Sunday, August 9, 2015

Eat It

It doesn't matter if it's fresh or canned, 
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it… 

It was probably the last weekend of the summer for Evan to come over. He starts junior high in a couple of weeks and with that, all the pre-activities associated with the beginning of school. We’d had a great school clothes shopping day (another post sometime), and were back at the house. We did our traditional corny ritual of watching a detective show or two before bed then hit the sack. Both of us were tired, me especially! 
The next day we slept in, Evan til noon! I let him because he’ll be going strong soon. We had another corny ritual, what we call doctor coffee. When they were little I let them drink coffee. Judge me if you must. I would fix theirs, about ¼ coffee in their travel mug, to ¾ milk. I’d sweeten it and they loved it. We’ve since graduated to flavored creamers and it’s still amazing. They think so anyway!

Suppertime was coming and I asked Evan what he wanted. We try to please them by having whatever they want when they are here. He wanted steak. So, steak it was. I fixed some vegetables and creamed onions, avocado and tomato as a salad and we called it good. As we ate we chatted. Because I’m such a good cook (insert applause here), the food was exceptionally tasty! Evan didn’t care for the vegetables because it was a mixture with squash, corn, red and orange bell peppers, onion, green chili and tomatoes. That was what he didn’t like, the tomatoes. Anyway, the vegetables and what the mixture included was what spurred the conversation.

Evan wasn’t sure about squash. It was yellow squash and Alan told him how his mamaw had cooked it when he was a boy. He told him it was fried and he loved it. Evan said he’s never eaten fried squash! From there, Alan reminisced about the okra his mamaw used to cook. It was fresh and she cut it into pieces then battered it in a mixture of cornmeal and flour. Next she fried it until it was crispy and brown. He told us it was his favorite food that she had made.

After a minute I told them the favorite food that my mamaw used to make. It was what we call ‘goulash’. It’s made of hamburger meat, macaroni and tomato juice, and there are many variations. Most families have had it at one time or another. In college, my friend Doreen always wanted to make me American Chop Suey. Finally, one day we had the chance. She prepared the meal and was so proud to serve…goulash! It must be universal!

We sat for a moment more, enjoying the food and each other. Alan told Evan he’d have memories of what Mamye had cooked him when he got older. I asked Evan what his favorite food was that I had made him so far. He thought for a while and finally said, well it’s that noodle stuff. I said spaghetti? Nope, that’s not it. It had an orange sauce. Macaroni and cheese I asked? No, not that. We thought some more and he added that it had meat in it. Alan started to laugh and said Hamburger Helper? Yes Evan exclaimed. That’s it. That stuff’s good! We giggled. One day this summer while they were here I had fixed Hamburger Helper for their lunch. They were hungry, I was in a hurry, and it was there. I never dreamed it would make such an impression!

It’s bittersweet that the kids are getting older. I know the time we’ll have to spend together will get to be less than it is already. He’ll have his activities and his friends and he’ll be busy. He won’t want to come over to sit with Mamye and Pap and watch silly detective shows on TV or eat leisurely suppers. He’ll be starting his journey to adulthood. I just hope that occasionally we can get together.

Maybe someday, when his grandkids are over enjoying the weekend, they will have a conversation at supper. He’ll take a bite of something that will spur a memory about how well his Mamye made Hamburger Helper. He’ll remember the fun times that were had when he stayed over. He might even share his story with them and ask what their favorite thing is that their Mamye makes. I bet it won’t be Hamburger Helper!
Have a big dinner, have a light snack 
If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Remember I told you there was a lot of rain at the beginning of the summer? Apparently that was the allotment for the season because since then all it’s been is hot. Not just summer hot but record breaking temperature hot! For that reason it’s been small knitting projects, things that don’t sit across my lap and finishing things that were already finished except for working in the ends. I might or might not have a whole basket of things like that!
Rainbow Birthday Cake Cowl
Homespun from Ft. Davis, simple cowl
Orange Montego Bay scarf
Dishcloth set, Tribble, Grandma's Favorite, Ballband Dishcloth

I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter what you make or what you cook. What matters is the feelings attached to the action, from both ends. I’m glad Evan likes my Hamburger Helper. But mostly, I’m glad he associates it with good memories.

So eat it, just eat it…

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Color My World

As time goes on, I realize…

Here it is, summer already, and I’m finally taking time to think about spring. Time seems to move so much more quickly than it used to. We had more rain than usual this year. In the dessert, any moisture causes the ground to explode into a cacophony of color.

