Monday, August 31, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday ---- quail bait

MellowYellowMondayBadge Our area is beginning to move from mellow yellows to harvest golds but I still managed to capture a few yellows for this week's Mellow Yellow.

The Old Salt managed to pull into traffic the other day right behind this jeep. I had the camera sitting in my lap (as I usually do when a passenger) and was able to capture the rear view of this yellow vehicle. I don't know which of the two plates I like better.


I took this photo on a recent drive in the country. This field was planted with three crops that provided a stripped effect. The dark green at the bottom is soybean and the brown at the top is corn. The golden stripe in the middle is sunflower. I sure wish I had been there a few weeks earlier when they were all blooming. While sunflowers are usually grown for the seeds, I learned a few days ago that some farmers are planting them to attract quail.



Have a good week everyone. To join in the fun or visit other Mellow Yellow shots visit Drowsey Monkey and her friends here

Sunday, August 30, 2009

color Carnival #17 --- furniture scouting



For a while now the Old Salt and I have wanted to replace our huge sofa with a more slimline model . When the local furniture store advertised what appeared to be a great sale we went to see what was available. We did not find the sofa but I did capture these photos that I felt were perfect for Color Carnival.




To join the fun or to check out all the colorful entries of other players, visit Martha and her friends at Color Carnival.

Sunday Favorites # 19 --- Rerun of an oldie-- Gooey Butter Cake

Sunday Favorites is a meme that allows us to drag one of our old posts out of mothballs and into the light of a new day. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again. It may have been fantastic or just so-so but, if it was posted on a bad day or slow week it might have had very few readers before falling into the pit called, "Older Posts".

You can check out this new Sunday meme at Happy to Design hosted by Chari. Heck, you might find some great stuff to read. Now for my re-run of an old post.


What is Gooey Butter Cake?

It's a scrumptious only-in-St. Louis treat served for breakfast, lunch or dinner -- ala mode or plain. What could be more sensuous and decadent than a gooey dessert, the kind that when you bite into it drips down your chin? When it comes to gooey desserts, perhaps the champion is the aptly named Gooey Butter Cake, though, surprisingly, it is little known outside my home region. Perhaps that's because the Gooey Butter Cake was invented here in St. Louis and possibly the recipe has been understandably safeguarded ever since.

Like many a delicacy -- fudge, brownies and chocolate chip cookies among them --the Gooey Butter Cake was created by accident. Sometime in the 1930s, legend has it; a German baker in St. Louis inadvertently put too much sugar into his cake batter and was too thrifty to waste it, so he just baked it instead.
The glutinous result was a hit and today there's hardly a bakery in St. Louis or the surrounding region that doesn't offer a version. The old Heimburger Bakery on South Lindbergh was especially famous for it.

You can find Gooey Butter Cake in bakeries all over the St. Louis area, but what's someone from out-of-town to do? Here's the answer. Enjoy making one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods.

There appear to be at least two different approaches to making Gooey Butter Cake at home. One starts with a yeast-based dough over which a filling consisting chiefly of butter, sugar, milk and often corn syrup is poured. Similar to Philadelphia German butter cake, which may well have been the original version. More recently a version starting with a packaged cake mix has become popular. Its filling consists mainly of cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Bon Appetit!

Recipe attached.

1/2 cup butter
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 - 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 t almond extract
4 cups of confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease one 9x13 cake pan. Melt butter. Empty cake mix into a large bowl. Stir melted butter, along with one egg, into the cake mix. Press mixture into pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, almond extract, confectioners sugar and the remaining two eggs. Beat for three minutes with an electric mixer set on medium high speed. Spread over top of the cake mixture in the pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden brown on top. Allow cake to cool. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. (Cake will be gooey on the top, so don't over bake!)

"This a very rich cake, but mmmmmmmm so good. Best when eaten with milk or coffee. You can also make it a Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake if desired. Just use a chocolate cake mix in place of the yellow."

Check out what Wikipedia has to say about this cake.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Window views 18 -- Holy Family Church

Welcome to Window Views, a thursday meme dedicated to all those architectural delights that let the light into the buildings around us.

