string the joy together

Yesterday, while cutting up fresh fruits & vegetables for juice and an appetizer plate, I stood there for about an hour.  I cleaned kale, I peeled ginger, I sliced and diced pineapple.  Oh the luscious, juicy, yellow pure goodness that fell open onto my cutting board.  Stunning was the perfect word.  Continuing on, I was thinking while spending all that time doing normal (for me) cooking chores.  Then my brain took over.  I felt horrid for the people in the world that would LOVE to stand for over an hour cutting, chopping, cleaning and preparing so much goodness.  They on the other hand, may not have enough rice to feed their families.  I am very grateful for having enough food.  Let me rewrite that, I am grateful for having enough.

The week got the better of me.  It had less than stellar moments and also some pretty happy splashes of light here and there.   When the difficult moments are rather HUGE they have such a punch it takes your breath away.  The little happy spots don’t get as much attention and get lost in the shuffle. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that……. However, when you live your life counting the things you are grateful for…………….it is easy to list them (no matter how small or silly), list them, list them, day after day after day………….  You just string them together big and small and then they become an enormous part of your life.  The crummy stupid parts don’t seem as large.  Your gratitude list is like the worlds largest ball of string.  It just keeps growing  and getting bigger and moving forward……… much so that you can’t stop it.  The goodness takes over.   You somehow see this gigantic pile of joy and things to be grateful for and the one or two tough moments, don’t seem nearly as hard to tackle.

Just string the joy together………………Today, I am hanging twinkle lights over my sewing machine.  I am going to have the sparkle of joy hanging over me every single time I sit down to create something. 

Today, I am grateful for: 171.  juice to start the day  172.  a sweet card given to me last night by Mr. Right  173.  twinkle lights  174.  kale chips (I will share pictures and the recipe on Tuesday)  175.  my blooming fuchsia  176.  anticipation of going to the craft store tomorrow  177.  Mighty -o- donuts tomorrow  178.  two little bunnies that visit our yard  179.  nightly walks with the dog and Mr. Right  180.  living in the Pacific Northwest  181.  big button calculator  182.  coconut creamer for my coffee  183.  my lime green fleece pullover  184. email  185.  the author Kris Carr   186.  we saved $223.30 in coupons in the month of June!  187.  taking pictures  188.  fresh veggies and fruits  189.  coffee (always seems to be on my grateful list)  190.  Mr. Right……………….

just stringing the goodness together………………

Let’s start with, my name is…

My name is Mrs. Wilson.  period.   Then we can go from there.  If you are my niece or nephew, I am more than happy to hear you call me Aunt Daleen.  If you are one of our God-children or friends’ children, you may certainly call me Miss Daleen.  Lots of people call me Miss Daleen.  My husband has co-workers who call me Miss Daleen, the man who tuned my piano,  the children in Sunday school classes as well as Daffodil Princesses I chaperoned called me Miss Daleen.  There are Rainbow girls from the past and lots of my customers call me Miss Daleen.  Once I am a bit more comfortable with the people, I say, please call me Miss Daleen.

However, when an envelope comes in the mail addressed to Daleen Wilson, before I even open the piece of mail, you are instantly on my “poor manners list”.  No, I would never be so crass as to tell you, I will just feel sorry for you, somehow you have forgotten those manners that were taught to you.  When you try to pronounce my first name and you are trying to sell me something over the telephone, sorry Charlie, you don’t get my money.

I am proud to be called Mrs. Wilson.  I earn that right every single day.  I treat people with respect and kindness.  Quite honestly, I appreciate the respect of being addressed as Mrs. Wilson.  I have been married for over 30 years.   I bring my own unique twist to the family that I married into.  It was never even a question if I would honor my husband’s family by taking his name.  It is a tradition that I for one am willing to respect and hold fast to.  I remember daily that it is a privilege to have this name and I work at earing that privilege every single day of my life.

