Friday, November 28, 2014

No Pie For You!

There was no leftover pie for breakfast this morning. Not sure how
I let that happen, but the good news is that I had an emergency can of cinnamon rolls hidden away in my refrigerator. (Lucky me!) Just perfect with a cup of sweet French vanilla coffee. Yeah, I'm pretty much hopeless. I'm going to need a strict diet resolution for New Years.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Miss Them Most on Holidays

I miss my mom and dad most on holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dad's presence always drew us together. His way was calm and encouraging, he never made fun or made us feel small or insignificant, instead he came alongside with a love and support not often seen. He showed up at family gatherings with his Bible and a prayer, leading by example, and drawing us in.

Sometimes I forget there are family members who never knew my dad. There are great grandchildren who never sat on his lap and listened to a story, who never heard him sing or watched him play his harmonica. They've missed out on knowing what it was like to have him wrap his arm around their shoulder or lift their name up in prayer, to have his encouragement in an endeavor, or a listening ear when discouraged.

And then there was Mom. I called her every day for probably ten years, driving my husband nuts every time the phone bill arrived. She always had time to take a phone call, to love me through tears and trials, to watch my children while I ran an errand, or to share a cup of tea and some face to face time. She left us slowly, and for a long time I didn't even realize she was slipping away... I missed her today. I missed her enthusiasm for baking pies, for the gathering of family, and for the little ones she would have taken such delight in 30 years ago.

I miss what is past and the tears sting, but I am so grateful for the years we had together, for the example my parents were to me, and for the hope that one day I can at least partially fill the gap they left behind.

Happy Thanksgiving

Someone was thankful for breakfast this morning, but he was having a tough time sharing with his neighbors. Perhaps it's time to buy another bag of birdseed.

But first it's time to peel the squash...

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

T is for Tombstone

Picking up where I left off in May...

T is for tombstone. (Not quite the Thanksgiving week word you were expecting, eh?)

It's getting cold outside, too cold to walk through the cemetery, but a couple weeks ago we had some beautiful weather for cemetery walks, and so we did. One of my favorite things to do on these walks is to read epitaphs and today this one reminds me of Thanksgiving (even if it does look like the engraver made a typo...okay, not exactly a typo. Maybe more like a mistake in letter placement.) . I am thankful for that day of promise.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you are thankful too.

 For more ABC Wednesday, click here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cleaned Up

It was another gorgeous day. I should have planned some kind of outing (I mean how many 70 degree days could there be between here and the end of March?), but I stayed home instead, and I didn't even venture out except to get the mail and tie out the dog. I decided that I really needed to do some upstairs cleaning, and even though I should have been outside, I cleaned the bathroom (and washed the floor!!!) and vacuumed my upstairs. I think I'll be ready for my Wednesday task of pie baking.

What do you mean that sky doesn't look warm and wonderful?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Soup's On!

We had some visitors last night and one of them was oh-so-cute-and-cuddly!

I made a big pot of chicken soup, whipped up a nice salad and bought some rye bread. It was Spencer's first visit to Grandma and Grandpa T's house and I think he liked it.

I'd originally thought about inviting the entire crew, but fizzled out as the day arrived. In spite of that, we did have one surprise guest who said he was "driving through Williamson and decided to see if there was anything to eat at Mom and Dad's." I love when they do that! It was good to see Ben and include him in our visit.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Out to Lunch (again)

I love meeting up with a friend for lunch, and there is something about meeting up with an old friend, a childhood friend, that makes the meeting all the more special. I had no grandchildren to babysit this week, so I took the opportunity to make a lunch date with my friend Pam. We met at Panera an hour before the crowds came out.

In September of 1973,Pam and I found ourselves in the same 4th grade classroom, and though our mothers had met at a women's Bible study group, Pam and I were strangers. We weren't strangers for long, in fact we soon became fast friends.

There is something totally wonderful about childhood friends once you become adults. It's almost as if you pick up right where you left off, in this case it's pretty much high school, even though neither one of us ever really moved out of the area.

We lingered long at Panera, laughed and talked, caught up on each other's lives, and decided we need to do it again soon. I went home smiling and I think she did too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blonde Math or Math for Blonds (A second post)

Math might not have been my favorite subject in school, but I was a good student, caught on fairly quickly, and got decent grades. Perhaps it was  just a blond moment that threw me off this afternoon...

Rachel and I were out with our brother Tim. Today was his birthday and I'd brought him a piece of apple pie as a special treat. He ate the pie, along with a few other snacks, but didn't make eye contact with either of us and let his head hang forward in a sleepy detached kind of manner for most of the drive. Severe autism, years of psychological drugs, age, and the passing of our parents have all taken a toll on our brother. He can't walk anymore, doesn't speak, and now appears depressed as well. 

