Mother’s Day, IPAC, and Fried Chicken

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

The picture is of my mother when she was 16. A summer Sunday afternoon, teaching the neighborhood kids how to catch and pitch a baseball. Aside from being a gorgeous teen, she was also a member of the city’s Women Baseball League. They travelled about the state and had four winning seasons in a row. She also recognized her daughter was not the usual kid and accepted it. Loved me, respected me, gave me a good whomp when I needed it, and never ever let me down. She taught me to be independent, reliable, with a good work ethic, to always be honest, to stand up for myself. Because I was all of 4’10”, I was frequently picked on by older bigger kids. My father and grandfather taught me to box. My mother taught me to fight dirty when it was necessary – and only when it was necessary.

One day, when I was 20, I was invited to read my poetry at a tri-city poetry event (not the tri-wizard tournament but a big deal never the less). I was in my room scribbling, scratching out, full of anxiety. My mama walked in ans asked what was the big deal. I told her I wanted to be good enough, to sound smart enough, to write rambling rants ad sound deep, for everybody to like what I had written. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “first of all, you were invited. You are not a party crasher. And secondly, ‘everybody’ doesn’t matter. What matters is how you feel about the poem, that you feel that what you wrote can touch someone else, that you know in your heart that you like what you wrote and did your best.” That’s my mama. “To thine own self, be true.”

Now, time machine forward, last week, the International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC) met here in town. A HUGE deal. I wanted to go, at least, just go there and see if I could see a few of the 1,200 attendees, some of the smartest people on this earth. Because of how my mother had taught me about working hard and being respectful to everyone, I knew there were a couple of people I could contact and get in for an hour or two as a guest. Considering past IPACs have been held in places like Kyoto, Paris, London, NYC, truly, it was a coup. Our General Assembly voted to give money to it, the Associate Director of the Jefferson National Accelerator Facility at the Jefferson Lab in Newport News worked hard for it.

Before I retired, was responsible for licensing the Professional Engineers in my state. Before it went to the Board for final approval, the application for licensure had to go through me – plain and simple. I received many applications from all over the world, the US, the state. Not only engineers applied, a good number of physicists applied. I can say with pride, the persons who needed more work and information, I helped them the best I could within regulatory requirements. One day, I received two applications where the residence address was in Switzerland. My brain perked up and my senses tingled.

I thumbed through the two applications and discovered – they worked/designed parts of/anything you can think of on the Large Hadron Collider. Because of the nature of education and experience and because their work was groundbreaking, there was no benchmark in place for them. This could be a “problem” application. I talked to a board member about the applicants and explained. He was stunned into silence when I finished. This was beyond big – it was….Big Bang Big. Long story short, the two men received their licenses. I had spoken with them about their applications several times before and developed a friendly cameraderie with them. A few weeks after they received their license, these men sent me a letter – thanking me for my hardwork, etc. etc. and if I ever needed anything, to contact them. I still get Christmas cards from them and their families.

When I heard this event was happening here, I did the emails. Yes, yes, and yes! Here are phone numbers. Call us and we’ll be at the Welcome Desk to get you in. I called and they were true to their words. I met these two “friends” face to face and discovered true gentlemen. As we walked around, we talked. I gave them advice about where to eat, where to find the best deal on Levis (much cheaper here than over in Europe). I also took with me a large container of my homefried chicken and homemade biscuits – my ticket of admission (it was scarfed up in a matter of minutes by several folk who insisted I give the recipe and method and took notes as if the fate of the world depended on it). We had discussed food and home cooking, and recipes passed down through the years in some of the converse we had previously had. In return, I was able to sit in on a presentation: “Interplay of Beam-Beam, Lattice Nonlinearity, and Space Charge Effects in the SuperKEKB Collider.”  Cool.

And Mama was right – everybody doesn’t matter. I felt comfortable, happy, secure. Being insatiably curious, I fit right in. The take-away-from this? Mama’s lessons: Beieve in yourself, Be true to yourself, respect others, be kind, work hard.

All you mothers out there and for those fathers who have had to be mothers, to all the aunts and uncles who loved the children in your family and guided them, to all you single folk who loved and nurtured a child not of your own Happy Mother’s Day. God bless you all. Without your care and guidance, we might not have grown to be the persons we are today.

