Friday, August 30, 2013

Tender mercies

Marlene Terry
In the turmoil of a busy, LOUD world it's good to be reminded of our blessings. ... Those wonderful tender mercies of the Lord that we hardly notice at times.
Mostly it's because of human nature, I think, that we're so intent on paying attention to what's difficult in our lives. But deep down we all know in spite of the fact that it's much easier to dwell on the negative, we need to rise above it all and be thankful.

Had a wonderful reminder of my own blessings this past weekend when my sweet hubby on his way home from a few days fishing trip noticed the tale-tale bump and resistance of a deflating tire ... not on the truck he was driving but on the trailer he was pulling. And it was, by the way, filled to more than capacity with his camping gear. On top of it all and strapped down was his little float boat. His tools were safe and sound ... but almost unattainable at the bottom of the trailer.

"I said a silent prayer," he told me after he arrived home. "It didn't feel too severe, and because it would have been impossible for me to get to the jack without unloading everything from the trailer right there on the Interstate, I just slowed down and crossed my fingers."

He drove 50 miles more and made it all the way home, backed the trailer into it's parking place, released the trailer hitch and then stood awestruck, as he watched the tire suddenly deflate to the condition you see in the photo today.
Unbelievably the tread and most of the rubber on about a third of the tire was completely gone. ... Don't even want to think about what COULD have happened, had my hubby continued at a higher speed and the tire had blown.

I've been sitting here this morning pulling from memory those many other times I should have noticed angels in my life ... those who even through the hardest challenges, have provided a soft landing, so to speak, for me and those I love.

... The trip in the snowstorm that was so severe it nearly stopped us from getting to our daughter's wedding. ... We were the last car to make it through before officials closed the highway.

... A minimum wage job that came at a time when "no one at all was hiring." It provided the necessities until something else could be found.

... Protection for my sons who served missions for our church in sometimes hostile areas and circumstances. 

... A frightening encounter with a semi for a daughter and her children. The car was totaled but not once scratch was sustained on what mattered most.

... Good health for family members, and the opportunities, although demanding and difficult at times, to make a better life.
... And so much more.  

For all oft times ignored miracles. ... I give thanks!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Girls Only weekend ...

Marlene Terry
Gearing up for it as we speak.
In a few short weeks my girls (daughters, daughter-in-law and granddaughters) will travel south to Salt Lake City, on a "girls-only weekend (GOW)."
This will be our second trip. And I fully expect it will be filled with enough stories to keep us talking until it repeats in another few years.

The last time, we arrived there with the first snowstorm of the season. It was just mid-October, but the snow put us all in a festive mood and had us thinking about the "holidays ahead."

I'm pretty sure we'll visit Gardner Village again, a unique shopping complex that utilizes the olden days homes and the homestead of a pioneer family of the same name.
If you like heirloom items and things of a "country" nature, you can be sure Gardner's Village will deliver. But the best part will be the decorations that, for our weekend, will be in the colors of fall and especially Halloween.

Nothing sinister at all there, but you can count on a fun time for kids of all ages, who as pretend ghosts, goblins and especially witches are invited to come in costume and participate in a variety of "never done that before" activities.

I still smile with memories of our last GOW, when getting into the spirit of things at the village meant that Lora (the head witch in our family) would enter the cackling contest. ... She practiced during the day in one shop after another and had more than one prospective audience member laughing (cackling).

... Lor is a great cackler. Comes from the practice she got being a witch, complete with a broom up on our roof every October. It was always to the delight of hundreds (really) of trick-or-treaters who after the word got out, were anxious to brave the dark and the long scary walk down our country lane just to see what other characters and monsters were lurking there.

Halloween became a family project for us that multiplied greatly in fun over the years. In fact, we maintained a lengthy waiting list containing names of several neighbor kids who wanted to join the cast of The Grime Reaper, mummies, several witches, vampires, ghouls and I think we even had a few ninjas participate from time to time.
... Suffice it to say, cackling was a given.

Our GOW event never fails to bring back those good memories and create many more!

... Now all I have to do is find my floppy black hat, stripped bloomers ... and my camera, of course!  

