The Lemony Writer… No, Not Lemony Snicket

I have felt very much like a lemony writer lately, almost a lime-ish writer but not quite. Because you all are probably baffled by now, and thinking I have probably lost my mind (all the cool kids are doing it), I will expound.

My ideal, and the place I am generally at in the absence of school work, is what I like to call the ripe peach writer. All I need is one good bite, and the creative juices come running out. I feel like writing, the writing comes, ahhhhh…. inspiration.

The place I have been stuck for this last semester, is the slightly more tiring lemony writer. I have to squeeze myself to get the words to come out. They’re there, mind you, they haven’t disappeared, but in the ceaseless flow of reflection paper after reflection paper and essay question after essay question, my precious ideas have bottled themselves into little capsules waiting for me to work up the stamina to wring them out. In the past two days I have read two books and written two book reports. Tomorrow the tally will be three. The collected words from the respective authors are taking the precarious seat in the front of my brain: easy to file, easy to fall, easy to never return. I suppose I should be glad that my own thoughts are taking up a more permanent residence in the lemony pockets in my brain, but… ehh, maybe I should invest in a juicer.

Fortunately, the lime-ish writing state seems safely away with the end of the spring semester drawing near. Anyone who has ever juiced a lime can guess at what I mean. I’m sure there are VERY juicy limes out there, but the type I happen to hit generally take some work before they relinquish their nectar. In fact, a firm squeeze rarely does any good. Results are won only by digging the fingertips deep into the lime and violently demanding payment. I’m not sure if my poor little noggin would survive that abuse.

No, I look forward to the day when my genius *giggles* becomes a peach again. Though I have to say that I infinitely prefer lemonade to peach juice. Perhaps the struggle makes it that much sweeter. Either way the words will come, and when they stop, I’ll pray for more.

~Noggins in the clouds people!

-HH-

The Ballad of the Lemmings *part one*

Come, gather ’round as the sun falls asleep, to hear of a tale that the ancient oaks keep. A tale of two children born from seeds magically sowed; both small like the faerie folk in yon’ tales of old.

This story begins as the grass grows the dew, and the mists peel away leaving the sky lapis lazuli blue. Two lilies spring up, faster than norm, the petals revealing two small babes; human in form. First noticed by mother quail in the tree.

“Oh, dear me! Oh, dear me! Are those babes that I see?!”

All of her flapping and fretting drew a crowd; rabbits and chipmunks, even night animals! For she flapped and fretted so loud. The animals began clamoring and jabbering ’till their tongues turned sore. Not a thing like THIS had happened in the forest before!

The fox who was keen and as slip as a whip said, “Leave them there! It could be a trap,” and gave his whiskers a twist.

Turtle, a cautious creature, disagreed with the fox, “That’s all good for you and for me… we’re safe! My shell even locks. But those babes are in lilies grown up high to the sky. What if they were to fall… and… gulp… die!?”

“Your concern does you credit, old Turtle, my friend,” said the pert flying squirrel as he rolled from his den. “But you would have been better off had you been raised as I. Just shove the babes, let them fall, and see if they fly.”

“You are a fool silly Squirrel! Scatter brained and busy as a bee; take your opinions and *sniff* wings and go back to your tree. ”

ALL of the animals turned and looked in respect to whom spoke; for it was Owl, rudely awakened and standing stern on his oak.

“And you Fox; you are too cunning and crafty for your own good. Slink back to your pile of sticks in the wood. Turtle is closest to an answer, I guess… but we still don’t have a way out of this mess!”

“Oh Owl, yoo hoo!” A little voice called. It took Owl a second to find Ma Lemming (though she was on her hind paws). “I’ll take these two and raise them as my own.”

Owl replied, “But you already have little lemmings waiting back at your home.”

Ma Lemming nodded her head with a tear and then sighed, “But I can’t leave them homeless, just dropped from the sky.”

