Wishful Wednesday

I ‘wish’ it was wicked…but not too much luck with that today.  At least not yet.

Instead another long, looooong day in the car had me thinking of so many things I wish I could change around here. Wish David was still here…the kids miss him so much.  Wish I could buy him one more banana split at Dairy Grove…and watch the kids giggling over their own ice cream, and how much Dat loved his 😀

Wish I could find a job.  Now that at least can be more than a ‘wish’.  I can change that.  I will change that.

Wish I could find a better ‘home’ for the kids, and me.  Found a wonderful little run-down ‘shack’ of a home driving around last week, the paint long gone, but the porch strong and sturdy, the tin roof needing a good cleaning and mercy! does the whole place need landscaping…a girl can dream.  It would be such a joy to take an old abandoned house like that and bring it back to life.  Make it a ‘home’ once more.  No fancy renovations; just restore it and love it. Put an old wringer washer like Grandma had on the back porch, and a tire swing in the tree out front.

Old Maytag wringer washer like my Grandmas used to have! Oh the memories of laundry day!

Get a wood burning stove (or gas if the city is picky) like the one we love at writer’s camp.

Related image   My cast iron would be right at home.  antique+stoves.+wood+and+gas | Peerless Kalamazoo Gas/Wood Dual Fuel Antique Cook Stove: grn

Add a porch swing and a joggling board…

Related image

I’d be happy to spend the rest of my life fixing the old place up and making it a little ‘more loved’ every year.

If wishes were horses….

Someday, I’ll gallop away.

 

Munchie Monday

I am a ‘working-on-it’ healthy eating fanatic.  I backslide; I admit it. Never all the way; just small ‘errors’ in judgement, ha. I am not as strong-willed as my eldest daughter who has been straight vegan for…ever!  And it shows.  She is healthy strong, and fearless.  I hope a little of that comes from me…making her endure packed lunches with homemade whole grain bread (no white bread in this household!), and fruits, veggies…no bologna or processed foods…just things I knew were healthy for a growing little person but awfully hard to explain to classmates who just thought she/we were ‘weird’.

The entire family has been red meat free for 15 years for humane and environmental reasons. I have in the last couple of years started cutting out all the turkey and chicken…and while I am pretty successful in managing mine, it is still in the house because I also have a very recalcitrant teenage son who wants his ‘meat’ at least sometimes.  Since this way of eating is my personal choice…and I hope someday he will make that choice on his own…I am not going to force it on him.  But here we are with a new month, a new year…and I am eager to expand my horizons on the foodie front.

I am so excited!  Today I revisited a favorite even with my meat-eater…stuffed okra boats.  The kids love them.  I love them.  Time to try some new things to stuff them with… but first:

This is my go-to recipe:

  • 24 fresh medium size okra pods (1 lb.)  (split down the top, stem removed, and but don’t pop it open. It is a ‘boat’ not a ‘life preserver’ lol)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (chopped fine)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger  (minced)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeds removed (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt  (add to taste)
  • First mince all the ingredients that need mincing.  (NOT the okra)
  • Combine filling. Add the creamed avocado.  Gently stuff filling into each okra boat.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet, spray with coconut oil spray and bake at 425 till the boats are crispy and tops are slightly browned (about 10 min)
  • Peanut-Stuffed Okra Fingers

The Wonderful…and the Wicked

It would be lovely if the only thing being ‘wicked’ today was my over-wrought imagination.  Sadly, no.  Climate change has decided to mess with our weather and so, at the beginning of January, here we are on the coast of South Carolina staring winter in its hoary eyes.

In short, it is cold.

Cover the plants kind of cold.

