Saturday, October 9, 2021

Harvest Time

Some days are made for being outside. Warm. Sunny. Blue skies. Just the perfect fall weather. 

Last Sunday was not that kind of day, but we went apple picking anyway!

Mommy and Bubbo put on their raincoats, and we picked apples...

And we tasted apples...

And we explored the orchard with Pop Pop...

And we looked through the pumpkin patch to find just the right place to wait with Linus for the Great Pumpkin! (We also picked a pumpkin or three to take home!)
Do you believe in the Great Pumpkin?
It was a lot of fun, and I made apple cake that was full of butter, sugar, eggs and flour (but I forgot to take a picture of that). I did take a picture of the apple haul, tho...Wow! 

When we got home, we were muddy and damp, and slightly chilled. It was not a perfect day for apple picking, but it was a very good (and wet and chilly) day!

I wonder what adventures we will find this weekend? 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health! 
...and sometimes I knit tiny pumpkins...

Saturday, October 2, 2021

My Favorite Wooden Spoon

Today, I bake bread. 

Last night, I took out the starter, fed it and waited for the moment to really dig in.

As I mixed flour, water and salt into the levan this morning, something small stood out to me: my wooden spoon. I mean, I have 5 wooden spoons, 

but as I reached for a mixing tool this morning, I went out of my way to find my favorite wooden spoon. 

That's right. One of them is my favorite. 

I also have a favorite spatula, but that's a story for another day. Can you guess which of these spoons is my favorite?

Positioned this way, it's pretty easy to spot. It is also easy to see that I have a fairly serious case of "What-is-the-best-configuration-of-these-spoons-for-a-blog-photo Disease," as finding just the right arrangement took me twenty-five minutes. 

But I digress, so let's get back to it.

This is my favorite wooden spoon:

It is the oldest in my utensil drawer, where all spoons face forward and all spatulas face back, in case you were wondering. Thank you OCD. (FWIW, if you're not a spoon or a spatula, all bets are off. Scoopers and spaghetti grabbers, you're on your own.)

My favorite wooden spoon is the one I grab most for baking, whether it's cookies, bread, cake, or pie.

My favorite wooden spoon is the one I grab most for cooking, too. 

My favorite wooden spoon is not my best wooden spoon, but it is the one I grab most often and the one I hold most dear in my kitchen adventures. 

It is flawed. There's a crack in the handle, and I remember hearing it happen some years ago while mixing stiff cookie dough. But it still mixes well. (When the doughing gets tough, however, I often look for another spoon.) 

The bowl of the spoon is well-seasoned and darkened from decades of use in grease, oil and water. It is also nicked and worn in some places. It is so imperfect that it is suddenly perfect for everything, and it still has a lot of life left in it!

I love this spoon because it is like me. Imperfect, but still useful. Worn, but weathered well. Well-used, but not used up. 

Being a helper by nature, I embrace most opportunities to do things for others, and I like this about me. I am versatile and a quick learner, and these qualities make me a pretty good spoon for most mixes. I also recognize that sometimes there's a better spoon for the job. 

It's a hard lesson, and these are the times that I am most thankful to be surrounded by a community of friends and family in the great utensil drawer of life. I may not always be facing the right direction, but you guys help me to get reoriented. You wash the muck out of my brain and heart, and you reach for me again and again. Thank you.

Are you somebody's favorite wooden spoon? Do you think that's just the weirdest metaphor? Me too. But there it is, just like my favorite utensil of all time. Perhaps I should knit it a cozy for winter. And perhaps not.

Now I'm off to knit and bake, and I hope that you also have nice plans for this lovely Saturday. 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit (or whatever) in Good Health!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Looking Forward and Back

Last January, I blogged about my Aunt Mickey (and some other things). It was a sad time of saying goodbye, and I even posted some pictures.

Today, there was a gathering to honor her memory and celebrate the 80 years she spent circling the sun on planet Earth, touching lives and loving well. Covid has caused the gap in grieving, but I am glad for the opportunity to consciously call back the good memories and see the photos of her smiling face again. 

