Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mama's got some brand new boots.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

It's my favorite kind of phone call.
"Ma? You home? Make some coffee, I'm comin' over."
"Mom, want to meet us out for some pizza tomorrow?"
Or like this week.........."Mom, have you had dinner yet? Do you like Chicken Parmesan? We're on our way over. I'll cook."

A few minutes later they arrived at my door.
Chef Dave brings all his culinary necessities in an orange bait bucket.

Do not be deceived by the bucket....

.....inside is everything he needed to make dinner. Like a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Chicken. Tomatoes. Basil.


Thanks for a great dinner and good company, you two.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A favorite quote.

Never think that God's delays are God's denials.
Hold on; hold fast; hold out.
Patience is genius.

Comte de Buffon (Mathematician & Naturalist) 1707 - 1788)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Post Script to My Fabulous Morning Drive.....

Without disparaging any of them, my home town is characterized by several distinct neighborhoods. On of them is the far West side of town. It is new. Brand new. I can barely find my way around over there any more. When I was growing up here it was all cornfields and pastures full of cow pies. In the past decade those wide open spaces have become parking lots, chain restaurants and big, gas-guzzling SUV's driven by ladies in designer sunglasses. The insurance and financial industries are the corporate anchors in our city. Most of them built their massive home offices on this side of town.

The opposite side of this city, on the other side of that big, gold-dome capitol that I showed you earlier this morning, things look much like they did thirty years ago. Small changes happen, mostly in the form of individual neighborhoods updating their faces but up and down the main drags and the side streets it's blue-collar just about everywhere you see. The State Fairgrounds are on this side of town. And if they were honest, lots and lots of people that live West of here wouldn't think of driving this far East. Not for any reason.

This is my side of town. I raised my family in a "bedroom community" not far from here. It feels like home. The people feel more like family to me.

I crossed paths with two of them this morning:

I'm in line at Walgreens.
Shampoo. Laundry soap. Cat food.
All the items have been scanned and tucked into bags.
I'm swiping my ATM card when the clerk reaches over and touches my hand lightly to get my attention.

"Did you happen to notice the free samples over there on that table?"
She points to a display halfway down a nearby aisle.
"Oh. No...I don't think I noticed those." I smiled, waiting for my receipt.
"You might want to walk down there and take a few," she said. "They're free. I think you might want to try some. They're wrinkle cream. They say it really works." She touches my hand again briefly. "Especially around the eyes....."

Ok, so I smiled and thanked her, walked down and grabbed a bunch of them.

And yes, I spent the next hour sneaking peaks into the rear view mirror, trying to get a good look at just how bad the wrinkles are getting.

Seriously??? SERIOUSLY???!!!!!! Maybe it was the way the light was shining in the windows of Walgreen's.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A few minutes later I'm driving down a main street on my side of town. Sun roof open. Window rolled down. Coming to a stop at a red light, I'm listening to Lenny Kravitz and enjoying the way the sun was heating up the top of my head when I hear someone yell.

"Hey there!"
I ignore it. Probably kids yelling at eachother.
I look over to my left. There is an old clunker of a car and a big guy in a black t-shirt and a NASCAR ball cap sitting behind the wheel, looking my way through his open window.
Is he talking to me???
"Hey Lady. Do you know where there are any junk yards on this side of town?"
Cross traffic light turns yellow. Yeahhh, as a matter of fact I do......I thought to myself, laughing.
"Turn around, go back to the Fairgrounds and drive South. You can't miss 'em."
The light turned. He smiled and waved thanks. We both went on our merry Saturday morning way.

Trust me.
Great stuff like that just doesn't happen to me on the other side of town.
And that's why I love it over here.
These are my people.

Everything Becomes Ordinary

I work in an extraordinarily creative and interesting environment. Even so, in the the day-in and day-out routine of my daily presence in the place, it becomes ordinary. I thought about that sort of thing this morning. It's picture-perfect pre-Spring gorgeous outside. I was driving along with the sun roof open, taking the same route that I take to work every morning.

Sitting at a traffic light I looked up and for some reason...........maybe it was the way the light hit the dome, maybe it's just the rich, blue backdrop of a sky....all of a sudden I was aware of a beautiful place I pass every single day on my way to work.

This is our state capitol building.
After half a century of living here, I've seen it plenty of times. I can tell you all about the inside and point out when it's not the weekend, that parking lot is full even when the state legislature isn not in session. Most days I drive by and don't give it a passing thought. It's just another freckle on the morning-drive landscape.

Today I remembered how pretty it is.

Yup. That's real gold on the dome. They applied it the old-artisan way, in thin sheets, one square at a time.

Gold trim on the mini-domes too. They're my favorites. Sort of Vatican-looking.

The curtains in those windows are longer than my entire house.
And you can't see them in these pictures but this morning there were several people up there leaning over the very top balcony, the one wayyyyyyyyyyyy up there sitting on top of the big gold dome. I've been up there several times, but not since I was a kid. First of all, the climb would probably kill me now. And second, last I knew, access was limited to everyone but certain dignitaries for security reasons. Non-dignitary and bad knees. Good bet that my balcony days are but a memory.

Just down the hill from the that building with a splendid daily view of the gold dome, is the local retail location for the product line that my company creates. I thought you might like to take a little tour inside the place. It's always colorful but seems even more so to those of us extricating ourselves from the clutches of winter.......

Take a peek inside the doors of Sticks Gallery / East Village:

These are 7 x 7' wall plaques our artists create. Lots of people collect them. Each one of them is made by hand in our studio here in Des Moines.

Love the color palette on this set of nesting tables our artists designed. While it is Sticks that brings most people into our stores, we also carry the work of many other artists. I think I took a dozen photos of these fabulous flowers.

Don't they just feel like spring??
Can't WAIT to get out my patio umbrella.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Perfect Little Baby Gift

Ohhhhh man, did I ever have fun shopping for a little bit of a baby gift this weekend. If you haven't seen these you're going to want to get out to your friendly neighborhood foo-foo baby store and buy some, even if you don't know anyone with a new baby. They are just sooooooooo darn cute!!!

Yup. It's the PeePee TeePee!!
They come in a little soft flannel bag in the sweetest of baby blues (of course!)
and inside..............

Little teensy tiny teepees!!!

For little teensy, know!!

Washable! And soft as a baby's behind.
Tell me they're not the cutest little things you've ever seen. (The teepees!)
And in case you're not getting the idea, I've enlisted the assistance of
my favorite bear to help me demonstrate:

Yeahhhhhhhhh, we all get it now, don't we.
With a properly placed teepee you can change a little feller's nappy without getting sprayed.
All sorts of cute, poetic thoughts come to mind...but I will spare you the rhyming sentiments relating to happily teepee'd peepee's.

I think they're wayyyy cool and I'm sending this first little bag of
them off to a new mama in California tomorrow.

And thank you for enduring the momentary indignity in the name of eductation, Mr. Bear.