A day of remembrance . . .

The younger two were just sitting down to breakfast as I pushed the button on the remote to pull up the day’s episode of Arthur. With the older two off to middle and high school, the goal was to get these two fed and out the door in time to catch the bus for grade school. What flickered up on the t.v. was a trailer for a movie. I flipped the channel and oddly enough the same trailer played on the next. Chuckling to myself at the coincidence, I pointed the remote again. When the same scene played on a third network, I stopped to listen and watch in horror. The broadcaster summarized the previous minutes for me. One of the World Trade Towers smoldered across a clear New York sky. I picked up the phone just as the second tower exploded in flames.

The kids’ dad was a police officer. He’d have insight. He’d tell me if there was anything I needed to do. He’d fill in the blanks. I asked him if he was watching the television. He replied, “Ummm . . . no, I’m working,” spoken in a voice that said, “Some of us have to work.”

I ignored the bullshit and said, “Maybe you should turn it on.”

Everyone remembers where they were that day. How they learned, what we feared, how those around us reacted. The rest of that day and what unfolded afterward is mostly a blur, with the exception of a few things.

I remember the eeriness of vacant skies barring the occasional military flyover. The flags. Flags everywhere. The retelling of unimaginable stories and the tears. The replaying of words into mobile phones by people who knew they were their last. The heroes — those who lived and those who didn’t.

As I near completion of another decade, I’m reflecting on those things that have impacted my life. Today I’m remembering 9/11 and just felt the need to put it into words.

Peace . . .

Photo by Kevin McCartney on Pexels.com

Slowing Down is Nature’s Gift

My knees threatened to give out before I was halfway down. It was just the beginning of my 6-mile hike, descending several flights of uneven wooden-planked steps. There was no railing, but a couple of landings provided benches for those who needed them. A man on the way up told me it was the only bad part of the hike. He was proven quite right on my way back.

Determined not to sit on the way down the hill, I stood in place to catch my breath. I heard some leaves crunch to my right. Squirrels. I heard it again and something coaxed me to quiet my breath and stare into the woods. I heard it again, but farther away, and again near, and then again down the hill. Our eyes met.

They were low to the ground and attached to a reddish face, a fox I thought. Then it raised up to look at me and two leaf-shaped ears sat on either side of its delicate head.

“Well, hello, Sweetheart!” I said. It went back to foraging, while a deeper hidden form walked through unalarmed by my presence. Further down the hill, a doe twitched her ears and tiptoed gently across the path. Another followed, hesitant at first, but then resigned. The last to cross was the fawn whose eyes had locked with mine. Worriedly, it divided its attention between me and the does until at last it skittered across the trail and disappeared once again into the shadows.

I knew at once I had received a gift and thanked them graciously. I wondered how many times my younger self had strode confidently down a length of stairs without stopping to catch my breath. I thought how easily she could have pitied me. And how easily I could envy her youth and strength . . . had I not been given a gift that could only have been received by someone who slowed down long enough to receive it.

Peace . . .

Summer is Waning

Summer is waning and I’m feeling nostalgic. I remember how eagerly I watched the bare trees for the signs of swelling buds last March. How delighted was I at the first tender leaves coloring the landscape. I coddled my garden as if it were a newborn.

Flowers bloomed and plants fruited. The days grew hot and dry.

And today there’s something in the air telling me that time is precious. Squirrels hastening to gather seeds ripening in the golden light. Geese honking across the sky. The flutter of birds at feeder.

There’s a guilt I feel with the last days of summer. I haven’t done all I’d planned to do. I squandered hours I could have sat outside or drank iced teas in the heat. I ran the air conditioning too much. I watched too much t.v. I didn’t grill enough.

The passing of the seasons marks time like the ticking of a clock. Tick. Tick. Tick. September looms.

Peace . . .

Are We There Yet?

Thursday errands had me running late. I adjusted my plan, picking up groceries at Target instead of making the additional stop at the grocery store. I’d pick up one of those quick meal kits and get dinner on the table before Bubba got home at 8:20pm.

I’d found a simple Ginger Dumplings and Kale Salad meal kit. The plan was to pop those things out of the package, simmer them on the stove, feed the dogs, mix up the dipping sauce, toss the salad and be ready for Bubba with pearls, heels and a cocktail.

I opened the package and found a pound of raw pork. “What’s this?” I next pulled out a beautiful orange carrot. “Huh?” Then I saw the package of 20 potsticker wrappers.

“Oh HELL no!”

That’s when I packed all the ingredients back into the box and had toasted turkey and bacon sandwiches in construction when Bubba walked in. And a pickle. Bubba needs a pickle with his sandwich.

