Monday, March 31, 2014

End of One, Beginning of Another (part 11)


(the following refers briefly to the post from March 1, part 4 of this current series)

Valerie Oldfield. Our first encounter had been a near disaster. I had careened into her as I rode my bike wildly down a hill one day. She hit the ground as her papers and books and bag all flew upward in a cacophonous mess. As the dust settled and she found she was still alive, I and she soon realized that we were of a mind. Do you know what that is like? When you humiliate yourself completely in front of another person, and that other person pays you back with good humor and kindness?

I guess it's a gift.

Valerie extended this gift, and was herself a loyal friend from that day (how sad that I seem now to have lost her! Neither Facebook nor Twitter nor even LinkedIn have aided me in finding this vanished lady). 
One day she invited me to a Sorority that had asked her to speak to the girls. I brought along my guitar, and with some trepidation walked into that room filled with the Beautiful. There wasn't one among them who couldn't participate in a Miss America pageant (and I didn't even own any makeup). It was scary.

They had asked Valerie to come speak to them about purity. You know, the old fashioned notion that human beings have the capacity to 'wait' for marriage? I know, it sounds like something that would NOT happen at a state university such as OSU. But I am so glad it did! I settled into a couch near the front, and looked up at Valerie as she gathered her notes and began.

As she spoke, she turned our focus toward Expectations pertaining to marriage. We all knew we expected a lot. All sorts of our hopes and dreams depended on it!

Valerie shared that just about every divorce occurs due to some form of unfulfilled expectations. Simple, right? Only I, and the beauties in that room, hadn't really thought of it in that light. We remembered uncomfortably our own lists of things we 'wanted in a man'. How could any man fulfill them all, and keep us satisfied? She asked the girls for examples of their own expectations.

  • the right man must be willing to talk to us (whenever we want to talk to him)
  • the right man must not get out of shape and needs muscles
  • the right man must split the housework straight down, 50/50
  • the right man must want to spend time with our friends
  • the right man must bring home a substantial paycheck
  • the right man must bring me flowers and nice presents and take me to dinner (no matter how much it all costs)
  • the right man must get up with the baby and change diapers on demand

Good heavens. If they ever read our lists, they might possibly run screaming from the room.

Valerie ended the talk with the truth that there is Someone Who will fulfill every rightful expectation; that we can look to Him first, for all happiness and contentment; that our real commitment needs to be 'not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think' (Romans 12:3).

Valerie helped a great many of us that day, The girls gathered around her afterward with questions, stories, and requests for more. I feel sure that this one day made a difference, even just a small one, in the way those girls looked into their own futures.

But - I've sort of been wondering if those 'right' men all had lists of their own.. do you think? (uh-oh).

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">The University of Iowa Libraries</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Nikki McLeod</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ain't She Sweet!

It is so much fun to celebrate a birthday for someone who is sweet and selfless, yet strong! This is my husband's mother, my mother-in-law (M-I-L) - everybody's favorite cook! 

She and I are sitting together, comfortably watching 'Martha's Cooking School'. Martha is baking Rack of Lamb and we are both mesmerized and wanting a taste. It is a favorite pastime for my M-I-L and me, and something we do at least once during any visit to her farm. You can read about one such visit in the blog post from October 30 (Four Generations, and Martha), where we delighted in watching Martha Bake scones.

Just now Martha is baking a black bass. Hmm. I am not as excited about the black bass. But if it's Martha, who am I to cast doubt?

And so we gathered around my M-I-L today, for her first birthday since her husband passed away in September. There have been a lot of 'firsts' since that day and we love being near her as each new 'first' arrives. Today, her three sons bring family members and friends for pizza, fruit, finger foods, and her homemade peach cobbler with ice cream. Oh - and M&M's; lots and lots of M&M's!                  

