Tuesday, July 31, 2007


“Shhhh! Listen…. Do you hear it?”

“Hear what?”


“I hear crickets.”

“No…more than that.”

“I hear a horse”

“Yes, that. But it’s not a horse.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s night time.”

“So? Why can’t it be a horse?”

“Where are there any horses near here?”

“There are horses by Brian's house.”

“That is 6 miles from here.”

“Is that too far?”


“So. What it is?”

“A bird.”

“A bird?”


“Is it the Whip bird?”

“Good guess, but not this time.”

“That is the only nighttime bird I know.”

“You know more than that.”

“No I don’t.”

“Yes, you do. What is a night time bird that whinnys?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is the most common night time bird?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is Harry Potter’s bird?”

An Owl?”


“That is an owl?”


“Aren’t owls supposed to hoot?”

“Not all owls hoot. Some whinny.”


“Really. It’s a Screech Owl.”

“Shouldn’t it Screech?”

“I don’t know why they call it that.”

“How do you know so much?”

“I have heard them before. When I lived on the farm.”

“Oh, before me.”

“Yes, honey. Before you.”

"Mommy, can I have an owl?

"No, we are muggles, we don't keep owls."

“Screech Owl, Screech Owl, Screeech Owwwwl Screcchh.…..”

Sheila kissed Teddy’s head. She picked up the latest Harry Potter from the nightstand and tiptoed out the door. She paused in the hallway to listen to the tremolo of the owl and made a mental note to buy him a bird book for his birthday. He would soon be 10. Maybe it was time for a big boy present.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Out and About

When people find out that I travel for my job, most of them say, “How cool is that?” And while I love my job and I love to travel, sometimes it can be exhausting. I have just returned from 3 business trips back-to-back—Chicago and 2 trips to Florida. I have been gone most of July. I am bone tired. So forgive me for abandoning you. My time was not my own.

Going forward, I will, from time-to-time, be having a guest blogger. She is from the flatland and will bring a different perspective to bear. She is also very funny. I am sure you will enjoy her ramblings.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Come to the Kasbah

Once a year I have a big blowout party. The build-up goes on for months. By sometime in May people will start to subtly inquire. As time progresses and I decide on what I am doing. The first thing everyone says is “What’s the theme?” I always have a theme.
Last year it was Caribbean.

This year it was “Come to the Kasbah” A Moroccan BBQ.

Visualize with me—At the top of the driveway in the backyard, there is a copse of trees that is roughly circular. (My friend Louise came up the day before the party to help cook and decorate.) We tied maroon sheers to the trees to create the allusion of a tent. We used lots of brightly colored linens, maroon pillows on the chairs and a dhurrie rug. There were candles on all the tables and hanging from the trees. It was a magical setting.

The Menu was the following:
Various olives
Moroccan flavored shrimp and pineapple skewers
Fennel and black olive salad
Beet and cumin salad
Tomato and preserved lemon salad
Spicy Humus

Main course
A vegetable couscous
Garlic Beef skewers
Monkfish skewers with charmoula
Tagine of onions
Tagine of chicken with preserved lemons
Carrot raisin salad

Almond snake
Rice Pudding
Ghoriba cookies
Cinnamon cookies

The most requested recipes were the chicken tagine and the carrot salad.

I encourage to try something different next time you have a party.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sitting Pretty

Lizzie came to live with my mother, the year she turned 6. It was during the Depression when things were dear. All of her friends had Momma dolls. My mother wanted one too. How do you tell a child that there is no money for such things? My mother had seen her in a catalog that had come to the house. Somehow my grandparents scraped together the money. My mother named her after her grandmother, Elizabeth Wood. My mother cherished that doll for years. I remember her from my child hood. But Lizzie fell onto hard times. I don’t remember how she came to live with me. She had a trip to a doll hospital and had to go to an ICU in PA. Then she got some spiffy new clothes and the first shoes of her life. My mother no longer wants Lizzie and she lives with me now. When you come to visit, you can find her in the blue room. She is looking pretty spry for a 70 year-old gal.