Monday, October 31, 2011

Table Talk - Rainy Day Lattes and Books

After our big Sunday dinner, I ditched the dishes and took off for the afternoon!  My youngest daughter, who is a reader and a writer like me, asked me to go to the new used-book store that just opened in a city between us and Portland.  It was a rainy day, and although I would have happily gone for a walk with my raincoat on rather than drive the dreary highway, she wasn't enthused about that idea at all so we headed to the book store instead.  But there is something just wonderful about rainy days and books.  Maybe it goes back to my childhood when I actually had time to read for HOURS upstairs in my attic bedroom under the eaves (yes, I really did have an attic bedroom under the eaves...and, believe me, it sounds way more romantic than it really was!).  I would lay across my bed and read while the rain pittered on the roof and pattered on the panes of the window and go far, far far away that it took my mother either having to stomp angrily up the stairs or yell loudly from the kitchen to bring me back to my present surroundings and discover that she had called me nicely about three times already!  So with those sweet sentiments in mind, I guess I didn't really mind driving the dreary highway into town.

I have a great relationship with both my daughters.  My oldest is very social and loves to talk and touch and own you.  I love to spend time with her because she is very entertaining and engaging.  My youngest daughter is the romantic writer who lives inside her head like I do, and we often laugh at ourselves because we can sit in the car for a long time and say nothing, each very content with her own thoughts.  Don't worry, she can chat my ear off too, and that's how I bribe her to take walks with me ("Come on, can tell me all about so-and-so while we walk"). But on outings like this, we enter together, survey the land, and then slink off in separate directions as we follow our personal inclincations and leanings.  She is young enough to still enjoy "drama" books that are a little hip, more current, and rather sensational.  I tend to gravitate backwards, drawn to the solid-covered hardbacks that are old-fashioned and classic in their plots and prose.  Bumping into each other along the rows of books, we would stop to compare titles and then part to continue our dreamy drifting.  Finally, we felt satisfied with our finds, both of us quite predictable, with Kate selecting a popular, newly-published fun and fantastical fiction novel and me selecting a matching pair of navy blue-covered hardbacks published in 1935 and 1938 and a novel based on the pioneer diary of a woman's great-grandmother written in autobiography style, none the least bit sensational or exciting, just a good, solid story.  And here is Happy Item #1:  I had a special coupon that allowed us to get a free book, so for $4 we bought 4 books.  Then we tucked our books under our arms and went for coffee.  And here is Happy Item #2:  I had a special Starbucks coupon for a $5 Grande at the pleasing price of $2!  So we splurged and ordered rich coffee drinks...hers a pumpkin spice latte and mine a salted caramel mocha (half-sweet, no whip!).  Normally, Starbucks isn't my favorite coffee place anymore...I prefer the artsy shops in Portland that my son frequents and recommends, like Coava, Barista, The Ace Hotel, and Cafe Umbria where the beans are fresh-roasted and each cup of espresso is individually pulled and presented with foam art.  But I had coupons!  So for $8 we spent a perfect afternoon together---sipping coffee, reading, browsing, dreaming, chatting, coccooning and relaxing on a dark gray, rainy day.  Bliss!

What was not bliss was coming home to the dishes after our big Sunday dinner!  Ha you had forgotten about them, just like I did!  But I couldn't finish them; I had to make a batch of cheddar cheese biscuits and run out the door again to some friends' house.  When I came home the second time at 8:30 that night, then I had to finish the dishes...and the extra dishes from making biscuits, and even more dishes from our weekend gang making grilled cheese sandwiches.  At least they had emptied the dishwasher for me!  So I did dishes until 9:45 and then did laundry until 10:15 and then got ready for bed and turned out the light at 11.  Oh, almost forgot.  Our Sunday menu:  Chicken souvlaki in pita flat bread with hummus, tzatziki, and homemade bruschetta, lemon-roasted potatoes, Italian zucchini and sundried tomatoes, and Greek salad, with chocolate M&M cake and ice cream for dessert.  Goodnight!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Forage

Today I went foraging in the woods near my house.  What is foraging, you ask?


[fawr-ij, for-] Show IPA noun, verb, -aged, -ag·ing.

verb (used without object)
1. to wander or go in search of provisions.
2. to search about; seek; rummage; hunt: He went foraging in the attic for old mementos.
3. to make a raid
I was supposed to run errands with my husband, but I begged a couple hours delay because the sun was shining after a night of rain and I was dying to get outside, soak up some sun, and collect some beautiful "objets d'automne" (fall objects).  He agreed and left without me, and I happily grabbed a hoody, my camera and the clippers and set off in a half-jog to the woods.

