Saturday, February 28, 2009


I believe I can speak on the subject of the '50's wedding with some degree of knowledge if not expertise – at least as it occurred in my small, rural home town. I was a child in the '50s, but oh! – one of my favorite things was a wedding. I had a bride doll and wedding paper dolls. (I can't find the doll but still have the paper dolls on display in the vintage sewing room.) There were lots of weddings – my parents put on three themselves – and it was a time when many of their friends were also putting on weddings.

The format of the wedding was always the same -- that was the point. You've probably heard that we were sheep in that age. My mother had her copy of the wedding bible authored by Emily Post, and whether she was hosting a wedding or attending as a guest, she always – always – consulted Emily Post on the proper protocol. When I could read, I began to study the wedding bible myself. Fascinating! In the weddings section were all kinds of instructions, including diagrams of how the wedding party should move down the aisle.

So anyway, you would receive your engraved, double-enveloped invitation. You might note some deviation in card stock and type face but that was about it. Oh, I was thrilled if my name appeared on the envelope, and I was allowed to go only if specifically invited, as stated in the wedding bible. I was positive not everyone knew that rule; they really meant for me to come, I was certain, but didn't realize the omission of my name would cause me to be left out. I knew that some folks didn't follow the wedding bible like my mother did, but Mother followed the wedding bible strictly. I remember only two occasions when she took me when I wasn't invited – once because the wedding in question was in Lewiston and she couldn't leave me behind, and once when my dad couldn't go and she didn't want to go alone. (By the way, I still have a soft spot in my heart for children at weddings. I will tolerate that.)

Because the wedding was a church event and the wedding party would be beautifully dressed, we honored that by also wearing our best – and our hats and gloves. We arrived at the church in a timely manner 10 or 15 minutes before the appointed hour and sat quietly while someone played the organ, watching the aisle as other guests were seated. When things were rather quiet, that's when I would strain to see what was happening at the back of the church. The seating of the mother of the groom and then the mother of the bride signaled that we could expect to see the bridal procession soon. Oh the anticipation! And we knew these people – that's why we were there. We knew the bride's family and perhaps also the groom's family. And we knew most of the other guests. That's one reason it was such fun to go. After what seemed an eternity of waiting, the organist (either Beulah Shields or Joanne Hutchinson) struck that wonderful chord and the first of the attendants started down the aisle – oh so slowly. Oh what pretty gowns! And we watched carefully – we strained to see all the attendants. The number of attendants was an indication of how fancy this event was. There weren't a lot of ways in which to make a statement, but the number of attendants was one of those ways. Were the attendants all dressed alike? Were the gowns all the same color? Is there a flower girl? Now from whatever point in the wedding march, the organist makes a dramatic pause and again strikes a chord for attention. The bride's mother stands – or everyone else stands, taking the bride's mother by surprise. "Here comes the bride" on the arm of her father. Oh, we haven't seen such a pretty dress since the last wedding!

It was difficult to sit through the ceremony – the worst part of the whole event. Mother would feed me LifeSavers to keep me from fidgeting. But eventually the ceremony would come to its happy conclusion and the wedding party that moved in so slowly and solemnly would exit so quickly. Hopefully no one would trip. And row by row the guests would be dismissed to the reception, which was more than usually in the church basement. My parents hosted the receptions for my sisters at our house, and I remember going to the Ted Walrath home when Margot was married. But most receptions were at the church. You mingled with other guests and visited about the wedding and other topics of general interest. At some point a receiving line would be organized so that you could greet the attendants, tell the mother of the bride how wonderful everything looked, and wish the happy couple well. "Kathy was so pleased that you included her on your guest list," my mother would say. "Oh yes! we're so glad Kathy could come," the bride's mother would reply. It seemed a long time until they cut the cake, but eventually it would be my turn to choose a piece of cake and other treats off the table. Often there would be groom's cake – usually a little bit of fruitcake wrapped in foil and then netting and tied with ribbon. If you were unmarried, you could slip that little piece of cake under your pillow and dream of the one you would marry – or so folklore has it.

