Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rainy Night in NC

On the way up and down the mountain on this rainy Sunday to take Jacob to Asheville to meet his dad, I played with my camera. Here is one pic I found interesting.

The End

Thanksgiving is not over until every bit of the turkey has been eaten, and the bird is almost picked clean. The dog and cats have enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinners of liver and other gross innards mixed with rice that I cooked just for them. If they only knew that tomorrow it is back to the bagged dry stuff. Of course we people have had many a turkey sandwich, which I argue is the best part of the Thanksgiving fare. This year I baked the turkey a new way. I soaked a piece of cheesecloth in about a half cup of melted butter that had lots of nice herbs in it and draped it single layer on the turkey. It turned out to be a lovely, shiny golden brown, picture perfect.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Do these fit?

You can always find something to buy at Hamrick's - even if you have a 66 inch waist and some darned long legs. Here is Jacob doing the Jared thing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Always Giving Thanks

Giving thanks is a mindset, something we can train our minds to do. "In all things give thanks." (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Today I am especially thankful that years ago the US government set aside a day for giving thanks. It gives families who are apart not always by choice but by duty a time and a reason to gather together. My grown children - and I include those whom I did not birth - and I are busily caught up in our lives, our work, tending to the next generation, and surviving on Planet Earth. That means we are not together all that often. Thankfully the holiday of Thanksgiving encourages a coming together. Anything worth having is worth working for (it is said) and a family gathering is no exception. But when the work is over and I am around those whom I love, I am filled with thanks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Come ye thankful people, come. Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come. Raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field. Fruit unto His praise to yield.
Wheat and tares together sown, unto joys or sorrows grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harvest, grant that we, wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come and shall take His harvest home.
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away.
Give His angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast.
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so Lord quickly come to thy final harvest home.
Gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow free from sin.
There forever purified in thy presence to abide
Come with all thine angels come. Raise the glorious harvest home.

Words by Dr. Henry Alford in 1844

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How to wash mushrooms

For part of my food prep this morning, I washed the white button mushrooms that I will be slicing and sauteing tomorrow. An excellent way to wash them is to put a tablespoon or two of flour in a bowl and add cold water. Swish it around and then swish in the mushrooms for a few seconds until you see that the dirt/soil has floated off. Lift them out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It is getting close to tummy ache time

A couple of weeks ago Peter quietly commented that his favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the casseroles, and I have distorted it into an ultimatum. The thought - I must fix good casseroles - is driving my menu planning. I think he likes the marshmallow topped sweet potatoes the best, but this year I may vary it by adding a little fresh grated ginger. I was so glad to see the Campfire brand marshmallows in the store because no others turn that wonderful puffy brown on the top of those fragrant rich orange potatoes. Coming in second for Peter is the squash casserole, the one with sour cream and grated carrots and very yummy. We will also have the green bean casserole, but because I like to torture myself and do nothing the easy way, I will use fresh beans, then saute the mushrooms and make a cream sauce. I saw a broccoli pudding recipe I will probably try. It is another over the top, high calorie dish but's Thanksgiving! This afternoon I splurged and bought an organic free range fresh turkey from Whole Foods and some Riesling wine. The meal is shaping up. Now I just have to pull it all together. But when the day arrives, I will have some good helpers. Now that is something to be thankful for!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

This is a recipe from my young adult years that is a nice seasonal sweet.

Pumpkin Bread

3 C sugar
1 C salad oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 16 oz can pumpkin
3 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2/3 C water

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour two 9 X 5 loaf pans.
Cream sugar and oil. Add eggs and pumpkin, mixing well. Sift together dry ingredients. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with water.
Equally distribute batter into the two pans.
Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours or til done. Let stand for ten minutes before removing from pan. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Easy to Remember

Each year that passes, there are fewer of us who can answer the question, "What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?" Here is my brief, sad but happy story.

I was at my part time job that Friday November 22 when a co-worker came through with the terrible news. "The president's been shot!" I remember him announcing in disbelief. Prior to that climactic moment, I was excitedly focusing on my friend Connie's wedding the next day in which I was to be the maid-of-honor. In 1963 news traveled just about as fast as today, and by the time I made it to the beauty shop for my hair and nails, the whole world had changed. It had become dismal and depressed as if covered by an ominous gray cloud. Some people were crying and no one could comprehend the shocking event.

The rehearsal was still held that evening as planned. Though everyone tried to push their stunned emotions aside and be joyful for the bride and groom, a somber mood prevailed. Thankfully the wedding went off perfectly the next afternoon and a new family was established. The good news is I have no problem remembering their anniversary. And now forty-five years later, they are celebrating a long and happy life together.

