Bleak Friday at the Lake

Yes, you read that right. Today is “Bleak Friday” at the lake. God bless the folks who brave early morning risings and long lines on Black Friday, but I’m not one of them. Especially when it’s raining, thanks to a continuation of Thanksgiving Day’s 24-hour drizzle. The sky is overcast (not to mention dripping) so I opted to stay put. Ahhhh… it’s been a productive day.

Thanksgiving leftovers bagged, tagged, and in the fridge or freezer for future use? Check. House cleaned and festooned for Christmas? (Paltry though my decorations may be…) Check. Music perused, practiced, and in place for a memorial service on Saturday and two church services Sunday morning? Check. Dishes and laundry done? Check. Airplane ticket booked for a holiday in New Hampshire? WOOHOO!

You get the idea. I don’t sit around or shop much. (Unless it involves following my heart to visit my daughter on the East Coast between Christmas and New Year’s — the first holiday we’ve spent together in over a decade — plus I get to meet my son-in-law to be and his family!) Some things are worth the wait or long overdue. Decide what’s important to you! Even if it means standing in line.

Below is a synopsis of Thanksgiving dinner. (After the fact I know, but it was wonderful.) Hope yours was as equally magical, colorful, and tasty! Smiling about the empty “pumpkin without the pie” dish, thanks to TMOFW and his Mom. After 50+ years of rolling out pie crusts for family dinners, she decided to bake the filling (or in my case, the overflow filling) in a separate dish. No fuss, no muss. Russ ate the whole thing before dinner! Who says dessert can’t come first?

Although that turkey breast may resemble Ol’ Mother Hubbard’s shoe, it was the perfect size for the two of us. After it was stuffed, skewered, and roasted I served it alongside a very small ham with a few side dishes. We felt blessed (and stuffed) beyond measure! Thanksgiving was good at the lake — hope yours was, too. And if you’re still standing in line to snag more Black Friday deals, God bless you.

The roses were my last-minute idea for a lil’ shot of color to overcome a soggy Thanksgiving Day. (And today.) So glad I impulse-bought ’em. I’m sure there’s a lot of that going on yet. :) You GO!

Enjoying “Bleak Friday”,

~ Kim

A Slow Roasted Kind of Day

Summer is in full swing here with temps near 100, but today also included an early morning thunderstorm, revisiting old and new kitchen utensils, simmering spaghetti sauce (not pictured), baking a batch of five-cheese garlic toast (also not pictured), and roasting garden-fresh veggies because my oven was going. A good “inside day” with time to regroup and re-evaluate. Thank God for A/C! Hope you’re all cool and comfortable, xo.

I also swept floors (a perfunctory chore I enjoy for its instant gratification), unloaded/loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the fridge, wrote several letters, two thinking of you cards/notes, a birthday card, and answered a couple of emails. Basically, I had the house to myself. Peace and quiet. Sheer bliss! Don’t get me wrong. I miss my hubby when he goes to work, but sometimes a girl needs a lil’ “alone time” — and I’m not one to waste time. All in all, it was a productive and peace-inducing day.

Ahhhh…

Pictured above is my “Toy Box.” (The Land of Lost Toys for kitchen gadgets!) Most of them are/were from my mother-in-law circa 1950’s — potato ricer, et al — but they’re too precious or one-of-a-kind to discard. By now you know I tend to be nostalgic. :)

Over the years I’ve added a few others to the mix due to infrequent use or lack of a place to store them, but it’s always a delight to open the lid to discover what I “shoulda/woulda/coulda” been using. Wonderful innovations, now and back in the day.

Plus, I like mixing things up. Speaking of which…

Here’s my latest kitchen mat — an ergonomic wonder featuring “air pockets” to relieve fatigue. When I think of my Grandma hovering over her ol’ cookstove on a linoleum floor (or worse) I feel entirely spoiled, but grateful. Grandma would have embraced change. And kitchen mats. A very forward-looking lady.

The next one was “just for fun” after I acquired a lil’ wall decor at the Mission store. Gotta love it when themes unexpectedly appear in life.

What are yours saying to you?

