Because . . . Mom’s not here to verify

Trio No. 3

Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call). 

Saturday night, October 25, 2014.  I should be happy. right?  It’s Saturday after all!  Well, according to the Bay City Rollers, I should be ” dancin’ to the rock and roll” or Elton John, I should “Get about as oiled as a diesel train.”

Instead, I’m up late, even though it’s been a long, tiring week.  My daughter visiting with the grandchildren was wonderful, but also so tiring.  Am I getting old or what?

Laying on the sofa relaxing, I turn on the TV, and once again try to watch “The Dead Zone” with Christopher Walken.  I really do like that movie, but, for some reason, it puts me to sleep every time now.  I wake up after the movie is over. I don’t remember what was on then, but I get up, go to the bathroom, and walk into the kitchen.

I see out into the scarcely visible backyard.  Is there a moon tonight?  I don’t see it.  Maybe it’s a new moon or a thumbnail moon.

I hear the refrigerator running, the humming of it and the sort of ticking sound it makes.  I wonder what that is.  Is it the ice maker? I hear the ice drop, and a few seconds later the water runs to refill the ice tray.

Standing at the sink, I get a drink of tap water, and remember the events of the day.

I chuckle softly once about the sour cream/buttermilk debate, and remember going outside and the tears I shed.  I knew at the time I started crying it wasn’t about the sour cream.  It was about one of my kids going through a hard time.  I remembered  coming back inside and saying to my daughter (now a mom and she always tells me, “Now, I get it.” about being a mom and how it feels), “You NEVER stop feeling your kids pain.  Never.”

I start to tear up and remember the sour cream debate, and another thing occurs to me.  Why did I not realize this before?  Was this feeling there and I just didn’t recognize it?  Was it covered up from my other feelings for my kid going through a hard time?

Even though I still have tears in my eyes, I snicker, once, and then realize – it wasn’t about the sour cream, and it wasn’t ALL about my kid.  It was also about the fact that the one person who could straighten us all out wasn’t here to tell us, “I’ve used both at different times.”

Now, more than a few tears come, blurring my view to the obscured backyard, lit only slightly by the street lamp through the large maple tree blocking it.

It’s been six and a half years, and most of the time, I don’t think about it much.  But sometimes, often caught off-guard, I miss my mom insanely, as if she had just died yesterday.    Why do we miss people madly just after they pass and for months after only to somehow “get over it” – seemingly for a time just to have it smack us unsuspecting  at the oddest moments?

I cry more, and wipe my eyes, and sob, and say aloud to the sleeping house, knowing full well it isn’t about the silly debate, “Mom, I wish you here to verify this!”


That’s just weird food, mom!

More on that family gathering.  Yes, we had the sour cream/buttermilk debate, but a few other things came up.  Tell  me what you think.

I put marshmallows on the baked beans after they came out of the oven.

Daughter: Marshmallows on the baked beans, that’s weird.

Me: I always do that.

Daughter: I don’t remember you doing that. (to SIL) Have you ever had marshmallows on baked beans?  Do you think it’s strange?

SIL: I don’t know, I don’t think so.  It is kind of weird.

Me: Dad, have you ever had marshmallows on baked beans.

Dad: Mom used to do it.

Me: Well, at least I didn’t put them in the cole slaw.

Daughter: Eww, that would also be weird.

Me: Dad, have you ever had marshmallows in cole slaw?

Dad: Mom used to do that.

Me: See, it’s not weird.

Daughter: Just because Grandma used to do it doesn’t mean it isn’t weird.

Me: Well, if you think that’s bad, you should watch Frankenfood.

Niece: I haven’t seen that, what kind of things did they do?

Me: Well, they put together chocolate and bacon.

Daughter: Eww, that is weird.

Me: Well, actually, I think it was like a giant chocolate chip cookie with bacon on top. I can’t remember exactly.

Daughter: Hmm, that sounds kind of good like that.

Me: So, how were those baked beans?

I can’t remember anyone complaining, but I can’t remember them raving about them either.

But, I’m sure that at the next family gathering, someone will say, “What, no marshmallows?”

Do you have any weird family food traditions?


The Banana Bread Sour Cream Debacle

Last Saturday, we had my dad, my niece Rachel and my sister-in-law with one of my other nieces and two nephews – over to meet the new granddaughter and see my daughter and grandson.

