Monday, November 30, 2009

Where will the path lead?

Thanksgiving is over, and the left overs are almost gone. I was very sad today when I threw out a half of a banana cream pie, it was looking a bit gross -- I wish someone would have finished it! Like ME! But now it's time for the feeding frenzy to end until the next holiday hits. Time to eat a bit lighter. I'm happy, though, that MOST of the leftovers were eaten -- not too much went to waste. (Only to waist.) It helped to have plenty of company over the weekend. Like Gram used to say, a woeful waste makes a woeful want. So I'm glad they weren't wasted, and I won't be woeful.

Christmas is coming, and the decorating has begun. I'm quite pleased with the way the house is shaping up so far. This picture was last year -- I really hate to watch, so I didn't take pictures this year. But the lights are all up outside, one small tree is up inside - with another to go - and a few snowflakes are hanging in the windows; and of course as you already know, I have holly on the window sill. I'm not going overboard this year, I'm picking and choosing what I put up. I love lights and glitter and iridescence.

And I'm thinking a lot, as usual. I'm thinking about the past and present and especially the future. Not good, I know -- I should try to live in the RIGHT NOW!!! and mostly, I am very present in the right now. But not completely. I guess the good thing is that I'm not WORRYING about the past and the present and the future, I'm just wondering how it will all unfold.

I'm very happy with my RIGHT NOW. I wouldn't want to change a single thing. (Well, I guess the only thing I would really like to change, is I would like to be able to sleep later. Hehehe.) But aside from that, it's all good.

And I'm not really thinking much about my future, because I'm pretty content with the direction it's been going on so far. But I wonder about the kids -- really, all the kids. My own, and all my other kids who aren't even mine. They are on a pretty good path so far, hopefully.

But now is the time in their lives when every step they take, or don't take, is a decision that they have made. And since you can never see where the path will lead, it's sometimes hard to take the steps that you need to take to get where you want to go...

I worry about whether or not I am influencing them to take a different path then the one they would choose for themselves. It made me start to wonder - do I really believe in fate, or do I really believe we determine our own destiny? And I guess I decided that I believe in a combination of the two.
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So here's to following your own path, wherever it may lead. I hope it's lovely.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time to start decorating!


Thanksgiving isn't really completely over. I'm still very thankful for everything!
But Christmas has begun...
Christmas shopping on Black Friday? No thanks, I didn't get up at 3:00 AM for any of those sales. Although I did hit Walmart at about noon to get a new tablecloth and a few other items.
Christmas decorating? Sure! This is my first decoration -- holly brought over on Thanksgiving as a gift from Uncle Jim and Aunt Patricia.
Happy Holidays!
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Toast to Thanksgiving, Family and Food!

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Waiting patiently

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Carving the bird


It's Turkey time.
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Dinner is served

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A walk in the park

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I'm stuffed, how about you?
Coffee and tea and maybe some more wine.
But -- are you having some? Don't make a pot just for me.
And plenty of sugar and butter in various forms. Especially PIE. And Cookies.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Prayer Book


This is the prayer book that was passed down to my family from my father's mother.

Recently, I gave the prayer book back to my Father. He's going to take it to someone at the Smithsonian, to see if they want it, or if it has a value to anyone besides us. It's just falling apart in my bookshelf anyway, and I thought it would be good if someone else got some enjoyment out of it. I took the photo because I thought it would be a good way to remember my "heirloom."

I had a project to do for school, once upon a time, with the boys; it was a creative writing parent/child class. I told my Grandmother's story for that class, so I have a good reference on her life.

My grandmother was born on November 24, 1921, in a house on the Kahnawake Indian reservation just outside of Quebec, Canaca. Her mother and father were Mohawk Iroquois. They had been married when they were about 18, but they separated when my Grandmother was born. It wasn't talked about, so she didn't know the reasons. It may have been because of her father's job. He was an iron worker, and he had to travel. (The Mohawk Iroquois often took jobs as ironworkers, building the skyscrapers and bridges of big cities like Manhattan.)

My Grandmother was named Alliene, but her Indian name was Kanietahawi, which means "brought the snow." She was born on the first snowfall. Gram had her mother give all of the grandchildren indian names, but it was just for fun. My indian name was Full Moon, and my sister is Half Moon. We don't know what that is in Iroquois.

Because the Mohawk were on the East Coast, there was very early contact with missionaries and white settlers, and my family didn't retain any of the original American Indian religion. My Grandmother seemed to be more of a lapsed Catholic than anything else. The prayer book was published in 1879, and it was Catholic. There was a beautiful church at the reservation, and my Grandmother seemed to like visiting it when she went back.

Maybe, if she had stayed on the reservation later in life, she would have learned more about her Native American roots. She was very young when she got married and had her first child, and she lived in New Jersey with my Grandfather's Italian family. An older woman may have questioned her family more about family history. I feel like a lot of that tradition is lost to us.

