Monday, 22 January 2018

Small and Wonderful Things . . .


"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard  

A few of the small and wonderful things from the past week which brought untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.

Sunday nights with Call the Midwife.  Season Seven started off last night and we are in CTMW heaven! No spoilers here, but make sure you bring your tissues.  It's still the winter of 1963 and everyone is in a freeze with power cuts, etc.  Fabulous!  I love CTMW.  I think it is one of my favourite shows ever! 


Toast and jam.  I have my favourites when it comes to jam. Strawberry is top of the list and I do love white bread, although whole wheat is what we choose these days.  No butter (I wish for butter, but no butter for me) and a thin spread of jam.  I can remember watching my ex MIL put jam on her toast and she positively ladled it on, with every mouthful getting a spoonful . . .  sigh, those were the days!  I rarely have it now, and when I do it is very thinly spread, but I love it when I have it, thinly spread or not!  

The Voice.  We record it on Saturday nights and watch it on Sunday afternoons and we both thoroughly enjoy it.  Funny, we never watched it the whole time it was on BBC, but we started watching it when they had the special kids version prior to Christmas and really got into it and are really enjoying the adult version this time around also.  Sir Tom Jones is amazing for his age.  He is 78 (in June) and still kicking it. If I was on The Voice (and there is not even the remotest possibility of that ever happening, I can't sing) and he turned, I would pick Sir Tom! 

Watching Prince Harry and Meghan wow the crowds in Cardiff on the telly.  This couple are so besotted with each other and the crowd just eats them up.  Clearing two of the most popular people in the Royal circle for now anyways.  I can't wait for the wedding!  I am really excited about that.  People just love Meghan!  I love that also.  So happy that the Royals can now settle for love, unlike the old days.  

She is simply stunning.  I wonder what title she will be given?  
An American Princess.  It's pretty wonderful.

Mormon Channel Music Radio.  We have it programmed into our smart tv and we listen to it all the time.  Uplifting, beautiful music.  It sets the tones for our days pretty much. 


I slept like a log last night.  It did take me a bit to fall asleep, but once I did, I slept right through and didn't wake up until amost 6:30 this morning.  That is highly unsual for me, but I am sure grateful for it.  I rarely get a really decent night's sleep without waking up half a dozen times during the night.

Sunday talks with my mum.  I love these special moments.  I wish we could talk every day.  I know you get sick of me saying that.  I love my mum so much and am so grateful for every conversation we have.  Most times we just talk about the same things each time. Her memory is not what it used to be and she rarely leaves the house these days.  Party because it is Winter I suppose and then her feet hurt her alot and she was telling me yesterday her legs felt like jelly on Saturday so she didn't go out like she normally does.  I told her to make sure she walks every day, even if it is just around the house.  If you don't use it you lose it.  She said my sister had gotten the walker out that I bought her the last time I was home, so I was grateful for that.  Sometimes when we are talking she will spy a bird out the window or some such and her voice really becomes animated when she is describing it to me, or one of the cats will pop up to visit her and I hear the joy . . . those moments are real blessings to me. 

So grateful for my first and my bestest friend ever.   What a gift and blessing she has been in my life.


My by-word for the year I have decided.  If it doesn't bring me joy, I am not doing it, having it, keeping it.  Life is too short I have decided to accept anything less.  So far I have gone through every cupboard in the kitchen and culled and have felt a great weight lifted.  Now it is time to tackle the rest of the house.  I know it sounds like I am a great hoarder, and I promise you I am not, but I do have too much stuff.  Its time to let go  . . . 

Its empowering. 
Scary too.


A thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.
A joyful life is made up of joyful moments,
gracefully strung together by trust,
gratitude and faith.
~Brene Brown    •。★★ 。* 。 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading -  Jacob 5:35-48 
Question - What went wrong in the vineyard? How does the Lord react?  

My thoughtsPride.  Ruins.  Everything. Lord has worked so hard to bring the olive tree out of death and decay. He saved Noah's people from the flood, Israel and the whole of Egypt from famine. He led to a new place  . . . Jaredites . . . Israelites . . . Nephites/Lamanites  . . . Pioneers. These examples are our proof of His desire to have a distinct righteous people. Agency is an absolutely amazing gift and is central to the Fathers plan. We have to want to live with Him, living as He lives, and loving His ways  . . . .  sacrifice, service, obedience. If we learn in this life to seek out His ways and are eager to do them, we will feel more comfortable in His presence. Heaven be thanked for that very real truth . . . . that we can feel like that . . .  clean and comfortable in the presence of God!! We have agency but I can see from this allegory that we aren't just left to it, I know the Saviour is at work in our lives, INDIVIDUALLY . . .  whether we choose to recognise that fact or not.  I don't know how but I know it's true. He nourishes, He prunes, He plants us in certain spots, He digs about us,  all to bring us to a place where we might choose heavenly things. He does everything He can for us, but without ever taking away our agency. He lives and He loves us!!  This is amazing because I know I have moments, and many of them, where I am not exactly deserving of this.  That is a part of the beauty of His love for me.  He loves me anyways. 

