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The Struggling Creative ~ Dive In

I have tons of ideas for stories. The snippets I imagine are brilliant. My craft corner is loaded with raw materials that have me dreaming of framed vintage buttons, sparkly Christmas ornaments, and cheerful greeting cards. The fantasy is sweet and so easy to inhabit.

Taking the next step and making the idea a reality is hard work. This is where I find procrastination can set in. The messes that haven’t disturbed me for weeks suddenly claim my attention. The desk needs sorting and the garden needs weeding.

Beginning is scary.   

The only cure I’ve found is to chose a place to begin.

Stop thinking about it and dive in.

The Fantasy (Shelf) Life of Old Spices ~ Look at my cupboard. Now look at me…

The desire to organize seems to hit me every year in the month of February. Perhaps it’s because I spend more time indoors during the cold months (though that is a bit of a misnomer for this particular snowless winter with its 50 degree weather). Last weekend, I defrosted the basement freezer. The only surprise there was all the room I had once the frost melted.

This weekend, I tackled the long neglected spice cupboard. I tossed a bunch of expired herb and spice mixes. When was the last time I made spinach dip for pete’s sake? We don’t do dip. Not even during the holidays. I think I bought them for my fantasy life where I entertain – a lot – and serve dip.

Then there was the fish seasoning I bought in an open air market on the island of St. Martin. You know how the person who isn’t crazy about fish to begin with is usually the one who ends up finding bones in the ‘boneless fillet’? In my house, that would be Old Roady. So I rarely serve fish. That wonderful blend of spices, now several years old, ended up in the trash – another victim of my fantasy life where Omega 3 is an integral part of our diet.

I was pleased with myself for all the purging and cleaning until I read Sara Noel’s Frugal Living column in my local paper and this statement sent me running back to my cupboard: McCormick’s website states that if their spices are in a tin can, they are at least 15 years old.

Okay, so mine is Durkee brand. Can I fool myself into thinking it’s NOT 15 years old?

I tried to decode the expiration date using Durkee’s FAQ page, but the number and letter sequence doesn’t make sense. Add that lack of information to the price tag still glued to the bottom – $1.67 – and I’m thinking I could have tossed this can of paprika 14 years ago and never missed it.

Now I’m in a quandary – throw out the can or keep it. I found the same one pictured on ebay labeled ‘vintage’. It’s a collectible. A few more years and it will be positively antique. This red tin can would look lovely in my fantasy Country Living kitchen.

Holiday Perfection Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

This is the time of year that I feel like a little kid all over again. I have so many sweet memories of Thanksgiving at Gramma Dinwoodie’s with all the aunts, uncles and cousins – the dining/living room so crowded with people and the extended table, you couldn’t move an inch. The family was loud, the food smelled wonderful and as a child, all I had to do was show up to the feast.

Several of us kids would have to duck beneath the table to get to the sofa on the other side in order to take our place. No one cared that we knocked elbows or could barely hear each other over the din. In the small house Grampa built using the lumber from another house he’d torn down, we celebrated our very own Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives moments.

No, our table wasn’t beautifully set with matching crystal, silver or candles. An open flame in the middle of this crowd could spell disaster. And the turkey never made it to the table beautifully browned and decorated with parsley and kumquats. It was sliced in the kitchen, loaded on platters and set on the table for passing and fast self-service.

After the feast, when the table had been cleared, we would sit around the fruit bowl, each of us swathed in a turkey torpor, cracking mixed nuts or slicing through the tough skin of a pomegranate to suck on the juicy membrane around the seeds. We didn’t have an internet to tell us how to slice and eat a pomegranate without making a mess, but we had fun – mostly because it was the only day of the year we had a pomegranate at our disposal.

My Thanksgivings are still celebrated with family, but it’s not the huge gathering it once was. Now I’m one of the aunts and there aren’t as many little ones underfoot. But the love and the fun and the fellowship is still part of the celebration. There’s still no expensive crystal and the turkey continues to be carved in the kitchen, but I don’t have to climb beneath the table to find my place and there are lovely place cards at each setting and appetizers to enjoy.

So many happy memories, and all of them have melded with, and some how become attached to, the happiness depicted in Norman Rockwell’s painting and modern media’s idea of a perfect Thanksgiving. I see beautiful holiday pictures in home decorating magazines and immediately feel that warm rush of recognition. My real-life experience jumbles with the ideal depicted on the page to create a fantasy Thanksgiving that, though I may never fully live it, serves to enhance the homey, down-to-earth imperfect perfection of my real-life holiday which is truly a time of thanksgiving.

If you want to see bits of a  fantasy Thanksgiving mingled with the reality , hop over to my board at Pinterest and take a peek.

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