Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Category: Just for Fun

Lulled by promises

Cold air rushes into the void gasping
Shaking rafters and startling trees
Grown soft in mild winter sunshine

Radiators crackle and pop
Kitty curls into a ball of white fur
Humidifiers bubble and sigh
Cars rush by with home on their minds

How cruel to be lulled by promises
Whispered yesterday beneath a balmy sky

No major winter warnings. Just a run of bitter cold weather this coming week. Maybe a bit of snow.

OK. I can’t help myself. Fake weather. That’s what it is! Don’t believe a thing you see, hear or feel. It’s a warm, sunny, beautiful day! Enjoy! 🙂

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 January 2020
Photo of Smudge hibernating taken by DAFraser, Winter 2014

Easy (cooked) Kale Salad | Recipe

I haven’t posted a recipe for ages. But this morning I woke up inspired, and now have in my refrigerator a chewy but not tough, green but not raw, tasty yum-yum kale salad–or kale salad starter! All thanks to my 8-quart pressure cooker and Lorna J. Sass.

Lorna Sass transformed the way I use my pressure cooker. Of all her recipe books, I especially like Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Along with recipes, she almost always includes tips and techniques, plus easy variations.

So here’s one for all you kale-lovers and wanna be lovers of kale-lovers out there. It’s simple and super good with just about anything. Or…if you decide you don’t like the taste of kale salad (don’t tell me!), you can add it to a bowl of vegetarian (or not) soup.

This recipe is on pp. 84-85 of her vegetarian cookbook. The recipe is for Collard Spaghetti (also yum yum). I used one of her variations.

Ingredients:

  • About 1 pound of pretrimmed kale, washed and drained (This time I used a big bag of precut ruffled-leaf organic kale.)
  • 1 cup water (Don’t vary the water, no matter how much kale you have.)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or put through garlic press (optional, and I love it)
  • Pinch of salt (optional; I leave it out)

Instructions:

  • Cut off thick stems. Since the kale I used was pre-torn, I trimmed off thick pieces of stem using my kitchen scissors, then rinsed the kale in water.
  • Bring the water, garlic (if using), and salt (if using) to a boil in a large (8-quart) pressure cooker.
  • Add kale and lock the lid in place. Leave heat on high; bring pressure up to high. At this point, you can turn the heat off, or turn it to low. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes (I used 2 minutes).
  • Reduce pressure with quick-release method (run cold water on edge of the the lid until the pressure indicator drops all the way down).
  • Remove lid (facing away from you), transfer cooked kale into a strainer; let it drain and cool a bit.

Optional (I NEVER omit this): Sprinkle the cooked kale with some (not too much) toasted sesame oil and toss with salad forks. You can also add some tamari soy sauce if you’re OK with salt.

In sum: you now have a side dish, an addition to almost any kind of soup (bean soup, lentil soup), or the beginning of whatever strikes your fancy.

Happy Thanksgiving the day after!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 November 2019
Book cover photo found at amazon.com
Vegan kale salad photo found at ambitiouskitchen.com

hoard of robins | Happy Monday!

hoard of robins
juicy holly berries
bright morning feast
scramble for preferred seats
squawks of indignation

As heard and seen on my early morning walk, along with

  • hoards of kindergarten students shrieking in the playground
  • a friendly dog walker with friendly dogs
  • my first sighting of a presidential election campaign bumper sticker
  • wasted acorns languishing on the sides of the road
  • autumn leaves piled up in a large trampoline with no visible way of escape
  • grade school children on a run-and-shriek-it-all-out-of-your-system break
  • and a handful of gorgeous autumn leaves still hanging on

If you watch the video above, you’ll need to supply your own squawks of indignation!

Hoping your Monday is/was happily filled with unexpected beauty.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 November 2019
Video of Robins in Portland, Oregon found on YouTube

Waiting patiently . . .

Waiting patiently
On my back
Clothed in the same
Blue gown they gave me
On my last visit
I pass the time of day
Searching for the
Least medicinal
Prop in this
Antiseptic space
Adorned with trifles
Like boxes of throw-away
Vinyl/non-vinyl gloves plus
Hazardous Trash receptacles
For dangerous substances

Suddenly I see it
Off to my right side
Hanging on the wall
A hazy pastel depiction
Of a perfect summer day

Somewhere in paradise
Blue air floats above
A small tree-covered
Island in the distance
A stream flows
Past a sweetly perfect
Cottage for one or two
Flowers in light pink and yellow
Blossom in a small garden
Lush green grass invites me to
Rest on my back
Taking in the imagined
Sounds and fragrance
Of a perfect summer day

I wrote this after returning from a long day at my heart doctor’s office. A good day, in the end. And long.

