Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Resolutions? "Folly, folly, all folly!"

 Tell us how you really feel about New Year's Resolutions, Phyllis McGinley!

Phyllis McGinley: "I'm not sure anyone over forty should make a resolution."

Being over 40, or even 60 since 60 is evidently the new forty, I have no problem ignoring any desire to make New Year's Resolutions. (Let's not even discuss what over 70 might be.)

Any further arguments against resolutions from the 1961 Pulitzer prize winning poet?

Phyllis McGinley:  We promise to deprive ourselves of the trivial comforts that may be all that stand between us and frenzy. Coffee, for instance, or that martini before dinner...

Folly, folly, all folly! Those promises might stand a chance of being kept in June, say, with the spirits burgeoning along with roses and summer barbecues. In spring, when the year really begins. But in winter, no.

 Applause, applause!!

No, I intend to spoil myself with every small comfort January 2021 will offer, although my comforts tend to run to fresh flowers and perfume and a good book rather than martinis. (Let's not talk about desserts here, either.)

I'm not about to turn down anyone else offering to spoil me, either.

No, siree, bring it on!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Unfashionable Or Not

 I get it, Chex Mix is passé. But if we wave the sophistication of Bon Appetit magazine over it, someone out there must still be making it. When I saw my other favorite food magazine, The Local Palate, had a recipe for it last Christmas I decided to give it another try. 

So I combined the two recipes, leaving out ingredients I didn't care for--wasabi flavor green peas--or couldn't find in my local Publix--Terra Stix--and came up with a Chex mix that disappeared when set out in an old Mary Engelbreit tin for Christmas.

I searched in vain for a picture of it in that pretty tin to use here but did find this one I took as it came out of the oven.


And yes, that's Bugles (original flavor) in it, from the Bon Appetit recipe and the otherwise bland snack is a nice addition to the cereals. 

 Here's the link to Bon Appetit's recipe. 

And the link to The Local Palate's recipe.

In combining ingredients for my mix, I used:

Bugels, a mix of the Chex cereals, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, pretzel sticks, butter, garlic cloves, Dijon, worcestershire sauce, Paul Prudhumme's Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning, dry mustard, paprika, and Crystal Hot Sauce.

We had never bought Crystal Hot Sauce before but became a quick convert to it over our regular. And definitely using the Bon Appetit direction to gently cook the garlic cloves in butter was a big flavor boost. And we followed their direction to cook at 250 degrees F, instead of 300. 

Since there probably won't be hordes of people in our homes snacking this Christmas, you may not need the recipes this year. And if you do, I imagine it will go in individual serving bags. Actually, that sounds so much nicer to me than hands dipping into a common bowl--even when you put a scoop in it.

With just the two of us here to eat it, I'll be skipping it unless RH begs for it.

But we can always dream of next year, even if Chex Mix is still passé then.






Saturday, December 5, 2020

A Frozen Fog Morning



I was up at first light this morning and was delighted to see that we had been visited by a rare frozen fog morning.

I didn't go outside and take pictures. I could barely get my dachshunds to go outside this cold morning. And they didn't stay out long.

These pictures were taken by our son on a late December visit with us in 2018 and I decided to use them now. I didn't even ask permission but I don't think he'll take me to court! 

They remind me so much of the ethereal gardens in the December issues of my beloved British shelter magazines. But then, Daniel's profession is centered in film and photography.


 Those UK gardens become a special wet frosty picture fest due to the maritime polar air mass that travels across the country from north to west, or so I found out one time when I tried to research exactly what it was that brought about the conditions perfect for such a sight.


 This picture Daniel took of our ornamental grass plumes on that frosty morning reminds me of the plumes on hats that women wore in the 1800s. 

RH took the picture below last January on a morning like this one. We don't have them often. We have bitter cold in winter but without the moist air it takes for pictures like this. We were visited with fat flakes of snow that fell all day long this week. It was a beautiful sight but the ground was too warm for much to accumulate.


 The older I get the more I love the beauty that weather conditions bring us. And I am so very thankful to live in a four season part of our country. 