Everyone has gone home, and we are yawning now as we watch The Pioneer Woman. Have you ever watched this, Dear Readers? This is my first time, and I am loving it! The Pioneer Woman is making Salisbury Steak, peas and carrots, Fettuccine Alfredo, and peanut butter chocolate pie. I would want a taste if I weren't so completely filled with much too much pizza, fruit, finger foods and cobbler (and M&M's..). I love watching cooking shows with my M-I-L because we both share an appreciation of foods and seasonings and tastes!

As the Pioneer Woman begins making lasagna and garlic cheese bread (she uses rather a lot of butter in almost everything, I notice - yummy!), we begin to wind down and think of sleep. The Pioneer Woman's family are all out in the pastures riding horses, herding cattle, and getting hungry. My husband is probably getting hungry. He would probably like some lasagna and garlic cheese bread. Or perhaps Salisbury Steak. Maybe I should think about making him some.

But maybe I should just leave that to Martha and The Pioneer Woman. I'm much too tired. 

Happy birthday, lovely M-I-L!
the SconeLady

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

1916 - and Counting

We were three families raising wheat and strawberries, and children. Our grandfather built the Barn (it must have a capital 'B') in 1916 and did it so meticulously that here it still stands. Strong and beautiful and much loved.

We returned today, and roamed again through this amazing Barn. Our cousin and his family have spent countless hours over the years, keeping the Barn and the property pristine; refurbishing and protecting it from the harsh elements. They knew, and know still, that it is a Treasure.

Our driver is my husband, who had never yet seen the inside of this Barn. My cousin kindly leads us to it and through it, sharing his knowledge of its history, its transformation to a wedding venue, and the ideas they have for its future. He has told this story to so many, but shares it today as though we are his first listeners.

Not very many can say they were raised within a few yards of such a Barn. That they had acres upon which to run and play, and laugh and fight. That they grew up able to work the strawberry fields before such an idea was banished for the young. That they had a rickety old bridge to cross each day, built over a deep culvert often filled with water. That they could walk out the door with no real idea of where they would go, or when they would return - for it was assumed by their mothers that they would return, or there would likely be a spanking (before such an idea was banished for the young..).

A lovely way to begin life! We moved from the farm when I was five, and went another direction. But we never forgot, and always loved, those acres and that Barn. And the family who were there to care for it.

Farms and barns all across this land are sturdy outposts of the love of that Old way. We should stand strong for those who are raising their children to work hard and enjoy the fruits of those labors. So that their children can work and run and play, and perhaps cross rickety old bridges built over deep water.

Before such an idea is banished for the young.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

When I first came to this Land,
I was not a wealthy man.
So I got myself a farm,
And I did what I could.

So I got myself a farm,
I called that farm 'a muscle in my arm'.
But the land was sweet and good,
And I did what I could.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Wealth in the Richest Sense

There's Always A Family

Scattered around outposts all over this wide world, you will find family - if you take the time. That is what we are seeking as we climb into a car and drive eastward. Together we decide to gather, and travel, and find those who share our name and knew us When.

The fields of eastern Oregon seem strangely the same, yet prettier than they used to be. The houses inside the town are less pretty than they used to be, but crammed with memories that have kept them pretty in our minds (I hope people extend to me that same graceful memory).

We catch up with friends and aunts and cousins, finding what roads they have traveled since last we were here. I remember a similar trip in 1984 when a friend said, "Let me know when I start acting old." Ha! Little did we know that we were young.

We take our mother with us on a drive up to the small cemetery above the town (this is a tradition), and notice the cemetery has grown. It is the place we roamed as children, finding the names of ancestors and thinking the years would never engulf us as they did these poor unfortunates. 

We are not quite as convinced on that point, now..

These thoughts begin to take root in my heart, but then! - the iPhone rings its pretty little tune. It is our lovely daughter, with a FaceTime request! The three grandchildren bounce up and down in front of their mother's phone, showing us their new harmonicas (the boys') and a sweet new mirror (small girl's). They are so blond and so excited to see us that the four of them crowd and wriggle in front of the tiny iPhone camera, as their mother struggles to hold it in place.

