Monday, February 28, 2011

I hate Josh Groban....

Of course, anyone who knows me knows that I do not hate Josh Groban, I just hate what happens sometimes when I listen to him, and last night his singing was the wind that toppled my house of strength cards.
Matka has been on my mind this past week, and then issues came up on Thursday that made her be up front in my brain and center stage in my heart.
Yesterday I made a silly supper, and in the past, she and I would laugh at the concoction that came together as a meal. She liked talking about food, what she ate, what others ate, what someone made on TV, what she used to make to eat, etc. Her grocery list was often as if we 5 kids were still living at home-she had great plans to always make a dinner for big crowds, but that really was not possible for her the last few months, she always overdid the preparation and then she was extremely exhausted for days after that.
The last grocery trip she made 4 days before her death was with the van of seniors to TOPS Market, where she bought pasta, sauce, and a frozen pizza-just in case some one came over. Her stove top burners were not powered in her new kitchen because there was some concern about leaving things unattended....
She was provided with her meals and snacks in her assisted living facility.
We put that sauce and pasta in a basket and brought it up as part of the gifts to the alter during her funeral mass. It so represented her dedication to her family, and, she was a woman of hope, and hoped to be cooking for her family if they came to visit.
So, food was important to her, and I missed sharing this conversation with her last night. After supper dishes were finished, I dried the kitchen table with her dish towel.
I almost did not take it when we were packing things up, it was not my color scheme-as if I don't have a ton of mismatched things in my home. But, I was resistant, it was something she used all the time, but my SSister#1 said I should take it and another one home. I so love using the two dish towels from Matka once I got them home. I smiled every time I saw one or used one. They reminded me of Matka, and also that SS#1 is so smart about everything. She is such a gift to our entire family.
After the table was dry, SHusband and I decided to play a card game called "Kings in the Corner", we played it a lot with Matka, especially when she would be here for a few days in a row. She would play and laugh and do just a bit of cheating-she was very competitive. We now say phrases like "Push um uppa" when a King row was completed. She used to say it in a broken Italian accent. We have a "Matka Move", where she used to knock on the table before she was about to make a certain one-card-left play. We always laughed and ate pretzels, and laughed some more. Then she would go sleep in the little bedroom in what we called the magic bed-anyone who slept there seemed to instantly go into a cocoon stage and sleep peacefully. That room is no more, that bed is now moved over to SGrandson's house, and she is not sleeping there with a scarf wrapped around her head to protect her hairdo.
This all jumped into me at once last night, and then I heard my Josh Groban singing "You lift me UP". She loved that song. That was it, one of those sobbing, chocking, coughing cries that I had not experienced for at least a few months, and that I thought were behind me. My house of cards collapsed, and I with it. And through all this, SH was there talking softly, rubbing my back and getting me water. Matka loved SH and she knew I was well taken care of with him. Thank you Matka for welcoming him so warmly into the family and for making him lemon meringue pies.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One knife, one meal

