Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Little Update On An Eventful Week

Hello everyone. This is Ernestine's youngest daughter. She had emergency gallbladder surgery Wednesday afternoon. The surgeon said it was the worst he had ever seen. The really frightening part of the week was that late Monday the pain was going up into her chest and arm and when she called 911 they were convinced she had either had, or was having, a heart attack. Her surgery was also postponed after they had initially prepped her and wheeled her down to the OR. So...this week has been just a roller coaster for her, and not the fun kind.

She's at home now and the surgery was done laproscopically. I'm not sure she's up for getting on the computer event today, though.

I know she wanted to let her Internet friends know what was going on since she typically updates her blog frequently.

She'd love to hear from you here in the comments...your thoughts and prayers are appreciated!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Woods House - Progress #1

I was not going to make an entry today. Thought I would wait until more had progressed on my new creative project. But it seems a lot is happening and want to document it all. I am really going out on a limb with this sharing and making it public. So some who check in will see my success and hopefully not failure or problems.
Friday the dozier followed my over a hundred year 1000 foot path to make it more a drive. Gravel came in and will make it less muddy when driving to home site.
Saturday the water line was put in. Just talked to contractor to see if footing was being dug like it was scheduled. It has been finished and concrete footing will be poured this afternoon.
Then block work will begin. I have picked a block that looks like stonework instead of a brick foundation like I have had in the past. Called contractor again to make screen porch a couple of feet longer. I am an outdoor person. Weather permitting I eat most meals outside. Either on porch or terrace. A challenge with creation being smaller then anything I have lived in for 48 years. Just want a smaller place but I do have some special items I want to have a place for.
With block work finished I am estimating that the framing will begin next week - weather permitting. When the framing starts I will have to be on the job site for several days. A friend has offered me a room for the night if I do not want to return to the city in the late day heavy traffic. Have not decided if I will do this.
The last several homes that I have planned I did not use an architect for plans. I just drew a sketch and worked with a contractor on floor plan and what material to use.
I feel comfortable going this route because I have been involved with a number of homes.
Also this home is so small and modest that I did not need a set of plans that cost thousands of dollars.
In several weeks I will have a helper (I did this in the past but cannot do it now because of ankle I fractured 7 years ago and never had set because I thought I had sprained my ankle and it would heal) help me dig up pieces of a number of my plants. This has been done many times before. Will take them to the country site and make a small nursery. When I begin my small courtyard and garden area I can plant them. I need to do this before home is listed for sale.
My daughter from Massachusetts who just relocated to Tampa sent some beautiful hollyhock seeds that were planted last Spring. I surely hope they have not rooted so deep that I cannot get them out of the ground.
So I am so excited and flying high. Now the big one has to take place - this home will be put on the market the first of March.

One Woman's Journey Continues on her Journey Through This Life

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Woods House - A New Beginning

I have to write to someone, so I will write my special son who always has time to listen to his mama. Even if she repeats herself many times and at times I know I bore him.
I could not sleep last night. Kept having thoughts about my garage door. At first I planned a separate garage with a porch on it like I have at this city cottage. After much thought I came to the conclusion that an attached garage is better for me and also if someone in the future wants to expand this smaller home they can make it into a den or bedroom with a fireplace.
I do not like a garage door opening in the front but since this home is 1000 feet of the road in front it does not matter. Kept thinking that door in back might make me uncomfortable.
Who in the world is going to be looking at One Woman working at the back of home with the garage door open - with them standing in the middle of 75 acres of woods.
So, I headed for the country early this morning to look at layout again. Decided garage door will open in back and contractor liked my decision.
I am excited about my new smaller home. I will have a screen porch on the side, a deck on the back since the land has a slight slope.
The home sits at the edge of the woods and a lot of trees have been cut down. There are years of branches, fallen trees, wild growth, etc - everywhere I look. Of course it being January all of this is more noticeable. When Spring arrives a lot of it you will not even notice.
I am promising myself not to take the balance of my years grooming the woods.
I will have less flowers, small vegetable and herb garden. No lawn to speak of as I will just clear around house and crops are planted in the field in front of this home. Guess that is it and grandma wants time to enjoy the stillness, read, write, notice the many different birds and continue to improve her image taking.
Gravel was spread on my drive today and footing for home to be poured on Monday.

