You asked how I knew.

I told you. It’s simple. You are 35,000 feet above land, imagining all that could go wrong. Waiting for the drop. Yet, you feel safer than you have ever felt before. Safe enough, to rest on another. Safe enough to close your eyes, if only for awhile.

I recall that morning. Everything was misty grey: the gravel road that kicked dust from the tires, the clouds above us, her sweatshirt adorned with the words, ‘Carmel- by-the-sea.’

We were so far north of Carmel.

Desperate for a break, hoping to convince myself, fears are paper tigers come to play, I’d left the city behind.

She stood there, familiar yet out of place.

Simple Goodness

heaven is a rhubarb crisp

If you had climbed the high fence that surrounded our back yard, and peeked over, you’d have noticed a garden. Tomato plants stood, tall and staked, ruby orbs shadowing the sunniest wall. Lazy bees slept in lavender bushes. A clump of chives grew in one corner of the plot. As children, we snipped the verdant tips to bring to the kitchen, a garnish for new potatoes. There was rhubarb, its crimson stalks ranging from rich, deep red to shy, speckled pink.

It is satisfying to pull something from the ground. We’d snip, our tiny fingers fumbling with scissors. We’d pick the fattest tomatoes from the vine and pluck the firmest stalks of rhubarb. A quick rinse and a slow dip into the sugar bowl, when our mother’s back was turned. Rhubarb was our garden candy: tart and sweet.

Rhubarb is an old fashioned slice of heaven- any time. Imagine my ‘Oh Joy’ moment when I opened the front door and saw the unexpected paper bag, a gift from a friend. Inside, was half a banana cake (vanilla iced), delicious chilled with a cup of dark roast coffee. She could spin this cake to gold. Tucked alongside the cake, three stalks of rhubarb, perfect for my second favourite dessert: crisp.

There are many reasons to bake: to nourish, create, perfect, and comfort. We bake to love: ourselves and others. When we bake something and offer a slice, we shrug, knowing to bake is a form of love. Crisp is simple. There is absolutely nothing fanciful about oats. I chop, bag and freeze the rhubarb for the perfect moment.

Today, this morning, is the moment I’ve waited for. Cloudy mornings and another day of COVID19 isolation, feel ‘lighter’ with a plate of warm crisp. There is comfort, knowing the clouds will disappear and the oven holds promise.

Open the freezer. Rhubarb compliments dark berries and strawberries. Use whatever is on hand. Modify. There are better recipes than mine, on line. I ‘wing’ it, reducing the sugar content, eliminating cornstarch. If the finished product appears too runny, drain the excess juice. You won’t be disappointed. Add slightly more oats (for the heart), cut back the butter.

There isn’t a crisp I haven’t devoured, best served with a scoop of ice cream or a ring of fresh cream. Heaven! Acknowledge these times. Be still. Be grateful. Savour each bite.

BEWARE: Recently I read: Fresh rhubarb damaged by severe cold should not be eaten, as it may be high in oxalic acid which migrates from the leaves and can cause illness. Who knew?

~ bake barefoot, little thoughts, COVID19, keepitsimple, simplegoodness

Lilacs and lost time. This is what I recall, whenever, I think of her. Lilacs and lost time.

The Lilacs are blooming. A favourite blossom, reminding me of lost time and dusty roads, elderly Aunties, climbing roses, and picnics on the lawn.

Lilacs are lovely. Their stems hate to be indoors. You can expect about a week of bloom if you follow these suggestions.

First thing in the morning, cut some long stems. Immediately, place your stems into cold water. These tips will help to preserve the tightness of flower.

I prefer tin buckets or tall glass cylinders to ‘house’ the lilacs. Let the heavenly scent fill a room.

Leave a bouquet on a doorstep.

“May: the lilacs are in bloom. Forget yourself.” 
― Marty Rubin

About A Chair

Found On A Road

If a chair could speak, imagine the stories it would tell.

There is a chair to sit in, a book to read, a page to write. There is a brush and a tin of paint, waiting to transform another chair. I’ve never met a chair I didn’t like, which suggests a form of chair dysfunction. From elegant: turned legs, clawed arms, carved backs to simple: sturdy legs, wide arms. Chairs that have graced servant’s quarters and the grandest of dining rooms suggest the best stories.

Chairs are often discarded curb-side or to wait, lonely, beside a rubbish bin. Usually a chair can be restored with vision, a few coats of paint, and a new seat cover (Hint: Grab the chair with the removable seat.). Gorgeous fabrics abound to offer ‘looks’ from farmhouse to manor. Painted red, a chair becomes the curiosity in a room.

I choose minimalistic, affordable furniture. Favourite pieces are hand me downs or shabby finds, tufted and French. I stick to Benjamin Moore: ‘Winter White’, add shots of colour, and invest in bowls and pitchers. The couch is slip covered, white. There is silver from a grandmother and an aunt. There are oils from a mother. I’ve removed blinds for linen curtains, pulled back to reveal light. Simple chandeliers sparkle and shine. Bouquets of roses gather in glass. A chair waits in the kitchen.

I’m not a designer, rather, a woman who searches for beauty in the raw and spent. Every piece of furniture should suggest a story. I prefer simple lines, a reminder of a common lady who kept a sturdy chair beside an oven, sugar biscuits in a tin, and splashy rose covered tea cups on the table.

“Sit down,” she says. “I’ll fix a pot of tea.”

I settle into the empty chair. In this moment, the world slows to a crawl. Pressing thoughts are forgotten. On the window sill is a pot filled with flowers, their petals bright as jewels. She believes in violets, claims they grow where they are needed.

Once more, we return to one another.


“Vacant chairs always leave me wondering who had sat there in the past.” 
― Anthony T.Hincks

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint: ‘Pure White’

Drop your sufferings, one by one

Spent petals from late summer’s bloom.

Watch, as the cloud of witness opens to reveal light.

Let words shatter time and space.

You matter.

Our arms wrap you in the dark, rock you through the stormy sea.

For you are ours, sweet darling

Pull the arrow from your heart.

~ adapted from a line spoken by Alice Walker