Finally … I’m Going Home!

When I left England for America on April 22, I had no idea I would still be here in July. Much has happened that I did not feel free to share online at the time, but now that I have finally booked my return ticket, I will be back blogging regularly.

Henry David Thoreau said, ‘ We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.’

It fits perfectly with what I’ve come to think of as my ‘lost and found’ summer experience and I hope you’ll come back to hear all about it.

Even though I won’t see my  ‘Dancing Ladies’ until early August, my final countdown has begun.

The Dancing Ladies On The Hilltop - Almost Home

I’ve imagined my airport reunion with John more times this summer than I can count and while his face looks very dear each time I think of him waiting just beyond the arrival checkpoint, it’s the memory of our last embrace that I cling to in my mind and how it will feel to finally be back in his arms again.

John Winchurch

Dancing Ladies – Going Home

Most of us have signs or landmarks that remind us when we are almost home. For me, it is this stand of trees on a hill not far from the border where Devon becomes Cornwall. I call them The Dancing Ladies and they are always a sign that in just a few minutes everything that is troubling or tiring will be neatly put to rest as we turn off the main road and point our car towards the narrow lane that leads home.

We took my sister Margaret to the airport this morning with John driving just under 500 miles roundtrip and I was delighted to see my dancing ladies on our way back. Although it was not a short trip, it is nothing compared to one she has before her with several plane changes and a long layover in Germany before reaching Alaska.

My sister and her family recently moved to a new location having lived near Anchorage, Alaska for many years. There is a bridge you drive under as you get closer to her former home and people often hang signs of welcome from it painted on large sheets with brightly colored paint making it seem like a perfect landmark.

Although we did not talk about it, I feel sure that since moving a few months ago she has likely found something that signals her new home is close by and her daily journeys are at an end.

I don’t know what new images mark her way home now, but I imagine that nothing could whisper or shout ” You’re home ”  better than the welcoming sight of her husband and children who will be waiting at the airport. It is the first time Margaret has been away from her boys for more than a week and I think after a month here with me, they will be all the landmark she needs to feel welcomed and at home.

Like It Was Yesterday – Sweet Contentment

I scanned this photograph along with some others during my visit home. It was taken almost twenty years ago on a day I remember so well that my heart still aches a bit with the memory of it. It was a peaceful moment where no one said, ‘Smile or Say Cheese,’ but instead allowed the easy comfort of our mother-daughter connection to share itself naturally despite the busyness of a children’s birthday party at McDonald’s.

Miranda looks into the camera with what I remember as an amazing sense of confidence at an age when the biggest challenges to her changing heart’s desire were the parental insecurities of a mom and dad who were frequently conflicted on how to do everything just right.

As for me, I remember the delight and contentment I felt sitting there feeling her little arm against the back of my neck with her hand resting on my shoulder. Most days I can’t remember what I did the day before, but moments like these are so vivid that I feel sure this will be what I’ll remember in the last minutes of my life. Twenty years or yesterday … it is still a sweet memory of contentment.

I’m No Pioneer Woman

I know it’s been a little while since I’ve been here. Have you missed me? I’ve missed being here, but I have been so busy during the last three weeks that I just haven’t had a block of time to write. It’s late here … almost 2:30 am and I still have to pack. Tomorrow I fly back to England and as much as I have enjoyed my visit home, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my life in Cornwall with John.

I have loads of stories to share, but tonight I had a chance to meet a special blogger who I’ve been following for the last couple of years. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out this really lovely woman, scoot over here and have a look around.  Take your time there’s a lot to see and I’ll be here when you get back.

Right … I hope you took time to see what Ree Drummond, aka ” The Pioneer Woman”  is all about. I’ve been learning a lot from her over the last year or so especially in the kitchen. In fact, I think there are a few people in my village who might say I have really got the hang of this dish ( scroll down towards the end of the post) that I took straight from her website.