Moisture...started with snow.
Spring brings blooming flowers, singing birds and allergies! We start thinking about new beginnings. It makes most people happy. The many layers of winter are replaced with lighter, brighter clothes. The days are longer and we feel better. We want to do things. We want to move!

Early peach blossoms...and early peaches! night, with three blooms and up close.
Yellow...from the car but pretty.
Purple...wildflowers or weeds??
More yellow...there were probably three different crops of yellow flowers. light and Easter Eggs.
Enjoy the time. It’s a time of renewal. It’s refreshing. It’s a drink of water before the long hot days of summer; and it is a hot summer!

And dreams…

My online knitting group plays this great game called Texas Highways Dishrag Tag. Here are the instructions.

The team captain starts and sends a box to the first knitter on the list. That knitter then chooses one of the enclosed balls of yarn and knits a dishcloth for the next person on the list. They keep the second ball of yarn, any goodies that were enclosed and the new knitted dishrag as their gift. The box is packed with the cloth just knitted, two balls of yarn, goodies as the gifter sees fit and the finished dishrag.

We used a priority mail box from the post office, the kind that you can stuff as much as you want inside and only pay one price. That way everyone paid the same price to mail the package. It’s mailed priority mail and when you mail your box, you post a message to the list with a "Tag! You’re it!" and the name of the person you are mailing to. We had 3 groups with 5 ladies in each group.

I got my box off without taking a picture, but JoAn, the recipient, (who had picture trouble as well), seemed to like everything. Here’s what she said: “I got my package yesterday from Jayme, thanks, it was great. An orange and white dishrag and scrubber, a knitting journal, some luscious hand cream, two nice colors of dishcloth cotton, and a very nice note. I have tried to send a pic, but something isn't clicking on this computer..... The pics are in the photo gallery, but seem to be staying”

My prize. I used the orange yarn to make JoAn's prize.
Mine came and inside I found an amazing ‘Garterlac’ dishcloth and as a bonus, I also got an ‘Almost Lost Washcloth’ as well! There were also some great Werther's caramels. Stephanie H was even gracious enough to print both patterns for me!

It was fun. I hope we do something like it again, soon.

Color my world with hope…

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Wonderful Soup Stone

And I swear you could taste the chicken and tomatoes, 
And the noodles and the marrow bone. 

Have you ever had stone soup? If you haven't, well, you're missing out! The recipe is quite simple!

A while back I was lucky enough to have some of the Littles over for the week. They hiked around the mountain, examined all the new trees, played at the ranch and just had fun.

One day I asked them if they wanted to make Stone Soup. I got a look that said, “Mamye has really lost her mind. Doesn’t she know a stone is a rock? You can’t make soup out of rocks!” I sent them outside to each find a good ‘stone’.

“Stone Soup” is an old folk tale. I remember hearing it in second grade. Throughout the years there have been many variations. Basically, it goes like this. A traveler was making his way through a village one day. He was tired and hungry. He started a fire and got ready to set up camp for the night. He pulled out a pot that he filled with water. Then, he added a clean stone that he’d taken from his pocket to the pot. . Finally one of the villagers came over to see what he was doing. He told the villager he was making stone soup. The curious villager questioned him and he said it would taste better if there was a little cabbage to add. So the villager found some cabbage to add. This continued with the curious villagers asking about the soup and the clever traveler suggesting ingredients to add that would make the soup better. Soon he had an aromatic, tasty soup that he shared with the villagers. When everyone had their fill he gifted the stone to the villagers so that they could make stone soup long after he was gone.

The kids came in, each with a ‘stone’ in hand. I washed and scrubbed them until I was sure there wasn’t anything foreign and filled a pot with water. I put all of them in the pot and turned on the burner.

Clean stones to start the soup!
They went off, doing what they do, and I snuck some beef bouillon into the pot so there would be some flavor when they sampled their concoction.

After a bit of hesitation, making sure they weren’t eating dirt, they each tasted the broth. Because of the bullion, it had a nice taste. They approved.

Next we proceeded to see what would make it better. We loaded the pot with extra vegetables, some pasta, some tomato juice and even some meat that was leftover from another meal. The fun thing was I let them pick what to add.

The kids loved it! We all had a lot of fun. And they got to take their ‘stones’ home so they could do it again!
The verdict? Yummy!!

But it really wasn't nothing but some water and potatoes, 
And the wonderful wonderful soup stone. 

The kids were impressed with the Stone Soup we made. As soon as possible, Caleb went to the school library and checked out the book!

