Random Playfulness

Time To Play

I won’t bore you with further details of my recently all-too-busy-life (insert maniacal laughter here), but things are finally starting to slow down and it’s time to play!

Everybody deserves a break now and then, especially a playful one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a random question & answer type post, but my friend, Nolita from M*O*R*G*A*N*I*C — another Oklahoma blogger, woohoo! — tagged me… teased me… tempted me to break out of my ‘profound’ writing rut. (Thanks, Nolita!) Sometimes ya just gotta bust loose.

Before I get to that, I have to add a lil’ girly infusion (thanks for bearing with me, guys) and an explanation for my “you deserved it” dinner — which I thoroughly enjoyed! I figure every woman/wife/mom/girlfriend (and yes, guy!) can appreciate the “busy” background in my photos. Such is our lot in life at times. (And I was hungry.)

It’s not every day I cook up a seafood fest for myself, but I felt the need… especially since The Man of Few Words (TMOFW) stance on Mother’s Day is/was/and always will be: “You’re not my mother!”

Yup… no card, no flowers, no dinner out. (Gotta love that man, xo.) That holiday and a few others continue to be an entirely on-my-own affair — and what better way to celebrate “my day” than with goodies that don’t often cross “our” table? By the way, I was nice and shared. (Except for the lobster and drawn butter…) Bwahahaha! ;)

Time to Play 3

First up was shrimp cocktail. It may surprise you to learn that I didn’t like shrimp until last year. (Gasp!) For some reason these succulent crustaceans didn’t appeal to me taste-wise, texture-wise, or otherwise until I made an umpteenth batch of Shrimp Scampi for my beloved (his favorite) and finally tried one. What do ya know? I liked ‘em!

Better late than never.

Next up were the fabulous crab cakes shared by my friend, Jeanne. (Forever in your and your son’s debt, my dear.) Your three-ingredient dipping sauce was to die for, too!

Not to be outdone by an abundance of butter and mayonnaise (did I mention I have naturally low cholesterol?) I had to make Easy Curry Hollandaise Sauce with Asparagus by my Chef pal, Larry Fournillier… soooooo tasty. (Thanks, Larry!)

Belated Mother's Day Dinner

Now… back to those random questions. Here’s the deal. If you want to participate, do. If you don’t, don’t! I totally understand time crunches! (I think I was supposed to make up some new questions for you, too, but I kinda liked these… and if I started tagging folks, this post would be ten times longer than it already is.)

You know who you are!

Leave your answers in my comment section or start a whole new trend on your blog. ;) Mostly, have fun!

1. What has been your favorite vacation to date? My initial answer was “every day TMOFW and I spent on the road together while we were trucking,” but let’s not mix business with pleasure. Final answer? Our trip to Niagra Falls. When we got married (almost 15 years ago), we were both ‘starting over’ if ya know what I mean, and we couldn’t afford a proper honeymoon.

On our 5th anniversary we made up for lost time and did a “Great Lakes Tour” — I’m talkin’ drive around, over, and past every one of the Great Lakes in a car — which was a welcome change of pace from our semi(s) — and it included the long-awaited stop at Niagra Falls on the Canadian and U.S. sides. Corny, hokey… and entirely memorable!

2. Do you prefer big city life, suburban life, or life in the country? See header photo.

3. What is your favorite type/genre of food? Edible — preferably home-cooked.

4. How would you typically dress for a weekend night out? We don’t go out very often (see header photo…) but when we do, I tend to “fancy up.” (TMOFW not so much.) The pearls in my photos serve more than one purpose. :)

5. Do you like to wear accessories? If yes, what are your go-to accessories? I’m not much of an “accessories” person, but I do like scrunchies (in every color of the rainbow) to doll up my ever-present pony tail.

6. How do you typically fix your hair? (Blow dry and straighten/curl? Air dry? Wash and go?) See #5 above. The less time I spend on my hair, the more it leaves for other stuff.

7. What makeup do you wear on a daily basis? Do you have a preferred brand of cosmetics? I’m a “wash your face and get on with it” kinda gal, but I have a weakness for mascara and lipstick. (My eyelashes and lips tend to disappear without them.)

8. What is your preferred workout? (Gym? Outdoor running? Yoga? Group classes? None?) Stirring vigorously, chopping food like I mean it, and running back and forth between my kitchen, computer, and piano. (Walking also ranks right up there.)

9. Where is your favorite place to shop? Thrift stores and flea markets.

10. Do you enjoy entertaining guests in your home or would you prefer to be a guest and leave the hostessing to someone else? I love to entertain, but if anybody wants to invite me over, I’m game…

11. What quality do you really value in your significant other? His ineffable ability to be himself (even if it means cooking for myself on holidays now & then…) and his quiet encouragement for me to be “me.” Life doesn’t get much finer!

And this?

