Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Arthur's Theme

Arthur's Theme (Best that you can do) ...This song has a way of sweeping me off to another time and place. It starts in my childhood and winds itself through my life all the way to my husband.

I grew up in the late 70's and early 80's when music was magical and movies were not age appropriate! But we watched them anyway.

The  movie Arthur came out in 1981 when I was seven. My dad was very much in to theater, art and music so he had no qualms with me seeing movies that might not be fitting for such a young mind. He allowed me to watch them because he could see artistic quality in almost anything. So, like many of our other weekend visits (my parents were divorced) he took me to the movies to see Arthur.

When my mom found out, she was less than pleased. I don't blame her now, obviously. But back then I could not see the problem. I mean, Arthur had a good heart. He was a good person and it was a sweet story. As an adult now I see how wildly inappropriate it was for my 7 year old eyes to see a movie about an alcoholic who drove drunk, frequented prostitutes and didn't actually work for a living. I get it!

After the mild disagreement settled, the memory remained. I loved the movie, especially the theme song.

When I met my husband in 2000, I fell madly in love with him. I love hearing stories about his childhood. One of my favorites is when he got a keyboard one year as a gift and he learned to play Arthur's theme. The very thought of my husband as a kid rocking this song on an 80's keyboard is almost too much for my heart to handle! He's kind of adorable.

I realize it must seem like no big whoop, this story of mine. But to me it's deep. I feel it ties us together. Connects us in some cosmic way. Something as simple as a song in common is a beautiful thing.

I have many Christopher Cross songs on my music playlists, but Arthur's Theme always stops me in my tracks no matter what I'm doing. I think of my husband when I hear that sound. Precious in my memory, forever.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wendy & the Won Tons

It's no secret that I attach memories to "things". I do it all the time. Every day of my life.

For example, to this day I can't eat a crab rangoon without thinking of one of my favorite babysitters of all time, Wendy.

From my past blogs, you know that I did not always have the kindest babysitters when I was a kid. But, Wendy was different. She was a teenager with soft, brown hair. She loved all the cool music of the early 80's. She would part my hair on the side and tell me I looked like Princess Diana!

She took very good care of my brother and me and for some reason I've never forgotten the time she made us won ton wrappers....Strange, huh?

I remember sitting in the kitchen of her (and her parents) home. It was a typical kitchen from the 70's. It was dark brown  with pops of white and possibly orange, but it had a counter with bar stools to sit at. I was sitting up there waiting for a snack. I didn't know what she was making.

She had a fry daddy out, probably not super safe, but again...it was the 80's. She took a package of won ton wrappers from the fridge and dropped them in the fryer, one by one. Not filling them, not folding them. Just as they were, a small square. She fried them for less than a minute then drained them on paper towels.

She served them to me on a plate with ketchup. I thought it was a magnificent little treat! I had never had such a snack, and never have again....Until this evening.

Last week while grocery shopping, I ran across a package of won ton wrappers. I'm sure they are always present but I simply never look for them. When I saw them, a wave of sweet nostalgia ran through my body. I closed my eyes and smiled right there in the fresh food aisle. I thought of Wendy. I thought of my childhood.

I put a package in my cart and told myself I'm going to make these, for old times sake. This evening was that time. I went above and beyond and went on to fill about 10 wrappers with a cream cheese mixture then lightly fried them in a shallow pan. The rest I kept exactly as they were, in their square form. Fried them lightly and drained them, just as Wendy had done for me all those years ago.

I didn't use a fry daddy, nor do I have a brown kitchen, but I do have the 1970's Sears "Merry Mushroom" canister set on my kitchen counter. Just a bit of whimsy and a nod to homemakers of the past.

I sat down with my children at our vintage dinette set with the television turned off. I told them the story of my sweet Wendy and the Won Ton wrappers while they ate (for the very first time) these "new" snacks.

I connected the food they were eating, to a memory. Maybe someday it will mean something to them.....I hope!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake 35th Anniversary Doll

I've had an emotional afternoon! I just happened upon the 35th anniversary doll of Strawberry Shortcake which is only my favorite doll/toy/THING of all time!

So when I say it's been an emotional afternoon, I'm not kidding. I shed a lot of tears today. All happy ones. The history I share with Strawberry Shortcake is sweet and fragrant.  I got my first one in the the early 80's when she first came out.