Owl shrugged his consent and flew the babes down. Everyone crowded to see. Rabbit said with a frown, “They have no fur Lemming, can you fix that? I don’t know how!”

Ma Lemming just smiled, “Nor did my own at the beginning; these two will be alright for now.”

The Fabric of Family Continued

I have had a very specific reason for putting off this follow-up post for so long. When I wrote the original “Fabric of Family” post, I had just returned home from an engagement party for my cousin and his fiance. This past weekend was their wedding.

I have the wonderful advantage of being close to my cousin and his wife. When two families are beautifully grafted together, I can only smile despite my general inclination to become melancholy at weddings.

Just yesterday I was talking with my new cousin-in-law Ruby, (my cousin’s sister-in-law). While both of us have the discouraging and morbid tendency to look at weddings as an end, as we talked, my mind was convinced of happier things. Yes, it is an end to the way life used to be, but it is also a beginning! A beautiful beginning that can only continue on. Friendships have been forged that won’t be broken. A union was forged through love and commitment. Things have changed, but I find I can embrace the change. Oodles and oodles of new friends and family have been woven into the tapestry of my life.

It reminds me of a quote from Nicholas Nickleby. Nicholas and Smyke had just been “adopted” into a large and colorful family of actors. As they sit watching the joyful chaos below, they make the following remarks.

“We have fallen on wondrous times…”

“But a good wondrous…”

That is how I feel right now. Regardless of any other doldrum-like thought I may be dealing with, I still feel like I have fallen upon good, wondrous times. My family has grown. As I sat, eating my potatoes and mozzarella during the evening reception, I found myself zoning. Ruby insisted to know what I was thinking (being a fellow dreamer), but at the time I really couldn’t put words to it. As I reflect now, it is becoming clearer. I was in a swirl of bliss. A sensory overload of swirling colors and emotions and love.

My life is changing… I’m changing… but with the growing pains comes a newness of life that feeds my very soul.

Keep those heads in the clouds, dear friends~

-HH-

My Life With the Three Year Olds

I teach preschool Sunday school.

That says a lot in and of itself… but I’m often surprised at how much I learn and laugh when I’m around them.

Take last Sunday for example, I had almost lost hope in all mankind, including preschoolers, as I watched the kids play. Three little boys, two whom were friends, one who was playing alone. “Ah, it starts so early,” I thought in a sage-like manner. “The cliques, the outcasts, the world is poop.”

JUST as this thought was making its way through my cerebral cortex, one of the little boys who already had his playmate, walked across the room and asked the lone little boy if we wanted to come play with them. My heart just about melted.

Humans are like hobbits… you can know all there is to know about them (and be able to predict behavior) in a relatively short amount of time, yet, given the right circumstances, they always surprise you.

Speaking of poop, this same kindhearted three-year-old informed me that poop is sometimes green… how nice.

Keep your heads in the clouds~ Go hang out with a three-year-old.

-HH-

Of all the Hayley Annes in the World, You’re the Hayley Anniest…

Life is about the journey, not the destination.

I really wish I always applied this to life. It’s hard though, when you live in a destination-oriented culture. It’s all about getting to the peak, not how you get there. No longer are the days of savoring time, of appreciating each moment as it comes, not just waiting for it to pass. Destination orientation can be dangerous, how else do you develop a cut-throat society with everyone grasping for power? You lose sight of the journey.

Living the journey’s not always easy… I am a person who does not like change in my personal life. I love to re-arrange my room, or cut my hair, or do my makeup a different way, but when it comes to people growing up, people moving, people getting married, me growing up, life changing; it really messes with me. This is why I HATE crossroads. Crossroads make life seem so changeable, so… intense. Anyone will tell you, I’m opinionated and independent, but “intense” is NOT a word that describes me… most of the time. Regardless…

… Sorry, Frodo was saying good-bye to Sam, and I had to stop and cry with them…

As I was saying, crossroads make me feel all sad and negative nostalgia-y. Some are worse than others. I encountered one of theses crossroads just the other day. I was sitting outside, thinking about the end of summer, thinking about my looming –th birthday, thinking about starting college, when a thought went through my mind, “I know crossroads are an important part of life, but why does this one have to feel so ‘crossroad-ish’?” (I like to pull out the melodrama now and again).

