Monday, November 30, 2009


When I was growing up, Sunday was a day long ritual. We dressed up and went to church in the morning. When we got home, my father read the New York Times while my mother prepared a big Sunday dinner--maybe a roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, several vegetable side dishes, usually homemade bread, and always a cake or a pie for dessert. After dinner we kids helped with the clean-up while my father dozed on the couch. After that we were expected to play quietly (not always easy for four kids with only five years between the oldest and the youngest) while my mother read the New York Times and my father watched a ball game on the television. Later we all piled into the family car for a Sunday drive. In the evening, we watched TV together--shows like Walt Disney, Wild Kingdom, Ed Sullivan, Bonanza. Sunday night supper was usually a bowl of ice cream or freshly popped popcorn with lots of melted butter and salt--the only meal that was ever eaten away from the kitchen or dining room table.

There was one Sunday dinner I remember that was somewhat unusual. We were joined by my paternal grandparents. We ate at the dining room table, but it was set up in the living room. A set up in the living room dates this memory to 1955 or 1956. My grandfather and father were building a master bedroom and bath onto our small two-bedroom house and would have been using the dining room as a work space and entry way to the addition. At this meal, I'm sure there was a roast, and potatoes and gravy, rutabaga (my grandmother always made rutabaga for big meals) and other vegetables, and I'm sure there was a pie or cake for dessert. Exact recall of these dishes has long ago left me, BUT I do have vivid recall of the fact that a bowl of sauteed mushrooms was placed on that table by my mother just as she came in from the kitchen and took her seat. I can recall my father's delight. "Ooh, mushrooms. Yum. I love mushrooms. Here, try'll love 'em," he practically gushed as he scooped a spoonful of mushrooms onto my plate.

I have never been an especially finicky eater. I speared a mushroom slice and guided it to my mouth as my father watched expectantly. He was not prone to play cruel jokes on me. I am still sure he really believed I would love mushrooms as much as he, so I smiled bravely and shook my head in affirmation. This seemed to fill him with joy. "I knew you'd like them! They're delicious!" he practically sang as he went back to the business of his own plate.
Meanwhile a mushroom, like some slimy living thing that had slithered out of a primordial ooze and invaded my body, sat on my tongue threatening to choke the very life right out of me. Spitting out food at the table just was not done, especially with my grandmother at the table. I knew that instinctively. I must have managed to swallow that offending substance, perhaps in a big gulp of milk. It's one of those traumatic memories that get blocked out of consciousness for all eternity.
Still, there was a daunting pile of mushrooms on my plate. If it was on your plate, you ate it. This was the legacy of my grandparents and parents, who had survived the deprivations of famines, and wars, and The Great Depression.
I sat quietly through the meal. "Children should be seen but not heard at the table" was a remark often made by my grandmother if adult dinner conversation was interrupted by the petty concerns of children. For once, this worked to my advantage. As the adults ate and conversed, I was able, with patience and vigilance and careful planning, to slide each mushroom slice over the edge of my plate and tuck it, unseen, under the lip of my mother's good China dinner plate. Finally, my mission accomplished, tension flooded out of me. I'd managed to "clean my plate" and, thereby, earn dessert. I sat contented in the midst of my family in what now could have been a scene for a Norman Rockwell illustration.
And then, the best words of the day, even the whole week..."Who's ready for dessert?" my mother asked. Both she and my grandmother stood to clear the table. Out went all the serving dishes from the middle of the table. In my ignorance, I sat looking at the yellow drapes with stylized Chinese motif hanging on the living room windows--looking forward to nothing but dessert. My mother came back into the room carrying dessert dishes which she placed on a cleared spot. Then she started to pick up the dinner plates at each place. Suddenly, my stomach did a flip. There was a fatal flaw in my clever plan! Why, oh, why did my family not have a dog that could sit under the table surreptitiously snarfing up table scraps?
Then, there it went--my plate lifted off the table and placed atop the stack my mother was compiling for her next trek back into the kitchen. And there they were--a perfect ring of mushrooms sitting where my plate had just been. I was deafened by the silence as everyone stared at the place in front of me. There might have been fairies dancing on the mushrooms, such was the shock on the faces around me. And then the shock turned to hoots of laughter. And there I sat--embarrassment and guilt burning to my core.
Of course, this became a family story, shared with laughter, shared at family gatherings to this day, usually brought up by one of my siblings in the way that families reminisce. I've told the story on myself to my children and my grandchildren when they objected to some food or another. I always end with, "So if you don't like it, just don't eat it, but leave it on your plate." I laugh along with everyone else, but here's the thing: this story makes me feel sad. It's because I remember that guilty feeling--it wasn't that I'd wasted food, or that I'd lied about liking mushrooms when I didn't, but because it was the first time I disappointed my father. Certainly, I disappointed him many times later in life so I guess the mushroom incident was a fairly benign way of introducing him to that concept. Frankly, it's not the inevitibility of disappointing my father that makes me sad. What bothers me is how primed and ready I was to ignore my own experience, deny my own feelings, silence my own voice. Yes, I respected my elders, as was expected and proper in those days, but how long would it take me to respect myself because, in the end, isn't that how we grow and mature and become ourselves--by giving up a need to please our parents and finding our own true way--whether at the dinner table or in the larger context of life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Plans

