Reading the Slippers

Daughter Lise said she was not using the step stool to get up on the high bed, but she would spring and roll to go to bed. Just after we got up, I was in her room and saw the evidence. By reading the slippers for placement and direction, I knew which side of the bed she was using and that she went head first. The evidence was right there on the floor.

A little later she walked to the creek with us, and her now-sneakered feet stopped for her to pet CAT. It was foggy, making CAT’s house look a bit spooky.

Grandson David, son John $, and Lise played disc golf at the rec center. She had David take her photo to mark the occasion. Last week David thrashed about in a brier patch to retrieve a disc, and another day he swam in the creek (brr!) to pull out a disc that was hung on a rock under water. This day $ lost a disc that was quite visible – on the roof. I’m sure they didn’t want their games to be that exciting.

COVID Thanksgiving

Almost everyone’s Thanksgiving celebration was different in this viral year. We went to church via a recorded service, since there were no services in the building. There were no neighbors for dinner and only one special guest. Laurel, a friend from the church choir, was going to spend the day with her cat, but she agreed to spend the afternoon with us. What a delight she was! She brought liveliness and a party spirit to our table.

John $, Laurel, John, Lise, and David

For the foodies: We had the basics for Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, gravy, dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry frozen salad, butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry-mince pie, and Aldi’s cheesecake slices. I was lazy and did not bake the usual pumpkin cheesecake.

I hope everyone had some special happening for this strange Thanksgiving Day.

Family Fun in the Mountains

On her first full day here, daughter Lise asked the mountain to pose with her. It was pleased to comply.

Evidently, I am shadowing Lise.

We also took the ritual photo of us at the creek, although I cheated the creek of its rightful space.

Anne, Lise, and John

In Walmart, I noticed sweatshirts with masks pinned to them, and Lise found one she liked.

We had a lovely meal at Boccelli’s. It was open for take-out only for the longest time. What pleasure it was to eat hot food inside!

Grandson David measures boxes by whether he can fit in them. This one was a bit too tight.

As you can imagine, we are having a wonderful time together as the days fly by.

I Dusted the Tub

How do you define a mother’s love? Among other things, I always cooked for my children to show my love for them. This time I went far beyond that for daughter Lise. I performed a household chore that I despise – dusting. She is the only one who has ever taken a bath more than once in our tub. That’s why I dusted it before she arrived. Using water to clean it would have been a disaster.

While we were driving to the airport, neighbor Shawn’s grandson Pico explored our porch. He loved the trains and took the yellow boxcar back to her house. She texted me that he had done it, but I couldn’t see the photograph she attached until we got home. Isn’t he cute?

Pico and the boxcar

Lise loves pumpkin pie, and I always make one for her when she visits in November. This year four of us ate half of it at one sitting. If she doesn’t get enough to satisfy her, I’ll make another one. At the time she ate her slice, she had been awake and traveling for 24 hours. I think she looks pretty good to be as tired as she must have been.

Lise’s pumpkin pie

Anne Flips her Lid

It was my fault the sun was so high in the sky. I lay in bed reading comments and blog posts that had come in during the night instead of getting up when the alarm rang. The sun was welcome to warm our backs at the creek. When we turned to walk home, it was piercingly bright in our eyes. John shaded his face with a hand, while I just squinted. On the way up the steep hill, my hat had a suggestion. It said, “Pull the brim down, silly.”

I’ll bet the hat got its wisdom from friend Karen, who knitted it for me several years ago. I flipped the edge and felt instant relief from the unrelenting sun. Anything that dramatic should be recorded.

Would you agree the camera did an excellent job with this one-shot selfie? It must have been on auto-pilot, because unlike a cell phone, it has only one lens. Good going, Cammie!

Logan’s Chocolate Punishment

The way I’ve written about neighbor Logan, you’d think he walked on water and never did anything wrong. He is a normal ten-year-old, and he succumbed to chocolate temptation. This is how I knew about it. A couple of hours after Shawn said they would come for lunch to celebrate her birthday, she asked if I would please not serve dessert. That put me on the spot, because I had just finished cooking a dark chocolate pudding. Almost in a panic, I texted her, explaining that the dessert was already made. The choice was hers – we would not have any dessert at all, or we could have a dollop of pudding. She wrote back that a tiny serving would be fine. Logan had sneaked some of his Halloween candy after she told him he could have it the next day. I’ll bet this was a classic case where the punishment hurt the parent more than the child. We’d all roll with it.