Suddenly someone grabs something that belongs to the small granddaughter. Just as suddenly she is off, running and pumping those legs to beat the band. I am not certain of the outcome. There was considerable vocalization and protest and - well, communication going on. The iPhone camera follows the action and then, ever so briefly, switches back to our pretty daughter's face - looking hilariously bemused.

All of this action sweetly startled me away from thoughts of cemeteries or ancestors or gravestones. It jogged me back to Life, a sweet reminder that I am thankfully still here along with my siblings, my mother, my children and their children, and my loyal and funny husband. 

Not a 'poor unfortunate', that's for sure. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Travel Day

Hello dear Scone Lovers,

Yesterday was a travel day here at SconeTherapy, but sometime today a blog post should appear.

In the meantime, think of a good scone recipe you have enjoyed - and send it to me! You can place it in the 'comments' section, below and I will promise to bake them next week ready for a new scone post.

This week I have been enjoying the book you see below, and have some exciting things to share with you.

See you among the way!
the SconeLady

Book from friend Rosie

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dorney Court, 1990

We were invited to Garden Cottage, and were enchanted. 

It was freezing cold, of course, and one of us had jet lag. But we didn't care! My sister and I were together, this was England, and we would drink it all in with or without central heating.

Our sweet hosts were as British as an American couple can become, and without the least bit of pretense. Their friends and neighbors were British, they cooked British foods, and I do not for a moment think they ever populated a CostCo. Gordon and Eddie were as close as we could get to the uniqueness of the British, with the openness of all good Americans. That their son had married our little sister endeared them even further!

Dorney Court

Garden Cottage was on the property of Dorney Court, a Tudor Manor House near Windsor Castle. Have you ever seen it, dear Readers? My sister and I had caught a glimpse as we approached the Cottage, and were wild to see it up close. "Do you think we could, Eddie?" 

"Oh, certainly! The Palmers know you are here, and would love to meet you," Eddie answered. "They are as kind as can be, and I am certain they would like for you to see inside the Manor."

We couldn't believe our good fortune as we met the very gracious Lord and Lady of the Manor. We sat with them for coffee in their kitchen. We were offered chocolate cake and listened to them discuss the upkeep of the Manor. We saw the downstairs portions of their home, and the children were mesmerized by suits of armor and fading portraits of long dead ancestors. 

And here's something fun: we learned that Dorney Court is a film location for many movies and television series. A few of them are:
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Agatha Christie
  • Inspector Morse
  • Great Expectations
  • Cranford
  • Jeeves and Wooster
  • Sense and Sensibility (a favorite)

One day we were told that an episode of Jeeves and Wooster was being filmed inside the Manor. What!? We crept toward the House, trying to be inconspicuous (but failed). To our delight, we saw the film equipment through an open window. I completely forgot myself, ran up to the window and peered in, near enough to see both Jeeves and Wooster. 

I really wanted to stammer out something about an autograph, but there was a sudden shout. 

"CUT!! Hey, who is at the window? Stand away, Madam, can't you see we're filming?!"

How mortifying. How completely embarrassing! To be so shouted at in front of both Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Not that they really cared. To them I was simply one more hapless American fan, creeping up to windows and holding out pens and bits of paper.

An American fan with neither Sense, nor Sensibility.  Only nerve. We seem to have lots of that.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Things We Do For A Scone

It was so cold, we thought it must be some kind of joke. Of course, it was December in London and raining sideways but really, this was not at all funny. 

My sister and I had a day to spend in London without the children. They were safely tucked away in school and would be collected by friend Rosie (she of the scones). So we had no strict deadline on this Day of Days. We felt light as feathers as we rode the train toward the beauty and the brilliance that was London.

