Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Delayed!

Last week, although I had planned -well at least thought at it anyway -to write a post about things for which I am thankful, I didn't get around to it. Didn't get around to doing all that much blog reading either, for that matter. I didn't realize until today when I opened my blogger account that my last post was a week ago. What the heck did I do all last week that kept me from doing a post anyway? Was I really all that busy?

I was pretty tied up between trying to get a tablecloth I was working on finished and finally, I did get that completed late Saturday night. So one mission accomplished and I was pleased too with the way it turned out so that was good. The craft company that I purchase almost all my embroidery stuff through sent out an e-mail on Wednesday announcing a big sale they were promoting for two days -their "Thanksgiving Sale" -for merchandise at extra low prices on Thursday and Friday. Although I don't really "need" any more kits, ya know, as my current stash has more than enough things waiting for me to pick up and take a needle to but, well ask most any crafter what their response is to a good sale for things in the genre they normally enjoy and most will say they can't really resist a good sale after all. I combed through their website and found a whole bunch of things I wanted but the logistics of my checking account did sort of force me to cut back a bit on my purchase powers. However, I couldn't resist ordering two more tabletoppers that I had been watching for a long, long time now and so they went into my shopping cart along with some terry towel kits with Christmas themes. All was well until I went to check out and somehow their website processed my order almost automatically, to take the payment out of my checking account and didn't give me a choice if I wanted to use that or my PayPal account to pay. Lucky for me, my account was stable enough to withstand that payment, but it irritated me a bit that I had not been given a choice in the matter. Then, the day after my little shopping spree, I received a new catalog from the company with a special coupon good now thru the end of December for free shipping! Sheesh! Wish I'd waited one more day cause then I could have saved at least another $10 buckaroonies on my purchases! Typical of my luck -a day late and a dollar short, ya know, as that old saying goes!

My kids and I had determined by last Sunday that we would have our Thanksgiving family dinner on Saturday as older daughter's work schedule -midnight shifts on Wednesday and Thursday nights -would have made it impossible for her and my older grandson to be here so Saturday was the most logical choice then for our day with the turkey.

While everyone around here it seemed was busy-busy doing all kinds of preparations for their respective feast, my procrastination skills were in high gear and I didn't begin fixing anything for our meal until Thursday night when I made a container of fresh cranberry-orange relish. Friday morning though, things went into high gear here as I had my own cook's version of Black Friday Rush! I started around 11 a.m. to try to get my equipment and materials all in order and out of their respective hiding places which also turned into an episode of reorganization of my kitchen cupboards -a task I hate and should have waited to do that but my obsessive-compulsive side took charge and said "NO! Do. It. Now!" And so I did which delayed my start on the actual food prep until about 2 p.m.

I started out by mixing up a batch of the Swedish Flat bread my kids and I love. It's called "Kaka" bread and I have no clue how that name for it came about nor have I encountered any recipes specifically for this bread on any ethnic cooking sites I visit from time to time, but it's a main staple for many in our community here amongst those of Swedish ethnic background. It's kind of ironic too that the finished product is a round but flattened loaf of bread which takes three rising (of anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes each rising) to get it ready to bake! Go figure, huh? As soon as I had that bread dough working on its first rise, I dug into making a big batch of pie crust -enough to bake 5 pies! Got that stuff done, pies ready to go into the oven of one each of cherry, peach and lemon and two pumpkin pies! After that it was time to make the stuffing -in between punching bread dough down and resetting it to rise. Stuffing mixed, next up was making a broccoli salad.

By the time I got through all of that and with the bread dough finally up to par in the rising department, my last task -after stuffing the bird and getting it ready to put in the oven and to slow roast overnight -I still had one last thing to fix to complete my cooking for that day.

I had to make meringue for the lemon pie! And this was something that was a first for me as, believe it or not, at age 67 and being a life-long lover of lemon meringue pie, this was the first time I had ever made it myself! I was a tad on the edgy side as I began mixing the meringue -something that always happens when I am trying to make something new to me in the cooking department, but when I removed the finished product from the oven, I was really pleased with the outcome as it looked beautiful! Really and truly, it did.

I proudly showed the pie to daughter, Mandy, who did a number of oohs and ahs over it -especially when she learned that under that coating of meringue was a thick lemon pudding that she too loves!

By this time, my kitchen clock was reading about 10:15 and I realized I had been on my feet, in the kitchen, since two p.m. -a bit over 8 hours -and when I sat down then, my back and legs were really talking to me big time, telling me in no uncertain terms that I had definitely pushed them to their utmost limits! I made a comment to Mandy that if she was really a good daughter and really appreciative of my efforts -especially the creation of this lemon meringue pie -that maybe she would see fit to doing a teensy bit of rehab efforts by rubbing my old and very tired feet now!

The family joke here now is that Mandy will do just about anything in payment for homemade lemon meringue pie -including rubbing Mom's aching feet and legs!

And let me tell you, for that gift I am very thankful!

Saturday morning came and with it, my final food preparations began -cooking sweet potatoes to make into candied sweet potatoes and peeling and cooking up the white potatoes for mashing.  Removal of the stuffing from the turkey, deboning "Tom" and then making gravy and all that was left was for my son and his girlfriend, older daughter and the grandson to arrive and we were ready to eat!

Mandy fixed a box of Mac'n'cheese for the two finicky eaters in the family to allow the rest of us the luxury of indulging in way too much of the foods I had prepared without having to listen to lots and lots of whining and wailing from Maya and Kurtis about the various traditional food that they "don't like" and won't touch!  And that little entry to the table did make a very big difference in their -and our -meal! There was a little whining at one point from Kurtis who tried to ignore the pieces of turkey on his plate, saying "I no like chicken" until I realized we had omitted our usually sure-fire method to get him to eat poultry -and Mandy grabbed the bottle of ranch dressing and placed some of that on his plate by the turkey and like magic, the turkey went right down then quite easily! Amazing isn't it, what a tiny bit of dipping stuff will do for a fussy five-year-old!

The pies all got sampled with one pumpkin pie being finished completely and several samplings -by small children -of the other flavors of pie on hand too. Also another big surprise there as normally pie is something those two don't hold in as high as position of respect as do the rest of my family! (Well, pumpkin pie is the exception to that as they both have liked pumpkin pie for a long, long time now but trying any thing remotely like fruit pies has always been totally verboten! Don't even think about suggesting that to them has been the motto here until -well until now -as they both indulged in at least a tasting of the other flavors!

Little things like that -progress it's called -in mealtimes with two small children with autism and boy that is something for which I am always grateful, very, very thankful as I see them becoming less rigid in their ways where food it involved!

Maybe one of these days we can actually have a meal of the things the grownups in the family all like without having to run a "family restaurant" in the house and fixing some separate entre for the kids! It does look like that has a definite possibility to happen sometime in the future anyway!

