My town’s little library had a children’s section where I devoured books like The Bobbsey Twins and biographies of famous people like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Somehow I moved from there to the adult section where I started reading completely inappropriate books I seldom understood. I skipped all the great children’s stories like “The Secret Garden” and “Little Women” until I was an adult reading to children.
A self-made education is a spotty thing.
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What’s your policy on leftovers? Do you try to farm it all out to your guests? Do you stash it away and eat the same thing over and over again for a week? Do you have clever ways to make leftovers look like something new? Ahh, it’s turkey enchiladas tonight! Surprise! Or maybe you stick in the freezer and then toss it out a few months later. What happens to all the leftover food we think we need to have a holiday feast?
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I heard someone singing “The Teddy Bears Picnic” today, which is a really old song I loved as a kid. It set me to wondering what the first song I ever learned was. Probably some nursery rhyme. I have a particular fondness for the one that goes “4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie.” Perhaps that was the first song I heard or learned form my mother. Is it even possible to recall the first song you ever learned?
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It’s about that time when we’ll all start cooking traditional family favorites. One of mine is what I call Grandma’s apples. She boiled them down in a sugar syrup laced with red hots and a bit of red food coloring to make cinnamon apples that were sweet and tart and soft enough to run a fork through. Plump and juicy and bright on a plate, they always mean holiday time to me. They remind me of long ago meals with family.
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I wish I could sing like Patsy Cline. Or write like Alice Walker. I wish I could act like Meryl Streep. I wish I could paint like Georgia O’Keeffe.
Oh, to hell with that. I wish I could be my best me. My best self whether I was slouched in front of my computer or hanging out with a friend. If everyone was extraordinary, who would actually be extraordinary?
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I remember the first balloon fiesta I attended. It was 1978. It was a mass ascension morning. It was cold and the grass was wet, drenching my feet and socks. When the balloons began inflating it was the most thrilling sight I’d ever seen. The giant, bright colors towering overhead were thrilling. The sound of the gas burners (and the blessed heat for those standing nearby) was thrilling. Being surrounded by nothing but bright color was thrilling. Watching the balloons gently lift into the sky was thrilling. Balloon fiesta never gets old. Mass ascensions never get old. I’ve been back many times and I’m always thrilled by the experience all over again.
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Are you old enough to remember when the task of doing the laundry was so huge that you set aside an entire day just for that? No, you probably aren’t. You probably always lived with a washer and a dryer in your house and you did laundry whenever you had a minute free to start it going.
These days laundry day is any day, any time. I thought we were going to have single use paper clothes by now. What an environmental nightmare that would have been. Dodged a bullet with that one.
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One of my windows faces due east. I use it to track the sun, track the seasons. The morning sun dances across the window from north to south and back again. This time of year, near the equinox, the sun shines straight into my living room, straight back to the dining room, bright into my eyes as I eat my breakfast.
This window to the east is also a good spot for watching the moon rise over the mountains at the end of the day.
A window to the east is a good thing to have in your life.
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It was a bumper crop. A record breaking crop. We put folding chairs under the tree and sat in the shade eating peaches, gooey juice running down our chins, until we could eat no more. Then we filled up every bowl and basket we could find and walked the neighborhood spreading peachy goodwill. Everyone loves my peach tree.
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