The plan was to have pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, potato salad, beans, and potato chips.  Dad was to bring pie.  SIL was to bring drinks, though we made iced tea, too (yes, people who don’t live in Texas drink iced tea year round). We forgot the potato salad. So, I felt kind of bad, and we had ripe bananas, and my family loves banana bread, and my 17 yr old daughter has actually been making it herself lately.  So, I asked her to make it.

It takes an hour to bake, so we had time to eat and talk a bit before it was done.  When it came out of the oven, I took it out of the foil-lined loaf pan and set it on a cooling rack, so we could cut into it faster.

My SIL made the first slice, though it doesn’t cut well when it’s still too warm, that didn’t deter anyone.

As my nephew was eating it, she asked him if it was any good, and with a full mouth, shook his head yes and mumbled, “Hmm, mmm.”

This is where things got kind of weird and crazy. This conversation may not be an exact duplication, but went something like this.

SIL: When Alan makes it, it’s always so good, better than any banana bread I ever made.

Me:  It’s probably the sour milk or buttermilk. Like buttermilk pancakes.

SIL: Alan doesn’t use those, he uses sour cream. (to Dad) Did Carol use sour cream or buttermilk?

Dad:  Mom always used sour cream.

Me: No she didn’t, she always used buttermilk.

Dad: Well, I always remember seeing her use sour cream.

SIL: Well, the recipe Alan got from your mom says sour cream.

Dad: I’m sure she did use sour cream. It’s on the recipe on the fridge still – and I think it says buttermilk OR sour cream.

Me: Ah, ah! See, it does say buttermilk. I don’t remember her ever using sour cream when I was a teenager, and I used to help her make the banana bread.

Daughter: The recipe you gave me doesn’t have sour cream – it has 2% milk.

Me: Well, maybe my original recipe had sour cream, but over the years, I had to recopy it, and since I never had sour cream in my fridge all the time, I may have just left it off your copy.  (Everyone in back ground saying uh, huh) The secret is the sour part – buttermilk or sour milk or sour cream. They are basically equivalent in acidity or something, ask Alton Brown.

Daughter: So, why does mine say 2% milk? What happened to the sour cream?

Me: Well, I started using sour milk because I always have milk and vinegar in the house. I don’t always have buttermilk and sour cream.  And, once I tried making it with half and half or whipping cream, you know, thinking it’s thick like buttermilk.  But, it didn’t turn out right. So, it can be milk or soured milk, but not cream.

SIL:  I think it’s good with sour cream.

Niece: I just texted Mom, and she says she uses sour cream and asked me why I was asking.

Me. Great, well, I know mom used to use buttermilk, because I remember her trying to drink the stuff, and I also remember you’d have to buy it in a quart, and she’d only make banana bread once a month or so, so the buttermilk would always go bad.  And, we’d always find out when we tried to make another loaf and I’d have to pour the nasty stuff down the drain.   Anyway, Dad, about your tree stump.

Everyone: Oh, wait a minute, so now your just trying to change the subject.

Me: No, it’s all the same, and Dad said the recipe on the fridge has sour cream OR buttermilk! Agh!

And they’re all like shaking their heads and saying “Uh, huh!”

At this point, I could picture myself (as in a sitcom scene that doesn’t actually happen, but you think about it) screaming “Why do you diss my reality?  Obviously, Mom made it this way when I was there, and after I moved to Texas, you all learned a different way.  Why can’t you admit that my reality may have been different from yours! Why can’t you validate me?”

Instead, and I know I didn’t handle this well, I just walked outside.  In my defense, I did have some other emotional turmoil on my mind.

And, when it boils right down to it, does it really matter?

Also, I later realized something else that may have upset me – funny how these things  hit you unexpectedly.  The one person who can resolve this ridiculous conflict (Mom), isn’t around to do so.  But, unlike the employee who is now gone so you can blame all the things you find wrong on them, instead of casting blame for this confusion, it just makes me miss her and wish she was here.

Anyway, you probably are curious about this recipe now, so here it is.

Mom’s Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk, sour cream, or sour milk (milk with 2-3 teaspoons vinegar)

Mix in large measuring cup or medium bowl – flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In large bowl, cream butter and blend in sugar.  Stir in eggs.  Then, add bananas and stir well.  Add to this 1/2 of flour mixture and 1/2 of milk.  Stir until flour is mixed in.  Add remaining flour mix and milk.  Stir gently till all flour is mixed in.  Do not over stir.

