Monday, November 30, 2009

Pix from Downtown GVL Today

It was cool and drizzly. Since we have not yet had our first frost the hydrangeas and some other flowers were blooming at Falls River Park. The picture of hot pink shutters that framed the Christmas wreath showed an interesting contrast.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dressing for Germany

In a little over a week I will be leaving for Germany, and I have done little to get myself ready. Ho hum . . . My anxiety level has been nil compared to my solo trip to France last year, but one of the benefits of anxiety is that it can prod me into being prepared. My traveling partner Kathy is an experienced traveler and has been to Munich and Salzburg several times, and I am relying on her. Still I am responsible for getting my own appropriate clothes. Expecting cold and slushy weather in Bavaria in the middle of December, I have known for some time I will at least need a new pair of boots and a down jacket, the recommended attire. Today I had some time to shop.

On this busy shopping day following Black Friday, I went to a locally owned Outfitter place that was abuzz with athletic young people who seemed to know all about hiking and cycling clothing. I had no idea what I was looking for, but I knew I had to get something warm and get it fast. The sales girl, the knowledgeable proprietor in fact, was wonderful and taught me many facts about fabrics, how close they need to be to my body, what to layer, how she hoped I wasn't taking anything cotton (all I wear), and how not to look like an American tourist, or "target," she explained further. I tried on a lightweight down jacket that wrapped me in warmth as soon as I put it on. She swore it was not too tight, in fact it was stunning and made me look eighteen again (so I made that up). It is an atypical look for me, which is a good thing, but mainly I hope it will keep me from freezing. It also squeezes into a tiny bundle and will be great in my luggage, making room for shopping purchases. I also bought a long underwear type top that fits like another layer of skin. Together they cost a pretty penny! Now I have only to get some traveling shoes, hopefully some really cool boots that I will love, and I will be ready to go.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stuffed and Filled

It was a lovely thing to have my sweet children around the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner went well, and I did say I would have a picture of Trip’s famous pie that we look forward to each year. After fifteen years, I hope he isn’t getting tired of making them. I think he got the recipe from a Libby’s ad that year but we want to believe he invented it himself. It is rich and delicious.

After finishing in the kitchen I came upstairs for a relaxing round or two of Spider Solitaire that would force me to sit for a while. I found this note next to my computer, left there from a grandchild. It is the little things that make holidays and life worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tradition Rules on Thanksgiving

I think I became a cook by default. Having four big boys to rear and feed, I had to. It was a bit hard at first, but I knew the basics thanks to my mother. She was a great teacher about kitchen necessities such as cleanliness, nutrition, portion sizes and making sure the plate looked pretty, but she was not one of those old fashioned Southern mamas who loved to be in the kitchen. It worked for her since she didn't have many mouths to feed, but that was not my lot. The first cookbook I owned was given to me probably more as a curiosity rather than a sensible usable reference. It's recipes seemed to be from the previous century in states further south than the Carolinas. I soon learned it wouldn't do. As I started buying semi-cooking stuff like Hamburger Helper and Rice A Roni, and by reading the list of ingredients on the back of the boxes, I slowly learned to cook. I was memorizing the New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook when my first baby was born, and I continued to read with my free hand as he was nursing. Eventually, through much trial and about forty pounds of error that never left my body, I got the hang of it all. Now after all these years I believe that cooking is over-rated, and that simple natural foods are really the best. But on Thanksgiving, it is back to tradition. For my family that means turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes with browned and crusty marshmallows, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies of some sort (whole green beans amandine tomorrow), and probably my favorite, rich and cheesy squash casserole. The girls will bring salads, and Trip will bring his delicious pies. I must get out my camera for the meal this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


My co-worker Mandy led a group with some of our patients one day recently while I was gone, and she had written their responses to the question of how they cope with problems on a big easel. I thought their answers were pretty good, kind of in an “out of the mouths of babes” way. Here they are.

Take care of myself.
Hang in there.
Big Lots is fun.
Take children to the park.
Pray for strength.
Laugh and have a good time.
I will pray for anybody.
Chill out.
The problem will take care of itself.
Learn to say no.
Take care of one thing at a time.

Monday, November 23, 2009


For the past few weeks my project has been my ailing husband, not my blog. Now that he is feeling a little better, even to the point of admitting it, I think I can go on with my life.

