Yule’s come And Yule’s Gane

I have to make another blog post in December while there is still snow on my page. It seems like Christmas came so fast this year. I feel older in that sense, like can we just finished singing Christmas carols? I always have to think so hard about it and I just didn’t have time to this year. So we’ve done what we can and enjoyed it. We went to an 11 o’clock service on Christmas Eve for the first time in a long time. It was nice. It was long. We didn’t open presents when we got home like we used to with the kids. We are still fussing about what we’re going to get for each other. I just got done telling Joel he’s an all or nothing man. Either it’s perfect or he’s not interested. He threw back, “that’s a good way to cop out of getting a Christmas present.” I laughed. I think I’ve said that to him. He doesn’t say ‘cop out’ , at least not as much as I do! 

   Not long ago I saw that a leg of lamb at the grocery store was $80. I figured it would be a long time if ever I bought a lamb leg of lamb again. Then The grocery store  had a sale and I got one for $30. Counting it for Christmas dinner. We had our friends, Stan and Terry Morton, over for dinner and it was a cozy foursome. Hard to believe we’ve known them for nearly 20 years. I remember when we met. Joel and I served dinner at church on our 20th anniversary and I remember meeting them that night. And, Yep, this summer we will be married for 40 years. No wonder I feel old!😏 having the family Christmas tomorrow.

  I went to a concert with my concert going friend, Judy, at the beginning of the month. It was New York polyphony. Simply… Lovely… Singing. I have to get in at least one concert in a December and that was it.

I’m going to try a new project today. It looks simple enough to not botch it up. 

I was cleaning out my Google drive the other day and read a letter that I had written to my mother outlining my January projects last year and I didn’t do them! It was great inspiration to try and do them this year! And I have the stuff to do them!  I should lead a rich and full life if I just do all my undone projects for a year.

Well, I better get going while I have something going on me!

Signed, Musing Melinda 


Pumpkin stories

I just popped pumpkin pie into the oven. I wish I had some idea of how many I’ve made over my lifetime. I think the first one I made I was 11. It’s not a fun age to teach but I begged my mom to teach me how to make a pie. I am one of those messies on top of it. But she let me. Pumpkin it’s not too hard and I whipped whipped cream and put it on top and it was beautiful. I asked my mom if we could hide it because sometimes she had the desserts she made and surprised us at the end of the meal. But she said no and went in the other room. I make sure she wasn’t looking and I picked up the pie and scooted off to my bedroom with it. When I stopped moving, the whip cream did not, and it went sailing off The pie! I quickly decided it was not a moment to hide, and hollered for my mom. When she came in the room she said, “I saw you do that. ” 👀

Then there was the pie that was really beautiful and did not have any sugar in it. What a shock! But my granddaughter loved it and ate as much of it as she could! And then there was the pie I took to my daughters, carrying it in a box. I set the box on the floor in the kitchen. Later we let the one-year-old out of his chair to crawl around on the floor. We know now what we did not know then. He is a foodie! When his dad stepped into the kitchen for something he found a little boy having a regular pumpkin party!

One day before Thanksgiving we found Martha Stewart on TV and watched everything she did. She made this beautiful sweet potato pie and then she cut out from the pastry a vine to decorate it with. I thought, “I’m going to do that with my pumpkin pie.” And then she told us it would not work with pumpkin pie. And then she said what you do if you want it with pumpkin pie, was to make the pastry separately and bake it of course, and then put it on the pie when it is baked, otherwise it will sink to the bottom. I was so glad she added that because I would’ve had gunky pastry at the bottom of my pumpkin pie.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone


“You are interrupting,” I say to a young child who is eager to let out out her head things that are rapidly flying around. It happens a lot in a day. Sometimes a finger on the lips is sufficient, sometimes more is needed.  Yesterday I went to grab my lunch  out of the fridge and it wasn’t there. So I hastily packed a lunch that wasn’t as good and for which I had not allowed time. I tell my families not to break their necks getting to school on time and I had to preach it to myself. I hit all red lights getting out of town. I get a little before our starting time and a mother is waiting. She was more on the ball than me. I told her my lunch story  and then I realize I am not holding it. I check the car. No lunch. Ach. One child came in with a dinner plate sized fungus. Interruption. We ooooh and ahh. I bring out my shells I had collected the day before, thinking of them and all the looking it would give us. Day is thrown off course. They shared cheesy crackers, raisins and sliced turnips with me. I am bringing them banana muffins today. It was the second time Od forgotten my lunch!  Moms come for pickup and I tell my silly lunch story again. One mom had come from the grocery store and grabbed out a container of yogurt for me. I stood leaning against the back of my car, eating my yogurt and saw this imageand thought I’d take a picture…..only to find the weight in my via pocket was my gloves and not my phone. Thankful I was still at school, I unlocked and got my phone. And now you’re reading this. And seeing this. Color interrupted. Or is it intervened? Or interloped? Or….