I stopped before I even made it to the woods because the maple trees were exceptionally beautiful...right at their apex this week.  I marveled at the way they changed color...some red, some orange, some yellow, and some still green.  Each tree changed a little differently than the others, some seeming to change dramatically branch by branch from pale yellow to bright red while others seemed to change slowly, slipping gently from green to yellow to orange to red all on the same tree.  I gathered up some of the prettiest leaves from the ground and continued on my way.
The next place I paused was right before my path to the woods.  I jog this path almost every morning, but I also walk it quite regularly too.  Running is very solitary, and I do prefer to run alone, but walking is great with either a companion or a purpose.  My companions are usually my husband or one of my daughters and my purpose is usually foraging.  In the summer I forage for blackberries, which grow abundantly (aggressively may be a better word!) all along the path.  In the winter I forage for greens---ivy, lichen, moss and white berries.  In the spring I forage for the first branches to sprout baby leaves, pussy willows, and buds.  The wildflowers aren't worth gathering, as they wilt so quickly.  They are better left to dazzle delicately from their woodland garden.  And now, in the fall, I go for the richly-hued leaves and bright berries.  Here is what I gathered on today's trip...

 I love these red berries...they are full of thorns, though, so I have to clip and carry carefully.  Those big leaves are great for using on my table as a charger underneath the plates.  See how big the top one is compared to the normal sized leaf?  And blackberries, my favorite summer fruit, are normally long gone by now, but this is the reward of a true last ripe berry to kiss the summer goodbye!

Besides foraging in the forest, I also love just breathing the fresh, damp earthy fragrance and admiring the beauty of my wooded wonderland.  I really do feel it is mine because in the four years I have walked these trails, I have only enountered one person and his dog.  I "let" them share my trail that morning!

Here are some of the gorgeous sites and scenes I admired on this perfect fall day:


And I must share a few more photos...
This is what else I discovered as I was foraging:
 Okay, this last one is not a mushroom!

Even though the forest is my favorite, outside the woods is beautiful too.  The sun is bright, the colors are vivid, the sky is blue, the mountains are shadowy in the distance...and it's just one of those days where everyone seems happy to be outside (notice the golfers...and the ducks?).

As I was nearing home, I passed a field full of wildflowers.  They so didn't match the autumn theme of nature, but they were brave and beautiful in their stand against the coming cold of winter.  Pale blue, yellow and pink nestled in final glimpse of summer's palette after feasting on fall's rich hues.

I certainly am the first to admit I am not a photographer...I use my daughter's cast-off Sony Cyber-Shot with a zoom button that doesn't work in either direction and a shutter button that is super-glued in one position, and I haven't a clue about light, shadows, angles or lenses, but I love to share what I love to see!  One day I am going to bring my daughter along to take pictures for me...she has a beautiful camera and does have a clue about light, shadows, angles and lenses!

But before I sign off, here is one last picture...the not-so-good part of foraging!

 You can't help but get a little wet and muddy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Table Talk - Thankful for the Women Who Make the Holidays Happen

THE MENU:  Grilled marinated flat-iron steak, Walla-Walla onion bake, oven-roasted butternut squash, mixed greens, 7-grain bread, apple-cranberry Bavarian torte with caramel sauce.

THE QUESTION:  Who does all the work for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Yep, you guessed it... it's the women...from generation to generation, it's always been the women!

THE ANSWER:  "My mom, aunties and Grandma."  "All the aunties."  "All the women."