So Friday I was ready for it. I rolled up my sleeves and cleared a space to assemble potstickers and slightly wilted kale salad. Now, I’m not new to cooking, and I can appreciate the mindful art of preparing meals from scratch. But I thought people bought these meal kits for an easy store-to-table from-scratch taste. This was not that.

First, it suggested I read through the instructions before beginning to cook. So naturally I dug in. The first step (actually second if you count reading the instructions) was to prepare all the ingredients. I got out a knife and cutting board and minced the shallot. Next I was to grate the ginger root. The ginger root? What ginger root? My kit was missing the ginger root. Luckily I always have some tucked conveniently in my freezer. I got out my zester and, because the kit doesn’t mention quantities, I guessed as to how much to shave off.

I pushed several cloves of garlic through my press and used a mandolin to render the carrot into matchstick-sized pieces for the salad. I stopped to look around my very small kitchen. Every counter was full with kitchen gadgets, cutting boards, knives and food. The last time the place looked like this was Thanksgiving 2019.

The next step, after muddling the garlic, shallots and ginger, was adding the pork and pork sauce. Pork sauce?

Hmmmm . . .

Three little pouches in varying hues of clear brown sat before me. I turned them over a number of times and held them to the light hoping they would hint as to their contents. I turned the instruction manual over a few times, hoping for a clue. Ah! A video link! Surely it would reveal all. So I halted construction to open my laptop and plugged in the address.

I pressed the play button and watched an advertisement for their meal kits. I scrolled up. I scrolled down. That’s all there was.

Okay, back to the little pouches of brown. The instructions mentioned Dipping Sauce, Pork Sauce and Salad Dressing. By process of elimination I decided the smallest was the salad dressing. The larger two I opened and sniffed — a few times — and finally made an educated guess as to which was which.

I want to jump to the end of the story and tell you how they came out, but I just can’t. I feel the need to mention that I built each dumpling by hand on yet one more cutting board. I want you to know I stopped in the middle when I lost patience with the putzy task to breathe and come into the present; tell myself it’s a journey, not a destination.

Some journeys are just like driving through the flatlands of South Dakota scanning the horizon for the Corn Palace.

I want you to imagine my resignation when I admitted my frying pan was too small and heated up a bigger one, setting the abandoned one on the side to cool.

We did finally eat this meal. In my opinion, the salad was delicious and the dumplings were so-so. Bubba ate it with relish. I mean with dipping sauce, but he verbalized much enjoyment and ate until he could eat no more. To be honest, I’m not sure if he really liked them that much or if he looked at the kitchen landscape and thought he better like them or else.

Adulting with a Cherry on Top

Adulting is the practice of behaving as an adult, especially taking responsibility for everyday distasteful but necessary tasks. It isn’t what I was thinking of when we were kids wishing we could be all grown up. When was the last time you heard a seven-year old say, “Man, I can’t wait til I’m a grown up so I can pay bills and clean the toilets”?

When I was kid, one of my favorite treats was maraschino cherries. Sometimes I would sneak into the kitchen and quietly reach all the way to the back of the fridge to pluck out the forgotten jar of sticky red fruit. I never stopped at one. I rarely stopped at two. I imagined a day when I could waltz right in whenever I wanted and eat cherries with a spoon in broad daylight.

But now that I’m grown, I practice responsible adulting all the time. Especially where maraschino cherries are concerned

No I don’t. I didn’t live this long just to eat my ice cream with one freakin’ cherry on top.

If you’re suffering from chronic adulthood, I’ve published my personal treatment — if not a cure — for the condition here:

Chocolate-Cherry Adults-Only Sundae


  • Vanilla ice cream
  • 1 good squirt of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Maraschino Cherries, de-stemmed and halved
  • Maraschino cherry juice, to taste


  1. Spoon vanilla ice cream into a modest-sized bowl. Yes, modest. You’re an adult, not a glutton.
  2. Squirt the Hershey’s chocolate syrup on top of the vanilla ice cream.
  3. Chop the ice cream with a spoon until chocolate and ice cream are thoroughly combined. You’re feeling younger already, aren’t you?
  4. Sprinkle maraschino cherry halves on the ice cream. If you feel particularly old, add a few more. Add them whole if you want.
  5. Pour the maraschino cherry juice in an even stream over the whole mess.
  6. Swirl the ice cream until the consistency of a thick shake. Go ahead. Play with your food.
  7. Serve in pajamas curled up on the couch.
  8. Thank your lucky stars you’re finally old enough to eat as many cherries on top of your ice cream as you damn well want.

Note: Not suitable for children. If they eat unlimited maraschino cherries now, the only thing they’ll have to look forward to in adulthood is paying bills and cleaning toilets.


The boy dog is a runner. He’s not only a runner, he’s a jumper. So if you fence him in, he’s going to jump. Then run.