Fall Colors in a Garden Mum

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Making Dressing

Dressing - as in turkey and dressing - was a mystery to me until a few years ago. What exactly was it I wondered. On those Thanksgivings that we ate at home when I was growing up, my mother trusted a bag of herbed Pepperidge Farms dried bread crumbs mixed with broth to compliment the turkey. Since daughters learn from their mothers, that is what I did for many years. But after I became a nurse, I got to know some black women and figured I could learn from them how to make the real thing, a good Southern cornbread stuffing. The basics were similar, but some said to add an egg or a can of cream of chicken soup or some crumbled sausage or a can of creamed corn, so much was still left to me. When I put my first homemade dressing on the table one Thanksgiving, it was a proud moment. Eventually I got the hang of it though just making something once a year does not lend itself to greatness. Yesterday I cooked the cornbread and put it in the freezer. On Thanksgiving morning, I will crumble it in a big bowl along with it some saved biscuits, add seasonings, chicken broth and turkey drippings, melted butter, and whatever else strikes my fancy, and bake it til it looks like a Southern Living photograph. I hope it will be a nice part of the meal.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Which one is the movie star?

Raymond is in from a grueling work week in Philadelphia. One of the other men who helped get the restaurant ready to open is also an actor. Here's Raym with Tex (Randy) Cobb who has played bad guys in Raising Arizona, Liar Liar, Walker Texas Ranger and other movies and television shows. Interestingly also, he was a boxer before that, fighting Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

To Shop or Not to Shop

I feel like a traitor. For about a year people around here have been politely protesting the building of a WalMart near one of the upscale neighborhoods in my part of town. But it was a done deal and the spotless new store has now opened. Those who were against it can at least be glad that it is not super-sized! I made a delightful second trip there today thinking how great it is to have a WalMart only three miles away. And I didn't even feel that I was shopping in a third world country. I loaded up on baking ingredients that were a good price and decided to get a plastic bin for the refrigerator to hold my cheeses. The store was not full of people. I suspect many local shoppers are holding out. So I do feel a little guilty but not enough to stay away.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The prez to be is in the process of selecting his cabinet and filling other important positions in his administration. The news today reported that one criteria for his appointees is that they must sign something that says they have never emailed or texted negative comments about him.

Proverbs 11:14: "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure."

I am not right all the time, maybe not even some of the time, and I need to hear from people who have opinions or information that is different from mine. I like to be with people who think, who know what I don't, and who can stimulate my thinking. Sometimes we need someone who cares enough to call us into a place of accountability when we are headed the wrong way.

Ruth Graham is quoted as saying something like, "If Billy and I agreed on everything, one of us would be unnecessary."

Would you want to be surrounded by people who do not dare to question? Do you want to be led by someone who does not have a sense of humor about himself? Do you really believe that someone with such limited experience and wants to be surrounded by "yes men" is right for this lofty position? One whose self esteem is so inadequate he cannot tolerate some dissention or even a differing perspective? That diagnosis of malignant narcissist sounds right on target.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Part of last

My six students had attended therapy groups and had done a great job of talking 1:1 with not only their assigned patients but also others. We finished the evaluations, discussed a few interesting situations, and then I let them out the door. I had to stay for a few minutes to make a phone call before getting my notebook, bag and coat from the locker. In the nurses station Dr. Parsons was teaching the medical student who had accompanied him on rounds today how to write prescriptions. The pharmacy student who was being mentored by the PharmD was researching in his textbook. The social work student was sitting at a round table gathering a history from a new patient. Our hospital is considered a teaching hospital and is affiliated with several schools and universities. I thought how glad I was to be part of this academic setting that provides so much more than a classroom can. If I weren't teaching clinicals, I would be itching to do so.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blessed with a Hearty Appetite

Another cold night is expected. I welcome the season changes but along with every approaching winter comes an unwelcome big appetite. Sure...warm soups are a big craving and quite satisfying, but I eat anything that is before me as if I am trying to pack on layers of protection for survival in the frigid outdoors. What is this hungry force of nature that overtakes me when the north winds blow in? And if that weren't enough, I get so much pleasure from cooking and baking this time of year, from having a warm oven and good smells in the house, that I tend to overcook and overbake, which means I overeat. Unfortunately there will be no let up for awhile. Soon there will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas with must do baking and outings that involve goodies. It isn't until the fresh tomatoes and veggies of spring that I back off. Woe is me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stories from the Front Lines

I have always liked how nursing has expanded my thinking. Many years ago in nursing school, we had been in the NICU tending to the tiniest of humans, and when we left the area, I saw a covered gurney being pushed toward the morgue. I thought, its beginning and its ending, is in these walls. And I have continued to be amazed by the different sorts of life that lie between birth and death. Yesterday I helped take care of a rather robust one hundred plus year old man. What stories he could tell!

Often there are funny situations, some of then in print. Looking through a chart today I read something I hope was a typo. "The patient admits to using crack and methamphetamine but rarely alcohol, only three to four drinks a day." Gee I am glad that's not a problem! And in a brochure from a place for the chronic mentally ill was this: "Before (this place) I lived with six people in a two bedroom house. It was so crowded that we had to take turns taking showers." Now they can all shower together, I suppose. And written in the chart as a reason for the admission of a middle-aged woman, "Another stressor was that her 89 year old uncle was making passes at her."