THE TOPIC:  Ever since we moved here we've spent Thanksgiving at my aunt's on the Oregon coast.  We take a large group husband and me and our four kids, my mom, all our weekend college students, and always a few extras.  There are usually a dozen of us.  We rent a condo for our group and then join my aunt and uncle, my cousins and their spouses and children, and their "few extras."  That's about 25...a truly traditional "extended-family gathering."  Like most families I know, our holiday goes something like this:  Women prepare food.  Women decorate.  Women bring everything to the table.  Men are interrupted from watching their football game on TV to bring in the extra chairs.  Everyone eats.  Women clear the table, put the food away and do the dishes.  Men take out the extra chairs then go back to watching football on TV.  Women put out dessert.  Everyone eats, the men eat their pie while watching football on TV.  Women do the dishes and talk about the men who are watching football on TV.  Well, after the first year of that we got smart and we organized everyone into partners.  Then we did 10-minute kitchen shifts where each partner team would take their turn washing dishes under the watchful eyes of the women.  That was a big help, but this year I won't have the luxury of working in a kitchenful of women.  We're staying home here in Newberg, so it's just me and my mom, who had double hand surgery and can't wring, squeeze, lift, carve, scoop, twist, or do any other grip-strength duties.  I do have two capable daughters, but I don't think it's fair for them to be stuck in the kitchen while their brothers and the other guys are sprawled on the floor or the couch watching football on TV.  So I thought I'd take advantage of the privilege and responsibility I have of influencing the young men who spend every weekend with us by creating a teachable moment with the goal of making them better husbands one I asked them, "What are your family's Thanksgiving traditions?"  Now these boys haven't thought past the principle that pumpkin pie comes after turkey, so their answers were quite vague at first, "Uh, we eat.  We hang out with the cousins.  Uh, eat some more.  Watch football."  Yeah, just as I had thought.  So I got them thinking beyond their stomachs to the entire event.  All the food they talked about eating?  Someone had to make it, and it took them days to do it.  The big table with all the decorations and pretty plates and napkins?  Someone had to set it up.  All those dishes?  Someone had to wash them, and it took hours to do it. I told them I loved to cook and I loved to decorate, and I didn't really even mind cleaning up if I wasn't left all alone to do it.  I wanted to enjoy the holiday too.  So now they were thinking...

THE VERDICT:  This is what they came up with:  The women would cook and decorate and the guys would bring in the extra chairs.  Everyone would eat.  Then we'd do the 10-minute shifts with a partner to clean up.  Then, instead of watching football on TV, the guys would join us and we'd play games that everyone could participate in and enjoy.  Then we'd dig into dessert.  THEN the guys would watch football on TV.  And the next morning we would sleep in and have brunch (tradition is monkey bread!), then pack up and head for the coast where we'd have a game of beach football, splash in the icy water, climb Sand Mountain and roast hot dogs over a fire, and when we got home THEN the guys could watch more football on TV.

Well, it sounds good to me!  I think Thanksgiving will be a great time for all...and I think I just may have made some future wives very happy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweater Days

That feeling came again today as it always does when the air is crisp and the sun is bright.  It’s the feeling of a perfect fall day.  It doesn’t matter what month it is---I’ve felt it even in July.  But on those days, the feeling is only a fleeting sensation, a memory triggered by a scent, sight or scene.  On a true autumn day, the feeling settles on my shoulders as surely as a cozy sweater against a chill.  I am young again, crunching leaves underfoot as I travel on an imaginary journey through the Big Woods of Laura Ingalls’ day or munching a crisp apple saved from lunch to savor on my way home from school.

“It’s a sweater day,” my mother would say on chilly mornings, as the lazy days of summer began their brisk trot into fall.  I loved those mornings---standing at the end of the driveway in my cardigan sweater waiting for the school bus, watching my breath puff in the crisp air.  The sky seemed bluer and the sun seemed brighter as they formed the backdrop for the golden trees that lined the gravel road.  Although summer clothing had a certain freedom to it, fall sweaters brought security.  They were hugs and kisses and promises of a warm dinner after a long day of school.

As the fall seasons cycled in and out, a “sweater day” came to mean much more than a chilly school day.  It meant picking walnuts with the neighbor kids, our fingers stained as yellow as the freshly baled hay by the barn.  It meant the sweet scent that wafted from the plum orchard as the purple fall fruit hung ripe and ready from the branches of the trees. It meant cheering for the football team, eating spicy gingersnap cookies, or enjoying a weenie-roast with the church youth group.  A beautiful autumn day could even put some pleasure into the painful fall chores of stacking wood or digging up the garden.

And then (sigh), I discovered that fall is also the best season to be in love.  Spring is usually credited with this phenomenon, but spring love is often giddy and immature.  Autumn love is mellow and warm.  There’s a deep sense of satisfaction and contentment that comes simply from walking hand-in-hand along a wooded path.  I knew I was truly in love during a visit to the Rocky Mountains in October.  From our vantage point high on the side of a mountain, we gazed down at an emerald river rushing through solid rock and jagged cliffs.  We strolled through forest paths, enjoying the display of bright color---green, gold, red and burnt orange, all intensified by the vivid blue of the sky.  We breathed in the pure air scented with pine and wood smoke.  The magic of the mountains had worked its wonder on my heart.  My shoulders wore not only a sweater that day but a strong arm, and although I’ve worn many sweaters since, it is the same arm that encircles my shoulders today!

