Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snug as a...

With the sudden pandemic outbreak of bed bugs, It is no longer cute to say, "snug as a bug in a rug", or "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite", or even sing (to the tune of "Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light...") Oh say can you see any bedbugs on me? If you do, take a few 'cause I got them from yoooooooooooou!". Or, "don't bug me!", or even use the nickname Bugsy?

What are we to do?

I know, we will find a new astrological constellation, in the shape of a bedbug, and it will have a new zodiac name, like La Cucaracha, and be ever so popular! So much so that they will name a dance after it! SEE:
Yeah, that's the solution, problem solved- you are welcome.

Different styles of decorating, again, etc

Yesterday, I asked SSon and SGrandson to finish putting up the Valentine's Day decorations on the kitchen window-I usually am pretty precise about the pattern-how stupid. So two days ago when I noticed that I was doing this, I just stopped after putting up 3 and decided to have the guys finish it. SGS was here for his SPoppy's birthday-his Mom's Dad and SS's dad -got it?
The party was kindly moved here to accommodate SHusband and the snow that caused some navigation problems where the party originally was to be held.
So anyway, the guys started peeling off the little gummy decorations that have been popular for a few years, SSon putting them on very precisely, and SGS using his style, which can be described as ......quick.
Then, he came up with the best look ever:

He is too funny. He was described as looking like John Lennon in his Yoko years.

SS gave the right-side window a nice, geometric look at the top, all in a row. So him.

Here are the guys with the Birthday boy:
And here is the suddenly shy SDaughter: She came over wearing a really nice scarf, perfectly tied, and then decided that it looked better up on her head, with the long tails hanging down. It reminded me of the hippie years in the '60's where girls would tie scarves the same way, and leave the house like that!

Can you appreciate that the cake knife is upside down here?
The paternal SGrandmother of my kids (mother of the birthday boy-is it coming together for you now?) taught us that it is an Irish tradition that the cake is cut by the birthday person with the knife upside down to keep the good luck from falling away-apparently the good luck comes from the sharp edge of the knife. And then, the birthday person DOES NOT PULL THE KNIFE OUT. The person in the room with the next birthday pulls the knife from the cake. It is a fun tradition, no matter if it carries any weight in the good luck world.

SSIL, wife of Poppy, did a wonderful job of making and bringing lunch here.
Everyone enjoyed a nice meal, and all I had to do was sit there and smile-how good was that? I can do that.

SSIGO of SD went the extra mile and came here after playing indoor football playoff game, I am sure he was sore and tired, but he came here anyway. Made good points-there and here.

After all the food was put away, SCat was allowed to join the party from her forced internment in SS's room-she has horrible table manners-she thinks it is OK to jump on the table and eat!

And a time warp here, I asked SS to play one of our Country CD's because his father likes Country music. He choose the best of Glenn Campbell CD, and SD was sure she never heard of him! Now, she is only a baby-32 and 8/12's, but still, not heard of Glenn Campbell? I think she was just pretending, so she could solidify her position as one of the youngest in the room. Been there, done that.
Nice to get together with family.

Nice to be a family, blended to perfection!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Proof is in the stiches.

Remember I was telling you a few posts back about the pillowcases that my SGViviani stitched when I was a child? I mentioned about my limited skill in stitching, specifically that I was sewing-challenged.

I am not about to disprove my opinion, just show you some things that I made WITH A NEEDLE AND THREAD!

This is a crewel embroidery piece that I did for Matka in 1975.

