November 2010


THANKSGIVING 2010

We spent Thanksgiving Day in Pittsburgh, which was a first for us.  But it was convenient too:  Oldest Son was delivered to us at the airport there and then we hopped on over to eat with our relatives.

Our nephew and niece live in an astounding house.

It wasn’t so very nice when they bought it, but still there were treasures.

This window is on the landing as you walk upstairs.

The banister for the main stairway.

Many of the floors look like this.

There is a fireplace in almost every room.

AND they are very clever with restoring and with decorating.

Things went along in a typical fashion.

 

And now it’s time to continue our thankfulness while turning in a different direction, moving from one holiday to the next:

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XANGA THANKSGIVING SMORGASBORD 2010

I have been invited to a special place for Thanksgiving this year!  ItsWhatEyeKnow invited a bunch of bloggers to come to her site for dinner, and she asked us to write about what we are bringing to the feast.  Because some folks are bringing a dog and a cat, I was asked to bring festive food dishes for them to eat from.

I have just the thing.

Years ago when we lived in the Big City, I didn’t have much of a social life (but then, who needs one when newly married?).  I worked as a school librarian (traveling between three elementary schools) and I became good friends with some of the older ladies who worked at Drake School:  the nurse, two secretaries, and the library clerk.  These four invited me to join them in something they did like clockwork every week without fail:  they made ceramics at Florence’s house. 

Florence had a whole little workshop set up in her basement.  She owned a kiln and poured her own slip, molding it into greenware for us to clean, paint, and glaze.  She charged a small fee for the firing and for use of her various glazes, and we also paid for the greenware itself.

But most of all, we enjoyed each other.  We talked and chatted and told stories and gossiped and laughed up a storm.  How fortunate I was to have their company!

Many of the items I made are for the holidays, so I especially think of them when I get out my ceramics to decorate the house.  And since we often made the same things, I know that they or their families are doing the same.  How I miss them!

So this year, I will share my ceramic pumpkin dishes for the cat and dog to eat from, provided they are mannerly and don’t knock them about:

For the cat

For the dog

In the meantime, I hope you yourselves are enjoying great fellowship with friends and family–some old and some new, some present with you, some far away, and some only in your memories.  We’re thankful for all, aren’t we?

POSITIVELY SPEAKING

Today’s topic as part of Shining Garnet’s Positivity Week is

Your Favorite Positive Quote

and it has caused me to think about how some quotations could be negative to some, while being positive to others.  Here are some examples, along with the positive-speaking quoter:

“The zebra is hurt.”
A hungry lion

“The visitors kept us from our bedtime.”

A young child

“Anything worth doing is worth doing for the money.”
A Ferengi
(a member of Star Trek’s alien race, whose culture is based on profit & trade)

“The heater is broken.”
A penguin

  “The groom has changed his mind.”
A young lady who is NOT his bride-to-be

“It’s raining.”
Someone who lives in the desert


                                                                  

There are also a few happy quotations that could be taken negatively, as in this instance:

“It’s a boy!”
Teen-age girls in the ladies’ room

 

or the kind where one person meant it for ill (Rudolph’s father) and the other

didn’t (Santa):

“His beak’s a blinkin’ beacon!”

Now, for my own favorite positive quotation:  I will tell you, there are so many lovely ones out there that I would not be able to choose just one, and my personality being such that my husband chuckles at me and my 100 favorite [colors, pieces of music, movies, books], I will just give you TWO of many, choosing a theme.

At first, I thought the theme should be Ferengi, but it might be too negative for some readers:

1.           One can never have too much. Expand or Die!
            
Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #45:         

2.         Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.
             Ferengi Rule of Acquisition # 6:
        
So today, since a lot of my friends are murmuring “Doctor Who” in excited voices,
the theme will be about him:

1.          “Are you in charge here?”
             “No, but I’m full of ideas!”
             ~ Doctor Who in Horror of Fang Rock

2.          “They can shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine.”
             ~ Doctor Who in Army of Ghosts

AMEN!

FINDING THE POSITIVE

When I was a young mother, I read that we should keep a small diary of one good/interesting thing that happens each day.  It helps to change the attitude of a sometimes hum-drum life, and it helps us to keep a look-out for good things all day long.

I kept a diary like that for quite some time, and now I enjoy reading excerpts from it:

Found a $5 bill in the snow!
Saw a dead muskrat in the parking lot of Walmart.
27 quarts of blueberries.

Because Shining Garnet is having a Blog Challenge this week, asking us to write each day about a certain Positive Thing, with today’s topic being

Write A Positive Poem, Story, Take A Pic, or Draw A Picture          

I woke up eager to see what positive visuals I might find.  It didn’t take long for me to see two very lovely and positive things in my house:

1.   The kitchen chairs poised as if they’re standing in line for something exciting to happen…

2.    ….and it did indeed; we now have a very beautifully waxed kitchen floor.

POSITIVELY READING

Shining Garnet is having a Blog Challenge this week, asking us to write every day about a certain Positive Thing, and today the topic is supposed to be:

A Book That Had a Positive Effect on You

WHOA!  I read a lot, and while admittedly some of it is rather junkish, there are many many many books that have affected my thinking in some way or another.  And what constitutes “positive”?  If the book is sad, is it positive?  If the book is horrible, could it affect me positively?  I think so. 

