Rainy Days & Mondays

Todays forecast and reality

Life doesn’t always go as planned. The recent incident in Virginia was evidence of that (which makes this paltry lil’ post seem inconsequential), but it’s true. Every day we’re faced with situations beyond our control. Sometimes they’re the result of our own doing and/or decisions, but more often than not they’re the result of senseless acts — or “life.” How we respond to those events is key.

My plans this past weekend included watching the Perseid meteor showers (ditto on inconsequential…), but we had ten inches of rain with thousands of lightning bolts thrown in for good measure. Clear skies were not in the plan. (Here’s a link to The Carpenters’ song for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, or with my post title.) Contrary to the lyrics, I don’t let Rainy Days & Mondays — or “life” — get me down. In fact, my favorite line from the song is “Run and find the one who loves you.”  Great advice.

I believe those who perished or were injured in that senseless attack were loved by folks “who ran to find them” — or vice versa. Life is too short and unpredictable not to LOVE others and let them know it. Like them, Karen Carpenter experienced an untimely demise — a brief flicker of hope intended to bless the cosmos — cut short by other’s opinions or actions. (She died of anorexia.) Who will YOU listen to? Who will YOU love and “let know it?” Every day you’re given an opportunity to shine!

Recently I watched the movie Shine (re: pianist David Helfgott) and remembered why I cried the first time I saw it. So much potential, so much damage inflicted! Whether loss of life — or talent — world events seem to be repeating that trend. While we can’t control the senselessness, we can rise above it — gradually, gracefully, and gratefully. How could we possibly be grateful for any of it? Because someone cared enough to show up for what they believed in, no matter how briefly. And, love prevails.

By the way, I did get to witness one ‘beaut’ of a meteor at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning before the cloud cover took over — a shimmering ball of fire that streaked across the lake. Keep an eye out for brief but brilliant shining stars. Their impact is eternal.

You can shine, too, whenever and however you decide to participate. Show up! Do YOUR thing and do it because you can — and because you love doing it. Make the most of your time on this planet and share your experiences. Don’t let differing opinions (or “life”) deter you from pursuing your path. You never know when you (or your existence and commitment) will be a blessing to everybody.

That said, here’s a sunnier view of my “writer-ly attire” (most days.) Dance with LIFE — even when it doesn’t turn out as planned.

Sunshine Shadows and A Sneak Peek at my Daily Attire

Enjoying celebrating those who show us “how it’s done” with grace,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ August 2017

I’m delighted to be In My Kitchen again. After three cross-country and out-of-state-trips in two months, I came home with lots of memories. And a few goodies, too!

Utensils 2

In My Kitchen… is a set of Acacia wood cooking utensils, a gift from my cousin Barb. They’re beautifully crafted and a joy to use! She also surprised me with Coconut Infused Black Sea Salt and Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.

 

Last weekend I grilled shrimp marinated in Champagne Orange Balsamic glaze with coconut-infused salt, and a pork loin seasoned with the smoked salt. Goodness!Grilled Goodness.JPG

In My Kitchen… are a pair of potholders crocheted by my cousin Jeanne. Their diagonal design is appealing and the thick layers protect my hands and counter tops. I admire folks who do needlework and I can never have too many potholders — especially ones made with love.Potholders

In My Kitchen… are a set of plates for smaller servings, found at a thrift store for a mere pittance. The bubbles in them inspired me to pick up a bottle of bubbly, too. (Prosecco in this case.) Homecomings and thrift store finds are meant to be celebrated!

 

In My Kitchen… are a few things I made between sojourns. A girl’s gotta eat, ya know! (So does The Man Of Few Words.) He doesn’t mind me cooking separate meals. If Mama ain’t happy… :) Take care of yourself while you take care of others.

Blue plate special on a white plate

“Blue Plate Special” for him

Lime Chicken

Pan-Seared Chicken with Makrut (dehydrated lime leaves) for me

Cookies

Cookies for him

Gluten free Dairy free chocolate cake

GF/DF Chocolate Cake for me

Salad

Heirloom Tomato and Romaine Salad (for both of us!)

This post is linked to Sherry’s Pickings. Once a month Sherry features fun reads and cooking ideas from around the world. Click on the link to see for yourself! (You can add your own kitchen antics by the 10th, too.) I’m blessed by ’em all.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen again,

~ Kim

Sealed With A Kiss

My kids’ n’ I finally got within hugging distance last week. I’ve traveled to see each of them (separately) and they’ve seen each other in between, but this was the first time we’d been together in three years!

