Saturday, July 4, 2015

First to Last

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It turned into a great birthday, beginning and ending just where the SconeLady wanted to be.

Any birthday that begins at a Mimi's Cafe has probably already reached its pinnacle. Mimi's has everything that is delicious, and for me (and my sister) the delicious thing this day was their Egg White and Veggie Omelet with lots of goodies inside, plus fresh fruit. You really cannot go wrong with anything you order at a Mimi's. But it could have been, and perhaps it should have been their Pain Perdu breakfast. Would you like to know what a Pan Perdu breakfast is, exactly? It is so good that for years it was all that I could ever bear to order there. Pain Perdu consists of:


  • French toast stuffed with cream cheese and orange marmalade (wow) served with butter and maple syrup
  • 2 eggs cooked any style
  • 2 slices of bacon, or sausage links, or sausage patties
  • fresh ranch potatoes
  • orange juice


The reason this was not ordered this time was that there would be more food later on, and not enough time in between! But I have promised myself: next time. Oh yes, next time it will be different.


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For the afternoon, the SconeLady walked round and round inside the Mall, getting in her mileage where it was cool, rather than out-of-doors where it was hot. This is the way it works now for us in SoCal. There were already lots of walkers in there when I arrived, enjoying the cool air and the camaraderie. At the walk's end I found my way to the theatre where awaited the SconeLady's husband, ready to see a blockbuster movie. Especially the movie starring our erstwhile Govern-ator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Blockbuster indeed! 

He was great, he really was, but how many body blows can the Govern-ator/Terminator take, one might wonder. There is apparently no limit because poor Arnold was blasted on and hacked at and crashed into, but just kept giving back as good as he got - over and over again. He was amazing. (And you should just see his young self at the beginning. That was interesting, and I don't know exactly how it was done..)

No spoilers here, but there was a creepy policeman in it who wasn't really a policeman. He was a 'machine' (hey - wasn't that a plot point before?). I intensely disliked the creepy policeman, but liked the ending. And I liked the characters. And most of all, I liked Arnold. It had gotten terribly boring around here after he quit being Governor and started being an actor again. We missed him dreadfully. There was always something interesting going on when he was in office, and people always seemed to be getting offended. Mostly now, though, it is just more and more austerity with less and less hope. Hardly anyone ever gets offended anymore (I think it's hard for people to be offended when they're depressed).

After the movie was over we dashed to B.J.'s., where they plied me with the Tomatoe Bisque Soup in a Sourdough Bread Bowl. And then the Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie with Ice Cream (on the house! Birthday).


The reason the SconeLady did not order Pain Perdu at Mimi's




Throughout the day, I was showered by happy wishes from people near and far through social media, and emails, and text messages, and phone calls, as well as  real live hugs and kisses right here at home. It was a smashing birthday, first to last. I fell asleep not worrying one little bit about another year gained. Instead, the following words lulled me into a dreamless sleep:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
-2 Corinthians 4:16 - 18

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12549219@N00/3142426205">Hanabi</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Friday, July 3, 2015

The 21st Century Scone

'Taking the humble scone to extraordinary new heights'
-The Little Book of Scones
by Liam D'Arcy & Grace Hall


So it was almost my birthday, and I was feeling just a bit peckish. One can do almost anything they like on (or near) their birthday, feeling disinclined to turn themselves down. So over yonder on comfy couch lay The Little Book of Scones, just about literally calling out to me.

And I answered the call. There seemed to be no choice, being the SconeLady, of course.

This time my fingers leafed straight through to Grace Hall's Basic Sweet Scone recipe (page 20) which has become a great favorite. With each recipe, Grace and Liam have listed certain recommended songs to listen to as you bake, and today's happened to be 'Home', sung by Michael Buble. It was fabulous and you should listen to it. They have all sorts of suggested songs, from 'I Get A Kick Out Of You', to 'Pennies From Heaven', and even this unique suggestion: 'Loaded', by Primal Scream. I do not know exactly who Primal Scream is, but I really must try it one day (I think).