It's good to have things to be thankful for, even in 2020. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Cranberry Sauce


A quick post for Cranberry Sauce to go with the turkey recipe I just put up at Dewena's Window...

I always hunt for cranberries from Wisconsin. These are from Tomah, Wisconsin, Habelman Brothers brand, bought at our local Publix. They were beautifully perfect!

I have tried many recipes but always go back to this old one. Yes, it takes a lot of sugar to jell properly but then you only eat dabs of cranberry sauce, not gobs. 

Cranberry Sauce

2 bags fresh cranberries, washed and any stems removed

Mix in pot: 3 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, pinch of ginger.


Stir in 2 cups cold water. Bring to boil.

Add cranberries and cook 5 minutes only.

Reduce heat and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Cool. Chill until serving time.

Do Not pour into Grandmother's crystal bowl while hot!


 Yum! Made mine yesterday. RH and his brother had to sample it warm from the pot with ham sandwiches for their lunch. We also like a dollop of it on pancakes or even on an omelette. 

A blessed and safe Thanksgiving Day to those of you celebrating it.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Golden Snow



The morning sky was blue from rim to rim, and maple leaves fell like golden snow in dreamlike slowness. The brightness was a quiet, slow bell, tolling out autumn.

 Nelia Gardner White in

"The Bewitched Spinster" from

The Merry Month of May



 In early October I often envy those who live in New England for their early show of fall colors, but come November I am always grateful for Tennessee's lingering loveliness.

The hills around our house are filled with reds and oranges this week, but it is the golden leaves of the large maple tree by RH's bedroom that won my heart when I saw the listing photo of the house.

And the beauty of this small wild maple tree outside my kitchen door has been a bittersweet joy this week.


 It is growing far too close to the house for future problems and can't be dug and moved because it's growing through the chain-link fence.

RH says it must be cut down. 

I say cut a hole in the fence, dig the tree out and replant it, and then repair the fence. 

Our vote is split 50/50 and one of us is going to lose.

This time it's going to be me.



Saturday, October 31, 2020

Trick or Treat?


With dachshunds in the house, it's always a treat day--for them and for me. 

A thank you to our dear Courtney for these classy dachshunds and my furever thanks to God for all the dachshunds in my life, and two very special Welsh corgis. 


Sunday, October 25, 2020

As A Woman


[Harper's Bazaar September 1942]

As a woman, a woman much older than the model above, I have sometimes felt overcome with longing these last seven months.

A longing to get out and shop like she is.

At an antique shop, even at Goodwill.

A longing to go to the hair salon for that polished look that can only be gotten there.

To eat lunch out, to celebrate my son's recent birthday at a good steak restaurant downtown.

To go grocery shopping myself instead of making a list for my husband. 

To shop for pumpkins at the Farmer's Market downtown, for the magnificent eye candy colors as well as for pumpkins.

To see a movie at the theater. 

A longing to talk to strangers waiting in the checkout lane and at the post office.

I don't want to be a cry baby about all this. I do count my blessings. I love being at home with my husband and dachshunds. But sometimes it really gets to me, this longing to be out and among other people. This feeling of isolation that realistically looks like it may be going on for another year.

Yes, we senior citizens have to be kept safe...but safe for when? And what mental and emotional health will we be in by then?

Yes, it could be worse, much worse. It always could be worse but that's never much current comfort.

Don't mind me; I'll light a candle and turn on my music and stop complaining...until another day.



Friday, October 23, 2020

A Personal Blue


Agnes Sligh Turnbull: I love the fall with an intensity I can't explain...I never feel so richly satisfied with life as in autumn months. Today the sky was a deep, personal blue...As though the color had been mixed on a touchable palette by graspable fingers in our own time and space and spread abroad by a smiling Artist who had worked long to achieve just that special blend for our pleasure."


This blue sky was given to me yesterday afternoon as I stepped out onto my kitchen porch to take the dachshunds out after their dinner. A gift from the Artist.

Agnes Sligh Turnbull has been a gift to me for many decades.  