Life is full of this. Unpredictable, unexpected. Embrace it. (Talking to myself)

The Spring version

For Dinner Tonight

  It was fast food. I sauteed mushrooms and spinach in olive oil and butter. The Italian cookbook often gives that instruction and since I generally like the food out of that book, that’s what I did. If I had fresh garlic and onions , I probably would have put to that in too, but I’m out. So the dry stuff went on top of the eggs with the salt and pepper. I put in the eggs , put a lid on and turned it down to the 2 on my burner. The 1 is nearly useless. This was in the cast iron skillet. I made salad on our plates with young lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, grated carrots, and tomatoes. Freshly grate parmesan cheese on any or all of it. Multigrain artisan bread toasted. No more than 10  minutes.
This was Mary Ellen inspired.
Anybody, I can’t figure our how to post a picture to just Cooking with Cousins.Did I mot do something I should have.? I can’t even find the option for saving a picture from FB to my Kindle so I can use it here. So here is the DEETS and on my regular FB is the PIC.
Happy Eating!

Whispering Hope

Soft as the voice of an angel

breathing a lesson unheard;

Hope, with a gentle persuasion

Whispers a comforting word.

“Wait till the darkness is over,

Wait till the tempest is gone.

Hope for a brighter tomorrow,

After the shower is gone.”

Whispering Hope, o how welcome thy voice! Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

(some versions say after the ‘darkness’ is gone.)

The past week has been spent saying good-bye to our Uncle Buzz. It’s no insult to anyone to say that he and Aunt Lee have been stand-in parents and grandparents for us when we have lived far away from our own. And for that we treasure them. He was 83 and died as peacefully as you could pray for. The phrase from the Bible that says “…that you sorrow not, as those who have no hope” we don’t sorrow without hope, but we sorrow! There are tears and chatter and regrets and sympathies and above all, Comfort! Death is a mystery. It is at once profound and common.

Babikow family funerals are unique in a sense, because of the family business. Business associates are friends , even if they are competitors, or have been. There is healthy respect for someone who has strived to do well and treat others with respect, even if you don’t always agree. This is also a generational business , (not so much the same local business but the same kind of growing and selling plants, Buzz being the third. His grandfather’s business still operates ) .Uncle Buzz took a long shot and hired a bunch of 20-something’s (and younger who were his kids and nephews and nieces) who didn’t know much about the greenhouse business but were interested and willing to learn. I think almost all of them started by driving a truck! They showed up at his funeral 20 years after he retired. I think we would have been surprised if they hadn’t! Maybe I underestimate people but I find this very touching. So if any of yooz read this, thank you! 😋Working at the Greenhouse

We thought when they took Uncle Buzz off the ventilator he would stop breathing within the hour. He breathed for two more days. It gave us a little time to get used to the fact. Not much. I can’t believe I had lunch with them a week and a half ago and they put his body in the ground yesterday. And that when I walk into their apartment, I’ll see only Aunt Lee. I told Joel that my head is still swimmy. He said his is too.

The song I quoted at the top is a favorite of theirs that we sang at the funeral. I had heard of it but had not heard it in decades. It was such a pleasure to discover it. Whenever I listen to the YouTube video I posted onFB , I want to say “Lassie! Here Lassie!”  So if you can’t get past that sound of a former era, read the words straight through  in your head. They are very sweet.


Writing in the Now

  Sometimes coming up with a title helps me focus what to write about. Lately, in my own disciplines, I’ve been working on the Now. Maybe people my age or situation get the same question that high school or college graduates get. What will you do now? Meaning in the future. It’s a little bit scary of a question when it is asked of you but the asker is usually expressing interest . Am I using my time wisely? Am I making the the best of my abilities? Am I connecting with others in meaningful ways? Will I be sorry tomorrow if I don’t do this today? By now you identify with this OR you think I think too much.
  NOW, I’m with the Bailey boys, who are 11  and 12, ready to answer questions as best I can, making sure they have a plan and to settle the very rare squabble and make sure they unload the dishwasher before their mom gets home. We started the day with  a hike at the park, because the weather
Is so beautiful. I let them take the larger loop of the walk because they skim over ground I basically plod. They saw a deer. I saw a red wing blackbird. The flowering trees are in their glory. Now they are revved up to do their school work. Funny how fresh air has that affect. It’s a good time for me to write.
    Lately, we have been taking a break from our city church. It is about 8 years old and we have been involved from the beginning. We have grown to feel like it was more job list than church, so we’re trying to work our way through that. When visiting another church, we just have to get dressed, grab our Bibles and go. It is refreshing. So far we have only gone to churches that give us music, and we can sing every song that way instead of just standing there when you don’t know  the song. There must be a cure for that. And how do we stay involved in our church life without burning out. Those are the questions that grind around inside me. The first one is larger than I stated. I think I have  some answers but nobody is listening….yet. I hope this doesn’t sound like a tantrum.
   I think my downstairs needs fresh paint ,too. The  living area we did most of before we ran out of drywall and money. Now we just have to finish the rest and paint. Previously the downstairs had been all one color from front to back, but we don’t want the coral color all through the kitchen. I think I have it narrowed down and Joel likes the choice so I’ll get moving on that soon. I scrubbed the caked mildew off my back porch with vinegar. Not a hard job but a nasty one. Then I brushed it with boiled linseed oil and turpentine mix. The smell has lingered for days. It is crummy old wood. By the time we get plants on th  porch it will be okay And my conscience feels better.
     I’ve been tutoring a couple of other homeschoolers , too. We know each other well and look forward to it. I’ve been reading ‘Wheel on the School ‘ to them . I loaned it to Joel’s aunt and uncle a while ago and they read it and passed it all over Willow Valley! I think they are a couple of left brainers so I have to sharpen my left brain skills! The two I am with today I read ‘The Yearling’ to. It’s fun to do these journeys with another bunch.
     I got the respiratory virus twice, I think, that has gone around  with  vengeance. I’m not coughing and blowing all the time but I don’t feel like it has quite left. I still have that a wheezing