It was a Day of Days because we were going to luxuriate at The Savoy for Afternoon Tea. This was a much anticipated privilege we had never thought to experience, being the small town farming community girls that we were. We knew that it was upscale and pricey, but The Savoy was at the top of both our wish lists. And we were ecstatic.
Yet we were wary of somehow bungling it in front of the 'cultured' who gathered there. We determined together to be very careful, very proper. We would glide through the doors with grace. Also, we would not be obviously American (we had heard of Obvious Americans, and did not wish to be mistaken for one). 

And so we felt ready. But as we approached London, we discovered WE HAD NO UMBRELLA - and by now it was simply pouring with rain. We stumbled through Paddington Station toward the Tube, rode one as near to the Savoy as we could get (not near enough) - and had to make a mad dash of it. It was not the carefully proper entry we had hoped for. No. I'm afraid we suddenly became what we really were. Obviously American. Oh dear..

We were both soaking wet (understatement). Our makeup was dislodged, and our hair? -wet strings. Shoes squished and clothing dripped as we made our way through the luxurious entrance. A waiter (or was he the Butler? we weren't sure..) approached to enquire as to our reservation. I in turn enquired as to where we might find the loo. And there in the calm luxury of that cultured restroom, we repaired what damage we could. But there is only so much one can do against a torrent, without one's makeup bag.

The 'Butler' was gracious (behaving as though we were flawlessly coifed), kindly led us to our tea table and oversaw the delivery of the following culinary riches:

  • pots of fine leaf tea
  • finger sandwiches
  • homemade scones (with clotted cream and jam)
  • seasonal cakes and pastries, all created by the Savoy Executive Pastry Chef

We ate every bite, and came away groaning.

In the end, it didn't matter that we had come in looking as though the cat itself had dragged us; it didn't matter that someone there might think we were Americans. It didn't even really matter how we felt when handed the bill (umm..aghast). Because as they say, there are some things money can't buy.

For everything else, there's MasterCard*.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

*1997 MasterCard 'Priceless' Commercial

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Monday, March 24, 2014

End of One, Beginning of Another (part 10)

(the following post refers to part 7 of this current series)

As Dr. Strowbridge (and his cigar) drove away, I thought about that paddle. There it hung on the wall for all potentially mischievous students to ponder. Surely it was what they might call a Deterrent? Surely if I had been able to use it (especially on Curt, who could NOT SIT STILL OR CLOSE HIS MOUTH), well then my lesson would not have been so entirely HUMILIATING. Even sitting here today, telling you about it, I feel humiliated.

But I didn't want to use a paddle, really. I must instead find a way.
This was the question for all of us that year. What really would we do? Although most of our Ed classes taught that good lesson plans were all we needed ("good planning produces good discipline"), there was one professor who gave us more. He began his career in a high school where students did quite a lot of cursing and scoffing and sneering at teachers. 

One day a student ran up and shrieked profanities an inch from his face, then made good his escape back to his desk, laughing. The teacher had finally had enough. With newfound adrenaline, he picked up the desk of the foul-mouthed student (with the student still in the desk) and propelled both desk and student straight into the wall with a resounding crash! As pencils and books and paper scattered, the rest of the belligerent classroom looked at him with profound awe, and said no more.

It was highly unlikely that I would use this strategy, of course, and he wasn't suggesting it. But I found myself wishing I was strong enough to at least pretend that I could.

Before you are too shocked by anything I've said, I have a question for you. Have you ever found yourself an inch away from the shrieking mouth of an aggressive and combative young person? Has a room full of students ever laughed and risen to their collective feet, throwing paper while you gave a lesson and your advisor watched? If not, I can tell you right now -

It isn't pretty.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

End of One, Beginning of Another (part 9)

More Than Simple Goodness

I walked out of Burton's Restaurant, and into my dear Rambler. It was a station wagon. I don't know if they make Ramblers anymore (I will have to look that up) but the one I had was sweet. Also sweet was the person who gave it to me - his name was Dan.
Have you ever been given a car? I mean, just simply given it out of a clear blue sky. No? Well I hadn't either. Its owner knew of the dreadful smashup I'd had whilst trying to ride a bike, in the rain, with a guitar slung over my back (it was ugly and can be read about in part 5 of this current series). Also, I needed to travel several miles each Sunday morning at 7:00, to sing in the earliest church service. With the guitar. In the (frequently freezing) rain. It was impossible. So he, listening to God, helped make the impossible  possible.

