Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Pic

     A short post for this busy time....our dog on Christmas morning ...
A not so happy moment on Christmas morning...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Turkey Adventure

this will be short.....this week is about my adventure with the turkey knife!  while slicing off a piece of turkey for lunch the knife slipped and cut my left index finger instead.......nasty, nasty knife!!!  seven stitches near the tip.....no play viola for a while, but  it will heal well quickly.  i am too impatient to type one-handed today, so bye bye!!  maybe more later when i have two hands.......oh, i am so sorry, mr. finger!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Childhood Castles

     When I was a child I loved fairy tales and castles.  Oh, to be Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel!  Castles were beautiful, magical places.
     While a freshman in college I decorated my dorm room wall with a poster of the castle Neuschwanstein in Germany.  It exemplified my childhood notion of what a castle should be.  I imagined playing my violin in a high turret.
      As I aged I learned more about castles and decided my childhood dream was just that.  A real castle would be a large, cold, drafty place and probably very lonely.  And no knights in shining armor...no princes.
      I did have one castle in my life, though.  It was a small, one story white building in the rear of my grandparents' backyard.  The Castle, the name of my Aunt Peggy's art studio, was a castle of possibilities.  Aunt Peggy was a painter, sculptor, silversmith, and potter....and probably more I have forgotten about.  Her castle evolved by growing  turrets of imaginary creations.  Below was space to study, sketch and create.  There was bagged clay on the floor near a potter's wheel, a kiln for firing pots and jewelry, cabinets and shelves of painting supplies, a wall of silversmith tools, drawers of gems and polished stones, and bookcases of ideas in print.  Long built-in seats covered with bright cushions lined two walls and oil paintings hung above. It was a cheerful, happy place full of light, color and whimsy.  It smelled of clay and paint. 
     Whenever my sister and I visited we went to The Castle with my aunt.  I loved it.  We usually painted or drew, but sometimes we tried other things.  One summer my aunt taught us how to do copper enameling and we each made jewelry with her help.  It was fun just to go through her books, look at the supplies (such as a hunk of amethyst I remember), play with clay, or watch my aunt.
     My interest turned to music, but thanks to her I appreciated any art work my children created at home or made at school.  I especially loved their drawings.  All enjoyed drawing and did it well.  I marveled at their work (it is hard work for me).
     My aunt passed away many years ago, before the birth of my firstborn.  I sometimes think of her and how much my boys and she would have enjoyed each other had she lived longer.  Oh, what a wonderful heritage I have!

That White Stuff

     Howling winds and blowing snow--the sounds of a blizzard arrived during the night.  Fortunately the snowfall has been light.........lots of commotion without much show!
     Today's post  is a list of snow thoughts.

Powdered sugar sprinklings
Mexican Wedding Cakes
Falling cherry blossoms
Silence

Neighborhood owl and his soft, quiet hoots
Splashes of red from cardinals
Fluffy blanket to cover up the "uglies"
Ice cream, hot cocoa
Clean and pure
Atonement
Catching snowflakes
Eating snowflakes
Paintings by Jack Frost
Cozy cottages covered in snow
A Christmas Carol
Feeble attempts at building snowmen
NO SCHOOL!!!
Anticipating NO SCHOOL!!
Baking
Icycles
Snow angels
Jumping in drifts
Making  first footprints after a snowfall
Watching our dog play in the snow

Snowballs
Flocked Christmas trees
Paper snowflakes
Family games
Country friends unable to travel home stayed with us instead ....fun and games!
The sound of spinning tires
Crunchy sound when walking on very cold, snow-covered walks
Snuggling under cozy blankets
Making igloos

Monday, December 6, 2010

Angelic

Oh, I love this Mack Wilberg arrangement of "What Shall We Give?" (Catalonain carol)!

