Monthly Archives: November 2010

An American Thanksgiving

Today, being the third Thursday in November, 2010, is the day of Thanksgiving in America.  My husband, Joe, will have the kitchen all to himself for our feast.  I’ll help out when needed but today is his day.

Joe will be dicing up onions and celery, lots of it, for his stuffing.  He’ll be up to his wrists in dried bread crumbs we purchased at our local grocery store.  In the years past, every flat surface in the kitchen would be filled with rows and rows of white bread drying out, seven loaves to be exact.  This ritual would begin on Tuesday night before we went to bed.  Wednesday morning the slices of bread would be turned over to continue the drying process.  Throughout the day the bread would be tested for dryness by holding a piece and depressing it with his fingers.  If he did not feel any moisture that slice would be dropped in a paper bag.

He has, also, layered the oven racks with the bread slices and left them on a low heat to dry out in the oven.  Joe says this takes longer because he can’t get as much in the oven as he could just laying it all out.

Our first Thanksgiving was “pie-less”.  I hovered, watching over his shoulder the whole time he was preparing the feast.  My constant worry was that if he screwed this up I’d have to fix it and I’ve not had any experience with making the traditional feast.  By the time he was done the oven was cram packed with delicious smells emanating from it and no room to bake any pies.  For 20 years, and more before me, Joe has labored in the kitchen making our Thanksgiving dinner.  He does Christmas and New Years also.

In 2007 we spent the holiday in Colorado at one of our daughter’s homes.  Joe and Loreli worked side by side.

In 2008 we spent the holiday in Colorado, once again, with our other daughter, Tiffany, after the birth of Joe’s first grandchild.

In 2009 we spent the holiday in Arizona with Carissa as she and Joe prepared the feast.

Each one of our girls chopped up about eight onions with Joe’s attentive help.  Tears running down their faces from the onions.  A few minutes of complaint when Joe thought more chopped onions were necessary.  Four bunches of celery were next on the chopping block as he showed them how to select the stalks for the stuffing and those to be slathered with his “Celery Stuffing” that all in our family love.

I have learned that the day we, as American’s, celebrate Thanksgiving has not always been the third

September 1863 letter from editor Sarah Joseph...

Image via Wikipedia

Thursday of November.  Truly, it was not even the much taught about Plymouth Landing peoples that first set foot in America in 1621.  The Plymouth people celebrated an autumn harvest festival and not every year as has been taught in our schools.  These celebrations were proclaimed from time to time.

From “The Elks Magazine” issue of November 2010, I gleaned the following information.

The next known celebration of thanksgiving was in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631 when a long overdue ship arrived bearing supplies after it was thought to have sank and been lost at sea.

The New England Colonies celebrated Thanksgiving, sometimes in November and sometimes in December until  the late eighteenth century.  The dates differed each year while each colony declared their day of celebration.

During the Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1783 the Continental Congress declared a national day of thanksgiving to be held in December.  According to the article, George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 25, 1789 to be the first Thanksgiving Day.  He would go on to proclaim one more day of thanksgiving during his presidency.  After that, it pretty much was up to the colonies when they would celebrate thanksgiving again.

Before the Civil War, President James Madison designated a day in April to celebrate peace with England in 1815.  Outside of the New England Colonies thanksgiving was not celebrated because many of the nations leaders thought proclamations of thanksgiving were counter to the separation of church and state.

For many years a young woman, named Sara Josepha Hale, committed herself to establishing a national day of thanksgiving.  For nearly forty years she waged a one-woman campaign by writing letters to governors, ministers, newspaper editors, and every US president.  She experienced some success in her endeavors.  It was the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, with the country bitterly divided, when she was making in roads to her cause.  Finally on October 3, 1863 President Lincoln issued the proclamation making the third Thursday in November a national Thanksgiving Day.

So, on this Thanksgiving day of 2010 with our children spread out far and wide, we are thankful that each one of them have taken up the tradition taught to them by Joe.  From their earliest childhood memories “Dad” in the kitchen lovingly laboring over an abundant feast.  “Phantom Of The Opera” or “Cats” filling the house with music while the delicious smells reach into every crook and cranny bringing choruses of “is it ready yet?”

