Abode {W}

Friday, April 29, 2011


Graham with a bit of ice cream!
Today we celebrate the birthday of our eldest child, Graham. He is now 17. It is hard to believe that the naughty, curly headed toddler who we began our parenthood journey with is now a wonderful, polite, kind, funny, hard working young man. In spite of our mistakes and bumbling first years, he is a truly delightful person, even when he is honking with laughter over a pinochle victory. I remember, when he was but a few hours old, holding him and trying to memorize his baby features, trying to imprint them in my memory. I already had a sense that the years would slip past, that these dear moments of looking on my firstborn would be fleeting. And, indeed, that is just what happened.As I look back over the last 17 years, through all of the stress and sorrow (not connected with him!),tragedies and triumphs, I am struck by how great the grace of God is, and how he showers it upon us. Grace when we needed it most, grace sufficient to see us through each day. We are so grateful for the gift of Graham!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

pretty,happy,funny,real round 3!

 Pretty! The lilacs are almost in bloom, and the seaspray near the front door are so pretty this time of year. In just another month I will have vases full of roses, but for now, the almost flowering lilac and seaspray is pretty!
 Happy! The best tea ever, and ever since the tea shop in town closed, I haven't been able to buy it. I can get it on Amazon, but we have decided not to use our Visa card anymore, so I had no way to order it. I missed my tea! On Monday, I found a cute little store in downtown Salem that carries the tea! Happy, happy me!!!
 Funny! Estelle Perpetua. In conversation with my sister on Saturday, she told her "I am going to get married and have children when I grow up, and if my husband needs me to work, I will be a nurse." My sister asked her "But what if you don't get married?" Estelle immediately fired back "Oh! Everyone will want to marry me!"
Real! The reality is...my children are jokers. If the little one falls asleep in his chair over dinner, they WILL put an empty wine bottle and glass in front of him and beg me to take a picture. Since I am kind of silly myself, I sometimes oblige them. But only sometimes! I could not make the cute button work, nevertheless, I am joining like mother, like daughter for another pretty,happy,funny,real post!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

yarn along, shawl for Estelle

Joining small things for a yarn along this week. I have not participated for a few weeks, because I have had no time to knit. I am stuck on my sweater (how DO you bind off for the sleeves???) and needed a new project. A friend gave me this fun yarn, so I am making a little shawl for my daughter Estelle. She is thrilled, and checks my progress hourly. As you can see, I am only getting started, and the yarn is thin. It might take a while. My mother started knitting me a shawl when I was six, and it is still not done, 36 years later. I hope history does not repeat itself! My current books are Heavy Weather by P.G. Wodehouse and Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. My father loved Wodehouse, and so I started reading them when I was about 12. I go through and re-read them every few years or so, and Heavy Weather has always been a favorite. And, I am loving the cook book Super Natural Every Day. Full of good recipes, great advice, and beautiful pictures. I made the roasted chick peas to go with our curry for dinner tonight, and they were delicious. I am planning on making her baked oatmeal for breakfast in the morning. Highly recommend this one!

Monday, April 25, 2011


                                         Farro, asparagus, and prosciutto salad with fresh basil and parmesan cheese!
                                        Lovely ham! We gave up meat for all of Lent, and this ham tasted so good!
                                          Roast stuffed with garlic. This was about the best meat I have ever eaten!
 Stuart on Grandma's lap. A moment earlier, he had been feeding her, but stopped by the time I got my camera.
 Let the hunt begin! My daughter Ella leads the way down the stairs. I rained, so we hunted eggs inside.
 My nephew, Travis, protecting his finds!
 Ella begs her Aunt Jenny (our lovely hostess) to tell her where some eggs are hidden. It didn't work.
 Stuart breaking in to the chocolate. He loves the stuff!
Stuart helping Aunt Sally eat. He was picking bits of fruit off of her plate, and she, being the nice aunt that she is, let him. It was a lovely Easter, celebrating our Lord's resurrection. Hope yours was good!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

pretty, happy, funny, real, with blue skies

 Pretty! Tulips blooming in my front garden! Hooray for flowers!
 Happy-Blue skies with no rain clouds looming on the horizon! For the first time in six months!
 Funny-Stuart put his pesto in his dump truck. I don't encourage playing with food, but.......
 loved the fact that he was "feeding" his animals.The bottom picture is my "Real", which is the dining room table after a morning of school and play. I made the link-up button work (yeah!), so you have only to click on it to link to everyone's posts. Have a Blessed Holy Week.