Monday, November 29, 2010

That Crinkly Sound


When we were teens my sister and I had a favorite place to shop for Christmas presents. We walked downtown and checked out the Merle Norman store. Upon entering this small shop we were met by walls and glass counters full of special gifts in addition to make-up and cologne. The assortment included such things as pretty boxes, jewelry and figurines such as Hummels. In the 1960's no other store in our city of 20,000 came close to having the gift selection that this place had.                                             
     Something else was missing in the other shops. At Merle Norman  every sales girl had the same slow, soft-spoken manner. It was positively hypnotizing. We would shop there just to experience the ambiance.
     Their sales technique was best displayed while packing a purchased gift in a white box. It was slowly opened by lingering  fingers adorned with long, lacquered nails. We watched as each box flap was pulled out meticulously, all the while absorbing the relaxed, almost soporific feeling that came over us. Tissue paper was carefully retrieved and gently patted into the box, accompanied by a soft, crinkly sound . By this time we were completely enchanted and mesmerized; we would have bought lots more, means permitting.
     We call this the "Merle Norman Technique". My sister can do a great imitation of it. It requires a slow pace, soft voice, nice nails (clicking nails really help), and lots of that soft, crinkly paper noise . The latter will send people over the edge!
     The shop has been gone for many years.  My hometown was hard hit by the recession in the seventies and  never completely recovered. Now it is a Wal-Mart town, with local businesses hobbling along.  Merle Norman went a-malling, and is now a delectable memory!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Past

VintageHolidayCrafts.com

     As Thanksgiving ushers in the Christmas season I am recalling happy childhood memories of my early years.  Christmas was very magical when I was young, and I decided that remembering these might help me remember the magical feeling of this season.  It is working!
     Here are a few things I recall--
1.  A huge, live Christmas tree with lots of sparkle--metallic balls and icycles.  I recall laying on the floor near the tree and just watching it.  Very magical experience...  Oh, I remember having homemade cookie ornaments one year.  Very pretty.
2.  My dad was the assistant manager at the local A&P (grocery store); he brought home a box of goodies from the store just before Christmas.  Yum!
3.  Listening to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and twirling to Waltz of the Flowers.  Anyone remember the Nutcracker Suite paper dolls?!  They were really pretty!
4.  Our church Christmas Eve service; this involved the children singing.  I think I was a shepherd or angel one year.  What I really remember is learning Silent Night.
5.  My mother singing the aria He Shall Feed His Flock  from The Messiah
6.  Listening to The Messiah
7.  Both of my parents singing in the church choir.
8.  Going downtown in Fort Wayne or Indianapolis and touring the window displays.  They were so magical!
9.  Oranges in my red felt stocking........I can smell them
10 Revlon dolls.......my sister and I each got one (she got the blond one; I got the brunette doll).
   
      SANTA!!

11. Santa always visited my home on Christmas Eve. We would each get to sit on his lap and listen to his serious but very kind questions about our behavior and what was wanted for Christmas.  I suppose he had something in his bag, but I only remember him......oh, and his list.  I knew he was the real Santa.  His disguise and impersonation were perfect in my eyes; I found out years later that a close family friend  had done this faithfully.
12. Cuddling under a silky comforter in bed on Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep and filled with the anticipation of hearing Santa on the roof.  Really cool.  And we never peeked downstairs (well, I can't speak for my sister...).
13. My aunts read us a Christmas story about a special Christmas train and dreaming of sugarplums, I think.  I REALLY wanted to go there in my own dreams!!
14. Christmas specials on early television
15. Visiting a big department store and Santa .....a big deal to me since we lived in a town of 20,000
16. Being aware that elves were watching my every move
17. Santa songs...lots of fun!