It was the second time I did crewel embroidery, a big project of course. She kindly had it in her many kitchens since then (I guesstimate 6 kitchens). Last June when she moved into her assisted living apartment, there just were not enough walls to put all her wall hangings up. She did not want it in storage, asked me to take it and made me promise to hang it up. I said OK, but did not commit to a time frame. She asked me about a month later where it was and I said on my side porch, and she told me that she did not want me to get rid of it.
You know, when we were kids, and did not like something that she did to decorate the house, she always said "When you get your own house you can do what you want, this is my house". PERIOD. So OK, so now I have this large piece, and I am keeping my word. It is not something that I would have done for me, but I thought it was something she would like and she did-or she did the Mom thing and she pretended that she liked it.
And now it is in my kitchen. I am officially giving my SDaughter permission to pass it on to some organization in the future.....
And, to further illustrate my sewing attempts, here is a dress I made when SSon was a little sweetie-his first Christmas, can you appreciate that I also made a matching thing to go around my neck-all the rage in 1971, I swear.

And this picture also shows my real hair color as described to you recently-nasty brown and wavy-kinda a Bill Haley and the Comet look I think. (If you remember him, you remember those cloth neck bands-don't try to pretend now).
I will not be posting any more bragging about my sewing forays-this will have to do to convince you that I am not entering any items into the Erie County Fair sewing exhibits this summer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I am Ruby, hear me Rhyme!

There once was a bulb named Ruby,
who wondered how tall she could be.

So she stretched out her neck,
and started her trek.

To reach for the stars,
and bypass Mars,
and grow taller than Hubie!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hair Color: BLAH

For many years, I have had my hair highlighted-blondish streaks over a mixture of homegrown dull brown and a smatter of gray. I loved the color, contrast my my skin color and eyes seemed to be good in my opinion. SHusband, not so much, but he always said it is your hair, do want you want. The former strident me of 20 years ago would have said "DAMN RIGHT I WILL". The aged to perfection (well that sounded arrogant, let's just say, a person on the road) just nodded her head and said OK.

In November, I thought my hair had a certain straw texture-not becoming, and so I thought I might tone it down a bit. And, leaving the house for my hair appt, after my goodbye koosie, SH said very quietly-"Maybe not so light this time?".

And, you know what, that is what I choose to do. So, I told SBeautician that I don't want it highlighted, but rather colored, and no where near my real color-a cross between mud and coffee grounds. I don't want it blonde, but definitely not brown I said. She did her magic, and I turned out a nice little ginger color, a combination of my growing out blonde highlights and some other stuff she mixed to make it work. I looooved it, SH loved it, and all who saw it said it was nice. December's color was a little less ginger, but still nice, and I asked what would happen when all my highlights grew out, she said we can add a few in for some contrast.

January's hair color appt resulted in dark BLAH. I was very surprised to see what it looked like, and we immediately discussed the need to add some highlights at my next monthly visit.

This is what I look like:
Not as cute as this little guy, but the same hair color. He is actually a model made from fossils dug up in Ethiopia in 2000, a 3 year old baby monkey that is another connection to us. A kissing cousin as it were. I was sitting in the car repair garage today for a short time, and some kind soul had dropped off some National Geographic mags since my last visit a few weeks ago. What a nice surprise, I had all intentions of rereading the old sports illustrated (not) that I read the last time.

This is the cover from November 2006 NatGeo.

So, while I don't like my hair color, as they say, it is only hair and it can be fixed or wait until it grows.

When I was 18, I had hair that was colored lighter, I also had hair that was too wavy I thought, so I chemically straightened it myself-and yes indeed, some areas were less wavy. My first day of school to be an X-Ray Tech was the day after I graduated from High School. My hair grew very fast, and I was worried that since my first day was so intense that I would not have time to keep my studies up and my roots. I purchased some hair color that night, and applied it. Since my hair was already colored-it was very porous, so the intended color of warm brown turned out to be almost-black. Went back to school the next day and got a few looks-you know where someone is either constipated or stepped on a piece of glass. My Chief Tech was a great guy, he just smiled.

And as if there were not important things to worry about in this life, I can't wait until I get a little sunshine in my hair.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ANGELS I have seen....

Yesterday was a Ladies lunch and speaker day for my little group of SFriends.

We went to our usual place first for lunch-good food, good service, nicely decorated: Altons on Transit Road in Elma.