But that’s just it! On a journey you must have crossroads. Places of beginnings and ends, not destinations. The beautiful thing is, that while a destination is static, no growth or opportunity, even the most beginniest beginning can turn into wonderful story, and even the endiest end can have a sequel. I know my journey will lead me into crazy things, or even boring things, but it will also have wonderful things. I don’t want to sit by myself, frozen at a destination, thinking I’m done with life and all that’s in it because I reached the flag. I want to travel the journey, to join the fellowship… cough cough… sorry… cough cough, to take the road of life by the horns, to take the adventure, until that one day when I will reach a destination, a destination that doesn’t end, but continues on for eternity :).

My crossroad looks a little more like a great and grand adventure now, eh? Find your adventure dear friends…

Always keep those heads in the clouds~

-HH-

What’s in a Name?

Today will be a short post…

I’m gathering up steam for our dearest Anne (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about click on “Insta-Prince-Edward-Island”).

I love names, I love interesting names, I find beauty in the most absurd names.
The other day as we were riding home from Wednesday night church, I randomly stated, “I think maybe I’ll use Chopin as a middle name for one of my sons… since he’s my favorite composer.”
To which my mother replied, “Your father’s favorite spice is fennel… notice, your name is not Fennel.”

I was silent for a moment and then thoughtfully said, “I kind of like that… Fennel…”

Sadly, I was serious.

My mother and I feel differently about names. I will name my child something because I like it, not because it’s normal :). BUT as she always is, my mother was right about one thing… she always told me my tastes would change. As much as I hate to admit it, she was right. While my “name taste” is no less unique, it HAS changed since my first “list of names” from when I was twelve.

So for general amusement, I will try to remember the names I favored from that time.

Hayley’s list of child names from when she was twelve

~GIRLS~

Jaylie: My name and my best friend’s name combined.
Jillian: Funny how when you meet someone with a name, they can ruin it.
Aravis: Yes… from the Chronicles of Narnia- a Horse and His Boy. (okay I still kind of like this name).
Peony: Why not name her Snapdragon or Bleeding Heart? No slight to people named after flowers… but as my father so kindly pointed out, her nick-name would be Pee-Pee.
Solicity: Really… I honestly don’t know what this is.

~BOYS~

Aaron: I actually had another name that had double vowels. I don’t think I actually liked the name Aaron… just the fact that the name had two A’s in a row.
Andrew: I always loved this name growing up… it just always sounded so… attractive… Then it became my littlest brother’s middle name.
Solomon: Maybe he was wise and had gazillions of wives, but this name would not win my son any points with the ladies. No offense to the Solomons out there.
Corin or Cor: Also from “a Horse and His Boy”. Don’t be hatin’! Gwyneth Paltrow has her Apple, I have my Cor.

~Why I Will Never Name My Children After Great-Grandparents~

Arlene
Marilyn
Robert
Harold

Good strong names…

~Why my Parents Didn’t Ask for my Advice When Naming my Brothers~

My middle younger brother’s name is Ryan Christopher… I adamantly argued that he should be named Christopher Robin.

~Why my Parents Didn’t Ask for Anyone’s Advice When Naming Any of Us~

My youngest brother was supposed to be a girl… really… the ultrasound tech people said he was a girl. The beautiful girl name my parents had picked out was Katelyn Taylor. When a boy popped out, everyone wanted to help name him, including my grandma. Her preference? Jedidiah or Jed. That poor child could not escape the Beverly Hillbillies theme song for the first decade of his life.

Really though, what’s in a name? The mere fact we ARE called by name is pretty spectacular… whether it’s Winifred or Tarzan.

SO once AGAIN mama was right… I’m glad my tastes have changed, they will probably change again… but mostly, I’m glad HER tastes changed. Had they not, I may have been a Quimby.

