Gently Reclaiming My Turf

dawn

This past week I went on my first walkabout in over two years (unmitigated life-events notwithstanding) with a sincere desire to reconnect with “my” landscape.

Dawn was ushered in by a pastel sunrise and I couldn’t resist exploring.

Viewing the lake from afar is lovely, but up close and personal restores my soul.

geese

Ma and Pa Goose escorted me the first fifty yards, honking furiously and strutting indignantly. (Must be a nest nearby.) After spontaneous flight the shore was mine.

This time of year the lake is the least colorful and most hopeful — a wait’n’see kind of attitude that initially appears unimpressive cloaked in muted tan, brown, and gray — but, there’s SO much more to see once you get past your first impression.

Shapes. Shadows. Surfaces.

Treasures lurk beneath!

So far I haven’t stumbled upon anything of value yet (nor the hundreds of lures TMOFW and I have “donated” to the lake over the years), but this was priceless.

Beauty and serenity — not to mention self-worth — are in the eye of the beholder. I hope you recognize yours, xo.

peaceful-shoreline

Transient residents are welcome, too, to tell the story of the ever-shifting shoreline tempered by wind, water, and time — a continuous Do Over.

We ought to learn something from that. (Every day’s an adventure!)

Nothing stays the same, but we can bear with it gracefully… even scenically.

sea-serpent

This driftwood castaway reminded me of a sea serpent. (Maybe Lake Eufaula has a Nessie?) Wouldn’t that be something.

Raccoon tracks (among others), shed feathers, and a barnacle-laden rock or two are but a few of the many reminders that this is a shared space… a sacred place.

We respect each other’s right to partake of the the lake. Yay for my turn!

It felt good to wander again… gently.

Enjoying Oklahoma,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ October 2016

ramekins-and-grater

In My Kitchen (at last) I’m HOME. (Hopefully for longer than I’ve been this year.)

My sister used to tease me that I liked anything “shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh.” Guilty as charged. She and I amused many a shopkeeper with our audible admiration. “Shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh” is FUN to say out loud… try it!

I do like baubles… In My Kitchen and otherwise. Especially when they combine form and function. Take this mini-grater (above) to zest citrus, shave grated cheese atop pasta & salads, and/or sliver garlic when I’m not in a “smashing” mood. (I’m soooo in need of TLC… so is my garlic.) You already know how I feel about ramekins., lol. :)  The more, the merrier!

antique-treasires

In My Kitchen… are antique treasures. (Grandma’s flour sifter, scoop, and the cutest lil’ salt & pepper shakers with their matching toothpick holder… not quite as “shiny” but I love their patina and memories.) Grandma had a mega-flour bin — a pull-out, tin-lined cupboard that accommodated a 50-pound bag of flour!

I loved watching her scoop “just the right amount” of flour (without measuring) and shaking her sifter to make homemade kolaches, cinnamon rolls, and bread.

As for the S & P shakers and toothpick holder, they were fixtures on her stove-top. Now, they’re fixtures on mine.

replacements

In My Kitchen are replacements… or rather, a flatware pattern that I liked so much thanks to a church friend who gifted us with a set of four after our fire (hate to bring that up again, but it’s been a reality I’m dealing with til 11/11/2016 when our insurance claim runs out.) Two years… can it be?! Basic utensils are overlooked.

I love ’em! (And my stove and fridge, thanks to YOU… gratitude and hugs.)

My culinary life, health, and HOPE wouldn’t be what it is without ’em!

In My Kitchen… are these aprons. Rick-racked trimmed ala Grandma. You have no idea how much these recent additions mean to me. (Or maybe you do.)

I’m SO grateful for replacements — “treasures” — IMK friends, xo! Hopin’ to get around to everybody’s posts in the next few days as time & unpacking allows.