Do you have a favorite set of knives? I do. I have knives that are over 40 years old and still working fine, but I find I only use three knives most times.
I bought a three piece set a few years back at Kohl's. The brand name is J. A. Henckels International EVERSHARP PRO, with a symbol of a man holding a long stick, and he has a gumbyesque shape. I have a three piece set, big ("never use this knife" was told to SHusband and SSon-they rarely use a sharp knife and this one is VERRRY Sharp), medium-my "go-to" knife, and a small paring knife-that I actually "pare" with.
Tonight for supper, I used the "go-to" knife for everything I cooked/served. I usually fill the dishpan with hot sudsy water when I start supper prep, so this knife was used and washed again and again, along with the same small green Teflon cutting board that was the Ed McMahon sidekick to my Johnny Carson, Star of the Show knife.
I did not cook with raw meat tonight, or I would have used my "MEAT" cutting board, that needs to be cleaned with bleach. I read where it is better idea to have one, so I do.
Supper tonight was sauteed swiss chard with caramelized onions, chicken smoked sausage and potato pirogie, with fresh pineapple for dessert. Two parts of it were made by others that I bought-the dreaded "processed food".
My menu was supposed to be sauteed swiss chard, peppers and onions with spaghetti and meatballs, BUT, meatballs were still frozen in downstairs freezer, and while looking for them in the upstairs freezer, I spotted the pirogie that I knew should be used soon. So with a "Bewitched" wiggle of my nose, I switched cultures and a meal was born.
I sauteed the plain old yellow onions in equal parts canola oil and "Smart Balance" buttery spread, a few tbsp. of each-it changes the burning temp so things burn less quickly with that mixture. (How bad a cook was I before Food Network came into my life???)
Be sure to use a heavy-bottom frying pan, this makes things cook more evenly. Mine is made by Paula Dean that I bought at "Ollies" Discount store-it was still not cheap, but I love the way it heats up, and they always have her products there. I look at them, and decide I do not need anything, but sometimes, I lust after some of her pieces.
After they cooked on med-high a few minutes, slightly translucent, I added the white stem parts of the swiss chard, chopped into thin slices, some salt, and some fresh cracked pepper-it really does make a difference. The onions caramelize-bringing out their sugar while the swiss chard stems are cooking.
Cook a few more minutes and add the chopped up green leaves of the swiss chard, and the sliced smoked chicken sausage.

I used Hillshire Farms brand. When I buy it, I cut into two links and freeze one, so a meal is always ready if you just nuke it to defrost. Reduce heat and let heat through-try not to overcook, it looks nasty, tastes OK, but looks, well, I don't want to plant images in your head-this time.
Lettuce continue (I used to do liturgy planning for Catholic Masses with a SFriend, and whenever we used the phrase "Let us..." we cracked up laughing).
While this was all going on, I cooked the Pirogie. Do you know what Pirogie are? Some of my friends make them. It is a Polish food, a circle of very light dough, filled with a variety of good stuff: sauerkraut, mashed potato and cheese, farmers cheese, sweet plum, and sometimes meat-but truthfully, I have only heard that meat is used, I have never seen any for sale or served in a restaurant. You boil them to cook, then sautee in butter to give a nice crust. Some places serve them unsauteed, and some serve with gobs of sour cream.
I buy mine frozen. Many years ago, I used the MRS. T's brand, and more recently, I use a local brand "Nowinski" Gourmet Pierogi.

They come frozen, cooked, you prepare them frozen in that same mixture of oil and fake butter from above, but in a smaller pan. I used the knife to cut open the bag-see, I am consistent. You are really only defrosting and browning them, so it does not take long-the package instructions said 5-6 minutes, covered, turning frequently, but mine took more like 8 minutes. We all like the flavor of this brand, not as good if they were made by the Nowinski family and then handed to me to finish, but they need to be frozen. Hand-made pierogi are wonderful, but this Italian-Irish, hint of French girl is not genetically fashioned to make pirogie. SGrandma Viviani would not be happy if I tried.
While they were cooking, I cut the pineapple.

My theory for fresh pineapple is: buy it green, cut it brown. My SSister#1 is a great cook, and she passed the info to me that you store a fresh pineapple upside down while it is ripening, that way the bottom never gets mushy from all the juice going to the end that gets ripe first. I have had good results with this. I let this one go about two days too long. I knew it was ready then, but had other fruit that I was moving to the top of the "eat this first" list for the family.
You can see just a little bit of light brown on the flesh here, but it did not effect the flavor. I can't believe that 25 years ago when my kids were young that I would add powered sugar to the fresh pineapple! What a stupida, it is so sweet plain.
So there you go, a knife makes a meal, as promised.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Collective Bargaining Agreement...

OK listen, I meowwant you to consider this. Everyone is meowfighting over collective bargaining agreements.