It’s a great game of bait and chase. The humans doing all the baiting and chasing, of course. The dog’s just living his best life.

Luckily we live in a dog-loving neighborhood.

Except for the one a few doors down who sits on her front step smoking her heater and telling us we need to keep our dog on a leash. Princess Obvious. But I digress.

We’ve met more neighbors chasing our escapee (for better or worse) than any other method. On one particular day, it just so happened that the boy dog lost his tag with the contact numbers engraved on it. Actually, I’m pretty sure he planned the whole thing.

As is usually the case, a caring neighbor lured him in with a tasty treat. His internet-savvy captors then posted his mug shot on Facebook.

We did finally see the post, but not before several friends and family called to ask if it was him. And I have to be honest . . . . trained and well behaved? . . . we weren’t exactly sure.

“I was framed.”

Screen-Time Junkie

Yesterday I literally had screen time from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. My alarm went off, I lit up my phone, checked in on my calendar for the day, and sent a text or two. I swiped open my Kindle, read a couple chapters, opened my laptop and tapped out some notes from the book.

After dressing, I worked at my computer through breakfast and lunch, then opened my personal computer over dinner to write a couple blog posts.

I finished the night by cleaning out my inbox and somehow opening a file that wouldn’t shut down without a password I couldn’t remember. Determined, I stayed up an extra 30 minutes until I finally figured out how to force the damn thing closed. I played a game on my phone for a few minutes in bed before I finally fell into what was, not surprisingly, a fitful sleep.

Stop shaking your head and wagging your finger at me. I bet you thought I was all gardens and crochet hooks, didn’t you? Yesterday wasn’t typical and it was even a little too much for this digital junkie. It’s no wonder my brain is foggy and I’m closing one eye just to focus on this text.

As usual, the universe reached out to intervene.

  • My daughter reminded me of the necessity to recharge in nature.
  • A good friend reminded me of the power of just being.
  • A meeting with a colleague reminded me of the joy of talking face to face.
  • Pinterest suggested I click on a link for 52 ways to simplify my life.

Wait . . . what?

Can they maybe simplify that list?

My point is, it’s about balance. I can’t repeat days like yesterday any more than I can eat potato chips and ice cream every day. Sooner or later you need a piece of broccoli and some down-time to just be.

And the thing about balance is that it’s not something you achieve. It’s a practice. So yesterday I was just a little off balance, but . . . it beats the alternative . . .

Are You Living a Life of Balance or Control?

Candy Red

My kids’ dad used to share his bounty straight from the garden. Even the neighbor kids would line up to peel fresh peas from the pod and crunch juicy green beans between their teeth. “It’s just like candy,” he would say. I would laugh and say, “there’s nothing like candy but candy!”

Believe me, if I could grow chocolate-dipped almonds, I would!

Oh, but I do love a fresh vegetable picked right from the sun-kissed garden! This spring I found a compromise.

These Candy Red tomatoes are like picking wild berries in the woods. They hang in fragile clusters, bouncing down to the dirt at the slightest nudge. I wonder how many of their seeds will volunteer to germinate next year?

They’d be great in a salad if I could get them into my kitchen. Somehow they disappear before I get to the back door, eating them from the front of my upturned t-shirt like a pocket.

You know, if you squint hard enough, you could almost believe they’re . . . nah . . . there’s nothing like candy but candy . . .

Peace . . .

Best Potholders Ever

A couple weeks ago I went to the local Target to find a potholder or two. I found silicone ones that looked like a puppet but they didn’t fit my hands very well. There were cloth ones with pockets for your fingers but no way to hang them up. There were just-right potholders, but each one came with a matching oven mitt. I wanted two potholders. I didn’t want two potholders with two matching oven mitts.

That’s when I remembered how much I loved the potholders I crocheted for myself a few years back. The ones the dog ate. Well, that guy’s not a mischievous puppy anymore, so I’m probably safe to make myself a new pair.

I crafted a fun set with lime green and variegated purples and yellow. They were just about finished and ready to hang on the fridge when we were invited to the house of some friends we hadn’t seen since before The Covid began. They ended up making a lovely hostess gift.

But I still needed potholders.

Work in Progress

So as soon as I finished the first of a pretty purple pair, I thought, wouldn’t this make a nice gift for when I visit my friends at their cabin? So in between trying to keep up with this 30-day blog challenge (yes, I know I missed a couple days already), I’m madly weaving my hook around the second in the set. Maybe I can work on my own set at the cabin . . . I wonder if retirement is going to be this hard?

Whether or not you’ve enlisted in retirement boot camp like myself, you might want to try crochet for yourself. My very first project was this warm hat by Jayda in Stitches, and I found the tutorial for the Best Potholders Ever on the same channel!

Peace! . . .