Archive | February 2012

Our Shoes

My shoes.

My Reception shoes.

Let me rephrase that….. OUR Reception shoes.

OUR Chuck Taylor Specially Designed Wedding Reception Shoes

OUR ‘Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor Specially Designed’ Wedding Reception Shoes.

During our wedding we would wear borrowed and rented shoes. The elegant and the dapper shoes.

Yet, we wanted something different for our wedding reception. So, an idea came to me, “Let’s wear some high-tops!!!” “Hey, Chuck Taylors!!!” “OMG, Look, we can DESIGN OUR OWN!!!”

So, we did. We went to the Converse.com site and designed our own shoes, OUR ‘Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor Specially Designed’ Wedding Reception Shoes online. We designed them, placed the order and then waited for them to arrive.

Jeff and I saved “OUR ‘Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor Specially Designed’ Wedding Reception Shoes,” for a special reveal at our reception.

Our Shoes

Our guests saw the fun we had wearing and showing off OUR wedding shoes.

We had a great time thinking up the concept, thinking ahead to the day we’d wear them. My soon-t0-be husband and I had a great time designing the shoes online, thinking of our wedding reception and the reaction of our guests when they would see our shoes.

Mom would have loved the entire escapade. It was such a fun idea – and let me tell you – she would have encouraged the fun and creativity. She would have loved our shoes.

Her Shoes

Mom's Wedding ShoesI certainly did not remember seeing them before.
Yet, I KNEW what they were.

“Mom’s shoes!”

“Mom’s WEDDING shoes!!!”

Dad was clearing out some things after Mom had passed away in 2003. He had planned to give those shoes away. “Give Mom’s shoes away?” I grabbed them up and exclaimed, “NO WAY!” “We’re NOT giving Mom’s wedding shoes away.”

No matter if I never had the chance to use them, I was not going to give away the shoes Mom wore during her wedding.

I saved the shoes. I stored them away at my house. Some day, some one would be lucky enough to have the pleasure of using them.

Seasons passed. Mom’s wedding shoes were still safe in my closet.

In October of 2008, I met Jeff. We seemed to have a lot in common and yet enough differences to make things interesting. We established a friendship that became a wonderful relationship. Soon I realized I had fallen in love with Jeff. And, Jeff felt the same about me.

February 14, 2010 we became engaged. I KNEW what shoes I’d be wearing sooner than some day.

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Mom’s photo, Mom’s wedding shoes, my wedding bouquet….photo taken shortly before my wedding to Jeff on 9.10.11. Notice the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” in the arch of that shoe.

Mom's wedding shoes, my wedding dress

I wore my Mom’s wedding shoes, the ones she wore in 1956 when she walked down the aisle to marry Dad. I was honored to have Mom walk with me at my wedding, as well as walking with Dad. I love them both. Those shoes must have some magic in them, Mom and Dad were married for 47 years and blessed with a great relationship. Jeff and I are looking forward to many wonderful years together.

Showing Mom's wedding shoes

Mom walked me through my wedding ceremony. I wore the same shoes she wore at her wedding. We showed them off at the start of our wedding ceremony, so that all our family and friends would know I was walking in her shoes.

New Sunday Breakfast Treat

Baked Oatmeal fresh from the ovenBaked Oatmeal.

I had the thought of this treat running through my head as I was deciding to wake up or go back to sleep this morning. Well, the idea did not stop playing it’s movie in my head. Thankfully, I had gotten enough sleep, no doubt something that my body and mind were trying to tell me. “Wake up and get breakfast started. By the way, here’s an idea…..”

Keep in mind, I have never made baked oatmeal (except in cookie form), let alone had eaten it before. I don’t remember, for certain, ever knowing it was something that could be done. Yet, somehow I knew that it could. I don’t remember Mom ever making it, yet I know she would have liked it. I can imagine her making this from time to time, putting her own spin on it. Using different berries or fruits in season.

Since Mom had not given me the exact recipe while I was waking up, I decided to search the Internet. As you might expect, I found many a recipe. Lots of recipes. I settled on one and immediately set to work. Of course, I changed up the recipe ever so slightly, making it my own and just right for our taste.

It was a hit. The recipe made a large enough amount that after it cools completely, I can refrigerate the left over portion and reheat it for breakfast tomorrow. That will put our EARLY Monday morning in a better light. Breakfast will be fast and easy and a real treat. Sorta like eating cobbler for breakfast.

Baked Oatmeal. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM……….. 😉

Recipe for Baked Oatmeal

A Valentine….

to Oregon…. in honor of 153 years of statehood and what a beautiful state she is.

to Mom…. for her love of Oregon and instilling that love in me… for taking her children on trips in Oregon.

to Dad…. for being born and raised in Oregon…. for stories of life in his home state.

to Jeff, my husband…. for also being born and raised in Oregon…. for his love of a never-ending Oregon adventure and wanting to share all those with me.

to myself…. for being born in Oregon and choosing to live in Oregon…. for my love of the beauty that is Oregon…. my home state.