The wedding was usually a Saturday afternoon event – sometimes Friday night. I never heard of a wedding event that involved dinner or dancing and we didn't expect that. And if these families were attempting to out-do one another, I wasn't aware of that. There may have been some sense of competition, I suppose, but I think for most families it was about doing the standard thing for your daughter. What made it special was that it was this young woman's turn to be the bride, her family's turn to do for her – her turn to be feted, her turn to wear the beautiful gown, her turn to be surrounded by her friends in dresses she chose. Her marriage might be blessed or unblessed, but no matter what the future would bring, this was her day. And while this type of event may have strained the family budget a bit, I think it was doable for most families. KW

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Stan and Betty Sanders were visiting in August 1956, so it was natural that the Dobson and Portfors families unite for a picnic on the farm. Stan was Grandma Ina Dobson's oldest grandchild, while I was the youngest. And Stan was Grandpa Charlie (Papa) Portfors' nephew by marriage. It was a time of change. Joni and Pat had just married in June, L.J. Reece was just a year old, and Grandma Portfors had been gone a year.

Here's a picture of how the house looked at that time. That deciduous tree in the foreground is not the maple that's there now. And see the big pine just behind the back porch? That's the one that fell on the house in '96, starting the remodel project. The car is Papa's Lincoln.

Why are these people gathered at the back of the house? – you might ask. Because that's where the shade is. Managing your summer comfort by enjoying the shade -- something you don't see much any more, the impact of air-conditioned indoor comfort.

Note how these folks are using a camp cot for a table. Some people prefer to eat at a table rather than balancing food on their laps – even at a picnic. I guess they made-do in this informal setting.

The fellas are sitting on the old cistern. Note the ice cream freezer. My dad loved to make homemade ice cream. He began by cooking the eggs and sugar and used real, honest-to-gosh farm cream. It coated your mouth with creamy goodness.

And here's my mother with her daughters: Joni, the newlywed; Harriet, the young mother; my mother with her arms around me, now moving into the second grade; and Nina, who would marry Jerry Profitt the next year. Note the dresses and high heels. I'm not sure why I'm wearing my "school shoes" with a Sunday school dress, but I remember Mother was insistent and that I hated it. Clodhopper shoes and a dressy dress just don't go together.

We repeated that summer picnic on the farm for several years to celebrate Papa's birthday (July 31, 1875). We have many pictures of those events – all slides. How useless slides have become! I really have to deal with that for the extended family's benefit.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


What would you do if, in the course of honest shopping, you got home with something you didn't pay for? Perhaps you carried a dozen plants to the check-out and upon arriving home you discovered you were charged for only six. Or you put four bundles of plastic containers in your cart and discovered you were charged for only two. Or at an elegant jewelry shop you bought Lennox china on sale and discovered upon checking your receipt that an error was made in your favor. Would you go back to the store to make it right? Over the years the above scenarios have happened to me.

Saturday afternoon I stopped by Jo-Ann's Fabric Store. I've been lazy about getting into another sewing project, coming off a less than satisfactory experience and not quite sure what to make next. So I bought a yard of fabric to make a sundress for a little girl I know and 3 ¾ yards of a sheer to make a cover-up, or over-blouse, for myself. The sheer was on the markdown shelf at $2.00 per yard. By trying the pattern on a markdown, I will have something I can use if I like it but won't be out so much if I don't. I checked out and came home.

But it bothered me. The amount I paid just didn't seem enough. So, I sat down with pen and paper and added it all up. It took me a while to see that the markdown fabric was listed on the receipt as "regular price $7.50," which certainly looked odd, and it did not transfer to the totals column. Mike and I discussed the error and decided I should return to the store with my receipt and explain the problem. I had misgivings: this is the same retailer that couldn't figure out how to refund my credit card on a return, so they gave me cash; the same retailer that charged me for two packs of expensive needles when I bought only one.

The first cashier I approached was inexperienced and unable to handle the issue. (Why was I not surprised?) She called for another associate, the same one that had cut the fabric for me the previous day. Grabbing a calculator, she carefully added the figures in the totals column and agreed with my conclusion – I hadn't paid for the sheer fabric. In conversation I mentioned perhaps the difficulty was with their system. "Yes," the associate said, "we own the system – for good or bad." In the end, they gave me half off the total in appreciation for letting them know. I'm not sure they appreciated it.

"If I hadn't gone in with you," Mike said, "I wouldn't have believed it could take so long. I would have wondered what you were doing in there." Yeah – what would I be doing in Jo-Ann's? KW

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Mike and I put Nellie in the Magnum this morning and headed out. Our first stop was the Ruth Modie Wildlife Park which the Modie Conservancy and the City of Lewiston have been in the process of developing for the last 20 years or so. Its location is a gully below Broadview Drive where we used to live. Mike placed a multi-cache there some years back which was in need of maintenance.
Those of you who have walked the trail through the park would notice a lot of change. The first photo shows the trail entrance at the top of 13 Street. The pyramidal structure is a small-scale copy of the original gateway markers such as those that are on 8th Street near the former Christian Science Church. Here's a photo of one of the old markers and one of the new at the other end of the trail. Preserving these markers has been a goal of the Modie Conservancy and the copies have been placed along the path as a means of disseminating wildlife information. The path through the park includes benches, plantings, and now a dedicated parking lot and a rest station behind the Veterans' Home.