More

18. Getting to be the Queen of Hearts in a second grade Christmas play which featured children's literature characters.  I had to learn to snap my fingers for one of the songs (it was hard work...just couldn't get it for a while).  Being the queen was a big deal.  My mother, who hated to sew, made me a costume that had a big pink tulle skirt covered with paper hearts. I thought it was beautiful.
19. Christmas cookies.  My mother always made Spritz and Mexican Wedding Cakes.  She gave away most of them...that was fun.
20. Both my sister and I receiving perfume kits as presents.  We mixed all kinds of scents in the dining room.  Boy, I bet it really stunk!!
21. China horses.   I always got these as presents to add to my collection
22. Going to a movie during Christmas vacation
23. Visiting grandparents, aunts and uncles in Fort Wayne. I only have two first cousins, and they were rarely around when we were there; my sister and I were quite doted on.  I LOVED going to Fort Wayne.  I expect some future blog entries will focus these.
24. Speaking of Fort Wayne, I remember being taken to Atz's Ice Cream Parlour at Christmas time.  We always had Sundaes, but that place also sold special Christmas ice cream....colored, molded pieces.  My family usually bought some. Yum!!
25. Making salt dough ornaments at school.  Those are still fun to make.....
26. Just lots of music.  My mother played the piano and sang many Christmas songs during the holidays.  She especially liked Frosty the Snowman.  We also listened to recordings.  A time for musical feasting.

That is enough for now, but I will probably be adding to this list!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What a Turkey!

This year was a first...a glimpse of a turkey's pre-roast personality. Apparently our Tubby Tommy wanted to be released from his forthcoming gig in the oven.......

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Fun

     Every Christmas I enjoy making some kind of decoration and/or gift. I especially like working with felted wool.  One of my favorite projects is making wool/cotton heart ornaments for our tree.  This year I have added embroidered birds which are designed as I go (I only made a pattern for the bird shapes).  The embroidered layer is usually silk, wool, knit or velvet.  I fuse felted wool or knit under it for strength and a border.  I love the coziness of the felted fabrics!  I have posted a few pics below.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Dog

Hi!  I'm Laddie and I am sitting here in my favorite pose, back paws between front paws.
I am doing my chores......sure love peanut butter!
Whoa...that hurt my ears! 
Been going all morning and I am tired.
Time for a snooze
Oops...not yet....I spy SQUIRRELS
Oh please, may I have some, too?  I am being very polite and I am so cute with my bow!
                                                              
I love prey-time
                                                                                                                                                                                          






Sunday, November 14, 2010

Encounter with Max and a One-Eyed Tree

The November gloomies blew in Friday night and descended on me yesterday. Outside it was gray, cool and dank with occasional spits of windy rain. Moldy leaf piles lined the street and cawing crows perched on limbs of skeletal trees. It was definitely gloomy, and my spirits followed suit.

There were plenty of tasks to do but I wandered mentally to other places. I had a terrible time focusing, and my plans were not coming to pass. Hmmmmmm....looks like a good day to get out and shop. Maybe being out will perk me up. No such luck...just early Christmas crowds, no money and nothing I wanted on sale. Hmmmmm...maybe I will make bread. That did not work either- even the bread flopped. And I was alone part of the day, which fed the encroaching depression. All day long I fought melancholy.
Late yesterday a favorite quote popped into my head, a quote that occasionally reminds me to get my act together. It is from the children's book Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells. In this book Max and Ruby, a young bunny pair of sister and little brother, are on an Easter egg hunt together outdoors. The prize for the one who finds the most eggs is a large chocolate chicken. Max, who has the attention span of about a three-year old, is continually distracted by other things around him such as a mud puddle and acorns. Ruby, while gathering her own stash of eggs, keeps reminding him to look for them and the forthcoming reward if he wins. At one point she exclaims "Max...pull yourself together. Otherwise you'll never get the chocolate chicken."
I loved this book when my boys were young and I read it a lot. Every once in a while I hear this phrase in my head and I'm humorously reminded to get my act together. It usually happens on a day when I am wandering like Max and I need something like chocolate. And that was yesterday.
This morning I walked outside and experienced more yucky weather, but colder...so soon the rain will turn to snow. On the way to church meetings I thought about the gloomy nature scenes around me. I pulled into my parking space and was met by a tree ahead of me. While looking at it I suddenly realized it was staring at me with one eye and sticking out its tongue (really...a hunk of bark was coming off...). It was so funny and silly that I began laughing. I explained to my son ( who did not share his mother's sense of humor). So I think I am on the road to recovery, thanks to a silly tree and a little bunny boy. Such is life sometimes!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