laugh and singing does not come easily. And I cough Hard when I cough. I succumbed to the Rootology ad. We’ll see how that goes. Started doing yoga again this week.
      I’m not quite used to the fact the weather is warm again. We’ve had a long streak of sunny days since soon after our April snow. It’s a bit of a wonder.

Waxing Political

I am going to get my little political discussion out of my system. You can read it or just scroll on. There are so many things that are being said that are frustrating to me, so you can listen, as in really listen, or go somewhere else.

I am frustrated by the barrage of comments posters that say, “If you don’t work for it, you shouldn’t get it.” I believe the Bible where it says, ‘If you don’t work, you don’t eat.’ But we are 50 years into a welfare system and to just pull a plug would be disastrous. When was the last time you employed someone who was unemployed? Do you know that if anyone  on the welfare system works at all they completely forfeit their benefits? They can’t go partial, it’s all or nothing. This shoots them in the back. And us. Do you make a contribution to the electric company when they ask so they can cover people who are in need? A lot of people I know can afford to educate their children but send them to public school for the government to do it, and this is public welfare. I know these are hot buttons. Just raising the issue. While I am on education I saw someone say, “So we are going to pay taxes for all the immature college students’ drinking parties??” The Sanders proposal is to fund Tuition, not Board. And when a candidate announces such things, as President, they never get entirely what they hope for. What if community colleges were free to people under a certain income level, for two years? A skill can be developed, maybe even a business begun. Can we start thinking like that instead of this polarizing rhetoric? And I’m speaking to people who name the name of Christ! I hear a lot of carrying on about Socialism. We’re already pretty socialistic. I can’t choose my internet company or garbage carrier, or if I want a garbage carrier. Bernie Sanders will not usher an era of Socialism. It’s here and has been here a while. I am not saying I whether I think it’s right or wrong, but the panic buttons that are being pushed are just plain wrong, brothers and sisters.

I also believe the Bible’s  teachings on how we treat the poor and the downtrodden. Several times I picked up the book Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois… and put it back down, because he was a Marxist. Finally I bought it and read it, because I was curious. I must say that capitalism never did anything for the ex-slave in America or the generations that followed. Maybe socialism is worse, but all I can say is there are plenty of people who will stick their shoe in other people’s faces and if the government will not rise to stem that, or those who do, it should be ashamed to hold its head in a world court. When I finished, I told my black pastor that white people have No Clue. We have No Clue in this country. Even if we experience derision from others now and then, the systemic de-humanizing the African -American in our culture is impossible for white people in the USof A to understand. That will always influence how we think about such things as welfare and law enforcement and education.It is one of the most moving books I have ever read. Highly recommend.

When  all this mess of economy exploded and we listened to so much rhetoric, OI thought,”Is there anyone in government office having an alternate income they can live on who is willing to give up their government income, for a season till things are balanced?’  I only heard of one, the current governor of Pennsylvania, my state. I voted for him mainly for that. I, a registered Republican and he a Democrat. Now we have Bernie Sanders who initiated his campaign by vowing not to run negative ads (Haven’t we had enough and don’t we have better ways to get real information?) and he never has, in all his campaigning? Does character count for Nothing in this election? It would seem so. We have a Republican who is ‘up front about being a Christian’ and doesn’t hesitate to shoot his rivals in the foot and  thinks we should vote for him because it would be so great to have a Christian in the Presidency. Well, surely not if he’s not going to act like one! What would be the point of that?? Stop reading the damn ads, and I mean that. Read something more lengthy. Listen to the candidates when they are given a chance to talk. Understand that a short interview never says much. Do they address the question being asked like they understand them? Are they belittling to the questioner? Leave the door open for surprises and don’t think they can’t mean what they just said.  And love your neighbor, even if they vote differently from you! Character is Always Important. There is a Proverb my mom had us memorize that goes like this. “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of life.” Okay, I’m done. See you at the voting booth, if I can stand it. (whew!)