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cather's The Professor's House


Somehow I missed The Professor's House when I was reading my way through Willa Cather as a teenager. What can I say after reading it this summer? 
I don't think I've ever not been able to put down a book that I liked less
Page after page I turned, not being able to stop. The words were beautiful, the characters interesting. I even got through the flashbacks into youthful days of exploring the west. 
I loved the Professor! But...but...
Oh, well. Here's one paragraph that made me love the Professor:
The Professor happened to come home earlier than usual one bright October afternoon. He left the walk and cut across the turf, intending to enter by the open French window, but he paused a moment outside to admire the scene within. The drawing-room was full of autumn flowers, dahlias and wild asters and goldenrod. The red-gold sunlight lay in bright puddles on the thick blue carpet, made hazy aureoles about the stuffed blue chairs. There was, in the room, as he looked through the window, a rich, intense effect of autumn, something that presented October much more sharply and sweetly to him than the coloured maples and the aster-bordered paths by which he had come home. It struck him that the seasons sometimes gain by being brought into painting and into poetry.
 from The Professor's House
by Willa Cather
That one paragraph kind of makes the time spent reading this book worth it.  

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Teale's Autumn Across America

 Years ago I got Edwin Way Teale's North with the Spring from the library and devoured it but never went on with the series.


 Last month, in a hunger for autumn, I ordered his Autumn Across America and have been luxuriating in the pages as Teale began in Cape Cod to travel all across America to California in search of autumn.


 This has been my way of living out my favorite Autumn quote from my Autumn Pinterest board here...

By George Elliot, written October 1, 1841:

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

 What a wonderful idea! And when I reach California I think I will order Teale's Wandering Through Winter.

I might as well show you more of my bed table...

My Aladdin lamp with the Dogwood shade, one of many Aladdin lamps in our house that were gifts from a dear friend who worked for the company, sits on top of some books to give it height but are also favorite books to look at when I sometimes take everything off the old table to thoroughly polish instead of just dusting. The marble heart was a gift to me from our daughter many years ago.

 She also gifts me each Christmas with a refill for my calendar. Both of us think of each other when we change the page, although she never looks ahead to all the months when she gets hers. I'm not patient enough to do that!

 That's my favorite Tasha Tudor book that is always near at hand since I had a Tasha Tudor moment in Nashville (post here). 

Here are two new pictures for my bedroom art gallery that I found on my one day out this summer, our masks on as they were on everyone else in the antique mall  except for one young blonde woman who was carrying around an extremely heavy large crock. She didn't seem to have a breathing problem so I don't know what her excuse was. Yeah, I'm still ticked off about that but I'm in love with these pictures.

They're quaint and lovely and in the above picture you might can see the windmill in the background. That was enough for me to proclaim these my Dutch pictures. 

And here's something that does help me relax before bed if I remember to rub it on my neck, Young Living's CBD Calm roller. [No, I don't sell it but if you want to know someone who does, email me and I'll put you in contact with my daughter-in-law!]

Goodnight, take a good book to bed with you and sweet Autumn dreams!


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Katherine's House


 There was a house in the Fall 2010 issue of Country Home magazine that I was besotted with and saved the pages in my Autumn idea file. The house belongs to Katherine Whiteside, garden author.
The kitchen has been pinned many times on Pinterest and it drives me crazy that there weren't more pictures of it other than the one on the right, above, and a closeup of a cupboard below on right.
It must be a small kitchen as Katherine is quoted as saying, "A chef once complimented me by telling me I must be a good cook because I didn't need a lot of counter space."
As Katherine also is co-author with Robert Arbor of one of my favorite cookbooks, Joie De Vivre, I suspect she is indeed a very good cook. 
There are so many things I love in Katherine's house and ten years have not dimmed my love of it. Her reading corner, left above, with it's gallery of paintings has a south facing window where she forces bulbs in winter. She has a book called, forcing, etc. that I would love to have. 
Those pumpkin colored walls? I adore them! They remind me of the orange I painted my eldest son's bedroom when he was about five. I have a picture somewhere, must find it. Katherine says that she painted the rooms the colors of sunrise and sunset colors that are so beautiful where she lives and because they compliment complexions.
I am so enamored of her window with the gourds and glass pieces. I have a few big gourds on the front porch and am thinking about bringing them inside so I can enjoy them more. The glass pieces remind me of the top of the vintage cabinets in our son and daughter-in-law's house where she has a gorgeous display of clear glass pieces. 