From the park we drove to the top of the Lewiston Hill and turned onto the Old Spiral Highway so that we could look for a geocache near the top. We found it handily even though we had come away with the wrong stack of "cheat sheets." Note that someone used this lovely spot to dump an old refrigerator and some trash. Yes, there were bottle caps; however, they had been carefully replaced on the bottles and I couldn't get them off. A bottle opener was standard in the glove compartment of my parents' car, but we don't carry one.

Luck was with us again at the next cache off Down River Road. "We" easily found that cache and Mike recorded it while I took pictures. Those of you who know Lewiston will see familiar landmarks in this photo. Sorry for the utility lines.

After lunch at Subway, we were unable to find a cache in the artistic fountain at the new Bank of Whitman building at Diagonal and Bridge Streets, so we went on to a site off Valley View above Vineland Cemetery. This picture of sailboats on the Snake was taken from that location. Look closely and you can see golfers at the Clarkston Country Club. While Mike found the cache I gathered a pocketful of bottle caps. Although this is an upscale residential area, it evidently appeals to teen-agers as a parking spot. Awful to see such trash anywhere but almost unthinkable right in the middle of such a nice area.
It's good to be home now. The temperature in the house is gradually rising while the outside temp begins to drop. We had hoped for a warmer day, but we had fun in spite of the chill in the air. KW

Friday, February 20, 2009


When I was growing up, my sister Nina often brought her children and came to our house for the weekend. She and Mother would sew – it seems like there was always something in progress. Of course, they had a built-in baby-sitter / helper – me -- and they took advantage of that. I could watch kids, prepare meals and snacks according to directions, wash dishes, and do other odd jobs so that they could keep working. I have good memories of those times.

I remember how Nina loved "orange loaf." It seems like she was always bringing an orange loaf when she came – orange loaf or sponge cake -- and I seem to remember she was ever experimenting to perfect her recipe. Though I didn't say so, I thought it was sort of silly – this orange loaf business – a lot of time spent on something that didn't even have chocolate in it. It was a little too delicate and refined for my tastes in those days. But in recent months I guess I got a little hungry for orange loaf, and the memories flooded back. I looked through cookbooks and searched online but was not satisfied with what I found. But to my joy, when I brought Mother's recipe box back from the farm, I found the old Betty Crocker recipe for orange loaf glued to a card and tucked right in front of the box. The spattered, yellowed paper attests to its age and use.

Yesterday I bought an orange and cake flour. I grated the rind of the orange, then juiced it to make ½ cup of orange juice, pulp, and rind. I mixed the ingredients according to the recipe making only one concession – egg substitute instead of eggs. Well, I say one concession, but I didn't sift the ingredients. A sifter-of-ingredients I am not! Then I slipped the batter into the oven along with other supper items – a frozen barbecued pork chop and sweet potatoes. The loaf baked up so nicely and was delicious.

By the way, in adding the egg subs to the batter, the beaters caught the liquid and tossed it across the counter and all over the old recipe. Of course, I didn't expect that to happen. I quickly cleaned the recipe card. As sorry as I was to splatter once again the treasured old card, I was glad it wasn't my laptop! KW

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The weather here in the Valley has been a little warmer this week -- highs into the 50s -- so I've been watching my flower beds for signs of spring. This morning I saw them – crocus poking up through the soil. Last week I bought some vegetable seeds. Surely before long we can plant spinach and radishes. I've been amending the soil with kitchen scraps and -- let's see, how did I see that in the paper this morning? Oh, yes -- the natural byproduct of horses -- that I find in this rural neighborhood.

Yesterday afternoon it was so nice that Mike and I took Nellie and Duke for a walk in a field near Swallows' Nest Park – a place where people exercise their dogs. Duke's folks are out of town, so we picked him up at the vet's where he is boarding. He's especially glad to see us under these circumstances. And Nellie is now feeling great -- leaping over fences and walls at a single bound and running as hard as she can.