Sunday, April 17, 2011


I wish you could see her. She wanders around the church during Mass, up and down the sides of the church, carrying her plastic bags. She always wears a grubby stocking hat pulled low over her ears, obscuring most of her scraggly, dirty gray hair. She peers around her through very thick, oily glasses, which are not big enough to obscure her eyebrows, darkened with black eyeliner by a very inexpert and lavish hand. She smiles at people as she wanders, showing a mouthful of decaying, crooked, unbrushed teeth. If she stops you after Mass to talk, you very quickly affirm you suspicion that she is crazy as a bat. Not very lovely. And yet, she did something this morning that made me weep. I could not stop crying, and made a pretty hurried exit because I had tears streaming down my face. You see, I realized that Geraldine gets something that I do not. She has something that I, with my happy family, sound mind, and wonderful life, sorely lack. On the outside, she is ugly, but her actions this morning made her the most beautiful person I saw at Mass this morning. Here is what happened. We had just gone forward to receive communion, and the very last person in the church had just received and the priest was turning around to go back to the altar. One person was still handing out communion to the last person in line. All of a sudden, I hear the frantic footsteps, the rustling of plastic bags, and a worried muttering. As I watched, Geraldine broke in to a run, desperate to get to the front and receive while she still could. She wanted Jesus. Was running, all crazy and frantic, to receive him. She, poor befuddled Geraldine, understands that only God can satisfy, that if we do not have him we will surely wither our souls and not know love. She wanted God in a way I never have. Rushing forward to receive him, anxious that she will miss him, a clear thought in her mind, a longing. She has something I have not. The realization made me weep.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I have had to start making three loaves of challah bread at a time. The recipe instructs you to wait until the bread is completely cooled before slicing in to it. We prefer it hot out of the oven, slathered with softened butter. Between the eight of us, we can eat all three loaves in one sitting. I have also discovered a recipe for a whole wheat bread with seeds, which I like because it is high in protein. I found the recipe in the "Healthy Artisan Bread in Just Five Minutes a Day" book, and I love this bread! I am not typically a whole wheat bread type of person. Most of the whole wheat bread I have had is dry or sawdusty, and the store boughten whole wheat bread is gummy and nasty. This recipe makes a moist, delicious loaf, which I slather with hazelnut butter. It not only gives me a solid, high protein breakfast, but it goes really well with coffee! I have been making all of our bread for about six months now, and I don't think we will ever go back to buying it at the store!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

no crying over spilled milk!

 Drinking my morning cup of milk!
 Oh no! I spilled it! What will mom do?
Well, never mind! She is taking a picture! I guess I might as well pour out the rest!

pretty, happy, funny, real!

I am joining one of my favorite blogs, Like Mother, Like Daughter, in a blog hop about things in our life that are pretty, happy, funny, and real. I love this idea, and look forward to participating each Thursday. Maybe by next Thursday, I will have figured out how to add her button-there is always hope. I also hope to figure out how to put text under each picture! So! For pretty, we have my lovely vase of flowers. I have had them for almost a week, and I love having fresh flowers in the house again! Only two more months until my roses are in bloom. The next two pictures are my happy pictures-my favorite Fisher Price Little People and my favorite cook books. The Little People make me happy every time I see them, they are just so cute. I don't have a funny picture to share, so we move on to the last picture which is real. Yes, the reality is that I have two opened jars of the EXACT same thing in my refrigerator at the same time. Now, I am not a huge salsa eater, and I know the person in my home who is responsible for this, but to protect the innocent, we will just leave it at that-sometimes, my fridge has ridiculous things in it! That is all for this week!<center><a  title="Like Mother, Like Daughter"  href="http://www.ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/"  target="_blank"><img  src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5609751923_b38935def8_m.jpg"  width="200" height="200" alt="IMG_8896-3"  /></a></center>