Tomorrow's reading (Day 83) -  Jacob 5:49-69 
Question - What have you learnt from reading Jacob 5? 


In the kitchen today, Cheese, Bacon & Spring Onion Scones.  Fluffy, light and delicious.

I hope you have a wonderful week filled to overflowing with small and wonderful things, special moments.  Don't forget!

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And I do too!


Sunday, 21 January 2018

Remembering . . .

I had a pair of saddleshoes when I was in Grade one.  They were my pride and joy. I am not sure why, because they are not particularly attractive are they? 


This is me wearing them at the end of the year Awards Ceremony at the end of Grade One.  I am the second from the left.  I remember that teacher, Miss Beizek was here name and I thought she was so pretty and glamorous.  The tall girl with the short hair next to me was my best friend. Susan Warburton.  We were pretty unseperable.  I was pretty devastated when her father got posted to Germany at the end of Grade 3.  I thought I would never survive losing her.  We wrote back an forth for years and years and years.  She came to my first wedding, and we are still in touch on facebook.  I guess, other than my sister she is the friend I have had the longest! 

My parents had a bedroom set, pretty much just like this!  Same type of wood veneer, blonde . . .  bookcase headboard, tall boy dresser, and long dresser with a matching mirror.  They didn't have the night tables however.  I remember thinking it was very modern and sophisticated and it probably was for that time.  My mom was very thrifty and when she bought furniture, it was expected to last a very long time.  They were still sleeping in this bed when I left home to get married in the 1970's.  I think the tall dresser is still in the spare bedroom actually. The tall dresser was my father's dresser.  I used to love opening the top drawer.  It smelled of butterscotch, leather and cork grease.  He loved butterscotch wafers and he always had a tub of them in his top drawer, and he played the clarinet, hence the cork grease.  This was the drawer he kept his belts and wallet, etc. in . . .  hence the leather. It was pretty much forbidden to go into my parents bedroom, but we did sneak in now and then and have a look and a smell . . . 

My mother had the long low dresser . . .  filled with whispers of silk and smelling faintly of her perfume and cosmetics.  What I loved most was looking in her jewelry box . . .  she had some lovely pieces, nothing too expensive, but great jewelry nonetheless.  Black diamonds, black enamel, gold, rhinestones . . . . my mom was always very elegant.   


Even when they were only out for an afternoon of sight seeing.

This was she and I in Germany. I might be about 2 in this picture, and she is expecting my sister.  I think it was taken outside a German War Bunker.  I love the way she is holding me.  So protectively.  I am looking forward to calling her later today. 

My mom has always been a big fan of Avon cosmetics.  In fact at one time she used to sell them.  As a child I loved the lipstick samples. My mother had tons of them.  I bet she still has some of them tucked away somewhere.  My mother collected Avon perfume jars and stuff for years and years and years. 

She had a whole set of this, but I think she gave it away.  I could be mistaken however  . . .  but she had perfume bottles that looked like victorian ladies and all sorts.  I remember a bottle of aftershave for my dad that looked like a car. 


Did you have cream sachet that was in one of these?
My sister and I did! 

All of these things are considered highly collectable now. 

One year my sister and I got a portable record player to share.  We thought it was fabulous!  We did not have many records and I am sure we drove our parents crazy listening to the ones we did have, over and over again.  Some that come to mind are Freda Payne singing "Band of Gold", Free's "All Right Now",  Three Dog Night "Liar", and George Harrison, "It Don't Come Easy,"  . . .  Lonely Girl by Eddie Holman . . . that is just a few.  We spent hours listening to the ones we did have and new all the words to all the songs, could sing them backwards and forwards and inside out. 

Did you want to be a Charlie's  Angel?  

The closest we ever got was trying on my mother's Farah Fawcett wig. But, I did wear bell bottom jeans, and have a belt with a peace buckle and . . .  


I had a bazillion of colors of these thick yarn hair ties.  They graced all my teenage pony tails and pig tails.  And I had a lot of those brightly coloured nylon kerchiefs also.  Did you? 