Then we traveled just a little bit more down the road to the Shriner's Building. One of the members of our group has a husband who is a Shriner, and she is a member of the Ladies Organization associated with Shriners. Do you know about Shriners? We have had Shriners speak at our Kiwanis meetings, and they are an incredibly dedicated group of people (members and their spouses) who offer free medical care for Children needing orthopedic or burn care. They pay all the expense for the child and even provide transportation for the child and parents to their hospitals. You might not know that about them and think that they only wear funny hats and ride little cars in parades-but that is not the real story. Check out their Website
You will be really amazed, and remember, they do not collect insurance payments or co-pays, and they follow the child with care for many years. A really service oriented, self-sacrificing group of people.

Now, back to my little story. The speaker was a member of the Shriners Ladies group, and offered to give a talk about her Angel collection and her knowledge of the presence of Angels in our lives.
Here she is wearing an Angel smock, and what you can not see well is that she has a very blinged-out Angel pin and matching earrings-perfect for her!

She and her husband brought SOME of her collection for display, and had a "Winter" Angel on each table.
That is my SFriend looking at them-she invited us all and her Angel name is THOUGHTFUL.

The cost of the program was nominal, and we were treated first to desserts-some with a Valentine's Day theme. Then, while we came down from our sugar high, and sipped coffee and tea, our speaker Sallie started her presentation (nice lady, but she spells her name wrong-although, I had to admit to being a pseudoSally since my real name is Sarah-I guess she can spell her name anyway which she likes eh?). She said that she has over 800 Angels, has only been collecting about 19 years, and that the oldest Angel in her collection
was given to her as a gift and dates back to the 1930's, seen here in the top of this picture:

She tried to convince us that she is an innocent bystander, and really did not purchase all of these, many were gifts, and it is not her fault if "Cracker Barrel" Restaurant has a gift shop which you need to pass through to get to the restaurant! Pretty funny, and very true-been there, done that.

Her smallest Angel was given to her by one of her little guys at a day care center where she worked as a Registered Nurse after retiring from her hospital position.

She had ones that moved and lit up:

Ones that were called Sarah Angels-with blue trim-my favorite color:

Many that were considered ornaments because they could be hung up-see the one in the upper right?
It is made of pasta macaroni and painted white.

One was given to her by the ladies from the Red Hat Society when she had presented a program to a group of about 300 "Red Hatters":

Here are some more pictures.

The Ladies in this group were all so friendly and gracious, and the twist on the speaker was that one of my SFriends (she gave me the Panettone bread-remember her?) gave the speaker an Angel-a pocket Angel just like the ones that she gave all of us with a book about Angels at Christmas. See, I told you she was special!
During Sallie's discussion of her collection, she also told a few stories about Angels, and the role that Guardian Angels play in our lives-and that one of the overlooked aspects of Angels is that they are also right here on Earth-she mentioned that she knew of many in that room-but I know for a fact that I had three SFriends at the table with me that day that defined the qualities of Angels.

I know also that there are things that happen in my life that can not be explained, and that I do not need to say how lucky I am, I very often talk about my Blessings-and I have many both here and THERE.

I hope you have Angels that you can recognize in your life-some may be just beginners, so their presence might be very small, but they are there.

Trust me, You are Blessed, and while you are at it-look in a mirror-you are an Angel to others.....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our own Personal chef.

We were lucky enough to have SGrandson over after school yesterday and overnight. It is a win-win-win-win-win etc. situation.

We shared a nice meal together that I had made earlier in the afternoon, heard all about the life of an "almost" twelve year old. Then he did his homework while I did the dishes-I finished first, so I sat down to help him organize his notebook a little better-a windstorm would have improved this notebook/folder as is probably true of the folders of many boys his age. As he was putting papers into the pockets, he was making them fit by making folds in them-not in half-all kind of obtuse angles-like an origami project in-progress. I was not able to convince him to take some papers out, but I did manage to show him how they take up less room if not made into three layers thickness for each sheet. As he kept saying uh-ha, yep, I realized that I did the entire folder FOR him-not my goal. I pulled some papers out so that he could at least have that feeling of victory that he put some papers into the pocket unfolded. And just as he finished putting the papers in-POP-he got excited to start showing me stuff. First the song that he wrote for the departing 8th graders in his school, a melancholy ditty about leaving school and where are my friends, and there you are, we will be OK. Really cute if you ask me-you did ask me right?