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Laundry ... now and then ... (part 2)

Marlene Terry
Continuing on with steps No. 3 and 4 in the olden days laundry process:  
The morning after the laundry had been washed, dried on the clothesline and brought in, was typically when Mom watched over us (me and my sisters), and taught us the process of correctly sorting things that needed to be sprinkled (Step. No. 3) and ironed (Step No. 4).

If the phrase "sprinkling items to be ironed" is foreign to you, it's my guess you're part of the younger generation. Those who were born after ... the invention of polyester.
Believe me when I say that I remember those polyester days well. For homemakers back then, it was akin to being a prisoner for years and suddenly receiving a reprieve on a death sentence.
Polyester was the first "no wrinkles ever" fabric. We embraced the idea and celebrated the fact that even though it was ugly, hot, stiff and miserable to wear and would never let go of stains even after repeated washings, being able to just wash and wear the clothing constructed from it made it all worthwhile.

When I was a kid, it seemed that everything had to be ironed. I still remember flattening out my dad's cotton shirts and sprinkling them with water.
"Just damp ... not wet," Mom would say as she stewarded over the process.
Sprinkled items were then rolled into tight bundles and stacked inside a basket and covered to await ironing.

Have I ever told you how much I detest ironing?
Even after being taught the correct method to be able to remove wrinkles from any item of clothing in a masterful way... I just simply hated,hate it.
That's why back then, as well as now, I put off that last step as long as possible.
...  In fact years ago as a young mother with HUGE baskets of sprinkled, ready to iron items, every once in awhile, I would wrap some of those "damp, not wet bundles" in freezer paper and label them "Liver." That way not only would no one ever open them, but they would be frozen, free from mildew and waiting to be ironed for weeks. 

Happily, even ironing has gotten much easier.
Irons that produce heat AND steam have replaced the sprinkling process, And now the trend to wear wrinkles, no matter how horrendous, has become more and more acceptable ... even cool! 
... Good news for me, who as a senior citizen, is quite touchy about discussing wrinkles of any kind ... anytime ... anywhere!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Laundry ... now and then ...

Marlene Terry

Really struck a nerve this morning when I opened up Facebook scanning over what everyone had to say and saw the funny card I'm sharing today.
I mean it just so happens I'm planning to do a little laundry myself. And I'm not talking about opening up the washing machine throwing in a batch of clothes and pushing a button to finish the task.
That's pretty much all we have to do nowadays. OK. You might want to count putting the batch in the dryer later, as another step. But whether or not that part is counted as a duty of a typical laundry day, no one can deny, for most of us, the job has become pretty simple.
I grew up in a time when laundry required a lot of effort. And the thought of throwing away the last few loads as expressed on the card, was even more understandable.

Step No. 1:
When I was a very little girl, 3-4 years old, my mom would retire to the washroom in the basement and pull out from the wall her Twin-Tub Dexter washing machine. Then she'd fill one tub (by hose) with hot water and add soap. It was just water for the other tub.
Dirty clothes were then sorted into batches according to color and were washed. After agitating around for a few minutes, the clothes were taken out, one article at a time, and put through the ringer into the "water only" tub so they could rinse.
One more "through the ringer" process was needed in a few minutes so the clothes could be collected in a basket, taken outside and hung on a clothesline to dry.

Step No. 2.
Memories of the laundry pinned neatly on the clothesline in our backyard while it blew in the wind, is a favorite of mine ... especially in the springtime.
Whites were placed on the first line followed by colored items and last of all, towels and miscellaneous items.
On warm days I would spend hours lying on the lawn underneath the clothesline, watching the clouds roll by while listening to the laundry gently whip back and forth.
... And did I mention the indescribable fresh smell, that no modern-day electric dryer or anything else can duplicate? 
... That was the wonderful perk that always came inside at the end of the day with the dried laundry. ... And for whatever reason, the fresh smelling basket that sat on the kitchen table waiting for the next step in the laundry process, also brought a sense of peace.
... It was a great feeling to know that things had been done properly, were where they should be and all was well.

...  Tune in tomorrow for more!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Big hair ... now ... and then ...

Marlene Terry
Saw an interview with Oprah Winfrey recently. She wasn't asking the questions this time but was being questioned by a talk show host.
And I did listen ... a little. But what caught my attention, and kept me glued to my TV screen was her hair and how really big it was.
... Is it just me or has the volume of her hair really increased as dramatically as I think it has?

