Autumn Has Arrived!!

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Autumn has arrived in beautiful Colorado as well as the northern hemisphere and it is just gorgeous this year!  Autumn is my favorite season, I must admit.  I love the colors, I love the temperatures cooling down, I love the way the light slants across the sky in a softer manner that seems to make everything look new and different.  When I was a child, I looked forward to the beginning of every new school year and the new clothes and shoes we would buy so I could start off the year all sparkly and new.  I’m even one of those people who, to this day, loves the smell of pencils and erasers and chalk boards, pens and all kinds of paper, and even the crisp newness of notebooks.  Can I make a confession to you?  I still buy school supplies when they’re in the stores, on sale, because they’re less expensive then and I love wandering up and down the aisles with all those lovely school supply aromas.  Autumn is my favorite season hands down!

I grew up in west Texas where we had fall, but it wasn’t the same as fall in places farther north.  We got cooler, but mostly that was when we had our heavy rains and so gray, foggy days seemed to go hand in hand with the new season.  I loved walking home after school and walking into my house to the aroma of soup or stew that Mother was already cooking on the stove.  Those were some of my favorite moments as a child and I miss those moments now.  I LIKED wearing more clothes in the fall and winter months.  I loved sweaters and corduroy pants, long-sleeved dresses and coats, hats, and gloves.  I was born in November and always loved that November’s flower is the chrysanthemum.  I loved the colors that were used to represent fall–pumpkin, sweet potato, maroon, dark green, browns, burnished golds, and darker blues.

Autumn is the season for Halloween and I recall my favorite Halloween costume as a child. I believe I was in the second grade and I decided to dress up as a gypsy.  Mother made me a long, full skirt made of a fall-colored paisley print.  I adored that skirt and wore it all the time, even when it wasn’t Halloween.  I liked going trick or treating, but my favorite part was coming home and all of my friends and I dividing and sharing the spoils of our evening.

My favorite holiday of all is Thanksgiving and not because of the largely mythical stories of the pilgrims and the Indians having a big feast together after the harvest.  I love Thanksgiving because, to me, it represents a time for family to get together for no other reason than to share a good meal and quality time together.  I have grand memories of all the women working in my mother’s kitchen preparing the big feast for the day.  I loved the food too, don’t get me wrong, but I loved even more being in the midst of the women, hearing the latest news about what was happening in the family, the joking around, the camaraderie and the love.  I think I love preparing the Thanksgiving meal now because even though it is harder to gather family together for it, the recipes and preparations remind me of those days when there was a big crowd to prepare and eat the meal.  Making cornbread dressing reminds me of my sister Judy, who was the official dressing maker.  Making pecan and cherry pies reminds me of Mother and her explaining each step to me.  I loved putting the chicken and dressing together into the oven and the aromas that arose as it cooked. (Mother never baked a turkey.  She thought they were too greasy.)

As you can tell, I’m on a nostalgia trip this morning!  🙂  Now, as I’m older, I’m realizing I need to institute some new traditions in our family so someday my grandchildren will have such ardent memories as I do of my childhood Thanksgivings.

Last week, my husband and I took our annual trip into the mountains to see the beautiful trees and leaves around Colorado.  As we did so, I was filled with joy and peace that I just don’t experience throughout the rest of the year.  My husband loves it when it snows.  I love it when it cools and the trees turn into a riot of lovely colors.  I get this almost uncontrollable urge to cook soups and stews, turkeys and dressing.  I even get this weird urge to draw and cut out leaves and pumpkins and turkeys from construction paper and tape them to the  front window.  Instead, I’m crocheting and knitting shawls from autumnal colors.  That works too…  What is your favorite part of autumn?  Were there special rituals and traditions your family participated in?  Let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to know!

Peace and love, today and always,

Elaine

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De Ja Vu’ All Over Again

I feel very de ja vu’ this morning. I woke up briefly before Alan went to work and I guess I had coffee and let Missy (our cat) outside, then went back to bed and didn’t wake up until 9:30! As I was making coffee I was trying to remember why it felt like I’d already done this before today. I’ll tell you a secret about having fibromyalgia. Most people with fibromyalgia have terrible problems with insomnia. Eventually you can’t handle it so you get medications to help you sleep. I don’t take mine every single night because it makes me feel so sluggish and stupid in the mornings. However, when I do take it, man! It does a number on me. I feel like I’ve lost half the day already because of usually waking up so early.