Pour this into a greased loaf pan.  I like to put in half of the dough, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar over entire top, then add remaining dough, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Check for done ness with toothpick after 50 minutes.  Bread is done when toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.

P.S. You know that at all future family gatherings, someone is going to say “Oh, I used sour cream” and wink, right?


Scheduling – trying something new!

I hope this works.

I’m trying something new – scheduling posts to be posted at a specific time.

Why am I trying this?

Because I have a tendency to write a bunch of posts at once.  I realized it might be better to spread them out over a day or two.

I hope this works.

Have you tried it?  If you are a reader, do you liked it?   Is everyone seeing my Facebook feed that follows me on Facebook?  I wonder.


Because – changing diapers is messy!

One thing I noticed when my daughter started having babies two  years ago – people don’t sell diaper changing pads!  Yes, they sell “changing table covers” – which are ridiculously expensive.

But, simple cloth or quilted or flannel backed changing pads – I couldn’t really find them in a shop (don’t remember if I searched much on-line) – at all, but I thought I did.

I remembered my mother making me some, I think, and I think I even made a couple sewn flannel ones myself back 30+ years ago. And, they are ever so handy for the changing table or pad or on the sofa, the floor, at a friend’s house, on the bed, in the bathroom at the restaurant on the “baby changing station” (which they didn’t have when I had babies!).

So, why aren’t these readily available?  Or at least, affordable?

I made several two  years ago when my grandson was born – pretty much my first attempt at free-motion quilting and quilt piecing).  She has used them every day since Mr. Man came into this world.

Mr. Man was famous for peeing when you changed him, so she appreciated the several pads I made then.

I made six for granddaughter – sending them up with Auntie when she went up before birth to be there to take care of Mr. Man – telling her, “Tell sissy to keep what she wants, and if she doesn’t want them all, I’ll find a place for them.”

She kept them all.

Spit up, peeing when the diaper is off (ooh, it’s so cold!), dumping a load – each pad only seems to make it through a day or two before hitting the washing machine.

Here’s a picture of the July bunch for my sweet granddaughter.


I’m seriously thinking of making a bunch to have “on hand” for gifts and such.

Should I?

My wonderful week – last week

Grandchildren were here!

Don’t know if you noticed, I didn’t post last week much.  My two grandchildren were visiting with my daughter from Chicago. 

When we weren’t busy just talking or taking care of the little ones, we went to a special nearby park, painted the lower three feet of concrete at my dad’s house, had a tea party, raked leaves and played outside, had a family get-together so others could meet the baby Saturday, went to hear my son’s jazz band.

My daughter also went to dinner to have the famous delicacy in Springfield – a Horseshoe – look it up,  went to have breakfast with her grandpa, and went to hang out with an old friend with babies in tow and spent some time catching up.  She also did a few loads of baby laundry – I forgot how much laundry they create!

I also forgot how you can’t seem to sit down for more than 2 minutes, and have to get up to do any various and sundry things – save 2 year old from eating lotion, falling down stairs, or locking himself in Auntie’s room.  Get pacifier, diapers, changing pad, or new outfit for either of the two.  By the end of the week, I learned not to sit down with the baby without having a burp (or should I say “spit-up”) cloth in my hand! Food, snacks, pre-soak outfit that was pooped in, emergency bath for said pooping occasion (quickly clean out kitchen sink full of dishes first), get peed on because you didn’t get the bath ready fast enough, mop up pee off kitchen floor.  And all this was for two healthy kids! What if they’d been sick?!

I especially remember during these times, when I took care of a newborn, a kindergartner and a 1st grader for 3 months, by myself, 26 hears ago – and no wonder the ex was concerned for the messy house when he came back for Thanksgiving.  He actually had the gall to ask me what I had been doing for two months! Ha!  Yeah.  Let’s just say A) I let him know EXACTLY what I had been doing for the last two months! and B) one of many reasons why he is “the ex”!

Oh, and in the midst of just normal everyday talking and taking care of small children’s needs, I managed to take several hours to refurbish my daughter’s Linus Blanket – a yellow cover – I think was originally made for a king sized bed.  Somehow, she claimed it as her’s because she would fall asleep rubbing the satiny binding between her fingers.