October Farewell

These are just a few photos taken this October. I will miss you!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Frost-bitten

     Green lawns were heavily frosted last night.  I began thinking about the word frost and thought I would list some associations with it. 
1.     Frosted mint garnish

2.     Jack Frost, the guy who has been painting our van's windows in the night and dancing on the last flowers


3.     Frosty the Snowman

4.     Frostys....like Blizzards, I think.  YUM

5.     Boy, that really frosts me!!

6.     Well, that's just the frosting on the cake....wait until you hear the rest of the story!!

7.     Making cake frosting

8.     Watching other people make cake frosting (like Martha Stewart...I find her teaching manner soothing)

9.     Reading recipes for cake frosting

10.   Imagining Italian meringue frosting, making it, and eating it.  And I did it once.  YUM YUM

11.   Eating any frosting (mmmmmm cream cheese)

12.   Making cutout Christmas cookies and frosting them....great fun

13.   My grandma's special cooked frosting for red cake, my favorite birthday cake when I was young

14.   I like frosting!!

15.   A girl in my high school had the last name of Frost...she was nice

16.   Frost evokes memories from school....like my sister being Suzy Snowflake in a school Christmas
        program

 17..   Rev. Frost, the minister who baptized me at the First Methodist Church I grew up in. My mother
         waited until I was 4 yrs old so I would remember it (LDS do not get baptized until 8 years old)

18.    Scraping, scraping, and scraping car windows!

19.    Seeing my breath on a cold morning

20.    Stiff, crunchy grass in the morning





21.    Some poem about "when the frost is on the pumpkin"

22.    The beauties of autumn

23.    Frosted hair in the 1960s

24.    My Uncle Frank loved buttercream frosting.  For some unknown reason I remember that fact....

25.    Hmmmm..I seem to remember a hamburger place with Frostys in the name

26.    Snowflakes, great big, lazy ones

27.    Batman, and I could go on.....













Monday, November 1, 2010

Light In the Pumpkin Patch

     This will be short!  We just returned from visiting Nauvoo, Illinois.  Nauvoo is a small town on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has restored part of its settlement from the 1840s, including shops, homes, and a temple.  Anyone can tour the shops, homes and visitors center (not the temple).  Very interesting and uplifting.  I have attached a few pics from our trip.  The white building is the Nauvoo Temple (see nauvootemple.com), a source of spiritual light during our trip. The play Rendezvous, put on by senior citizen missionaries, was another source (very inspiring if you are approaching that age...!!!).
     At night light also came from the annual pumpkin walk.  Carved pumpkins lined the main street along with various fundraisers selling yummy treats.  Pics below are from the temple, pumpkin walk and surrounding area.



Monday, October 25, 2010

Anxiety In the Night

Last night I had a music dream. I would like to say that these dreams are filled with beautiful compositions and heavenly sounds....or it would be nice to at least remember SOMETHING from what I hear. Alas, mine are usually manifestations of ANXIETY (I am reminded of the movie High Anxiety).
What are they about....well .....I am late to a concert, I am sight-reading during a concert, I am sight-reading near the front of the viola section or as principal, I am seated near the edge of the stage and beginning to slide off (really BAD....), I can't find my music, I arrive for the concert with street clothes on and no time to fix it (but at least I have clothes on, and they usually are not my pajamas), or, like last night, I spend so much time figuring out the way to the concert that it becomes impossible to get there on time. Because I can't get the internet map big enough to see where Ohio Street is. Whatever that means (it is scary to contemplate the implications of googling maps in a dream.....). I was so glad to wake up.
Truthfully, I do not have these dreams very often. In fact, my behavior in them is beginning to change. I have had a few in which I perform (even sight-read) successfully. Wow. The first time I had one of those was a delightful experience. I guess there is hope!!
At times I have been curious about the meaning of dreams. A bit of research has left me still wondering about them, and I have come to the conclusion that what they mean is dependent upon the paradigm of my own life. So much for dreams.
A few times I have described a dream in a journal. This is best done soon after waking, when details are fresh. Some interesting insights can be gained, especially by reviewing and pondering unusual dreams.
Well, I wish I had a photograph to go with this post. I think I will end with a peaceful pic, a counterpoint to falling off a stage. 
                                                       Mackinac, take me away!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stretching