When I hear people complain about “today’s youth” I am sad.  We need to start somewhere.  A good place to start is with respect and show that respect through using a proper name.  No matter how difficult, Miss Duntermann was my first grade teacher and we all called her such.  No one dared to call her Miss D.  Heck I don’t even know her first name to this day!  Our teachers, neighbors, mentors, advisors all were named Mr. or Mrs. and sometimes Miss.  We never used Miz Wilson, when their proper name was Mrs. Wilson.  To this day, when old friends of my parents or former neighbors, say oh please, call me “Mary”.  I can’t.  I just can’t.  Mrs. Megan will always be Mrs. Megan.  Mrs. Archer will always be Mrs. Archer. If my mother ever found out I was disrespectful even today, I would have some behavior to answer for.  I can feel it in my bones.  I just know my mother would be disappointed in me.

When we lived in the southern part of the country, every child, shop keeper, banker, dry cleaner, worker who came to our home called me Ma’am.  I was a bit younger and it took some getting used to.  However, I had to get used to it.  It came naturally to those children as they were raised with the idea of respecting others.  Today, when I visit the military base, the first moment I pause at the gate, the military gate guard calls me Ma’am.  The person who holds the door for me to the commissary, calls me Ma’am.  People I encounter never fail to call me Ma’am.   I in turn feel the need to treat them with respect and kindness and to exchange pleasantries.

Some US presidents I have voted for and liked, others not so much.  I would still address every one of them as Mr. President. It makes me cringe just a little when I hear people or reporters casually refer to the leader of the free world as “Obama”.  If for no other reason, the office deserves our respect.

Of course if you are my family or friend that I have known for years and years, I love that you call me by my first name.  I value our relationship enough, that some of those people have been  in my life for so long they even call me by a nick name.  It makes it feel special.  When other people had to call my brother-in-law, SGT. Major, I secretly knew I was special.  At the dinner table, out to dinner or just watching a hockey game, I got to call him John.

If you are reading this and you are say 50 years old or older, you are nodding your head and thinking yes, that is true.  Yes, we need to somehow find our way back to basic good manners.  If you are under 40, you might be thinking to yourself “what’s the big deal, boy she is uptight”?  It is a BIG deal.  When you send me an invitation, announcement, formal piece of mail, resume cover letter,  and you start the whole thing with my first name, I already have decided not to take you too seriously.  You have already conveyed to me that you have no respect for me and you just want something from me.

It is of importance.  It is a lesson we all need to remember.  I think starting with young children is easy.  The trick will be to teach teenagers and young adults how much it means to others to use their proper and given names.  When you have to call someone Mrs. Klein, you might be less likely to hurl nasty remarks at her while she sits alone in a bus seat.

We have to start somewhere.    father to son:  “All I have to give you is my good name.  Keep it safe and pass it on.” 

Today, I am grateful for:  160.  Grace freely given  161.  oatmeal almost every morning  162. good manners 163.  a good joke  164.  the library 165.  fresh strawberries on oatmeal 166.  friends who are in our corner when it counts  167.  true compassion  168.  kindness  169.  humor  170.  hot pink drinking straw

Quick, say Grace and grab some paper napkins!

Do you eat your corn on the cob “typewriter” fashion or round and round?  My grandfather was the only one I knew who ate round and round.  My quirk is to hold the corn with the small end in my left hand, doesn’t seem “right” the other way.   Our funny and smart daughter in law loves roasted corn.  I can say that in all honesty, every single time we have gone to a street fair, market, 4th of July fest, where ever people gather and sell food, she loves the smell and taste of roasted corn.  Sweet girl loves it and has to have it.  While our family lived in Germany/Europe, we were privileged to visit several fests, marts, street fairs and festivals.  If the American’s had anything to do with planning the fest, there was always Roasted Corn on the Cob.  There is ALWAYS a very LONG line.  In Germany and other countries, corn is something that was predominately fed to cattle.  It is not a food normally roasted to accompany your summer meal.  It is a huge treat and with butter dripping everywhere, is enjoyed with smiles and lots and lots of paper napkins.

Around these parts, currently and for a couple of months to come, corn is plentiful and just waiting to be roasted.  Everyone has a different way of roasting corn.  Some soak it first, some keep the husks on, some use foil in one way or another………..this is our version and after you take that first bite, it is “close your eyes and look heavenly and make a delicious humming noise”, grab a paper napkin ’cause you are going to embrace this food with gusto,  version!

