Out of the Attic

Our mission was to clear out the attic. It runs the full length of the ranch style home that was built for my husband’s family in 1954.

They have been filling it with stuff since then.attic-storage

It did not/does not look like this picture.

This is a promotional real estate image that I found on an internet search.

The family is preparing to sell their home of 6 decades as their mother has lived in an senior independent living apartment for almost 2 years now.

It is time to let go.

But sorting through/clearing out has been a gargantuan task.

There are books, photographs, holiday decorations, antiques, clothing, arts and crafts. We pulled down 2 dozen plastic storage bins of bedding, linens, window treatments, cooking utensils.

And that is just the attic. There is also a full garage, basement and oversized utility shed.

There is a lifetime of memories, treasures, trash.

Baby steps. This will not happen overnight.

We have been without WIFI connection, 300 miles from home, and much has been put on hold. Including this blog.

Thanks so much to those who have read and followed in spite of the lack of new material.

Hope to be back soon. Van



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Four Questions

rothFor some of us, things happened while we were too young to understand.

Children get it.

Until they don’t.

And then, they might spend a lifetime trying to get it back.

Some do, some never do, and some are still a work in progress.

Wishing you a return to joy.

And a peaceful process.


Gabrielle Roth, (1941-2012) was an American dancer, musician, teacher, director, recording artist and author who dedicated her life to art inspired by a unique interest in shamanism.

She developed the 5Rhythms approach to movement in the 1970’s, taught yoga and holistic studies, founded an experimental theater company, wrote 3 books and recorded dozens of albums of what was known as trance music.


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When asked about our favorite part of the season, a first response was how great it is to finally sleep under covers.  But there is so much more.  

Autumn is the season of festivals.Fall Festival Image 1

We entertain ourselves just fine in the summer. Winter is preoccupied with holidays and hibernation. Spring brings renewal, hope and blossoming flowers.

With the coming of Autumn, we tend to gather as a community. Sometimes, it might be about mourning the loss of summer, the start of school, the cooler days and the longer nights.

We celebrate the harvest, our heritage, our traditions.

Halloween and Thanksgiving.

There are food festivals, craft fairs, road rallies, hayrides, bonfires, haunted house tours, flea markets, parades, storytelling events, ethnic festivals.

We have contests for pumpkin carving, pie eating, apple dunking, home decorating, scarecrow creations.

Baseball playoffs, hockey, soccer, football.

Pumpkin-spiced everything.

And if you have no other reason to celebrate, enjoy this vision of pure joy. A Siberian Husky shows us how to live in the moment. Time to go play in the leaves.

Happy Autumn.


Thanks to Hugh for the reblog inspiration. http://hughsviewsandnews.wordpress.com/

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I got my last basket of peaches at a local orchard this week. They have picked all the fruit and placed them in cold storage to sell at local markets.

Once brought to room temperature, they were perfect.peaches

These are the yellow freestone variety, so named because the fruit separates easily from the center stone.

I have set about to preserving them, a simple process of freezing the peeled, sliced fruit in layers on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

Placed in plastic bags, the frozen slices will last up to a year.

Growing up, I only knew of the cling peaches, in heavy syrup, that were sold in cans or preserved in a more complicated process at home.

I come from a family of freestones, we all separated easily and early. It was encouraged by our parents, for a variety of practical reasons, and even more emotional ones.

In our extended family, cousins, in-laws, etc., there is really only one who didn’t get away. He was always immersed in the challenges of aging parents, never really having asserted his independence, or giving up the parent/child relationship that remains today.

That’s not a judgment. It seems to have worked for him.

We will be working together to sort through 6 decades of treasures and trash as we prep for the sale of the family home, treading lightly through very personal memories.

My mother in law has been living in an independent senior apartment for almost 2 years now, and is ready to give up her home. She will never be emotionally ready to do so, how does one not cling to the home that was meant for a lifetime ?

It is logical, it makes practical sense, but so bittersweet.

One can only imagine. In our many moves over the years, I have not had that kind of attachment to a home, or even a location.

I can’t really end this piece without a connection to a very famous scene from a 1971 episode of All in the Family. Edith describes a freak accident with a can of cling peaches, in heavy syrup.



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Medicine Woman’s Larder – Guest Post – Hungarian Nut Rolls by Van

Doing a guest post on Sally’s lovely blog. Walnuts are the special guest ! ☺

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life


Following on from the posts last week on Walnuts.. Van mentioned that she had an old family recipe using walnuts that her family loved.  I persuaded her to share with the rest of us.