Mama, I love you.



Flower day – Azaleas!

I have reblogged a friend’s pics of hanami and now I am getting ready to post azaleas from my yard – enjoy the beauty on all fronts!

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Un-Wordless Wednesday: haiku

imprisoned in ice
my car plots its escape to
Hawaii and warmth

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Winter’s Coming: Chicken Paprikash

I grew up in an old and established neighborhood. At the end of our block was the granite stone wall separating us from the Duke University East Campus. The wall was high enough to keep out dogs but not kids dropping their dogs over and running with them on the lush grass beneath old oaks. It was also low enough for adults to shinny over and walk about in peace or picnic or for teens to find a quiet place to smooch under the moon.

The wall also did not separate visiting professors to Duke and when housing permitted, to move into our neighborhood and to share their culture with our Southern culture. When I was around seven, a Hungarian professor moved into the empty Bailey house along with his wife, kids, mother, and goat. The goat sometimes liberated himself and roamed about. Luckily for us, the professor’s mother was often the one to come and retrieve him. An ample and friendly soul, she soon knew everyone and everyone knew her.

Thanks to her, we all became lovers of Gulyás, cheese strudel, dobos cake, stuffed cabbage, Flódni, and….chicken paprikash. Some of the foods we knew but with a different angle instead of Hungarian. She always said, our country may be small but our food is vigorous! And it was.

This week, a local grocery had an amazing sale on whole chickens. Other than roasting, I pondered what to do with the one of several chickens I bought. A cold blustery day I thought, roast chicken…booooring. And then, it hit me – spicy, warming, rich chicken paprikash. Perfect. I cut one of the chickens up and even now, this lovely dish is simmering on my stove top in my cast iron dutch oven. If you or your family likes all the chicken pieces, whole is the cheapest way to purchase. There are a zillion videos on You Tube showing how to cut up a whole chicken. All you need is a good sharp knife. Don’t have one? Really???? Get one. And get some good Hungarian paprika.

For the paprika in this recipe, don’t use your grandmother’s paprika unless your grandmother is Hungarian. The red stuff on most grocery shelves that is mainly used to sprinkle on deviled eggs, the top of potato salad or anyplace you want to add a bit of red color is not the same thing as good quality, smoked, sweet, peppery Hungarian paprika. it is a little bit of an investment, but you will be so glad you invested time to find it and money to buy it. You’ll never go back to bland “paprika” again. You can also purchase online.

There are variations on this dish, of course. A friend of mine from Philadelphia used bacon grease and served over broad egg noodles. Many people do not use the bacon grease and serve with dumplings or spaetzal. However, this is a happy red dish that will warm you inside and out. Eat with a sweet white Hungarian wine or lots and lots of water. Thank you Pieter for this recipe, which you said was handed down from your grandmother.

Chicken Paprikash
2 tbs. bacon grease
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
3 tbs. paprika
1 (2 to 3 pound), whole chicken, cut into pieces, skin intact
1 cup water
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes in juice
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1(8 ounce) container sour cream (can use low fat)

Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt, and paprika. Stir together and saute until onion is translucent, using low heat so as not to burn the paprika.  You may need to add a bit more grease or a touch of butter. Add chicken pieces and pour water over all. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour, adding more water if necessary.

Stir in tomatoes, reserving liquid. I use whole tomatoes and coarsely chop before adding. You can also used diced tomatoes. Stir tomato liquid into a medium bowl with flour and sour cream; mix until well blended, then slowly add mixture to chicken, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture is thick. Serve with noodles, dumplings, or spaetzal. Serves four.

Public Domain Clip Art

Public Domain Clip Art

Happy Birthday to Me….and the rest of the 11/16 Society

I love birthdays and I especially like my own. My birthday is my New Year for me, not January 1. It is the beginning of starting a new chapter in the book of my life and for reflecting on the chapter I have just finished writing.

This past year has been full of many troubled times, challenges, and grief but it has also seen times of great joy, deep peace, incredible new friendships (thank you with much love to the Bitten Babes!), beginning again with a new profession and proving that no, I am not beaten and yes, I triumphed.

Last night at dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant with some friends and my husband, one told me, I am so proud of all you have done this year and how you used a great injustice to move forward and grow. Wow.