Now, on to Sunday -and church -and yesterday being the First Sunday in Advent, our family was the one chosen to light the first candle on the Advent wreath and give the reading for the day too. Mandy was the reader, as Maya, Kurtis and I stood by the candle and listened to her and watched then as Alex -the older grandson -lit the first candle. A very pretty ritual in our church and surprisingly enough, it went quite well too with no surprises from the two younger family members while doing that.

However, the service itself tended to be rather problematic due to a lot of interference coming from the people in the pew directly behind us! Those two -a lady and an 8 or 9-year-old who is a newcomer to our church and who was sitting with this lady (apparently a family friend) while her mother sat and sang with the church choir. That little girl also happens to be friends in school with Miss Maya and throughout the majority of the service she kept tapping Maya on the shoulder to get her to turn around and talk to her! And all that shoulder tapping and twirling around on Maya's part kept old Grammy's hand pretty busy then too as I was constantly turning Maya back around to face the front of the church and at least to be quiet and respectful of the service.

When church was finally over and I stood up to leave, the little girl behind us asked me -quite pointedly in fact -"How's come you kept making Maya turn around?" Hmmm! What to say and how to say it to keep my voice tone in check?

My response -and I tried to keep my voice very low and level -not tinged with the bit of anger I was feeling inside -was that I did that because in church, you are supposed to face forward, to pay attention to the service out of respect for that and to the Pastor too who is trying to speak. Kind of like you are supposed to do in school, you see. I'm not sure if she understood exactly what I meant there and I worry about having said that as firmly as I did for fear that her mother may take offense to my comments there and perhaps no longer come check out our church and become a member.

Little things like that can make some individuals really persnickety and sadly, drive them away too in the process.

But on the other hand, Mandy and I have worked long and hard to teach Maya and Kurtis about church and behavior that is acceptable while attending services you know. It's been a long hard road at times with the issues each of the grandkids has pertaining to social skills and appropriate behavior but for the most part, we've got them both now to a point where they rarely have any outbursts that are totally inappropriate for public behavior and I really don't appreciate having someone allow another child to disrupt what the kids have learned and are accepting of that process now!

I am however very thankful that with each of my moves to get Maya turned back around and not participating in the talking this other child wanted to do that she didn't decide to take the offensive with me and launch herself then into what could have worked up into a full-fledge meltdown -the likes of which we have not seen in church for several years now from her!

Once again -progress gained here and after all, as in the old GE ad campaign years ago "Progress is our most important product!"

Yep, and I firmly adhere to that adage too!

And so ended another Thanksgiving Holiday in our house -which ultimately reminds me that I should give thanks not just on one day out of the year but on a daily basis for those things I hold near and dear to me -my children and grandchildren, for openers. And for a house that may need lots of repairs and such, but is still way better than many others have for a roof over their heads; a refrigerator and shelves that are generally filled to the gills with more than enough food all the time; for fuel to fire the furnace and keep us warm; for things that entertain us -a tv, radio, computer and all kinds of other things that can and often do keep two small children occupied as well! Along with those things, there are friends here -friends scattered around this country and even a few world-wide as well who are always on my thankful list too.

And to keep all those things in perspective, I'm also thankful for being blessed to live in a country that has the freedoms offered to us by the government we have -such as it is at times, in my mind when I get provoked by some of the ways said government operates from time to time! It's kind of akin to lumpy gravy in my book -taste is still good, just the texture needs some help. I still love it all the same!

So all in all -behavior issues aside -it was a wonderful time to share with family a bounteous meal, lots and lots of laughter and knowing the love that exists between my family members and me -including and really, especially, those folks who are also part of my family through my church and my Faith!

Everyone should be so lucky to be able to enjoy days like this and to do it frequently too!

Now, if someone would just tell the muscles that are still stiff and sore and aching in my legs this and to get them to be a little more understanding of my occasional overuse of those body parts, life would be -dare I say it -perfect!

Hope you all had a Thanksgiving as filled to the brim with all the things each of us holds near and dear! And may we all enjoy many more of the same!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Learning Curve?

It's been an interesting couple of days here. Actually, in all honesty, I suppose I should say most every day around this house brings about learning something new for someone here -not always for me -but someone in the house obviously is learning something most every day.

Sometimes, when I learn things the grandkids are learning I am amazed, really shocked at times too though.

Yesterday -Saturday morning that would be -was one of those days!

I had assumed the "normal" position -that's pretty much what my kids refer to when I am seated in front of the good old computer -playing on Facebook, reading blog posts on my Reader, doing my e-mail -whatever it may be -but using the computer. Actually -truth be told -I have three "normal" positions -one is yes, in front of the computer. The second would be curled up in my recliner working on the embroidery project of the current day and the third would also involve the recliner too but would be me sitting there, semi-upright, but sound asleep with the tv blaring and usually with said embroidery project in my lap, waiting for me to wake up again and put in another stitch or two.

Now that I've explained that, let me tell you the first rather surprising thing I learned this weekend.

I was rather engrossed in something on the monitor -don't have any recollection right now what it was though -when Kurtis came running up to me and started telling me some story that was -to him -of the utmost importance. It had to do with putting stuff in your mouth and that stuff then goes to the stomach and it gets all smooshed out and then (this has to be said rather breathlessly, I might add -to get the full effect) from there it goes to the pipes below that and then it ends up coming out as pee.

Say what, Son? And where did the need to explain what I gathered was his explanation of the digestive process come from anyway? His statement to me came completely out of the blue -no one was talking about anything at the time, much less that -or what I interpreted it as being the digestive process due to his pointing to various areas on his body anyway.

What does one say to a 5-year-old who has just given you this explanation anyway?

Not knowing what inspired this little speech from him and being a bit stunned at his explanation of things -"how things work" in his mind anyway -I just gave him a sort of incredulous look and said "Really?"

To which he replied, "Yes, really, Gram!"

Okay. I'll take your word for it and then I'm gonna ask your mother if she gave him an explanation like that at some time or other recently that it was kind of, apparently, lodged in his brain and had reached a point where he felt he had to share that information with me. So when Mandy got home later yesterday, I mentioned this to her and she said she thought maybe they were discussing things like that in his kindergarten class recently.

Hmmm. That kind of had me wondering about the how and why-for they would be talking about things like that as early on as kindergarten but figured, whatever -apparently he is learning these things and maybe he can't absorb proper names and such for the digestive process but he did have a lot of the stuff in his own good order type of set-up anyway.

A little later in the day, Mandy informed me she had just received a text message from a former family member (to her -as in her Sister-in-law, soon or someday to be ex-SIL, ya know) in which it was stated that the sheriff's deputy -or deputies -had just picked up another former member of the family and had taken him off to the hoosegow for non-payment of child support. Hmmm. They had encountered him about a month or two back over the same problem but at that time, he had managed to get someone to pay whatever amount they were requesting at that time so was not locked up that time. This time, apparently things went much differently and he was now supposedly under lock and key.