Random Playfulness

This is the flower he picked for me yesterday… for no reason at all.

Enjoying random playfulness,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

My Third Annual State of the Blog Address

Moon Set

Like the colors that subtly usher in each season, this post always sneaks up on me. One minute it’s March of last year and the next it’s March right now. (Almost April!) Has it really been twelve months?

Recap-wise, my year could be summed up in five words:

In transit or in transition.

I spent a lot of time away from the lake. On the road or in the air… leaving and returning… packing and unpacking… settling in again. (Necessarily so.)

With each successive journey, I felt like the shoreline moved farther away and close friends became tentative ones — not on purpose, but because that’s the way it is. Aren’t we always making adjustments? Part of being a grown-up is realizing that nothing ever stays the same, no matter how much we want it to.

Life. Relationships. Food…

One of the challenges I faced last year was getting it through my thick skull that no, you can’t eat gluten unless you want to suffer for an untold number of days. Old habits die hard, but you can teach an old dog new tricks — and I kinda favor positive thinking. While it’s not my intent to become a gluten-free blogger (and I’m greatly indebted to those who are) there’s been a radical shift in my cooking, grocery shopping, and eating. I probably won’t bring it up again… ’nuff said.

This year’s advice? Listen to your body.

Speaking of canines… one of the reasons I haven’t shared more photos (or posts) in recent months was because I was attacked by a stray dog. While I was out snapping pictures one day, Cujo decided to assert his Alpha male-ness. Thankfully I was wearing cowboy boots and my favorite Levi’s, and my Jeep was ten steps away, so the chunk he attempted to take out of my leg was foiled. I ended up with fang mark bruises on my calf for a week though… ouch.

Normally I’m a carefree and trusting soul (and I love dogs), but it never occurred to me that I could be in danger while I was out appreciating Nature through my lens. I’ve become accustomed to lizards and scorpions and snakes (oh my!), but stray dogs not so much — especially when they’re almost as tall as me. That incident shook me to the core and forced me to take refuge until Animal Control apprehended the random offender. To date, I’ve only told a few close friends (including the lake), but I’m feeling much braver now… and I carry a big stick.

Home, Sweet Home… or prison?

Another thing that influenced my writing (or lack of it) was an overwhelming feeling of being ‘housebound’ for most of the winter. Following yet another snafu with TMOFW’s ancient pickup — and despite his best efforts to fix it — he finally took it to a shop. “Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Best bet is to haul it to a junkyard and scrap it out for parts.” That meant my Jeep went into full-time service as the hubby’s work vehicle, and yours truly has been wheel-less. (Been there, done that.) However, public transportation wasn’t an option this time with Cujo roaming about.

So, I’ve stayed home. And home. And home…

After awhile I didn’t feel like going anywhere or writing anything — nor did I have anything to write about. Mild case of agoraphobia or depression? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever it was, I was a mess. (I love Southern euphemisms.)

Thankfully my friend (the lake) started kicking up its heels about the time I was ready to hit bottom. (I may write about it someday — or not.) Although I’m no stranger to pain, I’m also mindful of yours.

We can only take so much at one time.

Wild & Windy

Here’s to colors, cohorts, and confidence…

In case you missed my first and second annual musings, they’re here and here. And though this stretch has been a bit tumultuous, life is still good at the lake.

Heartfelt gratitude to you for reading and commenting on a little lunch. I appreciate it more than you know… xo.

Enjoying Spring on the horizon at last,

~ Kim

© 2011-2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch.

My Life Compared To Chicken Salad

‘Tis the last day of 2013, and while I considered doing a “best of” post (fun reads), I decided to sum up the year in Chicken Salad.

Many days were flavorful (think toasted pine nuts, scallions, red Anjou pears, and Bleu Cheese, with shredded roast chicken nestled on a heart of Romaine and drizzled with Balsamic vinaigrette), while others were the monochromatic amalgam of daily living — your basic “chicken, mayo, and onion” version. Both satisfied and both had their merits.

Then there were jewel-like days when life was flat-out a party.

Chicken Salad

(This was a “thrown together” salad with Honey-Dijon-Lemon-Mayo — sorry, no recipe…)

Some days are like that.

I’m also old enough to realize that not every day will be brilliant and not every day will be bland, but circumstances can’t prevent you from celebrating life… your life!

At 12:01 a.m., we’ll all be handed an empty plate. What will you fill it with?

And, which food best describes your year in review?

Enjoying chicken salad perspectives,

~ Kim

P.S. Happy New Year!!!

A Totally Unedited Post (okay, a couple of times to proofread) and an Appeal…

6 December 2013

Dear Ones,

I’m sooooo at the mercy of my creative soul. (Inspiration comes in the most unlikely forms and at the most unexpected times.) Thanks for bearing with me, blog world pals and new friends! xo

Take our recent snowstorm, for instance. Some might view it as an inconvenience, but I look at it as a break from life… and blogging.