As this day has approached, I have thought about the memories that dance in my brain when I think of her, and I looked for some photos that are a good indication of the Aunt Mickey I remember so fondly. Note: Some of these photos are not mine, but the face on that sweet lady is the one I remember when making similar memories. (Thank you Facebook, for showing me other parts of her life all the time!)

I remember visits to Aunt Mickey and Uncle Bill's house when I was growing up. I remember the layout, even though I have not been there in years, because it was essentially the same as the Tiny House I just sold in June! It was always good to walk into that familiar kitchen and to sit at the table. It was so good to share food, whether a meal in the basement for a First Communion Party or desserts and snacks in the kitchen, because the food and company were so wonderful! 

I remember cooking and baking with Aunt Mickey, and learning all the time! "You have to whip the egg whites for 10 minutes," she would tell me about the meringue cookies, "and everything has to be very clean before you start." After years of following her advice, I know that she was right. Clean tools, well-rinsed and chilled, or your meringues are doomed! I remember watching her bake, and tasting the goodness of so many treats that came out of her tiny kitchen. I am thankful that her grandchildren were able to enjoy similar memories, and all the taste tests!

I remember when I would approach Aunt Mickey, a "fun-sized" adult, to see if I was getting taller. She would jokingly threaten to cut us off at the knees if we got taller than she was, and she would tell us to sit! For the record, I did grow taller than Aunt Mickey, and my knees are in tact!

I remember introducing my children to her and watching their eyes light up as she told stories. She was a crazy-good storyteller, full of imaginative tales! So my kids knew her as "Crazy" Aunt Mickey...but the good kind of crazy, not the "they're-coming-to-take-you-away" kind of crazy. As kids, and even as young adults I think, they looked forward to the intermittent visit with Crazy Aunt Mickey.

I remember calling Aunt Mickey when our extended family went sideways a few years back, seeking solace and comfort in a confusing time. I called, out of the blue, and I'm not even sure I told her what was wrong. And she listened. And she told me I was doing a good job as a mom and grandma. And she told me she loved seeing pictures of my beautiful grandbabies on Facebook.

As I look both forward and back, I celebrate the influence that Aunt Mickey has had on my life. I hope that I am half the mom and grandma that she was, and I continue to strive to improve every year. I miss knowing that Aunt Mickey is just a phone call away, but I am glad for the renewed friendships I am creating with some of my cousins over the last few years. 

Thanks for the memories, Aunt Mickey. I love you and miss you so much, but I will go on, just as you would have. 

For those of you who didn't know Mickey Segulin, I hope you have a Crazy-good Aunt Mickey in your life, and that you recognize her worth and celebrate her constantly!

Thanks for stopping by, and Look forward and back in Good Health!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Best!

I am here to remind you that Pop Pops are The Best! I mean, if you ask a Pop Pop to adjust your training wheels, he just grabs some tools and gets at it. The very best Pop Pops ask for your help!
He wants the training wheels off.
Pop Pop, in his Pop Pop wisdom,
just raised them a bit!
And if a little brother wants to climb up the slide, who else makes that happen? Certainly not, Pop Pops make things happen!
This Gramma frets and takes photos,
always hopeful they don't become
"photo evidence!"
Pop Pops also keep that Little Brother safe when Big Brother starts his slide down!
Big Brother is the best, too! He is cautious
sliding, and he loves his baby brudder!
Do you know what else is the best? Friends who just "get" you are the best! Like, when your friend comes over while you are baking cupcakes, even though the cupcakes are for someone else...and she helps. Halfway through, when you both realize that you need a trip to the local craft store for decorations for those cupcakes, the best of your friends says, "Let's Go!," and the cuppy-cakes turn out so pretty!
Thank you, Ellie! It was fun hanging out!
Yes, friends. Ellie got a cuppy-cake!
Or like when your new-ish friend realizes how much you love she buys you a gift that goes with your hobby for Christmas! Then, when the gift arrives waaaaay before December, she can't wait, so you get an early gift!
A yarn bow! I have always wanted
a yarn bowl! Thank you Kristen!
The only thing that will make this yarn bowl better is the addition of yarn! Maybe for someone's Christmas gift...? Yeah, friends like this are the best!
Christmas Stocking? Wristwarmers? 
What will she knit-to-gift???
Okay, last one: Babies discovering the joys of noodles are The Best!

