Friday, January 29, 2016

Weekend Eve Thoughts for 1/29

It’s after noon, I’ve been up for hours, and I’m still not awake. Still groggy from all the Dreamtime activity! This is the week for familiar dreams, I guess; I must have some unfinished subconscious biz that needs addressing or a lesson that needs learning….

Anyway, here are some Weekend Eve thoughts:

FIVE THINGS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT (from The Happy Book by Barbara Ann Kipfer):

  • Dimmers for lights.
  • Onion domes and stained-glass windows against a forest setting.
  • Pails of first-run sap 
  •  Quilted kitchen appliance covers.
  • Raisin sauce.


  • Good customer service.
  • Homemade ‘stone soup.’
  • The mail-order catalog from The Vermont Country Store ~ “Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find.” (In which you can still buy Evening of Paris perfume in the little blue bottle. Remember seeing that on the shelves at Woolworth’s? You can get a catalog mailed to you, too!)
  • Miniature yellow Legal pads. (They are as much fun to write lists on as thin-lined steno pads. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.)
  • Drawing a pretend tattoo with a Sharpie™ marker.

            (Because I’d love to know.)

SOMETHING (I think is) COOL:
‘Stone soup’ you say? Here’s the story, courtesy of Stone Soup Magazine. (There is a BUNCH of interesting info about the tale on the magazine's site. Check it out!)

The Original Stone Soup Story from 1808,
“To Make Stone Soup”

A traveler, apparently wearied, arrived one morning at a small village that lies to the north of Schauffhausen, on the road toe Zurich, in Switzerland. A good woman sat spinning and singing at the door of her cottage; he came up to her; talked first about the roughness of the roads, and then of the prospect of a luxuriant vintage along the banks of the Rhine: at last he asked her if she had any fire?

“To be sure I have! How should I dress my dinner else?”

“Oh, then,” said the Traveler, “as your pot is on, you can give me a little warm water.”

“To be sure I can! But what do you want with warm-water?” 

“If you will lend me a small pot,” said the Traveler, “I’ll show you.”

“Well! you shall have a pot. There, now what do you want with it?”

“I want, said the Traveler, “to make a mess of stone soup!” 

“Stone soup!” cried the woman, “I never heard of that before. Of what will you make it?”

“I will show you in an instant,” said the man. So untying his wallet, he produced a large smooth pebble. “Here,” he cried “is the principal ingredient. Now toast me a large slice of bread, hard and brown. Well, now attend to me.”

The stone was infused in warm water; the bread was toasted, and put into the pot with it. “Now,” said the Traveler, “let me have a bit of bacon, a small quantity of sauerkraut, pepper, and salt, onions, celery, thyme.” In short, he demanded all the necessary materials.

The good woman had a store cupboard and a well cropped garden; so that these were procured in an instant, and the cookery proceeded with great success. When it was finished, the kind hostess, who had watched the operation with some anxiety, and from time to time longed to taste the soup, was indulged. She found it excellent. She had never before tasted any that was so good. She produced all the edibles that her cottage afforded; and spreading her table, she, with the Traveler, made a hearty meal, of which the stone soup formed a principal part.

When he took his leave, he told the good woman, who had carefully washed the stone, that as she has been so benevolent to him, he would, in return, make her a present of it.
“Where did you get it?” said she.

“Oh,” he replied, “I have brought it a considerable way; and it is a stone of that nature, that if be kept clean, its virtue will never be exhausted, but, with the same ingredients, it will always make as good a soup as that which we have this day eaten.”

The poor woman could hardly set any bounds on her gratitude; and she and the Traveler parted highly satisfied with each other. Proud of this discovery, she, in general terms, mentioned it to her neighbors. By this means the recipe was promulgated; and it was in the course of many experiments at length found, that other pebbles would make as good soup as that in her possession. The viand now became fashionable through the Canton, and was indeed so generally approved, as to find its way to most of the peasants’ tables, where stone stoup used frequently be served as the first dish.

Wikipedia has this to add: “Stone Soup is an old folk story in which hungry strangers compel the local people of a town into sharing their food. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as button soup, wood soup, nail soup, and axe soup.” I DID NOT KNOW THIS. 