These photos were snapped outside Four Daughters Winery. The food and wine were fantastic, as always! I ordered three dishes to share: Baked Brie & Garlic with Pecan Pesto & Seasonal Berries on Grilled Focaccia; Smoked Chicken Flatbread with Shitake Mushrooms, Roasted Tomatoes, & Freshly Grated Mozzarella; and Crab Rangoon Flatbread. Oh, and Smoked Brisket Tacos with blue corn tortillas for me. :)

Do I look a lil’ bit happy?

Enjoying Proud Mama moments,

~ Kim

Why Life Is Like A Sandwich

sammich-close-up

Life’s been a tad squishy lately. Ever feel that way? Just when you think things are set in stone, black ‘n’ white, and/or definite, fate throws you a curve ball. I tend to compensate for the chaos by constructing sandwiches.

Sandwiches are solid, dependable, infinite in variety, and as creative as your imagination and fridge contents (immediate, too, not counting toaster time) and things feel slightly more “predictable” with a self-made Dagwood in hand. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you’re in charge of what goes into your mouth.

Pictured above is a flavor combo I fabricated awhile back: sun-dried-tomato turkey with avocado, Dijon mustard, and martini olives on gluten-free toast with sweet pickles. The Pastrami was an afterthought. (Who says you need bread to enjoy a slice of Pastrami?)

The appeal of avocado slices paired with savory turkey felt apropos. Spontaneity won. Take charge of your life — and your food — when things don’t go as planned.backwards-olives

Why is life like a sandwich? Because there are more choices than you realize at times. Make decisions (and sandwiches) that make YOU happy. Even when they’re squishy.

I’m gonna be off the grid again (second trip to Minnesota in two weeks) and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you a lil’ more regularly when I get back. In the meantime, go make yourself a sandwich. :) Let me know what you come up with, too!

Enjoying the unexpected,

~ Kim

Happy Places

My New Happy Place

In this chaos-filled world it’s important to find or create Happy Places to feed your soul. Somewhere to step back or away. A hopeful point of view that renews and regenerates.

Today it was as simple as splurging on a pot of flowers.

(Okay, two…)

Posies

I’ve been looking at that burned up ol’ stump long enough. Time to add some color to it! The end result made me happy.

I was also tickled to be grilling out this Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to every soul who contributed to such unabashed freedom. (Feeling blessed.) Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, nor unappreciated.

Grill Full of Goodness

Make the world a happier place, beginning with yours. Do whatever you need to do to give… thank a Veteran… and remember the fallen. We owe them so much.

Enjoying a peaceful (and tasty) weekend at the lake,

~ Kim

Time For A New Direction

Time for a New Direction

Much as I like it or not, life has been pulling me in differing directions. (Such is the curse of numerous interests and/or obligations.) It’s time to narrow down my repertoire a bit.

I’ve had my way with words — or they’ve had their way with me — for nigh on a 10th of my life in this forum. Somewhere along the line I discarded my love for “long sentences”. That’s not a bad thing, mind you; it suits my original vision for brevity and it doesn’t take up too much of your time or mine. (I don’t have any aspirations to become the next Faulkner.) But, I’ve been yearning to write more than three lines between photos and often I edit my thoughts to fit.

That ain’t right.

This past year involved so much care-taking that I almost forgot how to take care of “me”. I put myself on the proverbial back burner. (And frankly, I’ve been stewing more than simmering.) It’s time for a new direction.

I can’t change the course of life’s “events”, but I can take time… make time… to glance at my inner compass now and then, more frequently than I have. (Complete with props.)

When (and how) did I become so “direction-less?”

Unrelated aside: How many folks do you know who buy notebook paper before, during, and after “school sale” season?” Whether I’m at the Dollar Store, the grocery store, or “Boy Howdy” (gotta love Oklahoma) I’m on the look-out, and whenever I run across college-ruled notebook paper, I stock up. (I rue the day when narrow-lined went out of print, but I’ll take what I can get.) “Reading between the lines” seems to be getting wider by the day.

Thimble

This morning I thumbed through a book from a dear writer friend that echoed within my soul. It also begged for some “photo op” enhancement with Grandma’s thimble. (It’s not every day the right prop comes along.) While I was taking pictures, it occurred to me that I sometimes take my writing (and me) too seriously. A camera lens helps me to view life with more clarity. Less full of myself.

I have no clue how a little lunch may evolve in the coming months. I may only post a picture. (Y’all all know that ol’ adage…) But, whatever the future holds, it’s sure to be a definitive extension of me. Possibly even less wordy (we can hope). On a new tangent.

Enjoying discovering True North,

~ Kim

Any new directions in your life? Do tell!

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