Thursday, April 27, 2017

Joe's Run Wildflowers

I think I must post photos of this stretch of our road every year, but every year it just takes my breath away. Wild phlox, larkspur, mustard, and geraniums blend so beautifully, who would not want to stop and take photos?


Complementary colors on the color wheel so why not in nature? Yellow wild mustard, purple larkspur.


Wild geraniums and larkspur.


Flowers line the road but if you're driving too fast, you might not see them.


Morning sun creeps through the trees, casting shadows.


A play of dark and light.


Wild geraniums, larkspur and phlox.



Shy mayapple flirts with larkspur.


while Joe's Run meanders its way to Mill Creek.


I apparently disturbed a resident frog in this puddle--the muddied water is the only sign of him I saw.


In a nearby puddle a lone leaf floats ghostlike on the water.


Stones covered in moss lined a small cut in the hill that would be a little waterfall if it was raining.


Mullein spreads its large, fuzzy leaves, getting ready to send up its tall central shoot soon.


I hope to get back down the road soon to take photos of the trilliums and the buttercups. It's such a privilege to see this beauty, all for free!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Shopping Day

Today was monthly shopping/pay bills day. I am worn out.

Since we began getting Social Security, our habits have slowly changed to having one big shopping day a month--payday, we call it. And as we've adjusted to this new schedule, we've made other adjustments.

Like I sit down on "payday" and pay the bills. First things first, right? Some things come out of our checking account automatically, others I still pay the old-fashioned way.

Then there's groceries and cleaning supplies. We've morphed to one big shopping a month, filling in as the month goes on with things we run out of. I know how much laundry detergent I need for a month, how much toilet paper and dish soap and so on, so I get it all on shopping day. Less worry the rest of the month about running short.

I take stock of things like spices, baking powder, salt and such that we don't buy as often but that make life awfully unhandy if we go to get it and find it's out. I also stock up on wipes (we use a lot of them on furniture projects), Brillo (cleaning old dishes and pans) and paper towels (for shop and house).

And pet food and bird seed--we buy the big bags and they usually hold us for the month. Usually.

It has made life smoother, without a doubt. I used to stop at the store on the way home to pick up this and that because we never seemed to have time to take stock and plan ahead. I hated those words "stop on the way home" because with an hour commute and usually leaving late anyway, it was often seven or after before I got home.

We're not Costco or Sam's Club people because we don't need mega amounts of stuff, and would have nowhere to store it anyway. For two people, once a month is fine for stocking up what we need, and the nearest of those big stores are an hour away anyway. No savings if we have to devote that much time and miles to it!

It is interesting how these changes happen in our lives without really being planned--they just seem natural. We try hard to make as few trips to town as possible and over the past year have really cut back on that kind of running with this monthly shopping and online buying. It allows us more time for home, for projects and for relaxing.

When my boys were young and I had no vehicle most of the time, Saturdays were my day to go to town. I had no phone back then, and few neighbors so it was my big opportunity to get out and see people. Now it's Tuesdays, the day the grocery store gives a 5% senior discount, and the Goodwill offers 10% off for seniors. You can bet there are plenty of gray heads in town on Tuesdays!

What about you? Do you do anything similar to this?

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Eater or Diner?

This weekend I listened to an interview on NPR's The Splendid Table with David Leite, a renowned chef and author of the new book, Notes on a Banana.  He talked about his childhood in a large, noisy Portuguese family and his first trip to Portugal to find the home his father grew up in--stories with resonance for anyone with roots in a different land who one day find themselves standing on the ground of their forefathers.

Aside from the family history, Leite said one thing that remained on my mind. He discussed the difference between the way he and his partner eat: his partner was an "eater", he said, and he himself was a "diner". The difference, as I understood it, was how they approached their meals. His partner ate fast, like completing a chore  while Leite liked to sit down and enjoy the meal and conversation while eating. I think I've got that basically right; to hear the interview, go here.

A light dawned when I heard this because this explains the difference between how my husband and I eat. He is most definitely an eater; he just wants to get full and move on to the next thing. For the 30+ years we've been married, I've worked to slow him down, getting him to appreciate an attractive table, and food placed on plates to be pleasing to the eye as well as the stomach. I want conversation during and after our meal, time to linger a bit over our drinks when we're finished. I want us to eat together, and to not leave the table until the other is done. I want us to dine.

Larry humors me most of the time, and he does seem to enjoy our meals together. But if I am not here, odds are good that he is eating standing up, or just dumping his food in a bowl and wolfing it down quickly so he can go do something else.

I am glad to understand the difference in our approach to food, and actually it will make me a little more patient with my always-moving husband. When we talked about this, he saw immediately what I was saying and that maybe he needs to slow down a little and take time to enjoy mealtime.

So thank you, Mr. Leite, for explaining something I never understood in all the years I've been married. I doubt I would ever have figured it out on my own.

What about you? Eater, or diner?


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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