My first baby. My beautiful, widely talented, brown eyed little girl is embarking on a new chapter of life that will change her life maybe more than anything since leaning to walk. She is learning to drive.
And not just the old pickup truck in our back field or her little go cart up and down the long driveway, which were excellent precursors but obviously not the real thing; she is enrolling in actual, real life driving school. Which means that within months she will likely be seen around Oklahoma City, happily giving all of us pretend heart attacks while we secretly celebrate her growing independence.
When she learned to walk, it was such a happy time! She was absolutely joyful about it, like she knew in her wordless baby mind, “Whoa. This is a big deal.” She still enjoyed being held, carried, and cuddled, but walking was the shiz-nay. Her tiny fists could grip an index finger like no body’s business, affording her all the extra balance she needed to make it from couch to chair, etc.
Her chubby, wobbly little legs, that soft, feathery brown hair framing Mary Taylor’s face (her great-grandmother). Glossy, rosebud mouth. And those eyes.
Oh my goodness, she has always had the dreamiest, most liquid brown eyes you can imagine. She still does, and these days they are tastefully accented by some very grown up swipes of black mascara and silver eyeshadow. How I miss watching her animated eyes when she tells a story.
I know that in the future, if we get to hear from her One True Love about why he first fell for her, it will have something to do with her eyes.
Oh, back to driving… This is the summer between her Freshman and Sophomore years in high school, and around here that is just the perfect time to take driving lessons. I couldn’t be happier!!
Having long ago abandoned the idea of sternly not allowing my children to grow up, against my Dad’s strong recommendation, this is a time to celebrate! So celebrate we will.
My hope is that, in addition to staying safe every single minute of every single journey, my almost grown baby girl will make happy memories, gain confidence behind the wheel and around the city streets, and maybe drive out to see us now and then.
She may or may not want me there for her first official trip as Driver, time will tell, but I was there when she took her first step. And I can feel her belly laugh in my own belly when I remember it. And I am so thankful for every bit of growth that has brought her this far. xoxoxo
No? Eh bien… I am content to claim Oklahoma as home and visit Louisiana from time to time.
This isn’t the same building, but it is a New Orleans building with some elusive magnetism.
The Feast of All Saints had three big things going for it even before I swiped my debit card:
- Local author in my very favorite city
- Relatively limited circulation
- Historical fiction off the beaten path
They like to stay with people in their private homes rather than in hotels. Or, they like to host such travellers. Or both. I guarantee this is happening in your city, and it is happening all over this colorful world!
On we go.
Oh, and you get to upload photos. Nothing like posting a photo of your home online to make you want to beef up the flower beds! Public shame is the mother of improvement, after all. Do you think I need more gladiolus here, or more spiralling ivy?
Deep breath. This is what we’ve been excited to do, right? So after finishing our “very important errands” and just in the nick of time, Angela & I swung by a super classy giant chain store (starts with a W) to stock up on not only guest-worthy dinner ingredients but also a few spontaneous creature comforts like a new polka dotted body pillow, extra toothbrushes, and vanilla candles.
Looking back, the body pillow is difficult to explain. When I saw it in a center aisle though, it stage- whisered to me, “COUCHSURFERS WILL NEED THIS!” So it became part of our home’s pillow arsenal for a mere $9.
One extra word on dinner prep for couch surfers: Handsome and I had the notion that lots of our visitors might never be exposed to Oklahoma except through this experience, so we (meaning I) really wanted to make a splash. We (meaning I) really wanted to make a Land of the Red Man-Prairie Life impression, ya know? So lovely pasta dishes, Tex-Mex, and take out Chinese were mostly out of the question. We were going for an authentic Okie menu, and that proved to be tricky. What would you have served?
This morning, the Tuesday following a wonderfully restful Memorial Day weekend, Handsome and I are enjoying a bonus day off together, albeit mildly perforated with some loose-end tying up, etc. We stayed in bed much longer than normal then lingered even longer watching recorded episodes of Gordon Ramsey, the vicious but passionate T.V. chef who reinvigorates privately owned restaurants in a week. We love this show.
Anyway, it usually gets us in the mood for meals a little elevated from our daily fare. This, combined with the bonus day off together, meant crepes for brunch!
So I set to work mixing up the necessary stuff for our little romantic meal for two and realized it was the perfect opportunity to try this recipe for homemade syrup! I found it somewhere on Tasty Kitchen but only wrote down the main ingredients. Fingers crossed…
Had I stopped cooking long enough to take a photo of the syrup making process, you could right now be gazing at its rich, amber color and glassiness. Instead, you should just make your own as soon as possible. It is super easy and so worth the small pantry expense.
Here is what you need:
- 1/2 cup real butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk ( I had to do the vinegar thing & it worked just fine.)
- 1 Tbsp Karo (light corn syrup)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
Here is what you do:
- Use a nice, roomy stockpot, like the one you use for boiling pasta. Just combine the six pantry staples and boil it up! Easy. Pretty quick too. It will become quite voluminous after boiling (hence the seemingly unnecessary large pot). Then it will lace your kitchen and adjoining rooms with its buttery fragrance. Yum…
- Grab a good looking wooden spoon to whisk and stir the mixture as it boils and reduces and boils more. Once it is heated to a consistently stirrable thinness and is a uniform color of gold, just remove the stock pot from heat and wait maybe a minute to pour the liquid gold into a heatproof glass measuring bowl.
I started serving it immediately, before checking the measurement, so am not sure of the exact yield. But let’s say it was a little under 2 cups. And this is so rich and flavorful that a very small amount more than sweetens a plate of crepes!
So consider doing this next time you have company for brunch. One batch should make its way around the table nicely, and you will be collecting compliments till the coffee is cold.