Many thanks to Celia and Maureen (former hostesses of this monthly forum) and Liz, author of Good Things (our new hostess with the most-est) for sharing your immutable, affable IMK spirits as you adapt to LIFE. (Goodness, aren’t we all?) I love that about this place! Thanks for being “real.” If you’d like to read more IMK posts or share your own kitchen frolics, please contact Liz at the link above by the 10th.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen once again….

~ Kim

Thankful Thoughts

Autumn at the Lake

Perhaps this year (more than most) I have umpteen reasons to be thankful.

Oodles of ’em. Blessings beyond measure!

First and foremost is my health.

When you can’t move the left side of your body (or play piano or type with both hands or walk without dragging one leg) it gives you pause. A loooooong pause. Thanks to a lil’ (a LOT?!) of Divine intervention, I count myself among the miraculously restored.

Then, just when you thought everything that was important in your life (aka the “things” you thought somehow defined you) disappeared in a matter of hours, you begin to assess what’s really important to you. I’m talking’ about memories.

(I’m telling you, it’s memories!)

Make and/or create as many as you can — while you still can — for yourself, your family, and your friends. When it comes down to it, you can’t take it with you — but you can leave a lot behind.

Comfortable seating also helps…

Comfy chairs

After almost a year of parking my tookus on a lawn chair (and squirming midway through a movie) I begin to realize how many folks have less… much less… and my gratitude meter spiked a bazillion notches.

It also made me more discerning about what I really need (or that “w” word… want…) besides the clothes on my back. The day our recliners arrived I nearly did cartwheels in our living room — ever mindful and grateful to HAVE a living room — but I didn’t want to overexert myself.

Sometimes a nap is in order.

A place to rest

This Comfort Zone (since relocated to an adjacent corner) was courtesy of my late sister. I’m ever mindful of and thankful and grateful for it, because I’ll never forget her contribution to MY life (refer to memories above) and it feels like a HUG every time I crawl underneath the covers… ahhhhh. Again, make some memories… you never know who (or when) you’ll touch someone because of it.

Then there’s the “personalization” aspect.

Everybody has their own idea of what rocks their world, hoohah! For me, it’s vibrant colors tempered by neutrals…. a visual shock with a side of sedate. :) While I’m not completely sold on the hue yet, it’s coming along… and it may end up more “paprika” by the time I’m done… this was the first coat.

Accent wall

Since I brought up the topic of RED, I might as well show you my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie early. It’s TMOFW’s favorite pie, and there’s no reason to wait (and/or stress) until Thanksgiving morning to jockey oven space. Plus, I made it the “old fashioned way” with this red-handled egg beater — a  gift from my sweet friend Jurine, xo.

Yup, the manual kind.

Totally less ‘spatters’ that way! Plus, my man is enjoying his “just desserts” a few days in advance — whatever it takes to rock HIS world — and, I don’t have to clean pumpkin pie batter off of every counter top and appliance within a four-foot radius. (Can you relate?!) FYI, I might not be as ambitious about the whipped cream on Thursday… just sayin’.

Pumpkin Pie the old fashioned way

Last, but not least, I’d like to leave you with something unexpected cuz that’s how life has turned out for me. Sometimes a wander through the neighborhood produces a totally unanticipated delight — and something as simple as a late-season dandelion perking up its rowdy head makes me smile. (Remind me to do that more often.)

All of which leaves me counting my blessings and giving heartfelt thanks — for it, and for you.

Isn’t that what “Thanksgiving” is all about?

Autumn Surprise

Here’s one last Autumn look at the lake. It’s been GORGEOUS and I’m grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

I appreciate YOU and your contributions to my memories more than I can adequately express. I love you all!

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Enjoying untold blessings — savoring each & every one,

~ Kim

Flowergram IX

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It’s been awhile since I posted a Flowergram, but whatever this cacophony of purple is in our back yard, it attracts “hummers” (aka hummingbirds) and brings me joy. I hope it does you, too! (Couldn’t resist sharing it, although my feathered friends were a bit too speedy to capture in flight — use your imagination!)