Keep your heads in the clouds dear friends…go name your daughter Fennel~

-HH-

French Toast Forgiveness

Dear reader friends… Well I’m not really sure I have many regular readers… Regardless, I apologize for the extreme lack of posts once again!

To make up for this rudeness on my part (particularly rudeness in not posting about our beloved Anne)… Today I will be short-winded and include a recipe.

I don’t really have much of a metaphor for this recipe, unlike my posts on cake, pie, and apple crisp, but there’s a little, teeny thought to go along with it :).

This is a recipe for one of my favorite breakfasts, french toast. I LOVE FRENCH TOAST. Even better, it is STUFFED french toast.

This morning I almost didn’t eat it because I have been watching my waistline. Yes, America, I am a 135 pound, 19-year-old girl and I’m watching what I eat… sad isn’t it?

Even my little 12-year-old brother felt guilty for eating it. That was what hit me… what kind of TWISTED society do we live in? 12-year-old BOYS feeling guilty for eating a decadent breakfast? Wrong wrong wrong!

Note: I do not condone unhealthy eating habits or lifestyles.

BUT! I don’t want to have to beat myself up for eating my favorite breakfast every once in a while! So I FORGAVE myself for eating the french toast, FORGOT the whole thing, and ATE another piece! HUZZAH!

SO! In conclusion of this diet liberation… I say MAKE this french toast, EAT it with fervor, and GO find Jillian Michaels and shove a piece in her face. ;P

Keep those heads in the clouds y’all!~

-HH-

A Hayley Recipe Original: Double Berry Stuffed French Toast

Start by making regular french toast. 6 eggs today made around 10 or 11 single pieces of french toast. I add about an 1/8 milk to help the eggs go further. Sometimes, I also splash a little vanilla extract in the egg mixture.
Heat your skillet to about 350-400 degrees, I used an electric skillet but you can use a pan skillet too. Plop some butter on when the skillet is good and hot. Take your bread (any bread) and dip each side in your egg mixture. You want to make sure each side has a good coating, but don’t let the bread sit in the mixture. Place two pieces of the dipped bread on the skillet. Sprinkle cinnamon and dried cherries on the exposed side. (It helps to push the cranberries down into the bread.) Flip bread after 2-3 minutes… it’s not an exact science, when the bottom starts to brown, flip it.

Allow the side with the cherries to cook completely, but not get too brown. When both pieces are cooked through, place a dollop of filling (filling recipe below) in the center of one of the pieces of french toast. Place the other piece in top to sandwich the filling in… leave on skillet until filling warms, flip.

Place completed stuffed french toast on plate, put a dollop of strawberry jam on top and lightly drizzle maple syrup over it all.

Filling Recipe:

How much filling you make will depend on how many full pieces of stuffed french toast you decide to make. One serving is as follows

3 Tbsp cream cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp any kind of berry jam, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, etc.

Whip cream cheese and jam together.

Experiment with different kinds of dried and fresh fruit inside

Bon Appetite!

Badly Done, Emma!

Ahhhhh Mr. Knightly…..

BUT! Before I get ahead of myself, allow me to explain.

Tonight I watched BBC’s newest version of “Emma”. I love ALL their productions, with Pride and Prejudice being the top of the list. However, Emma has worked its way into my heart. Any subject matter I encounter in my life that would lead to a good blog, I eagerly snap up. Emma practically handed me a topic to write about. A topic that I know impacts me, AND quite a few of my young lady friends. The topic of finding our life’s partner.

Today’s fictional world is full of the “everyday heroine”… the girl “just like us”, who finds the oh-so-perfect-in-every-way-except-for-a-few-romanticized-flaws-like-loving-to-a-fault-or-turning-into-a-where-wolf-or-vampire- hero. We, understandably snap this up! All of us want to be loved unconditionally… by a faultless yet conventional lover. Conventional because he MUST fall in love at first sight and know his heart instantly, unconditional meaning previously programmed, and flawless… yet with a sprinkling of romantic acceptable flaws that don’t interfere with their undying adoration. Why would we wish for anything else? Why are there so many disappointed young ladies?