As mentioned in my shadow shot Sunday post, the Old Salt and I spent a pleasant afternoon last Saturday taking a drive into the countryside. Besides capturing great shadows we also happened onto a small Catholic church sitting at the end of a gravel road. It was a lovely church in a park like setting beside a manicured grave yard with monuments going back to the mid eighteen hundreds. The windows of this church appeared to be made of frosted glass. That was a first for me.




To join the fun or peek through everyone else's window panes visit our host Mary t at Window Views.

Theme Thursday -- Limo

Theme Thursday has rolled around again with this week's theme being "limo."

I admit I have never had the privilege of riding in such a grand automobile. I grew up in a rural area where a pick-up truck was the expected ride to take a girl to the prom. So my day to ride in a stretch limo is still somewhere in the future. But, I do happen to have a couple of Limo's in my archives.

During my first trip to San Diego to meet the Old Salt, he took me to the Birch Aquarium at Scripp's Institution in La Jolla. It was mid January and seemed like summer to me compared to the winter I had left behind in Missouri. While enjoying our lunch at the outdoor cafe, a limo pulled up and unloaded a group of ladies dressed in purple outfits with scarlet hats. I am still unsure what surprised me more, that I was eating outside in January or that the Red Hat Ladies could afford to tool around in a limo. I was so taken by the sight that I barely got this photo before the limo drove away.



Just so happens that I captured this next limo just a few days ago. I have seen it around town and never been in the right position to take a picture of it until now. It belongs to the GM Dealership in town and is used to chauffeur those leaving their car for service to where they need to go. I may have to find a reason to take my car in just to get a ride in this painted beauty.


To join the fun or visit more participants from around the world visit Theme Thursday

Wordless Wednesday--- I'm tired




To see if you can hear what is not being spoken visit the other participants of Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ruby Tuesday --- The doctor's flowers

Welcome to Ruby Tuesday the day we show off our photos that contain some red.

The Old Salt took this first shot of me admiring this patch of Hibiscus (I hope I got that right) that we discovered growing in the median of the parking lot at a medical building we visited recently. Have to admit I have never seen anything like them.



I captured this old barn during our drive in the country last Saturday. I have a thing for old barns and photograph everyone I see. I have to admit this one is in the best shape of any I have seen recently. It had a fresh coat of paint in fact.



Have a great week everyone and for more things red, or to join the fun visit Ruby Tuesday at WORK Of THE POET

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Favorites # 18 --- Rerun of an oldie

Hello Everyone. Big announcement this week for all my regular readers. I found a new meme. Now I hear you saying "yea so what else is new, meme's are all you do." While that may be true now, it is not what I used to do. I tried to start my blog as a writer and failed miserably. Except for my dear hubby and one family member I couldn't get anyone to log in and read my stuff. So I turned to meme's because they allowed me to tell a little story with each picture I posted and many folks were nice enough to come and visit thanks to the Mr. Linky on most sites.

But, I am excited about this new meme. It is called Sunday Favorites and allows us to drag one of our old posts out of mothballs and into the light of a new day. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again. It may have been fantastic or just so-so but, if it was posted on a bad day or slow week it might have had very few readers before falling into the pit called, "Older Posts".

You can check out this new Sunday meme at Happy to Design hosted by Chari. Heck, you might find some great stuff to read. Now for my re-run of an old post.

So today I am going to dust off the one post I am most proud of. It took me weeks of work and caused me to cover the entire gamut of emotions and shed gallons of tears before getting it all written. It is also the one post most responsible for bring the Old Salt into my life. I titled it, "Sabbatical from Marriage."

I have never shared with anyone that the day I married I jumped from the frying pan directly into the fire, and that is where I stayed for 27 years. Until the day I decided to take a, “vacation from marriage,” a sabbatical of sorts, during which I hoped to reclaim that raw-material person I had left behind in my youth before I started to play the roles our culture demands of women. It was a bold gesture, one never taken by generations of the women in my family, some women friends called me brave, others disapproved heartily, and each member of my family thought I had lost my mind.

