just my thoughts


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favorite places and spaces in my mind

tea time

The prompt for July 3rd that caught my eye at Friday Reflections has had me thinking for days.  How could I pick one favorite place?  There have been so many of them.  I think about all the places I have traveled, the things I have seen and done.  How could I possibly whittle it to one favorite?  Janine Ripper at Reflections From a Redhead described her favorite place so colorfully, I was ready to pack a bag and leave right then.

But picking my favorite place?   It finally dawned on me.  The place that is my favorite of all is….

the grapes of cath

my mind

That’s right.  All the places I have visited, the things I have seen, are all trapped in lovely memories.  They are stored away, like a filing cabinet full of cards and photos, and I can revisit and think about them whenever I want to.  This ability to pull memories and close my eyes and be there is something I have always done.  It is especially helpful right now, at this moment in my life when there is so much going on with so many people in my life that I often wonder what will happen next.

watercolor, pen & ink

Today, I have pulled out a memory of one of those places.  My sister Vicky’s back yard (garden for those of you who don’t call a yard a yard) and one of the most peaceful places I have ever been.  It is a place I can sit quietly, looking at the flowers, birds, bees, and listening to the breeze blowing gently through the trees, stirring the leaves to a soft rustling sound.  It is a place I have painted, photographed and long to be when things are overwhelming.  It is my morning refuge, my favorite place to drink my tea and think about all the vagaries of life.

vix, watering her plants

It is a place I return to at least twice a year…and where I will return once more in October of this year.  Until then, I have my memories, filed away in my mind to pull out and relive over and over whenever I feel a yearning for peace and quiet.

morning in the garden

   

 

the perfect rose

 …life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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brimming possibility

Today is a new day. Every day is a new day. I am an early riser, the middle of the night to most people is an early start for me. I have turned my habit of waking early into a time to reflect on the day past, and think about the day that is beginning.  A ritual start to my day is to brew a cup of tea to sip as I think.  Some of my most coherent thoughts come during this time of day.  Some of you may call this meditation, and I guess you could label it as such.  But for me, it is just a solitary moment…with my cup of tea.

How do you start your day?


…life is brimming with good. ~cath 
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


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concoction

Last night I cooked supper for Steve.  I had been trying a recipe I didn’t have time for during the holidays, so I decided since I had dessert, I would really shock the s**t out of him and cook a main course.  I am a simple person when it comes to cooking.  I believe in using the fewest pots possible to make a meal.  I measure my success in cooking in the amount of dishes I DON’T dirty…weird I know but since I have never had a dishwasher, there is a method to my madness.

I looked in the fridge and saw some leftover cheese dip I had made.  Aha! I thought to myself, I’ll make a concoction and save pots and be thrifty at the same time (i.e., using leftovers and not throwing them away), in effect killing two birds with one stone.

con·coc·tion
kənˈkäkSHən/
noun
  1. 1.
    a mixture of various ingredients or elements.
    “a concoction of gables, shingles, stained glass, and towers inspired by English medieval houses”
    synonyms: mixturebrewpreparationpotion

    “a concoction containing gin and vodka”
    “a strange concoction of folk pop and Gregorian chant”


So I took the cheese dip out (it had ground beef in it, always a starting point for any concoction), boiled some noodles (it was either noodles or spaghetti pasta, and I felt egg noodles would be more aesthetically pleasing).  Then I tossed them all together in the same pot I had boiled the noodles in (after draining off the noodle water of course).  Voila, dinner and dessert and I didn’t even break a sweat.

As I made the concoction, I thought about how the word came into being in our family.  It is a word my sisters will understand the moment they see this post.  What does this word mean to me?

It is how I learned to cook.  When I was about 13 or 14, my mother was on a journey of self discovery.  She was a good cook, but never wanted anyone helping her in the kitchen, and so I knew nothing about cooking.  Somehow, when mom and dad divorced and mother went to work, I chose the task of cooking for my sisters and I.  Don’t ask me why, because it was long before I knew about Julia Child.  In fact, I didn’t even know how to boil water.  That was the first thing I learned to do, and it was about that time I started drinking tea.  I had tried coffee with milk and sugar but mom had told me that if I was going to drink coffee, I had to drink it black.  So that stopped my coffee drinking cold, and I fell in love with tea.  Milk and sugar of course, which for some reason didn’t offend mom’s sensibilities.  It’s a habit I still have.  