Well, I’m not going to tell you how old she is, but I can say that yellow cover has seen it’s better days – very thin, all binding ragged or about to come off, etc!

So, she asked if I could repair the binding – and long story short – I cut it in two, folded it over, made two smaller kid size blankets – bound one in red with a lining between (didn’t work out well) – and one in yellow (had the binding down by this time, looks nice.)

Seriously, I tried to buy her a yellow cover with satin binding for Christmas last year, would have had to get it from Ebay from the UK, but they were out of yellow!  Only blanket I could find with satin binding.

All-in-all – it would have been easier to pay the $40-$50 than do what I did.  Did I say satin blanket binding is some pretty tough stuff to sew correctly?  Well, word to the wise – IT IS!  I have it down now, but I did tell her, “You know, it isn’t often I say ‘never again’, but I have to say I’m pretty darn close on satin binding.”

I have more to report from the week – but for now I want to tell you what I told her.

1. I don’t know how she does it.

2. I don’t know how I did it.

3. I wouldn’t miss anytime I spend with them for anything, but man, it’s tiring! I slept a lot Sunday, the day after they left.

4. She is a good inspiration for my blog, if only I had more time to write when I’m around her and the grandchildren!

5.  I love spending time with my daughter because she’s funny and has a great personality, is a great mom, and it’s fun. (Okay, maybe I forgot to tell her this last one.  Hey, maybe she’ll read this post!)

Oh, and, really, I enjoy spending time with all my kids – anytime!


Because… Grandchildren

I’m tired this week.

I have a post of my activities from last week which I’ll put up next.

But, I was exhausted Sunday, still catching up Monday, and even went to bed early last night (Tuesday).  Went to do some job testing for the State and to a job fair (Wednesday), and even took a nap, and I think I my energy level may be back to almost normal.  I am, after all, still awake, though I’d like to be asleep, I wanted to blog some posts, or is that post some blogs?

My daughter says sleep deprivation is a normal thing for her since having a baby – yeah, but, so much tougher when you are 22 years older!



Life-Changing Moments

Grand Slam

The World Series starts tonight! In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a walk-off home run? (For the baseball-averse, that’s a last-minute, back-against-the-wall play that guarantees a dramatic victory.)

My daughter has a saying, usually about trying a new or different food stuff – “It’s life-changing…”

I’m not sure I have ever felt that way about food, although some of these morsels were quite delectable.

When first approaching this subject, I was hard pressed to come up with my own “walk-off home runs.”

It also brought up sad memories of just such an occasion on October 27, 2011 – Game 6 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers at the St. Louis Cardinals (yes, I was there and a Rangers fan).  David Freese had such a moment, much to my chagrin. 😦

Anyway, when it comes right down to it, and I’m not usually one to do this, I have to say my moments were when I was pregnant with each of my children. Each and every one of them has had a huge impact on my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, even though it hasn’t always been easy. They are each uniquely different and special in their own way and have enhanced and enriched my life in equally different ways.

As Forest Gump would say, “That’s all I got to say about that.”


Finished – Mom’s quilt blocks throw

Throw is done!

Going to keep this simple, but I may have to play with font color as I just figured out how to do that.  I swear this choice wasn’t available yesterday!

I have about 5 ideas of things to write about floating around in my head, and it’s hard to stay on track with this post.  This post is supposed to be devoted to this throw and it’s story, but I may go off on tangents.  I was informed, however, this past weekend, that it’s actually family trait!

Here’s a pic of the whole throw.  Mom did the blocks herself, mostly in 1991. She most always, I found in going through her quilting stuff, would mark in pencil or pen on one of the back seams the date she finished the piece. 


I picked out sashing, border and pieced the blocks together and quilted it.

This is for mom’s cousin, Karen, according to my teenage daughter, she would be my 1st cousin once removed. I know that’s not important, but I was impressed my daughter was quite sure of this even when I wasn’t, because she wanted to know what one of my cousin’s daughter was to her, so she looked it up on the internet!

So, I gave these blocks to Karen two years ago, as she liked them and I know her and Mom had a special connection over the years, especially the last few before Mom and Grandma died, because both her Mom and Grandma were in the same nursing home.  As a matter of fact, at one time, my Grandma and her two remaining brothers were in the same nursing home along with Karen’s mom.  So,  Karen would come to town once a month, and each time she did, her and Mom would meet up at the nursing home and then go out to eat quite often.