It is astonishing just how quickly a person can whip up a scone in this day and age. No trouble at all. Just about the time my husband began wondering what on earth that lovely aroma was, I had the cream whipped, the butter settled upon its dish, and Asaam tea in the pot. So we tucked right in.



Intermittently gazing out at the lovely view, we applied liberal amounts of butter, jam, and whipped cream. After all, it was almost my birthday.

This had all been so last-minute that there was no time to really ask anyone over to enjoy it with us. So we had our own delicious tea time to enjoy the tastes and discuss events in a leisurely manner. It is very comforting to have someone to share a home with who feels the same way you do about things, and can understand and sympathize uniquely. I was so glad to have him sitting there, kindly listening, and murmuring comforting things. I loved it.

In mid-sentence, however, I suddenly noticed there had been no egg or buttermilk wash brushed over the scones before they went into the oven. Horrors! That happens to be the most important step when you are baking scones of any kind. One must never forget it, according to Josh the scone baker at The Digey Food Room. I must have been distracted by the sounds of Michael Buble, and forgotten (it was rather lovely).

But, I am assured, the scones were outstanding anyway and the SconeLady's husband was pleased to say so.

So dear Readers, any time you are feeling peckish, and don't really know exactly what would make you feel the best, just go and look up a good scone recipe. Then gather your ingredients (they are almost always things you already have!), mix them together, and - voila! All shall be well. And you might even want to try Primal Scream, if you are feeling up to it. It's always worth a try.


See you along the way!
the SconeLady


(special note: I looked up Primal Scream on Youtube, and listened to 'Loaded'. There wasn't anybody screaming on it, and in fact there were no humans on it at all. I mean, no singing voices. It was quite interesting and I do not know why they call themselves Primal Scream. But whatever floats your boat.)





Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sands Alive!




You can make anything with it. It was a hot day, and while everybody was waiting for the hot tub to be hot, it was Sands Alive all the way. It's a sort of smooth sandy substance that can be made into all kinds of shapes. Little ones who like Play Doh really like Sands Alive because it feels so cool in your hands, and because if you don't like what you've made, it's an easy fix. Just smoosh it up and start again. It's the perfect solution while waiting for a hot tub on a hot day.



They made

  • snow men
  • Flat Stanley
  • themselves as flat 
  • mountains
  • sand castles (sort of)
  • animals
  • balls
  • houses (sort of)
  • and more


It was fun for all three, for quite a while. Then the boys one by one drifted away until only the small girl was left, working hard on a self portrait. Once they were gone she 'incorporated' the sand the boys had left behind, and did a smashing job. The face, of course, had a giant smile on it. For her there is always a smile. I don't think she has ever been known to draw a frown.

She also did a painting of her favorite upcoming beach vacation. The vacation looked wonderfully happy, with five people standing along the sands looking out at the sea with smiles plastered across their faces. There was a cloud, and a sun. 

"This is us at the beach, Grandma," she said, handing me the picture with a little giggle. 

"Oh, I like that!" Grandma responded. "Won't it be fun when we get there?"

"Mmm-hmm." 

She began to list the things she was looking forward to doing there. "Grandma, I want to go kite-flying, and swimming in the ocean, and going to the Carnival, and listening to the Bible stories, and rock-climbing, and making sand castles, and surfing, and riding bikes!"

"Wow. That's a lot..." I said, suddenly tired out just listening.

"Mmm-hmm." 

She wandered back to the table and began to put the sand into its container. This took some doing, as it is slippery and unpredictable. But her personal powers of concentration were admirable, as one scoop at a time made its unsteady way toward the opening.

Just how much of it actually went back in is up for debate. But in the end, I can guarantee you one thing for sure. There was a smile on her face. 

Mmm-hmm!


See you along the way!
the SconeLady








Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Roald Dahl: a 10 Every Time

Reading together - A Time-honored comfort.


"Grandma, I ran out of things to do." I was wiping the counter just then, but momentarily paused. 

"What kinds of things did you run out of?" I enquired.

"Oh, everything. We built things out of Sands Alive, and then swam in the pool, and then we ate, and then drew pictures. There isn't anything left."