My mother had one of these that we were not allowed to use.  In Grade 12 my boyfriend gave me an electric blow hair dryer for Christmas and it caught on fire. Scary stuff!  Those things still pretty much look the same as they did back then, except maybe they are a lot more powerful these days and you can change the temperature of them, plus they come with styling brushes. 

Did you wear this and feel very sophisticated? 


Did you play this with your friends?
We played this for hours and we also spent hours bouncing
our India Rubber Balls against the side walls of the house.

My mother still has hers.


Did you play with these?  Clackers.  Dangerous things.  They could sure crack your knuckles hard if you missed.  I never ever was able to quite get the hang of them.  They would be banned now.  Health and safety. 

Brut after shave, and Jo Namath  

I used all of these things.  Or at least most of them.  My hair smelled Terrific, and I had Loves Baby Soft perfume, and I shaved my legs and underams with a flicker razer.   Kissing potion, lol . . . 

We were so media driven.

A frozen TV Dinner was a real treat, especially if they came with dessert.  I liked the turkey and the fried chicken ones.  We also loved the Bird's Eye chicken pot pies with the white gravy, peas and carrots. 


Did you do this?  If you mixed a bit of iodine in it, it worked even better, or so we thought.

Yardly blue eye shadow.  I did . . . 


I got turned on to Shakespeare, or at least Romeo and Juliette.  This is still my all time favourite version of it.  I remember sitting in the theatre and crying all the way through it because the boy I had a crush on had taken another girl to it. I was feeling very heart broken.   His name was Dougie MacDonald and I thought he looked like Doctor McCoy from Star Trek.  We were in the High School Band together.  He played percussion and I played clarinet.  I remember hanging around after band practice so we could walk home together . . .  we went the same direction.  I am sure he was cringing the whole time.  What a goober I was   . . . 

She was so beautiful . . . 


They were beautiful . . . 

I was never beautiful.
Most people were only average, so
I was not alone in this.

But I had dreams of being swept off my feet by a Romeo.
Did you? 

I need to go get ready for church, but its been fun remembering all this stuff.

A thought to get you going  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed, 
is always to try just one more time.
~Thomas Edison   •。★★ 。* 。 



In The English Kitchen today,  Breakfast Waffle Quesadillas.  Delicious of course!  I served them with guacamole, sour cream and salsa! 

Have a lovely Sunday!  Don't forget!

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And I do too! 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

How to spend a day . . .

I woke up with a headache yesterday morning (and this morning for that matter).  Its been like that all too often lately, disturbed night's sleep from a headache that just doesn't want to go off.  I'm sure it is my blood pressure. Time to go back to the Doctor, methinks, for another adjustment. 


This little lady greets me with enthusiasm every morning. We have a routine.  I put her out for her morning constitution, she comes in and cleans her teeth with her dentastix.  I only give her half of a medium one these days.  She is happy with that and one pack lasts twice as long.  Its win/win.  Plus it is only half the calories and as she is a dog who likes her treats, I make sure that no one of them is too much, when spread out over the day.  As soon as she finishes that she is mithering me for her breakfast, so I usually get that ready wile she is eating her dentasix.  Who's the boss around here?  Well, it clearly is not me! 

After that it is prayers and scripture reading for me, which I usually do with her tucked in beside me. Some days it takes me longer than others, it all depends.  On what I don't know . . . 

By the time I finish them, she is usually wanting her treat ball.  (See what I mean)  It is a ball that looks like this. 

She finds it quite exciting, no matter what I put into it.  Sometimes it is just a few dry cheerios, sometimes it is an inch of cheese stick, cut up into bits, or a piece of hotdog cut into bits, but mostly it is just a few dry cheerios.  She loves it.  She noses it all around downstairs waiting for the treat to fall out of the hold so she can eat it. It is exercise for her mind and a bit for her body.  In any case she now asks me for it.  It can be a bit hard to find it sometimes because I never know where it ends up, but she has gotten remarkably good at leading me directly to it.  Its that popular with her.  

As you can see the first bits of my morning are
mostly about her.