I start by taking off all the husks.  Then I put the cleaned up corn in a plastic zip bag.  I add a glug or two of olive oil, sea salt, pepper and some chopped up cilantro.  Close the zip tight.  Here is a cooking term that most folks do not use……………………….“smoosh” around.  Next I make a quick garlic butter…in a little bowl of softened butter mince a couple of cloves of garlic, stir, done.  Set aside.  Now, turn on your grill to high and get that puppy smoking hot.  Once ready and hot, please use some tongs and put the corn on the grill and let the magic begin.  Turn every once in a while to get that brown, caramelized color and flavor all over it.  Mr. Right does this part, so I don’t really know the exact time, say 10-15 minutes.  Bring inside, and put in a pan, slather on the garlic butter and cover.  I keep it covered until I can get all the rest of the dinner on the table.

Oh and while you have the grill heated toss on some fresh pineapple.  I cut it up and sprinkle on a bit of brown sugar to soak in.  It sure helps the caramelization process on the grill.  A couple of minutes before your corn is done, put on the pineapple.  This is one treat that is pure goodness.   In the Wilson household we use cloth napkins.  Yep, 98% of the time, ironed, folded neatly or into some crazy shape cloth napkins.  The remaining 2% of the time, the food is so luscious and drippy (yes, that is a word), and you want to lick your fingers, we have to put a stack of paper napkins on the table.  This food is THAT good.     Say GRACE, grab a napkin and two of those little plastic miniature shaped ears of corn poker things and if I were you, I would go straight for the corn and take a breath and that first glorious bite of goodness.   You might want to sprinkle a little sea salt on, no matter how you enjoy it, be in the moment and thank God for this wonderful bounty of summer.Today, I am grateful for:  154.  the grill  155.  Mr. Right who likes to grill  156.  eating dinner in the gazebo  157.  paper napkins  158.  good manners 159.  after dinner great coffee 

All kinds of Grateful

Today I am grateful for: 

129.  sushi  130.  date night with Mr. Right  131.  coffee treat, brown sugar latte with Almond milk  132.  hummingbirds at my flowers 133.  two skinny straws  134.  on-line shopping  135.  highlighted hair  136.  our Golden Retriever’s fuzzy paws  137.  fresh pineapple  (if you know me and know how many we have eaten in the last 10 months, that might be surprising)  138.  big button calculator  139.  Peru – B- Ruby colored toe nail polish  140.  cross stitching  141.  good grammar  142.  fresh ground coffee beans  143. mini sewing basket  144. stork scissors  145.  lemonade  145.  giving the dog a new toy  146.  new glasses  147.  mermaids  148.  growing herbs  149.  Mr. Right’s homemade heavenly Sunday morning Pancakes  150.  fresh 1/2 flat of strawberries in our refrigerator  151.  glow sticks waiting for 4th of July  152.  blowing bubbles outdoors  151.  wet pavement  152.  planning a birthday gift surprise  153. weekends

My kid would never do that!

The nation has been brought to her knees once again by a very sad and despicable story.  You know what I am typing about; Mrs. Karen Klein.  The children who bullied her on the bus.  It moved me to tears, so much so, I wrote her a note.  Nope, I did not send money.  While a nice gesture, I am not sure how oodles of money is going to “fix” this.  Another topic for another blog.

I can say with 100% certainty, our boys would never do such a thing.  If they had at that age, both boys 30 and almost 27 years old would still be flying back to her home weekly to mow her lawn!  And yes, apologize once again.  Oh and I am quite sure both would have written several papers on “why I was mean to another human” ,  I could go on and on and on.  If you want to ask son number one and two, please do.

HOWEVER,  if there were 8 or so children involved in this disgusting and cruel behavior and there were say 38 children on the bus, what were the other 30 “good” children doing? Okay, we all now know, one was filming the entire horrid act.  That leaves us with 29 other children and one ADULT bus driver.  Why on earth, if some of us parents “have raised good, moral children” didn’t anyone step in and say something?  Why didn’t anyone have the guts and the decency to step in and say anything?  Yes, I have heard about Unions and bus drivers can’t say something to the little darlings……………fiddlesticks!  Pull the bus over, park, pocket the keys, stand up and march over and say, “NOT ON MY WATCH!  Call your parents.  They will need to come and get you before this bus moves one more inch.”    I faintly remember another woman on a bus that taught us all a lesson.