Everyday of my life, up to that point, I had always been, for each person in my life, what they expected I should be. But for once I didn’t take into account what others thought. I was working on pure gut reaction. Suddenly, words had a way of slipping out of my mouth unbidden before my mind knew they had been formed. When I announced my intentions to my husband, I shocked us both. It was not until I was standing among the packing boxes in the middle of my first solo apartment, 40 miles from my home and job, that I began to realize the ramifications of my impulsive decision. I had altered my life and I was left holding freedom in one hand and guilt in the other.

As resident nurturer of not just my household but, many others in my family and my husband's, I spent the last 27 years sustaining others while neglecting myself. Now, it was my turn to retreat, repair, and, I hoped, regenerate myself. Was I being selfish or smart? Perhaps, I thought, an inner voice was leading me. Maybe living apart from my family would allow me to reconnect to the internal strengths I once thought were mine. I felt that, in time, if I was patient enough to wait, all would be mine once again.

Reflecting back on that first year, I realize how much it was about saying yes to such things as spontaneity, risk taking and, of course, being open to that big wonderful new world. I began to revel in the raw experience that heightened the intensity of my days----not unlike a child who is guided by her wonder and curiosity. Oh! What a wonderful new taste was added to each day by not having to run each thought or action through someone else’s reaction filter first. What developed over time was a kind of knowing that didn’t so much involve my head but rather my senses. I came to understand that I am as unfinished as any of Gods creatures. What’s more, my husband and family were equally unfinished. That was the great message………to transcend ourselves again and again and to know that those with whom we come in contact are in the same process.

Once I reinstated a relationship with myself, it was time for the greater challenge--- that of reconnecting with my husband. The reassembling of my marriage would have never happened without my year of solitude. Taking time away from each other was, in retrospect, both necessary and appropriate.

When I left I provided my husband with a list of all my concerns and the areas where I felt we each needed to focus our efforts for change, making it clear that I would not be back until he could show that he was trying to address each of the items on his half of the list. Initially, he declared that our relationship had no problems other than the ones I fabricated and he had nothing to correct or make amends for. He swore that I would be incapable of supporting myself and announced to the world that I would fall flat on my face and come running home begging for his forgiveness, and seeking his protection, within six months. For the first six months he sat and waited for my return and we did not speak at all. Then he took a “hell with her” attitude and went in search of other ladies to prove I was not needed, making certain that our daughter and friends kept me informed. Each time she called all I would say was “Where is he on his list. That is the only updates I’m interested in hearing, otherwise your father is not a topic open to discussion.”

About the one year mark, and after the initial shock, anger and finally discord that came with the realization that I really was serious and could survive without him, my husband started to take a penetrating look at those experiences most would choose to bury-----weeding out self-indulgence and wishful thinking—in order to determine his destiny with or without me. He started to question what roll, if any, he played in this turn of events? How much of my decision had to do with his lassitude? Were my demand reasonable? Was it his preference to be alone or with me?

There was no question that we both needed the space to understand the roots of our relationship and the values around what we had created together. We had become estranged because of reasons no more complicated than laziness, indifference, ignorance, and selfishness. Mixed with that arrogant “good old boy” attitude; that “I am the king of my castle." "You are but the lowly serving winch who is subservient to me and must provide for my every whim.” This attitude was part of the culture he had been raised in and was made worse by way too much alcohol consumption for a dozen or more years.

Once he made the decision to recommit, I let it be known that he had to freely join me in wanting to fight for an openness in which the faults of the other could be admitted and discussed so we could learn what was keeping us away from the immediacy of our lives and our connection with each other.

The second year was spent in dating (courting if you want to call it that) minus the fire of old passion and mired with problems and illusions. In “The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm says, “Nothing, especially love, can be mastered without practice—and practice involves discipline, concentration, patience, and supreme concern.” Through trial and error, yielding and resisting, retracing and reinventing, we began the task of reassembling out lives together. The year was spent crawling toward the inexpressible. There was no model to follow. We were two unique souls who merged 29 years before, and out of that union appeared an original couple, impossible to replicate.