I don't feel like the book, given to the Smithsonian, would be lost to us. And my Gram, who has passed away a while ago, is still here in spirit.

Happy Birthday, Gram!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Preparations are underway!

I thought I would try to do a lot of stuff for Thanksgiving dinner in advance, but so far, all I've done is... well, I guess I've done a lot of planning.

I made the basic menu. I made a shopping list. I did the shopping. And even though I've finished the shopping, I have ANOTHER shopping list that I keep adding items to. I certainly won't be able to stay away from the crowds descending upon the grocery store.

I did make the cranberry sauce, and the applesauce.

I made a trial run Pumpkin pie - which I am eating, because as the trial run pie, of course, I had to taste it! It's good. I was going to make a lot of little tiny tart sized pies, but they seemed like too much pie crust and not enough pumpkin. I'm going to make some, anyway, because they are just too cute - but I think I might make them Key Lime and Lemon Meringue pies. Or maybe not. I'm not sure yet what's gonna happen with the little tartlets.

Thor has started making the Butternut Squash soup. Lucky for us we decided to start it tonight, because I messed it up. I had him start with a ham stock base, and it is WAY too salty. So we have to get another butternut squash to add, to cut down the saltiness a bit. It's going to be a cream soup, but for now, he's just boiling down the squash; we'll heat it up and add the cream on Thursday.

I have about a 21 pound turkey, which has started the slow defrost in the fridge. I hope it defrosts in time!!! I plan on brining it Wednesday night, and starting it pretty early on Thursday, in time to eat the main course at about 2:00.

I did clean up the house quite a bit. But ya KNOW it's gonna have to be done all over again before Thursday. We brought down the second dining room table. My regular table sits 10 comfortably. We have 16, so we are angling the big table and squeezing in an oval table that will be fine for 6. Instead of a "kids" table - there are only 5 kids - I am going to reserve the oval table for the "head" table, and put the grandparents and my aunt and uncle there. I hope that goes over ok!

I've also been thinking about how thankful I am.
I'm thankful to God for nature, for beauty, for art and music, and for all the love in the world.
I'm thankful to my husband for being a great all-around guy, for loving me and supporting me and sharing his life with me.
I'm thankful to my children for giving my life meaning, direction, and joy.
I'm thankful to my mom, for being the person who taught me the power of positive thinking,
and I'm thankful to my dad, who taught me acceptance and perspective.
I'm thankful to my Gram R., for her stories, kindness, and humor.
I'm thankful to Gram D. - whose birthday would have been today, or tomorrow, or something around Thanksgiving - I'm thankful for her example of straightforwardness and honesty.
I'm thankful to all of my family for being there, year after year, dependable and without fail.
I'm thankful to all of my friends for adding the sparkle and joy to life.
I'm thankful to my country for safety and plenty.
And I'm thankful to the universe, for all of the opportunity that I have been given, for every choice I get to make, even when I don't know it's a choice.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Last Hockey Game

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Nick's team had a "parent/kid" game, and James and Jimmy came down and went too. Here are a few photos... I've got to tell you how EXCITED Nick was to go to this game! And Frank and Jim were smiling a lot, too -- I think they miss the old days playing... but like James said, they are gonna be hurtin'!!!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon!

I took this photo last moon. It isn't a full moon right now.

But I was just looking at the lunar calendar, and guess what? It's going to be a blue moon in December!
Not the color blue, but the event "blue moon."
Because a blue moon is when there is a full moon twice in one month.
And that doesn't happen very often - the lunar calendar thingy said it happens maybe once every three years or so, and never in February, because the month is too short.
But this year, the blue moon is happening in my birth month... on my birthday!

I wonder what this portends???

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Vincent's Blog, This Wonder-ful Life

I read this blog quite often. I get a lot of very useful philosophy out of it. Today, at This Wonder-ful Life, I read a post that really made sense. I'm reposting parts of it here... but check in with Vincent if you have a chance, for the whole thing. I also added the italics and bolds etc. ....

It is only natural
that we be concerned about the welfare of other people
and want to help them,
but it is a rule of wisdom for the mystical student
to learn to mind his own business
and not interfere in the lives of others.

There is considerable difference in
offering to help those who are in need,
and in urging others to follow our advice.

We must encourage others
to look within and seek their own solutions,
which will bring them a much greater
sense of satisfaction.

Service to others
must be placed in a common sense perspective.
We should try always
to help those who want to help themselves,
but we should not do for others
that which they must learn
to do for themselves.

... In our attempts at humanitarian service,
we make them all the more helpless...
thus we must avoid
the tendency
to prevent others from standing upon their own.

It is often asked,
“If the Cosmic is infinite
in its knowledge and power,
why doesn’t it do more to help

Quite simply,
the cosmic powers
to whom we look for guidance
are fully aware of the needs of humanity.

But they cannot
and do not
impose their will upon mankind.

They need willing souls
here on Earth
who will become
channels for service,
so that the cosmic powers
can be expressed
and manifested
here on this plane.