A bit of really bad timing on his part -if what he had told me a week or so back was the truth -and that was that tomorrow he was supposed to begin employment at a new and legitimate job -not one that was under the table or anything like that and supposedly then, he would be getting back on his feet, getting financial "legs" again, as it were.

All of this brings up a question I have long had in my mind about people being arrears for child support and for which I've never been able to figure out -or receive from any one in charge of these things -what is the point of arresting someone, placing them in jail for non-support, not releasing them till the arrearage -or percentage of that figure -is paid which effectively only takes them off the job market then and if one is out of the job market, how then can they earn the money to pay that money of which they are in arrears? I'm not saying this in defense of the former son-in-law, just wondering about how this seems a bit nonsensical to me.

Then, today -Kurt's TSS was here this afternoon, spending a few hours working with him and at one point while she was here, Miss Maya appeared and told us something that kind of surprised me. I don't know what inspired her but she asked Miss Dawn and I if we knew what YDIJ means and neither of had a clue as to where she was going to take us with this question but eventually she informed us that YDIJ means "Your Dad's in Jail!" Another of those "Hmmmm" moments hit me then as I wasn't sure if she had just sort of picked up on that bit of news from overhearing any conversations here yesterday or what. So I asked Mandy about his too and Mandy said she had tried to explain to Maya that yes, this is where her Dad is at the moment but we figured then that the abbreviated form Maya used was something of her own doing!

I also inquired to Miss Dawn -who is with Kurtis every school day, all day long too this year if they were studying -in school -anything about the digestive process and she said no, not unless they had reviewed that at some point in time when she may have been away from the classroom for a brief interval or some such.

All of which leads me back then to wondering how, or from what source, Kurtis had managed to learn this description he had rattled off to me yesterday which was a semi-correct tale according to a 5-year-old's comprehension anyway, of the digestive system and the process food takes from ingestion to expulsion anyway.

Oh the things small children pick up and understand never ceases to amaze me, that's for sure.

I wonder now too about the Christmas a few years back when Miss Maya received three -yes, you read that number correctly -three guitars of varying degrees of "realness" as gifts that year. Two were definitely toy guitars, true enough, but one was an actual guitar and in my opinion, was way over and above her learning abilities that particular year since no one here has any knowledge about how to play a guitar nor did any type of beginner guitar lessons come with that instrument either. But that just makes me wonder now if there had been someone who knew a little about the basics of the instrument, or some kind of instructions that maybe someone here could have interpreted to her, who knows but perhaps we'd have on our hands today a budding little prodigy playing her heart away on a guitar? I dunno but the way she picks up on things on her own, it does seem like it could have had potential back then. At least it might have saved said guitar from being destroyed by her then at any rate -which is what ultimately happened to that instrument in the end, you see. (Lack of planning, lack of foresight -people need to think before buying gifts of that caliber for a 4-year-old in my opinion anyway. The toy guitars would have sufficed completely at that point in time!)

But anyway, later this afternoon, while Miss Dawn and I were talking and Kurtis was trying to play with a particular "coloring book" of Maya's -one that is actually a "painting:" coloring book that requires a special brush and paint set to be used on the special type paper in this particular book to make the colors appear and he was not using said book but rather a plain piece of green construction paper with that particular paint brush and paints -a rather futile effort then happening for him as nothing was happening with the paints and the brush on that kind of paper. So Miss Dawn and I were trying to explain that to him -wrong paper equals nothing with that brush and those paints.

And nothing seemed to be registering with him as to what we were trying to get across there.

This whole explanation went on for at least a half-hour with him until finally he looked at me and said something to the effect that this wasn't working was it? And I responded to him with a simple "No!"

And that's when he looked at me and said "No poopie."

I -in turn -looked at Miss Dawn and asked her if his wording there was actually paraphrasing one of my own favorite responses -that being "No S**t!" And she nodded her head to let me know that yes, it was.

Then a bit after that discussion, we had the drawing of names for Christmas gifts -just between the adults in the family. Maya was intrigued by this and made up little slips of paper on her own to devise a drawing of names for gifts too -but her listings included the names of all three of the therapist/TSS people who work with the kids as well as the names of all the pets in the family too. She made a big production out of that process, needless to say and was really excited to announce that Uncle Clate had drawn Pearl's name in that drawing -Pearl being the still a bit of a kitten in the household, ya see.

But she then wanted to know whose name each of us adults had drawn and upon asking her Mom whose name she had picked out of the mix, Mandy told her "Moron's" to which Maya nodded and said, "Oh, Uncle Clayton, huh?"

Yep! That would be the correct assumption and yes, she hears that when Mandy answers the phone and it happens to be her brother on the other end of the line as she invariably then addresses him as "Moron."

Isn't sibling love wonderful though?

And isn't it also really amazing though how small children pick up so many little things that are said and seem to know exactly what is being said, what is meant and how to use certain things they hear too?

Just saying....ya know!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who's Calling?

Boy, what a yucky day it appears to be today -rainy, getting colder too. Two things I'm definitely NOT all that happy about in my life. Doggone weather like this just sets my old joints in an uproar.

A few things on my mind today -not many, mind you -as my pea brain can't handle all that much stuff all at once these days ya know.

This terrible scandal at Penn State University is still upper most in the news -well at least in this area it is anyway. But that does stand to reason considering where I live is only about 35 miles from University Park/State College, PA so certainly one can expect this to be big news around these hills, can't 'cha?

But, the most recent thing I've seen that raises more than a few more questions in my mind about this whole mess is the news yesterday of this big interview some reporter for CBS news was supposed to have had with Mike McQueary, a current-but-on-administrative-leave-coach at Penn State, the guy who told the Grand Jury that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy, estimated to be about 10 years old back in 2002. If you've been following this story at all you will remember that McQueary also told the Grand Jury that he left the scene of the alleged rape, calling only his Dad for advice and then, the next day, he is supposed to have gone and talked to Joe Paterno, the now deposed head coach of the Penn State Football team and told Joepa then what he'd seen the day prior. And of course, as we know now too, Joepa in turn reported this story to his superior, Tim Curley, the Athletic Director at Penn State who in turn, brought the news to the head of the Finance/Police Services on Campus and then, from there, the report also went on to Dr. Graham Spanier, the then President of the University and from there -well, the report stopped there, apparently.

Anyhow, that's a rough outline of who reported what to who -sort of -but now, according to the very latest reports, Mike McQueary is supposed to have sent an e-mail to a friend just last week in which he said oh, but he had done something to stop the rape and also, he had gone to the police then and discussed the situation with them -so yes, he was the "Mr. Nice Person" in this whole scenario -at least according to his words in his e-mail.