After I learned to boil water, I began to think of ways to cook something we could actually eat.  I decided to started with ground beef.  That was almost always the base for my concoctions.  After that I tossed in whatever we had in the pantry.  But the magic began the first time I spotted the spice rack and decided to “spice” it up.  I knew spaghetti had spices, and so did a lot of other recipes.  I wasn’t working with a recipe, so I decided to just let my imagination guide me.

My sisters will say straight up that my imagination caused epic failures much of the time. There were times what I cooked was delicious, or at least palatable.  Then there were the times the girls thought I was trying to poison them. 

I can hear them laughing as they read this.  What started out as an experiment in learning for me, brought us all closer.  Along the way, we learned to rely on ourselves, and that we could do anything we set our minds to.  An attitude that persists to this day in all three of us.

What a memory.  What marvelous times we had, and we didn’t even realize it at the time.

See you soon Vix and Dooj…and I’ll make you a concoction while I am there.  I’ve improved just a bit over the years. xo  

…life is so very good. ~cath 
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


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the grown up day

I was born in the Chinese year of the dragon.  Additionally, this year the element sign is water, which is also my element.  Because this is my year, special things have been happening to me, and around me.  This is for my grands.   It’s a fractured tale, but it’s my tale and I’m sticking to it.


Once upon a time there was a Gramps and a Grammy.  They loved their grandkids and loved to have them visit, but once in a while Grammy and Gramps liked to have a grown up day by themselves.  This was so they could spend some special time together and have some grown up fun.

the beautiful day
One weekend the day was so beautiful that they decided to get out and have some fun.  They talked about lots they could do, and finally decided to go to the state line and buy some lottery tickets.  Because this was Grammy’s year, the year of the dragon, and she was going to win the lottery and build everyone in the family their own castle.
So Gramps spent the day before the trip washing his new truck, and polishing it, and cleaning all the mats so not even a blade of grass or speck of dirt could be found in it.  It was so shiny it looked like a new red apple sitting in the front yard.  
On Saturday morning Gramps put the bum’s rush on Grammy to get her ready and out the door, even though she only took thirty minutes to get ready, and even though it had taken that shiny red truck eight hours to get ready.
They left the house and drove to the big city, stopping to get Grammy some of her special Starbucks tea.  Gramps got himself a big cup of coffee too.  They drove on down the road to buy the [lottery] ticket that would give them a pie-in-the-sky life.
Gramps’ pants
A little way down the road, Gramps tried to set his coffee in the cup holder, and missed, even though it was a big cup holder.  The coffee bounced on his lap, then rolled down his leg, leaving a trail of hot coffee all the way down his left pants leg.  Grammy tried not to laugh, she really did, but she just couldn’t behave like a Grammy should, and she laughed loudly as Gramps said some really ugly words.  (Gramps got coffee on his left sock too.)
They rode a little farther, and got to the place where they sell those special prize winning tickets that have Grammy’s name on them.  Just as they exited the highway and turned into the parking lot, Grammy’s tea fell off the top of the center console where she had accidently left it, and it rolled down Gramps’ right leg, leaving a trail of tea stains.  Grammy made sure not to laugh this time, because she was afraid Gramps might get really mad at her for not having her tea in the cup holder.  By the time the truck stopped, there was a big puddle of tea in Gramps’ freshly cleaned floor mat.
the real food place
Gramps got the special ticket that was going to make Grammy a rich woman, and found out that the store didn’t have any paper towels in it.  Not one single roll.  So Gramps had to use his special window cleaning cloths to mop up the tea.
After he got finished, they rode to a nearby store to buy Gramps some new pants.  Then they drove back to the big city, and went to a nice restaurant and had some really good food.  They enjoyed the real food because they had been eating cardboard dieting for weeks.  After they finished their real food, Gramps took Grammy to the movie.  It was a very exciting movie (the kind men always like with lots of action).
Grammy and Gramps had so much fun being grown ups that day.  And Gramps learned an important lesson.
Never put the bum’s rush on Grammy when she is getting ready to go out, or hot tea and coffee will always fall on your side of the seat.  Every time.  Because this is the year of the dragon, and Grammy’s turn to laugh.

She didn’t laugh too much though, because Gramps got her a second cup of her special hot tea on the way home.  Starbucks Tazo Chai latte.  And it never left her hand.

The End