     Many, many years ago, in the years of my youth, I read a magazine article about the importance of stretching.  Advice and suggested  exercises were included.  All sounded good, and I was convinced that I should attempt this.  The routine lasted two weeks, maybe.... I hated it.  Nothing to direct my thoughts, and the stretches got old really fast.  Boring.  I had no patience for it.  And...did I really need this?  I moved fine without it.
     It has also been suggested that string players, like athletes, should always warm up before practicing.  My thoughts on this..."You've got to be kidding!  No way, Jose.  Boring. I don't need it".
     And then my body got old.
     And I fell and hurt my left wrist.
     And I could not play my viola for 7 weeks.
     And this was VERY bad!!
     And it healed,
     And how was I to begin again in my fifties without reinjuring myself??!!
     Ah ha.........ah ha.......slowly, carefully, with STRETCHES.  This time there was no choice if I wanted to play again.  So I began.
     My practice time increased gradually from 5 minutes a day to almost an hour over the course of a month.  I was disciplined and used a timer so I would not play too long.  I added slow, gentle stretches so I would be able to shift again; I had a concert coming that required a lot of that!!  Stretches increased and I added trills.  Trills seemed to really strengthen and work my wrist.  Etudes with trills and lots of shifts were added for endurance.  By the end of the month I was traversing my fingerboard amazingly well....in fact, I could get around BETTER than before the injury. How could this be?!  Hmmmmmm...could it be that I had been avoiding shifting before the injury?  Shifting involved stretching....guess I had better continue!
     Now I almost always stretch before I play, and I pay for it if I don't!  I have been converted, and I continue to play without injury.  So much for my learning experience.
     Does this apply to other areas of life?  I think so.  I firmly believe that as we age we need to stretch our brains as well as our bodies.  We need to stretch ourselves spiritually, and on a daily basis.  Spiritual growth goes with us when we die.
     Enough for now.  I just pooped out.........and I need to practice.....
     

   

Monday, October 11, 2010

R.I.P.