Here's a picture of the "scrap" afghan in progress that I started making last winter. I have now finished the motifs – all 143 of them -- and they are stacked in a basket ready to be sewn together in random fashion. The pattern is called "Vintage Collectible," which is probably why I chose it. I've found when patterns or paint colors have appealing names, it's hard not to be drawn to them. For instance, we painted the upstairs bathroom on the farm green. It just seemed like paint with the name "whispering pines" would be great for a room with a view of the grove. It was horrible!! and had to be re-done in our standard white-beiges. In like manner I couldn't move beyond the "Vintage Collectible" name, but I do like "granny-type" afghans even though the making of medallions is tedious. I paired some outlandish colors – such as purple and lavender with orange and bright yellow – along with some more sedate colors, such as tan and dusty greens. I am now ready to start sewing the medallions together. KW

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I don't quite know what to think of this recession. It seems like life as usual for most everyone I know. I don't personally know anyone who lost his job because of the recession, though Mike says he's talked to a few such folks in his tax prep business, although he admits some of them are perpetually out of work. Our last investment statement didn't make us happy, but we continue to buy things we want or think we need. We're grateful we don't need to buy a house or a car.

"We spent $5,432.69 on groceries last year," Mike announced out of the blue, and immediately I went on the defensive. "But Mike," I replied, thinking guiltily of expensive indulgences like "fruit bits" and organic 100% cranberry juice, "we always agreed we could spend most anything we wanted at the grocery store. I try to watch specials and use coupons, but I admit to some extravagance. And besides, last year I stocked pantry shelves both here and on the farm with extra food – you know, emergency preparedness."

"That's not the point," Mike said. "The point is, if the two of us spend $100 per week for groceries and we buy very little meat, how do people with families cope?"

A friend told me that she received a Penney's gift certificate for Christmas and hearing a rumor that the company might be in financial straits, she wanted to use it soon. She couldn't find anything she wanted at the local store, so she and her husband decided to spend it on underwear. She remarked that the stock of socks and unmentionables was low and they couldn't find their sizes. "You've got to wonder when they aren't replacing basic stock," she observed.

Mike and I went out Sunday morning and arrived at the shopping center before the stores opened, so we went on to Wal-Mart. We both need new socks and I thought Wal-Mart might be a good place to find some. I couldn't believe how bare the sock racks were. "What would take the stock of socks?" I asked aloud. "Christmas," Mike said. "But it's mid-February," I responded. "You'd think they would have restocked by now."

And this afternoon I stopped at Ross where I noticed considerable bareness. I don't know the ins and outs of retail. I guess we just have to wait and see what happens.

At Thanksgiving, while Nick and Hallie were here, we watched a documentary on "Black Sunday." I was fascinated. I had heard of the "Dust Bowl," of course, but I hadn't realized how horrible it was. From that program I learned of a book, "The Worst Hard Time," by Tim Egan, which I am now reading. KW

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Nellie is a sporadic eater. We usually give her a cup of chow in the morning and then two to three cups supper. Regardless, she likes to have some food in her dish most of the time, so we thought she was a good candidate for a perpetual feeder. A couple of months ago we bought one for her. Measuring her food into the tank, we counted enough food for about ten days. It seemed to work well initially, but as time went on, we noticed she was eating more often and the food in the tank was lasting barely a week. Naturally, she was also gaining weight. We had lost the ability to gauge her food and control her eating, so we returned to the old-fashioned dish method.

Nellie had a "procedure" last Tuesday. Last year the vet told Mike that for Nellie's health he should either breed her or have her spayed, so we thought hard about breeding her. She's a good pet as well as a decent hunter. You naturally want to perpetuate good traits. But, if all goes as expected, it's too soon to be thinking about our next dog and selling pups in this economy might be difficult. Also, we aren't dog breeders, aren't equipped for it, and we live in two places. So, we had Nellie spayed. This picture was taken Thursday when she was still convalescing. She's feeling her old self today, thank you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Have you seen the movie, Ruthless People? The husband (Danny DeVito) has his wife (Bette Midler) kidnapped. While a pudgy Bette is in captivity, she begins to pass the time by exercising with televised fitness programs. The impression is that she's exercising for hours on end. At first she's fighting boredom, but as her body noticeably improves, she warms to the task before her. At the end of a supposedly short time, she's lookin' pretty good. It would be so nice if that would really work.

I was looking at mother-of-the-bride dresses online. The lack of style for women in my age group just drives me nuts. Here are these dresses designed for the mature woman – I mean, if you're the mother of the bride you have to be mature, right? – and you've given birth to at least one child, right? – and here are these dresses modeled by young women who have probably not given birth, let alone gained the maturity that tugs us downward. But that's all beside the point. The point is that the dresses are basically all the same – skirts falling from the bodice or maybe short jackets over shapeless gowns. You get the picture – designs to camouflage.