New Zealand is looking better by the minute.

~~~

On a warmer and much more wonderful note, today I celebrate two amazing birthdays.

My sister was born on this day and she has been a joy and a grounding in my world since she made her appearance.  I became her ‘little’ …and certainly more obsessive…mama.  Determined to love and protect this little person with her big dark eyes and sweet smile from the moment she came into my life.  I have other siblings, but this one was/is ‘mine’.  Unlike the middles, she was more like me…not a ‘favorite’, not over-protected, not pampered.  She was tough.  We had to be.  She shared my passion for animals and nature, she was and is a beautiful, compassionate, and deeply caring human being.

I bought her her first horse…a POA aptly named Little Satan…he was her best friend and companion and he adored her as much as she loved and needed him.  Now she has a tough miniature horse out there in Arizona and a gorgeous mustang mare…and they bring her joy each and every day.

I am so thankful for this day and the love it brought into our world.  Happy Birthday, Tamara.

Birthday number two?  The irreplaceable J.R.R. Tolkien!  How can a birthdate not be more magical for being shared with the master of fantasy?  If any of you don’t know…I totally adore Tolkien.  I devoured his books. He gave a girl with a wild imagination another world to live in, another place to dream of, a new place in mt heart to call ‘home’.

Now, so many books and years later, I write fantasy…because I have dreams and worlds of my own to share…and he led the way.  Happy Birthday, Professor Tolkien, and thank you.

May we all find new warmth, and new wonders on this beautiful winter day.

 

 

And I wonder as I wander…

Driving about today, over the bridges and the marsh, the salt creek, the river leading on to the sea and it occurred to me as I turned up yet another prosaic little tree-lined street that this defines much of my life. Not the nondescript neighborhood, but an endless desire to discover someplace or something new.

Image result for winding marsh creek

Even as a very young child I was always begging Grandpa to “take the windy roads” through the Missouri Ozarks, or down some country road…any road or trail that took us into the unknown. Most of the time it was somewhere very mundane…another farm, another ramshackle cabin back in the woods, an old country general store.

One such building is H.D. Gibbes & Sons, which has come to be known as Gibbes Old Country Store. The building was first constructed in 1892 and has remained in the Gibbes family ever since.

Perhaps a new bridge over a winding, rocky creek where we could stop and wade or have  a picnic lunch. Sometimes an old cemetery with quaint and faded markers and worn fencing that bade me to stop and wonder about the lives that ended here.

Related image

I realize that desire to wander without destination, to explore for nothing beyond the chance of discovery, and seeking nothing more than the wonder that surrounds us is exactly who I am, yesterday and today…and off in search of somewhere I have not yet been, a sight not yet seen…tomorrow.

Fantasy Friday

Possibly not the kind of fantasy others expect me to indulge in…those usually involve warriors, weapons, water, and your occasional monster or two. Sometimes a bit of romance/sex just to keep things interesting 😉

No, decidedly NOT suitable for YA. Which works for me.

But today, and tonight…actually for the majority of this entire week…my fantasies have been more decidedly domestic, a lot less fun, but terribly relevant just now.  I am missing our old house, the neighborhood, my gardens and the landscaping I loved.  I have discovered I cannot function when my nights never embrace the darkness; there is always some hideous street light or spot light denying the night and obstructing my view of the moon and stars.  I miss nightly strolls in the dark, just gathering my thoughts, organizing this wild clutter of rampant imagination, and centering my soul.

Where, then, can we go, me and my small troop of offspring?  The countryside may be well suited to this introverted earth mother, but my boys are more like David was…happier with sidewalks or biking/hiking trails, and civilization (at least parks) within reach.

Image result for cleveland metroparks hiking trails

Finding a compromise should be interesting.  I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, other more entertaining versions of fantasy (yes, the ‘other’ kind) are running rampant through my pages with the current focus remaining on dragons and eco-themed ships on both air and water.

FOILER: Båten har L-foiler
på sideskrog og T-foil på senterskrog.

steampunk airship 3d model fbx c4d 6

 

Think they are any match for a flight of dragons?

Image result for group of dragons in flight

This is way more fun than trying to imagine what kind of place we should call home next.

Yay! Fantasy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flights of fancy…

Owls. Today, for quite random reasons, but then again, I am frequently rather random and scattered in where my thoughts take flight…today I kept thinking of owls.

I am quite taken with owls…with the amazing raptor hidden within that soft plumage, the wisdom in their eyes, the way they turn their heads to look back as if it were the most natural thing in the world…which, of course, it IS…if you are an owl. Most of all, I am fascinated by the way they suddenly, silently appear. No wonder they have been  called ‘ghost birds’ and are often associated with spirits.

Great Horned Owl, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, by snooked.

In the ancient live oak at the old house there was a huge hollow in the trunk, a souvenir from Hurricane Hugo. A pair of Great Horned Owls took up residence in the hollow, and I never tired of watching and listening to them. In the daytime they were all but perfectly camouflaged within the foliage and the deep recess of their nest, at night I would spend long hours listening to their calls. At sunset the male would begin his territorial calls…the hoo hoo hoo hoo-hoo we all associate with these birds.  Later at night the call changed, higher pitched, and with a different pattern…sometimes not hooting at all so much as chirruping or screeching. A wondrous thing to fall asleep with the soft scented breeze from the sea drifting through the windows, and the low call of the owls singing the night to sleep.