Katherine had been an organic gardener for over 25 years at the time the article was published. 
I have to admit that this is one of the few houses I've seen in magazines that I could move in and be happy as a tick on a fat dog. 
Touches of orange always make me happy and I was thrilled when I glimpsed a flash of orange outside our kitchen window this morning, snapping a series of pictures, only one of which was not too blurry to recognize as a late visiting monarch butterfly. 

I hope he/she catches up with the others migrating so far away. Maybe the latest hurricane is throwing them off course. They're so fragile it is a wonder they ever make it to southwestern Mexico. One of God's many miracles.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

"If in early October..."

 I may need a second day of rest, or semi-rest. Just to ease myself back into what October should be.

By now, when I was younger, it would have been October everywhere I looked.

From the front porch, by the door...



And by the steps, a dachshund or two always at my side...



All the way back to the picnic shelter...



And in every room in the house, including an October tree holding ornaments of the critters of Valley View...


Where did the energy go that used to accomplish all that?


If in early October one does not feel completely possessed by the spirit of industry, he had better retire immediately to some green and solitary island where food, clothing, shelter and membership dues are not a problem. If one does not abound in energy in mid-autumn, he will be incapable of any action by February first.

          By Abbie Graham

          from Time Off and On

Oh dear, poor February. I'd better eat my Wheaties and get busy. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2020



"If you're exhausted, rest." 

Today I followed Jeff Foster's admonition to rest.

I first saw his "Let Yourself Rest" on blog friend Peggy's blog Season-to-Season and the lines reached me and I printed it out. 

But who has time to rest? This morning while dusting the books beside my reading chair in my bedroom as part of this week's attempt to use the Mt. Vernon cleaning method on my bedroom, I found the paper I'd printed out back in April. 

I sat in my old reading chair and read...

"If you don't feel like starting a new project, don't...

"If you don't feel like talking, stay silent. If you're fed up with the news, turn it off. If you want to postpone something until tomorrow, do it."


"If you want to do nothing, let yourself do nothing today."

And so I put my feet up on the hassock and have done nothing.

The dishwasher swished along and the washing machine chugged and the dogs were let in and out and I moved from my bedroom to my office recliner but other than that, I've done nothing. 

After a night of having woken up at midnight and not sleeping again until 4 a.m.,  this day of rest has been welcome.

No television, no music, no reading. Not even much thinking.

And it has been good. 


"Time does not always need to be filled."

Thank you, Mr. Foster. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

September Ending

 Lovely October is here but September ended spectacularly for me with the first visit since Christmas of a very special family.

Our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters were here for the weekend! In trying to limit close quarters with the old folks, this time they didn't spend the nights with us but joined us for supper Friday night, Saturday lunch and afternoon, and Sunday brunch before leaving for home. 


Do you know how much young granddaughters can grow up when you haven't seen them for nine months?


A whole lot!

We did risk one big hug each but even the eggs for our waffles were careful to socially distance.

I'm sure you can imagine how much fun it was to cook for company rather than just for myself and RH.

And who takes time to make waffles for just two people?

And to have help in the kitchen with turning out waffles was so much fun, especially from this sweet daughter-in-law.


As usual, the sad part of the visit was having to say goodbye, even for James Mason.



It takes a few days for me to smile again when such a wonderful visit ends, and I thank God every day for Instagram where I keep up with what's going on in our family's lives.

 These two help a lot...



My two little trick-or-treaters! Every day is Halloween for them.


Goodbye for now to our dear son and his precious family...


 Every year on his birthday I tell him that he's the best reason I know why every family should have four children. What, stop with three amazing children? When you can add a fourth? 

No way!