I'm wondering though why -if he really did do something, anything, to stop this alleged rape he witnessed and if he did in fact go speak to the police about this all having taken place, why didn't he say that to begin with while giving his Grand Jury Testimony? It's a bit conflictual, don't 'cha think? Or maybe I am reading this wrong cause sometimes my eyes do deceive me a bit. But this story now coming out -after maybe getting a whole hell of a lot of heat from the general public as to why he did nothing when he supposedly encountered Sandusky in the throes of lust -or, doing what Sandusky apparently considers nothing more than simple horseplay -perhaps the heat in the kitchen was getting a bit too hot for McQueary to contend with.

Ya think? I dunno -just discussing here what I saw on the CBS broadcast last night of this supposed big interview with McQueary in which he really said NOTHING, and then, reading the latest blurbs about this e-mail and then, reading the supposed e-mail too -just leaves me with more questions, more confusion too in my mind as to what the heck really did happen that day back in 2002 anyway?

On a more pleasant note -well sort of, depending on how you view this -I have been after Mandy and Ken to take a bag along with them when they walk Sammy down the Peale Road here and wanting them to pick some apples left on one tree along that road to bring home to me. This particular tree of which I know nothing other than it is apparently a darned healthy tree because it has been absolutely LOADED to the gills with nice non-worm-infested apples which are very tart, cook up nicely and make excellent homemade applesauce too -well, I just wanted a smallish bag of apples -didn't bargain for them to fill a 5 gallon drum-like container with apples for me! Granted this would make a really big kettle of applesauce which the grandkids -all three of 'em -really love -but I'm wondering now too if my hands will withstand the pressure of peeling and then cutting up that many apples -all pretty much at the same time, ya know?  Did I mention before that my joints in my wrist and in my hand and fingers also tend to stiffen up relatively quickly too these days?  Now, if they would like to volunteer to help with the peeling and cutting up of those apples, I'd be more than happy then to cook the whole kitt'n'kaboodle down into some yummy applesauce which I could then freeze for future use!

That does seem like a really reasonable thing for them to help me with that many apples, don't 'cha think?

And finally today -before I depart the computer for a few hours to work on my current embroidery project -I have something really exciting to report too. Well, maybe it isn't actually that exciting but rather well, just different but also a bit confusing to me too.

I received a phone call shortly after noon today from none other than Newt Gingrich! WOW! I am sooooo very impressed you just can't imagine the excitement within me over having been chosen by good old Newt to be the recipient of a phone call from him!

Actually, considering my base opinion of Newt Gingrich is not really very nice. Truth of the matter is I pretty much loathe, abhor and despise him as politicians go and I do wonder how/why his PR team would happen to cull my name and number out and phone me to let Mr. Gingrich -in a recorded message of course -start off his litany of charming things (I'm sure that's what was in this message) about himself by saying "I love America..." I didn't listen beyond that because you see, Mr. Gingrich, I too love America but I sure as Hell don't love it the way you see fit to do.

In other words, go take your message to someone who might actually be interested in hearing it -like maybe a Registered Republican for openers!

But just as yesterday I was grumping about retailers who insist on skipping over Thanksgiving completely and rushing into promoting the Christmas season as early as October or early-to-mid-November -now I'm wondering what on earth good old Gingrich is promoting this early in the political time line anyway!

 Isn't this just a tad early in the election scene to be hitting on folks with political diatribes? Especially those of us who are also NOT of that particular party?

Just wondering. 

Now, it's time for me to move on to thinking of how I'm gonna cook the boneless chicken breasts I set out to thaw for supper and getting back to my comfy recliner, tablecloth in one hand and embroidery needle and floss in the other to keep the production line in that area moving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Move It Along!

There are times when I am really grateful that I don't go out of the house all that often -especially in the late fall and ESPECIALLY not to the various malls!

This year, as I have done in the past, I'm following in the footsteps of one of my favorite bloggers, Jim Sullivan AKA Suldog  as he again begins his annual and very vigorous campaign to put Thanksgiving uppermost in our minds and hearts and celebrate it not just on the designated day but really, all year-round! But, his main thrust is to try to get people to acknowledge the importance of this holiday and also, that it is so often overlooked in the general scheme of things -particularly those businesses who feel the need to begin pushing us to buy, buy, buy everything imaginable to make sure we have the best holiday ever!

But my theory is without Thanksgiving first, we really can not have the beautiful Christmas experience we should have!

I hate seeing all the crapola on display in the stores as they begin, earlier and earlier it seems, each year gearing up for the Christmas Season.

It's bad enough when you go shopping in June looking for a nice bathing suit or some new shorts and tops and find winter coats on display and on sale. Or in December-January, you go looking for some nice warm clothing -sweaters, gloves to replace one that manages (always your favorite glove too) to get lost in the shuffle, or looking for a new winter coat because the one you've had for the past eternity has now finally bit the dust and what do you find in the store -bathing suits, of course!

Somehow I feel retailers must have a totally different calendar that they use that makes them operate this way.

But the worst offender in all this mish-mash of advertising and sales really would be -in my opinion -the ones where we start getting deluged with Christmas ads, music, displays, information -you name it -sometimes even as early as September!

People! Wake up! There's a whole lot of other very important things that take place before we should be forced into thinking solely about how much debt we're going to take on again this year so we can adequately celebrate the Christmas Holiday!

The one that really does get the short shrift in this advertising mania though has to be Thanksgiving and we tend to allow retailers to hammer that holiday down to being of very little importance in the overall scheme of things, don't we?

Thanksgiving Day has always been one of utmost importance in my family's celebrations. And I suppose some members of my clan have from time to time thought of it as the day before their big shopping event of the year as being the most important part of this holiday but even with that, I do think we all do stop and recognize that on this day we come together as a family, dine heartily for sure (okay, dine too much really), some of us (me, anyway) enjoy the Thanksgiving Day parades and also, some great football games too but it is the idea of stopping and giving thanks for all that we have in our lives that we treasure and want to give back thanks for having received these gifts.

For many years, well from 1979 until 5 years ago, so 26 years, my kids and I always went to my Aunt's home, which was my Dad's family homestead, and we celebrated Thanksgiving with our aunt and her daughter. For many of those years, my other aunt was still around and she would also be there with us along with -usually -her son, his wife and sometimes their children too. A nice family gathering and generally about the only time during the year that my kids and I would even see that cousin and his family.

For most of those years, my younger aunt always prepared the meal -everything from soup to nuts -and always it was a fantastic dinner too. Something my kids were extra thankful for because it meant they got a really good cooked dinner done by our Aunt Mike and yes, she really had a great way with putting a very delicious dinner together too! Early on, we often even had my older aunt's special Plum Pudding type dessert too -something that created other special memories in my kids' minds as rarely does a holiday go by now that one of my kids doesn't remember and mention the year Aunt Lizzie wanted to "flame" this dessert but for some reason or other, it just wouldn't cooperate. As a result, my Uncle Arch kept telling her to "Put a little more whiskey on it Lizzie!" and my kids just totally loved hearing him say that and also, remembering seeing the kind of dirty looks his wife -Aunt Isabelle -was throwing his way each time he'd say that.

