me.

Without crumbs on the counter, a broken hinge on a cabinet, cat food crudding up the side of the dish and above all – a refrigerator suffocating in artwork and magnets, well, it’s just not a real kitchen is it? A sterile stainless steel everything kind of kitchen with a few carefully placed pears on a spotless counter simply doesn’t do it for me. I mean, c’mon, where are the humans here?

I know, I know. If you’re doing an expensive shoot for a glossy mag you can’t have cat barf under your feet, right? Or if you do, you get the cat’s maid to clean it up pronto before the big cameras come out. I’m so glad I’m not saddled with wealth and position so I don’t have to face these dilemmas.

Here’s a short story that would make Chelsea, Martha, and maybe the Princess of Panama cringe if it happened in their realm.

Before we did our kitchen over, we had a portable dishwasher. Remember those? On top sat the toaster, butter dish and anything we had to lay down for a minute. Our cat at the time, Puss, loved that old kitchen because there were enough holes in the baseboards to provide mouse snacks all the livelong day. One night my husband was out late and when he came in through the kitchen door he saw the cat perched on the dishwasher staring intently at the toaster. Hmmm, he thought, what could be in there? So he crept softly up to the toaster, smiled at Puss, pushed the handle down, and stepped back.

How long do you think it took for that mouse to scramble out of the hot coils into the grasp of a happy kitty? Mere seconds my friend, seconds. A chase ensued and I really don’t know the outcome of the cat and mouse game, but it sure is a good story. Cringe worthy to the wealthy and famous but priceless to us.

My kitchen is inhabited by ordinary humans. This grandma plasters the pictures next to the magnets next to the construction paper artwork to cover the fingerprints on the fridge. I hang long dill branches over the fireplace and pile the get-to-later mail  on the table. I have Mom’s picture of “Grace” hanging over the old deacon’s bench and there are almost always crumbs on the counter.

That’s what you get for having a human kitchen, I guess. I sure hope Chelsea and Martha and the Princess of Panama get to experience it at least once in their lifetime. They’ll be truly wealthy then.

Image: Grace by Eric Enstrom (the one in my kitchen)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Things They Say

“Grandma, what thing about me do you love the most?”
It took me by surprise this question. Was she short on compliments in her young life? Ten  years old and wondering about herself like this. What could it mean? I gave it twenty seconds of careful thought.
“I love your sweet voice,” I said. After all she’d just finished reading a bit of Lemony Snickett from The Series of Unfortunate Events to me. Of  course this back and forth prompted me to ask what she liked the most about me.
“You’re gentle and kind,” she said.

Thank you, Lillie. Grandmas need to hear things like that. And they need things like this to tuck into their memory banks of “kid incidents.”

Another granddaughter, Sierra, put a question to her mother causing her mother to think of me and what I might have said to inspire the comment.
“Mommy, say something funny so I can say ‘For heaven’s sake’.”
I had no idea ‘for heaven’s sake’ popped out of my mouth enough for Sierra to notice. But she did. Kids are like that.

As they get a bit older they become more free wheeling with their comments and –yes – criticisms.
“I just read a whole article on the Internet and cats are lactose intolerant,” Elaina spouted.
She’d seen me give our stray, Agnes, a dish of milk ( and a glob of ice cream – vanilla). Grandma was transgressing mightily.
“But she begs for it every morning, “ I countered.
“It’s not good for her. I saw cat barf in the yard with her food in it.”
I sighed. I was killing the cat with my capitulation to her demands. “Okay, I’ll stop for a week and see if she gains any weight.”
Poor Agnes (or Angus as Lillie pronounces it), she doesn’t have any idea about grandkids and their desire for doing right by pets. She and I will have to struggle this out together. I’ll keep Elaina posted.

Our week of company, book launches, summer birthday bashes and gobbling up the goodies from the garden is over. Soon the school bells will be ringing, the big pumpkin will have to be harvested and the leaves (gasp) will start to turn. The summer memory bank is pretty full and I guess I’m ready. How about you?

The beat goes on. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'll be Back

Hey, loyal blog readers. I have a super crazy week coming up. Out of state company arrives on Tuesday - two granddaughters and their dad. Fun and frolic for a few days and then  The Super Bar Incident Book Launch on Saturday morning at the Kinderhook Elks Lodge, Route 9 H in Kinderhook starting at 10 a.m. I've just gotta get some stuff done for that! Like now.

So - I'll be gone for about ten days. Hope you miss me, but go ahead and read the archives in case you missed anything in the last few  years. It's okay, really.

Love you guys,


Image: Free Digital Photos

Friday, August 1, 2014

Start August Right

Oh, boy. Here it comes. The end of summer. There’s so much that’s not done yet and so much coming up. Makes me want to curl up with a good book and grab an iced latte. Which puts me in mind of cold things to drink. Like malted milk. A friend was over last week with her granddaughters and we got to talking. She told me her grown kids had no idea what a malted milk was. What??? Is this world coming to? My grandkids know what it is because their grandpa made sure of it. I made some for lunch that day and all the kids loved it. So – here’s how you make one in case you didn’t know.

Chocolate Malted Milk (Shake)

Milk – put some in a blender
Chocolate Ice cream – plop it in with the milk
Malt powder – a couple of tablespoons to  start (find it in the coffee aisle with other powdered drink stuff)
Chocolate syrup – squirt a goodly amount on top of the whole mess

Whirl in the blender then open the top and taste. If it’s too thin add more ice cream. Too thick add more milk. Or chocolate syrup or malt powder.

Pour into tall glasses and use a straw for Heaven’s sake. Tastes much better that way. And if you’re feeling decadent top with whipped cream and a dash of cocoa.

So there ya go. An August treat and Grandpa would approve.

Image: antpkr                                                 Free Digital Photos