I thought back through the years and wondered what kind of a birthday Tim might have had fifty years ago. I attempted to figure out how old he might have been. Of course, being blond, I set to figuring the hard way... Tim was born in 1958. I tried to add or subtract a few numbers (I honestly can't even recall now what I was trying to do), and suddenly realized I was not thinking logically. All I really had to do was some simple thinking. I didn't even need to strain my brain. Fifty-six minus fifty leaves six. (Hey, what do you know? I'm fifty. That would have been 1964...) Okay, now you get the idea and realize my math genius.

Not to be outdone, Rachel had a math moment of her own. We went to Wendy's for a Frosty, two Frosties actually. The total came to $2.79. I checked my pockets and handed her a $1 bill, 3 quarters, and 4 pennies. She only needed to add one dollar. She handed the cashier $2.85 (2 dollar bills, 3 quarters, and a dime). "I gave you seventy-nine cents," I told her. She looked at me in the rear view mirror and said, "But I only had four pennies.."

I somehow felt relieved at not being the only blond member of the family.
PS. I took my camera along today, but it wasn't the happiest of birthdays and I didn't think taking pictures would be the kindest thing to do. So, you get some photos from happier days.

Happy Birthday to Tim

Are you sick and tired of hearing about and seeing apple pie? It's about the most exciting thing going on over here, aside from snowstorms to the west and cemetery walks. I haven't sold many pies, but I have had fun giving them away and that's almost as good, maybe even better, than selling them. It's a surefire way to make one friend smile and another friend jealous. What can I say?

Today is my brother Tim's 56th birthday. Rachel and I are planning a visit complete with a.... piece of pie. Yup, just one piece. I'm sure Tim would love a whole apple pie, but I am just as sure he would eat the entire thing in one sitting and then proceed to be ill, and we can't have that, either in the car or back at his residence. *blah*

Apple pie is irresistible, just ask Jakie the Pie Thief. He found his own breakfast this morning. Smart kid! He takes after his grandmother who also can't resist pie for breakfast. Why do you think I keep giving them away? :0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cold, Cold, Cold!!!

You may or may not have heard about he raging blizzards affecting the Great Lakes. The area east of Lake Erie, otherwise known as Buffalo, and areas east of Lake Ontario too I suppose, are experiencing a drastic early blizzards with significant snowfall. Here, in the Rochester area we are getting blizzard like winds and frigid temperatures, but not so much in the way of snow accumulation.

My beautiful daughter sent me a message mid morning telling me how she had neglected to bring her houseplants inside and her jade plant was frozen through. Good thing her mother has plenty of extras. She sent me second message offering a cup of tea or coffee if I should chance to venture over her direction. She was in luck today because I had a freshly baked apple pie in my van (I was at Ladies' Bible study...) just waiting for a home. Guess what we had for lunch?

Tonight the snowless winds howl about the house chasing anything out of doors under cover. I am especially grateful for my hot dinner of meatloaf, potatoes au'gratin, and broccoli,  a good sturdy house, and a fire in the wood stove. Hope you're staying warm and in out of the cold too.

(Almost forgot the pictures. Silly me...)

Monday, November 17, 2014

November Snow

Winter is determined to overtake us. Giant wet snowflakes drop heavy on exposed skin, stick on tree branches, and transform autumn into a cold, white wilderness. The fire inside the wood stove glows warm and beckoning... kind of like the coffee pot.

A week ago my friend Deb and I walked the cemetery in sweaters and had a picnic... We basked in the sunshine, soaked up autumn's warmth, and determined to absorb the season's final feast. We ambled aimlessly, took tons of pictures, and were grateful for the opportunity to be out. On our way home I took a detour to a favorite all-but-forgotten little cemetery tucked away in a corner. I'd gone to find the gravestones of my great grandparents, but a makeshift homeless shelter, accessible through a hole in the fence, found me slightly uncomfortable and self conscious traipsing about the headstones, as though we were the ones treading on sacred ground. The caretaker, who happened to be there cleaning up leaves, had a record book in his truck and helped me find the stones I was looking for, right by the hole in the fence, of course. As we talked with him a face appeared around the side of the tarp shelter and then ducked back again. I desperately wanted to take a picture, and at the same time felt like it would be an intrusion on their privacy.

On Saturday my kids went for a walk in the woods at a local park. The birds, unnerved by the opening day of deer season and an excited eight year old, were not taking or looking for handouts. Perhaps today they are looking for breakfast under the snow instead.