Or the time my older daughter invited her boyfriend at the time to dine with us and thus, meet the extended family that way. He was a shy, quiet young man and had no clue as to the sharp tongue that sometimes existed in my Aunt Lizzie until he reached across the table for a little extra helping of something and in the process, the sleeve of his sweater got a bit too close to the flame of one of the candles on the dining room table and sort of "toasted" his sleeve a tad. When that happened, Aunt Lizzie -in her sort of growling way -chided him saying "That's what you get for being greedy!" The poor young fellow was mortified initially as he figured from her words and especially her tone of voice, that she was really meaning what she said. It took us the rest of that evening to assure him that was just her way of teasing him, trying to make him feel a full part of our a bit offbeat at times, family.

But that really has nothing to do with the ad campaigns that seem to try to obliterate the importance of this special day, does it?

There really should be lots and lots of ad campaigns and special programs and the like to call attention to Thanksgiving in a very meaningful way though. We should be deluged with blurbs about things we all have -and quite assuredly even during the worst of times, we ALL do have many, many things for which we can and should give thanks! For family, for friends, for fellowship we may have through various groups or organizations, for opportunities that simply abound for us but all too often, we get bogged down in our thought processes and overlook these things.

Of course, we should give much thanks for the food on the table before us -even if it's been a bit of a rough year, economically, most of us still manage to pull together a feed often fit for royalty, don't we? And we should take the time in the days leading up to this event to thank the farmers who produced the crops necessary for us to pick and choose what culinary delights we could afford to have available for our dining pleasure at least on this one special day of the year!

We should be shown promos of other things for which we often forget  but which are very important gifts that we owe huge debts of gratitude and thankfullness much overdue -things like our government, our freedoms in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, for those who serve and protect us daily -here and around the world as well. We should give attention to those who don't have as much as we have too -and recognize that there are many who have even less -far less -than we have even when our table setting may look perhaps a bit on the sparse side at times. We still have more than so many others do and we should give thanks for what we do have!

Much of the time the past couple of years, due to work schedules and such by some members of my family, we don't actually observe Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November, which is the traditional time for this event. This year is going to be one of those years but we will figure out a weekend as close to this date as possible when all of my kids and grandkids and I will be able to be together and will have our special gathering then.

And maybe sometime in December -after we've begun celebrating the Advent Season -which is the true precursor of Christmas -I will begin to appreciate seeing lights and decorations, hearing Christmas music to put me in a receptive mode for the Christmas Season to begin.

But it can't come to be until after we've had our Thanksgiving time together to stop and appreciate all that we have, all that has been given to us and getting mind, body and spirit refreshed and ready to welcome the Christmas Season.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sorrow, Anger, Pride

So many emotions running amuk within me today! Each of them creating thoughts within me as I try to regain some balance, some control over my life, my mind, my heart.

The sorrow in my heart comes from several sources today. It's been building up for the past several days as my mind has gone back repeatedly to events of a year ago today -November 9, 2010 -when I arrived home after having had my third round of chemotherapy -the result of lab tests after a hysterectomy back in July of 2010 revealed I had uterine cancer. I walked into the house and both my daughters were here to tell me that they had some very bad news for me.

While I was at the Cancer Clinic, my oldest cousin on my Mom's side had died! Her husband, who also was dealing at that time with a myriad of health issues, had called and told my girls that news and I was to call him as soon as I got home.

Although my cousin Nancy was also dealing with receiving chemo treatments last fall, and we spoke frequently -back and forth via phone calls, comparing notes with each other how the chemo was affecting us -she had been doing quite well dealing with the chemo, just as I was too. However, her passing was very sudden, such a shock, as she had suffered an aneurysm about 9 a.m. that morning and within less than an hour, she was gone.

And a year later, this is still something that is raw within me. She was the oldest of the grandchildren of my maternal grandparents and over the years as our parents, our aunts and uncles each passed away, she had become, in many way, the matriarch of this part of my family. I could always count on Nancy to pick me up when I was down about anything, to give great advice on just about any thing that was on my mind and I could always count on her, whenever I saw her, that she would have this big smile on her face that gave one the feeling that all would soon be well or right within our own little family world. Comforting. That was one of the words I would use to describe Nance and her ways -always comforting.

So, this weekend, my thoughts were frequently pertaining to memories of our family, of days in my childhood spent with Nancy and her siblings and their parents; of family reunions and laughter galore over 55 years of those events now in our past and of other sorrowful times too -when her Dad died suddenly, when each of the rest of that generation passed on, when her brother killed himself and we -the family -tried to recover from the shock and loss of David and we rejoiced too with the births of her children, my kids, other additions to our family and of course, the pure joy that comes with attaining grandparent status too! We shared memory after memory with each and every phone call over the past couple of years that had seen Nancy and I drawing closer and closer. She was one of the few members of my family who remembered anything at all about my Dad and who was willing to talk to me about him, to listen to me too as I tried to learn little bits and pieces about my Dad in order to learn more about myself in the process. We compared notes on how we grew up, how our lives were alike due to her Dad and my Mom having been siblings, what we remembered about our Grandparents and so many, many other little things about our lives.

Add to those thoughts of Nancy and the loss there, tomorrow -November 10th -also just so happens to be what would be my Mom's 102nd birthday. It was 32 years this past October 6th since my Mom died and though her passing isn't one that is still raw within me as Nancy's is, I still miss not having my Mom to talk to about many things and strangely enough what I find myself missing most about my Mom would have to be the arguments we had on virtually a daily basis! The relationship I had with my Mom was frequently a very rocky road to travel as I rarely, if ever (or so it seemed) was able to do anything that pleased her! Well, I thought that was how things were until my children were born and then, her acceptance, her love of my kids, her grandchildren, told me that finally I had found one thing I could do that she found to be my achievements in her eyes!

So here I was this weekend then already in a rather somber frame of mind when the news broke in State College, PA -home of my college Alma Mater, Penn State University -about a child abuse/sex scandal involving high officials within the University -including none other than Coach Joe Paterno, as well as high up possibly as Dr. Graham Spanier, the President of the University.

Each day the news reports grew and grew and became more and more atrocious, ominous too about the future of many aspects of this school and in particular, the fate of Coach Paterno and Dr. Spanier.

Tonight, as I write this, the news reports now are coming through about thousands and thousands of students gathering in downtown State College and the State College police as well as the Pennsylvania State Police being called out in force to try to maintain control over the crowds there and hopefully, to prevent any type of rioting type of situation to evolve.

This gathering is due to the news announcements tonight that Dr. Spanier and Coach Paterno have now both been fired, effective immediately, for their roles in how the sex scandal/abuse events were handled.

And it is this -the charges brought against the former Linebacker Coach -Jerry Sandusky -that he molested, sexually abused at least 8 young boys over several years and did this on the Penn State Campus too. According to the reports, this had been brought to Coach Paterno's attention back in 2002 at which time, he says he reported about this to Tim Curley, the Athletic Director at the University and apparently, he believed he had done what was required of him when he was made aware of what Mr. Sandusky had been doing.