And then he said he had something special to show me, his recipes from Home Economics Class-they call it something else of course-"How to take care of yourself, don't expect no woman to wait on you hand and foot" Class or something like that. But it is Home EC Class just like the girls in my age group took in school in the 1960's, they are even making a pillow!!! Hey, if you can make a pillow, you can sew on your own buttons or repair your ripped pants, right?

So, he starts very slowly showing me the recipes of things which they have made-including microwave lasagna-ready in a flash-but of course in this recipe you need to cook the noodles first-the most time-consuming part-and to cook them without tearing them-why, you are the best my friend.

He told me about each recipe and his part in the class when they were making them, and then he asked if he could make something for us tonight for a special snack. I have blogged in the past about his desire to make these special treats for us, so you know how happy this makes him, I looked at the recipe and noticing that we had tortillas (frozen), I knew he could do it.

He insisted that HE would do it all, I suggested that I could tell him where all the supplies and cooking utensils were, not that I care if my cupboards all all torn apart while he is looking for something (OF COURSE I CARE-I KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS BECAUSE I PUT IT THERE AND NEEEED IT R.I.G.H.T. THERE), but SGrammies don't talk with their eyes bulging, they just make nice suggestions-which I did. I nuked the whole wheat tortillas while he got his "work station ready for his lab" .

When he was setting up, I remember that when he was a little tyke, I had a small step stool that he would stand on at the end of the kitchen table so that he could help me cook. He loved it, and now, I need to sit down so that he is not appearing to be taller than me.

Here is the recipe with my wording: using pastry brush, brush surface of tortilla with water, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar mixture (2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon for 4 tortillas), using pizza cutter, cut tortilla into 8 equal pieces (like the wedge in the Trivial Pursuit game-does anyone play that anymore? It was great until they started messing with it and making each game topic specific-really, what 4 guys are gonna sit down and play sports Trivial Pursuit, but if they are with their main squeeze, they will spend a nice evening playing. Which begs the question: What woman will sit down and play Sports Trivial Pursuit? Asked and answered-not me.). Place tortilla pieces onto a parchment covered cookie sheet, not overlapping, bake in preheated 400 degrees oven for 5-8 mins.-depending on your oven. Put on cooling rack to cool (as opposed to put on cooling rack to get warm? I am so sarcastic-cut that out.) . They turn nice and crisp-which happens to be their name-Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps.

There you go, mix up some Fruit Punch Crystal Light, pull up four chairs, turn the Buffalo Sabres (who won 4-2) on the aforementioned never used much Kitchen TV, and you have yourselves a party! Hats optional. I think the TV won a stay of exile from the Siberia of the side porch that evening.

Here is our Chef Du Jour

Here is SSon's Cheshire Cat look-he is unable to show his plate of snacks-all gone in a wink! Can you see the feathers sticking out of his mouth?
It does not have to be complicated or expensive to share your lives. You just need to make the time.

Matka and our SGrandson, her SGreat-Grandson spending time in 2008 -she was 85 that year.

She loved each one of her little ones-here in 2009.

Friday, January 21, 2011

If it looks like this outside.........

If it looks like this outside, maybe you need to put some of this inside:

Can you see the steam coming off the bowl? It is a shredded wheat biscuit-broken up, 1/2 banana-sliced thin and some skim milk-cover and nuke for 90 seconds.

