Thursday, November 23, 2017

A joyous day

We got up early and had our coffee. Shortly afterward, Jilda was in the kitchen. She's like a well-oiled machine in there. When she has a momentary break, I swing into action and wash up all the mixing bowls, and take out the cooking scraps – eggshells, potato peelings, and onion skins.

As soon as I removed cooking debris, she was back in there rattling those pots and pans.

By 11:30 when our guests began to arrive, she was taking the dressing and turkey out of the oven. One of the last things out was a pecan cobbler. Jilda had never made one before and was unsure how it would turn out. Fretting was fruitless. The cobbler was incredible.

We lost our good friend Louis this year. He Thanksgiving'd with us the previous three years. When he died back during the summer, he took with him pieces of our heart.

Our gathering is a low-stress/no-guilt holiday. We told our family and friends that if they would be rushed to be with us today, don't fret. Do what you need to do and come to our house another time.
It was cool but beautiful outside and the kids had a large time as they always do.

The folks that came ate and lingered. The only tense moment was when our guests were leaving. It seems a few of them were vying for who got to take the leftover cobbler home. It ended peacefully.

It was a joyous day.

The view yesterday from my office window

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Autumn is for Caillou

Today was a short day at work. The school closed at 11:30 a.m. but it was a ghost town long before then. Everyone I called this morning had an extended absence greeting on their voicemail and Out of Office messages on their emails.

I did some routine things, and then did some training I'd been that was on my todo list. It was a peaceful day.

Once home, Jilda fixed lunch and we took a Thanksgiving Eve - Eve nap. Her shift was wonky today. She did a morning class for the staff, and then she did her Thursday classes this afternoon.

When she left, I wrote my column for Sunday's paper. After finishing, I stretched the kinks out of my neck and back. Caillou was lying at my feet and stood when I moved.

Stepping into the bedroom, I slipped on my shoes and when I do that, both dogs start running around and barking. They know we're about to go for a walk.

The air was cool and setting sun backlit the trees behind the barn. It was a beautiful sight. Caillou is fairly worthless in the summer. All he wants to do is sleep in front of the box fan. I guess I would too if I work a mink coat year around. Brushing him is a full-time job. But winter time is a different story. He lives outside watching the world around him.

By the time we finished our walk today the sun had dipped below the trees. It looked as if Mother Nature had sprinkled a think layer of cinnamon across the horizon.  I tried to get a picture but the camera didn't do it justice. So I decided to use the picture of the autumn foliage instead.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Deer and fairies

I left work later than usual today. The holidays on Thursday and Friday have everything wonky. Of course, every Friday is a holiday for me....but I digress.

I turned onto our narrow lane and was a few hundred yards from my driveway when twin fawns ran in front of me. They stopped and stared at me as if I were a trespasser. When taking the larger view of the Cosmo and what not, I guess they were right. So, I put the truck and park and watched. The one on the side of the road munched on grass. They heard a dog bark off in the distance and they both
became hyper-aware. 

Sensing that they were about to bolt for the cover of the woods, I pulled the phone from my pocket. The smallest deer jumped to the edge of the road, but the other one stood for a moment. I managed to snap a picture before it scurried off into the underbrush.

When I arrived home, I went into my bathroom to take out my contacts. There on the edge of my vanity was a fresh bottle of bath gel. I'd used the last bit during my morning shower. Thank goodness the shower gel fairy was on duty today.

Monday, November 20, 2017


NOTE: I used pieces of past blogs to write this column for Sunday's paper.

I’m coming to another intersection in my life, and I need a good thinking place. Some folks reach out to others to help make hard life decisions. I tend to look within.

All this was running through my head this past weekend. I’d gone to Lowe’s to pick up a heater and some plastic sheeting. We plan to enclose the screen porch. The sheeting and heater will keep the cold winter wind from turning the porch into a fridge. Our tender plants could winter out there.

Outside the Lowe’s entryway was a garden bench. With eyes closed, I could picture it under the oak and hickory trees down by our barn. It would be a perfect thinking place. And if I got tired of thinking, I could take a nap. At least that’s the movie that played in my mind. I bought the plastic and the heater for the porch. Before leaving, I stepped back and asked the cashier about the garden bench. It was on sale. I decided to buy it with the money I’ve made writing this column. Before she rang up the purchase, she asked if I was a veteran. When I told her I was, she also gave me a veteran’s discount. Nice, I thought as I put some of the money back in my pocket.