So….happy birthday to me! Happy happy happy birthday. And thank you to all of you who continue to fill my life with your thoughts, travels, experiences, poems, photographs, friendship – all of you whose blogs I follow. You help me expand my universe but most important, expand my heart.

the group of us, those whom I term the 11/16 Society, I wish you all happy birthday and year filled with joy, health, and growth. I love you all. The 11/16 Society lost two of our unique band, Jeff and Jamie but….a year ago today, one of the 11/16 Society became grandfather to Jackson. So!!! Happy birthday my Band of Brothers:
Beni, Billy, Itoshi, Jackson, Mashashi, Takahashi-san, Thomas, Will, William and as noted on M-R Blog, Luke. M-R posted a Happy Birthday Greeting to Luke and I.    She is a fine lady from Oz and she keeps us all in line and honest and…wishes us happy birthday! Go visit her and go wish Luke happy birthday. Tell him Kanzen sent you by way of M-R.    I am link challenged but M-R is gifted – she has a link to mine and Luke’s blogs on her website…. Thank you M-R for the cake you baked as well.  I am so glad I got the pretty one and not the chocolate one.

And rest sweetly, Jamie and Jeff.  Your lifesongs have ended but the melody is still there in our hearts.   The 11/16 Society:  My friends, brothers, and maker of many of my smiles.  And a Happy Birthday wave on my 7th birthday, in the snow, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Kanzen's 7th Birthday   copyright Kanzensakura

Kanzen’s 7th Birthday copyright Kanzensakura


Wordless Wednesday

copyright kanzens

copyright kanzens

Scenes from THE trip

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I’ll be honest: a 20 hour trip was not always fun. Day one was monsoon rains so intense I could barely see the taillights of the car in front of me, one of a huge mass of other cars going over 65 MPH in this rain! About 20 miles south of Tallahassee, we were sideswiped by a couple of students wearing headphones, texting, and not wearing shoes. No one was hurt, thank God. It shook my mother up badly and made me want to pull them out of the car and spank them. I wanted to but did not.

The purpose of the trip was not fun either: I discovered the woman who was supposed to assisting and helping my mother was stealing from her bank account and keeping her in the rehab facility to continue to have access to her money. So, down I went to Tampa to take her out of the facility, get her things together and try to pack into a huge SUV, resist body slamming the woman, and then getting the hell out of Dodge. So…it was very trying, hard, painful, and helping my mother deal with all this was beyond hard. But we did it. Mama is now safe with her baby sister in TN and feeling stronger and happier and safer everyday. Mission accomplished.

Along the way, we saw lots of funny, beautiful, odd things. I didn’t get a picture of it but the rest stop in Florida where we took a few minutes break had a huge sign, right beside the handicapped parking signs, pet area sign, and no overnight parking sign, this sign: BEWARE OF POISONOUS SNAKES Yes, really. Needless to say, that was a short stop.

Our halfway point in Tallahassee was uneventful except for the fact we stayed in a motel that catered to construction and contract workers on short term stays in the area. The next morning in the area for the “free hot breakfast” area, were about 30 guys rushing about, fixing their food, slamming it down, and then grabbing wrapped muffins and pieces of fruit to take with them. When several of them realized “ladies” were present, they curtailed their usual morning conversations to simply,Good morning ma’am. Nice sleep ma’am? Can we get something for you ma’am? I was more interested with the conversation that abruptly stopped when we came in that started with “Woohoo, that little redheaded gal was wrapped all around you…”

The “hot” part of the free breakfast consisted of packages of instant oatmeal and grits and individual packages of two pancakes each to microwave. No one ate any oatmeal but mama and I noted the minimum amount of pancakes to nuke, per plate, was a dozen. Eating time was about 90 seconds. They freely added coffee to their thermos bottles and doctored with instant creamer and sugar. Oh yeah, the coffee was instant. Hot water goes over a cartridge consisting of a solid block of instant coffee. Yes, it was horrible. But as the men left, they all wished us a good, happy, safe, blessed day and trip. We told them the same.

several hours later, we crossed into Alabama. Immediately over the border, in the miniscule town of Cottondale, was a place on the right advertising Bait and Tackle, a 13 foot alligator (it was plastic), fresh pecans, pumpkins, and locally made molasses and cane syrup. We couldn’t resist and pulled over. This stop reminded me of why I am proud to be a Southerner.

