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Mother's Day

My mum is long gone, but I still miss her. I don’t think we ever stop missing our mums, do we?

This is one of my favorite photos of her, taken when she was a schoolgirl. Cute, eh? She was a smart little cookie and won a scholarship to a posh boarding school when she was quite young. I don’t think she was very happy there — the other girls were very snobby, and she was just a girl from the country, not posh, not rich, just smart.  I think she was quite lonely, and though she made friends all her life, none of them came from her schooldays. But she did well — as well as being Dux (top) of the school when she graduated, and winning a bunch of prizes (mainly books with certificates inside them), she was very musical with a gorgeous voice. She was also athletic — she once did 22 backflips in a row!

She’s been especially in my mind lately, because as I pack up this house, getting ready to move, so many of the things I’m packing came from her — china, glassware, silverware, and various gifts through the years. Some of them I never use, and I’m trying hard to stiffen my resolve and give them to charity. (I’d rather give things to the charity shop than sell them on line.)

I  confess, I’m not having huge success. I’m packing some things that I know I shouldn’t, and will take them to the new house, and I’m telling myself that I’ll have more resolution once the move is completed. We’ll see . . . 

Balloon delight

It’s a crispy cold, still morning here, so quiet because it’s  Sunday on a long weekend, and across the morning sky, hot air balloons were drifting. Such a lovely sight and it always fills me with delight.

There were more than these in the photo, but I couldn’t fit them in one photo, and they were drifting low, and the next door house was in the way, so I didn’t try.

I remember last year, when we’d just come out of  Lockdown, and the balloons floated above my house at dawn, it was such a sign of hope — I think I’ll always feel that now, whenever I see balloons. This morning I just stood there smiling.

It felt amazingly peaceful, not just because a lot of people have gone away for the last long weekend before winter and the neighborhood is quiet, but because the balloons were a little to the west, instead of overhead, as they often are, and so Milly-dog hadn’t noticed them, and  hadn’t shattered the peace of the morning with furious barking to repel the gently hissing alien invaders, which is what she usually does.

Actually she’s the reason I mostly notice the dawn balloons. It’s generally too cold to wander out into the back yard, but when she suddenly starts barking I hurry out to see what the fuss is about, and stop her annoying/waking the neighbors.

But this morning while waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning coffee, I went out to admire the Virginia creeper in the pale rosy dawn light, and saw the balloons. A little morning gift.

It’s taken a while for my creeper to get its autumn colors, but it’s finally turning in time for my last experience of it before I move.  This is what it looked like yesterday in the bright morning sun. Of course, it’s all colors as the leaves turn — from this gorgeous scarlet, to pale baby pink (the new leaves), to rich bronze and a thousand shades in between. It’s a visual feast every autumn. I know I’m going to miss it.


Binnie Syril Braunstein, a regular reader of this blog, sent me a Passover recipe, and it looked so good (and healthy) that I asked her if I could share it.  She agreed, and said:

“Charoses is a traditional dish that is served as part of the Jewish Passover Seder (meal). I have a dear friend who kindly invites me to Thanksgiving Dinner every year. When I ask her what I should bring as my contribution to the feast, her answer is always: Charoses.”

This recipe is adapted from The Complete American Jewish Cookbook, edited by Anne London and Bertha Kahn Bishov. (The photo is from this site)

3 large Golden Delicious apples (makes 2 cups chopped)
¼ cup chopped walnuts 
1 tsp sugar or Splenda
Grated rind of ½ lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP concord grape wine OR Kedem grape juice (I use the grape juice)3   

1   Peel and core the apples. If using a large amount of apples, put the cut apples in a bowl of lemon water, to prevent browning.

2   Chop the nuts in a chopping bowl, using a chopping implement with a rounded blade and a handle. (A hockmesser). Set aside. Chop the apples in the chopping bowl, again using the rounded blade implement. If using a food processor for the ingredients, don’t process too finely. Leave some texture.

4   Combine all ingredients together.  Spoon finished Charoses into a quart (or larger if necessary) freezer zip top bag. Store in the refrigerator until ready for serving.

For Passover, Charoses would be spread on matzoh. When I bring it for Thanksgiving, it’s served as a side dish, or served on crackers.