Did I tell you that when I was a kid, SGrandma V. would make hot cereal like this? She would take a similar shredded wheat biscuit, break it up, cover with boiling water, cover bowl with a saucer and let it sit-maybe 5 minutes. When you are a kid, you have no concept of time, a minute is a year. Then she would use her Teflon hands to hold the bowl over the sink and use the saucer to drain off the water, and then add milk-which of course in those days was whole milk.

Milk came in glass bottles, and for some years the bottles had a little extra chamber at the top where the cream was-people would pour that off into a little pitcher to use for coffee. Then when the bottles were done, you would clean them out, and put into your very own milk box outside your back door-along with your written order for the milkman-on a scrap of paper, written in pencil, and include your money for previous deliveries. If your order did not change, no note needed-they knew their customers. The milkman had a big metal truck with the products surrounded by ice chips in the metal crates, and in later years, the trucks became refrigerated. They would be making their deliveries very early to have fresh products at your door when you woke up-they never made it there before SGV though. Sometimes, when you would be lucky enough to see the milkman's truck, you would ask for a chip of ice, and a ride to the next neighborhood to visit your friends, but later, a "NO RIDERS" sign was posted, some kid probably was not hanging on good and spoiled it for the rest of us.

Back to the cereal, I used the same method for my kids when they were little-they hated it. I added the banana and switched to milk about 10 years ago when I changed over to the microwave method, but you can be sure that I think of SGV every time I eat this, no matter the final cooking method.

And remember the rule, "If it is good for breakfast, it is great for supper."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I feel Pretty, I feel Pretty....

I feel Pretty, I feel Pretty, look at my ribbon, and it is from Italy!

It came to me from her, and it was wrapping a piece of some gift that she received-bread-what is that?

Anywho, don't you think it just adds the perfect touch?

Pardon my list, even though she rotates me 90 degrees every day, during the night I just grew so fast and furious that I failed to correct, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Panettone for You, Panettone for me.

Do you know Panettone Bread?
I buy some every year-it is on sale at Christmas time, a very rich, sweet, egg bread with pieces of citron, raisins, etc. mixed into the batter, baked in a round tall pan, with waxed paper like a big cupcake paper lining the bottom and sides. I have some in the freezer as we speak.
I make a really decadent Baked dessert with it, but it is best just toasted-trust me-you don't need to use jelly, jam or butter, or nothing-but of course you may if you wish! Whatever floats your boat.
Here is my version and the original version of this recipe.

Giada is THE Giada from the Food Network. We are best buds-OK, big lie, but I do use a few of her recipes.

A SFriend of ours gave us a piece yesterday from a Panettone which she received from a former Foreign Exchange Student who lived with their family in the 1970's.

He loves her family dearly and sends her one of these prized specialities every year. Here she is with her SHusband celebrating their recent Anniversary. I think it was 65 years, God Bless them.
They are one of those special couples that you can count your blessings if you know them, and they are feisty too-you can depend on them to be straight up with you-like many in their no-nonsense generation. You might recognize her as one of my lunch ladies seen in pictures on this blog in the past.

There is a Romantic story behind the creation of this bread, and the website at the end of this blog has it, and it also gives a recipe for the bread and has some suggestions on how to serve it and other maaaarvelous Panettone recipes-French toast Panettone: gilding the Lily!

I hope you can get a taste of this bread, even though it is usually seasonal, I am sure stores still have them around. I come from an Italian (mostly) family, and yet to do not remember this bread as a child. Maybe it was one of those things that I thought was disgusting at the time? What kid hates spaghetti with sauce, yep, me.

disclaimer: some people think of Panettone as the dreaded fruitcake of the Italian culture-1o foot pole mindset-but they are the unenlightened ones!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Most People would not...

Most people would not ...

*ignore the cat in the morning when she decides it is time for breakfast-especially since she is camped out on your back while you are sleeping with your face in the pillow, and to make sure you get the message, she then walks over to the nightstand and walks on the "sleep" button which activates the classical station-at the precise time that it is not playing music, but broadcasting the chipper message of "Good Morning, wake up now".

*make coffee a day after finishing up the final flu symptoms-bitter tasting..