It does sadden me to read about these horrific things having happened to these vulnerable boys and to think that somehow the people who were made aware of this did only the minimal in attempting to report and thus stop the abuse from happening again and also, to have it investigated thoroughly then and there and the perpetrators arrested, charged, tried and sentenced then too.

It angers me to think that one of the main things I learned through many of the classes I took during my time as a student at Penn State, majoring in Rehabilitation Education -i.e. Counseling -that ANY TIME there is even a hint of someone abusing a child, anyone working in any form of the Educational field is duty bound to report any kind of activity along those lines to the POLICE and yet, that rule or regulation -whatever you care to call it -was blatantly ignored by so many people along the way over the years which thus apparently then -according to the charges leveled against Mr. Sandusky -enabled him to keep on using and abusing these children!

I confess too that I was one of the many Alumni from Penn State who, over the years, admired Coach Paterno very much for his abilities as a coach -and a winning coach both on and off the field too as he was noted for his pushing the athletes in the Football Program at the University that their education was of the utmost importance and for them to persevere in completing that education and attain that all-important degree!  And yes indeed, he did work long and very hard to try to see to it that as many of the players on the Football team did reach that goal. He and his wife were also huge benefactors to the University itself, donating millions over the years to various entities on campus. Those factors -many, many good things he tried to do, and that he did, over the years he served the University as head coach -do attest to his devotion to the school and to seeing things provided as often needed there but now, all the good the man did in his tenure is going to be totally overshadowed by his NOT being totally forthcoming, by NOT doing any type of follow-up on his reporting of the activities of Mr. Sandusky that resulted in what is still an unknown number of young boys being harmed.

It absolutely boggles my mind to think about all these things and how they intermingle, interact and the harm, the hurt, the pain, that those boys endured and still do -all because a few men didn't apparently feel this was important enough to push for more actions to stop Mr. Sandusky in his tracks!

It hurts me, deep inside too, as I think of how many people will regard this as a black mark on the educational capabilities of this school too now!

And yet, I know that the institution itself -the school -will continue to operate and offer the same type of quality, first rate education to those who matriculate there -just as it always has done. I've always held Penn State University in the highest esteem for providing the caliber of education it has given to anyone who was enrolled there, provided of course, the student did the studying needed to keep on track! I'll go a bit further there and state I loved this University for many years before I was fortunate enough to be accepted to attend school there -much later in life than the average college student -and that I managed to complete the coursework needed and received my B.S. from this fine university in 1994!

I am still one very proud graduate of Penn State University -and I'm not ashamed in the least to proclaim that as I did that! ME! The person who my own mother never believed I would follow through if the opportunity to acquire a higher education were ever made available to me and yet, I did it! No one can change that or take that away from me and I acquired that degree, that knowledge and understanding of the field of my choice at a fine, upstanding, excellent University -PENN STATE!

And I will continue to believe in the University -this place, PENN STATE, as being one of the best in this country and also, around the world as well -for the caliber of professors it employed and still does, for their ability to impart the necessary knowledge and skills for me to acquired my degree there. And for its ability to recover from the events that have come to light over the past few days that should not ever be taken away from what the University stands for -ultimately!

This all is still very jumbled in my mind -this mix of sorrow and anger -but I am relieved that the Board of Trustees voted to fire both Dr. Spanier and Coach Paterno -to let them know that their actions were not just illegal but also immoral and to show them too that even those who rise to these levels of power can be cut down for their lack of empathy for the victims in all of this mess as well, apparently, for their lack of knowledge of that one simple rule -that ANY and ALL actions that result in even a suspicion of child abuse or molestation, much less rape, of a child, are to be REPORTED immediately to the POLICE!

Now, having said all that, easing my mind perhaps a little bit anyway, I'll still proudly wear Blue and White and believe too that God must be A Penn State fan because after all the sky is blue and white, isn't it? It is going to take time, certainly, for many to accept the good that exists within this wonderful school and it is that aspect that allows me to go forward and hold my head high to proclaim WE ARE! PENN STATE!

 (Just under new and hopefully,very  improved management!)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Apply Bribery Liberally!

One of my issues -among a whole lot at times -that I complain about frequently is that my feet and/or legs ache. Anyone else have problems along these lines?

But when the feet really, really bother me, I try to convince either Maya or Kurt to be nice to old Grammy and rub my feet with various types of creams or foot creams, in particular. Sometimes they are nice and do that for me fairly willingly -at least for a short time span anyway.

But lately, Kurt's the only one I can cajole into doing this to make my tootsies feel a little better. Because this is something that has been a problem -sort of -for many years and one my kids often used to get roped into doing for me, they would probably say that Maya is exhibiting a lot of superb intelligence in refusing to be Gram's little slave there.

But I've recently come across something that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I can use something I came across to convince her to rub Gram's aching feet after all.

Maya, you see, is a little Diva and as such, she has a major affinity for lots of things along the "beauty" products lines. One of these is fingernail polish. And that is something she dearly loves!

Gram is not one inclined to things like that -mainly because as soon as I try to do my nails, with some pretty, fancy color, for some weird reason my fingers then feel very heavy and I will almost immediately begin the process of scraping, peeling or getting out the nail polish remover and making sure then I have just removed every last bit of polish. However, I did learn last summer when Maya wanted to polish my toe nails that nail polish there doesn't bother me sooooo -I'm thinking if I were to splurge and buy nail polish  in some of  these really snazzy shades and then give the stuff to Maya as part of her Christmas present, it might just work to get her to do a little foot massage then in return for poor old Gram's feet!

Desperation does breed some strange bedfellows at times ya know and I'm thinking if that would work, it might be a very worthwhile investment for me.

Think it's worth a shot? I dunno but I might just give it a try.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Acting Lessons?

This is along the lines of a bit of advice for our minister, Pastor Carrie, after the response she got in church Sunday from my Granddaughter, Miss Maya. I rather think she has already figured this out, but just in case -to be on the safe side, ya know -I'll reiterate this to her now to be very careful what questions you pose when giving a children's sermon and asking questions of the kids you are trying to whom you are preaching!

Yesterday, we were having a baptism as well as an affirmation of baptism service at the service and so, Pastor Carrie had decided to teach the children a little bit about the Rite of Baptism then.

That sounded like a good topic to me and one that also should be fairly innocuous too with respect to the kids involved in the children's sermon yesterday as well. There are a few kids in our parish -my two small grandchildren often fall in this number -who do at times make some really off-the-wall commentary during various sermons Pastor Carrie has had for the kids in the crowd. There are also twin brothers who also are known for some of their often pointed remarks too though.

Yesterday, apparently was Maya's day to be the unintentional comedienne though.

Pastor Carrie started to explain a bit about Baptism and how it usually takes place saying that most of the time, Baptisms involve babies but that the service yesterday was going to involve two people who are far from being infants since both of them are in their early twenties.