The photo of Oprah on the September issue of her magazine speaks volumes (no pun intended) about how huge hair can get. And even though in that particular photo, she was "wearing a wig," as she confessed, it had me thinking back to the days when I myself, went through some pretty dramatic changes as far as hairdos are concerned.

I was just barely a teen when girls my age discovered that backcombing (we called it teasing) the under layers of hair with a toothbrush and then using a pick to spread what was left over the top, could propel hair to phenomenal heights. ... Remember the beehive?

... Oh we still used curlers back then, and would toss and turn all night trying to sleep on them. 
... I still can't figure out whey we did that either. Because when the morning came, the curls and waves were teased beyond recognition with nothing remaining of the soft curly look. Hairspray ... and lots of it ... sealed the deal.

Big hair changed from time to time, but lasted through my high school years and continued on into my young married days. And even though the styles became not as stiff and straight as they'd been previously, they were still VERY BIG.

During the last years of that trend, curlers became obsolete.Then curling irons took over and fried hair into large loops. The rule? The more the better. And with time and practice, the loops could be arranged, pinned and sprayed to stay.

Really had me laughing as I viewed some photos of me and my hairdos from my Brownie Scout days ... all bangs and glasses, the backcombed and scary, high school years and the season when I, as a young mom, still found the time to position what looked to be 3-5 pounds of those aforementioned loop curls on top of my head.
... I was also taken back by how tired and skinny I looked. 

... But then the weight of the hair had to be fatiguing.... And the height and finished size of the hairdo in comparison to my average-size body?
... Well suffice it to say, I probably wasn't as skinny as I looked.  

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Friday, August 23, 2013

A stupor of thought ... 450 words ...

Marlene Terry
Ever had one of those "stupor of thought" days?
You know. It's that space etched in time that happens after experiences and sometimes life lessons leave you absolutely speechless and unable to express your feelings.

It happens to writers especially after delivering descriptive text, hour after hour, day after day and year after year. Some call it "writer's block." And believe me when I say it really does happen.

... Like now.

Got up this morning and try as I might I just couldn't think of one thing to write about. ... Even after four squares of chocolate, looking through my "photos to use for the column" file, and running up and down the stairs several times to increase the flow of blood to my brain 
... OK. I only ran up and down the stairs once, but my intentions were good. ... I also became pretty skilled at hitting the garbage can with rolled up paper balls ... but NOTHING!

It was like the time one of my very shy teenage sons, unbeknownst to me, appeared on stage at a community talent night, dressed as Tina Turner and lip synced "What's Love Got to Do With It."  ... I was definitely speechless then. ... Or my blind date with Roy, a cross between a hillbilly and a Neanderthal.
His claim to fame and what he said "em-pressed the gals the most" was he could "hawk a loogie" (don't ask if you don't know the meaning of that) further than anyone around!
... I promise it was only in self defense that I remained silent that night ... as well as being from another country and not able to understand the language, as my friends explained to him.

Still fresh in my mind is the night I received my engagement ring. It will always be a wonderful 'without words' memory. 
The truth is, it was a huge surprise, I was on cloud 9 ... 10 ... and 11 at the same time, and for all intents and purposes and although the tears flowed freely for hours, I just really didn't know what to say.

The birth of each of my children and later my grandchildren, have also been thrilling but quiet, reverent moments ... and all those unexpected expressions of love and appreciation too.

... And what about that unbelievably beautiful December sunset a few years ago? Took my breath away ... and all my words!

... So because it's one of those days for me today ... for this column at least, just sit back, relax, close your eyes and think of your own "stupor of thought" moments ... soak up the feeling, smile and enjoy!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Signs are everywhere ...

Marlene Terry
It’s in the air. Although it makes no sense at all, what with the hot temperatures of the past several weeks. 
All evidence to the contrary though, there are signs everywhere that fall is approaching ... and fast.

Saw a school bus zoom by the other day and stop on the corner near my house. It filled up quickly with kids from the nearby parked cars, several of them casting a final, mournful glance back at where they came from. That event was soon followed by a caravan of cars driven by who I assume were the moms of those kids, all with ear-to-ear smiles and headed toward town.