I’m always interested in art work hanging in doctor’s offices. Most often it’s a beautiful nature scene chosen to engender a peaceful, relaxed state of mind and body. No, the image above is not what I saw in my doctor’s office. Definitely a cut or two above it. Nonetheless….

I got home rather late, took a lovely walk in cold drizzly air, and then wrote the above. Not to be sentimental, but this time I took the medicinal art work as an invitation to practice deep breathing and relaxation. A handy skill, especially when I’m lying on my back, unable to jump up and leave, no matter who walks through the door!

Now it’s Tuesday, so I bid you Happy Tuesday, and hope it’s even better than your Monday turned out to be!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 November 2019
Pastel Painting of Cottage Garden by Kathleen Kalanowski found at pinterest.com

A Morning Walk at Chanticleer

This morning I met a friend at Chanticleer Garden for a late autumn walk. The weather was sunny, chilly and very breezy. D wasn’t along to take photos, so I did a quick check of the Chanticleer website for recent photos. Of the nine posted here, I chose three for this post. The photographer’s name is Linda Roper.

Because we’re having a late autumn chill (so it feels to me), trees are late showing their autumn colors. Not to worry. All those nonstop rainy days in summer produced a bumper crop of beauty. Here are the other two photos.

So it wasn’t quite this picture-perfect when we were there. But it was close! A great way to begin the day and get my morning allotment of sunshine and unexpected, overflowing grace.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 October 2019
Linda Roper, photographer: October 2019 at Chanticleer Gardens

Monday morning photos | Longwood Fall 2019

What would we do without nature’s stunning beauty? Especially now, in the midst of disappointment, betrayals, upheavals, back-stabbings and fury. Here’s a quick Monday-morning peek at the way nature reaches out to us.

Granted, it isn’t always pretty. It is, however, a reminder that whatever I think I am on this speck of dust, I’m not alone or forgotten.

The roses above are in a small rose garden at Longwood. It’s being redesigned, and will make its debut next spring. In the meantime, the gardeners created a mixed company of compatible plants, including roses.

Everything doesn’t always need to be in bright colors. On the way into the Visitor’s Center, we saw several gorgeous examples of fall beauty in browns and grays.

Finally, one last look at the small garden arrangement just outside the Visitor’s Center. An autumn extravaganza of enthusiasm!

The last several weeks have been filled with unexpected challenges. Last week’s visit to Longwood reminded me that we’re not alone, and that autumn has its own gracious and graceful beauty, unlike any other season.

Happy Monday to each of you, whether you’re in the autumn flameout years of your life or not.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 October 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 7 October 2019, Longwood Gardens

Ikebana and Chrysanthemums at Longwood 2019 | Photos

I’m in agony! Too many beautiful photos from our recent Longwood visit! Here’s a condensed version of what we saw in the main Conservatory. The Ikebana installations were stunning. Nothing fragile here. Just artists, often in teams, playing with flowers and bamboo and who knows what else to come up with these magnificent displays.

Here’s the information sign that stands beside the installation above.

For starters, here are a few chrysanthemum displays, beginning with the view down the center at the side entrance to the conservatory.

Here we have two medium-size installations standing at the opposite end of the stream. Notice their uses of materials.

The next conservatory room was a stunner. I wasn’t expecting anything like this:

After walking around the perimeter, we took a last look back. I love the beautiful ceiling, reflected in the water below and echoed in the weaving of bamboo leaves. All rather graceful and flowing.

After a deep breath, we turned around to see this installation right down the middle of the old conservatory entrance.

As a guide pointed out, both installations went through lengthy screening and certifications for safety. Especially the ‘bridge’ above, under which real live people would be walking. The two guides above are Longwood’s version of street patrols. Making sure nothing untoward happens to us or to this gorgeous entrance.

Finally, here are some of my favorite small installations. They’re scattered throughout the conservatory. Gems waiting for you to turn the corner!