     Today I am recovering.  It was a long week, and an even longer weekend.  Rehearsals, concerts, and traveling.  And again.  And again.  At times, as I heard a concertmaster say, like the movie Groundhog Day. I think that says it all.
     My poor fingers, especially those of my left hand.  They have been telling me "You know, we are not young any more. We will do our best to comply, but some of this music is not just fast.....it is being conducted at a tempo WAY over the speed limit!  Why don't conductors get tickets!!!  We want a break!! Maybe we will go on strike!! "
     Fortunately my brain overruled my fingers and they complied.  But today they get a rest.  Sort of.....they are typing, but they get off the viola.  In tribute to them I have posted their picture below  It is a photo from their younger years.
     Fingers.  I love my fingers.  They were my toys when I was young.  Now they are my tools.  I am so very grateful for my hands.  I digress.....on to the concerts...
     Saturday I played a concert with Kenosha Symphony that included Prokofiev's Classical Symphony.  The outer movements of that piece are why my fingers get a day off.  While preparing I listened to various versions  to refresh my memory.  Fast, very fast...faster than I remembered.  And even faster in Kenosha.  It was at  breakneck (or break-finger) speed.
     I love this work, but it is difficult to play.  Along with extremely fast finger work there is lots of challenging work for the right hand and both arms.  The left arm shifts a great deal in some very fast passages.  It seems more like a third violin part....all violists should receive accolades for just getting through it with a cool head  and body intact!  Violinists just don't appreciate how much more difficult it is to do gymnastics on the viola.
     During the dress rehearsal something the conductor said clicked in my brain, and I had an "epiphany".  Hmmmmmmm...perhaps I am WORKING TOO HARD.  I was reminded, even after all my years of playing, that sometimes I need to step back, take a deep breath, cool it, and look at the big picture of what musical message is being sent.  In this case, it was one of lightness and humor....even a bit of silliness.  The "light bulb went on", and I knew I was supposed to have fun.  That was more important than "what if I miss a sixteenth note....!!".  So I cooled it and tried to enjoy the piece.
     It worked!  I also learned that the obscene speed actually enhanced the music in places.  During one passage I caught myself giggling because the music was laughing.
      I had a concert in Milwaukee yesterday. I was tired.  Very tired.  So tired I did not notice that my black hose were navy blue.  And I was sitting principal--everyone could see.
      It did not end there.  During a visit to the Ladies Room before the concert I apparently picked up a souvenir and brought it back with me.  I walked out on stage, sat down, and shortly after heard a section member discreetly inform me that I had toilet paper stuck on my leg.  Yup....white on black.
     To fully appreciate this you must read the following.  Many years ago friends, my husband and I watched the movie Junior starring Arnold Schwartzenagger and Emma Thompson.  The latter played a spacy scientist who in a dance scene comes back from the ladies room with toilet paper stuck on her shoe.  I recall that I was compared to that character.  That was something Christine would do.  Well, now I have done it.  So much for dignity.
     I could go on, but I am tired.  I must R.I.P.....especially my fingers......







    

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Autumn

     I love fall!  Today I will just post some pics taken this month.....it has been a busy week. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We Just Don't Always Know What's Best!

     It is band season.  That phrase alone triggers immediate responses from parents. Lots of rehearsals....an absent son or daughter...going to band concerts.....freezing in the bleachers.....do we go to football, band, or both....paying for band stuff....band meetings.....trying to keep up with the schedule....making sure my child is keeping up in school.....maybe a band party.....and the yearly cattle call for parental volunteers....here we go again....and again.....and again.....I will be so glad when band season is over....uh-oh, it is longer this year because we are going to nationals....and again....and again....when will I be childless.....and maybe, from some "get up and go" cheerful types-Wow!  Isn't it great that we can support this!!  Let's help!!
     Well...confession time...the latter is not me.  Enough said.  I have always been happy and grateful  that my boys were in good music programs in public school, but I DREAD volunteering.  All those strange people and circumstances.  My stomach starts churning when I first hear about the band meeting for parents.  One would think that by my age those feelings would dissipate, but not so.  So I usually try to bake if I get to the sign up sheet in time, or there is a weekend when I am not busy with my own rehearsals or church activities.  And then I feel guilty that I don't do more (never mind the fact that many other parents chip in...no one is really  going to miss me!!). 
     This year I got to the sign up too late to bake, so my husband and I perused the lists for something different.  My other half, who does not have a shy bone in his body, signed us up to be band guides.  OK, I thought....it suggests doing this as pairs....should be OK.....I guess I will find out more about this when it is near the time to do it.  Well, that was yesterday.  My stomach began to churn on Thursday, and my worrywort mind began conjuring up possible problems and concerns.  I tried to curb this process, but it really hit yesterday.  How I would have liked to get out of it!!
     We went to the meeting for band guide volunteers, figured out what was going on with the help of other friendly parents (some of whom were also new to this) and did our "shtick".  It wasn't too bad...in fact, it was fun!  Of course, it helped that I was not alone.....
     It was fun and interesting to watch the bands prepare.  Why it was so hard to make myself do this I will never understand, but it was worth it.  Now I regret that I did not do it sooner (oops...no looking back....!).
     The weather was beautiful.  We were outside for more than five hours in sunshine, fabulous cloud formations, wind, rain, cold, and darkness.  We walked and walked, and I am sore.  But there was one moment that was spectacular!  Around 5PM a rainbow began to form.  Soon there was a double rainbow.  As I watched, both  began to grow.  Soon the inner rainbow intensified and became complete.  A pale but full outer bow hovered above it.  They formed a huge, perfect arc over the football field where all the bands would perform later.  People were taking pictures (I didn't have my camera...!!!); I heard one young person exclaim "What does this mean...?" as he shot pics.  It was a once in a lifetime experience, which I would have missed had I not gone!
     In retrospect I have examined my feelings and decided that the positive feelings of the experience outweigh the anxiety preceding it.  I hope I remember this.  Things are usually not as bad as we imagine, and sometimes we are graciously blessed !