Totally un-floral (but related to lake life) is the state of The Bluff since we came back from our 4th of July sojourn to Minnesota. A huge section broke off and/or sunk in from the previous rains and run-off,  plus we were greeted with 6″ (or more) of rain upon our return. Our “view” is about to change dramatically!

Winds, waves, and ongoing high water have been undermining The Bluff daily and I’m just waiting to hear the “whoosh” when it meets its watery grave… a piece of our lives and history GONE due to unprecedented weather. (The world and its climactic conditions are in flux, and it’s good to be mindful of what that may mean for us.) On a local level, I’d sum it up as: things change — especially people, lives, and ideas — bear with it, go with it, and adapt the best you can. There’s an inspiring simplicity to this stark reality.

Bluff Stuff

On a side note (aka “story”) The Bluff has been a popular spot to catch catfish over the years and it’s not unusual to have late-night visitors lugging poles and flashlights down the slope all hours of the night. (Folks show up sporadically from midnight ’til dawn — prime cat-fishing time — to reel in a lunker or two for dinner the next day.)

I respect that (and hunger) as long as they respect the privilege of “public property.” Yes, I know it’s not “mine” but I take care of it like it is! I picked up trash along the shoreline once for two days, then tied an empty garbage bag to a tree (along with a poster of “photographic evidence,” tee hee) to remind folks not to be flagrant with Nature — or “my” neighborhood. Apparently the point was taken… I haven’t had to pick up trash since then. Win, win.

One recent evening when I was up at 1:30 a.m. (such is the life of a writer ;) I saw headlights bearing down the road, turning onto The Bluff. Let me tell you, they slammed on their brakes pretty darn quick when their front bumper reached that drop-off! Within seconds the wanna-be fishermen shifted into reverse and re-thunk their plans in the time it took to back up, because they were up the road like a shot! (I’m just thankful they didn’t go over the edge… bet they were, too.) Life on the lake is “changeable” — everybody adapts — especially fishermen. And me.

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Whether your flora is blooming locally or not (and fishing is amenable or accessible), remember to “bloom where you’re planted.”

Appreciate life in all of its stages and changes.

And, take care of yourself. (Ma Nature, too, please.) Thanks!

 Enjoying “life in progress” on the lake,

~ Kim

Reflections

Clouds 4

The other day I stopped at a thrift store along the highway to poke around for a bit. (Cheap entertainment.)

On the way in I noticed a small Casio keyboard for sale (the kind with “light up keys” when you play the notes — an oldie, but a goodie) perched on a rickety stand on the dusty dirt “floor” outside. I didn’t pay much attention to it because my mind was on kitchen stuff (a girl’s gotta restock somehow) so I went inside in search of “treasures.”

Not long afterwards, a family came in — Ma and Pa with four young’uns in tow — who proceeded to scramble up and down each aisle in search of the next great “deal.” (Me, too.) Occasionally we bumped elbows and shared smiles and giggles as we went about our singular intended quests.

After I’d procured and paid for my $6.00’s worth of thrift store happiness, I exited the building intent on going home, but the keyboard beckoned…

On a whim (and because it was plugged in), I set my purse and “recycled Walmart bag” on the dirt floor and stood in front of the keys. What would I play?

An elderly gentleman (whom I’d conversed with earlier) was still slung on a bar stool (also for sale) and I wasn’t sure if he was loitering or just keepin’ an eye on things — but his face was weathered like the surrounding Oklahoma landscape and he interested me. He didn’t ask for a “concert,” but his stalwart presence and sense of fun elicited Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” as the optimal piece to play.

Within a few measures of the opening notes, a lil’ girl who reminded me of “Scout” (Atticus Finch’s daughter in “To Kill A Mockingbird” — one of my favorite novels) came running out the door and was glued to my elbow, watching… wondering… listening.

Soon, her three siblings quickly joined her.

Considering the majority of my “audience” was under 13 years old, I switched gears and said: “Here’s one I bet you know.” Then I proceeded to play the ‘Happy Dance’ theme song from the Charlie Brown specials. I love that song. (They seemed to, too.)

