Love

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There are many ways to say, “I love you.”

DH puts a dollop of whipped cream with cinnamon sprinkles on my coffee every morning when I get up. He also brings it to me after dinner. The cats get whipped cream on saucers. The dogs take their whipped cream straight.

It makes us feel spoiled, pampered and loved. See how the dogs are smiling…

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hottie_33.jpg My “look” was a combination of Cher, Cleopatra and Morticia from the Adam’s Family. It took hours to get it right.

I was fifteen. It was my birthday and I was going on a “real” dinner date. 

It was also the first time I ate at a restaurant where  the person behind the counter didn’t ask if I wanted fries along with with the main course.

I’d spent hours getting ready.

My eyes were sexily ringed like Cleopatra’s. My lips were heavily coated in peppermint pink for maximum kissability. My dress was maroon with an empire waist and mini skirt. My shoes were clogs with big silver buckles. I’d poured “My Sin” by Lanvin over my pulse points every time I couldn’t smell myself.  And my long ironed hair hung down past my shoulders, like Morticia’s from the Adam’s family. Except, in my mind,  it was swinging from side to side like Cher’s did when she strutted onstage.

hottie1.jpg My, fried from being ironed, dark hair was my pride and joy. In humid weather curls still managed to sneak out.

Only “he” was 15 minutes late. Which cause me to overcomb and  flatten the top part of the hair I’d teased to perfection. My stomach was in knots.

But, I had only to smell his English Leather cologne that filled my parents front room and see his sporty, Madras plaid jacket to forget his breach. It was a wonderful start to an evening I expected to get better.

I wasn’t disappointed.

“He” took me to the M&M, a restaurant with early American maple tables, waitresses with red checked aprons and paper napkins. I’d never before had shrimp and saw the listing of breaded popcorn shrimp on the menu as proof I was in a top-rated place. Molded jello desserts on the buffet table were further evidence of sophistication.

“He” gave me a necklace with a single pearl for my birthday and his class ring. 

me_young21.jpg The pearl necklace is featured prominantly in this picture.

I had a boyfriend. 

With a ring to wear on a chain conspiciously around my neck or to cover with mohair and brush with a toothbrush in study hall, I was no longer an “unwanted”. I had a name to write over and over across my notebooks. And a “him” with wonderfully cute bad habits to complain about to those nearest and dearest.

 I will never forget that birthday. The M&M has been long gone. But, I do have a recipe that accurately replicates the cucumber mousse served on The M&M’s buffet.

It was and is still a favorite side dish.

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We have cucumbers and tomatoes in abundance. Using them up in different ways is a challenge.

CUCUMBER MOUSSE

  • 1 package lime-flavored gelatin
  • 3/4 c hot water
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1 T grated onion
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 cup cucumber, pared, seeded, lightly salted and chopped
  • Dissolve gelatin in water. Add lemon juice and onion. Chill until almost set. Stir in sour cream and cucumbers. Fill a wet mold with mixture and chill thoroughly. When set, invert onto a platter and garnish.

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    Cucumber mousse topped with a little mayonaise and served over lettuce makes a refreshing and different side salad.

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    Handsome Buster loves DH and going after cats, deer, racoons and rabbits.

    “Buster doesn’t chase,” says DH, “he’s part Australian Shepherd. He herds.”

    DH talks about the time he saw Buster “herd” 23 deer. According to DH, Buster  flat-out ran after them yipping his deer yip and drove them into our woods.

    “I wish I had a camera,” DH says. “Buster was so proud.”

    Unfortunately, Buster could someday pay a price for his happiest moments.

    Neither Buster, or our other dog, Abby always come when called. Deer, rabbits and squirrels are too enticing. Interesting trails are also irresistable.

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    Temptation…notice the deer tracks on the trail in our woods.

    Sometimes it’s a long time before the dogs come back.  We worry. There are nearby roads and neighbors protecting livestock.  In the fall there is hunting season and hunters.

    Oh, and the smell. Our dogs roll in deer poop. They eat horse poop. Smelly marsh muck clings to feet, legs and bellies. Which makes their indiscretion all the better. The dogs practically smile as they pant.

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    Buster and Abby run through the willows.

    Buster is not only a hunter, he is also a natural herder. Part lab, with a little border collie and a lot of Australian shepherd, Buster often does the snaking neck and goes into a herding crouch. His  “stare down” is intimidating. As jealous as the most suspicious wife Buster guards DH. His “look” effectively keeps rivals out of the same room.

    “Buster…noooooo,” I say, gathering up a cowering Abby or cat wanting to be with us.  Buster retreats still sneaking in his glares.

    “Mom, why does Buster act so nervous around you?” my daughter asked on her last visit.

    “Because, I’m training him. He’s learning to walk on a leash,” I told her. Which didn’t adequately describe the experience of a gagging, gasping and squealing Buster trying to escape.

    “Awwwwww, poor Buster, you’re choking him,” said DH.

    “Don’t say awwwwww in front of him. We need to act like this is no big deal. Maybe if he can’t see you…”

    Miraculously, that worked.

