Friday, May 30, 2014

A Friday Cup

Still smiling!

Josh stopped by last night with a bag of fresh morels...sautéed a few up with white wine and butter immediately. This batch (huge goldens) were from Michigan...whose season starts a couple weeks after ours ends. Wisconsin (he says) still has a couple weeks to go...but he is planning an excursion up when they do!
He is one of those amazing success stories...despite the odds. When he was still a teenager (around the same age as our boys) Josh pretty much lived at our house. When his parents finally split up (which was a long protracted thing) they both just vanished with other people leaving Josh with his younger siblings. A lot of kids would have fell apart.
 Josh, just worked when he wasn't in school...odd farm jobs...haying crews...fixing stuff...and found a small place in town for all of them...and kept them and himself in school. Took care of business. Became the man of the house. It was a very small town and between all of us neighbors and the local church they made it. The town was their family. Josh did very well academically and was able to go to college on a full scholarship. Now he has a career...a wife and a two year old daughter and an infant son that was born only a couple days after Aiden.

We sat last night talking about those years. How proud Bill and I were of him (back then) for taking charge of the situation and keeping what was left of his family intact and STILL managing to go to college. He remembered so much about the summers at our place with the boys and how much it meant to him while he was trying to survive it all. Minutia...that even I had forgotten...but it made an impression on him.

Now they are all grown. Mine. Them. Everyone with small children or babies. Wives and husband and jobs and responsibilities of their own. We are going to plan a reunion somewhere between all of us...because we are pretty scattered...before the summer is up. Their children now playing with the children of their childhood playmates. The circle continuing. For everything he went through- he made his peace well. Is happy. Zen. Lives in the moment.  When we hugged goodbye last night I remember him as a child...little short round Josh who would sometimes get overwhelmed...teased or crash on his bike and I would hug him in my arms like any of the rest of my sons...some ours...some "honorary".  For a while in the late 90's it seemed I collected stray sons like other people collect stamps. Johnny, Josh, Zach, Chris W. (who actually lived with us a while)  Josh isn't short or round these days...he grew up to be a fine young man.
But then, he always was.

You just never know how many lives we touch along the way.

Some come back toting mushrooms, memories and a warm hug.

This week's book: Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes  (Author of Under the Tuscan Sun...and A Year in the World)  This memoir was a gritty look at her life growing up in the deep South. If you love Frances Mayes writings (and I do) do yourself a favor and do not read this book. 

Oh...technically, she described life in a Deep Southern small town perfectly. Where woman were required to do little else than cook good, needlework and planning parties. Where girls (and grown men) still called their father's "Daddy" till the day they die. 

I had always envisioned making the road trip to Chatwood...or catching a book signing of hers. Sadly, after finishing this memoir I still love her world travels and Bramasole books...but this is one I wish I had never read. Reading her innermost thoughts left me with a decidedly bad taste in my mouth and changed my opinion of her (as a person) completely.  Dropped it off and picked up something to wash some of the negativity from my mind.

 Needless to say...I don't recommend this one.

And a new Microwaveable Cream Pie recipe...

1 cup of sugar

2 cups of milk

3 large eggs

3 teaspoons corn starch

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend all in microwavable glass bowl until completely mixed.

Microwave for 3 minutes on high.

Remove and whip well.

Microwave another 3 minutes.

Remove and whip smooth again

Return to microwave for last 3 minutes...remove and whip again adding 1/2 cup

(of any of these depending on what type of cream pie you want)

Coconut shredded


Mashed Ripe Banana

Butterscotch Morsels

Peanut Butter

And pour into a pre-baked pie crust.  Chill. Or top with meringue and pop under broiler for a minute until the top browns lightly. Makes one cream pie. Recipe can be doubled.

An absolutely fool-proof smooth delicious way to make any cream pie. No more double boilers. No more lumps.
Just perfect cream pie!

 Have a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pursuing Happiness

Which included a long Memorial Day Nap!  And like his sister Kaylee...he "purrs" when he sleeps!

Enjoyed a wonderful long weekend!

And an abundance of "happiness" pursued. And as I said to a friend who admonished that Memorial Day wasn't about BBQ and Family Fun and Music and Good Food-  Yes, Memorial Day is EXACTLY these things and so much more. It is because of our soldiers standing watch...some giving their lives...that we enjoy the freedoms...the pursuit of happiness...we HAVE. We owe it to them to PURSUE that Happiness and be grateful for the lives their sacrifice gave us...or else what are they fighting for? 

Aiden and Emma and Emma's "Rebecca"

 Including a picnic in the park and a fishing trip. And a new "pet" (of sorts) brought back by Emma.  "Look Grandma's Garrreeee!Think Spongebob.


Garree who is currently Living La Vida Escargot in a "snabitat" on my table. Or as I explained to Idgy over coffee

"Hey, eleven more and some garlic cheese butter and we have an appetizer"

Relax...nobody is eating Garree...

She even managed to catch a snapping turtle...that she and James promptly released.

"Boy was HE mad, Grandma! He was hissing!"