I helped mama down out of the SUV and helped her into the place. She was still weak and unsteady but wanted to explore. That’s my mama!!! She found some fresh produce for sale and among the items, freshly pulled pods of red and green cayenne peppers. She grabbed a couple of handfuls and when the young man who owns the place asked her what she was going to do with them, she told him she was going to make a quart jar of pepper vinegar to put on her greens when she cooked them. And now, this made me cry but then, kindness does this to me a lot. He picked up another handful of peppers, put them in the bag and told her to take these with his compliments and when she sprinkled that vinegar on her greens, to remember him and to pray for him and his family and he would do the same for her. Oh yeah….what I talk about often – the kindness of un-strangers.

I picked up several pounds of unshelled pecans, a jar of cane syrup and a jar of molasses – made in Cottondale. The young man told us the syrup and molasses was still made by a 9o year old man who raised his own cane and still ground it and cooked the juice to syrup and molasses. Roulaison The season for chopping, grinding, and cooking down. We got to talking about and comparing biscuit recipes and methods. He then said, if you ain’t in a hurry, come on down the street to my house and I’ll fix you both a batch of cat head biscuits to sop up some molasses with. Unfortunately, we needed to make tracks but it was hard to resist.

A young, skeletal, tattooed, pierced biker was in the store buying a bottle of water and a bag of pork rinds. As I started with mama to the vehicle, he set down his purchases, picked her up and then established her in the SUV. He adjusted the pillow behind her, fastened her seat belt, and kissed her on her cheek, put his hand on her forehead in blessing. Came around to my side and said, Safe trip little sister and placed his hand on my forehead as well. I can still feel that warm, calloused hand.

Later into the journey, at one of Alabama’s incredibly clean and well maintained rest stops, the sign that got our attention was: NO WEAPONS BEYOND THIS POINT. Again, really. As I was walking into the place, a truck driver was behind me. He read the notices on the door: NO WEAPONS BEYOND THIS POINT and NO SMOKING. He commented, damn, can’t do nuthin’ anymore….

The rest of the trip was uneventful but long. I’m safe home. Mama is safe in her new home. I was again reminded of how people can rise and the heights of kindness and grace they can attain.





Groovin’ on A Sunday Afternoon


It is already getting hot and muggy here in the South and it ain’t even July! I was grilling chicken (thank you to Bernice at Realistic Cooking for Busy People for this recipe and the turn on to Chiavetta’s BBQ Marinade) and just sweatin’….Time to start moving slow. Time to start seeking out shade and places to catch a breeze. Put on my earbuds and pulled up my “Summer Playlist” on the old MP3. First song out of the gate: Groovin’ by the Young Rascals, 1967. Oh yeah.

This song always brings back memories of the beach, shagging (a southern beach dance), newly cut lawns, the grill putting out delicious aromas, kids a few yards down playing, sitting on the front porch in the porch swing slowing rocking back and forth, the chain holding the porch giving out a slo-o-o-o-w creak…Again I say, oh yeah.

Enjoy yourself. Get your groove on….

Urban Exploration: Chimneys and Antique Roses

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I had gone to one of the local BBQ places to pick up lunch for my husband and I.  As I stepped out of the car, my nose was taken captive by the intoxicating smell of hickory and apple wood smoke and roasting meat.  But under that fog of BBQ smell was another – one that immediately possessed me.

I’ve been told I have a nose like a bloodhound and when you cook for volunteer or used to cook for profession, it comes in handy.  Under the smoky BBQ pit smell, was the delicate and seductive smell of lemon peel and jasmine.  My nose perked up and my senses said:  antique roses.  In that locale, the roses could only be part of an old homeplace.  Old homeplaces abound in the South.  Sometimes they are beautifully maintained, sometimes shabby chic, other times beyond shabby and fallen on hard times or, in many cases, deserted and slowly going back to the earth, being claimed by weather and wild growth.

And in that locale, I had a feeling the old homeplace was in decay.  I took a few steps away from the parking lot down a bare path and before too long, found the roses.  Small white roses vining in and out of bushes, kudzu, weeds, trees.  Every spring, putting forth shoots and then fighting for survival and amazingly, still making their presence known.  I knew if there were the roses, there had to at least traces of the house itself.