Meaning, the union and management of an organization agree to discuss complaints, and look at ways to resolve issues and do the best job possible. Oh, and they want to talk about benefits also........ like pay, job duties, retirement, and health insurance coverage. I think they are meowgoing about it all meowwrong.

It's all about food, entertainment, clean litter and soft places to lay your head, if you get me meowdrift.

So here, as Boo Boo Marie, the Union rep, I present my meowcase:

-food: just because a certain employee health doc told you I needed to only have 1/2 cup per day of food, it is not carved in rock (although if you were looking for a rock to carve, this is the place-I could fix you up for a little kibble). There are measurements, and there are meowmeasurements. A little bit more passed under the table would not hurt anyone-who has to meowknow?

-entertainment: I really do meowappreciate all your efforts to keep feeding those birdies outside, they are fun to watch, and you giving me a few meowminutes with two of those house meowbirds that I managed to get out of that little dinky cage a few meowweeks ago, was a nice touch to keep my work skills up-You could have looked the other way a few more meowminutes and that really would have been a meowperk! As part of our new meowagreement, I would like a few extra minutes just playing a little catch with those little colorful guys-let's say once per week, I wouldn't hurt them, no harm, no fowl!

-clean litter: so here's the meowstory on this meow wasteful issue, I would so meowthink that having you guys just standing by while I am on meowduty, doing my job, would be best, that way, as soon as I am meowfinished, you can do your job! Discretion would be appreciated, but meowpromptness is needed when doing your job-pick it up, shake it out, move it out, Rawhide, let's meowgo.

-Sleeping: Now, the most important benefit I meowneed, is my chillin' claws. I needs me meowrest, after all, when all of you are snoring meowaway, I am
ON THE JOB. So I would request that all future contracts include a claws and agreement that I will sleep all day, without loud meowmusic, clacking meowkeys or anyone trying to get me to chase a fur mouse or feather on a meowstick. This has to be listed prominently in the agreement-especially when that meowkid comes over and is all over me all meowday. Jeesh, tell him the meowrules, or I might just walk outtah here, and take my many meowskills to someplace that appreciates someone sleeping all day, and agrees to still give me all my meowbenefits! I have tenure you meowknow! Deal with it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bye-bye Wal-Mart

About a year ago, we decided to buy some more stock, interest rates being what they are (or more accurately, are not).
SHusband and I discussed all the usual ones, and some we already had, but I thought Wal-Mart would be a good experience. After all, 6 years ago we were spending so much money on Tim Hortons that we thought we should buy stock in the company, and we did, (well, he did, for me, as an Anniversary present) and that has really gone up.
Well, our Wal-Mart was doing OK also, until the past SEVEN quarters, which means that for 5 quarters we were ridin' high, and then creepy feelings started as we watched it stop going up.....
Today, our broker called, and suggested that we sell, sell, and buy, buy-GE. We already owned some GE, and he thought it would be prudent. (That may be the first time I ever typed that word, let alone use it.)
So, SH, knowing that those Wal-Mart shares were hand-picked by me, checked with me before selling and then he went ahead with the transactions. So, if I could ask you a favor-buy every stinking GE product you see. Even if you know it is overpriced or you don't need it. Just for me. OK? Thanks.


I DROID, therefore I AM. Or something profound like that. I decided not to buy an ipad, and selected a DROID instead. My former cell phone was slower than chalk on slate. I was given a preview of SDaughter's new phone today, and that did it for me.
So, a quick 90 facada minutes later, I was the proud owner of .25oz (estimated, no clothes) new toy. Someday I might even learn how to use it properly. I need a long lunch with SD so she can teach me in slo-mo. The salesman was very nice, and I made him show me the important stuff before I left. But in the car when I wanted to test out the GPS thingy, I realized that I did not know how to unlock the little darling. It worked out after a few tries, I was NOT going to go in and ask.

So, that is what I will be doing during the upcoming storm that is predicted starting tomorrow evening.

Here is my first picture-camera a must in my cell you know.

