Even if I did fail to complete the BBBC in February, I owe it to myself and the other participants to address the final five prompt topics. The tweny-fifth topic on the list is “spice.” I don’t know WHAT I was thinking when I chose that word, but here goes.
In the truest sense of the word, a spice is something used to flavor food. Many foods, without a spice or two added, are bland and flavorless. Life, without some spice added every now and then, can be dull. “Variety is the spice of life,” right?
According to encyclopedia.com, that proverbial saying has been in use for a long time.
…late 18th century; originally as a quotation from the English poet William Cowper (1731–1800) in The Task (1785): ‘Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavour.’ An earlier version is found in the The Rover (1681) by the dramatist Aphra Behn (1640–89), ‘Variety is the soul of pleasure.’ The Greek dramatist Euripides (c.485–c.406 bc) in his Orestes has, ‘a change is always nice.’
Our forefathers liked to mix it up a bit, too.
There are some people who like things to be dull, uneventful, and predictable. I can understanding wanting a life without drama, but I like to change things up. My job is predictable in its unpredictability. I never know what each new day will bring, which is good and bad.
My life, for the most part, is quiet. Relatively predictable, too, especially since the kids are all grown and out of the nest. The dogs keep things interesting around the house. Even if they are getting old — about 9 (Belle) and 10 (K) — they’re quite amusing. Irritating at times, like when they bark at passersby, attack delivery people, yak on a rug, etc., but mostly entertaining. They make us laugh for one reason or another every single day.
So what’s my spice? How do I, or we, keep things interesting?
I have several hobbies. Lately, I’ve been doing some embroidery and a lot of sewing. I’m not great at either, but I’m just learning. And practice makes perfect, right? (I call that my PMP philosophy.)
My mother-in-law gave me some lessons on hand-quilting while she was here over Christmas. So I combined two embroidery projects with quilting and made a couple of pillows for my girlfriends.
Tracey has made some amazing gifts for me over the years and I know Carol appreciates hand-made gifts, so I thought it would be nice. Neither pillow is perfect, but they’re made with love, and that’s what matters.
In keeping with my PMP approach, I signed up for a quilting class, scheduled for February 20th. It was being offered by my friend Kelly through her business, Kelly Ann’s Quilting. So that I didn’t have to lug my 1958-model Kenmore sewing machine to the class site (it does one type of stitch and goes forward and backward), Kelly Ann let me borrow a machine that’s been sitting around her shop for awhile. It’s a fancy-schmancy Husqvarna model that I suspect can pretty much sew by itself. It has a bunch of stitch options, is computer-aided, doesn’t require oil, is lightweight, and runs quietly, too.
Before I could use it in the classroom, I needed to practice a bit at home, so I started sewing together a bunch of little scraps leftover from the girlfriend pillow project. I liked the way they looked. When I stumbled across an embroidery project I’d mostly completed two to three years ago, I realized the scraps would make a perfect frame. So I made another pillow.
I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I wish I’d made the border on the girlfriend pillows as wide as the border on the snowman pillow. Another lesson learned through practice. LOL.
Travel is another spice in my arsenal. Motorcycle travel is like my hot Hungarian paprika. Car travel is more like cumin or chili powder. Add some friends into the mix, as I did last weekend, and you get fun. For a bit of extra zing, I added a roadside oddity or two.
This guy just happens to stand in front of one of my favorite eateries in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, a town in Lancaster County.
The food at Katie’s Kitchen is your typical, home-style Amish fare. It’s priced cheap and tastes good. I consider it a “favorite” because I love, Love, LOVE their fried green beans. Yum-Me!
Just down the road from the barefoot boy eating with pigs (speaking of LOVE, isn’t that label awesome?), is Big Amos, Barefoot Amish Giant. I had to go and visit Amos. Roadside oddities like that exist because people like me go to see them, appreciating them for their wonderful, wacky, weirdness. If he, and other oddities like him, didn’t draw folks in, there’d be no reason for the oddity’s continued existence. I feel as if I owe it to humanity to visit and get a photo with as many roadside oddities as possible.
Even if there are no oddities to see and/or the trip is short, travel is great medicine.
My dogs really, really love their daily walks, but so do I. It’s good to have a reason to get out there into the world every day. You never know what, or who, you’ll encounter.
Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to walk the girls early, while it was still daylight, which is a rare treat this time of year. A few blocks from home, I saw a guy exit the bakery who looked very familiar. After following him for about a half block, it hit me. I said, “Are you John Walsh?” He responded with, “I am!” (In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, it was this John Walsh.)
I introduced myself and we chatted for a bit. He does not live in my part of Virginia, he was just visiting. Know what he said? “What a wonderful little town.”
The whole encounter was a bit surreal.
I suspect folks get tired of me talking about how nice it is here in Warrenton, but it really is. 🙂
I guess that’s enough spice for now. Thanks for your patience with my lateness and inattentiveness. I really do appreciate all of you.