A turn in the path and there it was – the beautiful stone foundation,  fireplace, and chimney.  Someone had lovingly cleared space around the foundation and it stood – after all the years gone, firm.  The fireplace, the heart of the home, was tall, proud and still strong.  It was a small house but the fireplace would have kept it warm in the coldest of winter storms.  The fireplace gave evidence of the light it had provided on dark nights and how it had been used to keep the family fed.

Who were the people that had lived here?  The people that had planted roses, iris, syringa, a vegetable garden?  People who had lived in the home: eating, sleeping, reading, laughing, mourning, celebrating.  I stood there in quiet awe and let my mind travel back.  In my mind, I sat on the small front porch shelling peas and enjoying the cool shade of the surrounding oak trees, listening to the birds and the leaves dancing in a summer breeze.  I stood and in my mind, watched snow falling and drifting and smelled the smoke from the chimney, seeing the house lit from within by lamps, casting a golden glow.  I smelled the roses, still growing and making their own way, rising above the weeds and underbrush.

I gently touched some of the roses.  I took their blessing with me as I went back out in the modern world.

The Dancing Crinoline: A story of the Carolina Cherry Blossom

I was reminded of this incident of my misbegotten youth when someone commented on the picture I posted of the Carolina Cherry Blossom:  “What a hellion….I mean, what an adorable child…”  I was both – an adorable hellion.  I was the apple of my papa’s eye, the heart of my grandmother Ninny, the unsolvable puzzle for my mother, and for my two teenaged aunts, I was….hell.

We were a multi-generational family living in the home built the previous century by one of our ancestors.  My bedroom had actually been the bedroom of a family member (young man) who went off to fight the War of Northern Aggression.   He returned home to die of his wounds, in that room.  I would often look out my bedroom window, down onto the ancient gardenia bush below.  In the summer, I would breathe in its fragrance and wonder if he had dreamed of it, while so far away.  At night, I would look down and see the pure white blooms glowing like earthbound stars.  I imagined him lying in the same room, in the heat of his last summer.  Could he smell the gardenias and magnolias?  Did he suffer?  When he was young, like me, did he stay up late at night and look out at the sky?

But I digress.  We were a multi-generational family and to be honest, eccentric.  A southern version of the Addams family, if you will.  Full of all manner of oddnesses and peculiarities, but loving and accepting of each other.  No gothic Faulkneresque cannibalism or ugliness for us.  We were a happy and tight group.  At least, we were until The Hellion would spring forth to torture her poor aunties.

My Aunt Gay was the beauty of the family – black curly hair, coffee bean brown eyes, skin that was roses and milk, full lips and winsome ways.  She was also a little, shall we say, nervous?  Easily excitable?  She was extremely particular about her appearance and dress. Always perfect, in fashion, neat, clean, dainty.  She made many of her clothes and they fit her like smooth kid gloves.  She had several sets of crinolines – fluffy puffy magical undergarments that swelled her skirts and often peeped beneath them.  Pure white, or pale yellow with pastel roses and ribbons, sky blue and pink combination…lovely things they were.  They were also a royal pain in the whazoo to maintain.

Gay would hand wash them and then mix up the perfect starch solution and dip them in the solution.  They would be hung on the line to dry and then, she would iron them to fastidious perfection.  Hours of work was involved.  I loved those crinolines.  I’d pass by the laundry line and gaze and dream.  How my heart yearned for just the plainest one!

My mother dressed me sensibly.  Clothes that didn’t easily rumple, capris and shorts for the summer, dresses that had some pleats but no frou-frou like lace or crinolines.  I pined for frou-frou.  I craved crinolines.  I coveted eyelet.  Never mind the fact that I climbed trees, roller skated down the sidewalks, trained my cats and dogs to do tricks or enjoyed making miniature towns and streets and army bunkers in the dirt.  Forget the fact that my grandfather taught me to box because I was small and the neighborhood kids picked on me (but not very often after the first couple of times). Or that I had imaginary sword fights on the outside steps leading up to the third floor (Errol Flynn had nothing on me!)  And let’s look the other way when I would shinny down the tree outside my window to sneak out at night and roam about the yard.   I wanted to be a lace begarbed hellion.  Sensibly dressed hellions were ordinary and dime-a-dozen.  I had learned the words “femme fatale” and longed for it.