Mike and I will travel to Connecticut for Thanksgiving. We'll go to his brother Bill's for the turkey dinner and , since it is his brother Tom's birthday, we will probably have birthday cake. Sadly, for me, the Heberts are not pumpkin pie people. We'll stay with his sister Jeannie afterwards. On Friday the family will get together at a nice Italian restaurant. We will be celebrating Bill's upcoming 65th birthday and his official retirement. It'll be busy and fun, but with the sad note of Harvey's passing six months ago. Bill and Harvey had the same birthday, five years apart. (Just what every five year old boy wants for his birthday, a baby brother, I'm sure!)

Mike has had his shopping list ready since last December--an Italian grinder at Giant Grinder in Hartford, a pound of Italian cookies from Modern Bakery, and a ball of provologne cheese from the Italian market. That's the real Thanksgiving traditional feast for him.

Advent Calendars

I have completed--in time!!--the Advent Calendars for Kristen and Dane. I started this last year. Well, no. Actually, I had given Kristen an Advent Calendar a couple of years ago--one of those with a chocolate treat behind each door--but their dog, Chopper, ate the whole thing by the second day of December. (Chocolate, foil wrap, paper calendar, the WHOLE thing)

Last year I made two banners with pockets and button hangers and ribbon ties and tucked or fastened twenty-four little gifts for both the kids. I was thinking it would teach counting skills and patience as well as ease some of the "I can't wait" tension. It was pretty successful, I think. I also think that Amy and Marty (my daughter and her husband ) got as much of a kick out of it as the kids did. Anyway, it was fun to do, and they looked forward to going downstairs each morning and finding the date so they could get that day's treat. I refilled them this year. Crayons, pencils, notepads, toy dinosaurs or funky jewelry, spare change for their piggy banks, a candy cane, a chocolate kiss, a snack bag of microwave popcorn--I’ve collected those kinds of things and little boxes to put them in over the past couple of months. Maybe it’s a bit over the top. My son still remembers how excited he was to open a door on the Advent Calendar and find a Christmas related picture. Probably Kristen and Dane would not be content with a picture at this point. The fun of grand parenting (and just a little extra time!).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Digital Reader

Arkansas Patti, on her blog ( recently wrote about Kindle, the electronic book. I was surprised but pleased to learn that its reading surface does not have the computer screen glare that I had assumed would be the problem.
I am a regular at our small town library, shown here. The library, a mile and a half from my house, is a good destination for a walk. The librarian is always interested in acquisition requests and is great about using the State inter library loan system. It even has downloadable books for borrowing, which I have never tried. I don’t think my eyes would tolerate reading an entire book off a computer screen. That’s why I was glad to learn about the non-glare feature of a Kindle even though I am not about to run out and purchase one. I still like the feeling of a book, but I get the appeal of a digital reader.

