Long-Lost Cravings

sliced vegetables in white ceramic bowl

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Our family room now houses a temporary eating area because we are in the process of getting our kitchen remodeled.  Squished in by our fireplace is our refrigerator and kitchen table.  The microwave and toaster are taking up space at the table with a lot of other things that used to have a special spot to stay, but now have nowhere to go.  Things like scissors and vitamins and such.  My husband bought a two-burner cooktop, but he ended up taking it back to the store because we never took it out of the box.  It seemed like too much work to use, since we have no running water on our main floor. Thankfully, the weather has been nice because a lot of grilling has been going on.  The microwave and grill have been meeting all our cooking needs, so far.

Not having a functioning kitchen has caused me to seriously miss cooking and baking. I haven’t made my favorite recipe of banana bread for years, but suddenly I have a craving for it that will not go away.  Another thing I miss is the usual spaghetti meal we have on our table about once a week.  Luckily we got to have that when we babysat. I’ve never been so thrilled to boil water as I was last weekend when we used our daughter and son-in-law’s kitchen.  I made that simple spaghetti meal, served with fun garlic bread, and a tossed salad.  Now thoughts are coming to me about how much I miss the taste of my mom’s tuna pasta salad.

My mom made tuna pasta salad for us for as long as I can remember. When our kids came along, I made the salad every Sunday, after we got home from church.  It’s one of those family recipes that is not written down anywhere (until now).  Somehow it morphed into my brain from watching my mom make it so many times. Adjustments needed to be made for some of my kids, who don’t like peas, which, ironically, I think is the best part! I like it when the peas hide inside the shell-shaped noodles.  When they fall into place that way, it looks like they were made for each other.  🙂

Here’s how I make it: I boil two to three cups of the small shell-shaped pasta in water, depending on how many hungry people there are to feed.  While that’s cooking, I drain one small can of albacore white tuna and combine it with two or three stalks of chopped celery, a couple of slices of chopped onions, Miracle Whip (with olive oil), a 16-oz. can of drained peas, and a splash of lemon juice.  Sometimes I add a little salt and pepper; other times, I leave it for others to add their own seasonings.  Mom didn’t use the “splash of lemon,” but I think it adds a little flavor.  I can’t tell you how much Miracle Whip I put in.  A person has to “eye ball it” until it gets to a certain consistency of deliciousness.

Until the kitchen is back where it belongs, I will keep my chin up and continue to create a list of things to make. Seems like the list is going to be kind of long because long-lost cravings keep popping up and the tile for the floor is on “back order.”  😦

Do you have a recipe that you had when you were a child that you still enjoy today?

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“Speed of Time”

backyard chain grass park

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

As I was pulling weeds in front of our house the other day, I was hoping the new neighbor didn’t think I was some type of Mrs. Kravitz from the Bewitched show.  Something made me look up just as a young lady with dark straight hair drove by.  She pulled into the driveway next door and went straight into the garage.  That was the last I saw of the new neighbor, for now.  Shortly after, a moving truck slowly inched by, almost turning into our place but then realized it needed to move down one more spot.  Mrs. Kravitz might have stayed just where she was, pulling weeds, or she may have moved inside her own house to spy at the goings on through a partially moved blind or shade.

I decided to go around to the other side of the house to see what weeds needed pulling. Slowly, I managed to get to the back of our yard and decided to hang out there to read a book in my new anti-gravity chair while listening to the little kids playing a few doors down.  The birds were singing their usual songs on one of the most gorgeous of summer days.

Suddenly, a young man carrying a big wooden spool was in the new neighbor’s backyard, and he walked along measuring a cable line from the back of the house to the phone line. At first I wondered if he was going to be our new neighbor too, but realized that since he had a cable, he was the cable guy.  Shortly after, the moving truck left, and it made my Mrs. Kravitz self think the new neighbor must not have any children because the unloading would have lasted a lot longer.  Mrs. Kravitz would have most likely taken the time to run right over and knock on the new neighbor’s door, but we might just have to wait to see if the young lady ventures out.  We’ll start with a few waves as she passes by in her car and go from there!

I couldn’t help but think to way back when we first moved into our house.  The new neighbor’s house had been occupied for many years by Bruce and Ann.  When we met them, I thought they were an “older” couple and wondered if they planned on downsizing, since their family was all grown up and moved out.  Ann must have read my mind because some of the first words out of her mouth were, “We’re not going anywhere,” which ended up being fine with us.  Bruce and Ann had been very nice neighbors to have for 20 years, and the neighborhood felt empty after they moved out.