Sometimes a mom has to enjoy things vicariously, so I'm glad Ben and Morgan take pictures when they go out and
do fun things together. (I'm betting Hannah took this one since it's not a selfie like most of them.) I love the woods, especially the Birdsong Trail at Mendon Ponds. I keep meaning to get there, but it keeps not happening. Maybe one day, when the snow is deep and the wind not too blustery, I'll take a winter walk.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Here I Am...

I finally feel like my life is beginning to calm down a little. I still have busy, or... let's make that crazy, days, like when my grandkids are here and decide to dump more than sufficient amounts of toys on the floor, proceed to ensure they are spread from one end of the house to the other, and verify they are tucked way out of reach beneath the furniture. It isn't the toys that set me on edge though, it's the constant childish banter, along with a wrestling match or two complete with biting and/or inappropriate name calling. sigh Yes, my own children did this too, minus the biting, and survived.

I have fewer "flowers" in my garden, and not so many "punkins" in the patch these days. It's given me a bit of time to catch up with  myself and "decompress" as my favorite daughter in law would say. I'm not certain how God will fulfill the financial void, apparently not through selling pies (ha ha!), but I know He has a plan. Maybe it's more important that I am sane rather than secure.

Winter is preparing to settle in much to the consternation of local residents who somehow forget each and every autumn that snow is quite normal in upstate New York in November, and it isn't unheard of for flurries to appear in mid October. We're never quite ready to trade in our flip flops for winter boots, but I still believe there is something magical about the first snow of the season. Of course, it's most magical if one is actually outside catching snowflakes on the tongue. (And barefoot, right, Della?)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Heart of Wisdom

I love when I set my heart to reading the scriptures or listening to Bible teachers and the same ideas and scriptures surface in a matter of a day or two. Such was the case with this "Psalm of Moses" and not just the psalm itself, but a particular verse.

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,
Ps. 90:12

I didn't realize that Moses had even  penned a Psalm but there it was, verse 12 of Psalm 90, mentioned specifically, and specifically as being written by Moses. The verse itself would likely have been enough to catch my attention, but God, who often speaks in a still small voice, opted instead to speak a little bit louder this time, just in case I wasn't paying close attention, I guess.

Last Thursday night's Bible study had to do with wisdom and the need to practice wisdom in order to grow in it, even looking for opportunities. YIKES! I found the "looking for opportunities" a little intimidating. But in spite of my hesitance, the Lord has seen fit to toss a few practice rounds at me anyway. I think I did alright with yesterday's opening test, but the verdict is still out on today's. I'm still looking for insight and answers, and praying I would give only wise counsel or keep my mouth shut altogether. They're both hard to do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sister Shots

 Aren't they beautiful?

And Jake too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Wanderlust

It was another unbelievably gorgeous day! After my pies were done baking (just two this time), I met up with Deborah and we made a return visit to the big cemetery in Rochester. We packed a lunch and enjoyed a leisurely stroll in autumn's wonder. Even November has it's share of outdoor beauty.

Deb had made up a little bouquet to leave at Susan B Anthony's grave. It was our first stop of the day.  I really do need to do a little more research on the women's movement. I've never considered myself a big supporter of everything it's come to represent, but I am thankful for many of the rights it's given me and other women.

Susan has gained an
additional sticker since last week, and several new stones have been placed atop her headstone as a token of love and/or respect. We took notice this trip of the stones that marked the resting places of Susan's family. Her parents and sisters are buried alongside her as well as a small nephew by the name of Anthony.

I've been strangely drawn to cemeteries since I was a very small child, often asking, when I saw a gathering as we drove past, if we could "go there." I can only imagine my parents' answers. I was always disappointed when we drove on by. ha ha! Way back in my memory bank I recall a cemetery gathering, perhaps for my grandfather or uncle. It appeared to my childish understanding as a giant rock garden and I was enthralled.
I've found a kindred spirit in Deborah. We've already, in two days, spent hours wandering Rochester's most magnificent historical cemetery, and I'm certain neither of us would mind spending several more wandering the hills and dales.

I think I'm going to need a new lens for my camera, one that will get me close to my subject when I'm really stuck in a far away spot.

Returning to the Scene of the Crime (maybe)

It's early for the house to smell like apple pie, not quite 9:15 am, but I told someone I had a pie with her name on it and we're heading off on a picnic today. We might possibly end up back at the same cemetery where we both too pictures last Wednesday. Since Deb's photo (look it up, go ahead) of Susan B. Anthony's grave went "viral," we thought we might take Sue B a picnic lunch. We'll see how it goes...

(Can somebody out there give me a good history on what these early proponents of women's rights were really after? Or maybe I have to do the research myself...)

Perhaps today, if we do make a return, we might find the grave of Frederick Douglass. I wonder if anyone left hi any stickers?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Pizza Party Night (with pie)

I made too many pies... maybe. We'll see how many are left on the counter once the company has dispersed this evening.