“In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do  nothing.” Edward Burke.  Wake up my fellow Americans!  Those little punks behavior was EVIL, not to mention down right mean and nasty and hurtful and unacceptable.

It is with sadness that a girlfriend is attending a memorial service today.  My friend said, “Mrs. DeGraw, is the last of one of the most amazing people who shaped my life as a young girl….her style was firm but guided with love and respect.  I was truly blessed to know her and benefit from her love”.  Here’s a question for all of us, are we all helping and guiding the young people today?  Even if they are not our “own” children, don’t we owe it to them, to us, to society to make sure they are learning to be kind and considerate?  Don’t we all need to teach the young people in our circle that there are consequences for your actions?

Part of what I wrote to Mrs. Klein, was ” shame on the parents, shame on those children….  from this day forward may you be bathed in Grace.”

I have lifted Mrs. Klein’s name up in prayer.  She needs us all in her corner sending her oodles and oodles of good karma, positive thoughts, uplifting prayer.  I also prayed for the youth of today.  By youth, I don’t just mean 10 and 12 year olds.  I am getting a bit older, so I can say anyone under the age of say 30 needs our prayers for treating others with kindness and consideration. Yes, that means road rage included!  If they didn’t learn it from their parents or grandparents or Godparents or Uncles and Aunts, or teachers etc……… may they draw a big fat bold line and step over it.  The time has come.  We can no longer stand quietly and watch evil happen.  It is a slippery slope.  Here is another good question, where has our heart and soul gone?

My heart feels broken.  How about you?  Let the discussion and prayer begin and continue for a long, long time.  If either of our boys had grown up to become a school bus driver, I am quite certain, they would have pulled the bus over and stood up.  We raised them to be men of honor.  It does indeed take a village.  We all need to be lending a helping hand in raising humans as people of honor.

“To qualify as humans we must take part in humanitarian acts.”  ~jose silva

What are you having for dinner?

Be the change you wish to see in the world…….we have all seen it on bumper stickers………..we all think it is what Gandi said.  Well, sort of. ….the closest he actually said and is documented….“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

Today, while prepping for dinner, I was thinking.  I am fond of saying, golly I wish there was a blog that I could go to and see what other people are making for dinner.  If I was rich, I would still cook, I would just pay someone to come up with ideas and of course do the dishes.  Just being real here.

Somehow, I want to create a blog  where people like you and me write it.  Where you go and just list what you have planned for tonight’s dinner.  Sometimes inspiring, sometimes, not so much.  Sometimes goofy.  I once knew a gal in Germany, who remembered as a kid being babysit by her grandmother and she said, “It is too hot to cook, lets eat huge bowls of ice cream for dinner”?  Some 30+ years later, her granddaughter is still telling the story about that GREAT dinner!  ha

Here it goes:  For dinner tonight we are having Ahi Tuna steaks cooked on the grill, garlic & rosemary roasted fingerlings potatoes, sautéed spinach with an Asian dressing, couple of pieces of grilled “pizza bread” and fresh made juice.

I am grateful, more than grateful for having enough food to worry about what variety of food and how much I should prepare for our evening meal.  I am grateful, very grateful.  Just once in a while I would like some ideas on what to put on the table for my family.

Still thinking and pondering.  Would people write in their thoughts?  Would people read this kind of thing?  Does everyone out there go to a restaurant every night?   Maybe I am missing the whole new “thing”.  Maybe people just make reservations and not cook dinner?


Simple Grace

A couple of years ago now, I grew a teeny bit weary of a mother of the bride, continuing to tell us that her daughter wanted just a “simple” wedding.  Months later, around $15,000 spent, the “simple” wedding took place.  It was then that I began to dislike the word simple.

