Gramma's Pen

Saturday, August 29, 2009


What a glorious feeling emerged! Freckles and I got busy before the heat really hit us, and armed with our oscillating fan, proceeded to clear out our garage shelves right beside the garage door. Oh what treasures we found! Oh what junk we got to throw away! Oh what potentials for our upcoming Peppertree garage sale! A little watering pitcher is basking in a layer of catsup to restore its brass gleam. From Japan, an iron trophy, bas relief and beautifully decorated urn shape is soaking away the crud inside. Stored away were some of my flat, bonsai dishes and also bases for sogetsu ikebana left over from the classes I took. So what happens now? I'm inspired to work again in these artful media. For whom? Well, the creations can always be used for presents. Besides it will bring back happy memories of the time we spent in the Orient.

Friday, August 28, 2009


How do you tell someone how to cut for a quilt when you don't know how to do it without drawing pictures? I'vw been using all, and I do mean ALL the descriptive words I know. When I live in the middle of Riverside County and my beginning quilter is in San Diego, I can't readily drop by for some "hands on" instruction. Basically, I don't want her to become discouraged. It can be loads of fun. I've always found it so. Marcia Hohn has some fabulous ideas (with drawings) on internet. They might come up in German, but your computer can, and will, translate for you. I made my first quilt for Babeeboobee out of tan, forest green and rust corduroy blocks sewn onto Suebee's old quilted fern green bedspread. You know, start by placing first block on the corner, then the next block, wrong side on top, stitching, folding out, then the next block. It turned out o.k., at least it was warm enough for another cover. The next quilt was for Legs on her 16th birthday. I did it log cabin style in shades of peach, green, brown and ivory. I don't know if it is still around or if it has vanished into never-never land. Then I bought some books, took some classes. Now I have some 42 quilts finished and given away. I have yet to do one for myself, although I have put aside the pattern of "Storm at Sea" that I think would be pretty in blues to match my draperies. Legs did take a class with LaLa and gave that project to me. I love to snuggle under it when I snooze in my recliner.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My usual routine in the mornng is to clear away all clutter from my kitchen counter and to load the dishwasher. Yes, my dishwasher claim is that you just load it and forget it. All the crud is supposed to wash away and swirl down the drain in its process. Perhaps I'm just a doubting Thomas from Missouri, but I always scrape and rinse before I load. It was while I swirled my sponge around the inside of the lid to my favorite pot that I thought again of Chiyeko...This San Francisco-born lady proved to be my best friend during our stay in Japan. We visited her in Tokyo and I lamented the fact that our furniture, etc. had not yet arrived. I was happy with my newly purchased rice cooker and the electric skillet we bought, but I seemed to think I needed a pot! Immediately Chiyeko rummaged through her ampile supply of kitchen equipment and found a prize for me, a pot she "never used" and presented it to me. I was so grateful. It was a very heavy duty aluminum pan with a tightly fitting copper colored lid. That was forty years ago. Many vegetables were steamed, a chicken carcass boiled down to make stock. It's where I alwaysI burned the limas and stewed the tomatoes for soup. It made applesauce and oatmeal, sauce for barbecue on the grill. I cherish my very favorite kitchen implement. But it is the love she showered on me that now brings a tear to my eye while I remember.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Old Crock

Yesterday when reminiscing with old friends my memory was triggered back into that part of my childhood that included that old crock. It was really ugly, pale tan ceramic, bottom, dark brown on the top and inside, about two feet high, 15 inches in diameter. We kept it stored in the cellar of 1021 Chestnut Street in Columbia. Along about September after garden harvest, we brought it out, set it on the wash bench and started filling it with a layer of shredded cabbage, then a sprinkling of salt, another layer of cabbage and some more salt until we reached the top. After we put it back in the base of the fruit cupboard, we put an especially prepared rounded wooden lid on top and weighted it down with a piece of iron railroad track. In just a month or so we had SAUERKRAUT!