What I did see recently was a digital reader for the kitchen. You know, designed to hold recipes, menus, cooking tips, and such. That is something I would use in a heartbeat. It costs around $300 dollars, though. I figure, as with so many electronics, in a short enough time the cost will go down and the reliability and ease of use will go up, so I’m not running out to buy one now

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baking II

The process of baking is a way I feed my soul. Unfortunately, afterwards I feel compelled to feed my appetite as well and partake of that which I have made. This is not such a good thing.

In September, my doctor told me to lose ten pounds. So far I have just bounced up and down one or two pounds either way and not made a real serious effort. The stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Year's--not the most auspicious time for dieting, is it. But then, I still have ten months before I go back for another physical.

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up. ~Author Unknown
Yummy. Stuff it in there. (Representation of my inner child who has no ability nor inclination to delay gratification)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Everyone needs to read the November 20 post, "Wise Woman Friday: Margaret Junkin Preston," by Margaret at Finnegan Begin Again (
I love to bake pies and breads. There is something satisfying to my soul in the very process. Lovingly prepared foods were such a part of my family's holiday traditions. I look forward to the Christmas season just for the joy of baking and sharing.
This e-mail exchange amused me so husband and son-in-law are guest bloggers today:

Dear Mike (Dad),

Looking forward to your visit. So that we might bond more as a family, I'm thinking you could load up on cash before you come so you can take us all out to do fun things each night. Nothing fancy, just a lobster dinner or two.

And as always, please don't spend more than about $500 on a personal gift for me. After all, it is about the season, not the giving.

Your favorite son-in-law,


and the reply:

To my favorite Son-in-law, Charles,
I don't know where to begin to thank you for the opportunity of bonding with you and the family. Olga and I are experiencing some financial difficulties and may have to limit our Florida stay so we decided that a four to six week bonding period would be perfect ( It could be longer depending on the quality of the accommodations ). We will be spending the next few days putting together a list of the types of food, wine and liquor that we are accustomed to, nothing fancy just your standard normal fare ( NY Strip steaks, wines in the $12-18 range and Crown Royal, etc, etc ). By the way we like to sleep late and we think that the big bed room on the first floor would be a nice quiet room for us.
I think the $5.00 limit for a Christmas gift does not allow me to express my gratitude to you for opening you house, refrigerator, bed room and all other amenities that you might have to offer, so,
I plan on spending at least $10.00.
Your Favorite Father in Law,

Friday, November 20, 2009

November Bouquet

I didn't get around to going for my walk until almost 3:00 yesterday. The sun was behind the hill by the time I got home. The sun is so far to the south and makes such a shallow arc from east to west that it doesn't really matter what time of day you are out, the sun is right in you eyes and your shadow is twenty feet long even at noon--so with the sun going down, at least I could see. I picked a bouquet of winter berries in a field along the way.
Today it is pouring, but I'm off for a grand kids fix, so there's my sunshine for today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Machines Hate Me