There are people like Dan, who hold possessions on an open palm and do not clutch. Rather, they kindly give them to others who need them - in his case, he thought I needed it more than he. And so he gave. His words were, "It is not mine anyway. It's His."
On the first very cold Sunday morning that winter, I remember standing dismayed at the front of the church, guitar strapped on, hair combed and not wet or blown or messed in any way, when - in through the big double doors strode Dan. Like a solid block of ice. Shivering. Red faced. Wrapped in scarves and gloves, but not enough.

Poor man! The bicycle hadn't protected him much, but the Rambler had protected me. I timidly approached him afterward, saying, "Umm, Dan. Do you think you should have your Rambler back?"

"No, he blurted, "It is yours now and that's irreversible. But I'm gonna need a warmer coat!" and we both laughed. And over the next two years, I would see my car's former owner stagger in like an icicle, week after week. 

Humbling. That's what it all was.

And now on a late summer's day, my dear Rambler was in front of Burton's Restaurant, filled with boxes to be taken to my new digs! The college professor's lovely home. Home of another such giver-from-the-heart, holder of possessions on an open palm. The hilarious, the sensitive, the generous, and the so-much-more than a waitress from Burton's - my new friend.


See you along they way!
the SconeLady

*I looked it up! The last U.S. built Rambler was produced in 1969. Sad!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

End of One, Beginning of Another (part 8)

A Friend

We all loved Burton's Restaurant. There was something so delicious about it and we tried to go there as much as possible. Their coffee was more than 10 cents and so I did not make it past my 10 cent spot real often. But when I had a few extra pennies, Burton's was definitely the place.

I remembered it from the time in 1969 when, after my big brother's wedding we all ate there and someone in our party had not left the salt and pepper shakers behind and there was a dreadful row about it. Whew! All I could think was, thank heaven's it wasn't me.
I soon learned that one of the waitresses at Burton's was so friendly and outgoing that everyone knew her. She was blond, quick, aware of what people liked, and funny. People were always laughing, as she carried her coffee pot from table to table. 

At the end of the summer of 1976, I was suddenly in need of a place to live. An expected apartment arrangement had fallen through, much to my distress, and I was talking about this at Burton's one afternoon. "I don't know what I am going to do, Sally. I have no where to go, the apartment isn't available anymore, and my boxes are all sitting out there in the Rambler. I think I'm sort of Homeless!" This certainly would not do, since I would begin Student Teaching the following week.

The blond waitress (whose name was Nancy) overheard this shocking possibility of homelessness, and stopped by our table. "I couldn't help but hear you - umm, did you say you need a place to stay?" 

"Well, yes I do. What are you thinking?"

"I've got a place! It's my parents' house and they are overseas until January so you can stay there with me if you like. And it wouldn't cost you anything because I'm not paying anything."

This couldn't be happening. I watched her as she offered this surprising gift, but hesitated...we didn't know each other, and I just wasn't sure - yet.

"Well, I was trying to find somewhere to live on my own...but this sounds pretty interesting. Can you tell me more about it?"

She became more excited. "It would almost feel like living alone, really it would. You could have the main floor, which has the big bedroom and bathroom, the living and dining rooms, and kitchen. And another bathroom and bedroom," said Nancy. "And I would live downstairs. There's masses of space!"

This would be simply perfect! Somewhere to spread out a bit, somewhere alone, but not alone. And an actual home! 