In summertime we used the crock again, this time we put a couple pounds of granulated sugar in the bottom, a crumbled yeast cake, a bottle of Hires extract. We worked it all together with hands, then added water to the top. Out came the funnel and our previously sterilized collection of bottles. We ladled the liquid into the bottles leaving about two inches space from the top. Aunt Myra lent us her capper...a Rube Goldberg apparatus with a base to hold the bottle, a lever and hinge we operated to affix the cap and bend the edges over the lip of the bottle. Carefully we carried the bottles up the cellar steps to the back yard where said bottles were lined up on their sides in the sun. Then came the magic! I guess the sunshine activated the yeast. Happily we stored them in the fruit cupboard in the cellar. We looked forward to refreshing summer coolers and root beer floats.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Do you remember?

We had a very happy time "remembering" st Siam Garden again this noon. First there was lunch with the usual, wonderful care of our waiter/owner. The occasion was a get-to-gether of Marg, Sharon, Bev and me.(Sharon is here from her new home in Bonn Germany) in southern California visiting her daughter and worked us all in to her plan .And we did a lot of going back to the fond memories we have of our writing group. Some of the gang has passed away, and we do miss them: John B., Ira, and Marlene. Some have dropped by the wayside with other pursuits like Glen, Pat, Nancy, Jerry, Anita and Nina. Ingrid was out of town with Harry visiting family in Oregon or surely she would have joined. We do remember some of their offerings that showed much of their personalites and circumstances, foreign, farm, city, troubles, successes, children, parents and on and on and on. Each comment triggered another fond thought. Now I'm ready to put my feet up and take a much needed rest. Maybe I'll even fall asleep?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wearing out

Monday was a very stressful day. We just couldn't get my blood sugar under control. Freckles came home from her shop and spent three hours with me trying to help. I had insulin three times, she and Lily walked me in my nightie and straw hat, up and down the sidewalk. I drank (literally) a gallon of water. All this while we tried to get in touch with my doctor. It seems her whole office takes a two-hour lunch break and, of course, it was lunch time. Freckles had me get dressed and said we were going to the ER. I dragged my feet and said I'd like to wait to talk with Dr. Adeyemo. I guess my thought was that by the time we got there my sugar would be falling and I'd feel rediculous for wasting the ER staff's time. Gradually the levels did start to fall about ten points at a time. My ever caring daughter went back to work and I kept drinking water. You know, I then spent quite a bit of time in the bathroom. In my old age I have been having cravings for the comfort food of my childhood. I had "gravy bread" for breakfast, throw back from depression years. The advice nurse at SCAN said that was not the cause of the high sugar. We did get in touch with the doctor's office. Then, unthinkingly (I've done a lot of that lately), I opened a can of spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. Noodles always do a job on me. My two doctors have given me an eating program to prepare for my procedure on the 25th. No fruit. No raw vegetables; only cooked, no tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, corn, beans, no dairy products (yes, that includes cheese). My biggest challenge today is to plan meals to bring up the protein and cut down on carbs. Doctor called us last night and gave Freckles a detailed regimen to follow...what to do, and when to do it. We hope this helps.

Maybe someone out there in cyber-land can help me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Doors, doors and more doors

In the summer it is very, very hot in Hemet. (It's also hot in the spring and fall). It becomes so hot that it shorts out the controls to our garage door opener. There a trick we discovered that puts the apparatus back into function mode. However, this is only if someone is inside the house to maneuver the switch located just outside the kitchen door through a little cut out in the side of our appliance shelf wall. We reach in, flip the switch from up to down to up again and this shoves the door open. Freckles, granddaughter and I arrived home Friday from a pot luck/swim at Ken and Eunie's and were stranded outside. Our front security door has two locks, our paned front door has two locks. For the latter door Freckles had the key. For the former door she had ONE key. There was one key missing. All our windows were locked. Legs climbed over the fence to our back patio. Gingerly she broke the window to our bird cage and our computers. Thence she unlocked the window, crawled in, and did the magic trick to open the garage door. They proceeded to tape a beach towel over the opening and picked up all stray pieces of glass and went on to put together a fabulous tiramisu for the big spaghetti dinner the following night. Next morning Freckles took the whole window frame to Mayer's Glass and had the pane replaced at half price because the office manager was one of her clients. They figured out some kind of "deal." We decided this morning that I should carry a set of keys too, so that is added to our list of errands today.