Friday, September 19, 2014

Again With The Village and BBOKC

    I know it sounds trite, but it really does take a village to raise a child. (I'm just going to keep blogging about this because I think it is important to remember). Not because children are so difficult to take care of, but because each of us has something different to teach them because we are all blessed with different gifts.  I could teach someone how to sing, or dance, or make a pie, but I could not teach anyone how to fish or fix a lawnmower or stitch up a cut leg.  I love watching people helping other people's children, loving them, keeping them safe.
     This evening we attended, and participated in Parking Day on Western, in OKC. This is a nation-wide, or is it world-wide?, event on the third Friday in September, when businesses, usually small businesses, set aside two parking spaces and turn them into a small park. The event in OKC was sponsored by Better Block OKC. Savory Spice Shop had a park, in conjunction with Rugs of Oklahoma (our landlords). We had tables and chairs and umbrellas for shade, as well as a miniature golf course. Well, it was one hole, but you could play golf and get some free peanuts in the shell and cold water.
     The guys across the street had goal posts up with the colors of the to two big state universities and nerf footballs to throw through them. They had a caricaturist and someone selling meat pies and two corn hole boards with bean bags. Farther down the street, at A Date With Iris, was the snow cone truck and a guy with a hot dog truck. Here are the Richards kids playing some checkers and waiting for the dogs to come off the grill.

     My personal favorite was the back massage I got at 42nd Street Candy Company. Oh yeah! The kids got tea and gummy bears, Brent got to keep E from running headlong into traffic and I got a rub down. Perfect end to the 'watching the grandkids days' while their mom was in D.C..  There is a big push in OKC toward building community now, bringing people together as often as possible, building relationships. I noticed, as I was driving to the apt., that the school down the street from the shop was having a family night on the play ground, complete with games and homemade food. That's what I'm talking about.

   How did I get off the village theme and onto this event, you may ask? Excellent question. Good to know someone is paying attention to the details.
     At one point in the evening, while Maggie and I were getting our pictures drawn, Everett went charging after a football out toward the street (imagine Western Avenue on a Friday evening….gasp!) and every adult in the "park" yelled to get him to stop.  Of course it scared him to death and he cried bloody murder, but he did not get hit by a car. We were all watching all the kids, even though it appeared we were sitting around chatting with one another, eating Empanadas.
     It takes all of us. Here are some pics from my gallery, showing people watching over other people's precious little ones. There are lots of good people in the world, doing good things every day.  It would be so easy to forget this loving, in the light of all the bad news in the media. I know, lots of bad stuff is happening, but lots of good stuff is happening as well. I did not see a single TV camera out at the Parking Day event today.  Let's turn off the tube and go outside in the crisp (?) Fall weather and spread some love around.
     Here you go. Enjoy.

                                                         Grandaddy Richards and Maggie J.

                                             My Grandma Melton with Able, Audra and Abbey

                                                Grandma B (me) with little Everett

                                                  Rowan Korenak with Great Great Grandpa Dotter


 Great Aunt Ann, planting bulbs with Brendan and Maggie

                                                 Uncle Able with B and M


Aunt Anna with little Zaney boy
                                                        Aunt Audra with Mags

                                                        Grandma with Zane


                                       Aunt Deb with Michelle                                                      

Danny with his science kids
                                             Zach and Audra with Brendan and Sophie


                              Great Uncle Scott with Preston
                                             Aunt Abbey and Uncle Brent with baby Zane


 Great Great Grandma Blakley with Brendan

                                                      Grammie Korekak with Blaine

                                            PaPa Korenak with Clay and Blaine


                                                  Grandpa Blakley with Brendan


Able with baby Kaiser
                                             Grandma Alice Dotter with Jason

                                                 Aunt Kari with little Katie

                                         My friend Cass with Zane, Maggie and Emily

 Yours truly with my Grandma, Gladys Dotter, following our trip to the UK together  (1977)

             This is not someone else's kid, this is my own, known around OKC as The Hat Guy.
           Here we are all dressed up in our Spice Merchant garb, happy to be slinging spices together.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Season Turns

Alrighty then. Apparently my last post threw my daughters into some kind of a mild panic (?) so I will make an effort to clarify.
     Nothing bad is happening, that I know of.  Going forward I will try to keep any vague posts to myself so as not to rock the boat. If I knew what was shifting, I would have told you.
I. Don't. Know. Stop fussing.
    The widows group had our monthly get together this evening and bade Carol goodbye (Carol is on the far left). She is moving to Missouri to live near her son, daughter in law and their nine children. Oh my.  She has a new house and is already loving being in the Show Me state and closer to family. I know they will all be happier with her over there. It is a better place for her and, while we are delighted for her, we will miss having her in the group regularly. Here is the group, minus Vicki. (L to R) Carol, Donna, Lyntha, Cathy and yours truly.  This is a wonderful bunch of women and during the past eighteen months we have become fast friends. We are all in a much better place now than when we began meeting together. In this shot we are all grinning at the young girls taking this picture (and another one, taken with a different camera at the same time). The girls were seven and nine years young and were giddy at being allowed to use our phone cameras.