That being said, she then said that normally there is a baby being presented for baptism but in doing that, normally it is the baby's parents then too who bring the child up to be baptized and since she wanted to show the kids, step-by-step, what takes place she then asked for volunteers to play the role of the babies' parents.

Maya's hand shot up immediately to volunteer to be the Mother and Noah, one of the twin brothers, volunteered to be the Dad. No problem with that scenario thus far.Then another little boy -Logan -who is Kurt's age -offered to play the part of the Minister in this little play and with that, Pastor thought things were ready to proceed then.

So she asked if everyone was ready or if any of the kids had any questions thus far to ask her.

And that's where things went off-course for a few minutes as Maya spoke up, saying that she was ready but she just wanted to make sure of one thing first. That one thing she wanted to know?

"Do we have to kiss?"

Needless to say, it was a few minutes before the congregation stopped howling in laughter over this question from her!

When she came back to the pew to sit down beside me again, she whispered to me then, "Why did everyone laugh when I asked about kissing?" I'm not even sure what kind of answer I gave her to that -if indeed I gave her an answer at all as I may have just motioned for her to sit down and be quiet as I didn't want to get this whole thing back in her mind again!

Kids! Needless to say, Art Linkletter sure was right in that they do sometimes say/do the darndest things, don't they?

Besides that little comedic number at church, the past couple of days have been every bit as hectic as I had said they were going to be in my last post from last Wednesday.

I spent the bulk of the day on Thursday baking bread -three different kinds of breads no less. I made four loaves of Swedish Limpa Rye bread; four loaves of Whole Wheat Challah bread and 6 loaves of Swedish White "Kaka" bread -all of it planned to be donated to the church women's annual Fall Bazaar which we held on Saturday. In addition to baking breads, I also baked cookies for the bazaar too -a batch of bar cookies called Rainbow Blonde brownies (with mini-M&M baking pieces in them), a batch of Gingersnaps and also, a big batch of Snickerdoodles too!

Friday, I was busy making spaghetti meat sauce to use in the two pans of lasagne I had promised to prepare for the dinner at the bazaar on Saturday too! So, yes I was pretty much locked into staying in the kitchen most of the time last Thursday and Friday.

On Saturday, We had all the tables all set up, baked goods, homemade candies, craft items, etc., plus the nice and pretty brand new cookbooks our women's group had compiled this summer were on display and ready to be sold then too!

We had a very good turnout for the bazaar this year and the cookbooks were really almost seeming to be flying off the table where I had them displayed as folks were buying there almost like hot cakes for quite a while! I don't know the exact number of books we sold on Saturday but as of right now, our treasurer, Kate, and I figure we must have sold about 1/2 of all the books we ordered thus far anyway! If that's true, then we've now probably sold about 150 of the 330 cookbooks we received.

Not a bad number of sales is it plus I have orders on my e-mail for at least 30-35 more cookbooks that are just sitting there waiting for those who pledged to purchase a cookbook to hurry and get a check sent to me in the amount of the sale of the cookbook plus shipping fees! Once those checks start arriving, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we then manage to sell at least 60-70 more cookbooks between now and the upcoming weekend!

The hectic pace is going to continue here at least over the next few days too first because tomorrow morning, Mandy is taking little Miss Pearl, our sweet little kitten, to the vet where she will then have surgery that will keep our family count intact at one dog and two cats and no more! Yep! We're having Miss Pearl "fixed" in more ways that one -first a hysterectomy on the cat and then, to have her declawed then too!

I pledged to work at the polls in the next township over from ours tomorrow too from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. as an act of support to my young cousin, Pj, who at the tender age of 18 and who is in his first semester at Penn State's Dubois Campus is also running for election too for the office of County Commissioner!

This is kind of a bit of deja vu within my Dad's family with Pj running for election because about 60 years ago this November, my Dad's younger brother, my uncle, the late Archie Hill, also ran for election as a County Commissioner and won, too! The biggest obstacle I think Pj will have to surpass is probably going to come about his age and what many voters are referring to as being his "lack of experience." I saw where the news crew from Channel 6 in Johnstown, PA interviewed Pj today and I thought he did a great job of answering the question about his age, his youthful status as it were when he responded that age, to his mind, is just a number! So true Pj and I hoe those voters who had not yet made a decision on whether or not to caste their vote in his direction will be swayed then in his direction as he really is a very smart, very knowledgeable youn man and also, very ambitious too!

So, tonight I wish cousin Pj all of the luck in the world for a good clean victory tomorrow and for the surgery on Miss Pearl our sweet little purr ball to go off without a hitch too so that I can go over Wednesday morning and bring her back home then to recuperate!

Then, I can sit and relax and work on the new tablecloth -size 52x70 inches -in a Christmas Wreath design/pattern on it to try to get as much done on that piece as fast as possible so I will then have time to do a little more stitching then of a different type as I want to make a jumper then between now and Christmas for Miss Maya to wear too in the very near future!

Now, I just need to find a light-weight jacket to put on overtop of my sweatshirt to hopefully warm/defrost my fingertips so I can then hold a needle and thread and get a bit more work done on the embroidery project just as soon as possible!

Now say a nice little prayer for my young cousin, Paul "Pj" Monella Jr in his bid for a job as our County Commissioner!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


If anyone asks me for one word to describe my life, right now, that one word would have to be "HECTIC!

The past couple of days have been extremely that -very hectic!

Last Friday, there was the rush to get the kids ready for school and get their Halloween costumes into their back packs or a separate bag so they would have them at their fingertips to change into and be able to participate in the Halloween parade at school. Don't tell Maya and Kurtis but Mommy and Gram were running really late and were also starving so stopped at a little local eatery for a bite to eat and our timing wasn't the best so -we ended up finishing our meal and skipping attending the parade at school. Not that we didn't WANT to be there -exactly -but just that it's usually so crowded that getting a seat where you could even get a glimpse of your kid up on the stage -well, next to impossible. Since we saw their costumes on them earlier in the week and would get to see them again Monday night when they actually went out trick or treating, we figured we could slide on the parade plus, the kids would never know (unless we -or some other big mouth in the vicinity) told them about being absent. I know -bad Momma and Grammy, huh?

The weekend was one with Mother Nature turning into a trick or treat (depending on how much a person loves -or hates -winter) with the snowfall we got on Saturday into Sunday. Sheesh. Enough already!

Sunday morning found all four of us rushing around like crazy people -Mandy, Maya, Kurtis and me - trying to get ourselves all dressed and ready to go to church because it was a big day for our family there. My older daughter and grandson were here too but they went next door to our neighbor Deb's house to shower and get ready to be at church on time. We were almost ready to leave when Mandy went out to start my jeep and her car and came running right back into the house in a bit of a panic because, well -both my jeep and her car doors were all frozen shut! Tighter than a drum!