So my children that bless my new adventure and the children that wonder if mom has lost her mind by creating and moving again and worrying that she will overdo - like in the past - please just smile at me, hug me and listen to me share. If I grow weary a visit with a sandwich would help. Please keep in touch through this process.
So everything is going forward and I am at peace. This home has to sell and that says it all.

Oh, the perfect tree for my little granddaughters to have a high swing has been found and the contractor is going to make a burning pit where there can be a fire where hot dogs and marshmallows can be cooked.

So on my journal I will be writing about this new adventure.

One Woman's Journey Through This Life - has a special entry.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Think Like a Tree and Rich Soil

Soak up the sun
Affirm Life's magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first sings of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling

Karen Shragg

I have just returned from my country woods. Who else but One Woman and a fellow gardener would be excited over the rich soil.
My road was being bulldozed and a small site. The soil is almost black.
Over how many hundreds of years has this soil been left to grow rich on its own. The rotting leaves and land being left undisturbed has resulted in the rich and almost black soil. I could push my hand down many inches in this wonderful soil. Did not want to return to the city.
Almost wished I had a tent to see what critters would emerge over the following hours.

Some sharing this late afternoon from One Woman on her Journey

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Quiet Day With Grandma

Company on this cold winter day is welcome. I can remember when this little one was born. She looks so serious and older in this image that grandma just made. Time is going by so quickly.

A memory for One Woman on her Journey

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one Traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Morning

I am in the middle of reading - Thomas Merton - The Seven Storey Mountain
An Autobiography of Faith.
A few lines I underlined last night.

There is not a flower that opens, not a seed that falls into the ground, and not an ear of wheat that nods on the end of its stalk in the wind that does not preach
and proclaim the greatness and mercy of God to the whole world.

A thought this early cold morning from One Woman on her continued Journey Through Life

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One Perfect Popover

Nan featured a recipe for popovers. Tara's Popovers - the recipe made 8 and since I am One Woman I thought I would experiment and cut the recipe in half. I seem to do this a lot.
I followed the directions perfectly. Do not have a popover pan but used custard cups. Put oil in the bottom - but did not grease the cups.
Well, one popover slid out and looked presentable. The other 3 were stuck in the custard cup but they were still tasty. Next time will not forget to grease cups.
So with my butternut squash soup this evening I had some hot bread.
Thank you Nan this will be an easy addition to some of my evening meals.

An evening entry from One Woman
Post later in day - Hey, I know it is super cold. Going down to 4 degrees in the morning. But no snow - so I am wondering why our area schools are closed tomorrow. My youngest daughter will have her little girls home tomorrow.
There are areas of this type of temperature and colder and snow. Wonder if their schools are closed. I think not - but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not What Was Expected

All had happened so quickly. They started out with nothing. Business opportunity and it was growing at a pace that was unbelievable. She ran the financial end and did the bookwork, payroll, taxes, etc at the kitchen table. One baby in her lap and one crawling on the floor. One school age sitting and coloring. All of this and she was still in her twenties.
A new car and another baby due any moment. From hospital bed she continued office work. The day after her only son was born the nurse came into the room and saw the ledgers and adding machine and exclaimed "what are you doing". "The payroll" she replied. Two days later her mother came to the hospital to take her home. In her old car with the windows rolled down. She was saddened she wanted it to be her husband in their new upscale car while she held this new baby boy. She understood the circumstances but all through the years the memory remained.
The question for years that surfaced in her mind "was prosperity worth this"?