More smiles and giggles followed… theirs and mine.

When I finished, the lil’ gal commented: “You’re realllllly good!” and my response was: “Well, I’ve been playing piano for over 50 years now, so I’ve had LOTS of practice.”

(Imagine that… 50 years!)

The old guy just grinned, probably more about my age than my piano-playing prowess.

After that, we parted company — four youngsters and an “oldster” (or two) bolstered by strains of music from my past — music which I no longer have (everything burned up in the fire), but God graciously granted me “recall” for that impromptu concert. Playing from ‘memory’ was never my strong suit; it’s a discipline my piano teacher did her best to instill in me, and which others highly recommend for ‘freedom of expression.’ Unfortunately, the best I ever did was to comply by memorizing a piece or two for the requisite “piano recital” every Spring. (I need to work on that again.)

But, on occasion — on this occasion — I “remembered” — if only for the look of sheer joy on those young (and old) faces. Music was meant to be shared.

Back in my “hey day”(a half-century ago!), my piano teacher had aspirations for me to become a concert pianist — but life turned out otherwise. Now, it’s merely a ‘reflection’ of my past — and probably why I love the reflections on the lake (and music) so much… and Debussy to this day. Or the Charlie Brown theme. :)

Although I don’t have my old music books any more, I still enjoy sharing “music.” (Especially when youngsters — and “oldsters” are involved.)

Here’s one I used to play, illustrated by lovely Monet paintings (another love) and gorgeous real-life photos. Enjoy!

Debussy’s Reflections In The Water

Sunset before the storm 1

Whether or not life works out the way you (or others) once dreamed, you can still make a difference.

Enjoying “Reflections In The Water,”

~Kim

Lunchtime at the Lake

Salt & Pepper Birds

A kettle bubbles above a blue flame on the stove and the salt I add roils the water’s surface, reminding me of the lake. I turn to look out the window at an ever-changing canvas of surf and sky. Today it is alive with gulls and cormorants, kingfishers and mergansers. Salt and pepper birds.

Reducing the heat, I toss in quartered onions, chopped parsley, freshly squeezed lemon juice, peppercorns, and a bay leaf, marveling at how this curious brew can render bass into something better. Slipping the fillets into the broth, I walk to the window to wait while they poach. The aroma follows me into the living room, mingling with the lingering scent of lemon on my hands.

Cormorants numbering in the hundreds have begun their day-long shuffle, attempting awkward landings and vying for pecking order on the silver-gray branches of a driftwood tree farther out in the lake, dotting it like autumn leaves too stubborn to fall in season. Leaning into the wind, they wait, too. Fishing requires patience and they’re in no hurry with the prospect of a buffet below.

Overhead, seagulls and kingfishers flutter in a stiff southwest breeze, eyeing the swells for the silver flash of a shad. One by one they drop with a frothy splash that rivals the white caps, returning to flight with a swoop and a gulp.

Closer to shore, a flock of mergansers bobs in unison as the wind and waves buffet them — a battleship of birds. One dives, then the next, and the next, like torpedoes firing in sequence. Mission accomplished, they break the surface again, resuming formation with beaks and bellies full.

Surprise! A bald eagle zips by, chased by his shadow on the matted grass. He hovers near the bluff and his shadow hesitates, then darts to race over the water in an ongoing game of tag. A long, descending arc brings them to the water’s edge where the eagle promptly meets a carp, as though they’d made an appointment to discuss business over lunch. Seconds later, he ascends with the carp secured in a talon-ed handshake — a binding contract. Protesting his powerful presence, the cormorants squawk and scatter. Once again the sky is filled with salt and pepper birds.

When the timer on the kitchen counter concludes its countdown, I follow the intensified aroma back to the stove. Within minutes, I’ve witnessed the cycle of life and how fleeting moments truly are. I intend to savor this one. Scooping the fillets from the steaming stock, I smile.

Fish.

Lunchtime at the lake.

Enjoying sharing what I “see” with you,

~ Kim