I thought it looked like Martian footprints in the snow-very weird. It was really a bunch of bunny footprints, after the wind blew the top layer of snow away. I am so multi talented that I managed to post this picture three times on facebook when trying to upload.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let's share a sandwich...

I think I mentioned before that when Matka and I would go out for lunch after a doc appointment or other outing, we usually shared a grilled cheese sandwich-sometimes with a slice of tomato, usually on rye. We would have some soup with it. She would always tell me everything that was going on with other family members-but at these lunches-she held court. Spilling everything she knew, somethings she guessed at and everything she hoped would happen with family and her friends.

Sometimes, if I was on a diet at the time, I would not have that 1/2 sandwich, just picked something else-non bread, non greasy. She was always disappointed. She took her other 1/2 sandwich home usually. She liked going out to eat with me because I usually shared that sandwich. She would say, "you're fun to go out to lunch with, you eat." By saying this, she compared me to going out to lunch with my SSister#1 who was always very smart about what she ate (we are excluding ice cream in this conversation-ice cream for my SS#1 is not a food group-it is oxygen-you need it to live). SS#1 usually pulled out a little yogurt container to eat and ordered tea.
After Matka died last year, when I was really a mess for all those months, one of the things that made me just break down and cry was seeing a pair of ladies who looked like a mother-daughter duo eating lunch together and talking.

I thought it was so lovely to see, and wished them many years of the same.

I gradually stopped looking for these couplings, it was just too painful, and I was too envious. I love to eat, but I loved my Matka more.

Wait, just a little stop here, Kleenex time.

OK, Back, and strong again.

Today was one of those lunch with the ladies days. My usual group of lovely friends. We were so pleased that one of the ladies was feeling much better after being ill for two months.
I think I started the topic of being so old now, and after we all reminded each other of our ages, one of my SFriends remarked that she is old enough to be the mother to all of us! And she was correct.

Coincidentally, she and I ordered the same meal. And it was soup and sandwich, and much too big for each of us. As we walked out, she whispered to me "Next time we will share a sandwich". I was so moved by that statement that I could barely keep myself from crying. Suddenly, Matka was there saying hello.

My gift today.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How many TOYS did you have?

I found this really neat report from TIME magazine, the top toys of each decade.

In my toy decade-I picked the 1950's I had quite a few for a kid from a family without a lot of money, but I think the fact that I was the youngest of 5 kids meant that:

1. I was a spoiled brat and got more than the others got
2. They got it first and passed it down to me
3. Toys were so much cheaper then, and you could actually save up money and buy it yourself. Novel concept.