I pondered this, and cast my memory back to when I or my children felt a moment of tedium when simply nothing fell to hand. I knew what his mother would like for him to do, and this made my decision. "Ok, come with me."

"But where are we going?" he hesitated. 

"I'll show you." And we headed down the hall toward our room of books. There was a quiet murmuring from behind me about having 'already looked at all those books' - but I had something special in mind. Now, where were those particular volumes? It had been a while since reading them but I knew they lurked here, somewhere.

And then, there it was - Danny, the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. A favorite! I drew it out, and sat down. "Here we are, my darling - 'Danny, the Champion of the World'. Your mother and Uncle loved this one!"


He followed me, and sat, still just a tad bit uncertain. But there was a picture of a blond boy his age on the front, which alerted him. And as I read the first sentence, I felt the inevitable suddenly happening before my eyes. He was instantly hooked, right then and there! Thoroughly drawn in, and ready for as much as I could read to him. He could have read it to himself but we were soon lost in the story together, and almost nothing could have interrupted us. I was just as excited as he was. Roald Dahl is like that.

We covered three chapters, and then it was time for dinner. Reluctantly we closed the book, excited about that next chapter. We could hardly wait.

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What is it about Dahl, and others such as Dick King-Smith ('Harry's Mad')? Is it the humor? The slightly mischievous characters they create? The hilarious way hideous grownups get what is coming to them? Probably all of the above. Any one who has read them will be nodding their heads right about now. There is nothing like it.


Perhaps it is the delightful difference between British humour and American (humor). It is significant. And nothing has alerted me to its nuances like the discovery of books like Fantastic Mr. Fox (another Dahl) and Dick King-Smith's The Sheep-Pig (better known as 'Babe', the movie). Ah, the countless hours of entertainment they have brought us! 

It's lovely to indulge in the time-honored comfort of reading aloud to a keenly interested young person. His mother and dad had laid the foundation for this long ago, and it was easy as pie to continue it today. And especially through the fabulous, the astonishing, the redoubtable Mr. Roald Dahl.


See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Wild Pear

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If you haven't been there yet, you should definitely make it happen. 

For us it was a snap decision. We would drive from Central Oregon to the state Capital, and eat lunch at The Wild Pear! It was on the way to where we were going, sort of. And it had only recently been renovated so I dearly wanted to see its new digs. We could maybe meet the kindly bro-in-law+lovely wife there, making it a foursome. We invited, and they said yes. Brilliant! It was they who had first introduced me to this spot, and so meeting them there was fitting.







Getting to The Wild Pear was a snap. Siri alternately guided and bullied us to the left and to the right until - there it was, perched on the right just past a surprisingly empty parking space - which we instantly snagged before anyone else could.


Soon our guests appeared, and together we perused the menu. This took some time, because obviously everything in it is smashing and delicious and who can ever decide? You have got to check out their menu items, here. It has everything from their signature pizzas to fresh soups, salads, hot entrees, sandwiches and wraps, all fresh from the fruit and vegetable gardens of greenest Oregon. Oh - and desserts. You can't forget the desserts...if ever there is still room for them after all the deliciousness.

I meant to get the Lobster and Seafood Melt, but simply had to order the soup instead. This is because their soup is undeniably the best, most tasty soup in any restaurant I've been to, and there would never be room for both. I chose the Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup. I couldn't resist it, along with the 'Imported Cheeses and Fresh Fruit with Baguette'. The fruit consisted of red grapes, strawberries, blueberries and - one other thing I can't remember. The cheeses were brie, sweet cheddar and smoked provolone. The sweet cheddar was especially amazing and by the end of it, I was edging toward uncomfortably full.

Mother had their quiche+cup-of-soup, which was so good (she having given me a lovely bite) that I wished I'd ordered it too. You can see it below:




Also on our table was the Turkey Club Sandwich (bro-in-law) and a salad with their special curried pasta (lovely sister-in-law). It was all fabulous and no one could possibly consider the dessert options, although sorely tempted by the Oregon Mixed Berry Cobbler - which looked superb.

As grand as the food was, I have to say that the company was even better - ideal, in fact. It was the perfect place for talking, and laughing, and gazing around at the lovely year-long renovations they had done. It had been a lonely year without The Wild Pear, especially for the Salem residents who had come to rely on its constantly delicious offerings.