We saw tons more than this. I’m tempted to do another Longwood post later. It was a wonderful day. Not too cold or hot; just-right breezy; not as many visitors as usual. And these stunning pieces of installation art. I loved it! I loved being with D! And I especially loved coming home to my lovely rocking chair and putting my feet up!

Thanks so much for visiting. Here’s to a wonderful Thursday and upcoming weekend.

Elouise 

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 October 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 7 October 2019, Longwood Gardens Conservatory

Progress!

Happy Monday, everybody! Two months ago (minus 5-6 days) our faithful waterbed sprang a nasty leak. We’ve been camping out in the house ever since. On Saturday, the construction crews finished their work. Getting the waterbed functioning and warm enough to sleep in was Number One on our to-do list the last few days.

The top photo shows our lovely kitty, Smudge, sitting in the middle of the waterbed’s bare bones. Below you can see the skeleton laid out for reassembly. The metal rails (above) are for under-the-bed drawers, two on each side. As shown here:

The central area beneath the mattress is open–though D later attached a sturdy cardboard door to the back entrance to foil you-know-who. But before he did that, the Inspector General had to check everything out!

Most exciting of all was a strange ‘hole’ in the wall (above). He stalked it like a pro and then went for the jugular! (Note his straight-back all-business tail.) Sadly, the mouse hole was just an electrical outlet set back a bit into the baseboards.

This morning D, with a bit of help from me, got the bed all put back together. The logo on the white mattress proclaims loudly, STAY PURE! Still scratching my head…..  In case you’re wondering, the two water bladders are zipped into this cushy white mattress. The green eye on the wall is our resident creature from outer space.

Here’s the bed all made up, minus our pillows. Right now the water is warming, and we should be in our own bed tonight. I turned on the overhead light for this one.

When we moved from Tennessee into this house in the early 1980s, we had no bed for several weeks. Instead, we camped out on the living room floor on the mattress we’d slept on for years (yes, on the floor) in South Carolina, California, and Tennessee. Our current house was built by a local carpenter for his family of 10 children. The huge attic (transformed a year ago) was for his boys. I think there were 5. And yes, there were several sisters, too.

At any rate, our first major furniture purchase when we moved to Pennsylvania was this waterbed. We’ve never regretted it.

Happy Monday, again, and peace, especially for everyone going through tough, sad, disorienting or lonely times.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 September 2019
Photos taken by me, with my iPad,
22 and 23 September 2019

Parting is such sweet sorrow….

Tomorrow we’re driving to our son and daughter-in-law’s house for a last chance to see our granddaughters for a while. They’ll celebrate their 19th birthdays later this month. However, by then they’ll be enrolled in their colleges, far from home. In the photo above they’re modeling their new, handmade sweaters–a Christmas gift, as I recall.

Grandma/Queen Elouise (that would be me) has been feeling a bit nostalgic today. I don’t usually post pictures of our granddaughters, but below are a few of my favorites from way back. Plus one Smudge treasures dearly.

About six years ago our  granddaughters and their Mom rescued Smudge from a state park. He was about 4-6 weeks old–soaking wet, skin and bones, bedraggled and frightened. On their first birthday after the rescue, Smudge sent them a birthday card. As you can see, he freely edited my carefully worded note from him to them. I still crack up when I read it.

Here are several photos, all from way back when they (and we!) were very young. D and I are in the first photo; our son and daughter-in-law show up further down. Along with Carolina and Eliza, of course!

Thanks for indulging my bit of nostalgia! Hoping you’re having a great weekend.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 August 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser and Scott Fraser, 2000-2001

Living on the edge

Living on the edge
of disaster or boredom
Throwing myself into
waves of hope
Rising to occasions
ripe with possibilities
Daring everything
at each turn
Forgetting yesterday
in favor of now
Life moves on
without fanfare

Ticking each day off
as if the whole
were more than it is
I take heart from
the carefree nature
of my beautiful cat
showing me how it’s done —
This thing called
living in the present
and loving it to death

Question:
What does it look like to live and die one day at a time?

Answer:
Just enough strategic motion to get through today
With a bit of excitement, boredom and mystery
Followed by firm commitment to letting it all go
Clearing body and brain for more of the same, or not, tomorrow.

Hoping your day is moving along with grace, grit and unexpected beauty.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 August 2019
Photo taken by ERFraser, Summer 2019

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