At the end of the second year he moved into my small apartment. I refused to give up my own space until I was assured that we would be able to continue the process of moving forward and besides our daughter, her fiancĂ©e and our grandchild were living in our house. My husband’s allowing them to come and continue to stay (now going on 6 years) was just one of the many kinks in our relationship to be ironed out. Suddenly, we did not know how to be together.

After more than a quarter century of sharing a life, we did not know how to cohabitate. We were so polite. Foreign words like “May I’, “Do you mind” “Please and thank you” filled every sentence. Out of our vulnerabilities a new way of being together began to be discovered. The unfinished elements of our relationship would continue to rise and fall, like incoming tides, constantly and irresistibly moving within us.

Then suddenly, four months into our rediscovery period, and seven years after first being diagnosed with COPD a massive lung hemorrhage put him in the ICU on life support and it appeared that our new life would end before it had really begun. As the time neared for him to be released it was apparent that he would never be able to manage the stairs to our second floor apartment. I also had to question if, (or for how long) he would return to work. Did it make sense to relocate to a new apartment when we were making mortgage payments on a more than adequate house? In the end my practical side won out and we moved back to the house I had left more than two years earlier.

But, the balance of our new and blossoming relationship was forever recast. He was now more dependent, but less willing to be, than at any other time in our marriage. Suddenly, all the new rules could not be obeyed or enforced and it was too late to return to the old ones. We were once again floating in the limbo land of the lost, and having to find ways to rewrite the rules while trying not to sacrifice our new found harmony.

Our life became one long battle to find ways to prove the doctors wrong and cheat the grim reaper, without losing our sanity or sacrificing our newfound oneness. Death, the threat and the reality, in all of its ugly forms, sights, sounds and smells began to dominate our lives. We entered the cycle of good days and bad days. Hardly a week went by without having to juggle employment with doctor’s appointments and hospital stays. The struggle to maintain the needs of a household and provide 32 different medications plus in-home and portable oxygen on my salary alone also became the norm. One financial crisis would be averted only to find six more had taken its place. The six months we were told to expect and tried to cherish grew into a year, then two and finally ended eight long years later after once again being placed on and weaned from a life-support machine only to return to the small apartment we now shared to lose the fight 32 hours later.

As I watched the body of my husband of 37 years being removed from our home I knew that our marriage was still unfinished and would always remain that way. I had to question how I would go about closing the book on our marriage without ever being able to write the final chapter. I couldn’t help but contemplate all the ways the man who had just left me, was different from the man I had married so long ago. I questioned whether my life, like our marriage, would also remain unfinished. Would the yet to be written chapters of my new life as a widow find the answers to questions that still eluded me. Would this new and forced “sabbatical from marriage” become permanent, or would it be a temporary period of retooling and refitting to emerge as a new and more deluxe model ready to be accepted by the husband of the future.

Now two years later, I have to wonder is this as good as it gets? Will I ever have the opportunity to put into practice all the lessons learned during my 37 year training period? Does experience and trial by fire count for anything worthwhile? Will anyone see it (and me) for the treasure it is? Will there be someone willing to tackle the job of helping me complete this life I have been trying to rebuild?

Postscript

Several years after I wrote "Sabbatical from Marriage" all the questions I asked in the final paragraph were answered. The final chapter of my first marriage will always remain unfinished but the final chapter of my life is unfolding hand in hand with my husband, The Old Salt. He saw me (as he put it) for the treasure I am and demonstrates to me every day, in so many ways, that the sum is truly greater than the parts.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday -- the fence

My gosh, its Sunday again. I can't believe how fast the weeks go since I discovered memes. Now the days are no longer known by the traditional calendar days. Instead, they are now called ruby, mellow yellow, or you get the point. Now it is time for Shadow Shots.

I had a different set of pics put aside for today and just had to change my plans. The Old Salt and I were on a scouting mission today that took us out into the country. We were driving along by a wooden fence that seemed to be a mile long. I was admiring the angles the fence took and the weathered paint when suddenly I noticed the shadows.

I yelled "STOP" and the Old Salt being a good sailor said "stop, aye" and found a place to pull over. I think I was out of the car and snapping shots before he even knew why we stopped. I made this collage of a few of the shadows.

