A country kitchen without the kitsch
One of My Stories / July 12, 2020

True Story: there were geese in my kitchen the first time I saw it. Flocks of Geese, marching around the room in a wall-paper boarder, and each of them wearing pink ribbons and blue bonnets. You’ll never see a photo of those birds because I yanked them down the day we moved in. It was my first home improvement. The kitchen and I may be country but neither of us has to be kitsch. I know from Country kitchens because I grew up in those, clear back to my Mimmy’s house in southern Oklahoma. It was square-sized room, open enough to prepare meals for eight and feed them all at the kitchen table, provided everyone squinched up a bit. There was the obligatory oversized sink, usually something green growing in a jar in it’s window, and a view of Mimmy’s roses beyond. But most of all, her kitchen was built for purpose. It didn’t have whimsical wallpaper, “stunning” countertops, or decorative sconces. Its beauty was in its comfort and simplicity, its imperfections, and its age. That’s the kind of decor I can stand before Morning Coffee. Not anything cutesy or ironic. And the fact is, My home has another country…

DIY-ing with a Round Tuit-Ist
One of My Stories / June 24, 2020

My husband and I have what you might call “a mixed marriage.” Not because he’s Southern-born, while I’m a Prairie Girl, and not because we’ve been known to vote for different candidates. The division goes deeper than that. The fact is, I like DIY and Home Improvement projects and my husband is a Round Tuit-ist. I’ll bet you know a Round Tuit-Ist (or, if you’re just reading this in 2059, you may be one). Round Tuit-ists are very nice people. They love to listen to your ideas. And, if you need a hand, they are happy to help. “Absolutely, as soon as I get around to it”, they say. And you will grow old and gray, waiting for them to get that Round Tuit Which is why, when it came to painting the kitchen, I knew it would be difficult for my Round Tuit-ist. Part of him really wants to help, or at least for me to find something else to talk about besides the kitchen. But he’s never really ready to start a project. He’s not sure we have exactly what we need or if the area is sufficiently prepped. In other words, he hasn’t found his Round Tuit….

Renovation by committee
One of My Stories / June 11, 2020

There’s this thing about having writer’s block: it blocks the ability to create with words, it doesn’t affect the Creative Drive. Which can be really frustrating. So, when I couldn’t get any words down on paper, I took a hard look at my home. Now, I’m pretty blind when it comes Interior Design. But even I could see my kitchen cabinets needed a new paint job. So, I decided to get a little help from my friends Well, maybe the term “friends” is an overreach. Actually, like a lot of “enthusiastic but unsure” participants in the DIY movement, I belong to a social media group interested in home decorating and design. The other members are very nice people as a rule, and some have quite a bit of decorating knowledge. So, I asked them a simple question: “This is a picture of my red kitchen that I want to repaint. The thing is, I’m not sure about the color. I don’t want to paint the cabinets white because white’s not practical for our kitchen and I can’t afford to change the floors, appliances or countertops. What about a nice gray? I’ll say one thing for my fellow DIY buddies; they…

When the WordyGurdy Shuts Down
One of My Stories / May 31, 2020

Hi, my name is Leslie, and I have Writer’s Block. It’s been 20+ weeks since my last blog post. Truthfully, I doubt if anyone’s noticed. The internet is an Information Niagara that dumps billions in bytes of new content everyday. If one or even a thousand bloggers dry up, there’s still a ton of words pouring in to be read. Just, none of them have come from me. I promise, this isn’t a self-pity pitch crying “Why don’t you miss me?” It’s an explanation about why I’ve gone radio silent. And a bit of an apology for my behavior. But the fact is, my WordyGurdy, that is my ability to write, shut down around Christmas and it hasn’t cranked out a sentence since. WordyGurdy, is a term I learned from Stephen King reading his wonderful book, Bag of Bones. In the story, a very nice writer-guy, (lots of those fellows inhabit SK books) talks about this imaginary doo-hockey inside his brain, named a WordyGurdy, that churn out sentences and paragraphs as he creates. It’s a great idea. My WordyGurdy looks (I think) something like an accordion with typewriter keys, and something like a Barrel Organ. When it’s working you can…

Blueberry Scones for Christmas
One of My Stories / December 24, 2019

Tales of a Failed Domestic Goddess Maybe it’s because of the Season. Or because I had too much time off. Or maybe it’s because my Darling Husband streams the British Baking Show whenever possible. For whatever reason, I lost my reason today and tried to make Scones for Christmas. Ever since we went to England this fall, I’ve developed a penchant for Scones. Not those dried, too-sweet biscuits with the hard rock sugar glaze they sell at the bakeries here, but proper scones served in English tea shops. Thick, warm, rich, flaky things with just a hint of sweetness. I can’t find those anywhere. So today, with a day off and England on my mind, I decided to try to make some myself. Now, I am no one’s idea of a baker. I mean I got D’s in Home Ec. (They don’t flunk you if you show up to class) But with all the baking blogs out there, I figured I’d find one with enough scone-making tips to make a product worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake. The misadventure begins I bought the ingredients listed in one promising baking blog and was back in my kitchen before I noticed the…