Now that she is occupied with her ball, I can get a drink for myself and check my e-mails.  Two years ago I decided that I was going to try to keep them below a 100 saved in my inbox each day and I have done really well at that.  I get tons of bunkum every day.  Seriously.  I have to cull my box several times a day.  Mostly people wanting something for nothing.  I don't mind serious inquiries however . . .  someone wanting the answer to a question about one of my recipes or the like.  I am happy to help out, but I am not interested in helping you get your millions that are trapped in an account in Africa thank you very much, no matter how many millions you offer me in exchange, nor do I have anything to fill your chinese merchandise ships with.  (How stupid do they think people are?)  Or sorting out accounts in banks I don't even use, credit cards I don't have, fixing my full e-mail account because e-mails have been stopped (well, yours got through buster!) etc.  It an take a few minutes to click delete, delete, delete.  I'll bet 90% of my e-mails are actually garbage and/or unsolicited.

Then it is time for this.  I check my facebook to see if anything has happened during the night I need to be aware of.  I check all of the kids accounts and my family, then I switch it off.  Then I do my daily tweet and instagram post for the food blog, an they get switched off and then . . .  its time to talk to you!  Pretty much my favourite part of my morning, and it's not even 7 am yet.  On Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays I don't actually know what I am going to write about.  It will hit me as I sit down and that's what I go with.  Always go with your first instincts.  They are usually correct.  So today you are getting how I spend my days. Lucky you!  😉   I will do that until Todd wakes up, and if I finish up on the computer earlier than normal I will do a bit of journaling.   That didn't happen yesterday because Todd had to get up early because . . . 

You know who had the dog groomers.

I usually get washed and dressed, etc. after Todd gets up.  I don't want to make too much noise in the bathroom until I know he is awake.  I am such a considerate gal. 


After they left I decided I was going to bake Todd an apple pie.  He loves apple pies and is always dreaming about his mother's apple pies.  I only ever rarely bake a pie, let alone an apple pie, so yesterday I thought I would bake him a treat and I did.  He also loves apple crumble, so I did a Dutch Apple Pie which gives you both.  Once you have everything ready to go, it goes together quickly and always turns out a treat.  This is a photo of it before I put it in the oven.   While it was baking I did a quick tidy up around here.  I keep on top of it so that usually doesn't take too long and I didn't have any laundry to do so, once the pie came out and was cooling I decided to go upstairs and stare at my paints . . . 

I got a set of new half pans for Christmas. WInsor & Newton, professional watercolours, so the hues are really lovely.  I had been going up and looking at them every day for a few weeks now. 


I did do this one day from a photograph I had taken of my little bird egg cups with an egg in it . . .  I was not completely happy with it. Not happy at all  . . .  but that is life . . . 

I got some new brushes also, but they are very, very long.
Look at how long they are next to the one I use most of the time.
It looks like a dwarf.  I have not used the new ones
yet, at all . . . 


So this is what I worked on yesteray.  Its going to be a book mark. Its just on a scrap of paper.  I kind of life how it has turned out.  I want to put some words on that bottom area, but am looking for just the right quote.  I guess I totally haven't lost my mojo after all.   While I was painting, I was also chatting with my sister on the iPad.  I think its called multi-tasking. There was a time I could chat with two or three people at a time, but I can't handle that anymore.  Just one at a time is all I can manage.   

It was my Dad's birthday earlier this week.  He turned 84, and is still going strong.  My sister did a special supper for him, and my mom got him a cake.   They are the poster children for good divorce, my parents.  They are very good friends.  That makes it so much easier for us, their children.  It was hard at first, but once things settled, things worked out well.  Its too bad most divorces did not work in that way. We never felt that we had to choose between one or the other.  We simply had two parents who loved us and we loved them.  That is as it should be. 


By then Todd was home and I got busy making us a late lunch/early supper.  Nothing fancy and not even as fancy as this.  Just chicken burgers and oven chips.  Except I burnt the buns under the grill and had to scrape away half of the bun. Not a problem because we shouldn't be eating too much bread, right?  No cheese, but plenty of lettuce and tomato and only half as many oven chips.  Todd always eats his burgers no matter what with a knife and fork.  I am a bohemian and I like to use my hands.  Isn't that a part of the pleasure of eating a burger?   

After I cleared up we had Mitzie cuddles for a while and then it was time for her afternoon walk.  Todd had noticed when he got her home that she had the wrong lead, but when he went to take her for her walk he realised she also had the wrong collar.  The collar here belonged to Lola and she is no Lola.  Both were red with white polka dots, so easily mixed up with hers.  So we had to make a quick call to the groomer because we didn't want Lola being too distressed, and to be honest we wanted Mitzie's back.  The groomer said he would drop them off after work last night and do an exchange.

I did my English Kitchen post, which meant sorting through the photos, editing them, writing it up, setting it up to post this morning etc.  Todd read while I was doing this and enjoyed his apple pie as he was doing so. 

