Saturday, February 22, 2014


I want to be able to pour my first cup of coffee, add my skim milk and walk into the den, plop down into my chair, grab one remote and press one button.  We are so past sending men to the moon and yet, with all of the wonders of our computer age, using any new device is more complicated and requires a laptop. 
This picture, 1988, represents the hope of tomorrow.  A toddler being held in place by her Daddy so her mother can take a picture of their brand new, beautiful television set, a gift from her generous great-grandmother.  Top of the line with beautiful color.  A true pleasure to possess, anticipating years of entertainment and information.

Our first t.v. was black and white and had such a small screen that one of us had to jump up and go read any pertinent words in the story we were watching.  A true story.  But all we had to do was plug it into an outlet in our first apartment on the first day of moving in and ta da.   Modern television.  No waiting for an appointed, accredited, officially sanctified employee with the secret handshake of knowledge bestowed in an old underground former fallout shelter owned by a large conglomerate where everyone sits around laughing about Mrs. Taylor while they dine on cheese and crackers.  (All apologies to anyone resembling this description who is a friend or friend of a friend of mine.  Or relative of a relative.)

We moved up in the world on this day in 1988.  Of course, we had really moved up in the world the year before when this little model arrived in our lives.  But maybe not quite, concerning the t.v.  We still did not have a magical remote, just easily accessible buttons. 

Cate and Finn have been making fun of this t.v. for years.  Other family members once insulted the color of a football field a few years ago, while enjoying a weekend at our house.  In the last few months, the sound started having just the slightest hint of a buzz but we were used to it like you get used to a button being off of your favorite old run around jacket.  Still works.  Truly, the skin tones were still good and all of the tornado warning maps were still the proper color, maybe a little bit brighter.

The history and culture of our world in the last twenty six years has lit up our home because of this set.  The fall of the Berlin Wall.  The first bombs of Desert Storm. Peter Jennings delivering the news.  Maya Angelou reading the inaugural poem "On the Pulse of Morning" while fellow Arkansan President Clinton looks on.  "There's no place like home" played over and over during the little model's bout with a lingering pneumonia.  Barney.  Kris Allen winning "American Idol."  "China Beach."  Survivors being pulled from the destruction of the Northridge earthquake while I sat watching in my living room.  My first NASCAR race, the Daytona 500 and seeing Dale Earnhardt hit the wall.  Sometimes the unfolding minute by minute into days not allowing me to look away from the screen such as The Sago Mine Disaster when a poem started inside of me and was written while waiting.  The Friday night snare of my always favorite "Dallas."  The funeral of my beloved Princess Diana.    A living Pope riding away from the Vatican while a new Pope steps up to the balcony.

As the years have passed, the sidewalk cellphones have been filming history almost before the professionals can get a camera set up.  September 11, 2001.    

The new NASCAR seasons starts tomorrow, Daytona 500.  Sunday night is big around this house.  Doc Martin.  And as declared, the best show ever, while I was jumping up and down last Sunday, Downton Abbey.  Now we have over 200(?) stations but we don't watch much television.  Tastes change. 

But who can watch a television in the comfort of their favorite chair tomorrow?  Not me.  Nice big brand new television in place.  Your welcome C & F.  The sound problems really became unbearable
this past week.  The BB place helped me pick out a good one, the one they said was made in the U.S.A.  I always ask, even though we know the odds of a technical item being American made is like me not eating an entire box of newly delivered Thin Mints, with restraint, over the weekend.  My BB helper obviously doesn't know about an American/ Mexican border.  He also told me it would be easy to install as did the nice lady working for the big conglomerate where I had to trade in boxes. And pick up the ONLY acceptable remote.  Why just one remote?

Oh, well.  Cookies in hand and ensconced in my bedroom, where there is a lovely t.v. that was properly installed a couple of years ago, I'll be watching Jr. and Danica race around the Florida track and Countess Violet and Isobel exchange pithy repartee.  On Monday, I will try to find a human to talk to and schedule reinforcements.

**By the way, the little model was too fashionable to ever wear plain diapers out of the house.  Only when relaxing at home.  Kind of like curlers in your hair.  See.  I date myself even there!