My two favorites from the list were Silly Putty and the Hula Hoop. I marveled at the science (technology was not a common word then) involved to make a mirror image copy of anything you pressed this magic stuff onto-my favorite to copy were the comics-full color with a pink tinge from the silly putty. And when you were done, you just kneaded the stuff together a few times, and
presto-chango, a clean palate. I remember the excitement I got from showing this "magic" to people. It was stored in and egg, and it got hard and unusable if you left it "out".
The hula hoop was a fun toy, and either you could do it or not, and it fell to the ground. I think I did pretty good with it. The wiffle ball mentioned was also part of a toy set that was bought for me in Pittsburgh when visiting a SAunt, SUncle and SCousin. It had two ball catchers that had a scoop like in Jai alai (pronounced hi lie), and a whiffle ball. I thought I was just so IT to have this before the kids in my home town. It was a lot of fun.
Did you have a slinky? The original metal ones did not get tangled so much like the new plastic ones that I bought for our SGrandSon. They were really fun to watch work. SSon had a real metal one or two.
I had at least 5 troll dolls. Do you know what they are:
Wiki says that they were popular in the USA starting in 1963, not the 1950's even thought they started in 1959 in Europe. I think this was correct because I turned 11 in 1959 and I think I was a little older than that when I collected them. I had troll dolls on my dresser when I started swooning over Ringo of the Beatles at age 14. I think they were part of a give-away program from some product. Packed away in a little cardboard case upstairs I have my little bride doll and a troll. Most of my trolls had clothing to go with them, they were not streakers like in the photo above. I gave my SDaughter two to play with when she was little. They were pretty indestructible, made of rubber, funky hair loved bathtubs.
From the list of toys in the 50's, as a family we had the water balloons, fake vomit, Chatty Cathy doll, paint by number kits, Mr. Potato Head and Frisbees. Not on the list were ball and jacks, marbles or games like cootie, monopoly and checkers-regular and Chinese and pick-up-sticks, Kingers made with chestnuts and a shoelace. I remember my family being very patient with the youngest with these games. (Not pinochle-that is another story left for when I am in a "poor-me" mood). If we did not have these toys, our friends did, along with an assortment of balls to play kickball, seven-up or dodge ball.
We also owned something wonderful-chalk. We would draw pictures of course on the sidewalks, but also we would draw boards like hop-scotch, and categories. And we also sat on my SFriend Juliet's front steps and would pick a car category like Ford or Chevy or car colors and the most of the one you picked that passed by in a set amount of time would win. Imagine, there were so few car companies that even little girls would know the models and could play this game! We would use scraps of cloth to hand sew doll clothes that we designed.
I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of toys or games or activities that we did, we were always busy and outside. Even in the rain, we sat on the cement stoop and played under the small metal awning.
Not one toy required a battery or a code to enter online.
Winters, we did not have snowsuits, we had each others cloths to put on in layers! We built snowmen and ladies, had snowball wars-my SBrothers were sharp shooters as I remember. Made snow angels in our minuscule yard and loved every minute of it. Snow days from school were so rare, and yet not one kid was inside during the snow day.
I loved thinking about my childhood writing this blog. We all need a trip backwards to appreciate what we had.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Let's see what the wind blows in...

It is so windy here today that if it could talk it would say "HEY YOU, LOOK AT ME, OH WAIT, YOU CAN NOT SEE ME. WHAT NOW?"
Well, my friend windy is correct, we can not see him. But we can see the roof shingle from our neighbor's house on our snowishgrass.
We can see the bird feeders are empty from the wind blowing them around so much they are like a pinata for the birds, who are actually MIA since they could not fight the strength of the wind this time.
We can see two plastic Easter eggs that were part of our front lawn decorations 10 months ago, and were hiding on us when we tried to bag them all up. The ones that were plucked out of the branches did not give away their comrades, so these two remained. Well, who could argue with them? In a dark plastic bag in a storage room, when you could be outside, tucked into a nice evergreen, sheltered for the most part, looking through the branches to see the snow falling and watching us trying to take it away? Really, the few pecks that are hammered on the eggs from birds and squirrels are only temporary when they figure out this thing won't open. Now they too have been dislodged, and if they are still there tomorrow, they will be snatched and put into the bag to tell the others of their adventures.
We also see broken tree branches, ripped from the waving arms of the larger branches.
We also see empty cardboard boxes which were stacked neatly at the garbage area of the corner pizzeria-now free, and running for their lives before they get smashed, pulverized and spit out as new boxes. I for one would be happier if the boxes were returned back to their owners instead of going deeper into the woods across the street. The snow bank was too high for me too leap (leap??? more accurately fall) over yesterday to grab them, and now the snow bank is gone, and boxes are out of reach-maybe they are going up the street to visit my SFriend-it would give her SDog something to run after-some of them contained chicken-so they might still have that come hither smell that doggies like.
And we see the clouds, going at such a speed that they are mesmerizing to watch their ever changing patterns.
We see some dried leaves flying across the streets, broken out of their shelters and continuing their trip from last fall.
We see hair standing straight up and then, poof, all going horizontal. Kinda fun to watch, as long as it is not me.
SHusband says that winds are always a sign of change in the weather, and today the temps were in the 50's, tomorrow the 30's are predicted, so long as they don't bring that white stuff, 30's are OK, we are tough up here in Western NY, but we have reached our "enough" point-give us a few nice days and we want more-we have had enough snow, keep it up there.
And here for you, is one of my favorite oldies: "Windy" by the Association