A much needed break. (Back at’cha next weekend.)

I’m talking slow-simmered, re-evaluate as you go, throw another log on the fire, take a NAP, think it over twice before you hit the “send” button (except now), and give it some serious consideration first.

Why are you blogging? What do you want from it? What do you get from it? What do you give? (Emphasis on the last musing.)

In this online world of pretty pictures (some? all? enhanced…) as opposed to the very real world of poverty around me, it gets to be a bit much at times. The dichotomy of it digs at me — deeply.

Folks are starving here… and not just here.

Frankly, I plain ol’ don’t care if my pictures are food photo worthy (or not) or if my recipes are on the cutting edge of trendiness. (Well, I do to some extent…if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy; refer to “creative soul” above.)

What I care about more is that hungry people are fed.

Staring that statement in the face, I guess that’s why I’m here.

No. I know that’s why I’m here.

To feed your soul (hopefully)… as well as the stomachs of those in hunger.

I love having a purpose!

Between the surreal (albeit blessed) world of posting about my latest kitchen paraphernalia (and/or recipes) versus the real need of donating to our local food shelf, I might just make a difference to someone somewhere. It’s not for naught.

My efforts matter… and so do yours!

O Christmas Tree

During this holiday season (often fraught with excess), please choose to make a difference to someone in need. Step up to the plate — not just those with artful backgrounds — and donate generously to your local food pantry.

That’s it. Thank you. Love y’all!

Enjoying more blessings than I can count,

~ Kimby

A Day In The Life (Mushroom Soup with Bacon)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Diaries are a dangerous thing. (At least that’s what I thought when I was growing up.) Some of them came with a lock and key (remember the ol’ Woolworth’s variety easily pilfered with a paperclip?), while others resembled the “journal” advocated today.

Fair game for anyone who stumbled upon them.

Either way, sacred thoughts were but a page turn away from being revealed and thus I resisted the trend to tell it all… until I started blogging. It amazes (and amuses) me that anyone, anywhere can read whatever I choose to put out there.

Perhaps the key word is choose?

November 4, 2013

Woke up at 6:30 (or so) a.m. wondering what time it was. Hello, Daylight Saving Time… (Question to self: “Is it really possible to save daylight?) Check cell phone clock. Check computer clock. Open curtains. Ask hubby.

Coffee. More coffee…

Wandered about the house until caffeine caught up. (FYI, much of my morning exercise regimen consists of locating the cup I sat down somewhere, and caffeine — though labeled a drug and a vice — is part of my DNA after this long.) My blood type is “C” for caffeine… and chocolate.

Hubby laughs at my antics. (So predictable, but somehow he still finds it adorable.) Blessings…

Check outside thermometer. Check inside temp. Check woodstove.

“Want bacon for breakfast?” (No thanks.) “How ’bout eggs?” (Nah, not hungry this morning, thank you.)

“Okay.”

We’ve pretty much decided we’re on our own when it comes to appeasing hunger, but I’m compelled to offer anyway.

Hubby leaves for work. Rush to living room window to wave goodbye and blow kisses. (TMI?)

Opens fridge…

Generally I’m not a breakfast eater (see above), but I couldn’t help myself from indulging in another bowl of the mushroom soup that I made last night. It was that good. (Side note: check woodstove again.)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 1

I can’t thank Queen Jeanne’s Cuisine enough for sharing this recipe! (click here). For a fascinating glimpse on why Jeanne does what she does (and is a culinary instructor, to boot!), please follow up here. Thank you, Jeanne!

For those of you wondering if I rankled the recent dairy-phobe nature of my physiology, I went out on a limb and added the heavy cream. (So far, so good.)

I foresee cheese in my future, hoohah!

Did I mention bacon? Mushroom Soup with Bacon? Breakfast of champions.

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Fortified by the unconventional sustenance at that hour, I grabbed my camera and jacket (cooler today) to take shots of the undulating lake. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been fooling around with my blog background. The previous one reminded me of tire tracks and trucking (ala lake colors), but the effect was somewhat dizzyfying… not quite what I had in mind to imbue the peacefulness of this place.

Wave shots, check. Try not to fall in, check. Fall foliage shots and whatever else tickles my fancy, check.

(Bacon does that to me.)

Peaceful

Downloaded photos into my computer. Seared roast for tonight’s dinner. Peeled potatoes, onions, and carrots. Scoffed at the slippery slope toward revealing all… and laughed long and loud!

(Some days are like that.)

Particularly today…

Enjoying adjusting to DST,

~ Kimby

Riding Off Into The Sunset

Surprise visitors 1

It isn’t every day that a renegade trio shows up in your front yard, but I’ve come to expect that from Oklahoma.  After grazing undisturbed for a moment or two, this wayward threesome trotted up the hill, satisfied with their adventure.