Re: garden-fresh veggies, I’m talkin’ new red potatoes, pattypan squash, a head of cauliflower sliced, diced, & drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with a variety of flavors — summer savory, marjoram, freshly ground black pepper, pink Himalayan sea salt, and a dash of garlic & onion power — my makeshift version of Herbes de Provence minus the rosemary and lavender. I was too lazy to walk out to our front yard, plus it was pouring buckets. But, I wore my “lil’ French housedress” — or at least I imagine it to be — a cute black & white number trimmed in hot pink. We should all feel so lovely when we cook.

Stirred with a spurtle procured from my aforementioned Toy Box, the golden goodness that resulted will feed me for days to come.

Ditto on ahhhh…

Are you mixing things up? Do tell!

Enjoying slow-roasted days,

~ Kim

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Summer provides a revitalizing palette for my soul. (Ahhhh…) Besides the brilliant backdrop of greens and blues from our lawn, lake, and sky, there’s a veritable rainbow of fresh produce to cook with — and eat.

Serenity mixed with intensity.

Looking back through the ol’ blog archives (which I do every once in awhile to ensure that my writing and photographic integrity are still intact) I was tickled to rediscover these blasts from the past in somewhat “rainbow” order:

Regarding the Ranier cherries in the first photo (with a batch of ‘flat belly water’ in the background —see previous post) and the bell peppers below….

Sometimes colors meld into each other, transitioning from one hue to the next like “in between” colors of the rainbow. Love when that happens! Gradual is the name of the game here.

The striated cherries were a lovely snack all week and the peppers are soon to be stuffed. (Sorry, no recipe — “throw-together” supper tonight.)

What’s your favorite color of the rainbow and/or summer food to eat?

Enjoying subtle transitions,

~ Kim

Herding Armadillos and An Overdue Letter

How close can you get to an armadillo? Depends on how brave you are. The Man Of Few Words recently got close enough to photograph the hairs on its back, gently poked at them and concluded they’re more leathery than armored (oblivious, too), and grinned at me. We should all be so trusting.

Last week one of ’em almost ran up my leg. After a few “Oh, OH’s!” it scampered into the underbrush. (Didn’t realize they could run so fast!) As a result of that — plus previous encounters with cottonmouth snakes and a stray dog — I’m still a lil’ gun shy and/or photo shy with unexpected “up close and personal” opportunities to document Oklahoma’s wildlife. But, I appreciate “seeing” all of it — even through someone else’s lens — and I’m feeling braver by the day.

Thankfully Mama armadillo wasn’t around. (Not sure what I would’ve done with a full-sized armadillo chasing after me!) Here’s another pic of one of the babies courtesy of TMOFW, followed by a long-promised letter from me. Sometimes words are more forthcoming than photography on my part.

Dear Friends,

I’ve been a letter-writer all my life. Pen pals. Best friends. Family members. Even long distance crushes. (More on that momentarily.)

As long as I have a pen in my hand with access to paper, stamps, and a mailbox, I’m a happy camper. I’d even go so far as to say that if I don’t write something every day I’d be as skittish as an armadillo. (Bet you’ve never heard that comparison before.) Whether or not my thoughts make it to another human being’s mailbox, the fact is: I WRITE every day. Some days I scramble into the underbrush. Tentative. Unsure. Unable to to portray the real “me.” Still, I write nonetheless.

Life’s too short not to be candid.

Speaking of that long-ago long-distance crush, what a humbling moment that was in my letter-writing life. I grew up on a flat, fenced farm in rural Minnesota and the nearest body of water was a tributary named the “creek” (pronounced crick) a quarter-mile away. More of a dribble than a tributary, except during the Spring and Fall rains when it overflowed and chewed away at our rural gravel road with a gaping whirlpool — it served as a convenient get-away after a short hike — a respite and quiet place to think and write. I’ve been looking for the ideal spot all my life and finally found it at “The Lake.” (Thank you, God.)