I love to watch that old show, The Golden Girls, if only to see what they wear. They were always beautifully dressed – all three of them. But most of us never see such classy clothes. I've worn Alfred Dunner separates for years – loose-fitting slacks and boxy sweaters and tops that hide a million pounds and figure problems. I don't even try them on any more – I know my size and step right into them. Now that I'm retired, even my Alfred Dunner separates go unworn. This time of year, my usual uniform is warm-ups over long-sleeved knit turtlenecks. I often wonder how I would be made over if I were a candidate on "What Not to Wear." I'm sure I would go right back to baggy pants and sweatshirts.

"The mother of the bride wore satin warm-ups in shocking pink, trimmed with imported French lace."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


It's time for you to learn to make a dishtowel," said Mother. "First, I'll teach you to straighten the hem. Then we'll stamp a design on it and you can embroider it."

"Why do I have to straighten the hem?" I asked her.

"Because it is poorly done," she said. "It needs to be straightened and correctly done."

Re-hemming the towel did not make much sense to me then, and it didn't make much sense to me years later. My dish drying towels – all three of them – had big holes in them. It really had progressed beyond a point of pride. I needed to replace them. So, I bought some flour sacking at the old Big V Department Store, thinking that I would make more towels. But the need was urgent and my time short, so I simply began to use the flour sacks "as is" – no re-hemming, no embroidery.

I saw Mother examining the towel as she dried my dishes one day. "Kathy, you really ought to straighten this hem." I'm a bit of a passive resister, so I didn't say anything. But to me, this was a towel – a rag for a specific purpose. That it was clean was all that mattered to me. And I really believed that hemming one's dishtowels was a waste of time. The towels will wear out before the hem ever matters. My guess is that the women of my generation don't worry much about their dishtowels. I don't even worry much about doing the dishes! But in my mother's day, I suppose it was a point of pride that one's linens -- which might be examined by another who might happen to help you with your dishes on some rare occasion – should be neatly and prettily done up. Women really were focused in some frivolous directions. Talk about the waste of good minds . . .

I thought of this today as I prepare to embroider a set of dishtowels for Hallie. You see, she never had a hope chest. I never wanted her to think of marriage as a goal, and I'm proud of myself for encouraging her to think for herself. At the same time, she should have some embroidered dishtowels to remind her of her roots. You see in the photo to the right that it didn't exactly go well initially. I scorched the first towel but good! Mother always did that for me -- so that I wouldn't scorch it, you know. And the transfers are very old. Never mind -- I had enough towels. KW

Monday, February 9, 2009


My sisters married when I was a little girl. They all had "hope chests" – cedar chests in which treasured items – mainly linens – were stored for the day when they would establish their own homes. I wanted a hope chest, too, so Mother fixed up a little white trunk and I early began the process of collecting goods for the day I would marry. I had a number of embroidered pillowslips, a few "flour sack" dish towels with simple embroidered designs, some luncheon cloths (tablecloths), stainless steel flatware, and eventually a few of my rose dishes.

Mother embroidered most of the pillowcases, though I made several pair myself. I'm sorry to say I now have a drawer full of beautifully embroidered worn-out pillowslips. My dream had been to preserve them by making "pillowslip dolls," and I have several patterns for such in my collection, but when we moved to the modular home, I put all my pillowslips into one machine load to freshen them, and when I took them out of the dryer they had split. It doesn't seem to me that I used them all that much, mostly relying on the pillowcases that come with the bedding sets. But -- textiles get old just sitting on the shelf, and maybe once those body oils get into the threads it hastens the process. Sister Harriet adds that whiskers are rough on pillowcases.

I remember that in our teen years Aunt Chris gave me two dishtowels embroidered with poodles busy at daily chores. I suspect her training was much like mine. Among our first sewing lessons we were taught to straighten the edge of a piece of flour sacking by pulling a thread to determine the straight of the fabric, hem (or re-hem) the towel along that line, then stamp and embroider it. You could (and still can) buy sets of transfers for hand embroidery that included seven whimsical designs – one for each day of the week. Dish towels also wear out, but occasionally when I'm cleaning windows or mirrors, I pull out a "holey" towel with a poodle on it and think with affection of my "old" chum. KW

Sunday, February 8, 2009


This beautiful February Sunday was made for an outing, so Mike and I took the dog and went to the homestead to check on things. We drove clear in to the house; I think just about any vehicle could make it in. The soft ground would be more troublesome than the snow. While the fields are still white, the snow is gradually disappearing. There were a lot of llimbs in the yard, but everything looked fine. We found no mice nor sign of any. I checked my project closet, picked up some embroidery floss, and packed Mother's last recipe box into the pickup. We dismantled the artificial tree and stored it in the barn and put the tv set back in the entertainment center.