     Soon after DH went into the house Buster  was walking at my side in a way that if it wouldn’t make Cesar proud, was at least respectable. 

    Our other dog, Abby, took to the leash as if  she had gone through obedience school as a pup. Even when visiting the vet, she prances and her tail wags. 

    Sadly, more often than not, snap on a leash and Buster’s head goes down, along with his ears and tail. His eyes are mournful and sad. He looks at DH pleadingly.

    “What have I done to deserve this abuse?”

    I have had to compromise on leashes.

    The dogs are tethered by our voices during the day on walks. After dusk, when the deer and rabbits are out, DH says we will use leashes. He also agreed to leashes during hunting season.

    Admittedly, my insistance that we  use leashes in the veterinary office makes them more horrendous for Buster. He hates the vet. Before leash training, Buster once got away from DH and crawled under our jeep in the veterinary parking lot.

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    DH, Abby, Buster, our woods and our trails.

    Today, on our walk, temptation again won out over training. We hadn’t gone far before the dogs smelled something and took off.

    Fortunately, Abby wasn’t gone long. And DH had an idea.

    Instead of calling and calling for Buster, and then going into the woods trying to find him,  DH turned the other way and headed toward the house.

    As he walked, he praised Abby, “Good girl, Abby. Good dog, Abby.” he said loudly, ” What a good Abby…I like Abby best.”

    Guess who came running?

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    “Beautiful Buster”

    Other posts including Buster are:

    http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/the-cat-ladder/

    http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/the-cat-box/

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    Many of my friends and neighbors hitch up their horses to go shopping.

    In my neighborhood, women aren’t judged by the size of their diamonds. That would be prideful.

    Nor are they judged by designer labels or gowns. Most wear calico dresses they make themselves. Veiled buns are the hairstyle of choice. A luxury car is rarer than a hen’s tooth. Ladies around here hitch up and head for town in buggies.

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    Wildflowers in a field.

    But, those same women whose manner of dress and way of living is known as plain…in their gardens create artistic masterpieces worthy of display in any museum. Beds of lavender phlox spring up through silvery rocks in contrast to pink spring tulips. Clumps of blue salva alternate with red geraniums. Tubs and old wagons overflow with colorful pansies. Red petunias then white petunias then purple ones line long, winding drives. Wildflowers abound in uncultivated fields.

    drive-through-the-country-025.jpg A Mennonite Buggy takes the family to town.

    A ride to town through the country is one of my greatest pleasures. It’s also the source of intimidation and pressure. Because I want to fit in. And before I met DH, the only flower I ever planted was a marigold.

    It died.

    To avoid failure, I bought expensive already done-up hanging baskets. And the prettiest flowers the greenhouse had. Mission accomplished. A piece of cake.

    Only I didn’t know you were supposed to deadhead blooms once they’d wilted. I had no idea how much water impatiens drink. Or that they don’t do well in direct sun. Or that they should be fertilized.

    blog-pictures-007.jpg Birdseeds fall from the feeder and grow into flowers that attract bees, butterflies and lots and lots of goldfinches.

    I put my geraniums on my porch in the shade because I thought they were the nicest looking of my flowers and I wanted the people driving by our house to see them.

    “Your flowers are looking wilted,” DH would say. But, I’d watered them the day before. They didn’t need water every day.

    It is amazing how long and stringy and dried out toward the bottom petunias can get if they are never deadheaded. Or how soon geraniums quit flowering. And then there were the weeds in the front flower bed.

    I didn’t take pictures of my flowers the first year.

    blog-pictures-073.jpg My favorite lilies. There is only one bloom now, but more are budding and on the way.

    The next summer I did better. Because I didn’t want to take chances, I still bought expensive already-done hanging baskets. But, I read the directions on the flower tabs. (Before buying, even.) My mother explained deadheading and gave me starts. On one happy day a lady at the greenhouse complimented me on my flowers after I told her where I lived.

    That was two years ago.

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    “Meet me at my garden gate.”

    This spring, I did my own hanging basket arrangements. Some were even from $5 flats of “not such good looking” flowers and $1.25 geraniums purchased from kids raising funds for their 4-H club.

    There were mistakes.

    I accidently pulled out a bunch of what I thought were weeds. Except, the one weed I missed grew into a tall, lovely and out of place looking, lone flower, right in the middle of the bed. I didn’t have the heart to pull it.

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    Another flower picture.

    My beds are kind of haphazard because I forgot what I planted where last year and perennials have popped up unexpectedly between annuals on sale I couldn’t resist. But, my new flower hobby is colorful, challenging and outdoors. Digging in dirt, strangely enough, gives me the same feeling I used to have when I painted on canvas.

    I am an artist living among many great masters. As religiously as any apprentice, I study their technique. And, I dream and aspire…

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    The cat’s favorite napping place is under the bench. Wonder why?

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    Touching up my Thyme sign in anticipation of spring and summer.

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    Our trumpet vine will soon be blooming. Two years ago, before we rearranged our fencing, the horses ate it.

    blog-pictures-005.jpg The trumpet vine eaters.

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