Doctors dictate their assessments and their H&Ps, (history and physical) and they are then typed and placed on the chart, an official record. The beginning of an H&P was in a chart that said the patient's name and a line or two and then in bold caps ... "CANCEL THIS DICTATION." With a transcriptionist like that, who needs enemies!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Pet Peeve

I am not a guy.
When the hubby and I went to a Mexican restaurant recently, a young male waiter with a thick accent asked, "What can I get you guys?" I really wanted to reprimand him right there on the spot and tell him what I thought of his impolite and inaccurate reference to me, but I smiled and silently fumed. I am not a guy, I wanted to tell him. I am a girl and proud of it! When I was in France, I was addressed as "madame" and in the Philippines, it was "ma'am" pronounced mom. They noticed I was not a guy. What is wrong with America! Why has the male word guy come into popularity as a genderless address! I do not want to hear, "Hi Guys," "Bye Guys" or any form of guy when I am being spoken to. Any decent Southerner should be familiar with the appropriate use of the word y'all, which works just fine as does the plural you. Next time, I think I will speak up. Maybe some whippersnapper can learn a thing or two about politeness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanks Vets!

My daddy said that you can tell a lot about a country by the way it treats its veterans. I am thankful to be a in a country that has a special day to recognize the men and women who have served our country militarily and what they have done and are doing for all of us citizens and for our security and freedoms as a nation. Our veterans have sacrificed time and relationships, income and comfort, and sometimes their own mental and physical health to defend and protect. Others have died in the cause and their families have sacrificed their own. But as a nation, I shudder to think where would we be without our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. I offer a big thank you to all who have served and who are still serving.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Images of Fall

Everyone agrees. This may have been the most beautiful fall ever. Even though the season is past its peak and so was the day, I walked around my yard and the neighborhood a bit, trusty Canon in my pocket, and took a few random pix. I would have been mad at myself if I had photographically missed the season.

Colorful treetops

The moon was already visible, a waxing gibbous.

I love this one. Morning glory seed pods. But don't they look like jingle bells!

Prettily blooming camellias; until the first frost gets them that is.

Does it lean to the right or to the left? In my neighborhood, probably to the right.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Any girl would like it...

I have just finished watching a favorite show, The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. Now in its third year on CMT, maybe it's one way I can live vicariously. I much fun would it be to be dancing your heart out on that big football field in front of thousands on a beautiful fall afternoon! But those girls go through quite an ordeal in trying to reach their dreams. The competition and workouts, high kicks and constructive criticisms, maintaining a good attitude under Kelli's eagle eye, trying to meet physical perfection and squeeze into the skimpy uniforms....whew!
Granted they seem to do quite a bit of bumping and grinding - from a distance - but they also seem to be involved in worthwhile community activities. It's short term fun gig for a girly girl.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Lovely Day

Today has been a spectacularly beautiful day. Brillliant trees from nature's best autumn color palette were almost breathtaking. And lucky me - it was a rare "free" day, not one in which I worked or recuperated from work or was burdened with too many tasks. I have often thought...if I had a whole day to spend as I could choose, what would I do? Finally I got one. I am a piddler so I made sure I piddled. And I was outside in the wonderful weather. And visited the new WalMart. And read. Then piddled some more. And it is also Stuart's birthday! I enjoyed the accidental celebration!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Never Overestimate the Taste of the American Public"

What is there to say or think or feel about the presidential election that has not been said. I hope that B H O is not the man I think he is. Instead I hope he is closer to the man that the jubilant deceived masses want him to be. The office is one he has doggedly sought at least since his big dive into political waters four years ago and now he is two months away from sitting in that famed Oval Office. Oh to have such ambition... What is means to me is that I will go on about doing whatever it is that I do: working, looking for bugs to photograph, perfecting my pizza, maybe finding a cool place to visit, enjoying my family, tending to home. At least as long as I am free to do so.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here we are...

Election Day has arrived. At this moment voters are choosing between a Republican ticket leading with a true American patriot and a Democrat ticket that offers a "malignant narcissist" (as he has been labeled in many web sites) with no experience who could not pass security clearance for a regular government job. It boggles my mind how we could have come this far. But then yesterday in Wendy's, I saw folks who were B H O supporters and realized that not everyone thinks as I do nor do all pursue truth. Possibly they are looking for a simple quick fix to get them out of what they perceive as a bad situation or because of ignorance are easy prey to a scam, or perhaps as the Bible says they are "choosing darkness over light." Maybe we as a nation have become so corrupt that we will reap what we have sown, or maybe God will shed His grace on us a little longer. Soon we will know.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Tiny Part of the Bigger Story

This morning at church I worked the coffee and book area. When it got quieter, I picked up a slender volume from from the shelf, sat down and started to read. It was "I Am Not But I Know I Am" by Louie Giglio, very well written, I thought. Here are some words - deep thoughts - copied from it.

"We can choose to cling to the starring roles in the little bitty stories of us, or we can exchange our fleeting moment in the spotlight for a supporting role in the eternally beautiful epic that is the story of God. . . . Joining our small stories to this will give us what we all want most in life anyway: the assurance that our brief moments on earth count for something in a story that never ends."