Joe’s feast of the senses would make the table groan from the weight and children scurry to their chairs.  Laughter would ring out, plates would be passed for slices of turkey.   Then piled high with mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a vegetable.  Playful fights would break out when someone took the last piece of stuffed celery.

On this Thanksgiving Day, Joe is in the kitchen once again.  The “Phantom Of The Opera” playing as he chops and dices.  Up to his wrists in bread crumbs, eggs, seasoning, and the chopped onions and celery.  Cranberry sauce from scratch was prepared yesterday and is cooling in the little refrigerator that works.  His jello salads share space with his 110 and 220 film and a few bottles of beer.  Celery sticks are chilling in water that were prepared yesterday, another bowl holds the golden delicious celery stuffing I helped him make yesterday by separating a dozen eggs.  The yolks were cooked in a double boiler along with vinegar and sugar until they were done to his perfection.  As the yolks cooled he shredded Colby cheese to go in the cooling egg yolks to sort of melt and blend in.  More cheese will be added after the entire mixture has totally cooled so pieces of cheese stick out all over the place when slathered on a celery stick.  Sweet and tart, crunchy and sublime is what we all enjoy about his stuffed celery.

On this day of Thanksgiving, let us all be thankful for the men and women that labor in a hot kitchen to prepare the entire feast.  And special thanks go to those that make it easier by bringing a much favored dish to the table from their kitchens to be lustily enjoyed as we stuff ourselves into a stupor with friends and family to begin the holiday season that is upon us.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  May your homes be full of laughter and love.

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On The Fritz and Mended

The refrigerator is “on the Fritz” (where did that term come from?) and my arm is mended.  Thank you all for asking.

We have a GE refrigerator that came with the house when we bought it – brand new.  As with all large appliances, it came with a two year warranty.  That ended about 4 years ago.  Two years back the troubles began with the heating coil.  Since it is a frost free unit it self defrosts.  We had a repair done on that and it worked for a while.  Well, for some reason that part quit and we have had to defrost it more and more frequently since then.  Started off about every three to four months.  Since the beginning of last year it has been just a bit over monthly.

The next problem we had was with our ice maker.  The auger froze up so the “Ice In The Door” feature quit working.  We’ve had a repair person out on three different occasions to fix the ice maker and it is now beyond repair.

This last time we defrosted the freezer things have gone really wonky.  The vegetable bin and the deli bin in the refrigerator part is now the FREEZER, while the freezer is cool enough to be the refrigerator.  The top area of the refrigerator side is warm, while the lower sections and the door are cold.  The tubing coils for the “Water In The Door” feature are frozen so that part doesn’t work any longer.  Go figure.

It seems this particular unit had been recalled some years back because of the door seals not being sufficient.  We didn’t get the “Memo” on that one so we missed the recall measures.  Now we have to find a refrigerator that will fit in the space of the current one.  GE will give us $400 off the price of a new one, once we find one, and they will install the new one and take out the old one.

We’ve been to a couple places and looked at refrigerators.  Most of them are just an inch or two wider than the space they would go in.  Living in a mobile home, that inch or two is problematic.  It would involve some reconstruction to get one of them to fit in the space.  Although our home has the 2×4 (laughable) construction and drywall instead of wood paneling on the walls, adjusting the area for that few inches would be a massive undertaking.  There are three walls that would be affected by the change.

Upon entering our front door, we have a foyer of sorts.  The wall you would face upon entering our home is on the back side of the refrigerator and pantry.  Turn right, once in the door you enter the dining room.  At that juncture is a wall of cabinets where the foyer turns into the dining room.  Just a few steps more you are in the kitchen and the back of the cabinet wall is where the refrigerator stands, then next to it is the pantry.  This whole space is like an enclosed island.  The entire section would have to be torn down and put back together just for two inches of space.  Not something I’m remotely interested in doing.