Stone Soup is a fun recipe to make with kids. My own Girlz and I used to make it together on occasion. And you’d be surprised how relatively easy it is to get young picky-eaters to eat some veggies if you let them have a hand in their preparation.

I walked in to the Village yesterday to buy some local honey at the co-op. On the way home I passed a Goldfish cracker in the road (message: “Today you may feel like a fish out of water, but smile anyway and just keep swimming”). Not once did I slip on any ice, and the brisk breeze and bright sunshine did me a world of good. It reminded me that my favorite thing about working full-time at an office was the walk to and from the Metro Transit bus stop. The world and the weather were a comfort to me on my way to and from that stressful environment. Yes, some days it could be horrid outside, but it was always interesting. And there was the sunrise. And in winter, the sunset. And, of course, that moment or two to connect with The Meaningful.

Happy Weekend Eve. And may your weekend have some dipped-in-gold moments in it. And a book! And a comfy couch, a warm afghan, a hot beverage, maybe a jigsaw puzzle, and a beloved film or TV show. 

Mmmmmm. Thinking now.... What would you choose? A cup of tea with some Jane Austen? Hot chocolate with ‘Bonanza?’ For me, I’m on a kick right now with hot turmeric milk and back-to-back episodes of Big Bang Theory. What would be your favorite combination?

Have fun. And get outside for a moment! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Little Something for You from Me

I learned recently that my English friend and her granddaughter have begun watching my YouTube videos, the ones I've made for my grandbugs.

Truth is, I badgered them into it....

My friend claims she likes the occasional video clips I send her from my smartphone in lieu of a text message. And I'll admit I've been selfishly doing this so that she doesn't forget me. This way she gets to see my face, hear my voice, and observe my natural habitat, right? And recording my thoughts to her seems more convenient (and more like a spontaneous conversation together) than booting up the computer and typing her a text....

Her granddaughter knows her way around an iPad and I thought if SHE enjoys my videos as much as my babybug does, perhaps watching them will keep me in her memory enough so that when we see each other again someday, she'll know who I am.... (To my babybug out in Colorado, I am a celebrity, I swear.... She studies those things and MEMORIZES them....)

But uh-oh -- poor thing! I apparently bored her enough yesterday that the poor sweetie fell asleep halfway through a book I was reading aloud, then woke with a start and asked, "Delayne, did I miss it??"

So now I can claim on my creative resume that I have a voice that can lull a high-energy 3-year-old to sleep like *snap!* THAT. (Superhero power!)

Knowing that she is now occasionally watching me made me think hard again about my videos. So today I created a little something with her, and my grandbugs, and YOU in mind.


P.S. Interested at all? More can be seen HERE. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Thoughts Today are Far Away

2016 has begun to be the year about passings. But it had a head start. 2015 was pretty much a downer too.... 

And now that I think about it, 2014 had its moments. And it's been going on like this forever, hasn't it?.... Since time began.... Maybe now that I'm old I'm just noticing it more. 

My poor parents; I was aware of Death at a very early age and was traumatized by the thought of it. I felt Death constantly eyeing me from a distance, but back then at least it stalked me from afar. 

Death dreams began at an early age, too. Very real and vivid. I can still remember them. And every time I woke from one I was sad and couldn't explain why. I hadn't the words to describe what had happened in my sleep, only the lingering feelings of freedom and peace and relief, and the longing I had of capturing the memory of those feelings before they'd slip away so that I could replay it again whenever I was afraid of dying. Which was immediately, of course. Dreams may be remembered, but feelings in dreams just disappear.... 

Losing my grandfathers at a young age both hurt and helped. It was comforting to know that Death now had someone with him that I recognized, someone who'd be there to catch and hug me if (still wasn't mature enough to think in terms of 'when') the ride came to an end.

As an adult with kids and problems and jobs and not enough hours in the day, I didn't think about Death much. I was too busy. Yes, we'd meet at the occasional funeral and nod to each other like distant acquaintances, but those times were blessedly few and far between. There were no Death dreams like before. I did dream of dead loved ones, however, and they were always eager to allay my fears, and that helped. But only until I woke....