One Woman entry this early morning

Monday, January 12, 2009

Names For My Homes

In another life the first 3 small homes were not named. Never really entered her mind. Children were busy being named.
When moving South and business venture exploded, there were several homes that she named.
Maplebrook - a farm with an old home on it was purchased. Home torn down and a long modern ranch was built. A swimming pool was put in while she was awaiting the birth of her youngest daughter. There was a great article in the city paper about her family and home. In her husbands earlier years he had been part of a rodeo. This farm was a dream with several quarter horses and cattle in the fields. Home eventually sold and family moved to an upscale city neighborhood. This home was a stone English Tudor. A beauty that sat empty for 5 years. No one wanted to tackle the remodeling. When she found it she was on a high and dreamed about all the possibilities. It was named Gray Gables. She was pleased with an article in Southern Living magazine about this home.
Living in this upscale home, much the world had to offer and older children in private schools was the saddest time of her life. It began to surface in her mind that for 20 years she had been living a charade
She found out in years to come that her soul needed simplicity and nature. Something she forgot somewhere along the way. She finally found herself.
When she ventured out on her own she found her over 100 year old farm house and once again remodeled a home. The original name was Oak Field. She continued with this name and when she returns to the land surrounding that home she may name it Oak Field Cottage.
This home also has been featured in local papers.
So my grandchildren this is a little bit of grandma's journey with homes. Will skip a number of others that she transformed.
Now in her city cottage which she named Sylvan Place because of the community it is located in.
A thought that her creating days were over and she had landed to live out her days in the middle of the city - Ugh - Wonders never cease. So will see what the year 2009 brings to your grandma.
Sharing this early morning from One Woman on her Journey Through this Life

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Chicken and One Woman

She purchased a 3 lb fresh chicken yesterday. It was simmered on the stove and then all the meat taken off of the bone. The broth was refrigerated so fat could be removed. In the past she cooked for a family and she finds it is not very uplifting to cook for one. The chicken separated into containers for a casserole of chicken and rice and another for a lunch of several chicken salad sandwiches and the remainder is going to be added to the pot of broth and vegetables for chicken soup. So that is 6 or 7 meals out of this one chicken. Not bad she thought.
She always bakes every week or two and has banana bread, pumpkin bread or cookies on hand.
There is always something sweet on hand in her home.
Since she is coming down to the deadline of next week big decision of whether to launch another project and build smaller home in country and relocate - she is trying to think of food she can take with her for lunch. Even if this plan is deleted she will be traveling to the country weekly and needs to be prepared.
When she built her current home it was a problem staying well nourished. After the long drive to and from her location she just did not feel like cooking or eating. She sometimes would stop at a restaurant and it never agreed with her.
This project she will prepare better. She cannot lose weight as she struggles with her 110 lbs.
She will eat a good breakfast of fruit, oats, yogurt, green tea and English muffin. For her lunch
she can take a sandwich of tuna, egg salad, peanut butter, roast beef or chicken. Container of green tea, yogurt, something she has baked. Some cheese, fruit, a side of nuts or a piece of chocolate and an Ensure in her small insulated box should do it. Also 3 or 4 bottles of water are always in her vehicle. When weather is warmer a salad will be made.
With her briefcase of ideas, camera and binoculars I think she is all set.
Her crock pot at home will be used to put a meal on for her return. A roast and veggies can be cooked on the weekend, vegetable soup, bean soup, butternut squash soup and chili can be made for several meals.
The only thing missing is a great piece of crusty bread. She use to make sour dough bread and stopped years ago.
For evening meals she always keeps frozen salmon cut in portion sizes for a quick meal with a baked potato and green vegetable and also frozen shrimp for a stirfry meal. There are times of just corn chips, beans, salsa and chips with cheese. Also there are always salad items and fruit on hand.
So she wonders if someone out there living solo has any other suggestions

Some thoughts this morning from One Woman - who said she was not going to post on weekends!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Checkers Mystery

Grandma, play checkers with me. I ask "when did you learn to play checkers" she answered "I play it all the time". I wondered did my daughter and soninlaw teach her. I think not!! I do not think they have a checker game in their home. I questioned further. Did you see someone playing checkers on a video or on television. "No grandma" was the reply. Well where did you learn about checkers. The answer - "At the Cracker Barrel - grandma."
Now if you do not live in the South you may not be familiar with this country eating place. Then maybe this country restaurant is all over. I do not know.
I do know that when you go in the front door towards the eating area there is a large checker board with checkers in front of a wood burning fire place. So that solved the mystery of my little girls knowledge of checkers.
Who would have thought that a 3 year old would be that knowledgable of the checker game from observing others in a restaurant.
Makes me wonder what else are these little ones observing when we are not aware and what they are learning.