Now, the new neighbor might think we are an “older” couple and may wonder if we plan on moving away to a smaller place. She might even be so young that she doesn’t even know about Mrs. Kravitz!  We used to be the young family with little kids running around, but now we watch and enjoy the sounds of the new little ones taking over.  Bruce and Ann came to the high school graduation parties we had for our kids.  In her cards, Ann was so kind to write about how they enjoyed watching our kids grow up.  Now we’re the ones watching the neighborhood kids grow up.  Isn’t it funny how that happened, and so quickly?

Some day man will travel at the speed of light,
of small interest to those of us still trying to
catch up to the speed of time.
~Robert Brault

What Little Beauties Will Appear?

20180708_0922495491600727189644411.jpg20180708_0923127802616713461733185.jpg20180708_0924051615899125882250094.jpgThis morning, I was surprised when Lila and I were out for our usual walk because we came upon a field of blossoming flowers. Walkers passed us by as I snapped some pictures.  One couple stopped and admired the field right along with us.

“Do you happen to know what kind of flower that is?” I asked as I pointed at what I thought was a poppy. Its delicate petals fluttered in the breeze.

“We think it’s a poppy,” the man and woman said in unison.

“I don’t remember this field of flowers being here last year,” I said. Lila’s nose and paws were going farther into the field as she munched on some tall grass.

“They must have planted these wild flowers last year when they were fixing up the place,” the man reminded me.

“It’s going to be fun to watch,” said the lady. We smiled and nodded at each other as we went along our way.  I thought back to when Lila and I walked about the park last summer.  The walkers and bikers were only able to travel one half of the park, and the part where the wild flowers were was unreachable because of the rebuilding.  A bike path was added to hook up with the current one, plus a wooden foot bridge was built over part of the brook.  Most people do not go down to that part of the brook anymore because of how the foot bridge was constructed.  Many large rocks now hug the shoreline there, which makes it difficult for us to climb down to the water.  We now admire the brook from the bridge.  Since there was much digging going on last year, mice, moles, and turtles scampered around the paths looking lost and missing their homes.  Sort of like us because we weren’t able to walk around our usual way either.  Once I heard what I thought was a deer bounding about in the woods, crunching bushes and bramble as he ran to find some shelter.

This year, the creatures have settled in and are back to hiding in their homes, and we get to walk around the entire park because no part of the path is blocked. The wild flowers took the place of some beautiful towering trees that are missed, but there were never any wild flowers in the park before.  It’s nice to see them growing in the July sun.  At first, I missed the natural look of things and the way they were, but now I wonder what little beauties will appear in the field by the brook when August comes along.

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers… ~ Robert Herrick

 

Fishy

beach enjoyment fun leisure

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Once upon a time, on a warm and sunny summer day, a little girl went to the beach with her mom. They packed up a picnic lunch, beach blanket, towels, sunscreen, a bucket, and a shovel. There was a little spot on the beach just for them. Many people were together enjoying the day too, and those peoples’ conversations floated away with the wind. All the talking didn’t cover up the sounds of the waves splashing on the shore or the rustling of the leaves in the towering trees.

They walked hand in hand in the Minnesota sand, which felt very warm on the bottoms of their feet. The little girl, who would be two years old on her next birthday, looked confident in her pink one-piece swimsuit with a picture of the Little Mermaid on front. They quickly toddled off to find the cooler wet sand. The waves tickled their feet to welcome them in. Soon, the little girl was up to her knees in the very clear blue lake water.

“Fishy,” the little girl shouted and dove into the water face first as quickly as she could, somehow wiggling out of her mom’s grasp. The mom was surprised how courageous her daughter was and was sure the little girl had kept her eyes wide open as she held her arms forward trying to grab the fish with her hands. The mom instinctively pulled her little girl out of the water.

“Did you try to catch the fish?” the mom asked.

The little girl looked surprised, her curls now smashed down after coming out of the water. She didn’t seem to have lost one beat to the rhythm of her breath. The mom held her little girl on her hip and felt little goosebumps form on her own arms. They waded out to the deeper water.

“I wonder where the fish went,” the mom said.

“Fishy,” the little girl repeated in a softer voice as she looked down at the deep water trying to find the fish. The mom and daughter held onto each other while they bobbed up and down with the waves. They twirled about to feel the water cool them. The fun melted away the mom’s goosebumps.

“I think it was a sunfish,” said Mom. “I’m surprised it was so close to all these swimmers at the beach. That was very brave of you to try to get it with your hands!”

