Around here

It’s a three day weekend for me so today marks the halfway point rather than the end of the weekend.

I’ve accomplished some things this weekend and failed miserably at others.

Yesterday featured some cleaning projects. This was a requirement because the house was littered with cat toys and things that little Scout had knocked on the floor. Johnny Cash sang about killing a man in Reno just to watch him die. Scout knocks things over just to watch them fall.

But my work ethic didn’t last long. It was raining and cold so I ended up in a comfy chair, determined to finish this book so I could move on to some less traumatic material.

This book is graphic, emotional and compelling. The author expertly weaves the story of Emmett Till into the context of the Jim Crow south to create a narrative that’s impossible to put down and hard to stomach all at the same time.

How anyone could be so hateful, so intolerant or so so certain of their superiority over another group of humans is beyond me. And yet, it relates closely to a lot of the sentiments we hear today in this country about immigrants and still about African Americans.

Around here, I’m also doing some cooking this weekend. Today I’ll make a bean and veggie soup, pancakes for the freezer and some granola for the pantry. Yesterday I adapted an internet veggie burger recipe to meet my needs and to use up some odds and ends of leftovers in the fridge.

It was far better than store bought veggie burgers and I know exactly what went into the mix. Interested? Here’s the recipe:

Brandi’s Quick Break From Reading To Make Dinner Veggie Burger

1 can pinto or black beans (drained and well rinsed)

3 Tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 Tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat but use what you have)

1/2 cup cooked vegetables – I didn’t cook mine but ran them through the food processor so they were finely chopped. Mine were onions, carrots, corn, spinach and mushrooms

Run the beans through the food processor and mix well with the other ingredients. Shape into patties and place on parchment paper. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for nine minutes on each side or until a bit crisp.

This is an extremely forgiving recipe because it’s designed to use up what you have. Don’t have tomato paste? Use ketchup or maybe some salsa! Whatever veggies you have will do. Want to add a favorite seasoning? Go for it. Can’t eat them all right now? Freeze them.

It really is easy. My apologies for having no photo to share.

Instead, I will leave you with this image. I dared to move Scout’s tent from the kitchen to make mopping the floor a little easier. Here’s the aftermath. It seems there was some kind of riot.

Here’s hoping today is a good day for us all and that I make it back to the list of things I failed miserably at today!

Still Waiting For Snow

This winter has been extremely mild. So mild, in fact, that we’ve hardly seen any snow. Everyone is ecstatic except for me.

Ohio is bleak and ugly in the winter time. Trees are stripped of leaves. The grass is dead and things are muddy because we’ve seen lots of rain in lieu of snow. It’s depressing.

Snow makes everything look pretty, as though the world has been tucked in for a long nap under a fluffy white blanket. One of my favorite pastimes is stomping around in it with my camera, trying to find new ways to make the trees and hills of my yard look fresh and new in pictures.

I also enjoy hiking in it.

And, of course, spending a quiet weekend cozied up with a book in a chair where I can glance up at the falling snow Is nice too.

We often have snow for Martin Luther King weekend so I was hopeful. Nope. More rain.

So I continue to wait. . .

Problems And Fresh Perspective

This week has been challenging. I’m tired and haven’t felt well since getting a flu shot. Everyone needs something. Lots of people are picking at each other. Things just aren’t going well and obstacles have been the norm rather than the exception to the rule.

The key phrase yesterday was “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

A full blown tantrum has been on the horizon for several days.

But a work errand sent me to Columbus yesterday where I drove past Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House. There was a woman wrangling two small children outside Ronald McDonald House and it occurred to me there are people out there with real, life threatening problems.

So I took a big breath of fresh air and decided it best to appreciate the good in my problems. That’s not to say they aren’t real but my issues right now would fall into a category that should be marked “Headaches” rather than “Day-Shattering-Tantrum-Inducing-Crises.”

I’m busy because people need me and because I have a job. That flu shot was covered by my health insurance and may keep me healthy later. Those obstacles that keep screwing up my schedule? That could all be a plot by the universe to keep me alive for another day. If an accident happens in the blink of an eye, all these delays could be preventing something terrible from making matters worse.

Sometimes you just have to pause a moment and reframe things. A good gulp of fresh air and a new perspective never hurt anyone.

Let’s see what hurdles this day holds, shall we?

Wonder What She’s Thinking?

In addition to churches, barns and vintage signs, I have a mild obsession with old cemeteries. This statue is in Grandview Cemetery in Portsmouth, Ohio.

I used to walk regularly in that cemetery and always looked for this statue. She’s lovely and sad, peaceful and thought provoking. There are other statues and interesting headstones but this is the most notable by my estimation.

Some people say that it’s wrong to photograph cemeteries because it’s sacred ground. But the graves are also monuments to people who someone didn’t want to be forgotten. There are people here – sons and daughters, parents, grandparents and friends – who someone wanted to remember. I say remember them. Read their names, imagine lives lived between the dashes and yes, photograph the ones that capture your attention if that’s what you want to do.

Wouldn’t you want someone to remember you?

Forlorn

It’s been gloomy a lot here lately but this scene is simply forlorn.

It was early Friday and rain had settled in for the day. The fog was trying to lift but these bare trees against that fog were just too much to resist. What I wouldn’t have given to have my camera in the seat next to me but had to settle for capturing this with my phone.

One of these days, snow will blanket the landscape and it won’t look so sad. For now, all we can do is seek beauty in unexpected places.

Merry Christmas!

Scout and I wish you a Merry (or Meowy, depending on how you say it) Christmas! We hope that you are safe, happy, fed and loved wherever you may be.

The above image is the Christmas card I made to mark our first Christmas together. I know it looks silly but it made me happy!

Have a beautiful day, friends!

A Change Of Plans

Today’s post was supposed to be about a light display in a neighboring town. The plan was to go last night and grab a vegan burger from a mom and pop place in the neighborhood.

But the sun was shining yesterday and it was beautiful. Consequently, I made the game time decision to spend the morning hiking and stay home last night. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow!

That’s actually one benefit of being single – a gal can change her mind without considering anyone else’s feelings anytime she likes.

It’s dark when I leave work so hiking isn’t typically an option this time of year. It seemed smart to take advantage of the sunshine.

It was 30 degrees when I went into the woods and about 15 degrees warmer on exit. There weren’t many people out – mainly the hearty souls like me who really wanted to be in nature.

So it was a great day for a stretch of the legs and just what I needed to help clear my mind. In fact, I went in feeling a bit uptight but came out feeling great.

A quick trip through the antique mall yielded a new book. Afterward, a sandwich from a local deli resulted in an impromptu picnic. Hey! The sun was shining and it was above freezing! It was a perfect day for it!

It turned out to be a great day.

Nature was calling. I had to go. I’ve seen those Christmas lights before and they will be there later.