When someone asks me to do some “simple” alterations, I am cautious.  Usually, it goes like this:  they drop off said article of clothing for simple alterations or repairs.  They show me what needs to be done, “see? pretty simple”.  Fast forward 4 or 5 hours (or more),  9 swear words, glasses on and off about 14 times, pinning up hair twice, one ice coffee, a couple of phone calls to procrastinate……….done.  Somehow (?) I usually end up dropping said clothing item off.  The person says something like, “oh good, all done, see that was simple enough”.   I am very, very careful now, who and what I say yes to.  That word has soured me.

I have an acquaintance who has the word “Simplify” stenciled on her mantel.  It looks lovely.  Really, I am not being sarcastic here.  When you walk downstairs to her lower level, you can hardly move or even find an empty chair to sit on.  There are piles of stuff and baskets and more stuff and old papers and bins of yarn and old wrapping paper and mounds of Christmas decor and this and that.  I am guessing that the word painted upstairs is a goal?

Yesterday a person told me that she enjoyed reading my blog about my simple life.  Really?  Recently, a relative used the word “complicated” to describe our family.

Maybe by having all the vegetables and fruits cut up and ready to juice right before dinner makes it seem simple?  Having all the burger toppings cut and arranged on a platter to take out of the refrigerator right before dinner makes the meal look, simple?  By practicing for hours and days and months on end, those “slice it and dice it” people at the local Fairs make cutting vegetables or cleaning the floor or cleaning sneakers, well simple.  Maybe by keeping up with the laundry and ironing, I never have huge, lopsided plastic baskets, overloaded with unfinished laundry, so my laundry room is clean and tidy and looks simple?  Mr. Right makes swinging a golf club simple.  I on the other hand don’t.  My swing looks awkward, and choppy, and unbalanced and complicated.

I love the bed made and the room picked up.  Clean, neat, orderly, simple.

I love a simple bowl of popcorn.  I love a neat and orderly file cabinet drawer in alphabetical order.  Simple to find anything in a jiffy.

I love a simple clean, polished, detailed car.  Nothing out-of-place or stacked on the floor to make me sigh in exasperation.  Simple and efficient.

Simple Grace.  I like it.  I love receiving it. It’s free and always available.  You don’t even have to earn it.  It is there for the taking.  It is a gift we each receive.    I love giving it.  Kindness towards each other and offering grace to one another makes me, plain and simple happy.  Offering grace to another human when they have made a mistake or gotten themselves in a pickle.  Grace.  Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.

Today, I am grateful for:  117.  my marriage  118.  sheets dried in the sunshine  119.  my blooming Fuchsia basket  120.  letters in the mail  121.  walking barefoot  122.  music to sing along with  123.  cross stitching a gift  124.  a wire basket full of green apples  125.  a note from Mr. Right every single morning  126.  buttons  127.  my favorite pen  128.  word search puzzles

I’m walking on sunshine………ooooh….

Here in the beautiful land of the Pacific Northwest, sometimes you have to “create” your own summer.  Today, I am wearing a yellow sweater with my boyfriend jeans and t-shirt.  No, it is not in the high 90*s.  It is chilly and cloudy and there is a bit of drizzle.  How on earth do you think everything stays so lush and green?  I honestly could do without the slugs and the mold and the mildew………….however, I have lived in the middle of Oklahoma.  I know exactly how good we have it here!

Yesterday, this is what our kitchen counter top looked like.  Today, happy Summer!  We now have a lemonade center!  So for under $8.00, a trip to the dollar store,  the grocery store and unearthed an old lemon plate I have……………..instant Lemonade inspiration!!!  a little corner of sunshine!

Get out your little sauce pan folks.  It is simple syrup time.  Walk outside and grab a sprig of rosemary, or a sprig of mint, come in and wash it and put it into a little mason jar.  Put one cup of sugar and one cup of water in the pan.  Turn on the flame.  Bring to a boil, dissolve sugar while stirring and then cool.  Pour over the sprig of rosemary.  Put the lid on and put in the refrigerator.  You are ready when you want a glass of icy cold lemonade.  Love having it ready to go to make a quick glass of goodness.

Grab your sunglasses, a glass of lemonade with lots and lots of ice, Say GRACE and enjoy that first chilly sip.  Happy Summer!

