Extraordinary Evenings

Every day that ends with a sense of contentment is a good day whether I accomplish anything or not. Sunsets seem to affirm that. (We’re here to witness, share, and be, folks — not just “do”.) I grew up ingrained with a “doing” mindset and my self-worth was often measured by how much I got done. It’s taken me decades to get past that primordial training. Last year I put my life on hold to take care of my family, and as a result, I put The Man Of Few Words (“our” life… my life?) on hold for over six months, took an unpaid leave of absence from my job, and contended with limited cell phone signal,  almost no internet (save for my son’s tablet), and a Minnesota winter.

I was a mess when I got home.

It’s taken almost a year to regain my sense of “self”, feel the slightest modicum of creativity, and forge ahead with “my” life — or at least what I formerly envisioned it to be — while handling ongoing phone calls, daily crises, paperwork, and myriad “to-do’s” once I got home. Old habits die hard and fatigue can play funny tricks on your brain — not to mention sap your strength and leave you feeling hopeless.

Yet, I don’t.

Every day back at the lake is a stellar day… followed by an extraordinary evening. (Even when I don’t do a gosh darn thing!) Sometimes I just need to absorb it all. Contentment reigns.

During your tenure on the planet you’ll oft be presented with challenges you don’t feel qualified to face. “Buck up, buttercup” and face ’em anyway! There’s a lesson to be learned and life goes on. Things will gradually become sharper and clearer, even if you’ve had to put you (and/or your “envisioned” life on hold for unprecedented/unanticipated lengthy stretches and you question every decision.) Eventually, it will all make sense, Or, as TMOFW has oft encouraged me (while I wondered aloud about my sanity and ability): “When God wants you to be doing something else, He’ll let you know.” In the meantime, it’s segueing gently between my obligations and my dreams… being aware… and taking care of myself. (Even if it’s just looking at a sunset.)

As if to say “amen” to that thought, my poetic friend j.i. kleinberg recently published this poem entitled The Evening.

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ The Evening

After “all of the above”, this is how my life has been lately… halfway between my dreams and reality… with a lot of “blue” up for consideration.

Enjoying re-configuring life at the lake,

~ Kim

“K” is for Kim

K is for Kim

My K arrived today!

There’s a story behind that and someday I may be at liberty to tell it, but not now.

Let’s just say its arrival was a re-defining moment in my life after a lifetime of being “nicknamed” something else.

My name is Kim!

Enjoying being “me” with a capital K, 

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ October 2017

My new kitchen mat

In My Kitchen… good things are afoot… or under foot. I’m a firm believer in making life comfortable, especially when I’m on my feet. Pictured above is the new floor mat by my “prep” area; the one below resides in front of my stove. (The third one by the sink is “basic brown” and I didn’t want to bore you to tears.)

Some day

In My Kitchen… is this silverware caddy. Flatware caddy? Utensil tray? Whatever you call it, it’s an indispensable part of our daily dining (for lack of a drawer). I found it at a yard sale awhile back, and as they say: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Silverware caddy.JPG

In My Kitchen… things aren’t always so utilitarian. I break out the cloth napkins every now and then and treat folks to a “dolled up” dinner — me, included. Although “ironing” may sound utilitarian, it’s anything but with these aprons cheering up my laundry room. (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

I Love To Iron

In My Kitchen… I felt myself slowing down in September (seasonal lethargy… zzzzz), but now that October’s finally here, the cooler mornings and hints of color are teasing me to go outside and play. Or play In My Kitchen! I recently played around with this recipe… Three Ingredient Flourless Almond Cake. (Originally Walnut Cake… you know me.)

Almond Cake

For more In My Kitchen posts from around the world — as colorful and varied as the Autumn foliage (or Springtime “Down Under”) — please visit our cordial hostess Sherry Mackay at Sherry’s Pickings. Feel free to join in by the 10th of each month, or simply read and revel.

Enjoying playing again,

~ Kim

Rhapsody In Blue VIII

There are two kinds of fishermen on the lake. (Three, counting vicarious photographers.) Not only do we rely on serendipity, we thrive on hope. Here’s to the souls anticipating the “catch of the day” by whatever means.

A few years back, I’d climb down the thirty-foot drop to shore over uneven rocks and toss in my “hook, line, and sinker”. These days I have to be cautious about my balance — particularly my inner balance. While I may not be able to do what I “used to”, it doesn’t deter me from having fun.

Life is a series of compromises.

Figuring out the best one for you — sometimes daily — requires a knack similar to fishing, a small dose of humility, a huge dose of gratitude, and a heapin’ helpin’ of self-awareness and self-acceptance. For now, “watching” suits me just fine.

South side

Ever had to give up an integral part of yourself (temporarily or permanently) to deal with “life”? How did you cope? Did you have fun? Do tell.

Enjoying uncompromising pleasure,

~ Kim

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