I stood up at the table to hug her, and then suddenly we were jumping up and down in a circle together - right there in Burton's! People in the tables around us cheered and clapped. But the manager popped his head out the kitchen door. "Hey, what's this all about, Nancy? Table 9 needs menus."

We quickly stopped mid-jump, and she hurried over to table 9, grabbing menus along the way. Thus was the decision made, to live in the main floor of a college professor's lovely home, sharing the abode with Nancy the student/waitress. And being able to move in before Student Teaching began.

It was the beginning of an adventure, one we were not at all aware of as we laughed and jumped in a circle in that restaurant full of people. But it was alright. We had all at once become friends. People who could count on each other. Roomies...Blondes!

And, maybe I could leave behind the 10 cent coffee. At least, for now.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Stories We Never Ever Heard

Is It Possible To Be Scared/Mad 20 Years Later?

It all began with, "WE WERE BORED". That's it. All the stories start the same because boyish minds tend to dream up all kinds of mayhem when their minds have no clear Agenda. So beware of tedium in the young.
The grownups were all innocently pursuing their own interests, cooking, or working, or even just reading. Their sons were bored and searching. Riding bikes down a large culvert in a New Mexico town. And then suddenly a large brick (or stone or rock or cement block, the details aren't certain) came whizzing past the innocent head of one boy. That boy did not like the large brick whizzing past his head, innocent or otherwise. 

So he spun around (his cousin saying, "Wait.."), picked up his own large brick and hurled it in the general direction of the stone thrower's head; this person quickly ducked behind a cement fence just in time for the brick to strike the top of the cement and change its trajectory. The direction was now straight through the downstairs window of the stone thrower's house. BUSTED! 

More things now happened in quick succession:
  • the original stone thrower's mother came out of her house screaming
  • the boys on their bikes turned and dashed from the scene
  • the bike riding brick thrower escaped but then got lost
  • the bike riding brick thrower's cousin did not escape
  • the cousin explained reasonably that the screaming mother's son had thrown the first stone
  • the screaming mother turned to scream at her son
  • the cousin escaped and found his cousin wandering hapless and lost
To their credit all of this was relayed, with some trepidation, at the dinner table that night. The cousin felt he had just better get it over with in case any police showed up at the door. His uncle listened, then said, "Looks like you had a pretty busy time of it."  A small silence. "Pass the potatoes, please.."

And that was that. Thank goodness for understanding uncles (who had had, I know, similar escapes of his own..).
That bike riding brick thrower (now grown and in his right mind) relayed yet another story to us around the table, as we celebrated a 90th birthday. The same two boys (this time in an Oregon town) felt bored and started mooching around in a vacant lot. Suddenly, "Hey look at this! A bunch of snakes!" 

The boys advanced gingerly toward several snakes in the dirt, snakes who were minding their own sweet business, perhaps discussing how nice it was to have found such a spacious place to live and slither around in, and with no boys to bother them.

But their reverie was interrupted. The snakes were scooped up and carried to the front yard of one cousin, where they slithered in confusion as the boys discussed the possibilities. "Hey. Why don't we make them into water snakes?"

The snakes were forthwith propelled (head first) into a nearby water hose. They were extremely reluctant to go but could think of no exit strategy of their own. I don't like to think about it but that water hose was probably hot and steamy, and rather confusing. But into the hose they went, one after another. 

And suddenly - ON went the water, all at once gushing forth with great force. OUT came the snakes, flying through air and water in an almost perfect series of aimed arcs, to land thump! into the grass. Other things now happened in quick succession.

  • the snakes slithered away
  • they were scooped up in mid-slither
  • the snakes were inserted
  • the water was turned on
  • the snakes flew out of the hose in a series of almost perfect arcs
  • you know the rest
Ah, the innocence of youth. The carefree moments of boys with a few hours alone, no grownups hovering, no timecards to punch. There are other summer stories of boredom, perhaps involving the Grand Canyon, or Rooster Rock, or the back yard sprinkler. But we will draw a veil over those, for now. 

