Lost in Your Eyes

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Today was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. It was lovely, and I thought I would share my best wedding song. I’ve performed it at several weddings, and my friends at The Dar Williams’ “Writing A Song That Matters” retreat liked it quite a bit, so I hope you will, too.

Everything I’ve wanted in life, I found, when I found you in my arms.

and all the dreams I’ve sown in the garden of my life have been tended all along by you.

And I love you. I get lost in your eyes.     And nothing else matters, as long as I’m with you.

Perfectly joined, our lives sewn as one—a life we always dreamed of, but we thought it was just a dream.

How-how can I tell you what joy you bring to me? I cannot say it in words of this world, but if you look in my eyes, then you’ll know

That I, I love you. And I get lost in your eyes. And nothing else matters, as long as I’m with you.

‘Cause you, you are the one that I have waited my life for, and how could I believe that I’d ever loved before?

Because I love you. And I get lost in your eyes. And nothing else matters as long as I’m with you-you-as long as I’m with you.

 

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Link to my article

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For those of you who follow my blog but not my Facebook, I wanted to put a link here to my article on Part-time Audiophile. I hope you like it.

https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2018/05/19/encountering-dar-williams/

You’ll have to copy and paste, because I’m not as good at using technology as I am with writing. In fact, I know my blog is not pretty. Would someone like to teach me how to make prettier WordPress articles? I will pay you in food and song.

Dinner on the Cheap

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My grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and one thing people learned to do was to eat on the cheap. How do you turn an one egg, some sour milk and a bit of flour into a feast? Pancakes! 

So maybe you’re as rich as Gwenneth Paltrow and want to perform an experiment on how to feed a family on $100/ week, or you’re broke and clawing to make ends meet, or anywhere in the middle and trying to save some money, this post is for you! 

What would you do if you had $100 extra dollars? Send it to Haiti? Save it? Buy new shoes? Think about that over this tasty dinner:

Tonight I had a hankering for Chinese food but I really didn’t want to shell out for it (or pile the kids into the car to pick up the take-out). So, I looked around the kitchen and came up with a chow mien style dinner and it cost me almost nothing. Best of all? All four kids cleaned their plates. 

My ingredients:

Chinese noodles similar to spaghetti–1/2 package. Cost $0.75

Eggs purchased on sale for $0.79/doz 4 eggs. Cost $0.26

1/2 T Soy sauce (or a packet saved from take out). Cost $0.05

Vinegar, 1 tsp. $0.03

Small onion, $0.20

Swiss chard from my garden. Okay, I know what you’re thinking–not everyone has Swiss chard lying around. But, most people do have dandelion greens or plantain greens growing nearby. Wash ’em, chop them up, and fry them in a little oil-maybe $0.20 worth if you don’t have some left over fat lying around and they’re tasty! Cost $0.00 

Throw in a pinch of garlic powder or a bit of pepper or whatever spices float your boat, and voila! A lovely dinner for 5 under $2.00

First I sautéed the onions and chard in a little left over fat and then boiled the noodles for 5 minutes. Then, I drained the noodles and tossed them into the sauté pan and stirred in the eggs with the seasonings. It took about 15 from start to finish.

More ultra cheap dinner ideas coming soon! If you cook on the cheap long enough, pretty soon you’ll have a nice little cache of cash! 

The Embodiment of Joie de Vivre

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It was spring or summer of 1981; I lived in a white, turn-of-the-century, two-story house on the corner of Rockwell and Linwood in Jackson, Michigan. I was playing on the sidewalk by my front yard when I saw another little girl–just my size–with brown pigtails, brown eyes, and a great big smile. Neither of us was allowed to cross the street on our own, so we shouted our introductions to each other. She swung around the smooth silver painted street sign pole and I did my best to swing around the uneven, slightly rusty STOP sign post.

The little girl’s name was Edwina; and she had recently moved in two doors down with her mama and baby sister. Her papa was a fine chef in a far-away place called Saudi Arabia, but he would come visit with them soon.

In the coming days and weeks, Edwina and I became great friends. And as her baby sister, Christine, got bigger, the three of us played together constantly. We did EVERYTHING together as much as we could. We became part of each other’s families. At that time, my four siblings had not yet been born–Edwina and Christine were my sisters.  We ate grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch on their little back porch. We watched Smurfs together on TV. We made forts out of couch cushions and took naps together in the afternoon. (Well, I wasn’t much of a nap-taker, but I TRIED to be quiet as we lay there in Edwina’s twin bed together, in the little room that Edwina and Christine shared.) When we had sleepovers, their mama, Trish, would give us Yoplait or slices of cheese before bed and read us the most wonderful bedtime stories.