After Thanksgiving we’ll have a bit more time to go from one appliance store to another, tape measure in hand, and find the unit that will fit within the space width wise.  The next challenge will be the depth.  There is a model we have looked at that would fit within the space but will stick out three inches further into the kitchen area.  That three inches will make our kitchen a less than “Two Butt” space.

We can have the oven door and the refrigerator door open, since they face each other, right now.  Have a unit that is three inches further into the space will make for some testy conversations.  Me checking something in the oven with the door open and Joe decide he needs something out of the refrigerator….well cover your ears, it won’t be very lady like nor loving.  So the hunt will continue for a while.

As for my arm.  The out of date drugs did the trick.  Two nights with the old pain killers and the days spent stretching and forcing the arm and shoulder to move and rotate have furthered the healing process.  I have full motion of the arm and the pain is gone.  Joe had suggested I get a sling and immobilize my arm for a while.  That seemed to be the long way to get it better so I opted for the “grit your teeth and breathe through the pain” option.  Faster, although I have to admit that Joe nearly drove me bonkers with his concern and admonishments to stop what I was doing.  Him hovering and questioning me on my arm and the pain was really disconcerting.  More so when he kept trying to take things out of my hands to help me.  Bless the man, and his loving ways.  That is the better way to think of it than “leave me alone and stop trying to coddle me!”

Thank you all for your concern at my discomfort.  I appreciate the phone calls from daughters and Maureen, the notes of care and well wishes from those of you far away.  Close to home, I appreciate the gift of love from my crazy husband 🙂 who helped me out of chairs while being pelted with cross words for his efforts; physically pushing me aside in the kitchen to lift a pot or a skillet while his ears were blistering from the heated “Stop that, I’m capable of doing this myself”, and for waking me up during the night to see if he has rolled over too close to me and hurt my arm.

Truly, I do appreciate all the love that has been sent my way from every corner 🙂

Maureen, you and your family have safe travels to and from your Thanksgiving celebration.  Shelly, you and your family enjoy a healthful Thanksgiving celebration with the flu banished from your home for the rest of the season.  Lynn, you and your family enjoy this time with the flu and other ills carried off on the winds in the UK, all the while they are at your back and not searing your lungs for burning your faces with the cold.  Nancy, you and your family enjoy this time in Canada with the temperatures back up on the plus side of the thermometer leaving the remaining negative temperatures for later in the season and your migraines to take a long needed leave of absence.

Time to get at my paperwork, for a time, and on with other things.


A Lost Week

My “road warriors” are home.  They arrived Sunday afternoon.  Les had to hang around until Monday to get some things done at Coldiron, after that he headed for Tribune, Kansas.  Long day still ahead of him, another six hours of driving before he could call it done.  They were gone for a month this time.

Having Joe’s weight in the bed was comforting, until 4 a.m. when I suddenly woke up and wondered what I had done.  There was someone in bed next to me.  There were a few moments of panic until I fully woke up and knew that it was Joe there.  When he has been away for a long period of time he always tells me “Tell your boyfriend he has to leave, I’m coming home!”  This is the first time I’ve been startled awake with a feeling of shame and dread.  What’s up with THAT!

We’ve been married for over 20 years and he still gives me the shivers and makes my heart go pitty pat.  He screws with my schedule big time too, which frustrates me to no end, but I’ve become used to it now and just try to go with the flow.

My paperwork…..well it has come to a dead stand still for a while.  So has any crafting.  Everything has come to an abrupt stop.

Monday morning was spent running around town going to the Coldiron offices and getting business taken care of there, the afternoon was shot in discussions of taking a run from Dardanelle, Arkansas to Wichita, Kansas.  I have things to do here but one last short run would give us cash for his Thanksgiving cooking.  Money not earmarked for December payments.

Tuesday, the trucks were not quite ready so we would not be leaving until Wednesday.  I spent Monday evening cutting papers for Christmas gift tags and videoing the cutting process.  Making some of the gift tags as well.  Tuesday was spent finishing the gift tags and processing the video of cutting directions and displaying the gift tags.  While both of the videos were uploading I spent time getting my other blog updated with these new items.

