Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Number 10

Couple Kissing

Ten years is a significant number of time. Ten is the number of years in a decade. It is the atomic number of neon. It is represented by an “X” when using Roman numerals. It is the number of Commandments given to Moses in the Bible. It is the number of “lords a-leaping” in the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. It is the number of years I have been married to Mr. Michie.

Somehow, we have reached this point. How that is, I don’t know. Now, I don’t mean that in a negative way, I just don’t know how that much time has slipped through our fingers. I still see myself as a young bride, not long married, trying to make it in this big old world together. I can’t believe that ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. How did that happen? I’ve married by best friend, my lover, my confident, my partner in crime.

After 10 years, he still makes me laugh, dances me around the house, cares for me and appreciates me. He still makes my heart quicken when he enters a room. Here’s to another 10 years. I love you!

{image Pinned HERE}

The Onslaught Of Social Media

Jennifer Michie Vintage Envelope

We live in an interesting world. The times they are a-changing’ as Bob Dylan once wrote. Not all that long ago, you used to have to think about something before you could verbalize it. If someone made you angry or sad or you were annoyed by something, you told it to your pillow, to your bedroom wall or to your diary. Everyone I knew growing up had rules about being on the phone and so you couldn’t always call a friend to chat about something.

In today’s society with the onslaught of social media, people vent their feelings all of the time. There is no thinking about something, it’s just put there. Now I am guilty of this myself as once my sister and my baby niece were flying home and their flight got cancelled and then cancelled again and the airline was neither helpful nor supportive. My dad was on the phone trying to help her, her husband was on the phone trying to get her help as well and we weren’t getting anywhere until I took to Twitter, funny isn’t it? They won’t pay attention to someone they are talking to on the phone but one derogatory (honest) tweet and they were being a bit more helpful. I know on occasion I have also have commented on the rudeness of men on my train. I still find it shocking that gentlemen seem to be disappearing at alarming rates. These men fight to get on first, pushing past female passengers and rarely do they offer to get up and give their seat to a female passenger or person in need. So I’m not perfect either in my use of social media.

In saying all of this, there are times however where I think people abuse their use of social media. Case in point and I won’t mention names but there is someone I follow on Twitter, who had quite a temper tantrum the other day. They were having a whale of a time ranting away, wishing ill will on someone, hoping something terrible would happen to their ex, complaining about their life and how they were stuck in a certain place. After they called a fellow tweeter a B— for commenting on their negative tweets, it moved into a realm of ridiculousness. What this person needed was to have a time out.

Now maybe it’s just how I was raised in the South, but airing your dirty laundry in public is just so tacky! The pros of where we are right now with technology is the capabilities to be able to communicate with people any time anywhere, the downside of where we are right now is the same thing. No one has that cool down period. If it’s in your head or on your lips, you just say it. I think we need to work harder as a society to not do that. Gone are the days of letter writing by which you had to think out your thoughts through pen and paper. As my grandpa always said if you have something negative to say, write it down, think about it, if you still feel the same way the next day think about it some more and if you still feel the same then send the letter. we have no thinking through period anymore, no cooling down period, that seems to have vanished.

This idea was mentioned about two months ago in a New York Times article, The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry LetterIt is all to easy to use social media as a quick outlet for our feelings, but think before you speak, because you just might regret what you had to say and you can’t easily retract those thoughts!

Diving Lesson #2

Jennifer Michie Pool

I had my second diving lesson last night. Being in the water is freedom. We went through how to set up your gear yourself, more underwater hand signals and how to clear your regulator and your mask underwater if water gets in it. I was sad that we had to come out, I would have been quite happy bobbing along a little longer!

Monday Morning

Jennifer Michie Morning Journey

The air was cool this morning and the sun was bright. There is still a breeze blowing but it is starting to heat up now. It reminded me of spring time in the Blue Ridge mountains. The air would be cool in the morning and would stay that way under the shade of a tree throughout the day, even in the relentless heat. I grew up at the base of those mountains and they still call to me. Once the Blue Ridge is in your blood it stays there, its the same for the coast. I was lucky I had the best of both worlds, the mountains and the sea.

The sun was beaming down and there was a mist over the lake that I pass on my way into work, so I snapped a picture from my train window. It was a beautiful journey in to central London today. It just makes me sad that it is Monday, today is too beautiful to be trapped indoors at school!

Re-Organizing

Plastic Couch Cover

We have spent the weekend doing a spot of spring cleaning. The cottage isn’t quite finished, but we have made a big dent. There is something so satisfying about cleaning up, cleaning out and getting rid of things. However, I always feel the same way, once I work on truly cleaning a space, I almost can’t bring myself to use that area or make a mess in it where it has just been thoroughly gutted and cleaned. I’m not quite to the point of plastic couch covers, a house is supposed to be enjoyed after all, but it is nice to see the space you worked so hard to clean and organize stay that way, at least for five minutes.

We made three runs to the charity shop yesterday and will have more to make next weekend as we have gotten rid of more books, cds, dvds and other odds and ends. Some corners of the cottage look a bit bare now and I actually like it. We are just working on sections; one at a time. We picked what we wanted to focus on and then worked through that. That way the task isn’t as daunting and we stay on course. Streamlining is a good thing, every now and then!