I don't think I can take any more.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

*do not try this at home
**no snakes were harmed in the making of this story

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

20 Million Viewers Can't Be Wrong

Diving In To Perfection

(sample: cleared countertop of my dreams) 
My children grew up in a home where the kitchen counter was always cleared. At least, mostly cleared. Well, I tried to keep it cleared but it was impossible and my expectations were frequently squelched. Sigh..

I love cleared kitchen countertops, and can't help it. If someone else's kitchen countertop is not cleared I am not one bit bothered. It is only my own that cause me to be restless and twitchy. With small children about and meals to be gotten, with child-sized hands creating messiness and playing at the sink with soap and suds and cups, this is not a very easy burden to bear. (The cleared countertops, I mean. The children part is sweet and pleasant and not burden-like).

I used to wonder why on earth I cared so much and needed so badly to keep every item off the countertop to where I could wipe it without obstacles being bumped. Then watching TV one day years ago, I had an epiphany. I suddenly knew exactly why the obsession existed. I could blame it all on...


Oh my goodness, June Cleaver! Her countertops were as cleared as they could be, and you could play a hockey match on them. She was a homemaker (bless her). And her husband worked nearby. And it never rained. And the boys didn't argue with her (apart from the occasional whine or shrug). And - well, AND. That's it.

This obsession with countertops actually didn't end there, it was extended to her whole house (neat and tidy), to her occasional tables (dusted), to her piano (no trashy music strewn about on top of it), to the bedrooms (beds made, clothes neatly put away), to Ward's den (desk tidy and papers filed), to the rest of her immaculate kitchen (no appliances on the countertops, dishes cleaned and put away, table cleared). It's a wonder they ever ate

One day, feeling nostalgic and a little disgusted with my cluttered kitchen, I scrolled down through the channels, searching for inspiration. There was a rerun of 'Married With Children', 'Beavis and Butt-head', and a spate of 'Sex in the City' episodes. I tried to peek into the kitchens of these location sets but could never find them, cleared or cluttered. It was no use. I would have to find the Disney Channel, or whatever place Beaver might be lurking in black and white.

Of course - I could resort to Youtube! I dashed for the laptop and typed out the keyword, diving right in to that sweet step backwards where, even if only for a moment, one can dream of near-perfection in this crazy world.

And where the kitchen countertops are always, enticingly, cleared.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

PHOTO above:

photo credit: <a href="">The Bees Knees Daily</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">The Bees Knees Daily</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

90 and Counting

Her Graceful Day

Some time during the night, she turned 90. and did it beautifully!

Everyone was excited to arrive and find her today, standing graciously (of course) just around the bend as we walked in. Everyone wanted to be near her, and crowded round. Behind the doors we strode past were the people who have now become her friends. Throughout the morning they would see her and pause to touch her arm, shake her hand, hug her one more time. And say, 'Oh Jessie, you can't be 90!!' But, oh! she can.

Her tendency is/has always been to direct attention toward others, and so she asks them how they are feeling? How is John doing now? 'Oh, and do you need a ride next Tuesday?' She remembers what concerns them. All are charmed, and really don't want to stop talking but we slowly make our way toward our first Event. Breakfast!

Which was deliciously followed by lunch, and then a massage parlor (dreamy!), and finally, dinner (not that anyone could bear one more bite!). Her Day was lovely, truly graced by the clear blue (but cold) skies so prevalent in this woodland town. Children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered round her, telling stories, remembering, laughing a lot and eating even more. But strangely, among the stories were some our children had NEVER TOLD US BEFORE (you really must hear the one about the snake in a hose..) and so we never knew to be scared about. Good grief!