The story of Emma and Mr. Knightly struck me as beautiful and surprising, refreshing and inspiring! Jane Austen had a soapbox for unconventional lovers, but I really do believe she struck gold with this story. I am not sure however, that the revelations I am taking from this story are what she intended.

We first perceive Emma and Mr. Knightly’s relationship as one of old camaraderie. They are not afraid to offend one another, for they know they shall soon make it up afterwords. He knows she has frivolous and mindless tendencies and she respects him as one would respect a well-loved, yet sometimes meddlesome older brother. You soon ascertain that they have known one-another for a long time. Regardless of all this, or maybe partly because of it, we find ourselves forgetting about Emma’s own love life as she does herself!

Enter Frank… oh Frank. Honestly, I found myself gravitating towards him. When we look at him, he has much about him to gravitate towards. Consider; he is open and amiable, attractive and kind, spirited yet not empty minded. The man rides a “great black steed”… Hello! It is not hard to like Frank, to root for Frank. I, who even knew the story before I had seen this movie, could not muster any dislike for his person. Here is one of many places I can understand and relate to Emma. She liked him… she liked him so much she wanted to love him. She had every reason to, no sane person would have any reason to not fall in love with Frank Churchill. This may seem silly… but it is a real dilemma. When one has no feelings to compare it with, one wonders if a strong regard or “like” is really all love is. Fortunately for Emma, doings beyond her control draw Frank away… allowing he feelings to sort out and fade.

Mr. Knightly however grows increasingly jealous and wary of what he thinks is a strong attachment between Emma and Churchill. Which, when we do take a look at the situation, is somewhat well founded… and proven when we learn that Frank is not what he seems and when Emma makes a rude comment to Miss Bates.

Knightly finds Emma alone shortly thereafter and reproaches her, “Badly done, Emma!”

I was smitten at that moment. I was struggling with feelings of wanting to cry in remorse with Emma, yet justify her, but at the same time wanting to throw my arms around Knightly. I knew as Emma knew later on, her love for Mr. Knightly.

At this point, all of you are probably once again thinking I’m insane. “This girl finds love in a strong reproaching?” But honestly, at that moment, all I have ever been waiting for in a suitor made sense. Knightly knew Emma better than she knew herself. He knew her faults, even corrected them, but then found himself loving her anyway. Not instantly, no love at first sight, but a deep mutual love that could only be grown from the time they spent learning each-other. Emma KNEW, she didn’t have to try to make it real. It’s truly unconventional, truly magical, and truly fault-filled!

I want so much a man who can say, “Badly done, Hayley!” and instead of being outraged or hurt, I can throw my arms around and feel a slight sting, remorseful, then madly in love, because I know we have built a relationship that will outlast all the happy manners in the world. I will know that no matter how “badly done”, he will continue to love me anyway. This true, unconditional love beats any pre-programmed adoration any day.

So in conclusion dear friends, be on the search for true love (the real kind) and always keep those heads in the clouds~

HH

I’m Bringin’ Austen Back!

I am a Jane Austen/Regency Era FANATIC! I love the loveliness of the time period; the lace, the endless rows of buttons, the soothing colors, the airiness and general womanliness. There is also a fashionista tucked away somewhere in me. I love absurd fashion and the avant-garde. I find myself envying the waif-like amateur photographers and design school students who moodily clod about in careless ensembles that are oh so vogue. Well, they appear careless… I know they are more than likely poured over for hours the week before trying to find the “IT” piece to bring it all “together”.

Do these worlds mix? Austen meets Vogue. You see the subtle details, the lace, the pearl, the airy silhouette; still… I have often lamented the fact that I can’t simply parade around in a living history project. That turned into a dream of a place where I somehow introduce the look back into the fashion world… riggggghhhhhtt.