The youngest of the bunch were included in the few who made U-turns right there in the street and headed back to their homes while fighting back the tears. … And I completely understood.
After all it doesn’t seem that long ago, that I myself sobbed uncontrollably  when one by one, each of my children reached the right age and had to go to school too.

Back then it was only a half day of kindergarten. But their absence never failed to leave a hole in my heart the size of Texas.

In addition to the kids heading back to school, this is also the time of the year  when you notice neighborhood parks are empty all day. Later, they fill up with pint-sized football players who, eagerly learning the skills of that tough game, practice hard in order to be confident before their first grid-kid confrontation.

Harvested fields, which are much more abundant now, are also harbingers of the upcoming season and sport an especially beautiful shade of gold.
In fact they're absolutely breathtaking in the light of a setting sun, that by the way, is retiring below the horizon much earlier than before.
It's also very, very quiet. ... No sounds at all of tractors or any other equipment preparing the soil for another planting … It's apparent. ... The time has come to rest!

Of course Labor Day is still ahead ... Really wouldn't want to rush it either, as it is summer's last hurrah!
But when that's over, and the leaves begin to change color and fall from the trees, then mark my word. It's time to abandon carefree warm days of the recent past and embrace the fresh, invigorating and chilly days that are on the way and I promise ... will be here soon.
... As I said. The signs are everywhere.

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A thumb of a different color ...

Marlene Terry
Never have been one to boast about my "green thumb" abilities.
I mean try as I might I just have never been able to catch on to the secret of gorgeous flowers without much effort, bountiful crops in the tiniest garden space, or even how to make house plants thrive.

I know they're out there ... super gardeners who, like a daughter of mine, have the knack to be able to fill their baskets with every kind of produce imaginable. 
Mary plants and grow peas, beans, tomatoes and cucumbers in grow boxes of-all-things, harvests them and even has enough to share with others. ... And it's those kind of people who just look at me and laugh whenever I share my "hardship with plants" stories.

My hubby, who for obvious reasons has sole charge of our veggie garden, can tell you. There have been times when plants seem to visibly wilt with the news that I will be their caretaker.
Actually he even hesitated a few days ago when he knew he would have to turn over just the watering duties to me while he was gone for a few days.
"You know that you can't stand over the plants with the hose running full force on them, don't you?" He questioned me before he left.

And everything went well until a few evenings ago when a fast moving storm arrived.
There was thunder of course, lightning and wind. Lots of it. And when the skies cleared there was some cleanup needed to clear the yard of leaves, broken tree limbs and ... ugh!

I'm not exactly sure what happened to the clematis (see photo), that has grown "like a weed," so to speak up the trellis. ... Really. It's been so prolific my hubby has had to cut it back almost on a daily basis.
Knowing my history with growing things, it's going to be a stretch for him to believe that following the storm, I just walked out to the front yard and found the plant, still attached to the trellis, but wrecked after being ripped up by the roots from its place in the garden next to the house.

... Hmm. Wonder if he'd go for a dramatized, with tears, "the plant" sniff, sob, sniff ... "committed suicide" account? ... Worth a try. I think!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chicken Dinner ... more than a meal ...

Marlene Terry
I guess not everyone is curious about why a street, avenue or boulevard was given a certain name. But there are those names that no matter how you try, you just can't assign an easy explanation to. ... And so ...  you wonder.

Take the Treasure Valley in Idaho, with streets in Boise, Emmett, Caldwell, Meridian and Nampa, for instance. Ever hear of Frozen Dog Road, Black Cat Road, Old Penitentiary Road, Freeze Out Road or Chinden?
There's a wonderful, surprising story behind every one. And I promise we'll get to them as time goes by. Right now though I want to focus on the street that grabbed my attention shortly after we arrived in the valley. 
Never had heard a name quite like the one given to a road out in the sticks, so to speak, of the Caldwell/Nampa area. And I don't know how  many times I've driven down "Chicken Dinner Road," and made up my own version of what must have happened for the road to be named that.
I was close on a few of my guesses, But nothing equals the fun facts of the REAL story.

As in so many great tales the origin of the name began long ago. Back in the 1930s when C. Ben Ross was serving as governor of Idaho.