Books
     Are
          Wonderful.

And the memories are numerous.  Here are a few:

As a child, I read and re-read A Dog Called Scholar by Anne Hitchcock White.  My favorite chapter was when Scholar, who had been trained not to eat the food till someone told him it was “paid for,” visited a birthday party.  When the hostess gave him a piece of cake, the poor animal began to piteously foam at the mouth, waiting for the magic words.  Chaos ensued over the “rabid” animal.

It’s nice to choose a special book to read during the holidays, because then you can remember exactly when you read it.  I remember a babysitting summer reading The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox while sitting on the porch steps.  This book completely changed my thinking about slavery.

Or there was the college Christmas when I read Les Miserables for the first time.  Surely one of the greatest books ever written.

I finished Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy in Las Vegas standing in a casino.  It was during a college summer when I flew to Los Angeles with my mother, aunts, and grandma.  Grandma was a gambler and insisted on a drive to Las Vegas every time she visited her California daughter (always stopping at the Roy Rogers Museum on the way, just in case he stopped in–he did one time, you know).  Grandma was so old by then that somebody had to pull down the handle of the slot machine when her arm got tired.  I myself played the machines with an investment of $5, using the winnings to purchase some beautiful German Christmas ornaments (which still grace our Christmas tree every year).   Then I was able to get back to the true excitement of finding out how things were ever going to get put back to rights after Hari Seldon’s predictions about the future did NOT come true.

The second time I read the Foundation Trilogy, it was as a read-aloud.  My new husband and I always took turns washing the dishes while the other one read aloud.  It took us a long time to read, and we finished it in the long car trip from our house in Buffalo to Indiana at Christmastime.  The book was new to my husband, and we had to keep stopping the car so he could use the restroom–the book made him that excited!!

So many memories! 

*     Finishing T.H. White’s The Once & Future King (King Arthur) while on my first trip overseas in Britain.

*     Enjoying a second round of The Lord of the Rings during a college summer while riding down to Florida with my feet propped up on the dashboard of a pickup truck.

*     Sharing a fourth round of The Lord of the Rings with my youngest son; when it appeared that Frodo had died, my voice broke and I could barely read aloud Sam’s great grief.  We held each other and sobbed (tears come to my eyes while writing this, the pain and sadness was so real).

*     Reading aloud the entire series of Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (the unexpected widow who volunteers to be a spy for the CIA) while my sons played with Legos on the living room floor.  “DON’T send us to bed!  Read more!  Read more!”

*     Spending two whole days with a sore bottom and stiff limbs during a recent Christmas break, because I was GLUED to the chair reading The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White) by Ted Dekker.  I absolutely could not tear myself away, even to eat and drink.

So there you have it, just a little bit of positive thinking about books and their power.  I’ll end with a quotation from a favorite childhood book called Seven Day Magic (by Edward Eager):

          On every hand were what looked like thousands of books, ranged on
           shelves, stacks and stacks of them.

          “Think of all those we haven’t read yet!” said Abbie.

          “Maybe some of them have magic inside, too!” said Fredericka.

          “ALL of them, I should think,” said Barnaby, “one way or another.”

PROPHETIC DISASTER

I didn’t know I had it in me, to predict the future and make it come true (sort of).

Yesterday I made one of my husband’s favorite dishes:  Salmon Fillets with Creamy Dill.  There was extra sauce, so it went into a casserole dish to bake along with–great to put onto rice!

Here is my version of that recipe, which comes from allrecipes.com

     1 LB. salmon fillets
     salt
     pepper
     garlic powder
     1 1/2 C. mayonnaise or plain yogurt or a combo of each
     1/2 C. prepared mustard
     1/4 tsp. ground thyme
     1 tsp. dried oregano
     1/4 tsp. dried basil
     2 tsp. dried dill

     Put the salmon on a greased baking sheet or a 9 X 13 pan. 
     Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder.
     Mix the rest of the ingredients together and spoon onto the top of the salmon.
     Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-40 minutes (till the salmon is easily flaked
     with a fork).

At dinnertime as I removed everything from the oven, we remarked upon the fact that the casserole dish was dripping water; I’ve never seen such a thing before, but we think it’s because it had been baking on a rack right above the salmon and steam had collected on the outside.  We vaguely wondered if the dish itself was broken, and laughed because we have had it since our wedding, and probably you can now find these dishes in the antique stores.

I HAVE seen toys from my past in antique stores!

(Secretly in my head, I was praising myself for having taken such good care of the dishes all these years too)

Pride goes before a fall, and it fell right out of my hands!

  The yellow in the sauce is MUSTARD–lots of it.

SOB!~

The set of three is broken, and one of us got to eat dinner much later than the others.

OKEE-DOKEE

Yesterday I decided to answer the telephone, even though mostly I had been letting the robot on my answering machine talk to the robots who were calling to talk about politics.

It was a real person!

She asked to speak with Younger Son, but he was not at home and I asked if I could take a message.

Thus began the political spiel:  “Well, I just wanted to urge everyone in your household to go to the polls tomorrow and vote Republican.  The Republican candidates are….blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

When she finally finished, I SAID:

“Okay.”

There was stunned silence on the other end of the phone.  I guess the poor lady had never gotten such a reply before!  “Oh, well, um, all right.  Thank you….very much!”

And I did.  I hope you did too.  🙂