Today however, as I flipped through a book of street fashion/photography, I was struck with the vintage throwbacks… they begin somewhere in the 19-teens and progress to the ’90s… HAH! The ’90s! That’s a decade I remember the first time around.

Sooooo, if say, a respectable young art student can parade around in knickers and a news cap… please tell me why I cannot get my Eliza Bennett on?! There is only a good century of separation there ;). I have decided to answer my own question. There is no reason in this world I can’t channel my inner Catherine Moorland (my favorite Austen heroine next to Lizzy). I propose a revolution dear friends, a fashion revolution… all in favor of loveliness say “I” hummm… or is it “Aye”??? REGARDLESS~

I am at this moment searching for a good regency era walking dress pattern, I plan to shorten it to right below my knees, curl my hair, find some pretty pearls, some adorable flats, and hit the town. So who’s with me?!

Love the absurd fashion dear friends and keep those heads in the clouds!~

HH

Pie Crust and a Perfectly Lovely Legacy

*Apple* *Cherry* *Blueberry* *Lemon Meringue* *Pecan* *Pumpkin* *German Chocolate* *Strawberry* *Peanut Butter* *Butterfly* *Key Lime* *Raspberry*

I could keep on going… pie. I love pie. Pie is an integral part of my being. My great grandma made pies, my grandma made pies, my mama made pies, I make pies.

Don’t get me wrong, cakes, cookies, and cobblers have their place, but pie; pie is home. Not the “pie” you can buy at any Walmart or Meijer, or the sad attempts created from metal cans and plastic bags… but TRUE homemade pie.

One of my fondest memories of my younger days was going to Grandma’s house, walking down to the cherry orchard, and picking cherries for pies. We would then carry our full buckets to the house and proceed to pit the cherries into a bowl.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter all conjure up images of numerous pies laid out on tables, all their fillings just bubbled out from the crust enough to beckon a taste. Like so many jewels, red, yellow, blue… but better than jewels because, we all know that you can not eat jewels.

Ironically though, in all the days of learning to make pies from my grandma and mama, never was the filling the most important part. There were tips here and there… slice the apples thinner, pile the cherries higher, etc. etc. and so forth. But always the step of pie making that required the most attention and dedication was the crust!

Regardless of whether the pie was lemon meringue, cherry, strawberry, pumpkin, or apple; the same crust always applied. It can’t be handled too little or too much. It can’t be too moist or too dry. It can’t be too thick or too thin. It has to be just right.

As a child I never really cared for the crust. I imagine most children do not. It always boggled my mind when an adult would call it “the best part” of the pie. I imagine that is why I consider my own transformation of mind on the matter, a right of passage of sorts. The crust is an absolutely necessary element of the pie.

If it is too thin the filling falls. If it is too thick it over powers. If it is too tough… you have failed 🙂

Anyone who has ever made pies from scratch (the proper way) knows that the most precarious moment is when relocating the crust from being rolled out on the counter, to the pie pan. So much can go wrong in this short amount of time. But once the crust is in the pan a collective sigh is released, and the baking can begin.

So how does this all connect to legacy? Well of course there is the legacy of pie making being passed down our generations… but I had in mind something much more substantial. Legacy is like pie. We tend to want to put the emphasis and importance on the filling… the stuff we DO. All the fluff and fun we have, the world tells us to let that be what we are. But legacy is not only that. Yes the filling is fun (and delicious) and definitely part of our lives (and pie), but something is lacking.

True legacy is the crust; the foundation we build our lives upon! The carefully and tenderly crafted structures we put in place to hold the fullness of our worlds. Without crust we would be left with only a jumbled mess of sticky goo. Delicious sticky goo, but sticky goo nonetheless.

So in conclusion dear friends, pick your filling. Pick several! But make sure you take the time to craft… not buy, not pull out of a package; but carefully craft a crust for your perfectly lovely legacy.

Keep your head in the clouds~

HH