There are people who believe that inanimate objects are incapable of strong emotion, well any emotion actually. I think they are wrong. It is very clear to me that machines hate me. I don't hate machines. In fact, I appreciate their usefulness very much. I do not, however, understand machines. They sense that. They hone in on my weakness and conspire to make my life hell on earth whenever I try to tinker with anything the least bit mechanical--punishment for my failure to comprehend the allure of gears and shafts and precision timing. Even simple tools elude my ability to master.
Really, I don't consider myself an incompetent person as a general rule. Machines hate me. I have been sewing a lot in the past few days. I like my old sewing machine (a 1960's vintage Singer). I try to take care of it. Take today...I'd finished a project and figured I would brush out the dust and fiber specks and give the machine a nice drink of oil. The manual shows the hows and wheres of completing these tasks and Mike often reminds me that machines need oil. I was trying to do a good thing. I took off the coverings and oiled away. Then, the simple task of screwing the covers back in place. Could I do it? No. Why? I have no idea, but the screws just wouldn't catch they way they should and then the wheel wouldn't turn. I did not touch anything that would have made the machine bind up. I had to call Mike down to put it back in working order.
Machines hate me. There is no other explanation.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I like dogs in theory. In reality, however, they are way too much work and responsibility so I have never owned one myself. I am quite content to experience dogs vicariously, which I'm able to do through three of our four grown children and the five dogs they have owned over the years. As soon as my daughter, Amy, got married and moved into a house she got a puppy--a Rottweiler puppy that she named Ziggy. He was incredibly cute as a pup--playful, affectionate, smart, and very fast growing. My dog education had begun.

The American Kennel Club ( describes the Rottweiler as "robust and powerful" and as a "self-confident" animal that "responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in the environment." Originally bred in Germany as cattle-herding dogs, they are meant to be strong, calm and intelligent. They are workers who want a job to do. By nature they are protectors and make good police dogs, service or therapy dogs, and companions.

All of this was well known to Sandra Darling, who, under the pseudonym of Alexandra Day, wrote and illustrated Good Dog, Carl in 1985. Proving very popular, a whole series of Carl books have followed. The books are limited in text, but the rich art work clearly tells each story. Her own dog, Toby, was the model for Carl and her granddaughter, Madeleine, was the model for the baby. Typically, the books start with the mother saying, "Look after the baby, Carl. I'll be back shortly." Then off the mother goes while Carl and the baby are left to have an adventure.
One could look at these stories as sad tales of egregious child endangerment, but I believe they were meant to be a testament to the breed. Although, I must note that there have been those who point out that the Rottweiler is illustrated in much finer detail than any of the people in the books, thus "proving" that Darling/Day cares more about the dog than the baby. (Also, she did name her own children Sacheverell, Rabindranath Tagore, Lafcadio Hearn, and Christina, which seems borderline abusive.) In the books, however, Carl always manages to keep the baby from serious harm and returns her safe and sound to her home with mother and father none the wiser, living up to the just what the AKC says --strong, calm, intelligent, protective and completely responsible.

Ziggy was not registered with the American kennel Club. He had a serious under bite which would have gotten him a fast ticket to the back door at any respectable dog show. He did meet the personality descriptors, though, and knowing him gave insight into the creation of the Carl books. He was intelligent and communicative, exceptionally observant, always calm and gentle.
Ziggy was devoted to Amy, but he liked anybody and everybody. He wasn't a good watchdog because he would happily greet anyone who walked in the door. Usually, he only time he barked was when there was a dog on the television. He also howled, "AOOO-OOOOOW," precisely at noon when the town fire siren sounded on weekdays. I am quite certain that he would have been a very fierce protector if anyone had ever made a threatening move towards my daughter or, later, my granddaughter. On the other hand, if you wanted to walk out of the house with a television or a computer when no one was home, I doubt he would have stopped you as long as you patted him on the head on the way out.

As Rottweilers can, Ziggy could look intimidating especially with those bottom teeth always exposed. One time some tick-or-treaters were coming to the door when they saw Ziggy in the drive way. Two kids and their mother went screaming out of the yard just at the sight of him. For his part, Ziggy was so obviously distressed at causing this upset that he gave himself a time-out. He went into the bathroom and laid down with his head on his front paws sticking out the doorway. His eyes said, "I'm so, so sorry!"