*Decide to refill the bird feeders because they only have a snack left in one of the feeders and it is so cold outside:

and then, lock themselves out of the house, when ringing the doorbell is not working because those left in the house know that I am up and will answer the then they both come answer the door at the same time, apologies all around when I dragged them out of their warm beds and they for not understanding that they neeeeeeded to unlock the door.

*insist that they would now drink the cold and bitter coffee

*put white gloves on beautiful black girls who are performing a dance routine in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.-was the person in charge too young to remember that in old vaudeville times white performers would put on black-face make-up and white gloves and perform as if they were black people-Does the name Al Jolson ring a bell? I know I have seen dance performances where the white gloves are used to emphasize the movements, but really??? For this performance???
I thought it was poor taste for the dance coordinators and even more poor taste for the area newspaper to print it.

*would not be so judgemental of others doing their best to honor
Rev. King, but me??? Still working on that eh?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Feel your pain my (Astrological) Brother

The world is in a panic-well that portion of the population that believes in the forces of astrology and how your "sign" affects, and effects you. Some old info came to light about the true path of the Earth's orbit, and now people are confused and do not know what to do about their incorrect tattoos.

Oh, what will happen to us all?

Oh, how can I plan my day?

Oh, who am I compatible with now?

Gee, folks, give yourself some credit for being who you are because of WHO YOU ARE. Not because a star looks like a fish or a bull. The people around you, the choices you make, the values you hold will certainly be the deciding voices in who you are.

p.s. when I was 18, my date of birth changed, well, it didn't change, my knowledge of the correct info changed. So I went from a solid Taurus

to a cusp Gemini.

I know your pain, and I am still here, having survived that trauma.

Peace brother.
Is this the most 70's blog I ever did? I hear yah!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Digs

Well, I am just so uptown now, look at my new digs would ya! It is lovely green to match my, my what? Well, to match me of course.

Do you see how tall I am in one week?
I heard her complaining to her SGrandson last night that he was getting too darn tall, and what, she never looked at me and my growth spurt.

And who is that standing near me? Gee whiz, give a girl some space here, but we do keep each other warm nestled in so tightly right? UM, excuse me for asking, but have you been checked for bedbugs?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Anniversary present

I mentioned that today was our 174th Anniversary. We celebrate every month together as a gift. Today, the crock pot is full of a new and hopefully good concoction of chicken cacciatore, Lee Ann Rimes is singing for us "How do I breeeeeeeeeathe without you?", and we are blessed with each other.

And because we are snowed in today, we were watching the cornucopia of birds at our feeders. I queried, what is that bird with the red spot on forehead? It looks like a little sparrow. SHusband looked out, and said we have a lot of sparrows, watched for a few minutes and got very excited, we have a Redpoll, we have a Redpoll he said. I said unh?

Well, out came the books,

now that he saw it, and identified it (he said positive identification because he is very precise in his speech) it was a big deal. And the ornithology class began. Apparently, this is a circumboreal species-forested area around Arctic circle bird, and it winters as far south as Texas, but it is very irregular in the continental United States and even in the North East where we are located. All the big words are from him, not me. They are a small, streaked gray-brown finch. Male is pink chested, pink cap, black chin around it's yellow beak.

Female has less color.

Peterson Field Guide is one of the many nature references we have. OK, so I only have a few, but as a couple (and isn't that what anniversaries are all about?), we have a whole bunch or a plethora as it were.

We also saw our usual friends, cardinals with their royal tufts-here on my magnolia bush.

white throated sparrows, Maybe it is their anniversary today too, and they are sitting in SGrandson's tree watching us?
All were her, chickadees, yellow gold finch, tyrannosaurus Rex-just kidding, just checking to see if I lost you.
Here is a picture of snow angels-made by birds-work with me here please.
And my present? The gift of today of course.

Hope every day is a special one for you and those you love.

And p.s. SDaughter is substitute teaching today-hip, hip, hooray! The dream continues.