7.31.2013

JAM not JELLY


Have I ever mentioned the wonderful-ness of JAM?
In my extensive PB&J making career, I've found that jam is sooo much nicer than jelly 
at 6 a.m.  Jelly plops out of the jar and rolls around uncooperatively on the
bread, reluctant to spread - so annoying. 
Did your kid ever do that limp thing? You know, when you're holding their sweaty little hand 
and trying to lead them and they just fall to the ground, boneless?
Many aspects of raising small children are happily left behind!
Anyway, I'm thinking of that when the jelly really rebels,
and I find myself wishing I had bought easy-spreading  jam instead. *
 So for the first time ever, when faced with a gift of three heaping pints of blackberries, 
I MADE JAM! 
It wasn't very hard to do, but it is certainly hard to resist just eating it with a spoon.
I must be a grown up girl now - finding out about jam and hot flashes** in the same summer!
I'm trying to resist discussing biscuits right now. ***
Last week I shopped a farm-style fleamarket (complete with Amish)
and scored these peaches.**** Excuse me, they're Georgia peaches - this seems to be
key to jam making. At least that's what my More Experienced Friend says. 
And so after leaving them in the hot car for a few days, oops, and having newly acquired a 
Jam Confidence, my google searches turned up a recipe for
peach butter. Say that a few times. Accent the 'u'. Now you want some too, don't you?
Just trot yourself on over here, because there are jars in my fridge to share!
And bring some biscuits!

**** They look slimy, don't they! That's because they are. The whole boiling water/ice water thing
was amazing. The peels, at least my peels did not just "slide off like a coat", but still
they were easy to peel and left behind the shiniest, slimy peaches. 
It was a little yucky, I must say.
***You Kitchen Divas will just hate this, but I don't think any biscuit could be
much better than a KFC biscuit. I know! Processed, white flour, glutens galore (human hair???) -
but so soft inside and salty buttery outside. If a teenager was awake around here,
he'd probably be sent on a biscuit run right now!
**I think I'm too young for hot flashes. Hot flashes deserve their own post.
*Do you see yourself in this boneless, jelly-like rebel child? I certainly do, spiritually, for sure!
How many times has He tried to lead me toward something good, which may look quite bad,
 and I fall to the ground in an unwilling, struggling heap? So many times!
And yet, His patience is infinite, His mercy bottomless.
And so for encouragement to be more like JAM and less like JELLY
this   and   this   and   this.




7.26.2013

Sliding


Summer is slowly sliding by.
The proof is in the daylilies.
Their lush bursts of color are finally blinking out, and are 
now only lonesome bright dashes in the garden landscape.
Out of dozens and dozens, 
only two blooms of Joan Senior remain.

 Eenie Fanfare - completely gone.

These have been divided and divided, spread far and wide in the garden.
They GLOW from afar when the sun lights them, and even in the gloaming.
What a great word - exactly fitting what it names. 
Now they're all spent.

This morning I spent a couple of hours cutting them all back, 
giving these ladies their fall hairdo. Garden tasks mark time's passing.
The summer is slowly sliding away.



7.25.2013

A Courtyard Connection

Aside from the lions everywhere,
there were so many really remarkable sculptures in St. Augustine!

The bust of a monk, only visible through the gates of a locked cemetery. 
He looks a little bit smug, I think. His expression is certainly unusual -
 a wry twist of the lips? Maybe he hoped his likeness would be displayed in
one of the elaborate cathedrals in town - but he ended up in an obscure graveyard.

How unhappy to have a sculpture made of you with your mouth
wide open like that! You know something has crawled up in there and is 
waiting for the pizza delivery guy. 

And this fellow in a courtyard was my favorite. 
We made an instant connection, he and I.
He's barely got his head on, and it looks like it was made from
an entirely different material than the rest of his body. 
I can identify.
My impression is that he was a sailor, coming home from a long voyage.
Possibly on which he was forced to acquire a new head? 
I don't know - it's hard to get away from the head detail. 
But just look at the wide smile! 
That alone makes him different and special.



7.22.2013

Spitting


It's a good day to talk about fountains.
After lots of 90ยบ days, we've had a nice rainy day.
Soaking, straight-down showers have made me feel comfortably drenched.
And I don't have to drag a hose around to the gardens!

While we were in St. Augustine, we visited Flagler College.
How awesome would it be to snag a college education in St. Aug?
We almost made the tour, but were distracted by cupcake happy hour, happening 
right down the street. Our priorities are certainly in good order - we missed the tour.

But just inside the gates, there's a really impressive fountain
At least my husband found it to be really impressive. 
It stopped him in his tracks - "Wow!
He circled it, exclaiming, and finally asked for the camera. 
Keep in mind, he NEVER asks for the camera.


I admit that the frogs were interesting, each one  with a differently formed mouth and stance.
But beyond that ... ?
I guess it's true - ART, like BEAUTY, must be in the eye of the beholder.

I'd rather see spitting faces!




7.12.2013

Lighthouse


The St. Augustine Lighthouse was one of the 'must stops' in our sightseeing frenzy while 
on the big 25th anniversary trip recently.
I find that I cannot recommend the sightseeing frenzy any longer. 
It's what we've always done when we're in an actual vacation destination - we feel
obligated to see everything, since we're not likely to ever return.
We wore ourselves out this time, though - maybe we are too old now?
"How do they get the lines on the tower so perfectly perfect?"
One of the staff knew the technical answer, of course.
It's a vacation game we play. We set some goals for the day and enjoy pursuing them. 
 I think the goals for this day were to:
 -laugh big enough that your mouth is wide open,  
-make conversation with a perfect stranger,  
-ask a question that completely stumps someone
(among others not really fit to share)
I don't remember the answer to the question now. It just really seemed like she was not the sort
of person to just spit up a scientific answer. Books and covers, right?
Husband was smirking at my failure to achieve a 'stumping' right there in the gift shop.
In looking online this morning for exactly how many steps the tower has, I find that the 
tower is reportedly haunted - shocker!
All ghosts aside, there were maybe over 1(6),000 steps.  
So it seemed, as I huffed my way to the top, trying to hide the gasping from my uber-cardio-fit husband.
Believe me, I was quick to call attention to the amazing views 
to be had from the windows along the way.
We met (and made conversation with) two women who lapped us on our climb. 
YES, they were going  up and down and up and down  the steps as exercise!
One of the women was 75 Years Old - she "did the tower" 
TEN TIMES A DAY.
They did not spend any time looking at the view through the windows.
Us.
By the way, almost everyone wears a hat of some kind in St. Augustine.
It's just windy there, all the time, and you are probably coming from or going to the beach -
I loved the idea that hair is just messy, so cover it up!


7.10.2013

It's Dark


Now, I admit to being a tiny bit sensitive to all things bearing an evil tinge.
And even though I find scary babies in antique stores  fascinating,
I have to cover my eyes  or squint  through every horror flick commercial.
Orcs pretty much traumatize me.

All that to say, I thought St. Augustine was a dark sort of city. 
Lots and lots and lots of history regarding native massacres, plagues, 
religious murders and pirate killing sprees.


So seeing this as we waited at our trolley stop was not so shocking.
Looks like a  headless Spaniard ... or is it a headless Huguenot ... a headless Englishman? 

video

OK - it was shocking, at least for me.

7.08.2013

Out and In


Out through a door,


in through a window.


It's been a rough couple of months. 
Life became overwhelming, and when that happens, 
you gotta cut the extras and tend to the 
absolutely necessary.
Anybody else ever had to do that?

But it's nice when you get grab some of 
the extra back again.