Lunch was very pleasant, since Logan’s manners are quite good. He entered into the conversation and sat quietly while waiting for us to finish. I had my mind on making coffee before bringing out the dessert. Maybe that’s why I forgot to put the candle in Shawn’s pudding and didn’t take a single photo. After David came home from work, I put the candle in his dessert. It is pictured with an orange to show how small it was.

No one complained about the diminutive dessert, though we joked about it. I suggested we set a timer to see if we could make it last five minutes. The challenge was accepted. We did it! All four of us still had a bit in our glasses when the timer rang.

The next day I laid out the glass beside a normal teaspoon and the demitasse spoon we used to eat the pudding.

The spoon was too big for the glass. We used the spoon right way up until it wouldn’t fit, then we turned it upside down and used the handle to finish.

And the rest of the story? John, David, and I had normal portions of pudding before going to bed. I was surprised to realize the tiny one was far tastier, probably because we concentrated on making it last.

Logan Makes Coffeecake

Impromptu happenings work well in our neighborhood. It was the day before Shawn’s birthday, and I found out that Bob and his brother were in Georgia for a construction job. Logan (10) had a day off from school for Veteran’s Day, so it seemed a perfect time to get together for an early dinner. You’d think, with my intrusive camera history, that I would have documented the occasion. No, there was not a single picture of Shawn, not one! I’m very sorry now, because this is where the best shot would have been.

When Logan came in, I quietly suggested that he might stay after lunch, and we’d bake something for his mother’s birthday. He was amenable. I measured the dry ingredients after getting out the equipment we’d need. He was right there to measure the shortening, a job that could have been quite messy but wasn’t.

Cutting in the shortening was fun for a short while, so I finished that.

Logan was back to help stir in the liquids.

Painting was easy for him. I melted the butter and poured it on the rolled-out dough, and he used a pastry brush to spread it.

He did a lovely job of scattering the chocolate chips and nuts evenly on the dough. He also learned that water acts as glue on dough. I moistened one edge so that it would stick when the dough was rolled up.

We repeated the process to make a smaller roll. The small one was for them to taste while it was warm, and the larger would be Shawn’s birthday breakfast. This was a quick yeast dough that took us only two hours from start to delivery. I can’t tell from the photo if Logan was proud of himself or only posing at my request. I can tell you I was pleased with him for sticking with the project.

Happy Birthday, Shawn!

Birthday Waffles

I had two dates on the calendar for neighbor Bob’s birthday. I entered both at different times and didn’t know which was correct. Shawn texted that they were going to their son’s home for dinner that evening, the day before the birthday. I removed the wrong date and decided to make waffles for their breakfast. It was a nice thought, but I had no delivery plan. Several hours later, I texted, “Are you home? I’d like to bring over waffles for Bob’s birthday, if that would be ok.”

No answer. Shawn’s phone might have been off or dead. Also, messages sometimes don’t go through in this area, even when phones are on. I’d think of something in the morning.

At 7:01 before I got dressed for walking, I wrote that I put the waffles on my front porch and hoped she’d see the message in time. If not, they would be preserved, because it was two degrees below freezing at that time. Shawn and Bob have an outdoor cat and three indoor dogs, so my porch was inherently safer for food than hers. She replied with thanks at 7:02. Yes! The bag was gone when I stepped out to walk.

I didn’t see the rest of the story until after I came home. We have a new security camera that I’ve been playing with. The video at 7:06 showed Logan (10) running across the grass and gingerly walking on gravel with BARE FEET!

A bare foot at 28F (-2.22C)

Video credits go to grandson David. Although I had transferred cam files before, I worked for two days to do it again and couldn’t. He found a way in minutes! Let’s have a round of applause for David!

Thanks to Happiness Engineer Chrissie for technical assistance. The photo and video are in a “columns” block.

A Pair of Nonpolitical Hawks

As I walked over the hill, I saw two big blobs on the road making noises back and forth. As my feet stopped, the camera came out of my pocket. I didn’t know what I was seeing or hearing, but I wanted to photograph the scene.

The blobs were large birds, probably hawks. Their wings were extended in arcs, and their tail feathers were splayed.

Although I kept my distance, the birds were aware of me. One flew to the fence. When I looked at the image on the computer screen, I could see some white markings on its back. When son John $pencer looked at it with me, we decided these were probably Cooper’s hawks.

The hawk on the road stayed there after the one on the fence flew away. I wonder if it felt foolish, holding that puffed-up stance. It pulled itself together and flapped off. This was an exciting way to start the day.