Back then, the governor's close friends, Morris and Laura Lamb, lived along the then unnamed road.
Mrs. Lamb was a renowned cook, and the governor, who enjoyed dinners there, was especially fond of her fabulous fried chicken ... not to mention her wonderful homemade rolls and apple pie.

It had to be during the winter months, I think. You know, when dirt roads were wet and muddy and getting from the governor's home to the Lamb's home, was an unpleasant process. 
I'll bet it was then the conversation between Mrs. Lamb and Ross heated up.

First Mrs. Lamb complained about the pitiful state of roadway outside her house.
The governor, because of his frequent trips there, was no stranger to the conditions she spoke of. And probably because he also wished for an easier route himself, he struck a deal with her.
If she could talk to the appropriate officials and convince them to grade and gravel the road, he told her, he would make sure it was oiled.

The rest is history.

Mrs. Lamb got her part of the deal done. And the governor reciprocated with the oil.

Now close your eyes and imagine, miles of dirt roads out in the valley, barren and unkempt for years. In the midst of it all was one stretch oiled, the part that just happened to run in front of the Lamb's home. 
Why is it IT graded, graveled and oiled? I'm sure folks wondered. And with everyone adding a little more to what they knew, the story became a topic for conversation ... and laughter.

Is it any wonder then, that one day (the day after Halloween to be exact) the Lamb's woke up to see the words "Lamb's Chicken Dinner Avenue," painted in big bright letters on the freshly oiled surface of the road?

Other accounts also agree that children passing by the Lamb's home in the school bus every day, joined in the fun by chanting the words, "chicken dinner, chicken dinner, chicken dinner," through open windows.

... And with all that attention to one of the only oiled roadways around ... is there anyone out there who is really surprised that the name "Chicken Dinner" stuck?

... Me either!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Aprons ...

Marlene Terry
When I think of my grandmother the image of her standing on the front porch at our little house on 3rd South always comes to mind.

By the time I got to know her, she was already old. At least that's what I thought. Her hair, long and snow white, was always twisted into a plain, no fuss bun and her face was free from makeup. She also wore those sturdy (and always black) grandma shoes, and never appeared in public without them or without ... her apron.

You know. Aprons used to be standard fare for a lady of the house. The purpose? To keep the wearer's dresses (the one or two they owned) unspotted and tidy.
Funny I think, that I really don't remember what any of Grandma's dresses looked like. But her aprons? Unforgettable.

She preferred the olden days cobbler type — made, many times, from recycled flour sacks. Now and then however, when there was extra money to spend she'd sew one up from a bright-colored floral print.
Grandma's aprons slipped over her head, had one or two HUGE pockets in front and tied in a bow in the back. But it was how she used her aprons, far beyond the purpose they were intended for, that I remember most.

I learned early on that an apron can be a handy basket. Pull the bottom ends together with one hand and use the other to fill the space with apples, or tomatoes, cucumbers and melons from the garden.
Grandma's apron also served her as a hand towel when she needed dry hands or a rag to clean off the counter, a hot pad for removing her delicious pies and raisin-filled cookies from the oven, an arm and hand warmer so she could wrap up, stand on the porch and visit with neighbors on chilly days, and when necessary, a handkerchief for a child's runny nose.

When bad news came, Grandma's apron became twisted and strained to relieve the stress she felt. It also covered her face to hide and dry the tears that flowed both, when her heart was full of joy and/or challenges just got to be  more than she could bear.

That being said, after decades when the apron has had little or no purpose and place in modern-day life, I'm pleased to report the trend towards them seems to be returning.

... Just a few days ago I watched from my window and saw a neighbor standing on her front porch using an apron, of-all-things, to wave goodbye to loved ones who were leaving after a few days visit. 
... And yes, she also dabbed away some tears before going back inside.

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Saturday rituals ...

Marlene Terry
Summer Saturdays in our town, other than coming every week, also bring traditions that are so ingrained in the culture of the area, that the chances of them not happening are as likely as the sun failing to rise in the morning. ... In other words, it's a given. 
And you might as well get used to it because IT WILL OCCUR.

In our cul-de-sac the ritual begins around 7 a.m.
For some time prior to the day, neighbors gather many miscellaneous items, that other than dusting them off now and then, and finding a place to store them, have discovered they absolutely have no beneficial use and the time has come to part ways.

That's when plans for a garage/yard sale are born.