    The weather has definitely thrown the door open for Autumn here with those hundred degree days far behind us. I love it; cool mornings and evenings, but not so cold that all the night singing insects have gone. The birds, however, have already flown the coop, at least most of them have gone and the trees are much quieter.  Well, there are still locusts buzzing up there but not as many.  My swallows are gone, as well as the robins.  We didn't have nearly the numbers of swallows this year because of all the oil well traffic in the area.  Those big trucks roaring back and forth across the big bridge knocked all the nests off the center supports of the bridge. Only the nest on the far outsides were able to hang on. Consequently we had quite a plague of mosquitoes this time around. Drat. 
     I heard a few doves cooing the other day but haven't seen my sweet little Mockingbird or the Red Winged Blackbirds for some time. The hummingbirds are still around, as are the sparrows, Cardinals and the Blue Jay pair that joined us this year.  
      Because I came back to Enid this afternoon, I missed B's baseball game. He is having a ball (ha ha) and doing well.  Last game he got on base but then the game was called because of time.  Tonight, so they tell me, he got on first again, while hitting the runner on third into Home, and then proceeded to steal second. Huzzah! Good times at the ball park. Zane can not wait until he is old enough to play ball too.  I foresee many happy evenings of sitting in the bleachers in my future with all these rowdy little boys in the family. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Called out of Place

       A change is coming. I do not know what it will evolve into but I have been aware of a shifting for about a week or so.  The feelings/thoughts concerning this shifting are disconcerting, to say the least.  It feels a little like standing on a frozen river and suddenly beginning to feel the water move beneath it, makes keeping one's balance a bit of a circus trick at times.
    As you know, the past four years have been almost all about shifting, reassessing my identity and purpose in my world and my life.  Let me be clear about this, it has not been fun on any level. And now it begins to shift again. Okay. When the ground is constantly moving under your feet it does tend to force you to stay alert and keep a 'soft knee' so you're ready to adapt, if needed.
       I have not been out in nature as much as usual, well, I have been working in the garden like the proverbial dog, but not just being out in nature, listening, soaking it in like I did the first two or three years into this journey. For one thing, August was a high heat month and I don't do high heat well at all. But this morning I stepped out into the new light and noticed some astounding beauty lurking in the summer-weary gardens. These guys for example:

      Cannas have the most vibrant colors I have ever seen. They are so extravagant and 'in your face', saying in a loud voice "BEAUTIFUL"….what of it?.  They take my breath away.  Standing atop their grasshopper shredded leaves, striking a pose like a Diva.

        The herbs are all going to blossom and seed, preparing for the cold of the coming season, like this beautiful Basil. Further along the rows I found an exquisite starry purple bloom on the white eggplant bush.

 Look carefully at all those darker stripes and the quaint little white hooks on the points. Doesn't that just melt your heart.
After that little jaunt around the gardens I sat down to read my current book (which is depressing and is pleading for me to put it down). While I sat there I kept hearing a soft little scratching as if the faucet were leaking or something. It was so persistent that it eventually pulled me out of the book and I turned to look out the front door and there was a little squirrel, scratching on the glass.
   I stood up, walked outside and saw him sitting on the trunk of a Sycamore tree that stands not far from my front door. He was snapping his tail and looking at me.  Telling me all about it, he was.  Messages don't come much clearer than that, do they.  Needless to say, I stayed outside in the cool, bright air for quite awhile after that, enjoying the perfect bluebird morning. The call of the wild indeed.