As the days and weeks became months and years, our adventures and our love for each other grew. Their papa, Daniel, came to visit every few months until they all left for Saudi Arabia for about two years. Edwina sent me a postcard with camels on it. I read it over and over. When they came back, it was like they had never left; and then the adventures really took off.

We cross-country skied, we camped, we canoed, we fished and ate good food, enjoyed great music, talked and laughed. Daniel was from France and had a wonderful, thick French accent that made the most wonderful conversations even more memorable.

One time during dinner at their home when I couldn’t have been more than four or five, the conversation turned to God; and Daniel was trying to tell us about His Essence. He was explaining that God was like a Being, but not a human being. I couldn’t understand because the way he said Being sounded like “bean”.  I was so confused. Imagining God super-imposed onto a green bean was all that my young mind could picture: The Great Bean in the Sky. He saw my confusion and explained it away, but I’ll never forget that moment when I wondered what kind of religion could equate God with the food on my plate. It still makes me giggle to this day.

As we got older, he told us “Dad jokes” and they were sufficiently bawdy to throw us into fits of laughter. I wish I could insert a sound file of him telling this one, “Your breath smells so nice; what kind of teethpaste do you use?” Because it sounded just like, “Your breasts smell so nice, what kind of tits-paste do you use?” My other favorite was, “A woman does not need a man to bring her happiness.” Which came out as, “A woman does not need a man to bring her a penis.” We laughed so hard we nearly fell to the floor.

Camping was so much fun. Daniel, like my own dad, was an expert in “roughing it” and for the rest of my life, I will carry with me the lessons about the woods he taught us. He taught us, his girls, how to use the gifts of nature responsibly and with respect. He was quite good with a simple bow and arrow and amazing with a fishing rod. Trout and venison and rabbit really are delicious.  We would add foraged raspberries or vegetables and fungus to our meals–wild water cress and mushrooms made such delightful side dishes. Puffballs tasted amazing fried in a little oil–and morels–oh good Lord! One time up in Cheboygan, Michigan, we were mushroom hunting around some evergreen trees and the call went up as though he had just found El Dorado, “Trish, Trish! Zee Morels! Zee Morels!” Up until the time he gave me fried freshly foraged mushrooms, I thought they were disgusting. After that, I loved them for the amazing delicacies they are. He possessed such expertise (and a really good mushroom book) that I never worried about eating a toadstool as long as he was around.

As we girls entered into young adulthood (well, maybe late adolescence), Daniel taught us to appreciate good wine (French wine was the best, but Michigan wines were pretty good too) and even the simplest meals that he and Trish prepared were absolutely magnificent. Once I was old enough to purchase wine myself, I’d always stop by the St. Julian store he managed in Parma, Michigan and ask his impeccable advice. For my wedding, all the wine was St. Julian.

A year or two after I got married, Edwina called me up with the frightening news. Daniel had kidney cancer. The oncologist told him he had probably six months to live. It was a horrible shock; but Daniel seemed to take the news in stride, and he fought it valiantly for 10 years–ironically outliving his oncologist. In and out of remission, his spirit was always bright. He embodied joie de vivre as much as anyone else I’ve ever known.

When he and Trish moved to Florida, I was sad that I couldn’t pop in and see them anytime like I always had when I went home to Michigan, but we kept in touch periodically. This last June, when Edwina and Dean (a fantastic man!) celebrated their wedding reception at their home in New Jersey, it was wonderful to spend time with my other family. It felt just like old times.

At the wedding reception in New Jersey:  IMG_5454

A few weeks ago, I got another call from my dear friend. Daniel’s cancer had returned and had metastasized into his bones. He was in terrible pain. It was only a matter of time. I wanted to go down to Florida to say goodbye; but as soon as I was able, it was already too late. He was in hospice care and only his family could be there with him. And they were. They sat with him, and prayed with and for him. I said my goodbyes over the phone. I believe he heard me, though he could not speak. Two days later, Wednesday, January 20, 2016, he went home to be with the Great Bean in the Sky.

In the Orthodox Church, when someone dies, we pray, “May his memory be eternal.” Daniel lived life so fully, so richly, so well. He touched so many lives that there is no doubt that his memory could be anything but eternal.

Rest in Peace, dear Daniel, dear Papa. We will do our best to continue your legacy in loving each other, delighting in the natural world, and living life to the fullest.