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Burning Heart

New header picture today. I can no longer stand to look at snow-it is starting to get that dis-gust-ting (three words) dirty look, and then it thaws, then it freezes-invisible sometimes just to see if you are paying attention to where you are walking! Stick a fork in me, I'm done! I know I said I would only choose pictures which I took of nature for my header, but really, there are trees in the background-this qualifies right? Sunrise on a heart mobile on our porch last spring-I named this "Burning Heart" in my file.

Three posts in one day-crazy waste of time, but my house is all trashed due to the kitchen being painted, painter was off today and needing a trip back tomorrow, so we had a day today of just walking around stuff and looking for stuff and wishing we did not have so much stuff...

I likes to sit where I likes to sit...

You all know of my #1 preference for sitting, but sometimes, I like to mix it up a bit, you know expand my meowhorizons. So I have been trying out a few other meowvenues. And here they are:
Sometimes I sit in front of the big meowthing that is colorful and loud.

Sometimes I sit on the meowthing that sounds pretty.

Sometimes I sit on soft meowthings-what do mean get off the coats that are only there while the closet door is being replaced? I like it here and I will sleep here now. Go away. Do I look like I am kidding?

And sometimes, I like to sit on the clacky-clackity meowthing. Let me think, oh yeah, BOO-BOO Marie's Rambles, yeah, I like the meowsound of that.

Man vs Man

Listen, don't be fooled. If you are watching the Jeopardy showdown between man and machine to show who is the smartest, remember, human kind built and programed the machine. So if the machine wins, it is because we had some really smart people working on the project.
And yes, we are watching the show, and yes, we each beat-out the machine and the humans with the answers a few times, but it should not be taken so seriously-just entertainment to showcase the achievements of Humans who can BUILD something amazing.
And one other observation, it took a team of Scientists four years to complete this project, and it may one day be able to help doctors evaluate medical conditions, but wouldn't it have been nice if those same scientists were working on cures for cancer and other devastating diseases for those four years? Just saying. And the money used on this project could have gone for supplying our schools-all our schools properly, and that goes for those terrible wastes of money to put on awards shows-the cost of getting all those 15minutes of fame people glammed up (or down) for all these shows most be astronomical.
Jeez, did I get up on the wrong side of the bed today or what? Sounds like Sally's Rants not Rambles. I promise tomorrow I will be all sweet and light-or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day to my SWEET READERS!

SGrandson arranged these little heart guys in a free form design!

This too shall pass.......

Final large room having painting done:
Kitchen, great to see counters cleared, well except the coffee pot, painter goes on coffee.

All is washed down and ready for him.
It is an adventure to keep the cat from taking down the drop clothes, she loves the rustle sound.
SSon was OK with all this confusion this morning, I had everything he needed lined up and ready for him.
SHusband has all he needs for the day in living room and dining room, three "C's": couch, computer and cookies!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thinking 101

While waiting in line at the bank drive through the other day, this is what I saw:

They were sea gulls, pecking at a surface-looking for food?

But, this is the surface:

Yes, the stone roof of the bank drive through. This bank is near a partially frozen creek-not a sea for sure. The temp was about 20degrees. And they were pecking like crazy up there. Were they really hungry, or just "thinking outside the box" for a feeding solution?

I wonder if sometimes I am so rigid that I can not "think outside the box", and am possibly missing out on a different way of looking at things or doing a task?

I am filled with the phrases: "This is the way it should be", "This is what I should be doing", "This is what they should be doing", "This or that is wrong".
I was speaking with a close SFriend the other day about how all the time I am on the computer, and doing my blog, I am really loving it, but I am always letting the "Should bees" nag and sting me. This war in the brain begins-you don't always have to be doing what you need to do, sometimes you should do what you want to do, NO, NO, you should vacuum now, you should organize this or that now, you should be, you should be. Yikes, what a racket up there. And then this war in the grey matter continues the fight at night when I am supposed to be sleeping-do this first the next day, then that, and if that happens, do this, and then, and then. I wish for a button-press it and I go to sleep. It has a timer for seven hours, and poof, I would be awake, reading my paper and drinking my coffee.