Ziggy was not an athlete although he did like to chase a tennis ball. Once they took him for a mountain hike at White Rocks. He whined for half the trip up and all of the trip back down. I was not surprised. He definitely took after Mistress Amy who also probably whined for half the trip there and all the trip back again. At some point, Ziggy must have seen one of those Hollywood accessory dogs being carried around in some young starlets designer bag on the television. He sure thought that was the way to go for a walk--never mind that he was a solid hundred pounds.
When Ziggy was six years old, his world was seriously rocked by the arrival of Baby Kristen. I thought he might be a little jealous of the attention diverted to that new development in the household. Clearly, though, he understood right away that this was his job in life--to watch out for that baby. He would greet me at the door when I visited with a pleading look that begged, "Make a fuss over me for a little while first," but he stood by the cradle looking as proud as a new papa whenever anyone else came to visit.
As Kristen grew and started moving around in Ziggy's world, he was a steadfast guardian. Kristen was the only one who could reach into his mouth and take away his yellow tennis ball (also the only one who wanted to). She cuddled with him and crawled all over him. Best of all, from Zig's perspective, she shared her cookies. I don't imagine that my daughter ever said, "Look after the baby, Ziggy. I'll be back shortly," but I actually do believe he would have been up to the task if she had.
Sadly, Ziggy succumbed to cancer in 2005. Both Amy and Kristen were with him in the end. He was a dog with a mighty heart. Now, here is the real reason I don't have a dog of my own. They do not live as long as people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Cabot Sock Sale

The Cabot Sock Factory in Northfield, Vermont, has an annual sock extravaganza. It started some thirty years ago and was marketed then as a diversion and destination for "hunting widows." The sale happens during deer hunting season. It has gotten so popular that a couple of years ago people had to wait in line to get into the mill and then wait again, as long as 90 minutes, to check out.

Mike and I went this year. The ads all mentioned increased checkout clerks and credit card swipers, and, while the place was mobbed, it was really quick to get in and out. Mike replaced his entire sock collection. I bought a bunch for the kids and grand kids because they really are nice socks. I got cashmere blend socks and a pair of merino wool socks for myself. We bought a couple pair for Mike's brother as his 65th birthday/retirement party is coming up and we are giving him a "Made in Vermont" Basket.

So that's the big excitement here. If you don't hunt in Vermont, you go to the sock sale. There used to be all kinds of textile mills throughout New England, but no more. Cabot Sock Factory is the only sock factory left in New England and one of only three left in the United States.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scam Job

I really read this. A woman in Texas shaved her head and pretended to be a cancer patient in hopes of collecting donations for her surgery. In fact, she did not have cancer and the surgery she was hoping for was breast implants. She explained that she was hoping that breast implants would save her failing marriage--her failing marriage of seven months duration. Lady, if it’s that broke, it cannot be fixed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Finished Shirt

I finished (and have worn) this silk blouse. The sleeves were a trial, but if one is on backwards, they both are on backwards--so I'm able to say they were meant to be that way. I also, for the first time, played around with adjusting the pattern to get a better fit, and that seems to have been successful. Mike, who never really comments one way or the other on what I may wear, said, "That looks like it was made for your body." I guess it's kind of hard to see that from a picture of a blouse hanging on a hanger though.
With the left over material, I made this simple top--the kind I've had about a hundred of over the years. It fits my body like a bag, but that's okay. I put some beading on it to give it just a little oomph.
I bought a bunch of new material today. I'm tired of making doll clothes. I'm ready to start making a few things for myself again. I bought material with patterns...really ready to step out of my comfort zone!

Exercise and Motivation

I get a lot more exercise since I've retired. That is largely due to the fact that I can get out for a brisk walk during the daylight hours. When I was working, there were long winter stretches when I left for work in the dark and returned home in the dark. Some times I would stop off at the gym, but mostly the Big Dark just made me want to get home, put on warm pajamas, wrap up in a fuzzy blanket, sit by the fire and sip some wine. I'd pretend at being a weekend warrior, but the truth is that most of that time was taken up with shopping and other errands, cleaning, laundry, and other household necessities.