The little girl giggled as the mom carried her. They went to the shore, played in the sand, and had a lunch that included gold-fish crackers, which reminded them of the Fishy they found at the lake on a warm and sunny summer day.

The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives. ~Robert Brault

Right Out of a Story Book

Traveling from Interlaken to Lucerne

How lucky we were to be able to travel along and have each step of our trip be more beautiful than the last. Now, even a short time after our travels, while looking at pictures, it’s like every photo was taken straight out of a story book.

As you can see from the pictures above, the countryside is quite beautiful. We traveled by train from Grindelwald back to Interlaken and then to Lucerne.  Lucerne was the biggest town we visited, yet we were able to see a lot on our walks about town.

City of Lucerne

One great find was Lucerne’s parish church, the Church of St. Leodegar. It was built in parts during 1633 to 1639.  There certainly was a lot of detailed work to appreciate here.

A very nice day of weather greeted us when we went on a boat ride on Lake Lucerne. Guests can listen to an audio tour where they learn about the castle, dragons, and some interesting legends.

Lake Lucerne

We enjoyed our stay at the Wilden Mann, a historical hotel that has been in business since 1860. The other hotels where we stayed had been around for a while too, but those rooms had been updated and modernized.  This hotel kept its historical flare.

Lucerne Wilden Mann Swiss Restaurant

Lucerne Wilden Mann Swiss Restaurant

The Wilden Mann has two restaurants: French and Swiss.  We had dinner at the Swiss restaurant with traditional Swiss furnishings.  The waiter took our order and then delivered bread and a tiny salad with fresh tomatoes and cheese.  I also had the asparagus cream soup, which was not super thick, and came with a bit of mango salad.  The meatloaf was served with a red wine sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.  My husband had the sausage with shoe string potatoes, and onions wrapped in bacon.  We topped it all off with a chocolate cake dessert which was served with strawberry “soup” and topped with whipped cream and carmelized sugar.

Though it looked like our trip was straight out of a story book, the best part was exploring all these little towns and going on an adventure together. It was a great way to celebrate a special wedding anniversary.  🙂

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today,
the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow. ~Author unknown

Closer to the Mountains

Our next stop took us up little by little to be closer to the mountains.  The train trip to the quaint town of Grindelwald from Interlaken took 33 minutes, to be exact!  We walked a short distance to find Hotel Belvedere, where we would stay for the next three nights.  Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, but the lady at reception offered us a welcome drink, which we enjoyed on the terrace.

Grindelwald Hotel Belevedere

Every hotel where we stayed included breakfast, but it wasn’t just any breakfast. Large rooms greeted us with tables of food.  There were eggs, sausages, pancakes, toast, lunch meats, Swiss cheeses, loaves of bread ready for slicing, cereal, yogurt, and fruit.  Some places had coffee machines with buttons where we could choose a latte or cappuccino.  The Hotel Belvedere had a beautiful restaurant where we enjoyed all this, plus seeing and tasting honey from a honeycomb.

The highlights of our stay were walking about the town to explore the restaurants and take in the picturesque views.

Another highlight was when we took a round-trip ride on a cogged wheel train from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg. Kleine Scheidegg has an altitude of 6,761 feet and sits at the foot of the Eiger North Wall.  (The movie The Eiger Sanction was filmed here.)

From Kleine Scheidegg, travelers can take the Jungfrau Railway, which climbs to the Eiger Glacier Station. This trail travels partway through a mountain at quite the incline, with a few stops on the way.  I wasn’t sure about going on this next jaunt, but my husband talked me into it.  When we reached the top, which has an altitude of 11,332 feet, we disembarked to go to a building.  There are many tourist attractions, such as a tour, ice palace, hikes, restaurant, shops, and observation decks.  We did not stay long because my husband had a reaction to the high altitude, so we headed back down the mountain as soon as we could.  This was okay with me, because I felt a little light-headed too.  Luckily, we got our Jungfrau-Top of Europe Passport stamped before we left!

As we traveled on the Jungfrau Railway, we couldn’t help but appreciate all the work that went into its construction. The construction began in July 1896.  From our Jungfrau–Top of Europe Passport:

Swiss industrial magnate Adolf Guyer-Zeller has an audacious idea while on a hike. The “railway king” wants to blast a tunnel through the rock of the Eiger and Monch and construct a cogwheel railway to the Jungfrau summit.  Local people recognize the touristic potential and support his plan.