I wonder sometimes why I am so hardwired to always be thinking and planning, I even count while going up and down stairs, and while waiting for something to happen-like the computer to go to a site, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Or a light to change or a timer to go off. I am never happy to sit through an entire show without thinking, when will this end? What do I have to do next that I wish this over? I love opera, and that was always one of my favorite things to do, but when we used to go to Opera performances, I was so anxious to go there, then once it started very rarely was I so taken away in the moment that I wasn't wondering when it would be over.

Why am I in such a hurry to "move-on" to the next thing?

Why do I always have to be planning something?

Maybe I think outside the box too much? Is that possible? Do I always have to improve on something or a way of doing things.

Why am I so in need of thinking?

Got me, but if I figure it out, you will be the first to know.

Now, about the next blog that I have been thinking about.....

Friday, February 11, 2011


Matryoshka Dolls, are also called Russian Nesting Dolls. They are made of wood, and have an equator like separation-which, when opened reveals another doll, which when opened, etc. I have two sets and a loner.
I recently took out my dolls, and packed away some other things.
One was "here" when I moved in-origin unknown. SHusband thinks it may have been given to his SMother by a card playing friend "up the street."
It has 4 pieces and a crack, art work is very limited, but sweet and obviously hand-done and way better than anything I could ever produce. Can we say "connect the dots" was my greatest artistic achievement? We let our SGrandson play with it when he was a toddler, he was surprised every time he found another piece inside. A joy just to watch him re-finding this treat each time.
The other set was hand-picked by our SCousin who made periodic humanitarian trips to Russia in the 1990's to help them start cheese factories.
They had the milk, but not the knowledge to be successful business people. They were so used to the government being in charge of everything, that they did not know how to be entrepreneurs. He had the knowledge and was dedicated to helping others tirelessly.

I asked him to pick me up a set of nesting dolls (you don't think I knew the real name now do you?) on one of his trips there, and boy did he:

The art work is so detailed and well done. This set is based on a Russian folk tale, as most of them are.

A cute story about the smallest piece as told to me by his wife: He had taken the set out to show her, and by either a swipe of their cat or magic, the littlest one got separated from the mother ship. No one noticed, the set was repacked and given to me, and then when SC's wife was vacuuming she found it-before it was gobbled up for good! It arrived in the mail to me.

Now, we have a little curious SCat, and I would not put it past her to think of these as a playdate, so after taking these pictures, I packed away the smaller ones inside of their big sister protector (lucky the girl who has a big sister to protect them!) .

I also received this loner which can be used as a tree ornament:

It was given to me by my SFriend, the painter mentioned in this story (I never linked back to one of my blogs-hope this works). She took a trip to Russia that included the cultural high spots and artisan venues, and brought the "lunch ladies" back these.

It could be used as a Christmas Tree ornament, but I keep out as a life ornament.

Everything you always wanted to know about these wonderful nesting dolls is in this wikipedia link, and a great story about this set, Russian politicians:

It is nice to change your precious gimmy gatchyees or tchatchkes around now and then, they all look new again. Spring is almost here, rotate your stuff! It's free.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kind thoughts

I received this card at my SSon's Birthday lunch. It was from my SSister#1, and the words celebrated my role as SS's mom.
I can not tell you how much those words meant to me.

