Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday

I tried to find a family photo from some Thanksgiving past, but couldn't; I guess back then, just like yesterday, everyone was so busy just getting the meal on the table that there wasn't time to take pictures. The child being held in her mother's arms is my paternal grandmother, Ellamae; her mother's name was Ella. This is from a small album that appears to have belonged to Ella, and to later have been somewhat ravaged by Ellamae (she was very particular about photos of herself and I can't imagine who else would have ripped out photos where there are still notes in the margins that say 'Ellamae'). Most of the notes aren't very helpful -- rarely is a year noted or a name mentioned, and the album must have been put together to take care of storing a stack of photos since they are very jumbled; photos of my grandmother as a child next to photos from my dad's childhood. This photo was either labeled 'Just before the storm' or 'On a trip' -- it's hard to tell which title goes with which photo. The pictures were glued down with something akin to wallpaper paste.

Anyway, I chose this one today because it is family, gathered; proud, carefully dressed, an air of celebration. A toast -- to family gatherings past, present, and future.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm nearly ready. Just planning to write this post and then head to the kitchen to cook, cook, cook. We'll set the table before we go to bed tonight, and anticipate all that tomorrow will bring.
Aw, shoot. I meant to tilt this on its side, so that you could easily see the uppercase 'X' -- could you please just tilt your head to see it? Pink granite and lichen at Acadia National Park.
'X' is for xerophyte -- adapted to limited water. Only two little letters left in the ABC-Along 2008 project.
Cold fall afternoons give Dean the two ingredients he needs -- leafless trees and temperatures that inspire indoor time -- for optimum bird-watching. Maybe we need to make this into a more official, and more comfortable, window seat.
I wish you peace, time to reflect, much to be thankful for, and time with those you love -- whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not. If you do celebrate it, I hope it's a holiday of good cheer and calm.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

List? Check!

Silver is polished
Table linens are ironed.
Place cards are made.
Pie crusts are made and in the freezer.
Dinner rolls, too, made and frozen.
Butter sits in the freezer, pressed into molds that will produce acorns and leaves.
The turkey, though, is now defrosting in the fridge.
Groceries are purchased.
Decorations are out.
Foil-wrapped chocolate turkeys procured.

Still have to make a run to the liquor store this week. Cleaning and cooking chores are down for each day, including the countdown for Thursday to get it all on the table in time for the in-laws to eat and be on their way before dark (their preference). It's all right.

Among other things, I really am thankful that my mom gave me her silver; she said she knew I'd take care of it and use it, and I do. I'm wistful not to have my own family coming for the holiday.

We've got an aggressive plan for rest and relaxation, starting by about 4:40 or 5 on Thanksgiving, and I'll toast with a glass of gluhwein. Not hip to gluhwein? Drink of the gods, let me tell you -- a hot spiced wine that cures all that ails you. I happen to have a recipe for just one:

4 oz medium red wine
1/2 oz brandy
1 tsp sugar
1 slice lemon
1 slice orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves

Combine in a small saucepan and simmer gently for a minute or two. Strain into a heat-proof glass and savor.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flashback Friday

Jimmy's Diner, Wilmington Delaware (I believe), c. 1983
I took this photo in college, when I was a photojournalism student. I was looking for a different picture to post today -- one I took at around the same time, of my mother cooking up Thanksgiving foods. If I can find it before Thursday, I'll post that one....

And these gorgeous faces are in Disney World, at the Canada Pavillion in the World Showcase at Epcot.

It was 12 degrees (f.) when I walked the dog this morning. Twelve is NOT a big enough number. Not nearly. A fairly mild fall here is finishing off with a vengeance; almost no transition from highs in the fifties to highs in the twenties and thirties. I hope the rain in the forecast next week really is rain, and not the snow that I'm just not yet ready for. Working on pie crusts today, to go into the freezer for next week's apple pie; also ironing linens and polishing silver. I hope Dean's up for making some placecards with me, or some other kind of holiday project that we can do together. He's eager to play his new piano pieces for Ken's parents and brother who will come for Thanksgiving. I'm trying to put the holiday in the proper perspective -- enjoying the season and the intent rather than getting bogged down by the work and inevitable challenges of the particular company.