{image found here}

A Slice of Pie

Jennifer Michie Nutella Pie

Last year I read Beth Howard’s book, Making Piece. I was excited to learn that she was writing a cookbook, Ms. American Pie and I eagerly awaited it’s release. Not only is she a fabulous baker, but she lives in the American Gothic House, that was immortalized by Grant Wood.

Ms. American Pie

I ordered the book the other week and planned to make a pie at the weekend with one of the recipes. I love pie! I was always making pies and cakes and cookies growing up. My Grandpa said that my pie crust tasted like his Mother’s and that was high praise indeed! My Nana taught me how to make little cinnamon bites with the leftover dough, that was always my Grandpa’s treat that he had with his coffee, my Mom said that no one else was allowed to touch it.

Mr. Michie is not such a fan of pies, he loves pecan and pumpkin, but that is pretty much where he stays. I am working to slowly convert him and Beth Howard’s Pie Book is helping me do just that! Her crust recipe is simple, it is just like the one I used to make, it is what the crust should be: a sturdy base that is light, flaky and has that perfect crunch you feel your fork sliding through as you dive in for a bite.

The first recipe I made was simply her pie crust, I had my own recipe for a Kentucky Derby Pie that Mr. Michie fell in love with. However, we were greedy, we ate it, didn’t share and didn’t take any pictures. I had planned on making a pie this weekend, but this week so far has not been going too great for either of us, so I thought a bit of pie making would brighten our moods.

I decided that this week called for chocolate. So we chose to make the Nutella Pie. I got out the ingredients to make the crust while my cream cheese softened in a mixing bowl. Once my crust was rolled, fitted in to my pie pan and the edges crimped, I started to work on my filling. I placed all the other ingredients into my bowl with the softened cream cheese and whipped it by hand. There is something about pie that just makes you want to go all pioneer girl on it, at least that is how I feel! Using your hands to work your dough, whip or slice your filling. Doing it by hand adds in those extra layers of love and I know you can taste it.

I poured the filling into my shell, gave it a bit of a wiggle to smooth it out and placed it in the oven! The house smelled like a little chocolate factory! The hardest part was letting it cool, it wasn’t cool enough to put the whip cream on top before we went to bed and although we could have had a warm slice with whipped cream on the side, I wanted mounds of pillowy cream piled on top! Our patience was rewarded this morning. When I got up for work, I decided in the shower while washing my hair at 5:30am, that we would eat pie for breakfast!

I got dressed, went downstairs and got to work. I poured fresh whipping cream in a bowl followed by sugar and vanilla. I whipped it till soft peaks formed and then took it just a little bit further. Next I piled it on top of the pie, it tumbled down like giant feathery pillows. I looked at it and just sighed. Before me was a thing of happiness.

Mr. Michie grabbed a knife and two forks, I got the plates and cut us each a slice, the knife gliding through the creamy layers to hit the perfectly cooked crust on the bottom. A slice was put on each plate, we touched our forks together in salute, dug into our slices, took a bite and closed our eyes. This was an eye closing moment, this was a moment of pure joy.

I love cream pies and I think that this has turned Mr. Michie in to a full cream pie lover as well! Pie is a humble offering not always as fancy as cakes in appearance or beautifully iced cookies, but don’t be fooled by it’s sometimes humble appearance, inside that shell holds the secret to happiness, quite possibly the secret to world peace. Pie is love! Thank you. Beth Howard for sharing your journey with us and for giving the world this delectible book!

{Please forgive my picture, Mr. Michie tried very hard to be patient while I took a few pictures, and then tried to get a shot with a wedge cut out, but I kept fiddling and he said no more, so we ate pie and smiled and didn’t care about pictures!}

Happy Mother’s Day

Lucille Ball & Lucie 1952

No matter how confident we are, I think there are always moments that cause us to pause and reflect, to question if we are doing the right thing. Parenting is a big responsibility. It is one of the most important jobs that you will ever do, whether you parent your own children or someone else’s. You are responsible for this little soul. You are the one who will teach them right from wrong, kindness, manners, politeness. You teach them love not only through your words, but more importantly through your actions.

This week as I was getting caught up with some blog reading, I read that the gorgeous Joy of Oh, Joy! Had written a post entitled, Party of 4! In the post she announced that her and her husband were expecting their second baby. Their first child, Ruby is often featured on her blog and she is a doll baby! The post included a video of them telling Ruby they were having a baby. She was super excited and at the end of the video, she hugged Joy and said, “I love you so much! I’m so proud of you Mommy!”

That brought tears to my eyes. Ruby said those things, because she has heard Joy speak them to her. My sister became a first time Mother almost two years ago and as I watch her continue to blossom in this role, I also see my babycakes of a niece, blossom as well. She is very affectionate, kind, gentle and loving. She is really getting in to talking lately and of course little people are monkeys, they repeat what they see and hear and she speaks words of love and shows actions of kindness because that is what she sees from my sister and her husband.

We instil these actions into our children. Every time someone compliments my sister or I on our manners or how we polite we are, they should really be complimenting my parents. My Mother taught us love and that is the greatest thing we can do for anyone. At the end of the day, if you are bestowing the gift of Love, then you are doing the right thing.

So today on Mother’s Day, for those who are mothers, who once were, who dream of being, we celebrate you as women, for in your hands and within your hearts you shape and create the future.

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom and Sister, I love you both, you strong, beautiful, caring, creative women!

{Image of Lucille Ball and her daughter Lucie, 1952}