When I wrote home about it, my Dad was tickled by the tale of their unfettered freedom — he loved anything that hinted of “Westerns” — and on June 8th he followed suit, peacefully riding off into the sunset.

I mean no disrespect by announcing his departure this way; in fact, when it’s my turn to saddle up, I hope to hit the trail with half as much grace and good humor as he did.  Plus, “cowpoke dialogue” frequently meandered into our conversations.

On the heels of my last trip — not knowing whether I’d see him again — I said goodbye ala The Duke:  “Well, I guess this is the part where I ride off alone.”

Dad responded with a nod and an “Adiós.”

His fascination with the Old West rubbed off on me.  He shared my delight in moving to Oklahoma, even if it meant not coming to visit very often (we both accepted the ramifications of being apart), but the prospect of wandering at will or being “willing to wander” held mutual appeal.  In my lifetime, I accomplished it in the cab of a semi; in his, via the pages of his favorite books.

While it’s difficult to sum up eighty-four years of life in a few sentences, here’s an excerpt from the eulogy I gave in his honor:

“Dad loved the land and the stories associated with it.  He once told me that he’d read “Centennial” so many times he lost count!  Not only did he love the geological descriptions, he admired the settlers and cowboys who expanded this country — a country which he proudly served.

Taking Dad’s respect for the land into account, God blessed him with a small piece of earth he called “home” (which he loved dearly) and a wife and family he loved even more.  It was there that his own story was written.

Dad’s story includes a trail of sawdust… being a good neighbor… working up a sweat and cooling down in the shade… the satisfaction of unloading the last bale of hay in the barn… cows mooing contentedly… hitting a nail square on the head… sunrises and sunsets… finding the first pussy willows in the ditch… the tug of a fish at the end of his line… his infamous “grin”… Sunday drives on the back roads he knew so well… going to the A & W… mowing lawn… family picnics…. watching his kids, grandkids, and great-granddaughter frolic on the front lawn… a refreshing sip of cold water gushing from a garden hose… snow flurries on the way to midnight Mass… reading the newspaper with a good cup of coffee… the merits of homemade pie, sit-down suppers, and Westerns on TV… serving God, country, and family… and surprising Mom with a vase of red roses on the kitchen counter…

Dad recently compared his time on earth to his favorite book, “Lonesome Dove.”  In a conversation between two age-old friends — one of them near death — the character comments that it’s been “quite a party.”  Dad grinned at me and said, “I’m glad you came to my party.”  That’s how he felt about all of you.

Today we give Dad back to the land he loved, but his story continues… written on our hearts.”

Surprise visitors

Adiós, Dad — and Happy Trails.

Enjoying memories of you,

~ Kim

Beauty Among The Thorns

Beauty Among The Thorns

After the series of tornadoes that devastated the Oklahoma City area, it seemed appropriate to “celebrate” the long weekend with friends nearby.  (I miss my family 750 miles away…)  Hearts gathered and hearths welcomed.

Mindful was the unspoken word… mindful of those grieving the loss of loved ones… mindful of a kitchen to cook in and food to cook with… mindful that Nature can turn on a dime and make you feel thankful to be alive and grateful for every little thing.

I won’t regale you with my thoughts on the matter; instead I’ll post a few photos from this weekend that brought me joy and pray that my view of the world doesn’t seem trite.

Oriole at the Feeder I

Oriole at the Feeder

Oriole Nest in our front yard

Oriole Nest in our front yard

One of the highlights was the return of our lake neighbors.  (The non-bird variety!)  We renewed our friendship over an invitation for homemade beans & ham & corn bread at their home one evening, followed by brunch here the next day.  Hearty food seemed to be in order.  Souls as well as bodies needed nourishing.

My brunch menu consisted of a “breakfast bake” with ham, cheese, potatoes, and eggs (along with a second, smaller “bake” ala Kimby… crumbled bacon, green onions, and thickly sliced baby portabello mushrooms sauteed to golden goodness, nestled in a Dijon and nutmeg spiced custard), waffles with homemade butter-pecan syrup, plenty of strong coffee, and homemade biscuits courtesy of the aforementioned neighbor.

Afterwards, returning dishes and carrying leftovers was a mutual pleasure, especially when they pointed out the Mockingbird nest in a hedge at the edge of their drive.

I would have missed it if they hadn’t shown me!

Which brings me to surmise…

Mockingbird Nest & Eggs I

Home is where the heart is, even when your nest is temporary.

Hospitality takes on more importance in the wake of tragedy.

Hope (and beauty) can be found among the thorns.

Prickly Pear ready to bloom

Share something spectacular with someone you love today.  It can mean the difference between heartbreak… and joy.

Enjoying the blessing of perspective,

~ Kimby