Friday, February 7, 2014


These boots were given to me so long ago I can’t remember when, in the hopes I would actually put them on and go for a hike.  Yesterday, I had to hunt for the box because I thought it would be a good idea for my newest jaunt to the wilds of a mountain top where there is currently a plethora of ice encasing everything and a slight dusting of snow.  Which has been a good decision on my part and the boots are actually comfortable.  Something about them brings out the pioneer spirit in me and the independent means to actually go where I wouldn’t have stepped before.  I am still proceeding with great caution.

When you arrive at your vista cabin and this sign is posted just off the veranda, it means business.  This same lovely park of dangerous cliffs also has a collection of danger bluff signs that we have
used to cause a little excitement when we realize it is not the name of the bluff.  Some folks in our family get excited about little red signs and more than a foot of water.

I may have the boots and a fearless spirit but not a stupid one.  The ground out back, which is a pleasant grass and dirt mix in the spring, summer, warm winter and fall (but still with the red sign) currently resembles an automatic sprinkler system left on atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire on a cool winter day.  This is the ultimate slip and slide and slide and slide with a few pines that might catch a bad streak but doubtless as to whether the momentum would change course.  The pity is in the spring, the natural beauty of this point could easily be seen just a tad closer.  I have only been off the back porch once, with a sturdy rope tied to me from the porch post and that was when I discovered this tumultuous falls. (Supposedly.)

Yesterday, sitting on the substantial back porch swing (sissy swings are just not my thing) I was praying out loud and thanking God for the beauty of this earth and I heard traffic in the background. I knew it couldn’t be traffic but I didn’t know I was anywhere near this falls. And it is very cold here.  18 degrees yesterday.  Everything should be frozen.  It was snowing and I just couldn’t see much.
The official tourist overlook is miles down the road.  Unfortunately, there are a couple of people every year who think the red signs aren’t meant for them.   It is often a fatal error.  But warning signs are posted everywhere.  If warning signs bring out your impulsiveness, this is not the mountain top experience for you.

Now I have to go to the Lodge to eat dinner.  I need the people factor and I would love a hot meal and the roaring fireplace which is in the room where I can get on the Internet.  Hopefully, this will go easily.
I see the expected snow is beginning to fall.  Here I was worried over where the traffic was coming from. 

God just loves to surprise me.  It is an easy job.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


If anyone, anywhere is enjoying basking in the sunshine and sweating at the same time, you do not need to read this.  It is not often that a writer would turn away a reader but alas, if you fit the description you do not need my humble words written on this lovely day, in the land of icicles.  If you are basking and sweating, I would recommend something cool to drink with spirit.  For the rest of us, huddled around portable heaters with our backsides inched up to roaring fires, I am suggesting a good family stand-by.

Just to be clear, my mother is a wonderful cook.  She has the best batch of Nuts and Bolts (Party Mix), Meringue Chocolate Pies, Chopped Salad, Egg Olive Sandwiches and Pot Roasts, just to name a few. 

Mama's Spiced Tea.  It's not just for Christmas, you know.  My toes have been cold all day so I decided I would make a pot of coffee which is usually an excellent warming method.  And then this recipe popped into my head.

And this would also make an exceptional evening nog with a slip of Amaretto.

Hot Spiced Tea

1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
3 quarts water
6 Lipton individual tea bags
Juice of three oranges
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 cup of sugar

Add water and spices to 4 quart pot.  Bring to a boil, take off the heat and add tea bags; steep for at least five minutes.  Remove bags.  Heat fruit juices and sugar but do not boil.  Add to hot tea and spices.  Sometimes I add thin orange slices for decoration.  The cinnamon and cloves can by strained with a small strainer because the flavor will be too strong the next day.  Store in the refrigerator when not using. 

This will warm you all over and also make your home smell cheery, even in the dead of winter.

I'm off to my Razorback afghan, a good book and a big mug of Mama's Spiced Tea, the nog version.

P.S.  The hearts in the picture are decorations, just a part of my heart collection.  I wouldn't suggest serving them together.