Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend busy-ness

I steal pockets of moments to read, "All Passions Spent" - suggested by Cornflower - between
knitting a few Christmas gifts
and working on our sunroom.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Grateful for...

Grateful for open doors to a warm house full of laughter, the buzzing of chatter flitting about and the clang of pots & plates in preparation for dinner...
It was in this house that I floated about carefree and longingly gazed up at the stars.
Very grateful.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's as blurry as my memory...

I use to make a lot of jewelry. In fact, 8 years ago my two sisters & I started a children's jewelry line, "Three Little Wishes" - getting the idea from what our parents refer to us as, 'their 3 gems', which is from our birthstones - saphire, ruby & diamond. When the granddaughters were babies and going through baptisms and family parties, my Mother couldn't find fine jewelry to match the affair or outfit so she found beautiful pearls from a gem & stone show and set us to work. Soon we perfected knotting silk thread in a timely manner and each granddaughter had a necklace and matching bracelet. {Oh where, oh where, are those pictures?}

Our Classic/Heirloom line consisted of gray, pink or white pearls for a 4 year-old to a premie. The line was delicate in style, sweet, simple & high quality = Classic. We were filling special orders and making all our gifts until life got busy with our little ones, we lived 1 1/2 hours from each other at the time (oppose to 1 1/2 blocks as we do now) and our enthusiasm & energy dwindled.

The inventory is in my studio which my daughters & I use to create our own jewelry and gifts from. My studio right now is a complete joke - ahem, use to be an art studio but now is storage - ahemahem, screaming to be an art studio again! Everytime I get created I have to shimmy between & climb over stacked boxes and feel my way around praying that my fingers don't meet a spider by accident!

Somewhere in the studio I also have a bowl of buttons. I call these my 'MunkiMunki' buttons because they were used on that adorable MunkiMunki children's clothing line back in the day when my girls wore sweet dresses w/ bows in their hair - sigh...

With the pearls & MunkiMunki buttons mixed in with thrifted buttons and wire, I made the above bracelet. There's even a button (the one facing the opposite direction) that came from a favorite old thrifted men's blazer from way back in the day when a thrifted men's blazer was from the 1950's and sold for $2-$3 tops.

I originally made this for a friend but it had such sentimental value that I had to keep it. I did make her another bracelet that I put just as much as love into but filled it with stories that she could carry around as her own.

Oddly enough this bracelet kept following off this particular day (ok, maybe another reason why I didn't give it as a gift - this bracelet, in a sense, was my tester. After this one I had a better idea on how my clasps should be - bracelets made after this one were much more secure and non-MacGyver looking.) This day whenever the clasp would come undown I'd feel the bracelet slip off my wrist except at the end of the day while I was walking away from my daughter a cute bracelet caught my eye in her backpack - adorable - looks familiar...hey!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good Read

Never mind that Chuck Feeney is a dear friend of my in-laws dating back from Cornell. Never mind that we have been recipients of his generosity. This is a wonderful book. I spent one day laying around reading this book. Oh, I cleared the kitchen from the morning chaos first, of course. But for the entire day I laid around, in my pjs, absorbed in this book. I didn't intend to - just a chapter here & there. I couldn't help myself. It's well-written, interesting from a business angle and from a humanity level and inspiring. No matter how deep/shallow your pockets are, give without expectations of accolades but give and be fulfilled by the fullness of your heart. We can all lead by example and give our time, money, and other resources to the things that really matter.

"I had one idea that never changed in my mind -- that you should use your wealth to help people," Feeney said.

"Chuck Feeney is what Donald Trump would be if he led his entire existence backwards," Jim Dwyer (NY Daily News)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

"What is a friend? A Single Soul dwelling in two bodies." ~ Aristotle

It'll never be the same.
Time spent so freely and unplanned - those quick chats from passing cars while picking up & dropping off kids - all living our lives on the same time schedule - that all changes when the kids get older and move on to other schools so now us Moms have to create pockets of time for each other in our new schedules.

It took some time after my girls started school for me to feel comfortable with a group of Moms. Investing time on a friendship, revealing pieces of yourself, opening up your soul, building trusts - all takes time. Recalling back to being a teenager when the term 'best friend' was used freely and randomly, while attaching to it all the responsibilties of being a 'best friend', sometimes fell on weak shoulders but then I grew to realize that it was an endearing term to place upon special people. "Best Friend" = "Dear Friend" = "my friend".

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." - Anais Nin

(picture by Dorene)

It's special people that you plan a weekend tucked away in the wine country with. It's special people that you surround yourself with when you don't want to run away but just retreat to rejuvenate and celebrate. It's special people who you sit with as your are and they hold it dear to their hearts.

Finding time when there are 13 kids and 3 husbands between Dorene, Lisa & I was no easy task but we were determined to not let this moment pass. To be honest, as we got closer to the weekend I held my breath - I feared email, answering machine blinking lights and text messages...worse a sick child...but the weekend went off without a hitch as if it was as common as night fall.
(a special reserve bottle of Grenach only to be shared with those you love.)
And as the weekend came to an end and we headed home to fall back to our own daily regimes I was reminded;

"Those truly linked don't need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever." - Deng Ming-Dao

and I know that the warmth of the laughter and words shared will always be there.

(Aug 10 - 12, 2007)

You know what that weekend reminds me of? That chapter book about the 3 girls; Carsella, Catherina & that one - Reny Deeny Wop Bam Beeny!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween goodness

Originally I was going to ask Tisha to make her famous chili but as we got closer to this day this evening called for "Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup".

Makes 8 servings.

* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (evoo), divided
* 1 10-11-ounce fully cooked sausage (the recipe called for Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage. I put Polish beef kielbasa), cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 2 pounds of red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams, about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise
*6 cups low-salt chicken broth
* 1 9-ounce fresh spinach

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage, cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain.
Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes.
Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Using potato masher, mash some of the pototoes in pot.
Add browned sausages to soup.
Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, abotu 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
Season with salt & pepper.

The soup definitely warms the soul. The kids loved it (discluding the nephew but I am not offended) - most everyone went for seconds (I doubled the recipe but cooked it in two different pots.)
I was asked to make this soup again this weekend - can't wait!