Savory Spice Shop Pie Contest

Happy Anniversary!
      Tuesday the spice shop will have been open for two years.  Two years, minus a sprinkling of holidays, doesn't sound like much, but it is 720 days of padding around the shop, filling jars, placing orders, mad dashes across Kansas for jars, dealing with plumbing and the internet and helping customers spice up their meals. Plenty of time for ponying up tuition, learning lessons, trying and tossing out ideas, figuring it out. I do not deceive myself into thinking we have it 'figured out' yet, but we're getting there. As Zane is famous for saying, "Not yet, soon."
     On Saturday we held our 2nd Annual Pie Baking Contest at the shop.  We had twice as many people entering this year and twice as many customers joining in the ruckus. Yeehaw! The Great State Fair of Oklahoma was in town, there was an OU home game, temperatures had dropped into the upper sixties and people were in a 'fiesta mood'. (cue the brassy trumpets…gotta love the brassy trumpets)
     We spent the day before in a pie baking frenzy at Casa Richards with the entire family there at one time or another, except Zach who has his nose to the grindstone over in engineering. (This too will pass, Zach, and you will be awesome, as usual.) These were the backup pies, so that every customer who walked in the door on Saturday would have a piece of homemade pie. We made only about 4 too many, as it turned out, but all the employees got to carry home some pieces in aluminum pans that way. Win win.
      Someone should have taken a picture of all the apple and peach peelers at the kitchen table and the grandkids smooshing butter into flour and wielding the rolling pin but, alas, all we got was one of this old dame rolling out the dough.
    These are the folks who baked pies for the contest ( some brought two kinds). Thanks so much  (L to R.) Rick, Sandina, Leonard, Mary, Melissa, and Bob. We loved sharing the morning and all the fun with you and yours. As you can see, the shop was hopping with customers at the same time as the contest was going on. I admit, it was a little bit of a madhouse, but I liked it.

Here are our judges,  Katie from Dishin'and Dishes blog, Darcy from Pie Junkies and Kerry of Urban Agrarian and Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, busy at work. I hope I never get offered that job because all the pies were beautiful and delicious. There would be no way I could decide. Next year we need to expand the categories.

And here are the winners:
  In the Savory Pie category, Sandina with her Cajun meet pie and in the Sweet Pie category, Rick with his Grated Apple and Pecan pie, pictured here with Able Blakley, OKC's one and only Spice Guy.
Each of the winners received a Savory Spice Shop apron, a pie server and a $50 gift card.

The good eats continued today, Sunday, as we treated every customer who walked through the door to a piece of peach or apple pie and they all loved it.  All that is left is one little pear pie that is going home with me because I love pear pie.  I was introduced to it by my friend (and Audra's godmother), Jayme Kana of Bosier, Louisiana. Yum!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Lucky Draw

     Somedays things happen with seeming randomness and yet…well, let's just say there are lots of "coincidences", if you believe in such things.  The other morning, following a sweet soft rain, the cool temperatures allowed me lots of time in which to pull weeds, trim vines back off the sidewalk, jerk up a bevy of Johnson Grass girls (oh how they do love to gather and gossip among the lilies!).  I am trying to do better about hauling new trimmings away to the compost or the creek instead of leaving them lie, thanks to the influence of my very organized friend, Diane. (I can be taught, but it is against my better nature, honestly.)
     Our friend, the crazy old Sun, finally won the battle for the sky and I headed to the house, lacking the energy to load up and haul away that last pile of trimmings which lay piled on the mulched path of the new garden.  Lazy lout! I promised I would come out in the evening and carry them off. (Why do I make empty promises that I know I will not keep? I can not be trusted.) Sure enough, my wanderings throughout the day did not return me to that particular bend of the path. There will always tomorrow…and tomorrow and tomorrow, as the old song goes.

       That evening I put up some faint little lights on the newly installed archway and then some more on the old Wisteria arch and by that time the light had gone and the moon was yet to rise.  I fed the cats, shut the chickens up inside their coop, marveled at the beauty of the stars above me and then headed toward the house, passing under that same arch I had earlier draped with lights. The lights were not lit, since the solar panel had not had time to charge.
     As I stepped through the arch I walked smack dab into the web of a huge Orb Spider, stretching from one side to the other. Arrgggh!  A scream of horror, some quick back pedaling and the requisite wild flailing at all the web sticking to me and then, all of a sudden, an unexpected turn of an ankle and down I fell, ass over teacup in the darkness. Whump! Oh my aching hip. I thought I was broken, but no, just bruised BECAUSE I had fallen backward onto that pile of trimmings and weeds I had left unhauled earlier in the day. It made a lovely soft cushion and left me unharmed.
     Hmmmm…..a coincidence? I don't really believe in coincidences anymore. I try, now and then, to listen to the flow of life around me, pay heed to murmurings and nudges from the 'unseen that surrounds and indwells' and hope for the best. (Really, what else would one hope for?)
       Sometimes the magic works. Have I mentioned how much I dislike spiders?