Monday 28 November 2011

Lessons from a father that loves me . . .

This is my dad. I love him with all of my heart. I last spoke to him one afternoon last week. We spoke for about an hour. It is always nice to hear his voice and pass some time with him . . . even when he is thousands of miles away.

My father has always been my biggest fan. Always. He's always terribly interested in what I'm painting now and in seeing the ones that I have done. I gave him a winter landscape painting I did when I was a teenager and he still has it, framed and hanging on his wall. He loves it and I love that he loves it. When I look at it now, I think to myself . . . it wasn't really all that good . . . but he thinks it is and that's special to me. I am grateful that he is my biggest fan . . . you couldn't ask for a better one.

My father taught me that men can cry. I remember the first time I saw my father cry . . . it was when his own father had passed away. His father died the same day as President Kennedy . . . so there was double sorrow in our home. I was 8 years old, and so I remember it vividly. It broke my heart to see my father sobbing . . . but it taught me that men can cry and today I am proud of a father that showed me that it's ok for a man to cry. My father cries at sad movies and whenever his heart it touched. I am grateful for a father who is not ashamed to show his feelings.

My father taught me how to laugh. My father has the nicest laugh. I have fond memories of him watching Jerry Lewis movies when I was growing up and he would laugh himself right off of the sofa. My father's laughter is a beautiful sound to me. I am grateful for a father who laughs.

When I was a child my father always told me that:

1. It takes two to tangle. Fights never get started or stay started on their own. It always takes two.
2. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Being nice always gets you further.

I am grateful for those lessons.

I can remember one time when I was a teenager and I had had my heart broken. My father cried along with me. He was not afraid to show me that when I was hurt, he was hurt too. I am grateful for a father who cared enough to show me that.

My father taught me how to ride a bicycle, play the clarinet and how to spell. When we were children and we would ask him the meaning of a word or how to spell a word . . . he would always tell us to look it up in the dictionary. I am grateful for that . . . and for the hours we spent playing word games together as a family. He always picked the hardest words and made us work hard to discover what they were. The name of that particular game eludes me now . . . but I'm sure I will think of it later on.

My father has always been a voracious reader. I am a voracious reader. I guess I get that from him! I cannot remember my mother ever reading a book, but my father always had at least one or two on the go. Sadly because of his cataracts he hasn't been able to read these past few months . . . and once his eyes were operated on, he still couldn't read because he was waiting for new eyeglasses. I hope that he is able to get them soon, because he does love reading so very much. I am grateful for a father that taught me how to love reading.

My father taught me how to love music. All kinds of music. That is a love that we share. My father always played in the RCAF Station Band wherever we lived and I can remember going to watch him march and play in lots of parades as a child and being so very proud of him as he would march past. He could play the clarinet, trumpet, saxophone and harmonica and when I learned to play the clarinet in later life . . . we spent many hours playing together in two parts. It was so much fun and I am grateful for those memories. My father loves Susan Boyle. I always send him the latest Susan Boyle albums and I have one sitting here waiting to post to him . . . her latest one. I know he will love it. Today I am wishing I had posted it a few weeks ago when I first got it . . . instead of procrastinating . . .

I had a message from my sister this morning to tell me that my father had been taken in to hospital, and that they are going to fit him with a pacemaker today. I would ask please if you could all pray for him. His name is Tony. He is 77 years old and not the greatest of health, overweight, diabetic, etc. and he has a bad heart. (Obviously worse than we thought.) I hope sincerely that the last time we spoke was not the last time . . . our last words in that conversation. I love you.

My father taught me that he loved me. I am grateful for that.

This is my latest piece that I did yesterday afternoon. I hope that I have a chance to show my dad. I know he would love it. I thought the apples in her basket turned out perfectly and I love her little red shoes. When I was a little girl I would have loved to have a pair of red shoes. As always it is available as a print or a card.

We love potatoes in this house. You can take away my sweets, and my meat . . . but don't ever try to take away my potatoes. I think they are the one thing I could never live without. These ones here today are fabulous. Boiled potatoes, crushed whilst warm on a pan, sprinkled with herbs and spices, baked until the crags and crannies get all crispy and then topped with cheese and spring onions. Oh my. Some good.

*Dressed Road Kill Potatoes*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Everyone always loves these potatoes. They aren’t really road kill, but I guess they resemble road kill somewhat, only a lot more delicious and appetizing! People can’t get enough of these! You can really make as many or as few as you want, but I am thinking you will need more instead of less!

2 medium potatoes per person
Garlic granules, sweet paprika, mixed herbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
8 ounces grated strong cheddar cheese
4 spring onions, chopped fine

Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until just barely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain well and set aside to cool.

Pre-heat the ovento205*C/425*F. Line an oven tray with parchment paper or grease it really well.

Take each cooled potato and smash it down onto the tray (hence the road kill) with a potato masher, without totally obliterating them, but leaving them with a nicely roughed up texture. Sprinkle them with the spices and herbs to taste. Drizzle them liberally with olive oil and place the tray in the heated oven. Bake them for 35 to 40 minutes until they start to get all browned with nice crunchy bits. Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the grated cheese and the chopped spring onions. Serve.

Over in The English Kitchen today a soul warming Creamy Sweet Potato Soup . . .

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