Gah! I can't take it! I mean, maybe my Italian heritage makes me a little biased, but those baby "Om-nom-noms" don't lie! Pasta and baby om-nom-noms are so good together!

What's been the Best for you lately? I hope you have some good things to celebrate today, and that your superlative buckets are full to the fullest and overflowing!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

I Will Not Forget

Today marks 20 years since the 9/11 tragedy of 2001. Just yesterday, and a million years ago.

I remember where I was when I heard the news...driving to work on a normal Tuesday. Wait. What did Len Howser just say on the Christian radio? I worked in a church, and we spent the day watching the news, pivoting plans for Sunday and praying with people who just wandered in, not knowing where else to bring their grief and disbelief.

I work in a different church today, and as the realization of this anniversary dawned on me, I created this graphic for our Facebook page.

We will not forget. I will never forget what happened on this day 20 years ago, because it forever changed me. This American tragedy, felt around the world, changed all of us. 

One of the comforts on September 11, 2001 was that I was not alone in my grief. It was a burden to share, kind of like the grief we are all experiencing in our Covid world today. The big difference is the lack of a common enemy today. When terrorists fly commercial planes into prominent skyscrapers in the City That Never Sleeps, everyone knows that the enemy is the terrorists. Everyone. We were all agreed.

The enemies in this pandemic world are many and varied. Is the government/politician the enemy? Is the virus's country of origin the enemy? Is that guy, wearing a mask over there, an enemy? Is that lady, not wearing a mask, an enemy? These are just a few of the options, but the point stands. We do not know who to blame for the current state of unrest in our country, in our world...and our diverse opinions leave us divided. 

When we experience grief outside community, we miss out on comfort and healing. Grief is stunted when we go it alone. Think about traditions surrounding the loss of a loved one. The visitation, the funeral or celebration of life, the meal afterwards, the family gathering to go through that loved one's belongings, dispersing the treasures and sharing the memories...all of these are snapshots of community. The family community, loving each other and finding a way to move forward. The larger community of friends and associates, sharing condolences and validating the grief, so that we are free to feel it and move forward. 

How do we move forward without that community, without being seen and heard and comforted? Without seeing, hearing and comforting others around us, we cannot move forward within. How do we unite and move forward without a common enemy? 

The answer is easier than it seems: Focus not on the enemy, but instead on the friend, the neighbor, our sisters and brothers in humanity. The answer is kindness, grace and forgiveness. The answer is not dwelling on a hurt or a difference of opinion, but celebrating the ways we are the same as we make our way through this life. Just like we did 20 years ago, when we gathered in the places that comforted us and surrounded ourselves with loved ones. 

We may not have forgotten the tragedy of that Tuesday morning, but I fear that we have forgotten what brought us through our grief and made us stronger. Looking at our divided world today, I fear that we have forgotten that we are all human beings, just doing our best to cope and deal with the hand life has dealt us. We must not forget that.

As I reflect today, I am planning some time to still my soul. I will knit on one of my favorite projects, and I will remember that God knit me together in my mother's womb (Psalm 139:13), creating me in his image (Genesis 1:27) and calling me to do good things in his name, according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Among those good things is loving my neighbor (Mark 12:31), so I will continue to do that as well as I can.

Where are you today? What are you doing to get through? 

Find your feelings. Find your tribe. Find your way...and remember that the greatest gift we have to share with one another is love. 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health. 
Still recalibrating. :)