A memory made this sunny afternoon on the porch of One Woman.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Journals From The Past

While growing up I would occasionally write in a diary. My 6 year old granddaughter now writes in the diary I gave her for Christmas. She forbids anyone to look at it. Locks it and probably hides her little key. The time with a mate and children in the home there was no time or period of stillness to write. But it came to pass that in time there are quiet times and I could start keeping journals. I wrote continually at a time when my marriage was ending. These journals were destroyed a number of years ago. It was healing for this One Woman to write but I could not chance a child or grandchild reading these deeply sad thoughts. I did not sense they would be an asset to anyone in my close family. This rainy evening I filled my arms with old journals going back 25 years. Most of the time I have been smiling as I read the entries. Must share with my youngest daughter the entry about her first date with the local dentists son.
Wondering about something? So many of the entries are the same I write today.Seeking - health, wisdom, peace, guidance, love, forgiveness, understanding and the ability to accept the things I do not understand. My journals are filled with quotes from the book of Psalms. I found an underlined scripture from years past that said "We are granted 70 years and every year after that is a gift from God" guess I am in the gift years and now more then ever I need to use them wisely.
Now I am writing my journals online. I must be brave to put my thoughts out there for the world to read. At times amazed that anyone would find them interesting.
But it seems some individuals relate to what I share.
So I continue to smile and it is so apparent that I have always been protected and guided every step of the way. When I look back I realize with a thankful heart that as I go forward into the year 2009 I go with the expectation that once again all this One Woman needs will be supplied.

God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature, trees, flowers and the grass grow in silence. See the stars, moon and sun and how they move in silence.
Mother Tereasa

Thoughts from One Woman on her Journey Through This Life

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day Continues

Trying to teach my 6 year old granddaughter how to take a picture of grandma. We have taken a dozen. Do not like them. Most too dark. Either the flash is not working properly or grandma's home on this gloomy day is not light enough inside.
One of my words for 2009 is SMILE - I need to smile more.
This made me smile. I ask Caitlin "how do you like the header on Grandma's journal?"
It's good grandma - is that when you were a teenager?"
That is enough to make grandma smile and feel ancient.
Several other remarks - at lunch she told me she had a good friend at school whose name was Caitlin like her. Shared her mother called her CaityBug like I call her. She went on to say that her friend Caitlin had dark hair and brown skin.
Some sharing from a day with Grandma.

Muse For 2009 - Live Your Best Life

The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other's welcome.
and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all of your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letter's from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Dereck Walcott

Thoughts From One Woman on her Journey Through This Life

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I have always loved the beauty of the Red Neck Pheasant. I had about 6 when I lived in the old farm home and raised small game. When the time arrived to move these were prepared and put in the freezer for a tasty meal. One was taken to the taxidermist. Feel uncomfortable even writing about this and may be I should not. Well one beautiful bird was put in a cage and I had visions of it sitting on top of my English sideboard. My young daughter held the cage and would glance disapprovingly at her mother. We arrived and as the receipt was being made out the telephone rang, the owner of the shop was not present for a few minutes. I wandered around the shop. A shop filled with every type of large and small fish and wildlife. I noticed a curtain closed at the end of the counter and I pulled it aside. There on a table were the skins of a number of pheasant and the forms used to complete their presentation.
So, the question in my mind - is the beautiful bird I picked up several weeks later my pheasant or one of the pheasants in his workroom. Maybe it is one from his workroom and my bird enjoyed his days at the shop owners farm. Pleasant Thought!
Everytime I look at this bird the memory and thoughts surface once again.

Do not like this memory on One Womans Journey through this life