Archives for November 2013

30Nov

I’m Not Done

My brain is completely crowded with concepts that want to come out!  They scream at me “Write Me, Write ME!”, and I scream back “I’m having fun with my family, let me be, just for a bit!”

I have to say one thing though, my father was right about cranberry sauce, it is delicious.  He had to be dead and gone for me to try it, and I certainly remember him enjoying the cranberry sauce.  Sometimes relationships are like that.

19Nov

You Cannot Escape the Finality of Your Child’s Observation of You

So you MUST be the very best person that you can be.

10Nov

Mothers are Retarded (In a Good Way)

My granddaughter  made her entrance on Thursday night.  On Friday morning, my husband said “I’ll take you for breakfast on the way to the hospital.”  Nope, I don’t want breakfast, I want to go look at my new granddaughter, so we go.  We go to the hospital and I spend a couple of hours staring at my son with his new infant.  I am completely entranced.

Today, my son tells me that his infant daughter could not come home from the hospital, she has colic.  I ask about Samantha (his partner), and sure enough, as I suspected, she did not leave her daughter at the hospital.  My son says in current colloquialism “yeah Sam is hanging out at the hospital with Sophia.”  Of course Sam will not leave her daughter.  She has done what millions of women do – since the dawn of time.  She instantly and completely fell in love with her daughter.  It is something that just happens.  It does not happen 100% of the time, but thank God it does happen 99% of the time.

Being a mother is almost completely retarded, because you can spend hours, and then days just staring at your child.  You can spend pages and pages of dialogue describing every little thing that your child does.  It is a fascination that does not end.  Your child will provoke every emotion known to humans, in the most intense possibilities that you can imagine (think pain to the nth degree).  And still…even though we know these things, we will risk everything and become parents, and it is retarded, it really is.

So it has begun again and I thank God, that once again it has happened.  My granddaughter’s mother is retarded, she is in love with her daughter and that means that my granddaughter gets what she deserves: retarded love.

09Nov

Thanksgiving Done Smoothly

You want to shop late because you want your ham and vegetables to be fresh.  Shop based on your recipes and the number of people you have visiting.  Turkey is one pound per person, for sides you want a total of 1.5 cups of all side dishes: http://www.thekitchn.com/do-you-know-how-160784

So, for the plan: depending on how big the turkey is make sure you get it out of the freezer a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  The best defrost is in the refrigerator, in an emergency you can run cold water over the turkey (while it is still in the package), don’t run hot water over it, that will cook the turkey in a “not so good” way.

In the morning, first thing, I put the turkey in the sink, pull all of the gizzards out of the neck and cavity of the turkey, rinse it and pat it dry.  Then you can follow your favorite recipe.  I prefer Basil, Rosemary and Thyme to the Sage recipe.  Historically, women, including myself and my mother-in-law, would boil the giblets in water to make the chicken broth for making the dressing and gravy.

If I am baking bread loaves, I put them out to rise in the morning.

If you are going to bake pies, do it before you put the turkey in the oven (unless you have 2 ovens).  While baking (pies, cookies, etc.), in the oven, you can prepare the stuffing and stuff the bird.   Make sure that you put your completed desserts into a safe area where they can be served – so that this part of the menu is complete.

After you add oil and herbs to the top of the bird and place the stuffed turkey in a roasting pan, you are ready for baking.  Make sure you baste the turkey at least once per hour, preferably twice per hour.  Make sure the oven is preheated so that you can accurately predict when your turkey will be done.

You need to prep for the last hour of turkey baking: get your potatoes ready by cutting them and placing in water for boiling, prepare your green bean casserole and prepare your bread.

(Cut red potatoes, leave the peelings on, but not the eyes, boil them in salt water for ½ hour until potatoes are soft.  Drain them very well, then put butter on the potatoes so that it melts, then add a little bit of milk and after mashing, use the mixer to make them soft and creamy.  Don’t forget salt and pepper.)

If you are making a ham, buy a good one at the grocery store, I will normally buy a spiral sliced, rub it with brown sugar and place it in a shallow pan with pineapple juice.  I usually place the pineapple slices on the ham and tack them in place with toothpicks.  A ham only needs to be heated, so I will try to fit it in during the last hour of the turkey baking.

During that last hour, you want to finish cooking the potatoes and have the green bean casserole completely cooked – so that all it needs is the warm up in the oven when you put the bread in to bake.

Now, pull the turkey and the ham out of the oven, put the casseroles and bread into the oven.  Mash the potatoes.  Have someone put the turkey onto the serving platter and use the drippings of the cooked turkey to make the gravy.  Most cooks will just use the roasting pan the turkey was in – on top of the stove to make the gravy.

Recap:

Bake pies and desserts – place in serving area, so that they are out of way and done!

Prep turkey while pies are in oven.

If baking bread, make sure bread is rising, first thing in the morning.

Bake turkey in preheated oven (mine is 9 pounds which will take approximately 4 hours – stuffed, I will put it in oven 5 hours before dinner – this gives us an hour for cooling and prepping)  This year, we aren’t eating ‘til five, so I will put in oven at noon.

Use this time to prepare mashed potatoes, green bean casserole,

Prepare ham and place in oven during last hour of turkey for heating,

Pull everything out of oven and put green bean casserole and bread in oven,

Mash potatoes, if not done already,

Make gravy after placing turkey on serving dish,

For bread, I usually place it into a basket with a fabric napkin to keep it warm,

Make sure you have soft butter placed out and that you have someone reliable to set the table.  Setting the table is a “do-ahead”.

Choose your serving platters the day before you cook to save you a headache on that day.  Make sure serving utensils are placed out with your platters and bowls.

 

06Nov

Hey, If You Read the News…

I want you to know something.  People are good.  For the most part, most people are good hearted, loving and giving.  If you watch and/or read the news, you might not know this, you might not know that people are mostly and basically good.  I want you to know that the news is not a true rendition of the universe.

03Nov

To Share

Spring 2013

Sun Dancing with Clouds

02Nov

I’ve Been Doing ____ for ___ Years and What Do I Have to Show For it?

Nothing, really, nothing.  Trust me, I’ve had that feeling more than once.  It’s not a good feeling.  We have come to expect reward for our labor, we will even sacrifice, often, for a future, a promise, or a dream.

Often, those dreams are not forthcoming.  So what do you do when you have been working hard for many, many years and you know that your effort is not bringing forth the promised reward?

Again, our thrifty predecessors, those who lived through the American Depression have taught us well: waste not, want not; save for later; do your chores first.  Yet, we have taken the cautions too far.  Those who are part of the baby boom generation, though economically we have done well – we also have come to expect much.

The fact of the matter is that there is nothing over there.  Life is a gift, but it happens only in the present, if you are not present, you miss the gift.  That is why expectations are useless, they do not create reality.  Life is reality and life has a rhythm that mere humans cannot and do not control.

The point is that we must stay focused and have our life now.  That does not mean invite irresponsibility, spend now and to heck with tomorrow.  I do not say this.  What I say is that all around are rich possibilities to feel, touch, experience life.  If you are instead, working and you tell yourself that you work this hard to have something richer later, I am warning you that you may not have a later and you will have worked for however many decades just so that you may die.

Please work hard if that is what you enjoy and how that you can love life, but if you work hard because you think you will gain something someday, please stop.  It is time to have your life now, in the present.