A portrait (Scintilla Project – Day 13)

(Scintilla prompt: Post a photo of yourself from before age 10. Write about what you remember of the day the photo was taken. It may not be a full story…..)

Little flashbacks to that day…

That sweater itched like crazy, even though it was beautiful, handmade by mom.  And it was yellow.  The color of a spring flower…

That couch, that room with the dark paneling.  They called it the sun room because of the wall of windows on the south side that allowed the light of day to fill that space.

The hair, “flipped up” on the ends…made possible by pink sponge curlers worn while I slept.  The headband, worn to keep that hair out of my eyes and face, a style that stayed with me for years.

Had to be a Sunday afternoon or I would not have been dressed up.

Grandpa had to prompt me to smile and for some reason I was shy about it.  

The Scintilla Project

Hit the rewind button (Scintilla Project)

a nap in the sun
(Scintilla prompt: “Sometimes we wish we could hit the rewind button. Talk about an experience that you would do over if you could.”)

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If I could hit the rewind button on my life and do any part of it over, I’d take the advice of my cat.

1. I’d seek out someone I love and trust and just let them love me, even if they appear to be busy.

2. I’d take more power naps, any time of the day.

3. I’d play a lot more, and put my whole self into the playing.

4. I’d stand up for myself and take better control of my personal space.  Hopefully claws would not be necessary.

5. I’d ponder the world, stare out the window for long periods of time, and improve my skills of observation.  There would be a camera within reach at all times so that I could record what I see. 

6. I’d go back and find that person I love and trust and demand more affection and back scratching, even if they are online and typing a blog post.

7. If all else failed, I’d just get right in that person’s face, purr a lot, and gaze into their eyes until I get what I need.

8. But the main thing is, I’d take more naps.

9. I’d enjoy food more, particularly ice cream.  With chocolate.

10. I’d find every warm sunny spot in the house and make it a place for pondering, and I’d go outside a lot more, sneaking out whenever I can.

11.  I’d eat just what I need and occasionally indulge in a bit of treats.   But I’d leave the critters and rodents to run free.  (Since I’m not really a cat I get to pick and choose here.)

12.  And when life brings on changes that I don’t quite know what to do with, I’d seek the love and reassurance from those I love and trust.

The Scintilla Project

Finding my way home

sun in the trees

Yesterday, one of the prompts from the Scintilla project read: “Talk about where you were going the day you got lost. Were you alone? Did you ever get to where you meant to go?”

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I can remember the panic, the thought that I was lost and would never make it back home. But it was only a thought, even though temporarily supported by the fact that I did not know where to turn.  Driving through a town I’d not been through before, on unfamiliar roads, in the winter, alone, on my way back from meeting with a customer…in a job that was not meant for me.

All I had to do was take a breath, stop for a few moments, get my bearings, and start out again.  I did make it through that town and found my route again. 

Home never looked so good.

There had only been those few moments of feeling lost, but the impact of it stays in my memory.  As these words pour out on the page I begin to understand the importance of that trip.  Not only did I learn to get my directions straight, it also became very clear to me that I was caught up in work that did not fit my abilities, my skills.  Being close to home was more important than any job that would include lots of travel, nights in motels, and commission based paychecks.  No income was worth all that.

Yes, I was lost, if only for a few moments.  And, yes, I made it to where I meant to go.  Thankfully I learned more than I ever thought I would from this little part of my journey.

The Scintilla Project

Cooking with Grandma (Scintilla Project – Day 8)

Vintage cook book

For a long time after my grandmother and grandfather had both died, this cookbook still held the fragrance of their home.  I can’t begin to describe what that smell was like. I just know that when I would open this book and stick my nose right in the crease of those slick, shiny pages I felt as though I was being transported back in time.  

And they were good times.

Working in the kitchen with my grandmother was an experience.  She had her way of cooking, her way of saving and conserving, her way of making things taste oh-so-good.  This was her favorite cookbook.  Even today as I pulled it from the shelf to take this photo, I found yet another scrap of paper on which she had written a recipe for a coconut pie, one that I had not seen before.  Papers and note cards are stuffed throughout, in places where a recipe was marked so it would not be forgotten. I love that those handwritten notes are still surprising me. 

We all know someone in our lives who could or can today prepare a certain food that just makes the mouth water.  For me and I think for most of my family it was her ‘sweet rolls’ as she called them. Cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven, swimming in a thick mixture of butter, brown sugar, and pecans. Even before she would bake them you could smell the yeast dough as it would raise in that big yellow mixing bowl she had.  But get them in the oven and the perfume filled the air and lingered for several hours.

Somehow we would find out that she was baking, and like magic we would appear in her kitchen.  Just as years later, when grandpa was alone after she died, he would find my kitchen on the days when my neighbor and I baked holiday cookies.  He just had to sample those cookies, and we all had to test those rolls to make sure they were good enough.

Grandma was so good at putting together a good, hearty lunch for grandpa, and whoever in the family could join us.  I usually set the table, and helped with fixing the food…in whatever ways she would allow. 

There still exists in the family stories an episode of grandma and I preparing a meal together and making sure all the food was cooking properly.  We had a pan of frozen green peas cooking on the stove top.  Grandma was a little concerned that we get these to taste right…so her advice to me was,

“Don’t forget to salt the pea water.”

I knew what she meant, and so did she.  But we started to giggle.  This became even funnier because of who said it, this woman who never would let anything off-color leave her lips. 

To this day I don’t know how we managed to get food on the table.  Soon the word was out about her famous remark, and no one in the house could keep from laughing.  I still laugh about it, as I’m sure she does from her peaceful place where her soul resides.  

That cookbook was published in 1941, when the world looked quite different than it does now.  When cooking in your own kitchen was the norm, rather than jumping in the car to go get fast food.  When family and friends would frequently, if not daily, gather around the table and share a meal.  Those are the ideals that shaped the cook my grandmother was. 

Occasionally I try to imagine her standing in my own kitchen with me, telling me how long to cook that roast, or fry that chicken, or showing me how to make the homemade noodles that would melt in your mouth….and stick to your hips!

I recently bought a brand new Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Already I’m making notes on the pages about what recipes we’ve had that we liked.  Yet I still go back to this one, from 1941, and read the how-to’s and look at the photos of how to set a pretty table.

Yup.  She’s still in the kitchen with me.

The Scintilla Project