When I got home, my great nephew Jordan was in the yard playing with my other great nephew, Anthony. Jordan helped me unload the bench. He’s curiously strong for a nine-year-old. We placed it in the shade and moved it around to a few locations until we found where the feng shui and the afternoon light felt right. Anthony supervised.  

Once the bench was in place, we all sat for a long time in silence. “This is my new thinking bench,” I told the boys.  Anthony who just turned seven nodded
his head as if he understood. Jordan’s mom came down to check on him, and she snapped a picture. I never pass up an opportunity for a photo op with the young’uns I love.

The change I mentioned earlier is my work at the college that I’ve been doing the last three years. Unless something changes, it will end soon.

I’ll get a chance to practice what I teach when it comes to careers. I’ve learned that life is like a gently flowing river. No matter how hard one tries to hold on, things change. How I react to change can make all the difference.

I plan to continue working, but I want to do work that makes a difference, not just work that makes money. I spent years working for the phone company. The friendships I made while working there are enduring. At times the work was interesting, but I can’t say that I ever got the feeling that it “made a difference.”

Over the coming few months, I plan to spend some time on the garden bench reflecting on the things that matter most to me. Hopefully, my thinking time on the bench will help me to set a new course on the river of life.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Jilda cooked turnip greens, butter beans, mashed turnips (with butter) and I baked a pone of cornbread. 

We have friends that rarely use their kitchens. They prefer eating out.  Going to a restaurant is a treat for us. But rarely do we have a meal at a restaurant that's better than we have at home. I know that sounds like I'm boasting. But I don't boast. 

The reason people eat out is that cooking at home is "not convenient."  It takes thought, planning, and some skill.  But when we eat, we know the chef cooked our food with care. We know the ingredients are fresh, and things always seem better when you have to work for them.

If you haven't had a home-cooked meal in a while, I suggest that you have one soon. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bumpy ride

I finished the screen porch today. Cold weather is headed this way. I've been up and down a ladder all afternoon. After the job was done, I gathered up my tools and returned them to their place in the shed.

When I went inside, I stepped out onto the porch. It was much warmer on than it is outside. That's good news for our plants that we bring inside for winter.

I washed up and made myself a cup of hot peppermint tea. Jilda has the self-cleaning feature on to clean the oven in preparation for Thanksgiving Day cooking so it was hot inside.

Taking my tea to the back deck, I sat at the wrought-iron table and watched the ending of the day while sipping my tea.

The wind aloft sounded like an angry surf. The pine trees were swaying and acorns pinged the metal roof. 

The clouds thinned to the south and what remained of the sunset painted the sky amber, turquoise, and rose. I snapped a picture, but the lens didn't pick up the color.

Up in the sky, I saw a commercial airplane winking across the sky headed toward the southeast. I can promise those passengers had a bumpy ride this evening.

It looks like a line of thunderstorms will move through here in a few hours. Hopefully, we won't lose power, but I'm posting a little early just in case.

I hope your Saturday has been a good one.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Sunset grass

I was on the road at sunset today. A project that I started earlier today was 90% finished, but I needed a few things from Lowe's to finish up. 

We plan to turn it into a temporary Florida room this winter and maybe make it permanent next spring. So after Jilda headed out to work, I headed to Lowe's to pick up a few things. I bought some things, but they were out of the thin wooden strips that I needed to secure the plastic sheeting around the screen porch. 

After checking two store locations, I decided to call it a day. I drove across the mountain on my route home. Jilda drives this road every day and she's been saying how beautiful it is this time of year. Today I got a first-hand look. There were several places where the leaves were incredible, but I came upon a stretch of grass highlighted by the setting sun. It won the photo op moment. Rolling the truck window down, I snapped a few frames. A car behind was approaching fast and I expected a blast from their horn, but they must have thought the view as special too because they slowed down and snapped a picture too. Copycats.

I hope today has been a good day for you too.

This is a "no filter photo" in case my friend Julia reads my blog tonight :)

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