Mitzie went for her walk and I gave her her supper when she got back and we decided we were going to watch some telly.  We have just started watching Brittania on Now TV.  (Its a way of having sky without paying the enormous sky fees.  You can pay for it monthly, for a small fee and only pay for the months that you actually have something on it you want to watch.)  Its quite a good show.  There is some swearing in it (of course) and some violence, but otherwise it is quite fascinating. Britannia is a drama set in 43AD as the Roman Imperial Army - determined and terrified in equal measure - returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia - a mysterious land ruled by warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the powerful forces of the underworld. Or so they say.  So far so good and we are enjoying it.  We have watched two episodes.  The first one was a bit harder to follow because they were setting up all of the characters and scenes, this second one we watched yesterday was a lot easier to follow now we know what's what!

After that Peter Lee stopped by.  He wanted me to show him how he could send private messages on Facebook, so I did and we had a nice little visit  afterwards.  He seems to be coping well since Audrey's passing.  I know he misses her dreadfully, the whole last two years of her life he was her constant caregiver, first at home and then in the hospital and care home.  He was faultless in all that he did for her.  We all talked about the new Presidency in the church, and shared our thoughts on this.   All of us had been a bit shocked and somewhat disappointed that Dieter F Uchtdorf had been let go and put back into the Apostles and replaced in the Presidency, but at the same time we could see the need for someone who is strong in the law of the land being in the Presidency.  We live in perilous and socially challenging times.  President Oaks was a Supreme Court Judge.  He certainly knows his eggs from his onions.  He is a good man and we know he has been called of God to do what he is doing now.  It is nice to have friends we can talk to about things like this.   

We have set a date to go to a film.  On Monday the three of us are going to see Darkest Hour.  I am looking forward to that.   

The dog groomer called and said he was running really late so was it okay if he brought Mitzie's collar/lead over after work today.  We said yes, of course.

After that I decided to have my shower and put on my jimjams, so did Todd. We, then, settled in for an evening of relaxation.  We listened to some music, watched a bit of telly and I made us some toast.  Todd had his with marmite.  👀  I had mine, one slice with cheese spread and one slice with peanut butter, nectar of the Gods. Whole wheat. No butter on mine, just those.  I made us each a Horlicks before bed and then we had family prayer and went to bed.  It always takes me a bit longer to fall asleep than Todd and so I watched an episode of Friends on my iPad and then half of the first episode in the latest series of Grace & Frankie.

I had this headache off and on all night and crazy dreams.  It was like I was dreaming all night, the same dream.   I would wake up and then go back to sleep and continue dreaming it.  Some nights are just like that.  Last night before we went to sleep we made a date to go out to breakfast this morning.  If you are going to go out and splurge on a meal, breakfast is just the ticket.  It's cheaper than dinner and once in a blue moon the full English is just what you need, and so much tastier when someone else cooks it.   

And that's how you spend a day. 

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

  Be patient with yourself,
nothing in nature blooms all year.
~Unknown   •。★★ 。* 。

Spiritual Enlightenment 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - Jacob 5:19-34 
Question - What is the fruit? Why do you think it is so important to the Lord?

My Thoughts - Verses 21-22. I always love reading these verses. They became two of my favourites in the book of Mormon after hearing a sacrament talk on them a few years ago. When it talks about being placed in poor ground, it made me think of the different situations people find themselves in, maybe poverty, or as refugees, in abusive homes and families, experiencing the death of loved ones, etc. Even in our ordinary daily experiences we can all feel like 'poor ground'  . . . hurt, upset, loneliness, depression, stress, financial worries, too much to do and carry etc. I could go on. I love how the lord of the vineyard answers the servant when he questions 'why did you put the tree here when you knew it was poor ground?' and the lord's answer . . .  'counsel me not. I knew it was a poor spot of ground . . . wherefore I have nourished it this long time . . .  it have brought forth much fruit.' We can trust Him. Completely. Trust that He knows us. Trust that He knows where we are and what He is doing with us. He is working to bring about His purposes. Even if we don't see or feel this ourselves. No matter what our circumstance or experience is, we can receive His nourishment and we can bring forth good fruit. Which means our lives and our works will be good and right . . .  and patterned after His.

Tomorrow's reading (Day 82) (Monday) -  Jacob 5:35-48 
Question - What went wrong in the vineyard? How does the Lord react? 


In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Dutch Apple Pie.  Scrumptiously tasty!

Have a wonderful Saturday.  Don't forget! 
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And I do too!