During the night on Tuesday I did something to my right arm.  Could barely move it come Wednesday morning.  We got to Dardanelle and loaded.  My arm was throbbing by the time we finished.  Driving the truck was a challenge.  Shifting gears was painful, pushing in the air brake knobs sent my upper arm into spasms that made me sick to my stomach.  Came home and left Thursday morning for Wichita to deliver.  By the time we got home my arm was screaming.  I’ve pulled something in my shoulder and I don’t know how or when I did it.  Time to bust out the drugs.  I have some really old pain medication from a dentist when I had a tooth pulled in 2007.  Of the 12 originally prescribed I still had 10 left.

Friday morning dawned and my arm felt so much better.  At least the pulsing and stabbing pain had subsided and I could move my arm better.  The day was spent away from home running errands, getting the work pickup in the shop for some minor repairs and an oil change.  We had to go to an Apple Store, which is at a huge mall in downtown Oklahoma City, for an updated software for my photos and video.

So close to Thanksgiving and our refrigerator has finally decided to give up the ghost.  That is an expense we were not planning for.  A few hours at appliance dealers looking at refrigerators and trying to determine which one we would buy to replace our ailing one.

A couple weeks ago I signed up for an online class at our local Community College.  It is “Creating Web Pages”.  A six week course with lessons on Wednesday and Friday.  Well, with all of this weeks adventures and pains I’ve gotten behind and now need to catch up.  Back to being a dog chasing its tail.  Going round and round and accomplishing nothing.

Next week there will be no crafting or paper work getting done.  Shopping for Thanksgiving groceries so Joe can do his fantastic job of making a luscious feast, cleaning the house and making it “presentable” for the neighbors we invite to share being blessed by their friendship all year long.

I’ll squeeze in some time to get my Web Pages class assignments turned in.  Now I need to get to the Post Office and mail Lynn’s tote bag to the UK and Nancy’s tote bag to Canada.  I had them all ready to be mailed last week but found I did not have their addresses.  Dolt!  That will be remedied this time.  I will make sure they are in my phone before I leave the house to mail their packages.

I’ve been keeping track of my friend’s blogs and reading about all the illnesses they have been experiencing.  Their households have been turned upside down due to the flu virus that has affected all in their family, even extended family that don’t live in the same house.  Weather changes, migraine headaches, hospital admissions, and the flu have way laid my dear friends.  Their households have been disrupted completely.  I’m whining about Joe disrupting my schedule and not being able to do my work.  Time for a reality check and be thankful we are both having good health while we spend time together until Joe returns to the highways and I’m left to my own devices once again.

Priorities change, being with and loving family and friends is more important than getting data entry done for my paperwork.  That will commence once again and I’ll be back on my crazy schedule after the first of December for a few weeks before I have to shut it all down once more for the Christmas festivities.

This year I have received many blessings that I am thankful for.  Women that have become my friends and made me laugh out loud, neighbors that have watched over our home while we have been gone and kept the lawn mowed, a “Day Job” that allows me to take the time off and explore another part of my world, children that are absolutely awesome adults, the freedom of having a vehicle to run errands while I’m home and we can leave the work pickup for just that – work – and I have been able to spend time with my long lost sister and get reacquainted with her.  I have been immensely blessed this year and have much to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

Now it is time to get after my Friday class and do the lesson.  Finished the Wednesday class yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) it is time to get caught up on at least one thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.


A Bit Of Bragging

My Rissa (Carissa) is a budding Party Planner.  Somewhere in my house I have photos of a Bride’s Shower she did for a friend some years back.  Most recently she put together a huge “Retro” party, working with other people, for her church at a Dave and Busters (or is it Dave and Barry’s – I never can remember 😦 ) in Arizona.

For the Bride’s Shower she did an “Amazing RaceHawaii” theme.  She picked up six wood pieces from a local craft/hobby store.  They are like small unfinished plaques.  She painted them in bright colors and had the island names put on each plaque.  Each plaque was placed in different areas of a backyard as “stations” for the participants to go to.  I really need to find those photos to do this bragging justice!!!