Every mother has struggles until they figure out what they should do, and I was no different. And honestly, the learning curve continues.
The beautiful inlaid Jewelry box next to the card was also part of the gift. It was purchased at a store called Ten Thousand Villages. A fair trade store featuring items from artisans around the world. The items range from wonderful jewelry, house and garden dishes and decorations, to children's games and musical instruments. They have stores all over, so you can do a store locator in google after you enter the store name. "My" store is:
Inside the box, you might recognize the beautiful feather bracelet that SS bought for me while shopping with SS#1 at Christmas.
Surrounding it are my special knick knacks, gifts all. The box the card and jewelry box are sitting on was a tea box given to Matka that I now use as a jewelry box.
Sometimes we wonder if we should say something to someone, and we might hesitate, thinking that surely, they already know how we feel. I am hoping that I do not hesitate now, knowing how those special words from someone who cares about me took the time to phrase so beautifully. Thank you cara sorella.

Ruby, over and out.

Here I am, on 2-7-11. RUBY ROCKS!

Here I am on 2-10-11.

It's been a good 5 week ride, and happy to have made friends with you all, especially those who took care of me. Hope I brought some smiles when you saw my achievements-I mean bulb to bag in 5 weeks, pretty impressive for someone who was just stuffed in a box before that. No formal Horticultural training, no thesis in dirt, no water works 101 or nothing, and look what happened with just instinct. I think the part I disliked the most was the turning all the time, but I know, I know, it was for my own good! When I do my exit interview, I will be sure to mention all of your kindness and a recommendation for future placement from the AAAAA (Allied Amaryllis Agency of America Association).

Glad that I could pass my digs on, but jeez, give a girl a chance, I'm going already.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


We tend to celebrate, and celebrate, and celebrate.
Lets take a scroll through the last three days of SSon's 40th Birthday events.
Day one:
-SS and I did some Errands, and then,

-Lunch at Applebees's Restaurant, which included a birthday hot fudge sundae slider and balloon for him-and the server made it clear that they DO. NOT. SING. ANYMORE. Well, I appreciate the generous free dessert for him.

-A trip to Dave and Busters-a chain of restaurants and arcade games, and he bought this with his winnings:

Yep, Dave and Busters Boxer Shorts!

-Dinner at home with us and SGrandSon including one of SS's favorite: pasta/cheese sauce and meatballs-not speecy-spicey meatabals-just plain meatballs. I was reminded of SGrandmaV when I was cooking very early that morning-she did that all the time.
-Dessert was:
We sang, he cut the frozen ice cream cake, SHusband pulled out the knife-but he tried first to continue the slice-not an easy task with the knife upside down for Tim's luck!-Day Two:
Lunch at Tully's Restaurant including two Non-alcoholic Pina Coladas

40th Balloon brought by SDaughter


Free Birthday Dessert and singing from generous Tully's

Group Picture-please note that we are all wearing Buffalo Sabres shirts in honor of the birthday boy's love of his team.

Drove home THROUGH A SNOW STORM, see, I told you about snow on his birthday!

One last gift for his birthday.
I made a card for him, on the front I put this picture of him
and inside I put this picture:
He did not catch on at first that the present was pictured in the card. But with a few hints, he got it and was very happy.

Day three/actual Birthday:
I woke up SS at exactly 8:05 AM-the time of his birth, by singing on his intercom-what a sound to hear me singing in the morning-he laughed.

SGS wished his uncle a Happy Birthday a zillion times this morning before his father picked him up.

We went to breakfast to SS's favorite HOME place, the Pine Lounge in Cowlesville New York.
They are always so kind to him there. And when they heard that it was his 40th Birthday, they gave him his breakfast on the house: Chocolate Chip Pancakes! Very generous again.

He finished off the birthday with one final crazy coffee for him-the end of indulgences!
He is using his new laptop now, and grinning the whole time! His first e-mail on his laptop was a message to me with a link to one of his favorite songs on youtube: Jim Croce singing Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown:
He was blessed to receive many cards and gifts and well wishes from family and friends.

His family has been so blessed back to have him be part of us these many years-he has added so much to all of our lives. Happy Birthday Dear Son, we all love you.
Now, the wallets are empty, the arteries and memory banks are full, just as it should be. Thank you to all who made his day so special.