So she had to do a quick thaw process (hot water on the doors, ya know) to get them open and pray that both of them would also start up with no added problems.

Here's what Mandy's car looked like when after she finally got her doors thawed enough to open 'em!

After she got things squared away with her car and my jeep, she told me to get Maya and for us to head out to church so that Maya, at least, would be there on time for her big event that day!

This past Sunday was Reformation Sunday, which in all Lutheran Churches world-wide, is a very important day on the church calendar as it is in honor of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Thesis way back when in the 15th century! Martin Luther as you may -or may not -already know is credited with beginning the reformation of the Catholic church and separation from the Vatican with his posting of those edicts a long, long time ago.

Reformation Sunday in our church is also now the Sunday when we welcome those children in the parish who have completed instruction in First Communion and this year was Maya's time when she took the instruction and on this past Sunday, she and three others her age all got to take their First Communion.

She looked so doggone beautiful -all dressed up in her white fancy dress, with the flower in her hair -and she even announced to her TSS yesterday when I was showing Miss Britt the pictures we had taken at church that she "looks like an angel!" (No conceit in our household cause Miss Maya's got a bit of an overload of that commodity!) But, I have to agree with her on this instance. Here's a couple of the pictures from Maya on the occasion of her First Communion.

Here she is holding the Bible given to her by the church -which she asked on numerous occasions throughout Sunday afternoon who this book belonged to anyway! We had a heck of a time getting her to understand that it is HER book because it has, after all, her name written in the very front of it!

 This is Maya with our minister, Pastor Carrie Anderson, after the service Sunday.
 And here's Maya (again) with Pastor Carrie and another First Communicant, Megan Anderson, granddaughter of our neighbors, Daryl and June (Force) Gurbal.
 And this was Maya as Mandy was trying to finish getting her dressed at the house Sunday morning so we could leave and get to church on time!
After church, we had a big meal here at the house of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and baked Ziti and Cheese. When Maya had seen me making the cabbage rolls the day before, she asked me what I was making and I told her these would be "Pigs in a Blanket" mainly so as not to mention that there would be cabbage involved in this food item. Any mention of cabbage in front of her or her little brother would produce an immediate reaction of "I DON'T LIKE THAT!" and an adamant (guaranteed) refusal to even taste them. So when I was dishing up their plates, she had told me that she would like to try a little of the Pigs in a Blanket and I cut one in half-giving half to her and half to Kurtis -and also, cut it up into tiny bite-size pieces too in hopes of getting her to eat a bit more of this then.  After dinner, she did come and tell me that she had liked the filling in the Pigs in a Blanket very much but that she didn't "care for the blanket!" Gotta love that girl, don't 'cha!

Monday found me running around like a chicken with my head cut off because the cookbooks I had slaved over for almost two months this summer had arrived at our church! All twenty three (23) cases worth! Actually there are only 22 cases of the big cookbook and a smaller box with 30 little booklets of special cookie recipes that the publisher included with our order! A little appreciation gift from the publisher to our Women's group, ya know!

After all the things I've said back in July and August about this cookbook and the preparation that went into getting it done, here's a couple preview pics of the cookbook so you can now see what I was talking about during that time!

This is the front cover and in case you can't read it all -it says "A Bountiful Legacy -A history of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church through Food." It's very pretty -very regal looking actually and inside this book are 586 of some of the best, tried and true recipes you'll ever find anywhere!

These two pictures below are something I am really pleased we could insert in our book. The top photo is of some events in our church over the past couple of years -and the top photo on the right hand side are of one of the courts at one of our St. Lucia Day celebrations -a big event honoring the patron saint -St. Lucia -of Sweden. Because our church originally was founded by Swedish immigrants and we still have quite a few members with a Swedish heritage, it is a tradition we have kept and celebrate every year on the Sunday closest to December 13th, which is the actual St. Lucia Day. (This year, our celebration will be on December 11th and will be a nice big pot luck dinner with a very pretty pageant and the arrival too of our St. Lucia -a teenage girl from our parish! It's a big deal in our church and one I as well as my kids too all enjoy very much!)
 This photo though is the one I take great pride in having it in our cookbook as it is a dedication to many of the women who once served our church during the 127 year history of our parish! Yes, there is one photo on this grouping of a woman who was a member of the earliest church -the one that stood in the now ghost town of Peale, PA -and that would be the woman in the first row, coming down the page to the fourth photo and it just so happens to be that is my Great-Grandmother!

Yesterday -that would be Tuesday in case you forgot -I spent most of the day cursing my lovely, handy-dandy filing system here in my house. Mainly because I have NO actual system with respect to where I file -or hide -things! I was hunting for the copy of the deed to the house which I need to take to one of the county agencies tomorrow so we can apply for funding for some much needed repairs to this old barn of a house and finally, after about 6 hours of going through all my hiding places for papers, I ended up calling the courthouse and speaking someone in the office of the Registrar of Deeds to see about getting a copy there of the darned deed! Took me about an hour though to find the phone number for that office because, in our lovely telephone directory provided by the wonderful telephone company, there are no individual listings of the various offices housed in our courthouse! How nice! I ended up speaking to a secretary in one of the district magistrate's offices to get the number of the Registrar's office!

And today looks to be just as hectic as the previous days have been for me! Starting with a young woman from the village who stopped by the house today and purchased seven cookbooks from me! (Lucky for her I had brought a case of them home to get ready to ship out and fill requests I have on file from people around the country who want to buy one of these lovely books!) Then I had to run out to church and grab yet another case to take with me this afternoon when I go see the oncologist for my monthly appointment and port flushing. I called and told the receptionist to alert the rest of the staff that I would have cookbooks with me if any of them wish to purchase one (or maybe even more!!) today when I come in for my appointment!

Tomorrow and Friday are both going to be zoo days here as I have to make 2 big pans of lasagne to take to church Saturday for the dinner part of our annual bazaar! In addition to that, I'll be baking a couple batches of Swedish breads and probably some cookies or a cake of some type too that I will take out for sale on the baked goods table at our bazaar too -along with a few of my embroidered pieces that will go for sale on the crafts table as well!

Then, Saturday will be the real test of my endurance! I will be manning the cookbook purchase table and will have as my "assistants" (using that term very lightly here) will be Maya and Kurtis! Yes I will have to take them out to church with me to stay by my side while I try to help people get cookbooks and other things and hopefully, I can find enough coloring books to set them up at a little table beside me where they can keep busy and out of trouble while I work at the Bazaar. To say the least, that day will sure be interesting!

Got an e-mail too from a cousin who lives down in Indiana, PA telling me she will be coming up here Saturday to come to our Bazaar and will be bringing her Mom and her niece with her too! This really excites me too since I haven't seen those cousins in almost 18 months now so will be great to get to see them again!

And there you have it -the things that will be keeping me very, very occupied for the rest of this week now!

Hope you day -and the coming days ahead are full but maybe not so jam-packed as mine are gonna be the next couple of days!