At a pool in the backyard, empty liquor bottles (she begged and wheedled them from friends) floated on the water.  The contestants were supposed to pick out the correct bottles that would be used in creating the Bride’s favorite “toddy for the body”, a Margarita.  That was fun watching the women use a pool skimmer to get the bottles they thought would be correct without falling in the water themselves.

By a set of playground equipment she had a grass skirt, coconut bra, ukulele, Hawaiian print shirt, and something else.  The contestants had to don the wardrobe, over their clothing, and create a song and dance.  It was timed for about a minute.  That was a riot watching the nervous contestants get with the program and really begin to shake their booties.

In the garage of the home Carissa had a “station” to create a lei.  She had fresh flowers, needles, and thread for the creation of beautiful neck wear.  That was really fun for me to watch one young girl and her grandmother sit at a table and create a lei to wear.

 

Gift box

Inside box

Proudly use mine

Carissa and her husband, Jaime, made these boxes.  She filled them with flip flops, a small candle, a small tube of sun screen, and I don’t remember what else.  These were placed atop the tables where the guests would be having something to eat later on.  I proudly use my hand created box in my craft room.  It is so handy to store my “tools” in!!

Her most recent party was a “Retro – Back To The 80’s” and it is her first “Open To The Public” party.  She shopped around at a local used book store for vinyl records she hung on the walls, used on tables, and bought a couple bowls that had been made from vinyl records.  She found candy from the 80’s and had different kinds of holders place on tables and throughout the room for the guests to enjoy.

She spent a couple weeks with a small group of friends to work out the “Thriller” dance and do it in front of everyone.  She had the audience participate in the Thriller dance by having them come up and dance along with the people that had practiced forever (she says it seemed).  She also had an “Air Guitar” contest.

This is the only thing I am able to get hold of from the Retro Party and I just love it.  It is a 31 second video of the “Thriller Dance”.  My Rissa is in front with the blonde hair and dressed in black.  I’M SO PROUD OF HER!!!!!!!

Anyone that has photos or video of the Retro Party, please – please – please, let me know how to get copies of them.  I’ll pay you for them!!!!

 

 


Door Wreath

 

Door wreath from an old book

I was clicking away at my keyboard doing my bookkeeping stuff.  Like to fell off my chair when my phone, hiding under a pile of papers, began buzzing and dinging at me.

In my haste to find it, under the mound of papers, it slid off my desk top skittered across the keyboard plopped in my lap and  it was launched under my desk and hit the wall as I tried to catch it.  All the while buzzing and dinging.

When I finally got the blasted thing out from under my desk, man that place needs to have some attention paid to it by the vacuum cleaner, this photo was displayed across the screen.

The words that accompanied the photo made me smile.  “Look at this wreath I made out of a book last night.  It was super easy and fun.”

My Arizona daughter (Carissa of the squash book card) sent this message to me.  Of course I had to call her immediately and get DETAILS!!!

Someone at her church (she told me her name but it went right out of my head) had suggested having some craft items for sale.  Wait, let me back up a bit…..

There is a young woman at Carissa’s church that is going on a mission (somewhere I can’t remember    :-{ ).  The women’s group have decided they would have a bake sale to raise money for this young woman and her travels.  There were some suggestions on making craft items to sell also but I think that discussion has been tabled for now, if not squashed all together.

One of the suggestions was to make a Christmas wreath from old books and a description of the process was put forth.  Seems Carissa is the only one that got excited about the idea.

Carissa took apart a wreath she had purchased (when I’m not entirely sure).  All I could suss out is the wreath base is not foam core or straw but some kind of a mostly flat ring.  I don’t know how many pages she used from the book, except “quite a few….maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of the book” is what I got.  The pages get rolled from one corner of the book page into a cone shape.  The pointy end of the cone is folded into a “U” shape.  The wreath frame is then sandwiched in the “U” shape.  Glue (hot glue I think she said) is then applied to the papers and held until they set.  She worked her way around the wreath frame until she had it filled.