At the time I gave them to her, I wasn’t a savvy quilter, so she said she would find someone to complete them for her.  I didn’t have any of the other material to give her, as it seemed to have gotten separated from these blocks, so we had to go with the 12 we had.

After about 6 months or a year, I told her I felt more confident in my abilities to do justice to these blocks.  And, finally, about a month ago, she brought them back down for me to work on.

Anyway, the following three pics show some of the detail on the sashing.  I almost used pink for the sashing, but figured there was already enough in the blocks.   I was stumped as to what to quilt there until I remembered that Karen likes the saying “Live well, laugh often, love much.”


Live Well



Laugh Often





Love Much

Every sashing piece has one of those saying in it, and each block has all three around it and one extra.

She seemed to be very pleased with it.  I’m glad she likes it.

Things I did on this throw – I put in small black permanent marker on the front of each block Mom’s initials and the date she finished it – if she had written on on the back.  I also quilted butterfly on one block, because Mom’s was very much into butterflies.  The style of free motion quilting is very much custom.  You would find it hard to reproduce this stitching on a long-arm.  Each block is quilted with stitch in every stinkin ditch, and then many have additional quilting.  On the signature block, the gold/white/gold block – I quilted on the white “Blocks pieced by (Mom’s name), Assembled and quilted by (me) Oct 2014.”  It’s a sort of trick that is hidden in the quilt that no one may ever notice – but it’s one way I “sign” some of my quilts, even if I put a tag on back, that I am confident will stick with the quilt as long as it endures.

Once I actually decided I was going to get this thing done, it took me less than a week.  And, I had to go to Joann’s for the green fabric because I didn’t have anything on hand that would match.  I’m not sure if the green is the best color, but since these are vintage fabrics, and the various colors in the blocks, I wasn’t sure what to use.  White didn’t seem right, and pink would have been too much.  I thought about dark blue, but I discounted it for some unsure reason.

So there you have this quilt story.  I don’t know why Mom did the blocks the way she did or where she picked up the fabric choices.  I’m sure she showed me her progress on this at some point, as she liked to carry some of her finished work around to show off.

Sometimes, I feel bad about that – I don’t remember her showing me things or what I commented or what she told me about the pieces.  As usual, I think I was rather uninterested.  You know how it is – family get together, lots going on, lots to do for dinner prep and such, all the latest stories – Mom’s trying to show something off and before you can say more than “Oh, that’s nice, I like that” a child has a crisis, the  cake is ready to come out of the oven, or the football team makes the big touchdown.

I don’t know if anyone else in my family feels this regret, but I know I do. Regrets, “I wish I had…”, we all have them, we all do it eventually.  One of mine is – “paid more attention and asked more questions when Mom was showing me some of her quilting work.”

I never realized it at the time I went through her things four years after her death and decided to finalize some of her works-in-progress (WIPs) – but, even though I don’t know the entire story or thought process behind her creations, at least now I have enough know-how to do a decent job of finishing her projects.  Somehow, even though I know it doesn’t make up for my “I wish I had”, at least now I can say, “I don’t know if I would have ever made anything like this ever myself.” and “I’m glad I can at least finish her project for another to enjoy so her work can still be appreciated and useful.”

100th Post!

Dear Readers,

When I first started blogging, my goal was to do a post a week.  I think my first post was around April 1, 2014.  In July, I participated in Writing 101 – Get into the Blogging Habit, and the goal was a post a day during the week, for a total of 20 posts altogether.  At the time, I made a new goal of getting to 50 posts.

After I hit 50, I decided my new goal was 100.  By this point, I was actually above my one post a week average, which would mean 52 posts a year, which would mean it would take about two years to do 100 posts.  But, since I was way over goal, I figured I’d hit the 100 mark around the end of the year.

Somehow, even though it feels like I have hardly been blogging at all in the past three months, this post marks my 100th post! Yay, me!

So, I suppose it’s time for a new goal.  Hmm…..

What should it be?

Should I take it in stride and just set a number goal?

Or should I challenge myself to do a certain number a week?  Any ideas? I am open to suggestion.

I was slightly surprised by the revelation of reaching my 100 goal, so I haven’t given it much though up to now.   I believe I’ll have to think on this one for a while.