Is he checking to see if I told the story correctly?
Not to be outdone, Belle checked out a copy the next day!

Whatever it takes to make them read!
Little did their mom know that she would soon get to join in the fun! Guess what they wanted for supper? Right. They made Stone Soup!

Stone soup at home!
It’s good to know they will remember the time we all made Stone Soup with Mamye and Pap. It’s great to know that together we made a memory.

Just add a little love to the wonderful soup stone, 
And everything will be alright.
Oh, the wonderful wonderful soup stone...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Now shoulda coulda woulda, means I'm out of time…

Another hour; another day; another week, month, year…and she thinks about the things she should have done. But there’s still clothes to be folded, dishes in the sink, dust on the table. And she thinks about the things she could have done. But she’s still in a dead end job, living in a backwards small thinking town, and will never have a million dollars. And she thinks about the things she would have done. But she’d have to been different; braver, smarter, prettier.

“Good morning! May I take your order?” 

But she tries to stay on the positive side of things. She and Baby Girl have clothes to wear. She really should stop calling her Baby Girl. She’s growing up so fast. And Saturday, she’s off and can catch up on all the housework and make their meager abode shine. With the schedule change she’s able to go to the library Tuesday nights because she gets off early. Baby Girl loves to go look at the books and read. She can work on her online class while there. It will take a long time but she’s determined not to be in a dead end job forever.

Small town living is a lot different but all in all, maybe it’s not too bad. She keeps this thought in her head as the prospect of not having to stay forever makes life bearable. She’s knows she’ll never have a million dollars unless she wins the lottery and that’s not happening because a lottery ticket is lunch money.

She can’t go back. She doesn't regret the things she’s done to get to where she is. It’s made her who she is today. She’s braver than she’d ever thought she could be. She’s working on a degree even though it feels like she might be retirement age before she finishes. And she really doesn't look that bad, most days anyway. Would she have liked it easier? Of course she would. And it will be. Someday.

“Your change is $1.02. Thank you. Come back again.”

And I wonder, wonder, wonder what I'm gonna do… 

I was probably more excited about them than they were but at least the Christmas presents have come in handy with this cold weather!
Headbands and vests for the girls, beard hat and vests for the boys
Wearing it well!
Just like the big boys!
Even sent one out of state!
He says NO...well, maybe!
Love those Littles!

Coz shoulda coulda woulda, can't change your mind...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

May we all have a vision now and then 
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend.
Happy New Year!

May we all have our hopes, our will to try...
You and I...
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Say what you wanna say 
And let the words fall out. 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave!

There we were, gathered in the ‘Take a Break’, our version of an employee lounge. It was a birthday celebration and someone brought a delightful cake for all to share. I deposited the half piece on my party plate and placed a luscious bite in my mouth. That’s when she said, “That’s why you look the way you do”.

I jumped on the chair, glared down at her and said, “Yes, people do mistake me for you all the time. Mind your own business, you hateful wench!”

But really, as I choked down that one bite and all joy I’d had from the taste, I quietly put the rest in the trash and left the room. She won.

The meeting was going well. Ideas were being discussed and plans were solidifying. There was a question about a grant. That’s when he said, “I’d rather deal with terrorists and snipers than your program”. Several people smiled and a few even broke into spontaneous laughter.

I didn’t find it funny. But I smiled, like the rest, and sweetly said, “Oh yeah? Well, stick it in your ear or your nose or anywhere else that might be convenient!”

That’s what I said in my head. Actually my feelings were really hurt. And I was embarrassed. But I smiled with the rest and acted like I agreed. He won.

It was supposed to be a pep talk. The door was closed and the right things were being said. Then out came, “Have I ever lied to you?”

Jumping up I screamed, “How the heck should I know? Does ommitance count?” But like the good girl I am, I didn’t mention specifics. Instead, I politely replied with the expected, “No.” She won.

Why is it not acceptable to say what I think, what I want to say? Why can’t I defend myself? It wouldn’t have to be snarky. I could keep it polite, not bringing myself down to their level. But I don’t contradict. I don’t make waves. And sadly, the word bullies win.

I have three little granddaughters. I love them dearly and want the best as they become young ladies. I hope they are able to stand up for themselves and what they think is right without ridicule or insults. I want them to be strong but kind, to be assertive but gracious and to be articulate but polite. I want them to be brave. I want them to defeat the word bullies.

Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy.
Fallen for the fear 
And done some disappearing, 
Bow down to the mighty.
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue!