Successful garage/yard sales are on any Saturday and depending on the weather ... nothing worse than trying to keep your junk dry and looking attractive in the rain, the determination of the shopper to find a parking space exactly AT the location of the sale, and no matter what, find the best bargain EVER, the sale will probably be finished around 7 that evening. However there are times when things extend into Sunday and once in awhile even Monday.
... That's when all that's left on the tables are parts of things that look familiar and scream to potential buyers "I'm ugly. Please take me home!"

Last weekend our next door neighbors hosted a big one ... a garage/yard sale, that is.
They advertised it well and the "stuff" offered, much more than just old clothes, was plentiful.
It's important for you to know that I'm no prude. In fact, I hoped from the first, that the experience would be a good one for them. But I just hadn't counted on the attitude of some of the shoppers themselves.

The photo you see today of what appears to be a used car lot was taken from where my car was parked INSIDE my garage ... right after I raised the door thinking ... foolishly ... that people who come to that kind of a sale would surely recognize that there were several other non-garage/yard sale houses around and would never, and under no circumstances, block the way for homeowners to leave!

Silly me.

In defense of those shoppers I was able to sneak out around noon to do some grocery shopping. But when I returned home my driveway as well as the entire cul-de-sac was filled to overflowing with vehicles.

I pulled up in back of the car parked in my driveway and waited patiently. And after a few minutes I pushed the button that opened the garage door. "Certainly," I thought, "that will be a signal that I need to be able to drive in ... someday."
That's when the gentleman who was parked in front of me, waiting for his wife to finish her shopping next door, walked back to inform me that it was going to be awhile before he could move and I might as well park where I was.
After all, he added, "We were here first!"

... As I said, might as well get used to it because I promise ... IT WILL OCCUR!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Elephant Ears ...

Marlene Terry
When I lived in eastern Idaho I always looked forward to this time of the year. Made me happy that the weather was beginning to cool at last, but it also meant the Fair was about to come to town.

I really have never been one to adore crowds. Don't get me wrong. I'm no recluse. I love doing things with friends and family. ... Just not a million friends and family at one time.
The little fairgrounds at Blackfoot, home to the Eastern Idaho State Fair, were always jammed packed. Not just packed ... overflowing. And during my first visit, in the afternoon on the busiest day, my inability to EVEN move a step or two at times, had me thinking, that in spite of the fun, there were better places to be.

Then what kept me attending?
I loved the displays of course, carnival rides, photos in booths where you sit with a friend and make faces that you laugh about for years, and the machines that for a few dollars can analyze your handwritten signature and accurately pinpoint what type of personality you are.
What I looked forward to the most however was the 'Fair Food,' not to be mistaken for food that is just fair, but food that no matter how you try, you can't find or duplicate it exactly, anywhere else.

During that first year at the Fair there were of course the normal choices such as funnel cakes, fried ice cream, corn dogs, and cotton candy. But what became my personal favorite? ... Elephant Ears!
Might be called by a different name other places, but at the Blackfoot Fair it's a GIANT scone. Really! About the size of a dinner plate, that's fried to a golden brown and covered with a sugar/cinnamon mixture.
... And did I mention that you're also given about a cup of honey butter for topping purposes? 
That means if any part of that wonderful pastry is missed with the sugar you can compensate on your own.
The most amazing fact for me was that getting an Elephant Ear was worth everything I had to endure ... the heat, pushing and shoving, standing in line a half hour or more and even eating it while I was shuffled along with the crowd, that despite my resistance took me with them anyway.  

Needless to say, this year and against my better judgment, I'll be there again, not in Blackfoot, but right here in the Treasure Valley when the Western Idaho Fair opens (Aug. 16-25) ... ... maybe even every day if necessary.

... And why?

I've found that Elephant Ears aren't indigenous to just EASTERN Idaho. They're here too!
... See you at the Fair. 

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at

*Click on Under the Nut Tree tab above for a fun and easy Elephant Ear recipe.
*Click on the Community Event tab for a link to every Western Idaho Fair event you need to know about.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Something to be happy about ...

Marlene Terry
Don't know if you remember or ever saw the movie "Romancing the Stone" with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. But the beginning scene never fails to make me laugh. Not just because it's supposed to do that ... it's is an action/COMEDY film after all ... but because it's so much like ME.

