Pink, Gold, and Silver Friends

You gotta have friends.

I really do have the best friends.   Look at all these pink friends in the 2011 Little Rock Race for the Cure; pink friends rock my world!

I’m grateful for my gold friends–eternally grateful.  I always individually refer to these gold friends as my best friend.  Sounds like a junior high girl, no? My gold friends are so special to me I call them lifers or lifetime friends.  There is nothing they could ever do to cease being a lifer to me.   They know who they are.  We can talk about anything, absolutely anything, and they are brutally honest with me, and me with them.  We also laugh like hyenas.  We can just look at each other and crack ourselves up.   Lord, I love those friends!

Now I am gathering more silver friends.  This past year I’ve become involved in more social activities and have met some amazing women who are becoming quite special to me.  I just spent a weekend with a group of silver friends at a knitting/quilting retreat.   My throat is still sore from laughing.  Pillow fight–need I say more?

I’m wondering if there is such a thing as bronze friends….

Make new friends, keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.

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Knitting’s My Soul Saver

I think of nothing but the next stitch.

I’m not a great knitter; I’m not even very proficient, but I love it.  It soothes my soul, calms my mind, and makes my brain feel balanced.  I wish I had started knitting years ago, but alas, it’s really only been a few.  If you’ve been reading my blog you know this past year has been one of the worst of my life.  I never realized I could be betrayed by people I thought were friends, bosses I thought cared about me.   Money has a funny way of changing people, doesn’t it?   Yarn has yet to let me down, be it cheap or luxuriously expensive.  It’s smooth or bumpy, soft or scraggly, bright or subdued.  It only goes where I tell it to go.  It doesn’t take off on a tangent without my directions.  I like love that.

This is the year I swear I’m going to knit a sweater, but it’s already August, and I still don’t feel ready.  I want to do one in an incredibly soft alpaca, but jiminy crickets, the cost!  Better Half has been amazing watching baskets in our house fill up with yarn, but there’s got to be a limit!

Thank you fiber for being a good friend.  Thank you for introducing me to wonderful new fiber friends who make me laugh until I have to put my knitting down.  You’re pretty special to me, and I appreciate that you don’t get agitated at me during my insomnia; you always let me call you no matter the time.

Thank you for allowing me to escape to a place where people are kind and my mind is free of clutter.  You are a good friend, and I do believe I shall keep you for life.  Now, about that sweater. . . .

Death and Garlic

It all started with one bulb.

He was elderly with no family.  He gave me, direct from his garden, one bulb of garlic with specific directions to separate the bulb into cloves, plant on (exactly) September 4, lightly water throughout winter, and reap the benefits the following summer.

I was a little late on the planting date, but I got it done.  I couldn’t wait to show him my bounty last summer, but was unable.  He killed himself.  He had cancer and couldn’t bear the pain anymore.  He was alone and tired of asking for help.  He left a garden full of lovely vegetables, and a lot of questions never to be answered.

I was just someone he met through a fluke, and I loved listening to his stories.  I looked forward to his visits and flirted with him shamelessly.  He was buried in Arlington Cemetery but no one who knew him attended the service.  It was his greatest pleasure to be recognized as a Veteran.  He bled red, white and blue.  In his youth he’d been a cocky pilot during WWII.

I cried for hours when I was received the call.  If it hadn’t been for my horrific former boss, I would have still been able to be there for him.  She sure wasn’t.  He was just another person for her to use and discard when he quit giving her money.

I used the garlic last summer and saved two bulbs.  I gave one bulb to a friend (with instructions that upon harvesting, she too must pass on good karma and a bulb to be replanted) and separated the remaining bulb into cloves, planted them a little later (sorry Mr. M) than September 4, watered carefully, and again, am reaping the benefits of Mr. M’s generous gift.  I’ll always replant Mr. M’s garlic, and you can bet that every single time I use one of his cloves I say a silent prayer of thanks for knowing, albeit a brief time, this kind gentle man.

Maybe the title of this post should be Living and Garlic. . . .

Southern Belles

Northern cooks can make ’em too!

Better Half and I visited friends to help them put a roof on a rental home they own.  Well, let me clarify: Better Half was going to help with a roof and I was playing around with my buddy C.   These Southern Belles (courtesy of my cookbook Sassafras)  are my contribution to the good folks that volunteered to roof.  It takes maybe five minutes to prepare these caramel morsels.  I also made a few snide comments to some of the guys—those count as contributions too. . . .

C and I had a blast.  We shopped in a little Ozark town and played around on their 100 acres.  We went on a golf ball hunt, (the men love to see how far they can hit the golf balls) which sort of reminded me of an Easter Egg hunt.  Not surprisingly, I found very few while C found a sackful!  We walked around the property quite a bit and listened to the beautiful sound of the water rushing through their cave.  The cave is huge and amazing; archaeologists have visited to find and document Indian artifacts.   C’s husband is awesome at finding arrowheads in the creek and cave.  We played multiple games of dominoes, marbles, and gin rummy.  We made homemade feta and mozzarella cheeses, as well as visiting their workshop where we gals utilized saws, drills, and other myriad “manly” tools and crafted something special for my knitting. . . . (another post!).

We had a lot of fun cooking loads of food for the men and talking until the wee hours.  Oh, we also damaged a few items: an antique chair from France (honestly, I don’t weigh that much!) and C’s thumb (which I’m sure will grow back together.  Thank God she’s an RN!).

Southern Belles

2 c flour
1¾ c packed light brown sugar
1 c butter, softened
1½ to 2 c whole pecans
1½ c chocolate (semi, milk, etc.) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix flour, 1 c brown sugar and ½ c butter until crumbly.  Press on bottom of ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan.  Sprinkle with single layer of pecans.  Combine remaining butter and brown sugar in small saucepan and boil one minute.  Pour over pecans (making a thin layer).  Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until caramel layer bubbles.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips, gently spreading as chocolate melts.  Cool and cut into bars.

Enjoy y’all!

Quotable Quote

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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