But now that I’m approaching my 60th birthday I feel like Death has parked a trailer in my backyard and waves hello to me every time I look out the window….

I hate that.

But I'm kind of getting used to it.

Nevermind nodding pleasantly to each other; occasionally now we even chat. I can look into his face and be OK with what I see there. And sometimes we can even joke and laugh together. The fact that he's taken to dressing like an old friend instead of the Ghost of Christmas Future has helped TONS, of course.

Know what else helps tons? There are so many familiar figures now at the end of that ride to catch and hug me when it ends.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Thoughts for 1/8/16

Hooray for the week's BEST day.

The weather here is supposed to be cold and possibly snowy for the next couple days (it is Minnesota in January, after all), and that just makes me think about hunkering down in front of the TV (like normal) and eating my way through the weekend (like normal). If someone doesn't pay me to stop putting food in my mouth, I'm afraid I'll explode here....

Last weekend it was Downton Abbey reruns leading up to the first episode of this year's final season. This weekend? Not sure, exactly, but there are so many possibilities! And I'm open to suggestions for anyone who cares to share.

That being said, here we go with today's musings. And have a happy Weekend Eve!

FIVE THINGS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT (from The HappyBook by Barbara Ann Kipfer):
1.      Old political cartoons. (And old favorite comic strips.)
2.      Grandmothers. (YES! They are so important, aren’t they? Dear God/dess, please make me an important one. Thank you.)
3.      Flash Gordon. (I’ll admit I’m not at all familiar with him, Buck Rogers, or any of the other space adventurers. Except ‘Spaceman Spiff.’ LOVE Spaceman Spiff….)
4.      Talking to yourself. (If this were an Olympic event, I’d be its record-holding gold medalist. Forever.)
5.      Baby bunting. (I can’t see the word ‘bunting’ now without immediately thinking of the delightful swags I saw in every cute English shop in Derbyshire. So ‘baby bunting’, to me, paints pictures of a fairytown with garlands of little triangles arching from one tiny mushroom tea shop to the next.)

1.      A snack of seasoned almonds.
2.      ModPodge™ and the ideas it sparks….
3.      A robe so soft it must be made of clouds and angel hair.
4.      Pigeon tracks in the new-fallen snow.
5.      A package in the mail.

            (Don’t hold back. Knock yourself out!)

SOMETHING (I think is) COOL:
Today’s cool item is courtesy of online free spirit Rob Brezsny:
Slate has created a compendium of the best things that happened each day in 2015. Here are ten of the best:
1. Nigeria bans female genital mutilation.
2. HIV protection is effective in African women.
3. Hunger has become much less severe in the past 15 years.
4. States' juvenile prison populations drop.
5. Homelessness declined 11 percent in the U.S. from 2010 to 2015.
6. Reforestation effort in Ecuador breaks world record.
7. Africa has its first polio-free year.
8. New Ebola vaccine is highly effective.
9. Energy storage technology, which is crucial for solar power, is making great progress.
10. People taking pre-exposure prophylaxis are staying HIV-free.

(See the best events of the other 355 days at this link.)

Because sometimes we need some good news, right?

I noticed that some ‘interesting’ books have been left recently in my Little Free Library. Books with covers featuring glowering women in tight corsets and shirtless men with sculpted abs…. James and I checked them out and determined that even though they feature some suggestive art on the covers they are written for high-school aged kids. What the heck?? My library gets frequent visitors, and on New Year’s Eve alone we noticed children checking it out no less than half-a-dozen times. Were they there because of these suggestive books? Has one teen taken it upon themselves to teach me the lesson that young people nowadays aren’t at all interested in National Velvet or Where the Red Fern Grows or A Wrinkle in Time? Hmmmmm. Well! The little monkeys SHOULD be because they have no idea what they're missing. So there....

I finished my first ever decoupage project recently and I like it. And yesterday was tea and talk with the recipient of the decoupage project. She likes it, too. Whew!

Enjoy your weekend, my friend. Mix up a batch of garlicky hummus, or oniony salmon dip, or creamy guacamole. Then open the crackers and binge-watch something fun. What will you be queuing up? Please tell me all about it. :)

See you Moonday,