Outside I checked the hill behind the clothesline for signs of spring (sprouting bulbs). Just as I decided it was too soon, I noticed some tender green sprouts poking through the ground. The tag said iris but I don't know – could be I also tucked some crocus or other such early bloomers into that spot. We stopped a few minutes to discuss the raised bed vegetable gardens we plan to establish this year.

We were back in town by 12:30. During our travel we continued listening to "Letters of a Woman Homesteader." Once we were home, Mike set to work. He washed the filthy Dakota and his motorcycle. Then we went to Costco where he picked up supplies for work and I bought an iHome compact iPod speaker/clock radio which I set up at bedside. After that I walked Nellie while Mike took an actual bike ride out Peola Road. Nice to have the days a little warmer and a little longer – noticeably light at 5:00.

Tonight Mike will grill pork loin chops for dinner and I'll make an apple pie. KW

Thursday, February 5, 2009


My excited daughter called last night to say she received an engagement ring for her birthday. Often throughout the day – her birthday – I had thought of the tiny baby girl she had been when she came to us that day 27 years ago. And then I thought of the wise and wonderful little girl she had been. As a kindergartner she said to me, "I will be in school all day next year. You will have to find something to do." So, I did. I got a job. And that same 5-year-old gave Grandma Bennie directions to the grocery store when I was sick.

I spent the day thinking of these things from the past. And then the reality check -- the big girl called and said she has a beautiful diamond from Tiffany's and is going to get married. Apparently plans for the actual event have not been determined. "Well, you and Nick talk it over," I said, "and we'll help you, but you decide what you want."

Of course, I'm not ready. There won't be time, I lament to myself, to do all the special things I wanted to do for my daughter, the bride. I should have started last year – or the year before that. What about this? What about that? But, of course, "this" and "that" are not important. And it's not about the mother of the bride. KW

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This recipe, a family favorite, was in Mike's collection when I married him.
Flour 6-8 doves in seasoned flour, shake off excess. Brown well in butter or margarine (about 1/2 cup). Pour oil in casserole. Pour in 1/2 cup sherry, sprinkle with paprika and add a good pinch of marjoram leaves. Cook (covered) at 350 degrees about 30 minutes. Put about 1/2 cup sour cream in gravy and cook about 10 minutes longer until hot. Season with salt.

I used a crockpot chicken recipe to cook the chukars. I believe it is called "Chicken Delish."
4-6 whole chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup dry sherry or white wine
1/2 cup sour cream

I find it works best to dredge breasts in flour in order to thicken the sauce. (You can brown the breasts or not.) Place chicken in crockpot. Pour soup/wine mixture over the chicken, seasoned to taste. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4 hours. Add sour cream before serving and allow to heat on low another 15-30 minutes.

I don't know anything about cooking with wine. We've always just used cheap sweet wine and have come to love the sweet flavor. If you're trying to duplicate my dishes, you'll need some Boone's Farm. KW

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I finished my coat, but there's no particular joy in it. Research has reached me post-production that you have to be tall and thin to wear this style. I guess I knew that on some level, but I just loved the pattern. I struggled to find the right fabric, though, and I began to question to myself the reason this project wasn't unfolding as it ought to. Not only is it wrong for me, it's too big, despite my attempts to carefully reason through the sizing.

"Take it in," advised a friend. "Take two inches out of the back and two inches on the sides. Lay it out again and actually cut a size smaller." But why should I do that when the basic style is just wrong? If I just hang it away, maybe someone will come along who could use it. The more I mess with it, the less likely that will happen.

"That's why none of us sews clothing," said my friend, a quilter. But something in me just doesn't want to give up.

Just thought I'd tell you that I made a retro jacket. I didn't want you to think I haven't been doing anything.
[Okay -- I posted a picture. I was thinking that it would be good and roomy -- and it is -- but when I put it on, it swallows me up and makes me look huge. It puts me in mind of a shopping trip to Spokane with Hallie a few years back. I started to try on a coat and before I got it over my shoulders, she was saying, "Ooooh -- take it off, take it off."] KW