Our first task is to
radiate peace
at all times
to let
the harmony of the Cosmic
radiate from us.

A word of comfort and encouragement,
a smile or a thought,
is often all that is needed
to help those who seek greater understanding
to bear the burden
that life
has place upon them....

- Robert E. Daniels, F. R.C.

I've got a lot of work to do in attaining this. I tend to get very pushy about things when I'm trying to "help" someone, and I know it. But I like the idea that really, the only way someone can get help is by helping themselves. So all of my copious advice won't help anyone in the long run, because they need to look within and find their own solutions to their own problems.
Now, I just have to remember that!

Thanksgiving is coming :D

I'm getting ready!

Guests: between 16 and 18

Stuffed Mushrooms
Butternut squash soup??? Maybe???
Hot Rolls
Creamed Onions
String bean casserole
obviously, Turkey
Cranberry sauce, homemade
Cranberry sauce, canned
apple sauce, homemade
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes -- candied, I think
corn cut off the cob

What am I missing?

And dessert:
Apple pie
Pumpkin Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie
Chocolate Cream Pie
Some other kind of pie

Any other ideas???

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How are you?

So, again I say to you, I know I haven't been writing a lot lately. And it isn't because I haven't been sitting down at the computer. I've actually even logged on to the blog a few times, started writing, and erased the whole post. I had second thoughts.

There are a lot of stories in my life right now. But they aren't really my stories, so I hesitate to write too much.

But there are a lot of things to think about. There are illnesses, deaths, and other family dramas. I think of everyone I know, everyone I am friends with, or family, EVERY FAMILY I KNOW, and honestly, I can think of no one who has no problems. There are some HUGE problems out there.

I think about these problems a lot. I think and I think. I think - and stress, or get worried, or aggravated, or whatever, depending on the day, depending on my own hormone level, depending on the problem.


I read a bit of a book today. The book said, everything is about your attitude. The author said, to paraphrase, "You think THIS is bad? Believe me, it can always get worse. As long as it doesn't kill small children, it could be worse." The author? She meant what she was saying. Her daughter has a significant illness. The book wasn't about philosophy. It was about that illness.


So. How are you? I'm fine. Really. Really good.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not a lot of posting lately, huh?

November has been a rather unfortunate month so far.

I haven't posted much, I know (Hi, Bri!)
but that was partly because I was trying to work on my Nanowrimo.

I must admit defeat. At least, for this year. I have not succeeded at Nanowrimo, and I know that already, even though the month is only half over. I have about 6000 words written. I like what I have. But it is not enough to get a story out of. I don't have a story arc; I don't have a plot. I have a collection of characters and situations. I thought they would organize themselves, but they haven't yet. I need 50,000 words, which means I should have about 25,000 so far - not 6,000. Oh well. Better luck next year. :)

Strangely, I've just started reading a book that is very similar to what I've written so far. I have to see how that book ends. It's quite good so far.

But November has been an ill wind, blowing no good. There has been ill health, and bad feelings. There has been swine flu and too many hormones. There has been little energy, and negative vibes. There has been drama. More than one drama. But everything works out ok eventually, I know that it is true. Things will all work out for the best.

And next year, I'll definitely succeed at Nanoing.

And for this year? I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, and a big dinner, and a cold snap that should clear my head. I'm looking forward to a crystalline sparkling December, and lights on my house and tree. I'm looking forward to a starry sky.

And for right now, I continue to be an appreciative audience for that kind of creation.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

On with November

Just a quick update.

Philly was lovely. Pearl Jam was spectacular. October is over.

November has begun. I started Nanowrimo, so I probably will have less lengthy posts this month -- I have a goal of 2000 words a day, and that will probably be all used up on my Nanoing.

Of course, I missed my 2000 words yesterday, because I went to get Frankie, who was kicked out of college (lol)

because he has "flu-like symptoms."

And NO ONE wants to see him -- the college Student Health Services said, "NO, DON'T BRING HIM IN -- We'll take your word for it and just write him a prescription, thank you very much! And buy the way, he must leave the dorm immediately!"

He was supposed to go to Philly and meet with his new Gastro dr. -- and they said, "NO, let's reschedule, we have an opening in January."

His Pediatrician's office said "NO, we really don't need to see him, thank you, YOU know how to take care of him already, so..."

So Frankie is home. He is sleeping up in his own bed. His fever was hovering around 103 - 104 last evening. He's taking Tamiflu, which should be really helpful. And since he already had a regular flu shot, our consensus is, well, I guess it must be swine flu? So he posted that he has Swine Flu on his facebook. He likes to suffer from dangerous illnesses. He better be careful he doesn't become quite a martyr. But no, no one has specifically TESTED him for Swine Flu, because no one wants him in the building.

I'm kinda glad he got it this week, when I'm home from work anyway, even if it does disrupt my plans a bit...

OK! On to Nanowrimo before he wakes up.