And enjoyed shared stories of other's "pursuits" of happiness as well!

My friend Kara's daughter, Ashley, who graduated from Purdue this weekend :)

My Adventure Buddy, Jim, who just finished Ride to the Wall...and the weekend at Arlington and participated in Rolling Thunder- and rode The Dragon's Tail!

                There was another lot filled exactly like this with riders, too!

And speaking of Rolling Thunder- check this out-my friend Carol from Pennsylvania who traded up Black Magic (that totally sexy Chally) for Plum Sexy complete with shaker! Bring her up this summer...we'll light up O'Reilly drag strip!

Now THAT is a sexy beast!

And Josh...who spent the 24th in pursuit (and caught) some of the finest fungi around :) And has promised me "as many as you can eat". I don't know Josh. I can do some real damage to a bunch of fresh morels! Love it that the season has lasted this long!

 Playing in the flowers and tending my new borders.

So, whether it was roaring through our Nation's capitol...or just a small, usually quiet PA neighborhood...basking, yard-work or gardening...tossing your graduation cap in the sky or tossing your grandbaby in the air...stalking morels or just a snail, now named "Garree" is hoping you had an amazing three day weekend, too! 

My "Portrait in Progress" of Aiden

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend is going to be a lot like THIS!

Think complete relaxation and decadence...basking...good food...friends and family...good books to sprawl and read...playing in the plants and deciding whether I am going with the Shropshire Lad or the James Galway by David Austin for my arbour rose...a couple of long bubble baths and at least 1 to 3 NAPS along the way somewhere!  Ya gotta have a plan!

Nicki and Nancy.. and Emma and Aiden out on Sunday for a tea because now the Quilt is finished and her doll has arrived!

Can't wait to see her face light up when she sees her American Girl Doll with a Hello Kitty Outfit on! The elephant for Aiden plays Brahm's Lullaby.

Heard from Brenden's mom this morning, as well...and a couple oh-so-cute photos of my soon to be enrolled in pre-school grandson looking very happy with himself! making plans to see him (and Preston) soon!

                                              He is just getting so big!

Hoping to see Kaylee, Hannah and Jasmine soon, too. They are getting ready for the move when school is finished and are excited about well as their soon-to-be new sister!

 Chris and Tina are getting serious about their big move later this Fall...well as serious as they get about

And I wouldn't be terribly surprised if within a year or so there are wedding bells again!

They are (to used Emma's favorite phrase)

"Pretty twitterpated, alright..."

So wishing everyone an amazing and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend!

"Gentlemen (and ladies) start your grills!"

(Almost forgot...if you look towards the skies tonight there is suppose to be a HUGE new-to-us Meteor Shower! Happy Stargazing!)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Playing in (what's left of) The Plants

Okay...maybe not THAT bad...but still pretty ravaged.

After a week's worth of 50 degree temps...wind and rain...and then MORE wind and rain and even a little sleet...the flowers have looked better. 

Spent most of the afternoon cleaning and clearing the borders and the patio gardens. To complicate matters a nearby Maple has spread "its seed" all over everything, as well. So, between the Ranunculous that have a tendency to explode in a shower of petals when they are finished for the Spring...think firework style...*poof*...the roses who go blowsy with excess water and the rain/sleet mushed petunias...well at least it was a colourful mess.  

And, in the category of  Let's Not Go There-  The maintenance guy who thought he was doing me a favour by spreading fresh black mulch right over a large area I had just re-seeded with now the new grass is bright green and springing up thickly in clumps through the mulch.

 I am weeding out the grass I just planted.

There is something very wrong with that!

Happy to report that after some pretty intensive trash bag therapy...some dead-heading...and pinching back...and a couple of serious re-pottings- things are looking tidy once again!  The herbs are sprouted. My Morning Glories are up several inches and the Zinnas and Columbine have started making an appearance. The roses are Rosa nothing can touch them. Boxwoods, of course, are indestructable. The petunias will come back bigger, bushier and better.

There is hope!

And speaking of HOPE

 My buddy Jim, who has spent the week riding "Clive" (his bike) in the Patriot Guard's- Run for the Wall.

At one point 800 strong as they accumulated riders State by State along the way. Greeted by massive flag-waving crowds in Mainstreet USA, everywhere.

Jim, you're amazing.

Idgy and I making summer plans almost daily now over our morning cup of coffee and chat. Only

More days!

A summer of picnics filled with French bread and good cheese...fresh fruit and dark chocolate and honey...and wine! Of balloons and photography...painting with acrylics and shows...hikes and gathering wildflowers...of exploring a new French Restaurant and sometimes just relaxing in the cool shade of the patio with ice cold homemade limocello and chat...Or baking Midnight Brownies together :) Best of all...real coffee and REAL HUGS!

                                                 Idgy...Portrait 2013

                                         Our "Selfie"...Summer 2013

 Can't wait!!!

Good week, this...despite the rain and chill. Kay, Loretta and I plundered Metropolis in Plainfield mid-week...and yes..obviously Loretta came back with another high end bag (...because it was!) You think I make this up.