Western medicine has its place, but it is still young, and I am not so sure the practitioners know as much as they are credited with knowing. New and improved remedies are always coming and going. Though there are wonderful procedures in surgery, medicine is still and inexact blend of art and science. Hippocrates was wise when he said, “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” Herbs, teas, nuts, raw fruits and veggies do the body good. And they can heal.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Catching Up

Maria has been here this week and it has been nice to have her around. Hard to believe but I haven't seen her in about three years and that was when I went to visit her in the Philippines. We had some great Asian fare there, but by far the most delicious was a meticulously served, fine Sunday dinner at Krua Thai. On this visit to my town, I took her to my favorite Asian spot Doc Chey's, a small laid back chain. It is Jacob's favorite spot, also. When the two of us go, we look over the menu choices and then choose the same thing, Pad Thai noodles for me and Thai Coconut Red Curry for him. This trip with Maria I ordered something different, Japanese Teriyaki Udon, and she got Spicy Thai Basil, both really tasty noodle dishes. I have been wanting to learn how to prepare Asian noodles so may try something similar to them sometime.

I am glad to have some liveliness in the house tonight. My sweet Stuart and the precious children are here keeping us company. Paige is enjoying being a nurse but working night shift is not compatible with sleeping well. So Stu is keeping the house quiet for her this weekend by visiting me. How lucky I am!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Labradoodle Perhaps?

We Americans are like mongrel dogs my daddy used to say, mixed breeds from around the globe, and I am strictly a Euro mix. We have been told that our European ancestors came for freedom and to flee persecution. While that is probably true - I wasn’t there - I believe it is just the nature of man to be adventurous. How exciting it must have been for the early European settlers to have started life anew in what must have seemed like wild country. Did the young adventurers have any idea of the many people who would come from their seed?

Here I am, a child of the Carolinas in the United States, English speaking with a Southern accent, yet progeny of descendants of French and Dutch-German people who spoke unlike me and lived in a different culture. It is interesting to think how we have inherited many of the physical characteristics and behavioral traits of our ancestors though we are not even aware of what they all are. My Dutch-German ancestors arrived only four or five generations ago. I wonder what similarities I will have with the people I find in Germany when I am there. They will see me as an American tourist, but who knows? Maybe we in fact will be distant relatives!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A small education from a trick-or-treater

Thank goodness Halloween is over and my basket of treats is empty. Usually I wait until the day before to buy the candy as I cannot trust myself around it, but this year the ads for good prices on the snack sized Milky Ways and M&Ms made me forget. I am disciplined in many ways but not with chocolate and have overindulged once again. Even when I buy yucky old suckers or fruity candies, it seems there is always chocolate candy lying in wait somewhere for me. The last of Halloween visitors last night were two boys about twelve years old who were dressed in some sort of homemade pirate garb. After dropping the last of my candy in their sacks, I asked them how the night was going. The articulate young fellow said they were doing quite well, that they get a lot when they go late. In grandmotherly fashion I warned them against eating too much and getting sick. (I was feeling a bit queasy myself.) But - oh no. “This will last me for months. I only eat two a day.” After telling him several times how I admire his discipline, I slunk back in from the porch, vowing to remember him as a good example.

Here Kitty Kitty

Once again I am the victim of my impulsivity. It seems that the little yellow tabby may be here to stay, and that is OK. We both like her. A lot. And she seems to be quite fond of us. As I have been typing, she has been climbing on my shoulders, sometimes stopping to watch the images on the monitor as if she understands the process. What a smart, playful kitty. So far I am calling her Tennessee, which really isn't such a bad name for a girl when you put the emphasis on the first syllable. I considered the name Gabby because of her communication style or Velcro because those tiny sharp claws can really cling - ouch - but Tennessee seems to suit. She has been here four weeks now and is savvy about the household, knowing what to expect, where to get fed and go potty, and generally settling in comfortably. But she has no idea how unsettling she has been to the two older cats. However I think she will be able to win the old gals over just as she has us. I am noticing less and less hissing. But three cats! Egad! I am not particularly a cat person and I don't want to be a cat lady! But it isn't cats or dogs or plants or bugs that I love. I just like living things.