It’s no surprise that I found myself waiting to meet the Pioneer Woman on my last night in America ( for the next seven months, not forever) along with hundreds of other people. She was in town on a book tour to promote her cookbook which I am sure will make my kitchen experience a lot safer for my computer. I picked up one for myself, my daughter Miranda, and her former college roommate Emily. My good friend Patrice came to keep me company while I waited and after browsing through my cookbook, she quickly decided she had to have one too.

My daughter Miranda is a huge fan of PW and wanted to be there, but had to work so I snapped a bunch of photos so she could get a sense of what it was like.  I’ve been to book signings before and never have I seen so many people turn out and wait so patiently. It was a laid back group of mostly women with a smattering of men around taking pictures and helping with children. I did meet one man who was there to buy his wife the cookbook although he confessed that he had tried quite a few of PW’s recipes that he found on her blog. His wife reads the blog everyday, but he prefers to try out things like the cinnamon rolls which he confessed were too good to make very often.  That sounds like a perfect Christmas morning treat.

There were several surprises for me tonight which added to the evening making it even more fun. As soon as I walked upstairs, I ran into a woman I used to work with at a hospice organization in Atlanta. Carla was one of the sweetest people I met there and exactly the type of person you want walking you through things should you or someone you know ever need hospice care.  She was delightful as always and she gave me permission to post a picture of her that I lifted from her facebook page. She’s a newlywed as you can see by the photograph. She wasn’t there for the book signing, but I still raved about the recipes in the cookbook. So Carla if you’re reading this, go over to PW’s place and check out the brisket.

When Patrice and I finally made it to the line, (they called us to it in groups according to numbered color coded wristbands…very civilized ) we were talking with each other when I easedropped overheard two women behind us doing something that sounded familiar. Barely pausing, I quickly turned around and interrupted them in the middle of what I remembered as the torture that goes with the practice of selling drugs. I blurted out, ” Are you two drug reps? ”  They were practicing a sales call with one being the doctor and one the pharma rep. It turned out to be a migraine medication which is kind of funny since I suffer from them from time to time. If you’ve read my blog for long you know that I worked in the same field for too many years. They were in town for a POA (plan of action) meeting and even had a sales aid with them to practice while they waited. As much fun as they were, I am so grateful that my life is no longer like theirs.

Joyce is in red and Deb (go here to see her post) is holding the sales aid or marketing piece depending on how old school you are.

This is me killing time goofing around with my knitting which I brought in case I needed something to do. I just pulled it out for a photo opportunity as there were far too many people to watch and chat with to focus on knitting.

Still these girls seem to be able to focus on the task at hand.

I was too busy focusing on babies like little Helen here above with her mom and the sneaky pic of the sweetly sleeping child below nestled in her mother’s lap.

We waited and watched others leaving with their cookbooks and PW T-shirts… a great gift for those who got their book signed.

Looks like someone is going to give a lot of cookbooks for Christmas.

This is a fuzzy shot of Pioneer Woman going in to her signing area  … people were so happy to see her that they clapped when she arrived and she wasn’t late either …she was way early.

She spoke for a minute, but I couldn’t hear her very well. The sound system was iffy and I was too busy checking out her boots.

It was all go right from the beginning and the smile you see below at the beginning of the evening was still there…

…when I got my chance to say hello and have my books signed.

That’s me telling her all about the time I told my daughter about my blog (when it was new) and her response afterwards. After taking a look around my blog, I asked my daughter what she thought about it and she said, ” It’s okay, but you’re no Pioneer Woman.”  No Pioneer Woman…I was the one who introduced her to the PW in the first place!

She’s still gracious and smiling even after I asked Patrice to take about four pictures of us.

Patrice and I finished up the evening with a signature from Betsy & Hyacinth and after picking up a T – shirt, we said our goodbyes and headed for home.

One last shot before I go.

I may not be Pioneer Woman, but thanks to her cookbook I can sure cook like her now… so fire up the oven John, I’m coming home!  Oops… I forgot myself for a minute and started talking like a rancher’s wife.

I’ll be back in a day or two…blogging from our little village in Cornwall. See you then.