July 22, 2014

First of all, I know raspberries grow here. I read Cynthia’s post and loved her rules for maximum enjoyment. So hop over there by clicking on the link. Her berries look delicious, don’t they?

I also happen to know where some black raspberries grow in the wild. I have been going there for a long time, several times in July, and picking just enough to eat a few as I go and then enough for a few breakfasts with yogurt until the next batch is ripe for picking.

I have been going to my secret spot for so long that I can recognize the directional matting of the underbrush that shows where the deer have walked to get their share of the berries. Can you see the evidence of their trail in the photo below?


I love the hunt for berries and I love the way I inhale with glee when I spot them for the first time in the season. The older I get, perhaps my glee comes from actually remembering where they are!  The berries in the photo below will be ready in a couple of days.


I only picked enough for a few days. The berries are wild and the deer and birds let me share, so I don’t want to be greedy.


I tasted a few, but I am saving most of them to share with Goodnight. They are not too sweet and not tart. They are just right!


July 21, 2014

Goodnight and I are waiting . . . for an upcoming medical procedure to help diagnose what may be at the root of her recent trip to the ER. We are also waiting for results from her blood workup, which could also provide some clues to her pain.

While we wait for such serious things, it is good and timely that we are waiting for something much more pleasant. We are waiting for Miss Lily . . . the one lone pink lily in the front garden.


Gram! I Found My Elephant!

July 21, 2014

Sometimes I come up with just the right thing to say when Goodnight needs to hear a story rather than a lecture.

Some time ago, she was upset with . . . use your imagination here, she is a teenager. I listened to her side of the story and did not want my response to sound preachy or opinionated. So I told her the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. You can read the poem version of the story by clicking the link.

I did not recite the poem, but as I spoke, I maintained the spirit of the parable, despite my embellishment of substituting one body part for another in the story.  I swapped the tail for the elephant’s butt because I knew it would make her laugh and therefore remember the story a little better. When I got to the end of the tale, I told her that sometimes her perspective will not give her the entire picture and that she needed to learn there is more to the elephant that its butt. Sometimes the only way we can understand a situation fully is by collaboration.

She laughed and laughed, but in the end, told me it would help her remember that her perspective is not always accurate enough. 

Not long after I told GN the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant, I found a little charm to put on a necklace to remind her to keep an open mind while listening to others. She had been wearing the necklace since then . . . or at least that’s what I thought.

I didn’t know she had misplaced the charm, but it was just last week that she came running down the stairs holding her necklace in her hand.

GN: Gram! I found my elephant!

Gram: And do you remember why I gave you that charm?

GN: Yup! Because I don’t always know the whole situation when I think I do.

I figure if she wears the charm on a necklace and her friends ask about it, she gets to tell the story and can teach her peers about perspective and collaboration, too.


There was another Up Side to the E.R. Trip

July 15, 2014

Goodnight is resting. She feels a bit better, but still uncomfortable. We have a follow-up appointment with her physician tomorrow. We have to get to the bottom of her pain. I already have a call in to her surgeon.

She had one of her friends come over last evening to sit with her and keep her company. That was very helpful in lifting her spirits. I cooked dinner for them while they laughed and chatted and texted other friends, but what made them giggle was eating watermelon . . . a LOT of it!

In the title of this post, I mentioned that there was another up side to the E.R. trip that I had completely forgotten about. On the way home from the hospital, we spotted two sandhill cranes. I have not had the opportunity to see many of those in my life, but the ones I’ve seen have been in the recent years. It’s fun to spot them. Part of Minnesota does fall within the habitat map for summer residence of the cranes, so I try to keep my eyes open for them.


Dinner was a hearty stew for which I found the recipe online a few days ago: Puebla Chicken and Potato Stew.

I liked it, but GN has a way of giving her seal of approval that I love to see. With a something that she really likes still in her mouth, she closes her eyes, tilts her head back and smiles really big! She doesn’t say a word, but I’ve seen the head tilt of approval enough to recognize her happiness.

My stew may look a little different from the photo accompanying the recipe, but it’s probably just how I cut everything up. I followed the recipe and it was delicious. I will make it again for sure. 


The Up Side of E.R.

July 14, 2014

Thanks to everyone who contacted me on, or offline with good wished for GN. We were at the E.R. all day – eight hours.