This morning I was reading about a young local woman who stays motivated to do her daily running when she gets home from work in the dark. She mentioned similar obstacles--allure of the fireside, household demands, the hibernation reflex that comes with Vermont winter--but has stayed motivated to get out for a run because of a device in her running shoes that somehow communicates through her ipod. This gadget gives her feedback on speed, heart rate, distance, all that kind of stuff. It even gives verbal pats on the back like, "Congratulations! You've just made a personal best time for the mile..."

I don't think this would be nearly enough to get me out for a run after dark, at least around here.
Narrow roads, no street lights, traffic, things that go bump in the woods...nope...I'' stick to the window of daylight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cluster Flies

I am on the verge of insanity. Really, I cannot take much more. The cluster flies are here. A sunny day and they congregate on the house like sun worshipping vacationers at the beach. But, not content to stay on the outside of the house, they squeeze through any available crack or crevice, no matter how microscopic. Of course, once in, all they want to do is go back out again. One fickle, feckless fly is banging at the office window as I sit here now. I was driven out of the living room by a dozen fat, lazy, disgusting, buzzing, bumbling cretinous creatures circling the front window. If you are not familiar with cluster flies, you may think my berserk reaction is over blown; but if you know cluster flies, you know exactly why they are making me CRAZY. That buzzing is like a drill on my very last nerve.
Seriously, the lights go on at 4:00 p.m. around here. You can't sit and read by a lamp or watch a little television without clueless cluster flies bombarding every light source. Try to imagine a fly dropping into your wine glass during the evening meal. Try to imagine putting your head on your pillow only to realize there's a fly on the ceiling, on very likely to just drop during the night and land in your open mouth. Yes, they're easy enough to swat, but reinforcements just soldier on. Pollenias rudis--very rude, indeed.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Flu Shot

This morning's Burlington Free Press showed several pictures of hundreds of people who had lined up at Colchester High School on Saturday morning (some as early as 4:00 AM, one with seven week old baby tucked in a down jacket!!) to wait for the H1N1 flu vaccine. Yikes! It's one thing to line up in the wee hours outside of WalMart on Black Friday to score the latest "Tickle Me Elmo" or "wii" system (not something I would ever do, BTW), but this is flu vaccine. Have we not been hearing about the "swine flu" threat for at least the past three years? Fox News assures us that we, in the USA, have the best health care system in the entire world. So how is it that there is not enough vaccine by now? FOX, POX!

A couple of days ago, we went to the cemetery in Graniteville, Vt, to visit the grave of Mike's grandfather, who died in the 1919 flu pandemic. Harvey Hebert was 28 years old at the time of his death. A flu pandemic is not something we are really taking lightly, but shouldn't we also have the expectation that we, as a society, have progressed beyond the medical knowledge of the early twentieth century? Remember, experts were predicting this.

I have had the flu for sure three times in my life, and maybe a fourth time. It is not fun. Now, I am not in a "high risk" category so I will not have a flu shot this year, but one of the things I am doing is avoiding crowds (like in a four hour line for a flu shot) and using the disinfectant wipes at stores and other public places.

Since I have an herb garden, I use this recipe for disinfecting around the house--and its green:

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES ( the story is that grave robbers rubbed this concoction on themselves in an effort to avoid illness)

2 quarts apple cider vinegar, handfuls of lavender, rosemary, sage, rue, and mint

Mix all in a large jar with a tight lid and let sit for four weeks or longer.

Strain herbs and pour liquid into spray bottle.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Reading list