Posted by Picasa


Now like Paul Harvey, I will give you the rest of the story. Of course the shadows were on one side of the fence but I found what was behind the fence to be just as interesting. There was the fence itself followed by a nice mowed strip. Then I noticed there were several large fields beautifully laid out of Soybeans surrounded by more mowed patches. Then beyond the fields was............ well just see for yourself.



Click to enlarge and please study every corner --- There is more detail than meets the eye on first glance.

Have a great week everyone. For more great shadow shots click the camera badge to visit Hey Harriet and join in the fun.

Color Carnival #16 --- The midway

Color Carnival time once again and I am still posting photo's taken at our Town and Country Fair that starts on the first Wednesday in August each year.

If you like fair shots you will find many spread out over all types of themes for the last month. Today's captures are all from the midway area. You can almost hear the money flying out of everyone's pockets in hopes of winning a large prize.

Be sure to click the photos to get all the rich details. Sometimes you will be surprised at what is in the background.





To join the fun or to check out all the colorful entries of other players, visit Martha and her friends at http://colorcarnivalmeme.blogspot.com

Round Robin Photo Challenge --- Birds

Welcome to this week's edition of Round Robin Photo Challenge. This is a Saturday meme that comes around every other week.

It has been awhile since I posted to this meme. I haven't had the right photo for it. But, this week's theme is Birds and I have the perfect shot in my archives. This photo was taken at the St. Louis Zoo. I don't recall the name of the little bird but it must like the cold to share its space with the penguins.



You can check out the photo's posted by the other Robin's or join the fun by visiting roundrobinphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pink Saturday------Pink Palaces

Welcome to Pink Saturday. This week I have a couple of pink buildings to share with you. You might even call them a palaces.

The first I captured in one of the exhibition tents at our recent county fair. What little girl wouldn't love to have this pink palace for her very own.



The next two shots are of a building I captured on a visit to Omaha this spring. The building is huge and looks as if it is made of marble. What a price tag that must have been. I snapped these shots from the car so I have no idea who or what occupies this pale pink palace.



To join the fun or visit the other participates visit How Sweet the Sound click here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Window views 17 -- St. Louis Basilica



Welcome to Window Views, a thursday meme dedicated to all those architectural delights that let the light into the buildings around us.

My windows today are just a sampling of those in the St. Louis Basilica.




To join the fun or peek through everyone else's window views visit our host Mary t at Window Views.

The Thursday Challenge ---Curve -- Arch

Hi All. It is Thursday and this week I have chosed to participate in the Thursday Challenge. The theme for this weeks challenge is Curve/curves.

My curve shots were taken by standing directly under and against one of the legs of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, better known as the St. Louis Gateway Arch.




To join the fun or just check out what others are posting visit The Thursday Challenge.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sepia Scenes #43 & Remember Whensday-- my baby

Remember Whensday is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing your "old" photographs and memories.

Sepia Scenes is a Wednesday meme devoted to those old and not so old photos done in all the shades of sepia.

I am going for a two-in-one this week.

A while back I was given a box of slides by an elderly family member which were badly damaged when they had a water problem in their home. They doubted the slides could be salvaged but knew that I had been working on restoring some others so they gave them to me to play with.

I was surprised when I found one of the slides was a baby picture of my daughter I had never seen before. I have done my best to hide the damage. I also changed it to Sepia to hide the faded colors. I thought this the perfect place to share it.

My baby is now thirty-nine.

To check out what others have to share or to join in the fun visit

Mary at Sepia Scenes.

Sally at Remember Whensday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday ---- flying high

MellowYellowMondayBadge On the tail of Monday comes all the wonderful yellow entries for Mellow Yellow Monday.

I want to start this weeks MYM with a high flying yellow flag. This is my towns flag flying high over city hall.



I captured these yellow chairs on the patio of a Mexican restaurant I visited with my sister and her family during a trip to Omaha..



Have a good week everyone. To join in the fun or visit other Mellow Yellow shots visit Drowsey Monkey and her friends here