I loved playing with all the dolls and their matching pets. I even loved the Purple Pie Man! I ate the cereal and envied anyone who had more Strawberry Shortcake items than me!

So imagine after all these years of nostalgic longing, I finally get to see her again and yes, SMELL her again! It was emotional, I tell you! Here's how it all went down.......

A few weeks ago I heard they were issuing an anniversary doll that would be identical to the original from 1980. I thought to myself, I'll believe it when I see it. Just a few days later I saw images circulating online so I started calling some local stores. Only one had them but they were out of stock. She assured me there would be more in a few days.

I took my chances today. I walked in with reservations. I was down right nervous! I was anxious to see her again, my old friend. But I was preparing myself for disappointment if she was not there.

The first person I saw was actually a friend of mine. I told her I was on a mission and she wished me luck! I walked to the toy section and asked a clerk to help me find her. (See  how I speak of "her" like she's a real person?!) She wasn't finding anything on her little looker upper gadget. My palms were sweating but I KNEW she was there, I could feel it! The clerk called the manager on her walkie talkie. I  heard the manager in a static sounding voice say "There are 3 dolls on end cap E6"...OH MY GOSH! The clerk was all in at this point, she knew I was desperate and she wanted to help!

We lit up with smiles and power walked to end cap E6 and there she was in all her glory! There were supposed to be 3 dolls but she was the only one! I cried. I literally shed a tear yet tried to contain myself so as to not look like a complete maniac.

The clerk was just as overjoyed as I was. She was happy for me!

I collected myself and held in more tears of joy. Walked to the checkout with her in hand. There was one person ahead of me.

I just stared at her on the checkout counter til it was our turn. When the cashier started ringing her up she looked at me with a huge smile and asked how I was. (I guess she noticed my watery eyes and the perma grin on my face and wondered what I was emotional about)

After I paid, I walked over to the coffee place and ordered a Creme Brulee Latte with an extra shot of espresso. (It came in a red cup, I'm sure you've heard of this as of late) I sat down at a table all by myself with my coffee and new family member and just let the tears flow!

After a few minutes I collected my emotions, gathered my things and started walking toward the exit. Then I kid you not, I hear a voice say my name... "Amy...." I turn around and it's my dear friend, Carrie.

Now, you have no idea the timing of this woman being in this spot, on this day, at this exact moment. It was the timing of God, I have no doubt! Carrie is one of the precious few who truly "get me". She knows what Tupperware, Harvest Gold and Strawberry Shortcake all mean to me.

She starts making a joke about my red cup but I do not laugh, which I think confuses her. Instead I say "Carrie, look in my  bag". While she's looking I crumble.  I totally and utterly bawl tears of joy and say to her "Thank God it's you because I'm bawling in the middle of this store over a doll and nobody in here will understand except you!!"

My new Strawberry Shortcake has filled a spot in my living room, on the bookshelf right next to my other childhood bff......Ramona Quimby

Friday, September 11, 2015

Recipe Cards

Today is overcast and damp after a long night of storms. I love a dark rainy morning in late summer, early fall. It makes my coffee taste even better. I'm sure there is no scientific evidence supporting this as fact but it's true for me.

I find myself at the computer today enjoying this dark weather and my extra delicious coffee. Smelling the divine aroma from a Brownie Pecan Pie wax melt and  listening to my "Halloween" playlist on Spotify. I know it's a bit early but it's not just Halloween songs. There are a few on there, but mostly just haunting songs that pair well with this weather. I'm also looking online for good fall recipes that  I can make.

I came across a good one for Pumpkin Swirled Cheesecake. Often I will just print the recipe and put it in my recipe box but every once in a while I will hand write it on one of my blank recipe cards. I keep them handy, right on the shelf with my collection of vintage recipe boxes. 

My love for hand writing recipes goes back a long way. When I was a kid I didn't write recipes, but I did follow them and even make up my own. I found myself engrossed in cookbooks, if they were available. 

I remember as a very young girl I would sit with my mom's Wilton cake decorating books from the 1970's. I would study each page like it was the Christmas issue of a Sears catalog. Now as a grown up, I have several vintage Wilton cake books that still stir my heart when I look through them. 

Highschool in the late 80's is where I truly discovered my passion for writing recipes down. I took cooking and home ec all four years of highschool. Even more than cooking itself, I loved writing the recipes down. I enjoyed it tremendously. I wish I still had the ones I wrote down all those years ago. My favorite was homemade cinnamon rolls. 

