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..............











 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wandering Off the Road

     A week ago my husband and I were in the middle of a trip to the Washington DC area.  The purpose of this was to attend a Memorial Open House for my niece, but we decided to take extra time for a much needed break.  As it turned out, our experiences added sweetness to the sorrow surrounding the reason for our journey.
     Among our explorations was a brief tour of  Amish country in northern Indiana.  We drove through the countryside and towns, visited shops and roadside stands, and checked out a few garage sales.  The latter brought local color to our trip.  One sale was at an Amish farm, complete with close-ups of turkeys, cats and dogs running free, Amish clothing, too much homemade bread and noodles (not on our food plan!), and an excess of flies and "fresh farm air".  Smelly but fun!
     We indulged in samples of almost every cheese at a cheese shop (lo-carb is on our plan....).  As we nibbled  we noticed the clean-cut appearance of most of the people, but my husband particularly noticed one family.  They were beautiful.  Each seemed to have a glow, both healthy and spiritual.  They were not Amish....maybe Mennonite.  My husband struck up a conversation with the father, who then asked "Do you know Jesus?".  At this point I left because I was overcome with emotion (it was an emotional trip and it didn't take much to trigger it....) so I do not know the extent of their conversation.  What impressed me was their integrity.  They were "the real thing"; people who seem to really live their beliefs.  It was refreshing to meet people  like this in our world today.
     A choice experience was watching Amish school children play softball.  I am guessing they were having school recess. Children of all ages were in the game; it appeared very inclusive (our culture often seems exclusive....).  The dominant colors were black and blue, and the girls played in their dresses.  I did not take any photos....it seemed like an invasion of privacy ( I later found out that taking pics is a no-no).
     We visited Yoder's Department store in Shipshewana. This store caters to Amish and sells many supplies they use.  Hitching posts for carriages line the front.  It is very interesting...worth the stop.
     Many years ago my aunts would drive into Shipshewana once a week during my visits to their lake cottage.  We always stopped at Yoder's so I could choose an early birthday present of fabric. I was pleasantly surprized to find that the store has not changed much in the past 30 years!  The store is not fancy but clean, and Christian music is piped in....a very nice experience.
     When I returned home I reflected on these experiences and made two lists contrasting the lifestyles of Amish and "us".  One of my conclusions was that our culture today has a very different paradigm than that of the Amish.  We are ego-focused; the Amish seem focused on others.  We are busy getting; they are busy giving.  We like to be exclusive; they are inclusive. We try to overcome and control nature; they flex and live with it.  We value stuff, jobs, competition and small families; they value simplicity, work, and large families.  We are in a hurry and lack patience; their pace is slow.  I could go on.  We perpetuate our own man-made dreams; the Amish are more in tune with reality.  I suppose many of us think we have it right and they are way behind, but I think it is the opposite in many ways (one exception being education).
     This part of our trip was very rich and stood in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of DC.  I hope to remember it and learn from it.
    


     

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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.