Hungarian Nut Rolls

This is a much loved recipe from the 1920’s, handed down by women in babushka’s. They used an old fashioned manual nut grinder, mounted to the edge of a wooden table. The food processor made it so much easier.

Even with modern convenience, this is a recipe that keeps you at home for hours, but the aromas of yeast dough, mixed with real butter and fresh walnuts…worth the effort.
Hope you enjoy. I’m proud to share.


6 Cups flour
2TBS sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 packs dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4lb. Butter
7 egg yolks
1 Cup whole milk.

2lb. Walnuts, ground finely
7 egg whites

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Absence of Malice


Paul Newman. 1981 Movie.

No movie review, I just needed an excuse to post a pic of a pretty man.

A favorite blogger asked me how I can write so lovingly about a troubled mother/daughter relationship.

Earlier today, I read about Sharon Osborne’s mental breakdown, as addressed on her show, The Talk.

Many spoke of her courage, candor, and how it might help to remove stigma from mental health issues, particularly depression. There was discussion of how we have progressed in treatment, meds, group therapy, public sensitivity and awareness.

My mother was a mostly untreated manic depressive. My father’s history included a decades-long severe depression in his own family, an illness which was poorly treated, with tragic results.

The skepticism was real and palpable. There was little or no respect for any kind of psychiatric intervention.

My mother’s breakdown happened in the 1950’s, drugs were primitive and dangerous, ECT was considered a risk, but they tried it as a last resort.

It didn’t work for her, and she returned to us in a zombie-like state.

She stopped taking her meds.

For a few years following, 3 young children were subjected to physical and emotional abuse, psychological abandonment, well hidden from our father. He was preoccupied with working 2 jobs to keep the family afloat.

The sudden death of our grandmother,  our guardian and caretaker, sent him into a personal and financial crisis. My mother lost her job, half of their income, and was forced into the role of “mom” she had avoided for years.

It was not a pretty scene.

There would be healing, much of which came from the birth of the next child, a much wanted son.

It took me many years to recover from a very wounded relationship with her. When we came of age, we all managed to distance ourselves. But the damage came early, went deep.

Ultimately, I came to forgive her for all of it. It was not her fault. She had an illness that was never properly addressed, let alone healed.

There was an absence of malice.

She did not set out to hurt her children. It was just a sad, tragic by-product of a lifelong mental disorder.

That doesn’t excuse some very violent, negative behavior patterns. It doesn’t heal that early scar tissue. It just allowed us all, in our own way, to come to a type of understanding that helped us move forward in life.

For me, and for how my personal choices would evolve, it was not just valuable, not just important, it was life-saving.


Absence of Malice is a 1981 movie starring Paul Newman and Sally Field, the title is a legal reference that deals with journalistic ethics. It is a great movie, highly recommended, but aside from the title, is pretty much irrelevant to this post.





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Punch Buggy

There was a 1960’s vintage auto show that surprised me at a local mall this past weekend. There was a DJ playing 60’s music, a charity fund raiser, flea market and kid activities.


Blue/Grey Vinyl 1964

A highlight for me was far more simple than all of that.

I stuck my head into a 1964 VW Beetle. The memories came flooding back to high school days.

The aroma of that simple, mostly vinyl interior is the same today as it was 50 years ago.

I did not get my first car until I was almost 21, and it was a Ford Fairlane, not a VW. But so many friends were driving them at the time.

They were inexpensive, simple, designed to not go over 62 mph, could hold 3 passengers, at best. All of that must have made it a desirable choice for parents of teenage drivers.

I was taken back to late night trips home from athletic events, after school club activities, meeting up at safe local hangouts, doing Chinese fire drills (exiting and circling the car while at a stoplight).

And after it all, scraping together enough change to fill up the gas tank.

And then there was the time in college when the guys in the next dorm took apart a VW beetle while the owner was asleep and reassembled it in a study lounge.

The tradition of spotting them on the highway and punching the arm of the nearest victim while yelling “Punch Buggy” lasted well past the 1960’s.

And to think that on its initial US import in 1949, there were only 2 VW’s sold. No one believed at the time that Americans would want such a cheap, unadorned vehicle, and surely not one made in a foreign country.

By 1962, one million had been imported.


1968 Movie

It re-emerged with a similar design, and a front engine, sometime in the late 1990’s, but its glory will most likely never equate to what it was in the 1960’s.

And, oh, that new car smell.

Even 50 years later, with eyes closed, it would be familiar.

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