 

Easiest beer bread recipe EVER

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Ahh, beer! There’s so much to love about beer: drinking it, making beer battered fish, beer can chicken, beer goggles (ok, those have a downside, I suppose), and one of my favorites, beer bread.

Have you ever been suckered into purchasing a beer bread package from one of those home tasting parties? Don’t get me wrong…I think they have good products, but I also think you should save your money for something they have that isn’t as simple as 1-2-3.

When I told my friend and fellow writer, Jeff Roush, that I thought beer might be my topic tonight because beer is just wonderful like that, he replied, “Good call! I agree: beer and its wonderful, versatile beerness” is a great topic. He has a delightful way of overstating the obvious.

Overstating the obvious can be fun and, since it’s free, a little excess won’t hurt–but paying extra for simplicity seems ridiculous to this down-to-earth Angel.

Here is my Grandma Tylutki’s recipe that she passed down to my mom to me. Ready? It’s unbelievably easy. Put some real butter on it while it’s still warm and pair it with a nice soup and you have simple, beautiful comfort food.

Beer Bread

3 c self-rising flour
3 T sugar
1 room temperature beer

Mix well. Use spatula to scrape into greased and floured bread pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack. Slice. Serve. Serve with more beer if you like.

That’s it. Isn’t that amazingly easy? Do you really want to spend $6 PLUS shipping, PLUS around a dollar for a beer? No, you do not. You read http://www.downtoearthangel.com so that means you like doing some things the old-fashioned way AND you like being frugal. It also means you are too smart to ever pay $7 or more for a loaf of beer bread that you still have to bake yourself and then wash the dishes!

Just in case you need some numbers to convince you of the super-duper frugality of this recipe, let’s hash it out:

A 5 lb bag of self rising flour is going to cost you somewhere between $3.00 at Walmart and $8.00 for Bob’s Red Mill. Let’s call it $5 for simple math. That will give you about 15 cups of flour. That’s enough for 5 loaves of beer bread. Your 3 cups per loaf cost $1. A beer costs about $1. An extra beer to drink while making it is another $1. But make sure that one is cold. Warm beer is good for bread, not for drinking, in my opinion. And 3 T of sugar is practically free. You can even “borrow” 9 sugar packets from the coffee shop if you’re really, really cheap.

And let’s not forget how your friends will just gasp with delight when they hear that you’ve made the bread yourself–no, not with a mix–a friend’s old family recipe. Yes, that’s right, a friend’s old family recipe, from scratch. Yup. You just scored major kitchen points, my friend, and all for about TWO BUCKS! You can spend the rest of what you would have paid for the mix on, wait for it…BEER!

You’re welcome.

Eyes of Love

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if ever i beheld such eyes of love,
upon my life, i swear i see them now
my lover’s heart is purer than the dove
his kisses are like sweet wine o! and how

his touch upon my face as we alone
now dance beneath the stars that light the earth
delights me, truer love i have not known
and in him, i have realized new bright

for every love before this blessed night
had left regret and deepest sorrow sown
my new love dressed in heaven’s purest light
is sweeter than the fairest rose bloom grown

my love now hear my promise fair and pure
so shall our love forever more be true
and when the mountain fail to endure
my love will cover you like morning dew

This is a poem I wrote in 1998. I was so in love. But things got really ugly between us and we broke up after 3 years. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone else then. Now, I’m much happier and have a stable, wonderful husband…Oh, how time changes us…

Saying Goodbye

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Saying goodbye is a hard thing to do
You once loved me, and you know I loved you
Although it hurts, it’s better this way.
It would only get worse if we decided to stay.

Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be
We only saw what we wanted to see
And we tried–but it just wasn’t right
What was there yesterday, is gone tonight

I, yes, I will always love you
But I, no, I cannot stay
The problems we hid so well for so long
Have surfaced, and we can’t hide them away, anymore

You will always hold a place in my heart
Our memories will never die
But love’s over; we now part our ways
Saying “I’m sorry” won’t make anything change

I wish that I could say to you
that it will all be the same again–me and you
But I can’t make that guarantee
Only what’s meant to be can be meant to be

I know someday down the line
I’ll find new love, forever in time
What the future might hold, I cannot see
But I promise I’ll never lose the memories

But sometimes, it’s just not meant to be
We only saw what we wanted to see
And we tried, but it just wasn’t right
What was there yesterday, is gone tonight.

This is a song I wrote in 1997 after a break-up with a boyfriend
Copyright 1997 Angel Stoner
renewed 2014 Angel Stoner Haggar