After I graduated highschool my love of recipes waned almost completely. I wasn't domestic at all, I was wild! But when I met my husband (to be at that time) it all started coming back to me. I would sit at my desk at work and plan our holiday meals. I swapped recipes with  women I worked with. I very much enjoyed making grocery lists and miraculously my love for handwriting recipes down came rushing back to me. I checked out cookbooks from the library and also started collecting vintage cookbooks. 

When we got engaged in 2002 the ladies at work threw me a bridal shower and gave me what I now know is an absolute gem. They thought very little of it at the time. They had no idea it would stay with me forever and be filled with memories, recipes and love. It was a very basic....recipe box. 
You can't tell by the photo but it is stuffed FULL of recipe cards, magazine and newspaper clippings, etc. I have a section for holiday recipes only, the same ones I make every year. Many of them passed along to me from my own mother and mother in law. Treasures! This is one of my many recipe boxes but it is the first. The one that started my whole collection. Very special to me. 

So now you have it, the reason I still hand write many of the recipes I could so easily just print. The answer is clear, I just love to do it. There is no other explanation. People always say, do what you love, so I am.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A is for Apple

My friends, I want to talk to you today about apples. With the fall months upon us, there is already talk of pumpkin everything. But I want to take a moment and remember the true star of late summer/early fall and that star is, the apple.

I'm fall crazy. I love it! But I also believe in celebrating each season. There is something magical to be found in every stage of every season. (except late winter, I do not like me some late winter)

In the late 70s, early 80s when I was in elementary school, we used the whole month of September for apples. Learning about apples, counting apples, apple picking, apple crafts, apple everything. I loved the feeling it gave me to learn about apples in conjunction with Autumn.

When we skip apple season and go straight into pumpkin season we are essentially destroying the lost art of anticipation. Anticipation appears to be a forgotten word in today's society. We get everything we want at the stroke of a computer button or drive through coffee place, or bakery. I don't want to tell others how to live, but I do want to tell you how I live and I love anticipation.

I adore September 1st. It reminds me that the hot days of summer are almost over. I get to look forward to cooler months ahead and enjoy apple cider, hoodies, campfires and of course, pumpkin. But September offers it's own rewards. If you take time to slow down life you will find yourself less stressed. Less rushed. Maybe even a little....happier?

Take time to think about the apple and what it represents during this season. To me it represents a lovely time in my childhood. A time of excitement knowing what was to come AFTER apple season. Pumpkins, Halloween, trick-or treat.

You don't have to bake or do crafts to enjoy this time of year. There are small things you can do to enjoy the season. A  brisk walk in a park. Apple scented candles or wax melts. A bowl of colorful apples on the kitchen counter. Best idea yet, reminisce about a time in your own past that reminds you of pleasant Autumn memories.

My hope for you is to anticipate the upcoming Autumn season while enjoying the present. 

Sincerely, Amy

Monday, August 10, 2015

Solitaire and Coffee

Back before computers were common in the household we had decks of cards. Board games. Books. All kinds of fascinating things! (insert nostalgic giggle)

I only lived with my mom a short time in childhood. My parents divorced when I was 2 and shortly after 3rd grade I moved in with my dad, but I still have vivid memories of living with my mom. 
As you know from my past blogs I had some struggles as a kid dealing with the divorce of my parents. It was hard times, I tell you! But you also know I have grown to focus on the good times.

One of the things I remember clearly is my mom would always wake up early to have her coffee before work. She enjoyed her time alone sipping coffee and reading a book. Sometimes she'd skip the book and play Solitaire. I would wake up and see her sitting at the table in our bright yellow kitchen. She looked so pretty sitting there in her work smock (I still love smocks to this day, probably because they remind me of my mom) with her blue eye shadow and backcombed hairdo. Her long fingernails made her dainty hands look all the more feminine. She was a hard working secretary for a huge corporation back in those days. 

Card games and Yahtzee were big in our family back then. I remember sitting at my grandparents dinner table all hours of the day playing Solitaire. My grandpa looking over my shoulder telling me every time I had a card that would play and me saying in an irritated tone "I know, Grandpa!" As I got older, my grandpa taught all us grand kids how to play Blitz. We'd play for hours and he'd always get mad at us if we didn't help set him up for success! Words make it sound harsh but in reality it was so loving and fun.