I have been finding it difficult to concentrate on reading lately. Partly this is due to my eyes bothering me--"floaters" make it look like little bugs are flittering over the pages. This also makes it hard to clean as I scrub away at spots that are not there or I leave actual spatters untouched. Eating...well one would think I'd be losing those pesky ten pounds what with the little critters crawling on my plate and in my glass. I do wish that was working. We'll see what the eye doctor has to say later this week.
So for not being so focused, picking up The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski was a curious choice. (The librarian's comment was, "You haven't read that yet?") I got through it, but I can't say I am better off for the experience. Vesna, a woman in the writers group at the library, often says my writing reveals my slavic heritage so maybe I should have liked it more. Or maybe I need to work on lightening up my writing style.
I also read Alison Hoover Bartlett's The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, which I passed onto my husband. He understands that collecting, buying, selling world so he probably got more out of it than I did. It was interesting, based on real people, but I've run out of patience and sympathy for people who feel overly entitled.
I just finished Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz. I thought it was well written--if a little scary and a little sad. Okay, a lot scary and a lot sad. Now I have both his A Voyage Long and Strange and Blue Latitudes on my reading pile. Mike's efforts to get me a little more literate about history seem to be paying off.
Finally, I read Traveling with Pomegranates, which was perspectives on a trip to Greece and a trip to France by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. It was fascinating to me on so many levels--the mother-daughter relationship, the travel, the historical aspects, the mythological/spiritual journey, the adjustments to changing life stages.
Maybe it's not just my eyes. I've been reading a lot of nonfiction. I haven't read the last Janet Evaonovich--maybe I'll go out and get that for my next read.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November's Here

Here is the difference a weekend of blowing wind and dropping temperatures made to our landscape. The bright leaves are gone. Bare branches, gray skies, dark by 4 p.m.--lovely November.

Playing with Food

Well, today I read on another blog ( about the art of baragami. I love learning new crafts so I was excited.

This art of toast (yes, as in cooked bread) arranging is further detailed at this site-- It's too funny.

In my early forties, I had a toast related break through. I had suffered through a bleak and debilitating bout of depression but had finally reached the light at the end of that particular tunnel. Anyway, I burned the toast for my breakfast one morning. I scraped the black off into the sink, buttered two slices, and was bringing a slice to my mouth when it hit me...NEWS FLASH...I didn't have to eat burned toast. I threw that burned toast away and it was such a liberating feeling. I deserved delicately browned toast and that is what I was going to have!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Banned Foods

A post on Monday (11/2/09) brought up the issue of couples with opposing political views. I related to this. Mike and I have different views on politics, on what news network to watch, on religion, on what television shows/movies to watch, on the temperature of the house at night, on what time to go to bed or what time to get up in the morning, and so many other issues. All these differences are non rancorous. But then, there is the issue of food. As in so many other areas, he is so wrong here, but this is where he draws the line in the sand; this is where he will not budge an inch; this is where things can get ugly.

His mother was born in Sicily, but he will not eat tomato sauce. He will not touch "Italian" seasonings. He will eat most vegetables, but only raw, never cooked. He doesn't like garlic. He will not eat an onion in any form, under any circumstances (unless grated so finely that he doesn't know it's there, in which case he declares the dish "delicious" without fail--HA!) My mother was Ukrainian. Just guess how likely he is to try any of the ethnic dishes I grew up enjoying.

So sometimes, I fix myself a supper of spaghetti, or I buy prepared perogis or cabbage rolls.

On those nights Mike makes himself--can you believe this???--a sardine sandwich.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Right to Marry

It appears that Maine voters have voted against the freedom to marry law enacted earlier this year. I have to say I don't understand why. If you don't believe in same sex committed relationships, don't enter one. I sometimes wonder why certain issues are even subject to debate. There's the Right thing and there's the right thing to do. That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shoes, Two

Yesterday I watched the Oprah show. It was all about shoe and handbag makeovers--you know how the "right" shoes and bags can make you look ten years younger and ten pounds thinner. Apparently the "right" shoes always have high heels and pointy toes. Needless to say, I would be in dire need of a shoe makeover since I foolishly and unfashionably insist in being able to walk once I put my shoes on. I like shoes and I can't say I never put on heels, or even that I've never worn a sexy pair of stilettos, but generally I like walking and I prefer being pain free. Besides, sexy and fashionable are every bit as much "in the eye of the beholder" as beauty. I've seen pictures of Chinese women with their "lily feet" and somebody once thought that was the epitome of feminine beauty--but it sure wasn't pretty. I'll just stay unhobbled at this point in my life.