Autumn crowns the year.  It is a season heavy with ripe fruit and brilliant color.  It is harvest time---the culmination of our toil and God’s goodness.  The riches of the earth are gathered up and displayed in grand style---bales of hay, sheaves of wheat, baskets of apples, shelves of canning, jars of jam.  It is the season of thankfulness as we store up provisions, plans and pleasant memories to carry us through the long, cold winter.  I am most content in the fall, as I gratefully reflect on the good things in my life.  I can embrace the beauty of outdoors while nestling into the comfort of hearth and home.

The romance of autumn woos me still, all these many years later.  I am more inclined to pack a picnic lunch and head for the country on a fine fall day than in the summer heat.  Smoked sausages, spicy mustard, cheese, fall fruits, sparkling cider and hot chai tea from a thermos are perfect compliments to a day of tromping through leaves, paddling on the lake, or strolling down wooded paths as the sun slants deeply through golden trees.  This was a family tradition of ours for years, and we loved to invite friends along to share one of our favorite fall events.

Although I appreciate and enjoy aspects of each season, I believe that autumn is just about perfect.  I may curse the cold in January, bemoan the mud of March, or wilt in the swelter heat of July, but never do I wish away a fine fall day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Table Talk

It's Sunday at the Wells House...which means a very big Sunday dinner. The old-fashioned kind...a real meat-and-potatoes-and-homemade-dessert meal with a lot of people around my table. We've been doing Sunday dinner for over 4 years now, and it is the highlight of the week. I'm inviting you to join us for dinner! Each week I will talk about what takes place around our table---the menu, recipes, table settings and the bantering and bickering that sometimes inspires us, other times challenges us, and always makes us laugh! Pull up a chair, I've got a place set just for you!

Today's menu is ham with pinot-plum sauce, twice-baked potatoes, yoshida-glazed asparagus, spinach salad with apple, maple-walnuts, feta and red onion, and sesame bread with butter. Dessert is retro banana cream pie.

The pinot-plum sauce evolved from a batch of plum butter I made and preserved a couple weeks ago. A friend gave us a huge bag of Italian prune-plums from his tree, and they were delicious. We ate them fresh (I think they are much better than regular plums…they are sweeter and meatier and the skins aren’t bitter) and I baked a couple “Pretty Plum Cakes,” but we still had so many and I didn’t want to waste them.  So I simmered a big pot of them slowly over the stove.  First they swirled into an amazing hue of purple and gold, then the crimson red seeped out of the skins and blended with the gold and purple, turning the entire pot into a bubbling pot of rich, fragrant burgundy butter.  My friend took a look as I was stirring and called it “autumn in a pot.”  A very fitting description.  So I opened a jar of that plum butter and added a cup of Oregon pinot noir, a healthy dash of dry mustard, some brown sugar, and a sprinkle of ground cloves.  Then I let it simmer until it was once again reduced to a saucy consistency.  We poured that over the slices of ham, and I think it was delicious!

But it’s dessert I want to talk about today.  I served banana cream pie…the real kind, not the Jell-O Brand yellow stuff!  My friend Judy made it for me and I fell in love with it and begged for the recipe.  Real custard with butter, milk and eggs, simmered until silky smooth.  Fresh bananas.  Flaky, tender crust.  And a dollop of real whipped cream.  You need to try it.  It’s not what you think.  It may look a little bland and unassuming (pale crust, pale bananas, pale custard, pale cream), but it is divine.  So go retro…think Grandma!  Here is the recipe:

1 9-inch baked pie shell (I used a pate brisee recipe)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. corn starch
1/2 t. salt
3 c. milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 T. butter
1 T. vanilla (best quality, I used vanilla paste)
2 large, ripe bananas
whipped cream for garnish

Prepare your favorite pie crust recipe and bake it.  Usually I use the recipe on the Tenderflake lard package, which I learned from the Wells Women...all skilled bakers.  But Tenderflake isn't available here in Oregon and American lard quite frankly tastes like pig to me and is an unappealing gray-ish color, so whenever we have visitors from Canada, I always have them tuck a couple pounds of lard into their luggage for me!  This time I tried a pate brisee, which Martha Stewart swears by.  I liked how it was a bit sturdier than my Tenderflake pastry, which worked well for the very soft custard filling.