I offered a pizza party and Ben requested pie for dessert, apple and pumpkin. Yesterday I considered my apple collection and decided to build a fleet of pastries, six in all. Although six pies waited upon my kitchen table, not one of them was pumpkin, so this morning I set out to fulfill the remainder of the order.

Pastry was mixed, rolled, and fitted into pie plates. I'd planned to make two pies, but when I looked into my supply of eggs, I found they were lacking. I decided to make one pie instead of two. I could freeze the extra crust. I beat three eggs and set them aside, collected the remaining ingredients, and in my distraction knocked over my bowl of eggs... blah! Another baking mishap...

I was delivered from exasperation by my daughter who offered to run get another dozen eggs. While she was gone I cleaned up the mess, washed the dishes, and mixed together everything but the eggs. With her help I was able to bake both pies and get out early enough to visit the bank and accomplish my shopping.

Homemade pizza is on the menu. Not everyone is able to come, but we'll have enough for a celebration. I hope my boy knows how much he is loved.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Rainy Days

The weeks are seeming shorter and shorter, every one flies by faster than the one before. Didn't I just ask how it could be Friday already? And here we are at the next one. I guess that's how the years fly by leaving us with the question, "Where did the time go?" Next week my youngest son will celebrate his 21st birthday. I honestly don't know where the years have gone.

Yesterday and today have been cold and rainy. November is settling in and I am grateful for the days I was able to spend outside this week. Autumn winds always leave me struggling with allergies but I don't think I would really want to trade fall for eternal summer. I love autumn too much.

The gray day and Ben's birthday gathering tomorrow evening will find me peeling apples and building pies today. (He made a request for both apple and pumpkin.) Tomorrow I will get out my fancy mixer and make pizza dough because I think it's time for another party. Maybe, just maybe if I keep gathering them all back every so often, my kids won't ever disappear completely.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Adventures in Mount Hope Cemetery

Today was an adventure. My friend Deborah and I plotted and made our escape. Since it was our first joint venture, we didn't wander especially far, but instead made our way to the city of Rochester, NY and the old Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mount Hope is one of Rochester's oldest cemeteries and is situated in an area of rolling hills and mature trees. It's almost like being in a sprawling park. In days past, families would often picnic there on warm summer afternoons. The roads through the park twist, turn, and tumble over hills and soon I was feeling just a little disoriented, although not entirely lost.

Somewhere in the maze of roads and headstones are markers belonging to my grandmother and her parents, but we didn't chance to happen upon them today. We did pass by the simple white marble headstone of Susan B Anthony. It had been decorated with flowers and stickers claiming "I voted today." I had to smile and realize that our photos of her gravestone are a bit more unique than the many others I found online.

This afternoon city workers were busy blowing fallen leaves into piles which lined the sides of several roads. We resisted the urge to scuff our feet though the wonderfully crunchy heaps when the workers were within eye-shot...

... but when rounding a bend at the backside of the  cemetery and feeling quite solitary, I couldn't resist a good old fashioned plop backward into the pile.

(This is getting long, isn't it? I'll finish it up quick.)

We found the marker for the Bausch and Lomb family...
(Think contacts lenses and eye glasses.)

Towering obelisks reached skyward as leaves tumbled to the earth...

"The Weary Pilgrim," an incredibly beautiful sculpture by Nicola Cantalamessa-Papotti, rested at the grave of Aaron Erikson.

 A river (or perhaps it was a sea) of leaves blankets the hills and valleys.

We walked a good portion of the cemetery, took a bazillion photos and wore ourselves out before finding some lunch at The Distillery across Mount Hope Avenue. It was, a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Ladybug Day at the Lake

Tuesday is my morning to go out to Ladies' Prayer and Bible Study so I left home fairly early this morning. The afternoon found me running to the other side of Rochester where I picked up my new computer. It will take me a while to get used to this new machine...

I took a detour after stopping in Webster and made my way down to Lake Ontario. I was looking for residual fall foliage. I found even more than that, a beach full of tiny friends. The ladybugs were having a picnic!

 I first thought they were only on driftwood logs
 along the shoreline, but I actually had to watch my step on the beach. Those ladybugs were everywhere!

I don't imagine there will be too many more mild and balmy days before the winds of winter set in, so I've determined to enjoy these last few. Tomorrow promises to bring a new adventure and I'm hoping for one last chance to capture the beauty of autumn.

I like to imagine a Ladybug picnic or a Ladybugs Day at the Beach. Linda says there were ladybugs on her beach at her lake too. It must have been a grand celebration! A last hurrah, of sorts.