My brother Tony, who lives in southern Missouri, called me this morning and asked me to come over to his house for the day to help him get all the deer meat into the smoker to make jerky; told him I'd like nothing better than to actually be able to hop in the car and do that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday Plus

I love photos in which there are shadows of the photographer and others, like this one. Something so dear and so mysterious about them. I am fairly certain that this is a picture of my mother's Aunt Ann; there is a slight chance though that it is my grandmother, Lee. It was certainly taken in Chicago -- probably in Lincoln Park. The woman's nose looks a bit more like my grandmother's, although both women had that particular family feature (can't say I'm sorry that my mom's button nose, comparatively speaking, that came from her father's side, is the one that carried down). But Ann was just a much more genuinely happy person, and photos of my grandmother -- the rare ones where she's smiling -- tend to show a more simpering, fakey kind of smile. But maybe this was a wonderfully happy day and maybe it is Lee....
Would you guess that this is another installment of my Disney World photos? Taken in the Asia section of the Animal Kingdom (one of the four theme parks). I have never been to Asia -- the real place -- but all the features and details of the park make me feel that I have a sense of it. This particular little area of the park is really quite new, which gives you some appreciation of all the work that went in to making it look so old. There's nothing here, really, in this picture; what I mean is that the door doesn't lead anywhere and there's no restaurant nor attraction here -- it is just a little terrace over a river that you can either hurry right by or you can stop and enjoy it. Can you see that even the ground, the path that you walk on, is even so carefully made to look as though it has been there forever, some little walkway in some untouched little corner of Asia?

A thank you for the kind words of support from yesterday. When Laura Jane spoke of our sharing the full moon (did you see it? incredible!), I was reminded of a recent conversation that clued me in to the fact that the names of the full moons that I know are a particular American tradition and not shared around the world (unless it just happened that the guy from Germany I was talking to just wasn't aware?). Do you know the names of the full moons? Are they named differently where you live?
January Wolf Moon
February Snow Moon
March Worm Moon
April Pink Moon
May Flower Moon
June Strawberry Moon
July Buck Moon
August Sturgeon Moon
September Harvest Moon
October Hunter's Moon
November Beaver Moon
December Cold Moon
... and, of course, when a month has two full moons, the second is called a Blue Moon

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Moments of beauty

I'm not sure if it's going to make me feel better, or not. Taking time I don't have to do something I very much want to do -- write a blog entry for the sake of doing something that matters to me (and not something on my to-do list put there by others, or by me but on behalf of others). But here I am, and maybe I do even feel a little better already....

I realize that the likelihood of the long, lush, photo-jammed entry all about Disney World is slim, despite my aspirations. So instead I'll simply start -- sharing a photo at a time and unveiling over time just why I love that place so very much. This photo was taken at the Wilderness Lodge, one of the resort hotels on the property. One of the kazillion or so things I love about Disney World is the absolute, complete, and unwavering attention to detail -- and to detail that many visitors pass right by without noticing. It's the kind of place where the more you slow down to look, the more you see. We've stayed at the Wilderness Lodge before and I do love it, although we didn't stay there this time. We were there for dinner at Artists' Point -- a magnificent restaurant.

Ah. I hear the dog going bonkers and Dean getting frustrated and so off I go. More, soon, I hope.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

So at a certain point...

At a certain point, I realize, I just have to move on. Rather than making excuses (well-intentioned) or promises (ditto), I just need to chip away at doing what I can, not telling you about all the other things that are keeping me from being here, and just catch up. I was thinking about throwing in the ABC-Along towel but when I realized how few letters were left I knew that failure was not an option. Here, then, is the letter 'V.'
And 'v' for 'viola.' Of course this tips my hand; these were photos I took over the summer, working in advance a bit -- good thing, since it was my salvation. Do they call these "Johnny Jump Ups" where you live?
And here's 'W.' These feel like very honest letters to me; no squinting required by you to see what I see.
And 'w' for 'white.' A viburnum, but still white.

Rather than trying to make up for lost Flashback Fridays I'll just keep a weather eye on the week and plan to be here to make that happen (for a change). Have a wonderful week, and let me know how it's going.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Facing the new day with joy

Be the change you seek in the world. Join in a future of hope, of possibility, of progress.

(Image from here.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tell me it's not too late....

OK, so I am very clear on the fact that you have to be ready for Halloween on Halloween; costume needs to be finished and you need to go out and trick-or-treat that day. No catching up after the fact. So I had all that nailed down but it's elsewhere in my life (and here on my blog especially) that I'm running woefully behind. I hope you'll indulge me in some catch-up, and understand that Dean would be quite put off if I'd made him go through the whole photo-shoot thing for no purpose.

He was a gallant and eager Legolas. He was even recognized -- instantly! -- by two moms answering two different trick-or-treat doors. He took with him the bow, but not the arrows....

And here's the inspiration-recreation, from here. We'll be throwing out the leftover candy from the night's spoils sometime around Easter or so.