Lately when I sweep my kitchen floor I want to cry. It’s not because I hate cleaning my kitchen. I actually like having a clean kitchen. I want to cry because my floor had a hidden kitchen sweeper that I am reminded of when I sweep. It was my nearly 13-year-old dog, Kondi Wilson.

Kondi on the way home from the groomer, 2016

Kondi on the way home from the groomer 2016

Kondi was a Wheaten Terrier. She was loving, kind, funny, loyal and protective. Whenever the doorbell would ring, she was over the top crazy, making sure we knew a possible intruder could be at hand. But if we allowed the person to enter, she was a friend.

We got Kondi in May of 2004 and she was named after Condoleezza Rice. My husband bought her for me as a surprise, a few months after our oldest daughter, Kennedy died. He thought Kondi would be a good distraction for me over that first mother’s day weekend without our infant. She was.

Of her many talents, Kondi was a great vacuum sweeper.

I candidly didn’t realize how much she did to help me keep the floor clean. She must’ve licked up millions of crumbs over her 12 years of being our pet. I never noticed until now, how fraught with crumbs the kitchen floor is and has been. It makes me miss her even more.

Kondi was a really good friend. She was always optimistic, believing the best of me. She was always available to play or just sit next to me while I worked on my laptop or read my Bible in the early morning. She was quirky, loving to lie on stinky clothes that she dragged from the laundry room. The worst the smell, the better it was to her.

I suspect that my human friends and loved ones have value that is hidden too. I am afraid that I overlook or take for granted so many of the wonderful things that they do – and I don’t fully savor the quirky and unique ways that they are. Or worst, I get impatient and annoyed.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, this will be a great time to acknowledge many of the wonderful people in my life. Maybe I will make them a treat. I trust Kondi would approve.

 

My command is this: Love each other as I [Jesus] have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15 NIV

 

For the love of pancakes

February 11, 2012

Valentine’s Day ‘86 was a special one for me. It opened the door for the first meaningful conversation I had with the young man who would become my husband. I was a junior at the University of Cincinnati and had pledged Delta Sigma Theta, a Black Greek Letter Organization, my sophomore year. On a whim, I politely asked, okay – big-sister demanded, the young women who were pledging that year, to get me a Valentine’s card from three different guys. I gave them the names of three eligible young men and several days after the 14th they came back with one… super… ridicules… card.

The cover had a cartoon drawing of a laboratory beaker and read “Lick This.” On the inside were the words “Love Potion.” Hmmm. On top of that interesting message, the card was signed “Ken E. Luv.” Of course, he had gotten my attention.

Kenny Wilson – and I – have a lack of agreement as to what happened next. He says he came to my job one evening at the UC main campus library bearing a box of chocolates. I agree that he did visit my desk at the Periodicals Department. He was charming, full of one-liners, dapperly dressed and bought me a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine. Either way, we had a great conversation that led to a first date at the local Red Lobster. I was impressed by his financial sacrifice, two dinners at RL was a lot of money for a college student. He was pleased that I was a light eater, which is a topic for future blog. God-willing we will celebrate 22 years of marriage on 2/24/12. (We chose the 24th because it was the Saturday nearest to the day of that first date.)

Kelly & Kenny circa 1986

Now that we have a quiver of children, Valentine’s Day might be commemorated with chocolates and a card or we might have a romantic lunch while the kids are at school. One way to include them in the festivities is to share the story of the person called Saint Valentine. History.com tells it this way. “One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.”

In addition to a discussion on the merits of marriage, you can also make a kid-pleasing meal of pancakes from scratch. Prepare them for dinner or breakfast if you have time. They can be healthier if you include whole wheat or oat flour. Make them heart-shaped or use blueberries to make a heart on top of a round pancake. Don’t forget the maple syrup and ice-cold milk. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup of Flour

(Use all-purpose flour or ¾ all-purpose and ¼ cup whole wheat or oat flour.)

1 Tablespoon Sugar

2 teaspoons Baking Power

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 cup Sour Milk

(I don’t usually have sour milk on hand. So make it by putting a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Fill the cup with regular milk to the one-cup line. Let it sit for five minutes or until the milk looks curdled.)

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon melted butter (or use vegetable oil if you prefer.)

Oil for cooking

This recipe is very easy, but the taste is exceptional. Mix the dry ingredients together. Then add the milk and egg and stir until the mixture is just combined. As you mix in the butter, stir the big lumps out, but small lumps are okay. Over mixing the batter creates tougher cakes.

I typically place a large pan on the stove top to get it nice and hot after I stir the dry ingredients together. By the time I get the batter completed, the pan is ready for the oil. I pour in enough to cover the bottom of the pan. A tablespoon is a good starting point. Pancakes will stick when the pan is not hot enough. (If the oil starts to smoke, the pan is too hot, remove it from the heat and let it cool down a bit.) Of course, if you have a griddle, use that.

To make pancakes that are the same size, I use a metal ¼ cup dry measure. They often have a little spout to make the pouring easier. I can typically put three cakes in a large pan at one time. Ideally the edges shouldn’t be touching one another. Let each pancake cook until little bubbles form all over the top surface. When you see this, they are ready to flip. Use a thin spatula and get it all the way under the cake. This technique will help keep the pancake from folding back on itself. Cook the second side until it is brown on the bottom and serve warm with your favorite syrup or enjoy the way my mom likes her pancakes with jelly.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours,

Home-ista Kelly