One Saturday, my dreams possessed me.  I could not avoid the laundry line that day.  Every step took me past it.  Every glance flew to the bundles of froth drying in the sun.  With the deep sigh of the damned, I shucked off my little red capris and my oxfords and ran to the line.  Reaching up to the most beautiful crinoline, the pale yellow one with the pastel ribbons and rosettes, I jerked it from the line in one sure motion.  Without taking a breath, it slipped over my head.  I gazed downward, amazed at the beauty, like sea foam, swirling on the grass around my feet. I had been reading Greek mythology and in my mind, I was Aphrodite rising from the foam.   I twirled and tripped up in the skirts.  Picking myself up, I pulled it up under my armpits.  Perfection!  I began to leap about – plie-ing to the best of my short-legged ability.  Going down a bit of slope, I gained momentum.  I was flying!  I was thistledown, I was the Faery Queen, I was a prima ballerina!

Around the house, I leapt.  Unbeknown to me, my aunt Gay had gotten off from her part-time job at the dress shop early.  As her dainty foot hit the sidewalk as she stepped down from the bus, I came around the house.  Horror!  Her eyes fixed on me at the same time mine fixed on her.  Picking up the skirts of the crinoline, I took off at run around the house.  Throwing all to ground, she took off behind me.  Around the house we went three times, each time, she got closer.  Our family watched from their various positions on the front, side, and back porches or the upper story windows.  No one dared intervene.

As she was about to grab the long braid of hair flying behind me, I swarmed up the tree that branched out at my bedroom window.  Like a squirrel I left her and the ground behind.  I settled myself onto a branch and shucked the crinoline down to the ground.  Like a tragic blossom, it belled to the ground at her feet.  Gay screamed at me, “You little wretch, if I ever get my hands upon you, you are going to become knacker meat for Mrs. Williamson’s dogs (a mastiff and a Pekingnese, both of them beasts)”.  I sat on the branch, feet hanging down out of reach.  I was not coming down.  I could ride Mrs. Williamson’s mastiff like a pony and I currently had marks on my ankles from where Huo had latched upon me as I had snuck into Mrs. W’s raspberry patch.  For all his size, he was a fearless watchdog.  His name should have been Dragon.

Finally, my Grandmother was able to stop laughing and come outside to intervene.  Putting her arm around her daughter’s shoulders, she looked up at me.  “Little Love, if Aunt Gay promises not to grind you up, will you come down?’  Gay had muttered under her breath at my nickname.  Ninny shushed her.  “Do you promise not to grind her up, set her on fire, tie her up and drop her down the well, or cut her hair in her sleep, if she comes down?  I need to finish supper.”  Gay stood silent, arms crossed, cheeks red and eyes burning with tears.

“Mama, I was going to wear that crinoline tonight when Frank took me to the dinner dance at the Washington Duke Hotel.  Now, it is ruined….ruined!”  She put her head on Ninny’s shoulder and cried as if her heart was broken, as indeed, it was.  Ninny looked up at me and shook her head.  I wasn’t home free yet.

“Little Honey, I’ll fix up your white eyelet while you take your bath.  Your sky blue crinoline and my pearls will be perfect.  Okay?”  Gay looked up at me and stuck out her tongue.  She hugged Ninny, picked up her purse and went into the house.  Ninny crooked her finger at me and motioned for me to come down.  “And you, you will hand wash this crinoline, make any repairs, starch it and iron it.   Do you hear me?”  I swung down from the tree and solemnly went into the house, forlornly lugging  the bedraggled crinoline.

I took it to the laundry room.  I didn’t have to wait long.  Ninny came and took the crinoline into her hands.  She gave it a swift once over and declared that under the circumstances, it was in good shape.  So, no sewing for me to have to do.  I hated sewing then and I hate it now.  FYI:  My sewing kit is a stapler, some straight pins, and duct tape. Together, we carefully washed the crinoline and treated stains.Starch was mixed and we dipped the crinoline in.  We hung the crinoline and hoisted it to the ceiling to dry.  The warm room would cause it to dry quickly.