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Purple

     Last week I attempted a blog with this title and failed to come up with enough ideas, so I changed it.  After some thought I will try again....    Below are some of my connections to the color purple (not the movie...).  Maybe it will inspire you to do a similar activity...it conjures up interesting memories!

1.  Purple Dragons.  When I was a teen I enjoyed a popular song by Allan Sherman called Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.  It was a humorous song based on music from
Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours.  I was given a recording of several silly songs by Allan Sherman.  I loved that record and memorized the words to a few songs.  One of my favorites was about a psychoanalyst; one of the few lines I remember is "When you dream you've got a purple dragon next to you in bed, and you wake up and the dragon isn't purple, it is red......You need an analyst....you need, I need, ............everybody needs an analyst!"  (mmmmmmmm..what teen doesn't need one?!!!!)
2.  Elderberries.  Read last week's blog.  I also remember the grape arbor behind one of my childhood homes.  Sometimes my mother made grape jelly.  I also remember a sibling of mine being tied up there after running away when she was four.......
3.  Grape Tootsie Roll Pops.  How long did you wait until breaking through to the chocolate center?  I tried to hold off while slowly licking my way there.
4.  Purple Outfit.  The first school clothes I bought completely by myself were a plum colored sweater and wool skirt.  I loved that outfit, and I can still remember how it smelled.
5   Aunt Jean.  She was my mother's sister and a nickname for her was "A Little Bit of Hollywood".  Her favorite color was purple and she indulged in it when she could.  Her home had a purple velvet chair, among other things.  She also liked gold, and she had lots of that...such as gold lame and gold jewelry!
6.  Bruises.  Brings forth memories of injuries...like slipping on ice and falling a few years ago before a concert and thereafter waiting for what I thought would be the world's largest purple contusion.  I lucked out....it wasn't too bad!  I fell again yesterday ( got carried away taking photos and didn't watch my step) but with only some abrasions....however, I half expect Mr. Purple bruise to show up late.
7.  More Bruising.  Many years ago, while attending Geology summer camp at Stephens College, I had a harrowing experience sliding.  A group of us was hiking a trail at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Part of the trip was across the top of some mountains.  While descending we encountered a large, unexpected snowfield.  A group of Scouts ahead of us had equipment to find the best path down, and the leaders waited and  also helped us (we were abut 8 girls).  We had to slide down.  At the bottom were large rock outcroppings, so they waited below to catch us in case someone wiped out.  We were given strict instructions on how to slide.  I was scared and waited until almost last to go.  I followed all the instructions and was doing fine until I hit a slick spot (apparently very slick since I had waited SO LONG...).  When that happened I spun and ended up sliding down on my stomach head-first.  I was imagining my imminent death!  Two guys at the bottom grabbed me and the next day I had the world's LARGEST bruises on my upper arms!!   FEAR DOESN"T PAY.
8.  Purple Lifesavers.  One of the better flavors, in my opinion.
9.  Grape Flavored Medicine.  Reminds me of grape-flavored tracer drinks my son had to finish before certain scans.  UGH  (he preferred root beer when that was an option).
10. The Three Kings.  My mother gave me a set of these that she needlepointed many years ago.  I always set it up on purple velveteen.  My mother liked to needlepoint and did many projects.
11. Purple Cow.  Never had one, but I am reminded of Atz's Ice Cream Parlor in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Many years ago that place had a Sundae bar.  YUM YUM!!  It was great!
12. Lavender.  Mmmmmmmmmm...a lovely scent.....mmmmm...lavender soap......ohhhh....lavender does not grow well here...tried it!
13. Lavender Roses.  My mother had a rose garden when I was young.  One of the roses was Sterling Silver.  It was beautiful and it smelled really good!  I grow Angel Face and Lagerfeld.  Yummy smells.....
14. Grape Pie.  How many of you like Pillsbury Bake-Off recipes?  I have a small collection.  Many years ago one of them had a recipe for Grape Pie.  I never tried it, but I remember pouring over those books.
15. Lilacs.  One of my favorite flowers.  Our home during my teen years had beautiful lilacs on the side yard.  We were given a Scottish terrier during those years who had apparently been mistreated and was scared of us.  She would hide in the lilac bushes.  I am happy to report that she did recover and became a good pet. 
16. IRIS.  My mother's favorite flower.  The photo at the beginning of this blog is of my baby iris that bloom every spring.  They are so pretty!
17. MORE FLOWERS.  Like purple pansies (love their faces), violets (I used to braid violet stems when I was a child) and violas (of course, since I am a violist!!).