Today, I am grateful for:   107.  lemons  108.  dollar store finds  109.  new grilling magazine  110.  sugar in the raw  111.  sunshine (in moderation)  112.  flip flops  113. mixing 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 ice tea  114.  grilled corn on the cob  115.  colored straws  116.  simple syrup ready to use

Say Grace and grab some “fast food”

Just like everyone else, sometimes I would like to grab some fast food and go.  Tonight, Mr. Right will be flying in and we will be having a late supper.  I really, really would like to stop off at a chain restaurant and choose something to eat that is quick and pretty good.

To every single human on earth, MSG is poison.  Period.  Yes, it wrecks havoc with brain cells and it is some nasty, nasty stuff.  It just so happens, I get hives and swelling and itching and my tongue swells up…………you get the idea.  So eating at chain restaurants is pretty much a no go.  Period.  Then add in the vegetarian “thing” and the idea of stopping off somewhere to grab something as enticing as it may seem sometimes, is not a choice.

Enter my “fast food” option.  gardein is a frozen, meat free option, not the healthiest of choices, however, pretty darn good when you crave “fast food”.    I like several of the products and I even have a cook book that uses some of the products in the line.

Some of you may have heard of a restaurant called “Applebees”.  The commercials make it look so inviting and friendly.  Yep, once in a while I see those and think, hey, that would be so nice.    Enter  Todd.  I love him and his recipe team.  I  like to go and copycat  some restaurant recipes.  I like getting his books out of the library or going on-line.  I can alter or change-up what I need to (like tonight, instead of the chicken he talks about, I have replaced with the gardein for our salads.  His recipes are packed with flavor and some of our friends tell us “it is spot on” when it comes to copycat those restaurant meals.

Tonight, we will enjoy a late night supper.  It will be “fast food” to me.  I already have it prepared and waiting in the refrigerator.  The dressing is mixed in a jar and ready to go.  The almonds and the noodles are on the counter.  The table is set.  Our juice is made and chilling.  So tonight we will drive home, walk in, sit down, Say GRACE and will dig into our fast food, “Applebees, Oriental Chicken Salads”.

Today, I am grateful for:  99. a well running, maintained and fully insured car 100.  new windshield wipers 101.  two refrigerators 102.  the internet  103.  the ability to cook  104.  reading  105.  airplanes  106.  cell phone lot at the airport

no white gloves needed

I recently read this quote and of course wrote it down and pondered it for several days.  “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any”.  Fred Astaire

Over the weekend we had the pleasure of tramping, walking, skipping and meandering around and around the local Zoo.  It was fun and carefree and perfect weather.  We saw lots of animals and grandgirlie number one, made lots and lots of animal sounds.  She is a sweet little girl.  Happy spirit with a sweet disposition.  Her parents (thankfully, it would be so awkward if they did not), are teaching her lots and lots of good manners.  Sometimes, it is easy to forget she is not even two years old yet.  She says please and thank you.  She sort of says something that sounds like another language when you are done sneezing.  She has to tell her parents she is done with dinner and would like to get down, please.

We were not surprised when Papa (Mr. Right), gave Grandgirlie one and two, both a little baby snow leopard stuffed animal as a treat……………Sweet Zoe said thank you right away.

While thinking over this quote, I am reminded that we all were kids once.  That even grown ups with horrid manners may have grown up not seeing any.

Good Manners make our society better.  Some how easier to get along and like others.  Makes being in large groups smoother and as intimate friends a much lovelier relationship.

No, we all don’t need to go back to “White Gloves and Party Manners” class.  However, some could use a little brush up.  Maybe instead of shaking our finger at others for not having any manners, we should live our lives as good examples.

Thanks, Fred, we all need to be gently reminded that it is our responsibility as a society to be kind and civil to one another.

The test of good manners is being able to put up pleasantly with bad ones.  ~wendell willkie

Today, I am grateful for:

89.  time with grandgirlies 90.  popcorn  91.  having been taught good manners  92.  a basket of clean folded laundry  93.  friends that will meander through a Farmer’s Market with us  94.  Sun glasses with bling  95.  fresh bouquet of flowers in our home, weekly  96.  pretty thank you notes  97. monogrammed thank you notes  98. library books