I’ve got a LOT to do because….my kids are coming on Thursday!!! I can hardly wait and am so excited it’s unreal. I’ve been deep-cleaning the house before they come because, well, because I’m neurotic I guess. I want everything to be perfect for all of them, but especially clean for Milo, my grandbaby! He’s my sweetie pie.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Elaine

Sunday Dinners

I found a recipe making the rounds on Facebook for Southern Banana Pudding and suddenly I was back in the kitchen of my childhood on a Sunday morning after church making banana pudding as Mother instructed me on how to make it.

Sunday dinners (which in the South means the noon meal) were the biggest and fanciest meals of the week. Inevitably they meant we had either pot roast, which cooked in the oven while we were at church, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, or some other delicious meat that we didn’t ordinarily have during the week. Along with that, we’d had mashed potatoes (always!), homemade gravy and two or three other vegetables, often picked right out of our backyard garden. Then, of course, we’d have one of Mother’s delicious cobblers or pies. Mother sometimes made cakes, but as she was always quick to point out, “Your Aunt Mary is the cake expert, while I prefer to make pies.” Mother had the best pie crust I’ve ever eaten and her cobblers were so delicious that often I would try to skip the meal right on over to cobbler, but Mother never allowed that, of course! If Mother hadn’t made what she called a “real dessert,” we’d make banana pudding or we’d whip up a lemon meringue pie or chocolate meringue pie.

I loved Sunday dinners because that was when Mother’s wonderful cooking shined and when she taught me how to cook. Sometimes it would just be Daddy, Mother and I eating these huge meals, but oftentimes other family would come over too. If it was just Daddy, Mother and I, we’d save the leftovers and eat them for Sunday supper and continue eating them throughout the week. My favorite was Mother’s pot roast dinners because that meant on Sunday evening we’d have roast beef sandwiches with warmed gravy to top them off. I think I enjoyed that almost more than the big meal at noon.

Isn’t it funny how seeing one old recipe can spark so many wonderful memories in our minds? As I’m writing this, I’m seeing our old kitchen in my mind with the yellow countertops, antique white cabinets, and our old O’Keeffe and Merritt stove that cooked better than any stove I’ve ever used. It was huge, old-fashioned, and I was always a little embarrassed that we didn’t have a built-in stovetop and oven like my friends’ homes had, but in all honesty, that old stove was far better. I’ve seen a revival of interest over the last 20 years in these stoves. I’ve especially seen them in many television sitcom kitchens and am always surprised.

We also had an old Frigidaire refrigerator that wasn’t really very old at the time, but always seemed that way. Those, too, have become very popular again in vintage kitchens. I guess it is true that given enough time, everything comes back in style!

I must admit, I’d give anything for one more chance to cook a Sunday dinner at Mother’s elbow. She used every pot and pan in the house to cook these wonderful feasts and I had to wash the dishes afterwards, but the meal was worth it! So are the memories…

Thanks for going down memory lane with me today! I must admit, there are days when I really enjoy these trips!

Peace and love always,

Elaine

The Baby Is Coming!|NaPoWriMo Day 18

The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!

What do we do?
Where do we go?
Did you grab my bag?
My hair is a mess!

The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!

I have one brown sandal on
and one black one,
oh well, let’s go,
no one will look at your feet!

The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!

Why did I wait so long
to wake you up
so we could go?

Honey, it’s ok, really,
I didn’t mean to yell
at you! It just hurts!

The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!

The troops have
been rallied.
They’re in the waiting room.
Even Daddy came to
wait and see,
his little grandchild to be.

The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!

Oh, my body grows weak,
we’re trying so hard
to work as a team,
but twenty four hours
of laboring on,
seems sort of like a
bad dream.

The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!

The time has finally arrived!
Hallelujah!
It’s a boy!
What did you say
he weighed?
Nine pounds, five ounces.
Oh my! He’s huge!

The baby is here!
The baby is here!

Mother and babe are fine.
Now comes the hard part,
when we take him home,
for he has truly
stolen our hearts.

I pray that we raise him,
faithful and true,
gentle and strong,
don’t you?

The baby is here!
The baby is here!

As soon as I wake up well,
I promise I’ll give a loud cheer!

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/20/15

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And now for our (as always, optional) prompt, which takes us from 2015 back to the 1700s. After all, it’s the eighteenth of April, which means that today is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical.

Haiku Mood|NaPoWriMo Day 16

Fibromyalgia Fun and Pain, A Haiku

Yesterday was fun.
Physical therapy fun.
This morning, great pain.

Colorado Spring, A Haiku

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This is me and Daddy in the Spring of my life. I was 8 months old. He was 48 years old. 