   Enough!!  Maybe I will add more later. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slow Progress

Above is a photo of what I have done so far on my woven cloth. I have had many disruptions and distractions.....hope to finish it soon and get on to something more seasonal!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Elderberry Jelly

     While walking on a country road during a recent trip I saw wild elderberries growing alongside a field.  I was immediately reminded of a favorite activity of my mother.  When I was growing up she liked to drive into the country in the late summer and hunt for these berries; she collected them, took them home, and made elderberry jelly.  This was a summer tradition. 
     I have been thinking about other food memories.  One involves my mother's large, yellow corning ware bowl.  I have it now, and every time it is used I think of my mother.  My favorite recollection is watching her make toll house cookie dough in it.  YUM.  And she always let us lick the bowl.
     Mother was a good cook.  Two favorites were baked beans and her version of macaroni and cheese.  The beans were always baked for two hours and were never runny; the mac and cheese was just boiled macaroni baked in milk and cheese and covered with crushed crackers.  No sauce, but cheesy, with crunchy stuff around the edges.  We loved it.
     She made good meat loaf, homemade noodles, and chop suey.  When I grew up chop suey vegees came from a can........bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts...and there was pork or beef.  Her special ingredient was bead molasses. We loved chop suey!
     The best thing she made was FRIED CHICKEN.  It was to die for.  We used to have contests to see who could eat the most (my poor mother..at the time I didn't realize how much chicken she fried!!).  Years ago I tried to duplicate it but I was not very successful.  Now it is not healthy enough.  But what a treat it was!!
     In her younger years she baked cookies for friends and neighbors at Christmas time.  Two kinds she always made were Mexican wedding cakes and Spritz.  Sometimes there were lemon bars and pecan tassies.  And sometimes we were naughty and sneaked a couple from the freezer...........
     Before ending I must tattle on what my mother fed us for breakfast when my sister and I were young.  For some reason she insisted on feeding us each a soft-boiled egg. I did not complain much about what we ate, unless we had these. UGH.  We had to try not to gag.......and sometimes we just did.  She could not get us to enjoy oatmeal, either.  Chocolate chips did not help.  Just nasty gunk in our opinion.
     All this from elderberries.  Who knew it would end in soft-boiled eggs.  Maybe I should have stopped with the yellow bowl..............











 

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.