Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

This post has a bit of both.

I’ve still marveling at Husband Robert’s culinary chops (and patience) making, this past weekend, a fabulous but time-consuming Au Gratin Potatoes dish.

Here he is, doing prep work, with cheeses whose names I can’t pronounce.

Whenever Husband Robert (let’s just call him HR, you’ll remember what that means, right?) is making something “fancy,” I will wander into the kitchen (most often because of the aroma, similar to what dogs do) and sweet-sincerely ask, “Babe, is there anything I can do to help?” Here’s where the story takes an abrupt turn before it has really even started.

HR doesn’t immediately answer. He presses “pause.”

The pause is substantial, pregnant with meaning. If the pause were a criminal taking a lie detector test, here’s the truth it would freely confess, to avoid jail time:

“Uh, excuse me, Neal, but you don’t really belong in a chef’s kitchen. You are more at home with a cast iron skillet in your Southern hands, frying something. Go read your escapist novel.”

What?! I love my old cast iron …

But here’s what actually birthed out of HR’s full term pause:

“I’m fine.”

(Which basically means the same thing as what that honest criminal said.)

After pouting while joyfully reading Apples Never Fall for a bit, I return. To take pictures. And being a photographer, Robert CANNOT resist pictures being taken of his food.

He bought this new contraption to slice potatoes thinly—which TERRIFIES ME. It’s a potato guillotine.

And I don’t mean to be a cynic or anything, but this is a Big Bunch of Energy Expenditure for a potato.

Here HR is watching a YouTube video WHILE OPERATING THE GUILLOTINE!

“You do it your way. I’ll do it mine,” I think he said to the online chef.

Finally, FINALLY, the Dish is Done. And it looks and smells heavenly.

Why do I keep taking pictures with vitamins and supplements in the background?!

I find it SO yummy.

But Robert is NOT happy, and when the head of HR is not happy, neither am I.

He moans (and it wasn’t even Monday morning yet).

His problem? Well, being lactose intolerant, he couldn’t use cream or half and half in the recipe, so he substituted almond/coconut milk instead. He thought it didn’t come out creamy enough. Didn’t have the proper scalloped texture or coloring. Sort of Rotten Au Gratin, he seemed to think.

But I thought it was good, actually VERY good, especially for food not fried in a cast iron pan.

Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

On this Monday after Christmas, I’m still Christmas-ing (and marveling) a bit. Here’s Savannah’s Troup Square near us, all decked out.

Savannah has twenty-two beautifully unique squares in our Historic District, where Robert and I live.

Troup Square is known as “The Jingle Bell Square.”

They even decorate their trash cans.

And benches.

Here’s to Troup!

Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?


I admit that I’m often moaning on Monday morning, but this Monday morning I’m actually marveling.

Do you know about the concept of “marveling”? I didn’t until I discovered Methodist minister Fred Craddock and his book, Craddock Stories, in which he writes about his ancestors who would go out walking, often on Sunday afternoon, not to find anything in particular, but just to look for God‘s handiwork and beauty: a pretty flower, an interesting tree, a striking rock or a glorious cloud perhaps. anything that would produce a sense of wonder, appreciation or joy.

I LOVE that idea! It’s … marvelous.

Well, I went a-marveling last night (without exactly intending to) when I started pulling out Christmas decorations. I came across in the back of an old wardrobe, sort of Neal-in-Wonderland-ishly, these …

What do you mean you don’t know what you’re looking at?! They’re candle holders. Well they are now. They used to be the bases of two old wooden lamps that sat on the end tables on either side of the couch in my parents’ little house.

You can barely see them in this old pic …

My parents and one of the lamps around 1980

After my folks passed away a few years back, and I was going through all their things, deciding what to keep and what to throw away, I nearly tossed the old lamps. They had seen their better days.

But something made me pause, take the lampshades off, remove the wiring and toss the wooden bases into my back seat. And eventually into the back of my old wardrobe.

Now (voila!) they are born again as 2021 Christmas decor.

What light, joy and marvel my parents brought into my life and the world.

I invite you to go marveling! And please tell me what you find.