In Ohio one of my favorites were the barn owls who took up residence in the stable. You don’t really see barn owls so much, as they really prefer the dark of night to do their hunting, but we surely could hear them.  Barn owls don’t mess around with hooting, they shriek, whine, screech, and make all manner of odd noises.

Image result for barn owl

Late one night leaving the stable a silent blur of white swooped just over my head, and my heart leapt like a rabbit on the run. Just the barn owl making a territorial ‘statement’ about my being on her turf during her watch.

If I choose to believe the wisdom of my Native American lineage, and I do believe they were, and often are, more in touch with the world than we…I think perhaps the owl would be my “spirit” animal.  There’s nowhere I’ve lived there weren’t owls. They are a constant and comfortable familiarity in my life.

I saw an owl in the tree here the night we moved in. Never thought much about it…till today. Some flights of fancy are taken on silent wings.

Image result for eastern screech owl

Harvest, Halloween, and moving ever forward

Last day of October, another year fleeing before us, and the joyous laughter …and screams…of children at Halloween.

We didn’t have many crops to bring in this year, what with the move and all, but what we have had is always a blessing…right now it is sage, rosemary, hot oregano,

Image result for spicy oregano plant

the last of the lemons, salad crops, and kale.  Already I am dreaming of the next plantings, and wondering where we may be by the time I am ready to put them in.

After trick or treat with the kids, time for some grown-up dress-up and a trip to good ol’ Chipotle to get our ‘treat’ burrito bowls for coming in costume.  MMMMM…. the perfect ending to a gorgeous Halloween.  Sofritas bowl with guacamole

 

 

 

Nothing remarkable

Nope…I can honestly say today was, by most standards, a rather unremarkable day.  The weather was neither gorgeous and warm, or stormy,  or unbearably cold.  Tepid. It was a tepid day.

Nothing exciting happened with the spawn (aka children) if we overlook (please do, I try to) the ride home from daughter’s job with her driving.  OMG!  But we survived; nothing really to be noted.

I went to the grocery store…actually three grocery stores, ha…because one is never enough with this brood 😀  It isn’t very remarkable; in point of fact, it is quite mundane, and yet I noticed, as I was scurrying about doing my unremarkable everyday things, there was always something to smile about.

A scarlet tanager brightened the bird feeder near the gate as I headed out to the store.

Image result for scarlet tanager images

I drove by the very first house my hubby and I ever owned….and smiled at how much it looks the same, memories of those early days of marriage, how much it still needs landscaping, lol.

The sky blushed as I was driving over the bridge to pick my daughter up.

  The colors fill the soul.

Maybe I just like smiling.  Ad reveling in every moment. The joy of living.  One moment at a time.

Nope. Nothing remarkable there.

Sea lions, selkies, and Saturday

I think it was the beach that measured my thoughts today. Distracted, overly-busy, totally unfocused in my mad dash to get everything done for everyone, crazy thoughts danced through my mind carried on the salt-scented breeze. A storm was blowing in; billowing pillows of deepening grey swept across the bright blue of autumn’s skies…and the gusting winds danced to the ocean’s song.

Beach Storm by Misher

I know that melody. I dance to it often; usually alone, in quiet places or in the dark, with only the waves to waltz with me. Today they brought me a companion…or perhaps ‘returned to me’ is more accurate. After all, he and I knew each other well a few years ago, when I was writing his story. Today the storms and the sea and the smell of rain from the ocean brought back those memories…of manatees, sea lions, and my hero from the sea. I think he is ready to return and let me try to finish what we began.

Got a good soaking in the rain while happily distracted with figuring out plot points and changes needed to bring it all together. Got the Miata cleaned up from its adventure with the storm ditch. When you’re already wet, a little storm doesn’t much matter.

Tomorrow he and I will meet on the page once more.  So excited to return to my master of the flute, driftwood, and the sea.

Image result for driftwood carvings

Image result for driftwood carvings

Miles and miles of Memories

Yesterday I spent the day driving to Georgia. Alone. It was rather odd, as I have not gone anywhere without a child along for a really long time.  Then, as I zipped along the country roads, reveling in each new vista, the character of each small town, the beauty of marsh and meadow and forests, I found myself embracing the experience.

Image result for small Georgia town roundabout

A new sense of freedom, a chance to embrace my passion for the unknown, to look beyond the next turn in the road…it was thrilling. I rediscovered a part of ‘me’.

At the end of the day; familiar faces and big Southern hugs and smiles awaited me.  A sense of ‘coming home’ as I shared the evening with my dear friend and her family. But my day wasn’t over’; surprise! we went and got haircuts.  It has been years since I went to a beauty shoppe. I am a very low-maintenance kinda gal, and my hair is a reflection of my hippie roots, ha.  But now I have 8″ less length, layers, and, for the first time in ages…bangs.  It turned out to be more fun than scary, and I am amused with my ‘new look’.

Today, we got up early and drove from their home in Georgia, through Alabama, and a teeny bit of Mississippi, to New Orleans.  No longer alone on my adventure, we laughed, talked, and discussed a hundred different topics. The drive never got boring, and the places we saw were lovely to share.  Cotton fields white with cotton waiting to be picked.

Related image

 

Wide marshes beneath bridges that stretched seemingly without end across their waters. A small grey fox in the tall grass along the road. Angus and Charolais cattle grazing in rolling pastures. Ancient cemeteries and quaint town squares.  A patchwork of Americana to embrace and remember.

Image result for small Georgia town roundabout

Tonight, seafood, gumbo, jambalaya, and sweet tea in New Orleans with more friends and other writers. Tomorrow….a new adventure awaits.

Related image

Life is sweet… just slow down and embrace the moments that will become enduring memories.