Sun was shining bright.
Flowers and trees bloom.
Now, wind blows in cold and snow.

Family Tree Changing, A Haiku

Old limbs fell in wind.
We are old limbs now.
Are we strong enough to love?

Grief Brings Wisdom, A Haiku

Elders teach us life.
While young, we won’t hear.
Grief brings wise enlightenment.

Pleasure of Love, A Haiku

Lips touch, passion born.
Love comes, pleasure blooms.
Age gives us warm simple love.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/16/15


This is Milo, my first grandchild, who is about 8 weeks old in this picture. I’m 53.  I so look forward to watching this little guy grow up and see what his generation will be like!


I awoke very early this morning (3:00 AM) in significant physical pain and with some grief as well. Mother’s last sibling died over the weekend so the “older” generation of my family are all gone now and it dawned on me that now I am in a member of the new “older” generation. This generated lots of thoughts and feelings regarding the seasons, both in nature and in human maturity. I feel I’m in my Autumn season. It’s a shocking revelation. Anyway, I was in the mood to write simple, brief haikus about all this. I love haikus. They pare my many words down to what I really want to say. Peace and love to all of you today, Elaine

Money and Henry the Rooster–NaPoWriMo Day 7

Money. Simple money.
Figures on a bank app
show we have enough.
Enough to pay our bills,
buy our food, and even,
fortunately, and thank God,
enough to share with others.

Are we rich? No.
Put us on an American class scale
and we’d tilt the scales to
middle middle class.
Not rich.
Not poor.
But somewhere in the middle.
Richer than I ever thought I’d
be on that scale, for sure.

However, money isn’t valuable.
See this rooster?

Henry the Rooster is valuable.
He has been in our family
since I was 3 years old when I
first saw him on the shelf at the
Gold Bond Stamp store.

It was my parents’ 30th anniversary
and my sister, Judy, and I were
looking for a gift for our parents.
She found useful things like
pretty drinking glasses with gold rims.
I found Henry. Henry was meant
for Mother and Daddy to celebrate
their 30 years as wife and husband.
I was sure of it and rather stubbornly
stomped my foot over him
in the Stamp Store.

Judy acquiesced to her stubborn
baby sister and we went home
that day with drinking glasses
and Henry.

My parents made much of him,
said he was just perfect.
He was then placed,
and lived for years, in a place of
honor and safety on top
of our icebox.

I grew up.
My parents grew very old, and
then slipped away to heaven.
Through it all, Henry
remained at his post loyally,
never getting broken,
always there to gaily
remind us of the great love
of two people who married,
had five children,
and stayed together until
death parted them after
66 years of marriage.

If my house caught fire today,
Would I grab jewelry?
Money? Stocks?
Photo albums? Heck no!

No, I would grab,
Henry the Rooster,
and Buddy, my little dog,
the two most valuable
possessions in my whole house.

One reminds me of my past.
One holds me steadfastly
in my present, so that
someday we’ll all be
together in the future:

Henry the now antique Rooster,
Buddy my Chihuahua, Alan my husband,
and me, the richest woman on earth
because all of my valued possessions
remind me of LOVE, the most valuable
thing on earth.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/7/15

Watching Cars and Stars

Sitting on the front porch

with Daddy in the summer twilight,

was always one of my favorite times.

He’d smoke a couple of unfiltered

Camel cigarettes and I would watch

in fascination as the blue smoke

curled its way upward into the almost

twinkly sky.

We lived on the corner of a street

where cars drove by with fair frequency.

We played “slug bug” where if we saw a

VW Beetle, we would “slug” each other.

Our slugs were actually not slugs though.

They were more like pats on the back.

Daddy always let me win, but when you’re

only five years old, you don’t see that.

As the twilight deepened and the stars

came out in all their beautiful glory,

we would turn our gazes from cars to stars.

Daddy would point out the North Star,

the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and

other constellations every time.

His hand would draw the lines so I could

see the constellations clearly.

I would giggle and say I saw every single one.

I never did though. Ok, I saw the North Star.

The rest?  I just said I did because I loved

spending time with Daddy and listening to his

quiet, sure voice in the darkness.

I loved him so much that I listened for hours,

over the rest of his lifetime, to explanations

on how car engines worked, highways were built,

how he performed soil samples on those highway projects,

or how life was when he was a cotton farmer.

A little, bitty girl and her middle-aged dad,

sitting on the porch,

watching cars and stars,

and building a life of security, fun,

knowledge and, most of all, love.

©Elaine Wood-Lane

4/2/15

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