Later that evening, I was sitting at the window in my bedroom.  I saw the white Corvette convertible holding my aunt and her boyfriend pull into the driveway.  Carefully, I pushed the screen away from the window and balancing myself, leapt onto the special branch of my oak tree.  I made my way down to the ground stepping quietly, to the side porch where the two lovers were sitting in the porch swing, Frank’s arm around my aunt’s shoulders.  I stood for a moment or so to allow my eyes to adjust to the darkness.  Just as he was about to plant a kiss, I picked up a small pebble and threw it.  It glanced off the back of his head.  He brushed at his head and went back in.  Another pebble.  Another brush.  Another attempt at a kiss.  Three times.  Just as he was about to whip around to see what was going on, I went behind the hedge out of sight.  About that time, the porch light came on.  “Settin’ time” was over.  I hugged myself as I shook with silent laughter.

Back up the tree to the safety of my room.  As my bedroom door opened, I slid under the sheets, eyes closed.  Gay stood there for a moment.  “I know you aren’t asleep. Don’t even try it.”   She came and sat on the bed.  “Why?”  I sat up.  “Because I want to be as pretty as you.”  She looked at me and smiled.  “You are already prettier.”  And she went to her room.

For my birthday that year, there was a large box from her.  In it was my very own crinoline – white with white satin ribbons, rosettes, and lace.

Versatile Blogger Award


This one actually came before the Best Moments Award.  I needed to think long and hard about the Most Versatile Blogger.  Sometimes my idea of things are waaaaay different from other’s.  Hence, probably some of you are thinking some of my choices for Best Moments are a bit odd.  Well, ODD is one of my middle names (along with Stubborn, Geeky, Lives in an Alternative Universe, A Bit Twisted -you catch my drift).

The same will be true of the Versatile Blogger Award.  But I am pleased with my choices.  I tried to choose new or bloggers who hadn’t racked up a bunch of awards already.  Please do check out the winners for both awards.  Find some new interests, different perspectives, cool stuff, funny stuff, inspirational stuff……maybe even a new friend or two.

THANK YOU to   for giving me this award.  His blog is worth checking out.  I like everything he chooses to share.  And the reason behind his choices I find typical of the way he is. Photographs, sayings, humor, inspiration, provocation of thought – all on his blog.  I am honored by his choosing me.

I told a friend about Versatile Blogger, and he says “Why, because you are a white southern woman writing about Japanese stuff?”  I said to him, “No, Dopey. it’s because I am a white southern woman writing about Japanese stuff, southern stuff, recipes, poetry, prose, Christian thoughts, and fun things.”

So that settles that.  My blog is a bit of a mish-mash of what is coming out of my head and heart at that moment.  I hope you will try some of the recipes – I’ve been on a Japanese jag for a bit so now it is time for me to go back to Southern.  Also, the poems aren’t the best in the world, but you may like some of them.  I thank all of you who read, like, follow my blog.  You all are the most versatile group of people I have ever met.  Keep your wonderful posts coming.  You are all special.

VBA Rules

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell 7 things about yourself
  1. 1.  I am part of a group of friends all born, in different years, on 11/16 within the timeframe of 5:00 am and 6:30 a.m.  I call this the 11/16 Society and have done various posts about it
  2. I love Blue Bell ice cream (hooray, finally in Virginia!) esp. the banana split, the banana pudding, and the peach cobbler.
  3. I’m afraid of spiders.  I think they are cool but I am afraid of them.
  4. My Japanese is really really bad and I thank you all for putting up with me.
  5. I’m not fond of chocolate
  6. I wrote my first poem when I was four:  Rain. Rain. Rain.  Ducks like rain.  Sometimes I do.  Sometimes I don’t. Rain. Rain. Rain.
  7. I like to ball room dance, especially standard tango and Viennese Waltz.

AND THE WINNERS no special order…

Haiku Fun

dinner = lunch in the South, y’all


Sunday Dinner

Fried chicken, snap beans,

Sweet tea, sweet corn, sliced tomatoes,

Biscuits and gravy.


Church dinner desserts

Banana pudding,

Coconut custard pie, pound cake,

pecan pie, peach pie.


Sam the cat

Pumpkin vanilla

Fur, pink bottomed paws, long tail,

Snoozes everywhere.


Summer night

Sitting and watching

Lightning bugs – floating fireworks –

Here, there, everywhere.


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