At first, she was not totally pleased with the wreath.  She liked it but was not in “love” with it until she poked in the “brown things” from the original wreath to give it some color.  She attached the “brown things” with glue also.

According to Carissa she had this all put together in three hours.  Her wonderful husband, Jaime, was sitting next to her totally engrossed in a computer game the entire time she was creating.  Just when she was almost done with the wreath, Jaime finished his game and got up from the sofa.  He looked at her and asked:  1)  What are you doing?  2) How long have you been doing that? and 3)  Looks good Babe.  We both laughed at that.  You know….close but so far away 🙂  They are so cute together and he really is the most sweet guy.

Later in the evening, paperwork put away for the day, I got another message from her.  This is what it looks like on her door with the porch light on.

 

The WREATH

My job is nearly complete 🙂  I have passed on good jeans…wait it is genes.  I mean, really now, it surely could not have been the “subliminal” messages that were put out to all the kids when I made stuff for the house.  Although I do get some great hugs and am reminded about the gingerbread houses I had the kids all make one year…..icing of sugar cookies another year.

 


What Day Is It?

Seriously.  I’m so lost.  I just talked with my California daughter and she had to tell me it was Thursday.

I’m losing my mind.  The train has derailed and the wheels are off the track!

I really need to take a closer look at my schedule and fine tune it.  I did really good on Monday.  Spent the whole day doing paperwork and slogging through the month of January.  It is nearly finished and ready for the storage bin.  A bank statement to go through and reconcile on the computer and that month will be totally done.  It felt so good to get that far.

Late Monday night I video taped the cutting directions of papers for cards I would be creating on Tuesday.  I think that is when the train wreck started to happen.  Tuesday I spent the day (after errands) creating Christmas cards and videoing the process for some “How To” items.  Later in the day, near evening I began the process of transferring the footage from my digital recorder to the computer.

The cutting directions were put up on YouTube.  Working until pretty late in the evening Tuesday night I had the card tutorials done.

Yesterday I had plans to take my neighbor’s daughter on a trip to an art gallery here in town.  Just the two of us.  I’ve thought about becoming a “Big Sister” for several years and have not done anything about it.  This young girl is seven, has a younger sister that follows her around everywhere and some friction is being noted.  The younger sister comes to visit me from time to time.  I don’t think it is my company she desires, or my old “granny” ways.  She wants to be here when my Cuckoo Clock goes off.  She is funny.  She’ll hang around and converse with me, all the while she darts from the kitchen to the living room and over to the cuckoo clock ever hopeful it will hurry up and come out.  When it does she is “outta here” and on her way back home.  Except to stop by the bag of candy I have on my freezer and take a piece before she exits the door.

The older sister would accompany her from time to time in the beginning but has refrained from doing so recently.  I can see the friction building between them and have personal knowledge of disliking a sister because of the perceived notion of favoritism.

Unfortunately, that trip has been put on hold until some time next week.  They have lost their grandmother recently and the entire household had been turned upside down from it.  The best I could do was send over some homemade Chicken Noodle soup when they returned home from all the funeral preparations and burial.

I did no paperwork yesterday.  It was spent getting videos uploaded to YouTube, a very time consuming process, and updating my other blog – Message In A Fold – with a card I’ve made and some information on a product I used on it.  When the videos were done uploading so I could link them in my blog it was pretty late last night when I finished.

Today, I’ve been redoing my website – Message In A Fold – and I still need to work on my Stampin’ Up! website.  What in the world have I been thinking?  I know that developing a business is challenging and time consuming, but seriously, I’m spending more time on this computer getting my business out on the internet.

I would appreciate any suggestions or input you might have on my website.  I’ve tried to strip it down to the bare essentials and be more reader/user friendly than the gibberish I’ve put up on it before.  Maybe I’ve stripped it down too far.

I’m trying to find the “happy medium” between TMI – too much information – and allowing a visitor to stop in and feel free to look around without feeling like they are being chased by a rabid sales person.

Well, I’m off to do some work on my Stampin’ Up! website now.