1.  Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a pan.  Blend yolks and milk and gradually stir into sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute.  I love my All-Clad pot!  It is the best non-stick pan I've ever used.  It is perfect for this custard, because the cooked egg-milk mixture, which normally forms a sticky, hard-to-clean residue, washes away with a swish of soapy water!

2.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  I use vanilla paste, which is right from the vanilla bean and gives that delicious real-vanilla flavor that imitation extract cannot compare to.  I bought this little jar at Whole Foods.  It is amazing stuff and can be stirred into anything!

3.  Press plastic wrap against the surface of the filling right in the pan and cool to room temp.  The plastic wrap keeps a chewy film from forming over the custard.

4.  Peel and slice bananas and arrange over prepared crust in pan.  For a prettier pie, use a traditional round pie plate with a scalloped edge.  Because I have to feed a crowd, I made mine in a large rectangular baking dish and cut it into squares.  Not as attractive, but still delicious.

5.  Pour in cooled filling and chill pie for at least 2 hours.

6.  Slice and serve with a dollop of REAL whipped cream, lightly sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla to taste.  Don't substitute with that stuff from a can or worse, Cool Whip!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My High-Heeled Hike

There could be no better example of "city girl-country girl" than what happened to me yesterday!  I was working at the church office, and although there are only three of us there, I treat my church office with the same respect as I did the office in the downtown skyscraper where I worked for 14 years, meaning I wear appropriate office attire rather than small-town fleece and crocs.  So on this day I was wearing black dress pants, a charcoal-gray turtleneck, a black, gray and magenta floral scarf around my neck, a sleek pony tail, big silver hoop earrings and high-heeled black boots.  So far, so good.  I had my latte and my space heater and a window with a view of the mountains, and I was quite happily working.  The day took an odd twist, though, due to our car situation.  My oldest son has been using our car to commute to school in Portland, so my husband and I have to be creative in working out our transportation issues with the remaining shared vehicle.  My son dropped me off in the morning on his way to school and I thought my husband would take me home, but he had some place to be for the afternoon.  No problem, I thought.  My younger son could pick me up on his way home from his school in Portland (I have three college kids, two of whom live on campus in Portland and come home every weekend and one who lives at home and commutes to Portland on weekdays).  Well, that didn't happen.  So now I'm stuck, but I had to get home to start my real job, the one I get paid for (online medical transcription), and my home is 4 miles from the church.  I had no choice.  I packed up my laptop, put my lunch containers and water bottle in my purse, put the pair of jeans I was supposed to take to the tailors into my laptop bag, grabbed my latte and headed out the door, my high heels clicking purposefully across the asphalt of the shoulder of the road like I always walked like this and looked this way.  In the country, there are no sidewalks, no cabs to call or buses to catch.  It wasn't the 4-mile forced march that bothered me...I actually love walking (unlike jogging) and can truly walk for hours when I have gorgeous scenery to enjoy.  My concern was my footwear and the extra weight I was carrying.  The first part of the hike wasn't too bad, as the shoulders were wide, but it was the second mile that was challenging.  The road dips steeply as it heads into a ravine and narrows until there is no shoulder at all...the white line is the very edge of the road.  Every time a car came, I had to jump in the ditch filled with gravel, rocks, branches and debris...and even a fresh skunk carcass!  I know I looked incredibly odd crawling out of the ditch in high heels, carrying my laptop case, latte and big-bag purse (I really like big-bag much so I actually won an essay contest entitled, "In Defense of My Big Bag" and scored a $500 purse as first prize!).  Finally, I was through the ravine, up the hill, and back on level ground.  By now my feet were killing me.  I tried walking in the grass but it was too soggy after a week of rain, so back to the gravel I returned.  The road took a beautiful curve north, which was the opposite direction I was going, before it returned south, as mountain roads often do.  In a car this is nothing more than sway left, sway right, but on foot it looked like a whole lot more pain, so bringing to mind that "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line," I forged on directly ahead...right through a hazelnut orchard.  Okay, I knew I looked odd crawling in and out of the ditch, but at least passersby would think, "Poor girl, she has to walk this narrow road."  Now, there was no obvious reason why I should be tromping through the trees, mud and hazelnut shells in high heels with a laptop and a latte.  People wouldn't think I looked odd, they'd think I was odd!  By now I actually wanted to laugh, but that would be weirder still.  Have you ever heard a stranger laugh outloud for no reason?  You automatically think they have "issues."  So I laughed on the inside and emerged from the orchard, climbed over the railroad tracks, crossed a gravel lot, and set foot within city limits...and sidewalks!  Now my pace picked up, but so did my pain.  Concrete is very hard.  I pushed through town, crossed our one and only busy highway, and was on the home stretch.  As I was walking up my driveway I just couldn't wait to tell whoever was there about my amazing but pitiful feat (feet?).  I was ready for a good dose of sympathy, a soft chair and a foot rub.  I opened the door and called out, "Hi, I'm home."  Silence.  I dropped my bags and coffee and uncurled my stiffened fingers then pried off my muddy high-heeled boots.  I walked through the house looking...opened my daughter's bedroom door.  No one home!  All that walking...all that adventure and not a single person to share it with?  That was worse than the trip!  There was nothing left to do but climb the stairs to my desk and begin my second job.  And next week when I work at the church office, I am wearing fleece and crocs.