As the movie begins, Joan Wilder ... Kathleen Turner's character ... is alone in a room at her house, busy finishing her most recent romance novel.
There she is without makeup, dressed in her PJs and slippers, typing as fast as her fingers will go, crying out loud and wiping away the tears with tissues from a near empty box of Kleenex. In her mind she imagines the happy ending of her story.  
It's one of those "the hero saves the girl and they ride off into the sunset" kind of scenes. The tears increase. She sighs with relief and finishes just in time to make her deadline and deliver the manuscript to her publisher.

Can't say I'm a romance novelist or even that I have a publisher waiting with bated breath for each of my installments. But I can tell you that there have been numerous Kleenex boxes I've emptied through the years. And it's all because writing takes me, without makeup and dressed in MY PJs and slippers, sobbing back to wonderful memories and experiences. ... And then ... there's also ... chocolate!

Can't imagine being able to tell stories of love, laughter and mishap without it. Those who know me well and from time to time gift me with a new brand, type or size of that addictive, pacifying candy, understand!
That's why I'm sitting here this morning enjoying part of a recent gift, Lindt/Lindor Extra Dark Chocolate Pieces and wondering how I've lived so long without it.  
Irresistibly smooth as it states on the package, that truffle-like candy is to die for!

Now I'm not going to bore you with the details of how chocolate, a vegetable and especially the dark variety, lessens brain damage caused by a stroke, improves memory, acts as an endorphin in depression (actually acts as an endorphin all the time for me) and although contrary to popular belief is actually GOOD for the skin ... really! But I will pass on the fact that in a recent study it also was found to reduce body mass!

... Don't ask me. I have no idea how that happens. ... I AM however, very happy about it!

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at

♦♦ For one of my all time favorite "chocolate" recipes, click on Under the Nut Tree above. ... Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Caramel popcorn and a funny movie ...

Marlene Terry
Recently sang "Happy Birthday" by way of an online text message to my sweet sister-in-law Sue. She responded with a message of her own. "Second only to Josh Groban," she chided. Needless to say, besides being one of the best people I know, Sue also has a great sense of humor.

We were lucky to live nearby during the first years after she and her equally great hubby, Rick, moved to Idaho.
Spending special holidays together was a given back then. We also shared life experiences, buoying up one another when the going got rough and disappointments and even heartbreak threw us for a loop. Knowing that we had the support of someone who really cared was paramount in being able to overcome those challenges and go on.

We also spent a lot of time laughing. It was a standard joke at our house that Sue and Rick along with their kids, HAD to make their weekly trips to see us in order to satisfy their need for sugar.
Svelte as can be, then and now, they only provided healthy foods at their home for us to indulge ourselves. ... But our caramel popcorn ... all you could eat ... along with a funny movie became a favorite for us all.

Busy lives and distance, as we soon lived hundreds of miles apart, diminished greatly our get-togethers. But there's never been a time when something happens that reminds me of Sue and what we've shared, that it doesn't bring a smile and make me grateful that she's part of my life. ... Even better ... a relative!

That's why I'm sitting here thinking of her today and the struggle she's had with treatment for cancer. Wish so much I could be there to give her hug, cry with her when times are hard and even laugh with her, pretending that it's just a normal part of life to be nauseous and dizzy all the time ... as well as the ultimate humiliation for a woman ... hairless.
In her wonderful style, Sue started a blog about her experience ( and bravely posted photos of the day that what was left of her beautiful blonde locks was shaved away.
Of course she cried, just as I'm crying now telling the story, but the important thing to know is, hair or not, she's the same wonderful example she's always been.
That's why in spite of everything, she proceeded forward to participate in a 25-mile Spinderella (bicycle) event, attends church each week, entertains friends and family at her home ... always wanting them linger, and still, no matter what, has that beautiful smile of hers for everyone she meets.

Just this past week I learned that Sue has nearly completed those life saving, hard on the body, chemo treatments and will now move on to radiation for a few weeks.
"I definitely have metal mouth, tiredness and nausea," she commented in her most recent post. "But I'm able to do light exercise and my appetite is really good!"

... And all I can say to that is: "How does a visit with some caramel popcorn and a funny movie sound, Sue? ... Really soon!"

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at