Sunday, April 10, 2011

this and that

Ella (pictured above) and I got to visit Auschwitz when we were in Poland three years ago. She was only eleven years old at the time, but she really wanted to go, and she did just fine processing all that we saw. Last night, at the school she and Graham attend part time, an old man who survived the Holocaust spoke. We knew it would be so hard to hear his story-the enormity of what he suffered is sobering and unfathomable. We also knew that, 66 years after the war ended, to hear the story from an eyewitness is becoming a rare thing. This man is 85, and the last survivor in Oregon. He is delightful! He is a tiny old man with a big smile who still holds himself perfectly upright and was dressed in a suit and tie and shiny shoes. He is just as cute as can be, and I just wanted to hug him. Then he starts to speak. He tells you that he is not normal-he can be in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden hear the angry voices of his guards berating him, the screams of his fellow prisoners, the barking of the dogs. He has nightmares almost every night, and can not shower with out weeping for his mother and little brother who were gassed. He can still picture his dead father's face after discovering him in a mass grave, shot by the Nazis for no good reason. 123 of his family members were killed, only he and four cousins survived. Pretty heavy stuff, isn't it? I was unsure about taking my children to hear him. I know they can handle it, and I want them to know this history so that they will never fall in to the trap of judging others and believing them to be inferior based on hair or skin color or nationality. But the weight of the losses in our family still rests heavily on their minds, and I do not want them to become morbid or depressed, or worried about the "what ifs". Ultimately, it was good for them. We had a great discussion on the way home about love, and about how "he who makes you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities". This man forgave the Germans, and realized that he could be, in his own words, better or bitter. I feel as if his story should inspire me to be a better person-to not let little things annoy me, to forgive and let go of hurts, to love deeply and with out fear, to spend my days being joyful and grateful. The reality is that my lofty aspirations to improve myself are so often crowded out by all of the cares and worries and duties I have, and I forget to be joyful, grateful, and slow to anger. I get in "just get me through the day alive with my sanity intact" mode and just plow my way through the work of the day. I seem to have lost my way somehow, lost my desire to try to be nobler, more patient, loving, joyful. The last few years have been fraught with so much stress and sorrow and craziness that I feel as if I have nothing left to give, even to myself. So! To end on a positive note (because I am really not as gloomy as I sound) I have been reminding myself that these things take time, and I am an impatient person. I want things instantly, and when I don't get them, I sometimes lose interest. I am sure that Alter Weiner's decision to forgive and not be bitter caused some long, hard won battles within himself-it probably took him years and years, and it may even be a daily decision for him, something that does not come easily. According to the farmer, his family motto is "FORTITUDE" and so, I suppose that I should, after being part of the family for almost 19 years, adopt the family's motto!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

cherry blossom time

The city of Salem is not especially pretty. I love it because it is the city I have lived in for most of my life, but it is not noted for its loveliness. However, every spring, the cherry trees on the Capitol Mall area (across from the capitol building) burst in to bloom and make the area look gorgeous. Yesterday was the first warm, sunny day in about six months, so we took advantage and met my sisters, mother, and two of my sister's children for a stroll through the cherry trees. It was SO nice to be outside and not be freezing or wet. The second picture shows my niece Darcy (on the left) and daughter Ella. It always amazes me how much alike they look! After getting our fill of blossoms we toured the capitol building and then went to Jen's house for dinner. Lovely afternoon!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

yarn along first sweater

I am finally jumping back into the yarn along with Ginny at small things. This week I have my first sweater to share. This will be for my little boy Stuart. It is a very simple, rolled neck sweater, which I knit from the neck down. A sweet, old lady has been helping a friend and I with this, and she is responsible for the bobby pins and masking tape on my sweater. She uses bobby pins as row counters, so I remove one bobby pin with each row I knit. I am reading My Father's Keeper which is an account of the children of Nazi leaders-Goebbels, Frank, Hess, Bormann and so on. It is sobering, and not very easy reading, but very interesting.The author (whose name escapes me and the book is in the car with my teenager) interviews the children a few years after the war, and then his son interviews them again in the 70's. On Saturday, the last Holocaust survivor in Oregon is speaking at my children's school. I am looking forward to hearing him, and this book has given me more background and knowledge about what went on during those years.

cloudy skies

I had such big plans for the weekend! Saturday was supposed to be sunny(ish) and warm, and I was going to talk a nice long walk with my girls and Stuart. Movie night with friends that evening rounded out my plans for a lovely weekend. In actuality, I spent the whole weekend in bed, coughing until I retched. I coughed all night as well, so got no sleep. Too sick to knit, talk, cook, or enjoy leisurely walks. I wish I could say that I read good books, prayed for hours, or at least tried to make the most of my down time. I didn't. I just lay in bed and felt sorry for myself, thinking of all the things I wanted/needed to do. I am just now feeling semi-normal, and not going out much yet because I am still prone to those coughing fits which leave me retching and gagging-not pleasant to have in Target! It turns out that I didn't miss out on nice spring weather, as it was cold, windy, and at least semi-cloudy all weekend. One consolation!