I Love You All

Sweet hearts for my Sweetheart

This treat was something new. Something easy and fun!

No doubt something Mom might have tried to make for her Valentines.

I had envisioned baking ‘something’ using puff pastry. Not having worked with puff pastry before, I knew I should purchase a package of puff pastry, not try making it myself. I had thought of baking some puff pasty with cinnamon and sugar.

I felt I needed some directions, instructions…. a recipe. So, off to ‘Google’ I went. I found a recipe for palmiers. While palmiers are special, these were even more so. These were laced with red decorating sugar and when baked, resembled hearts. Perfect.

Perfect treat for my Valentine, my husband.

I had fun making the palmiers. I watched them puff up in the oven as if I were a little girl…. as if Mom was the baker.

After baking for 15 minutes – what seemed a long time to ‘the little girl’ – I was finally able to remove them from the oven. Yet, the wait was not over. They needed to cool for 10 minutes.

Ahhhhh, we finally got to try the Valentines. Such a wonderful flaky treat with a light crisp.

Truly, some sweet hearts for my Sweetheart.

Valentine Palmiers
Recipe for Valentine Palmiers

“Timing is Everything”

This morning I was a wee bit late getting out the door and off to work.

Thankfully.

Just over the six mile mark of my eleven mile commute there was a car accident. Must have been a messy one. Firefighters, rescue crews were called to assist (and clean up). Traffic merged into one lane and slowed to a crawl. This is an unusual site on my commute through rural scenery getting from one small town to a larger small town.

No sense getting impatient. No need to worry about getting to work, I was already probably a wee bit late. At least I’d get there. I’d not be in the situation of the ones who were actually involved in the accident. I imagine they now wish they had Monday morning to do over again. Yet, we don’t get ‘do-overs.’

While I have yet to learn what happened this morning, it was a messy accident. One car that had been attached to a tow truck had suffered a front-end bashing; possibly they rear-ended the car that I presume left an oil or gasoline spill on the highway – if that was the case that car had already been moved. There were skid marks, in more than one place. I can only imagine the mayhem of this accident.

Thankfully, I can only imagine.

Yes, I thank my lucky stars. I also thank my Mom. You see, many years ago I avoided being in or nearly in a fatal accident on a freeway, thanks to my Mom. I had been ready to leave my home, south of town, and set out on my way to the community college, north of town, when my telephone rang. Thankfully all I had was a land-line then. On the other end of the phone was my Mom. We chatted for a while, then I mentioned that I really needed to get out to the computer lab at school. We said our ‘good-byes,’ ‘talk with you laters,’ and I went on my way.

About half way from my home to the community college there had been a terrible traffic accident. Someone had slammed into the concrete of an overpass. And recently.

Yes, “Timing is Everything,” and Mom was usually always good with her timing.

Thanks Mom. 😉

Mom, the Artist

Funny, I remember my Mom as an artisan.

— in the Wikipedia fashion of the definition:

“An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools. As an adjective (spelled “artisanal”), it has been used as a marketing buzz word to describe or imply an association with the crafting of hand made food products, such as bread, tofu, beverages and cheese.”

Especially “the crafting of hand made food products, such as bread,” part. She was a wonderful baker. Her breads, cakes, pies and cookies were hand-crafted, delicious and made with such LOVE; the best ingredient.

I only wish I had some photos of her craft to share with you. Alas, I do not. You see, our family ate her art. (and it was GOOD).

Actually, I should say we ate most of her art.

Mom claimed to not be artistic at all, yet she had a way with a wide variety of art.

She did fine embroidery work and crocheted afghans. Her embroidery work was extraordinary, she learned from the best, thankfully I learned from her. We still have many pieces she did and most of the afghans she made, well the ones she did not give away to family members or someone who needed one.

Besides being an artisan baker and a woman of fine hand-work,  she dabbled in drawing using pastels/chalks. She had done that form of art in her younger years. Not believing she was any good at it, she did not share that side of her creativity with us. Maybe she did not share it was because she was a “mom.” She had three children to raise and a husband to spoil, besides her teaching career.

The last and most impressive pastel I saw her work on was a serene setting of Mt. Hood. In the foreground was a meadow with a cold mountain stream running through it. This lead the eye up to Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak. She had drawn Mt. Hood from memory. Of course she could. She’d seen it, passed by it on I-84 and had been on it more than a few times. A more beautiful, peaceful scene of Mt. Hood I had never seen before. She was good, there’s no doubt.

Looking back now, that may have been the last time Mom actually saw Mt. Hood,  the stately overseer of Oregon….Mom saw that peaceful scene herself, in her memory. At that point in her life she was traveling to cancer treatments and blood transfusions, not to take another look at Mt. Hood. So, she used her artistic ability, the ability she claimed to not have, and brought Mt. Hood home to herself.

Funny, I remember my Mom as an artisan. — to me she was quite the artist, in all aspects of her life, quite the artist indeed.