Enjoyed coffee and Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake...perused Barnes and Noble...Coldwater Creek...Victoria's Secret (LOVE Noir Tease)...Yankee Candles (new scent Campfire Treat which smells just like toasted marshmallows!) and Bath and Body where I found the best Tangerine Gel Soap...played with hats...lunched at nearby Applebee's and till found a minute to check out the newly opened Meijer's before heading back. A wonderful afternoon!

and a pair of black lace panties...because you can NEVER have too many pairs of lace undies :)

A quick visit with James yesterday who is enjoying serenading Nicki, Emma and Aiden on guitar.  And their cat who is excruciatingly curious about the baby...

              "Did you KEEP the warranty...maybe we can send it back?"

But, they don't stay little for long...and today...less than 2 weeks old...and already changing! Or maybe it is the! Still has that NEW BABY smell, though.

                          Note the Hands Position...already a guitarist!

Looking forward to hosting a tea soon for Nicki, Emma and Nancy (her mom) and going to surprise Emma with her American Girl Doll.

 You'll hear the squeal of delight from out there! 

Even found her (doll sized) a Hello Kitty tee-shirt and bag with a denim skirt and pink shoes!

But the best is yet to come...later this year a train ride for the four of us (Nicki, Emma, Nancy and I) to Chicago to the American Girl Store where she can bring her doll and we can have a "Doll Tea Party" luncheon together...just us girls!


Next in the queue for Frances Mayes newest offering Under Magnolias  Just finished a re-read of her A Year in the World...which is always like eating a sun-warmed blood orange in Seville while reading Lorca :)  This new book a memoir of her upbringing in the South. Can't wait to read it!

Life is Outstanding!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend


                                          My Oldest with his Youngest

Who is celebrating a special Mother's Day tomorrow with Nicki including matching "Aiden" tattoos!

What an amazing week it has been. Starting with Aiden's arrival on Monday and Voting/Annual Brunch with my long time past lover/friend mid-week...and ending with sunshine and gardening/plants and an early Mother's Day bouquet (Thanks sweet future DIL ) today.  And promises of a trek to Metropolis (open air concept mall) next week with friends.

Life is good!

The container approach for the bulbs made sorting and digging and stowing them until Fall (...Spring clean up...) much easier.

And spending a sunny afternoon today planting Columbine, Black Eyed Susans, Morning Glories, Moonflowers, Alysium, Zinnas, Caladulas, and have basketed the slender yellow day lilies for summer's show.

The Ranunculous are holding out with a few tissuey blooms and Bill's red rose (now basketed) is thriving.

The Knockout Roses the complex brought are lovely and budded/bloomed now.
And with them my "border" is making a comeback...and I shouldn't complain...but I HAVE to...

Since the border was to be erased I spent a lot of time seeding and covering and mossing the old area...only to have an oh-so-helpful maintenance guy (after I finished planting the Roses and Boxwoods) mulch back in the border...@@
So now, I have this beautiful lawn coming up through the mulch.  
 So now, I will be weeding out the grass I PLANTED.

And to compound matters...since I have already spored the area with morels for next season...I certainly will not be using weed killer out there.  
Yeah...yeah...I know...such a First World problem.

The herb baskets and pots seeded and set now. Looking forward to fresh herbs for cooking again.

                                         The End of the Spring Flowers

Enjoying a slow re-read of Frances Mayes "A Year in the World" this week and found a wonderful film that (although it definitely falls into the chick flick) category...was still really really good.  Labor Day with Kate Winslet.

So looking forward to chatting with everyone on Mother's Day...and invited out for dinner by my youngest...and planning a relaxing weekend of good food and films and "playing in the flowers"!

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful Mother's Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Welcome to The World!

"Aiden Brock Hurst"

Cinco de Mayo will never be the same!

A morning rush to the hospital (for me) although the kids had been there since much much earlier...and a bit after 4:00 PM our young prince "Aiden" greeted the world!

                                           James                            Aiden

                               Looking very much like Dad as a newborn.

And already adored by his big dubbed " The Princess Emma"!
We MUST get a sparkly tiara...who shared a Disney moment when a pair of gray doves flew to a nearby window ledge and were building a nest together and she smiled and said  
"Yeah...they are twitterpated, alright!"

Surrounded by both Grandmas and the coolest parents ever...who immediately selected The Muppet Hat...and (...since you could pick the ink colour...) had his footprints immortalized in neon green ink!

Proof that you really CAN be exposed to too much Fraggle Rock as a kid.  
Who knew?

and the post birth celebration of a stack of Jack in the Box Tacos for everyone...because it was Cinco De Mayo...and as James pointed out...he was conceived in Florida...suddenly it all makes sense!

So huge thanks to Grandma Nancy, who drives like Steve McQueen, and got us there in record time (...thanks for the ride...) and ginormous hugs to both my Prince and Princess from Grandma Rose. Congratulations to James and Nicki ( both did good...he is absolutely perfect!), and thanks for the BEST early Mother's Day Surprise...ever!

                                                Three Generations

Still "glowing" with happiness...

Grandma Rose