Archive for August, 2013

What a wonderful world!

Two lovely photographs from Alice who is camping with her family and her sister’s family at Ohiopyle State Park on the Ohiopyle river in Pennsylvania made me feel so happy that I needed to share them.

Grands camping Ohiopyle aug 31  2013

Grands camping waterfall Ohiopyle aug 2013

I’m truly happy that my grandchildren get to spend a lot of time outside, as well as within. Sofia and Clara are getting tall! Nathan is three years older than Sofia and Clara about one year older than Stephen. But their Dad is a bit over 6’6″.

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Every year I resist admitting that summer is leaving us……I know it isn’t over officially until the Autumnal Equinox, September 22nd, this year, and some people feel that it’s over when the children return to school. But I think summer leaves us with Labor Day which will be September 1st this year, the first Monday in September. This week I returned to Chautauqua with my sister in law, Aniko, for a short visit. We drove up on Tuesday morning and returned Wednesday. What a different feeling there is to being there with only one other older person (Aniko just celebrated her 70th birthday and I am only two years younger than she is.) We’ve been friends for forty-one years now…

When half or all of my grandchildren are there, the flavor of the place is often lively chaos! And I love that for a short time. But Aniko and I talked and talked and played cards while talking some more, and I love that sort of vacation, too.

Her mother was a wonderful storyteller and I think Aniko has inherited this. Her mother, Marta, grew up in the countryside in a Hungarian part of Romania, one of five girls. One of my favorite stories from Marta néni was how her family kept geese and had goose for Sunday dinner all the time they were growing up. The feathers were always carefully saved because they were used for doweries of each daughter. Each girl needed many feather pillows and feather beds and down comforters to take with her when she married. Marta néni could embellish this tale with so many interesting details about her family, Sunday dinners, and the care of geese that I was fascinated by her picture of a world so different from mine.

I will not return to the cottage until next year, and that’s another sign that summer is ending. A friend who also has a cottage there, Sue Olar, just posted a lovely photograph of a Chautauqua sunset seen from her cottage, and gave me permission to use it.

Chautauqua sunset sue olar aug 2013

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When Paul and I were first married, indeed, it might have been when we were still “courting”, he said we had to make good memories so we could remember them when we were old……..And we did. Lots and lots of wonderful memoreis.

Nathan aug 2013 reading the good master

Alice posted this on facebook today and it made me remember our first sabbatical, nine months living in Budapest in 1984. Before we went, to get the girls in the right mindset, he read Kate Seredy’s The Good Master, a charming book which was a Newbery Honor book from 1936. I think we might have read it’s sequel, The Singing Tree, soon after. It was also an honor book in 1939. You can read about them here:


In 1938 her book The White Stag, a retelling of the myths about the origins of the Hungarians won the Newbery Award.

The books are wonderful and Seredy’s illustrations so satisfying. I think some are still in print. You can also read about her here:

But though the books give one a delightful impression of the Hungarian countryside and people just before WWI, the reality of Budapest in 1984, under communism, was quite different. We arrived on a dark and dingy night in December and Paul and I looked at one another and wondered, “What if they hate it here?” Well, they did not, though there were challenging moments. But we had enough relatives and friends in Hungary, and family in Germany, Switzerland and Austria so that they felt very much at home.

I’ll have to ask Nathan what he thought of the book when I see him next.

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Lecsó Time

Have I ever blogged about this before? I’m not sure. But this is the time of year when many of my favorite seasonal foods (which means many of my favorite foods, period) are made. Lecsó (pronounced Le’cho) is one of them.


Lecsó is a Hungarian stew of fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh ripe medium peppers, and onions…The only other ingredient I use is a little salt. The onions are sautéd until nearly transparent and the chopped tomatoes and peppers are added with the salt and it is stewed gently for a time, until the peppers are soft and somewhat transparent themselves. And that is all.

Some people eat this with sausages, but that’s just gilding the lily and not vegetarian, either, is it….

Andy says, “Don’t burn it, Mom…” A sad reflection on once or twice when it was burned, and utterly ruined. Burned lecsó is not the food of the gods which it can be when prepared properly. So cooks, beware! We eat it over noodles or rice or tarhonya (egg barley) or galuska, also known as nokedli or spaetzle. Have some young cucumbers from your garden on the side. And rejoice in summer!

Stuffed cabbage and stuffed peppers are other treasures of this time of year, with fresh sweet corn and unsweetened iced tea. Oh, I think it’s lunch time!

Since I am still having some difficulties with photographs, this picture comes from a blog called Potsoup which credits Sorsanpaistaja with the original photo.

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Twice in One Day!

I couldn’t resist posting at least one of the pictures my daughter forwarded me of Sofia’s first day of Kindergarten…Well, she is still at home here, receiving her “Schultüte” or school cone. I think Ingmar must have made this for her (as well as taken the pictures). It’s a German custom to have a cone full of sweets and other treats like special pencils and crayons on the first day of school. Sofia looks very happy!

Sofia kindergarten first day

Sofia kindergarten email

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I really didn’t mean to be gone for such a long time!

I’ve been to Chautauqua again and back. I’m still struggling with problems of not being able to get any of my digital pictures onto my main Ohio computer, and the ridiculous problem of my little traveling one, where I probably could upload my photos, having spasms of “keyboard off” “keyboard on” signs in the middle of the monitor.

Alice 2013 bath community day parade crown point float

Meanwhile, Alice and her family continued their tradition of being on the Crown Point Ecological Center float for our Bath Community Days parade last Saturday……(Stephen isn’t really as grumpy as he looked at the moment the picture was taken.)

And I have had another series of doctor’s appointments after being off for all of July so that I would be free to travel back and forth to Chautauqua. And the news is all good. I had a PET/CT scan which showed nothing bad from the melanoma cancer scare I had three years ago, and now I only need two more scans – one a year from now and another in two years ……The surgeon and the oncologist from the breast cancer diagnosed in April both say that I’m healed now and free of infection and may do what I like (with the caveat from the surgeon that I not jump out of any airplanes).

So I can return to my water walking at the Natatorium and move on with my life. This is a great joy and I apologize for writing so much about it here. It was a very major issue on my mind, and now I hope it marches straight to the farthest background! My energy is back a lot! I think every day one should find the good things, the blessings to count, and move on with a grateful heart.

Sofia with Em in the yard 04 08

Meanwhile, my dear Sofia who was just being born a few weeks ago, is beginning her first day of Kindergarten TODAY! Her class is small and Emily really liked her teacher, so I hope she has a great year. It is all day kindergarten, so a big change from pre-school.

All my grandchildren are enjoying their lives and are in that end of summer – school beginning part of the year that even now makes me feel a little excited about new beginnings. Nathan is on a traveling soccer team and Sofia and Clara are about to begin ballet and soccer. I do think Sofia’s school is beginning a littler earlier than I would like, but the weather is so confusing. It’s almost like the September cool down already. I hope we don’t have another heat wave then! And I feel as if I’m coming out of four months of limbo, and plan to find some new class to take myself. Yoga perhaps, or something from our nearby Peninsula Art Academy. I’ll let you know soon.

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