But they are back, and you must go see them. Check it out for yourself, and see if I have this right. When it comes to food, the SconeLady generally does.


See you along the way!
the SconeLady



(a side note: The Wild Pear does catering, too, and you just won't believe the choices you will see on their catering menu, here!)


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57373363@N00/272685296">Pear</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Monday, June 29, 2015

Return


Grandma came home, and it was a free-for-all. I don't think I could have been any happier, surrounded by three children (all bouncing), gazing over their heads at their mother and grandfather. 

They were about to begin a swim lesson on this hot day, but were momentarily distracted by the appearance of their grandmother at the pool. Grandpa had brought her straight from the airport and they had not known - thus, the amiable free-for-all. They came running from all directions and my hands were suddenly grasped, my neck hugged, my waist squeezed. 

"Grandma! You CAME!" shouted one.

"You've been gone SO LONG!" intoned another. The third just stood and looked up at me, patting my arm and smiling. Just about every configuration of love was offered and received. It was what you might call the perfect moment.

Nevertheless, when it was time they obediently trouped over to their swim instructors and began. But for those several perfect moments, they were all mine. 




Occasionally from the pool would come furtive glances over at Grandma, as if to be certain she was still there. They smiled and did their best and demonstrated their skills, from jumping in and swimming after a rubber ducky (the littlest) to the American Crawl, back stroke, and diving board (the two more serious swimmers). Of course Grandma thought it was all splendid.

Thus begins the summer. And it was interesting how I had this feeling of deja vu, a feeling of having been there before. Every summer of our parenthood was spent in just that way, in swimming pools all over this land, north and south. Little ones learning to not only survive in water, but to conquer it. I know of at least one little girl who is an enthusiastic diver already, and wants to be on an Olympic dive team. A grand plan! No rubber duckies for this one. It is all business with her.

A successful summer takes a lot of work, you know. Children can't just run around willy-nilly with no plan. Their mother must organize it all, signing everyone up for the variety of lessons kindly offered by a benevolent city (for a fee, of course). That's the way it works. 

It's how you keep parents and children from going crazy throughout these long, hot days. And pretty soon, just about the time the mothers can hardly wait for school to start again, it actually does. Boys and girls will once again line up at the door and enter, pencils in hand, while their folks breathe a sigh of relief - and think back gratefully on another summer well spent.

It's the American Way.


See you along it!
the SconeLady


Sunday, June 28, 2015

In My Happy Place


My mother always lets me take her photograph. She is not squeamish, as others may be (and with good reason) about her daughter plastering her picture all over the place online. There are pics out there already, of:


  • her 1943 wedding
  • her high school graduation 
  • her with a great-granddaughter bending over a complicated puzzle
  • her making quilts (splendid)
  • her standing in line at a restaurant
  • her being interviewed by the rather stunning son
  • her at dinner
  • her at breakfast
  • her simply being her adorable self 
There are just any number of images of my beautiful mother out there. And she gave permission for them all.

After a long drive through Oregon forests today, we descended upon the dining room to consume their special: stuffed pork loin with spiced applesauce, peas, and yams. With chocolate pudding and whipped cream. And frozen vanilla cake with berries. And a salad bar! All throughout the meal we munched happily while listening to the chatter and laughter of those around us. It was indeed a 'Happy Place'.

The SconeLady's mother finds friends

We talked about the very interesting things we had done on our journeys, and felt sorry that it was now almost over. Of particular note was the quilt she had hand-made for yesterday's lovely bride.


It had taken many hours over many weeks to complete, but it was done at last and was a thing of rare beauty.


A highlight for us all was the moment when it was presented to the bridal couple, to their astonishment. 



Any of you quilters out there will instantly know what an undertaking this was, and how very much appreciated it will always be. It was fun to be a part of that moment, that day.

And now we ready ourselves for another farewell - but not a long one, Lord willing. For we have plans! And if you thought we were in a Happy Place before, just wait till you hear about this one!


See you along the way!
the SconeLady