A few years ago my home computer was down and I didn't have access to my usual game of digital Solitaire so I sat at my kitchen table and played with a deck of cards. The memories just flushed over me. Such warm feelings of nostalgia for a few moments in time that I will never get back.  Just precious memories now. Oh how I love these precious memories!!

Photo: This is a vintage deck of cards sitting next to the 1970's daisy napkin holder that sat on our kitchen table in my childhood home. I keep it proudly on display, not to show off, but so I can look at it every day and never forget the warm memories of my Mom.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ghosts of girlfriends past are very present...and I'm glad.

When it comes to exes I'm not exactly opposed to being friends with them. Mine or my husbands. I'll be honest, some I cannot stand to think about nor are they in my life. But the ones I do still have in my life, I kinda love them.... a lot.

I woke up today thinking about my husbands ex fiance (sorry I don't know how to type that fancy thing over the e) I didn't wake up thinking bad thoughts about her but rather how I just miss her sweet face and want to sit and have coffee with her. You see, she is my friend and I adore her. To explain this adoration  I must go back in time a bit...........

My parents have been divorced since I was 2. My Dad had a handful of different marriages and girlfriends over the years and I had an attachment to all of them. The younger I was the more I loved them.  But as I got older I started detaching my feelings toward them. The pain of losing them when things didn't work out was too much for my heart. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know the woman I love most in the world beside my own Mother (who comes in first place no matter what) is my Stepmom, Linda.

My relationship with Linda was deep. I was very emotionally attached to her. She and my Dad split up when I was in 8th grade and it broke my little heart. I spent many years longing to see her and be with her. As I got older I did see her out in the world on a few occasions. However by that time all of my pain had turned to anger toward her. The few encounters I had with her I spent making sure she knew my pain and not my love.

But then something pretty cool happened.....I grew up. After my first child I thought of her more than ever. She was an enormous part of my childhood.  After a while I reached out for her once again. I knew it was a long shot since so many years had passed but the urge was undeniable. I needed to tell her thank you and tell her how very much I loved her.

With the help of my Dad I was able to contact her. It was everything I thought it would be. We spoke on the phone a few times and I sent her a birthday card. Then as quickly as it started, it was over. I never heard from her again. But I finally had closure  because I was able to tell her my deepest feelings for her. My love for her.

So, how does all this tie into the love I have for my husbands ex fiance? Don't worry, I'm getting there.....

When I met my husband (14 years ago) I knew very quickly he had my heart. Once you have my heart it is very hard to get rid of me! He was different from any other person I'd ever met. I remember visiting him here in Arkansas in the early years of our relationship and when I would leave to go back to Kansas City I would cry. Not just normal cry, I remember feeling the same way about my Dad when I would cry after he dropped me off from our weekend visits and I knew I wouldn't see him again for 2 whole weeks. It was such a sinking heart feeling. Here I was, a grown woman now, feeling this same emotion when I had to leave this man. I knew I could not live without him.

Here he finally was, the man of my dreams. I wanted to know everything about his life up to that point. His history was now important to me! Anyone who loved him I needed to be friends with. No matter who it was because he was/is such an extraordinary person.


We met years ago before I lived here but I didn't see her much, or ever really. It wasn't until about 5 years ago when we began talking more. There was tragedy in my husbands family and she had called to give her condolences. That's when he began opening up to me about her and her family. He never hid it from me or anything, it's just not exactly common to sit around and talk about exes. But her light just started shining and suddenly I wanted to know everything about her!

She and I developed a small little connection and slowly began talking here and there. I realized that she is a really good person. Not only that but to me, anyone who truly cares about my husband is my friend, not my enemy. If they have pure intentions toward him, who am I to push that away?

This is not about me being a good person for accepting her. This is about my life lessons teaching me the value of good people.  Had my my parents not shown me that relationships that end can still heal into friendship. They show me every day with their respect for each other. They have been divorced 38 years and are still friends. Had my Dad not been amicable with all of his past girlfriends and wives I would not learn that good people are still good people even if you can't be together. In regards to Catrina, if she'd had ill will or resentment in her heart toward my husband or me, we would not be friends. She is the reason we are friends. She genuinely cares about the well being of our family.

She also happens to remind me very much of  my Linda. That alone speaks volumes. Cheers to love and life lessons!!

Arthur's Theme

Arthur's Theme (Best that you can do) ...This song has a way of sweeping me off to another time and place. It starts in my childhood an...