But now, dear Scone lovers, here I am sleepily sitting in this sweet forest cabin, eyes drooping and fingers strangely slow. The fire is bright, warm, comforting. But I must leave you now with one last picture of the Lady who has been our guide, our guardian, our friend, and central to all of these - our Mother. 
See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Aih.</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Mother's Hands

Call Her 'Blessed'

As I sit here talking with you, charming family members are on their way to this sweet woodland town. They come because they can't wait to see our mother, who will be 90 tomorrow. You know of the SconeLady's mother because she has come often into our stories here - she of the firm faith, endless trust in her children, and love of God, with - sometimes - white knuckles during my more challenging moments. Poor mom!

making Apple Cobbler a'la SconeLady   
But she came through them all. And so we honor her these next few days, with food, and small pleasant children, and entertaining young people. All love her, and all look up to her.

It's what we hope to be in the future. 

And so I and my sister are in a flurry of cooking and baking! Tonight's feast will consist of my mother-in-law's recipe for Hawaiian Meatballs, rice, steamed broccoli, salad, homemade hot rolls, AND - the piece-de-resistance? Apple Cobbler and ice cream. It sits in the oven right now, enticing everybody but especially the SconeLady's husband whose particular favorite it is.

Our mother is herself an incredibly good cook, so whatever it is we are able to make/bake/broil/steam or grill is largely due to her. Much of my learning came from standing next to her stove, the burners being at about eye level as I watched her making magic, over and over again.

We have a short video of her wedding from the year 1943. In it you can see her hands, strong and firm and lovely, as is she. To this day, I just love those hands. They don't look the same as they did in 1943. They look better. They have held me, and changed me, they have kept me safe when afraid, have made thousands of meals, washed millions of dishes, raised and fed 5+6 children, welcomed and loved numerous of their children, and now they are the caring hands which help keep her husband safe, and calm, and right where he needs to be. Hers are the amazing hands of love. 

And so we thank you, Mother, for all that you are, all that you have been, and will be in the future. 


"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many woman do noble things, but you surpass them all." Proverbs 31:26ff

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Winchell's Donut I Never Had...

..But Always Wanted

Don't you think that's sad?

To want one in the worst way but never get? To sit inside a Winchell's Donut shop and watch OTHERS biting into the sweet dreaminess of a fresh maple bar? It truly boggles the mind how much self control that took. Today I would eat one, if I could find one (is there even a Winchell's anymore? I'll have to look that up).

With all this scone-eating one would think the SconeLady had always been relaxed about such indulgences. But it was not always so. No, there was a time when the Keep was fortified, barricaded and secured from any such break-in. 

But I am making up for it. Right now.
And, I am thinking back. It was not only the donut that was banished, for me. It was butter. Potatoes. Bread. Regular salad dressing. Sour Cream. Gravy. Ice Cream. Pies. Cakes. Candy. Sauces. Cinnamon Rolls. Milkshakes or floats. Hamburgers or hot dogs. Are you tired of reading the list yet? because I am tired of writing it.

My food focus centered instead around things like cucumbers. Yes. Mounds of cucumbers!

I will probably say more about this subject at some point. But for now, my encouragement would be to let yourself enjoy food. Of all kinds. My daughter told me long ago that a good rule of thumb seemed to be: Move more, Eat less. Simple huh? Only I switched it to, Move more, Eat more. I love it! And I follow it for miles and miles, everyday.

And so it seems I am making up for years of self-deprivation, now. The question has become: Ask me if there is one person in this world who would care if I had a piece of pie right now? Is there even one? Certainly I haven't found them and decided to stop looking quite a while ago. 

Now that I am done with today's blog post, I think I'll sidle out to the kitchen and see what might be interesting..

...and I don't think it will be cucumbers.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

P.S. I looked it up. The only Winchell's left are located in Salinas, CA and Las Vegas, NV. Argh. But I know right where I can find a great maple bar, just down the road!

photo credit: <a href="">Pink Sherbet Photography</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href=""></a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>