Much of the time was waiting, of course. Triage necessarily prioritizes cases as they arrive and while we got there relatively early and were told we had a half hour wait for a bed, more critical cases arrived and needed more immediate attention. Despite the waiting, there were some good things that came of our visit.

We laughed and chatted while we watched a TV program on HGTV . . . several episodes of the home remodeling show.

When GN was finally seen, one of the first things that happened was the insertion of an IV with a bit of morphine to make her more comfortable. I was grateful to see her pain ease up a bit.

She was taken to imaging for some testing.

We were in E.R. long enough to watch the entire World Cup final, which I may not have had the time for if we had been at home. GN was discharged to come home.

I finished knitting the scarf I had in progress for when I am not in a situation where I can follow a pattern.

I’ll skip the down side of the E.R. run because I don’t know how ‘down’ that will be yet.




Some Weeks Are Tougher Than Others

July 13, 2014




My car will go to the Chev-ro-sleigh hospital at some point. But at the moment, I am waiting for Goodnight to get dressed so I can get her to the E.R.

Prickly Situation

July 11, 2014

They catch my eye every year. In fact, I often go out of my way to look for them. It may be my fondness for purple that influences me to go hunting for Canada Thistles in locations where I can cut some to bring home. It gets me outdoors in fun places! They are really prickly! I use a pair of pliers to hold the stem while I prepare them for the vase.


Simple Sunday

July 7, 2014

Went to church.

Went to a bargain bookstore to pick up the books on the reading list for Goodnight’s Literature class. Well I found some of them, had some at home and the ones in public domain can be read from the Project Gutenberg website. She’s going to be busy! There were twenty-five titles on her list.


While at the same bargain bookstore, I spotted a CD of Bill Withers’ Greatest Hits. Track number 8 happens to be “Grandma’s Hands” that I coincidentally used in my most recent post. Nice R & B for my commute to work tomorrow.


Took Goodnight out to lunch.

Sent a long email to one of my cousins with some laughter between us over our discussion of an herbal remedy our dads used to give us when we were sick, which we are now both willing to try again. I found them, bought two packages, sent one to her and kept one for myself.

Went out to the garden to see what was so . . .  red.


Made a bluebarb pie with the rhubarb I pulled from Gr8′s garden in Smalltownville on Thursday and blueberries from the market.

Tried a recipe for Black Bean “Meatballs” and served them for dinner with pasta and marinara sauce. I liked them and will use the recipe again, but at “two’s enough for me, Gram,” we will have enough to serve that meal once a month all winter . . . almost. 😉

Time to wind down my Sunday with some knitting and reading . . . a little bit of both.


Hope this finds you well.



Grandma’s Hands

July 5, 2014

As soon as I saw the rug, I thought of my grandmother and all the beautiful handwork she had done over her lifetime: tatting, crocheting, hooking rugs, and braiding rugs.

There was one of grandma’s braided rugs in Smalltownville that came home with me recently. When I laid it out flat to have a look at it, I was reminded of my childhood habit of taking a little toy car and starting at the center of grandma’s braided rugs and “driving” round and round until I arrived at the outside end of the line.


The photo below is in honor of me and my childhood.


Grandma made her rugs from wool. They were heavy, dense, well constructed, and beautiful. She always had a rug project going. The strips of unbraided wool hung down in three’s as they awaited the touch of her hands to form the braids.  

Grandma’s rug is now in my dining room, or as we fondly call it, “The Coffee Shop.” It sets off the space nicely and will add warmth to that floor in the winter.


I found a sweet song called Grandma’s Hands, by Bill Wither. The link is to a video of Wither singing his song. If you want to skip the talking, the song starts at 1:20. The song actually has nothing to do with braiding rugs, but I like it . . .  especially the end. Thank you, Grandma!


U. S. Independence Day 2014

July 3, 2014

Happy Independence Day, America!


I love patriotic music. It is no secret on this blog that one of my favorite songs is The Star-Spangled Banner. I found a version of the US national anthem to share today. It was sung by thousands of people in Kansas City prior to the US v Portugal Match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 


Another favorite song of mine is Stars and Stripes Forever by John Phillip Sousa. My dad not only played the piccolo solo very well, he could whistle it too!

Here is the United States Army Field Band playing Stars and Stripes Forever.

Have a safe and Happy 4th!


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