Believe it or not there was a yarn bombing, right here in Odessa! Well, sort of anyway. It was at the Museum and it was their interpretation. I didn’t completely agree it was a true yarn bombing but it was fun anyway. Here’s a few pictures.

Wrapped up.
Bikini skater?
Kathy and Pippi Longstocking!
Someone's grandma is  missing an afghan!!
Borrowed from the living room couch?
Strange creatures in skirts!
Pole not dancing.
And here’s my own little yarn bomb on my deck. Because I can.
My own private yarn bomb!
And since your history of silence 
Won’t do you any good, 
Did you think it would? 
Let your words be anything but empty.
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Friends in Low Places

I'm not big on social graces, think I'll slip on down to the oasis...
Oh, I've got friends in low places...

One time I was in San Antonio with a group of friends. We’d heard about a killer margarita, the specialty of one of the restaurants on the Riverwalk. So the group of us girls, about six in all, decided we’d take a walk down the river to see if we could find the origin of this famous concoction.

The Riverwalk is in downtown San Antonio. It’s a tourist attraction, but not really a river. It’s actually designed for flood control. In 1921 a disastrous flood along the San Antonio River claimed at least 50 lives. The bypass channel was born. An architect named Robert Hugman dreamed up the plans for what eventually became the Riverwalk. Today it’s a mecca of hotels and restaurants, all one level below the street. It’s a winding maze of people and vegetation. There are even ducks, swimming in the murky water.

We walked along until we found what we were looking for. There was no wait and we circled a table, outside, at river’s edge. The waitress brought large baskets of fried tortilla wedges and bowls of spicy, fresh salsa. We watched the people walk by and visited as we snacked and chatted, awaiting our beverages.

Several tables were occupied. Nearby was a romantic couple and in another spot, a family with small children. Another table had a group similar to ours, women together, most likely doing just what we were; enjoying the atmosphere and each other’s company. That’s what we thought anyway.

One of the women stood. Correction; she tried to stand. With a little help from her friends she made it off the chair and staggered inside, one of the others holding her up. The two at the table were left laughing hysterically. To get inside to the restroom two steps needed to be scaled. After a couple of tries the friend got her inside, presumably all the way to the women’s room. After a bit, still supported by the friend, she came back and tried to make her way to her seat. Without the assistance of the other woman she would have slid to the ground. She was smashed.

We watched curiously, to see what happened next. One of the ladies from the table approached the two, while the other stayed seated, still laughing. We thought she had come to help. No. she had her phone out and was taking picture after picture. The poor inebriated lady was cognizant enough to realize what was going on and begged her to stop. They both just laughed at her and said wait until they put the snapshots on Facebook. Finally the trio made their way back to their table where her friends encouraged her to finish the drink she had left. Knowing no better, she continued to sip the poison they fed her.

We shifted our interest back to our visit, paying no attention to the other table. All was going well until one of the girls at our table exclaimed, “Gross. That is disgusting.” Of course we all turned to see what was going on. The intoxicated woman had thrown up all over their table. Did her friends help her? After they laughed and took more pictures.

The group finally got up, dragging their friend, and staggered away. Hopefully they made it to their hotel down the river. The wait staff, young people, seemed to take it in stride. Utensils and dishes were removed from the table. A water hose and mop appeared and disinfectant was sprayed. The table was scrubbed and set up for the next (unsuspecting) guests. It was a routine occurrence we were told.

I was embarrassed for the lady but mostly I felt anger towards her so-called friends. How could they make the entire situation such a joke, laughing at her and taking pictures which probably made it to some form of social media? How could they encourage her, knowing she couldn’t stand alone, to have more alcohol? Those were not friends. They were cruel, uncaring, individuals.

I hope when she was able to function, that she could recall some of the events of the afternoon. I hope she re-evaluates the people she calls friends. I hope she questions their actions and how they reacted when she needed them. Most of all, I hope, if they ask her to go again that she’d have the sense to say no, she was busy. Besides, they weren’t all that much fun.

Well, I guess I was wrong, I just don't belong,
But then, I've been there before...

Speaking of friends, an Internet knitter friend sent me a package the other day. She crocheted (which isn’t the same as knitting but it uses yarn), some really cool coasters! What a nice gesture! Thank you Jo!

A friend is someone you respect and who reciprocates that feeling. It’s someone whose company you enjoy. It’s someone you like to be around. It’s someone who will support you and likes you, even on your bad days. A true friend celebrates your best and would never post stupid pictures of you on social media. Everybody needs a friend. But first you have to be a friend.
These are my friends in high places! Funnest group ever!!
Oh, I've got friends in low places...