P.S.  I showed my husband my blisters that night and he gave me a back rub, because I wouldn't let him touch my sore feet!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blogging While Jogging

Yesterday I made my first blog entry, and afterward I couldn't stop "blogging" in my head.  I stirred the chili over the stove and blogged.  I sat at my computer trying to put together my lesson for the class I was about to teach and kept getting distracted by blog thoughts.  I drove home in the car with my husband and didn't have much to say, because I was blogging.  I put myself to sleep that night with bedtime blog stories.  This morning I woke up and quickly made my daughter's lunch, drove her to the bus stop, and then went for my run.  The whole time I ran I blogged.  In fact, I think I created a pretty remarkable story...if I could only remember it now, 7 hours later!  And the most amazing thing happened while on my morning run.  I kept running.  Literally...right past my normal end spot!  Now this may not sound very monumental to you, but you must realize that I don't really like running and I only do it out of sheer discipline.  I cheer myself around each corner, up each hill, to the next tree stand, until I finish my run.  I then reward myself with breakfast and the morning paper.  So for me to actually forget I was running and fly right by the end of my route means I was really, really into my story...actually living it instead of living the reality of my run.  All of a sudden I looked around, recognized my neighborhood, and came back to the present with the very same sensation of waking from a dream.  Wow!  Best run I've ever had!  I would have loved to have gone straight to my computer and pounded out that wonderful story, but the duties of my day demanded my attention.  So I'll have to tuck that one away in my mental file and pull it up another time.  But I must say I was very encouraged by this morning's experience...I never dreamed that blogging was the key to jogging!  Can't wait for tomorrow's run!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My very first post is about my failure to make my very first post!

So, after much prompting by many friends, I decided to start a blog.  I have my reasons why not to...I feel like by blogging I would be essentially saying that I think I am wonderful and interesting and all my readers are not.  I feel like my life isn't really that exciting.  I feel like I'll be bound to yet one more thing that takes me away from what really is important.  And last, and probably most true of all, is the fact that I really don't know how to start a blog or what to do with it once I've got one.

But I finally succumbed to the pressure, and I have my reasons for that too...I love to write.  I love to get mail.  I think any and every life is interesting if it is communicated properly (everybody has a story!). And possibly there is money least that's what I've been told!

So last night I secretly started a blog.  Big confession:  I didn't have the slightest idea what to do to get started.  That's why I did it secretly...even a fool is considered wise if she keeps her mouth shut!  So I googled "How to start a blog."  Seriously, I'm that ignorant.  Then I clicked on what looked like an informative site and began to read.  Then I bravely moved on to actually opening up a page.  It was fun to pick photos and backgrounds, but I was so slow!  Finally, my page was to a point where I felt I could quit and pick it up again the next day.  But...the next day I couldn't find it!  I tried a google search and nothing came up.  I tried looking for my name and also by City Girl - Country Girl and still came up blank.  Obviously because I am writing right now I found it, but it took me a long time, further reinforcing how inept I am and how I should probably not be doing this.  But here we go...I'll try it and see if I enjoy it, and more importantly, if anyone else enjoys it!