Saturday, August 25, 2007

Green Glass Plates

Last weekend my extended family congregated in Vermont for a family reunion to remember the life of my Grandmother who passed away earlier this year. Due to being ill, I was unable to go, and sorely missed the chance to see my dear cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives.

Once home, my sister came over to visit, laden with a basket under her arm. Carefully she pulled out newspaper-wrapped discs and unwrapped them for me to see. Grandma's green glass plates!

These green glass plates hold many memories for me. We lived next door to Grandma until I was four years old, and then we lived 8 to 11 to 20 (or more) hours away. We always went back to visit, and many birthdays were celebrated in Grandma's kitchen. Grandma would bake a delicious chocolate cake from scratch, cover it in a thick layer of chocolate icing and set it before the happy birthday child. Later, slices would be cut and served to each of us and our cousins -- on the green glass plates.

And now here are the plates in my own home. I hope to carry on the memories into the next generations as we continue to use, and cherish, the green glass plates!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Views from Bed

Yesterday I was strong enough to spend some time with Rachel in the afternoon. We had some decaf Earl Grey along with afternoon snacks. We also read another one of Beatrix Potter's books -- she wrote about 22 of them, and we are attempting to read them all! (Bit by bit)

Each Tuesday my Mom has been bringing me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden to brighten up my bedroom. It's amazing the flowers have survived in this horrendous heat we've had here in the Midwest.
One day, early on in my retreat to bed, my sister Christina came by with this absolutely gorgeous cake (all gluten free too!).
Missing the wedding of dear friends that we had been looking forward to all year was one of the big dissappointments of being stuck in bed. It seemed everyone in my family played a part in the wedding -- Michael was marrying the couple, and of course officiating at the rehearsal, and my Mom was the head florist with her team of my two sisters and other dear friends. I was very blessed the next day to have one of the table decorations sent home from church by the bride's mother. Here it is sitting on my dresser. I was also delighted to be able to partake of the remains of the rehearsal dinner (Chinese!) And Michael came home from the wedding with a beautiful box wrapped up in pink with ribbons. Inside was an elegant oriental-design teapot -- a "just-because" gift from the Mother of the Bride. I felt as though all these things were "postcards" from the Lord, reminding me that He was taking care of me, despite how I felt.
And here is Baby David who comes to visit me in bed each day. He always notices if there is food about, and he is quick to spot a phone or clock to play with.
Yes, this is the view from my side of the bed. I probably have too many books, diaries, magazines, etc. lying around, but somehow I feel more "secure" with plenty in front of me. I'm on a spurt of Provence memoirs, and I can't believe how similar they all are! The storyline is exactly the same -- buy run-down house, fix up run-down house, recount all the hassles of fixing it up.

My Mom's zinias are just beautiful!!! Thanks, Mom, for sharing your garden with me!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Pantry

I am happy to report that I am continuing to improve! I have been able to start walking around some and am trying to build up stamina. Just last evening, Michael kindly drove to the library and brought home a stack of nine books I had requested. Among them was this delightful new book called "The Pantry -- It's History and Modern Uses" by Catherine Seiberling Pond. I must highly recommend it!

The Pantry is filled with beautiful pictures, delightful quotes, and informative and interesting text. I see that the author has written for Victoria in the past, and this book is like an extended article from Victoria. I've gleaned several ideas for my own pantries and can't wait for energy to make them a reality.

I think my earliest "pantry" memory is from when I was about 3 or maybe 4. At the time, we lived in rural Vermont. My mother was friends with an old lady named Bertha, an aged spinster who lived in a very old house at the bottom of a hill, just outside the village.

I remember Bertha going into her pantry when we visited, to bring out some ritz crackers as a treat for me. Her pantry was a room just behind the kitchen, with its entrance door to the right side of the big wood stove. The door was painted and I have this memory of seeing inside as the door opened -- painted shelves and a countertop, at least around half of the square little room, if not all the way around.

The pantry, shut off from the rest of the house, was cold. And then there was this distinctive smell that permeated the air. I can't quite figure out how to describe it. Was it the smell of stale crackers? Or maybe of lard from the making of pie crusts? It is categorized in my mind as the "smell of an old ladie's pantry."

This was the room in which Bertha must have made the apple pies that she then gave to my parents. These pies were made with lard, baked in her wood stove, and delivered with pride to my mother's doorstep. The memory of these pies always made my Dad chuckle. "They were made with rancid lard," he would say, "and tasted of wood smoke. There was no way we could manage to eat them and we had to discreetly dispose of them."

Bertha was a dear, and I shall always remember the ritz crackers from her pantry (which I did eat and enjoy).

PS: I received some lovely comments from Jenny, and I'm not sure how to write directly to you, but thank you for commenting.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hello from Bed

In case you may be wondering just what has happened to me -- I am still alive! I have been in bed the last 18 days recovering from a very bad chronic fatigue crash. I'm not sure how long I will be in bed, yet, but the recovery will take quite a bit longer than it has in the past.
So, until I regain a bit more strength, I'm afraid my blogging will have to be put on hold temporarily. I am able to read a few blogs now and then, and that is a bright spot in the day.
Happy August!