Round about that time the musical “Oliver” was released. While everyone else was enamored by Mark Lester — the “star” — my girlish notions were captivated by The Artful Dodger, Jack Wild. (For some reason, I’ve always favored the underdog — a life-long habit, ahem.) I wrote a letter to him on the banks of the “crick” and put it in the mail, hopeful of his personal reply. Imagine my chagrin when the mailman returned my letter a few days later due to “insufficient postage.” (Who knew international postage rates applied?!) Appalled and ashamed, I tore up my love letter and tossed them into the flowing waters of the “crick.” Since then, I’ve decided to do a lil’ more research, pay the price (as needed), and continue to let people know how I feel — postage rates or not. Also sorry to learn that he succumbed from cancer at an early age.

I’ve also learned not to mess with Mama!Above is TMOFW’s favorite goulash with corn because that’s the way his Mom made it. Who am I to upset tradition? Ever the faithful wife. :)

Some lessons are learned alongside fledgling waterways, heart-felt love letters returned with insufficient postage, and “the lake.” (Even armadillo encounters…)

I’m grateful for every one of them on the journey toward being “me.”

Enjoying discoveries one day at a time,

~ Kim

Wildlife At The Lake

Armadillos and squirrels and woodchucks, oh my! You never know what might show up at the lake.

(Actually we have two woodchucks, but “Mrs. Woody” is a tad camera shy.)

Our above-ground friends add to the entertainment.

Recently The Man Of Few Words captured a photo of Oklahoma’s elusive state bird, the Scissortail Fly Catcher, too. So proud of ’em both…

Most days we sit on the deck minus the camera intent on watching the world go by. Ahhhh…

But, every once in awhile we get lucky. Tickled to share our glimpses with you!

In between we’ve also spied bluebirds, orioles, cardinals, hummingbirds, bald eagles, Great Blue Herons, cranes, geese, wood ducks, blue jays, gray jays, robins, thrashers, wrens, and assorted other “little birds” but they’ve been too fast to capture on film. (Or we’ve been too slow.)

However, life’s been good. Nope, make that wild!

Enjoying Nature at the lake,

~ Kim

Billy Loves Angie

There’s an underpass just down the road where the locals express their sentiments in spray paint. Most are innocuous, a few are ribald, and then there’s true love.

Apparently these two were an item at one time and I smile every time I drive past their declaration. I wonder about them, too. Did he write it or did she? Whose idea was it? Are they still together or have they gone their separate ways?

While those questions will likely go unanswered, they give me pause for thought. Have you told your special someone how much they mean to you today? I’m not suggesting that you deface public property in the name of love, but I do suggest being “bright red” about it.

I guarantee you’ll make someone smile.

Enjoying true love,

~ Kim

Indelible Evidence

“Indelible” often refers to ink, but I believe it applies to life as well. You leave a trail whether you intend to or not. What will yours say about you?

The thumbprints above were my Dad’s (which I inadvertently discovered in one of his favorite books, besides Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove below) — James Michener’s Centennial. He told me he read it so many times he lost count! Evidently… indelibly. I included it in his eulogy five years ago.

Last winter I finally sat down to read one of Dad’s “faves” and discovered his posthumous paw prints. I bawled like a baby before I could read the rest. Not only did I touch his past, I discovered my future.

Above is the well-worn cover from his other favorite. Whether you’re into Westerns or not, it’s an entertaining read. (The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ I still watch the video series on lazy Saturday afternoons.) Dad left his mark on my heart, and my point is this: history precedes us and we all leave evidence of our existence.

Leave your trails wisely!

As for my lil’ corner of the planet, life lately has been experienced through my lens (at long last) — between intermittent storms, loss of satellite signal, and meals that will never make social media. (I ate the evidence!) It felt good. Slightly stormy, but good.

Fifteen or more tornadoes touched down in our immediate area this week — prayers to all those affected — to keep us mindful. Today it was “just” torrential rain. We’re grateful for every blessing, and truthfully I slept through most of it.  Apologies for the “post-publishing” edits, too… it’s been a long day, but I was compelled to write.

We’re doin’ okay, but the wind sock in our front yard provided evidence of the turbulent skies overhead. Nothing but “rotation” could accomplish that.

Gotta love Oklahoma!

Leave an indelible mark on your journey… the path is yours to define.

Or pass on indelibly.

Enjoying the past, present, and future,

~ Kim