The workers make rapid progress in the tunnel; however the mountain takes its toll. On 26 February 1899, an accident with explosives claims the lives of six men.  A miner’s daily wage is only 4.60 francs.  Strikes break out, whereby the management reacts with dismissals.

As an incentive, a reward is offered to the shift that makes the breakthrough. On 21 February 1912, the miners use more dynamite than is permitted and blast through to daylight.  The shout of “Through!” echoes along the tunnel and the workers fall into each other’s arms.  The masterpiece has finally been achieved!

Mr. Guyer-Zeller died in 1899 from pneumonia, but his family carried out his plan. In the beginning of December 1905, there were some financial problems that forced the work to be halted for two years.  After a 16-year construction period, the final station to Jungfraujoch opened on February 21, 1912.

Here are some pictures from the cogged wheel train trip:

It was nice getting closer to the mountains, but we didn’t mind seeing them from afar either!

When we left the hotel, the hospitable lady at reception gave us this little package of Swiss chocolates!

Grindelwald Hotel Belevedere Departing Treats of Chocolates

I hope you can join me next time for our last stop of the trip: Lucerne.

Ancestral Home

The next leg of our Switzerland trip ended up being the one where we got in the most steps. When we arrived in the small town of Ringgenberg, after a short train trip of a little over three miles from Interlaken, we walked a couple of blocks to find the tourism office. It didn’t seem like anyone else was visiting the quiet town, which has a population of 2,700. We told the nice young man at the tourist office that we came to visit Ringgenberg because my grandfather was born there. He told us there are many people who live there with our last name. I told him my grandfather would be about 140 years old by now, so it was unlikely there were any people there who would have known him. That gave him a chuckle, and he told us about a couple of the main attractions: Ringgenberg Church and Burgseeli Lake.

Ringgenberg Church, which was built into castle ruins in 1670, sits on top of a large hill. “Ringgenberg Castle was inhabited from 1240 until 1380 [by the Ringgenberg family].” Before we climbed up to see the church, we noticed the small cemetery by Lake Brienz. What makes the cemetery unique is that in front of each tombstone there is a little garden where spring plants actually live in the ground. The little gardens felt as if a lot of love, pride, and care lives there. We noticed Grandpa’s last name on some of the tombstones, and I guess this was the closest I would get to some of my relatives. Looking closer, I realized the people who were in the cemetery were too young to be my great grandparents, and I wondered where their final resting spots might be. We continued exploring by walking up the steps to find a spectacular view. Even though it was a Friday, we happened upon a happy couple getting their wedding pictures taken behind the church. There was a little bit of hustle and bustle going on as people were getting ready for the wedding ceremony.

Ringgenberg

Home Across from Burgseeli Lake, Ringgenberg

We walked to Burgseeli Lake, which is located between the towns of Ringgenberg and Goldswil. I thought I snapped a picture of the lake, but I must not have pushed the button hard enough. 😦 To see a picture, click here. This may have been the spot where Grandpa saved two girls from drowning many, many years ago. The water in Burgseeli Lake can reach temperatures in the upper 70s, and people can swim there from May through September. “The water reaches such comfortable temperatures so quickly in spring because it is moorland water with a low oxygen content and very slow circulation.”

We found our way back to the train station and headed to the adorable town of Brienz. Our main goal was to find the woodcarving school my grandfather attended. We ended up walking along the shore of the lake from one end of town to the other, and eventually found the school. We would have found it sooner, if we held the map the right way! 🙂

We met a young woman at the carving school who is a student there. She told us how the students are required to go to school for four years and said when my grandpa went there, there would have been about 2,000 students. Now there are about 30. My husband asked if the school sells any of their wood carvings, and she said they do not want to take business away from the woodcarving shop down the road. So after a few more pleasantries, we headed off to visit the Huggler Wood Carving Shop and bought a few little souvenirs to bring home to the kids.

When we got back to Interlaken, we visited the Golden Egg Restaurant again, since we enjoyed it so much the night before. Besides the bread and salad, we each had a meal of pasta. I had macaroni and my husband had ravioli, which was swimming in olive oil. We relaxed in a comfy booth by the window. My husband and I wondered how many miles we walked, and I wondered where my Great Grandparents were and thought it was weird I didn’t think about them before we went on the trip. Funny what visiting a cemetery can do to someone, but they had passed away almost a century ago. Maybe I’ll be able to find them some other time. It’d be nice to go back and spend more time in my ancestral home and the Golden Egg! 🙂

Inside the Golden Egg.
See the Polar Bear in the Middle Picture?

Next stop: Grindelwald