Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thankful For These Gems

Ahh, Thanksgiving! The family. The food. The weight gain.

I was lucky enough to get to spend the holiday with both my kids, my son's fiancee, and my dad. Oh, and my husband. We ate. We talked. We napped. We played with cats.

The best part, the VERY BEST part, is my dad had found boxes of slides in the basement, dug out the slide projector that he bought in 1958, along with a projector screen, and we watched slides for HOURS. 

Y'all, I saw pictures I had never seen in my life. OF ME. 

It was bittersweet. Pictures of loved ones, either long gone or more recently departed. Places and events remembered (future post on one of THOSE). Some of the slides were badly damaged from age and from water damage (I have written before that that basement has seen more than its share of flooding, from rain water to broken pipe water to broken SEWER pipe water).

One box was of photos my dad took when he spent almost a year in Korea from June 1957 to May 1958. He remembered all the places, all the people. Oh, the stories!

For my Ten Things of Thankful this week, I'm going to post ten of the photos I am most thankful to have discovered. In all honesty, I could do this format for months and months, because each photo is such a treasure, but I will spare you. 

Nah, probably not. You will see more of these in the future.

My daddy, South Korea, near DMZ

Taken from his camp, that mountain is North Korea.
The white spot is an observation area. 
They were watching each other....

Easter, maybe 1965. In the background is my great aunts
Ecie and Daisy's car (which once belonged to my mom)

My first birthday, sampling cake with my mom in the dining
room at my great aunts' house. I have that cake stand. 

Christmas 1965, I believe. Pat-a-burp doll in new stroller.
Baby Kissy on the floor next to me. Christmas apple and
orange from stocking on coffee table.

My grandpa on the farm outside Urich. That's a dairy barn
behind him and a contraption my dad built to take feed into attic.

My mama, Easter, maybe 1965. She 
reminds me of Jackie Kenendy.

With my brother, 1964-ish, standing in the driveway of our
Ruskin Heights house, in front of our Falcon station wagon.

I think my brother must have still been staying with my 
great aunts when these newborn photos were taken.
Check out my poor club feet! Took years of casts
and corrective shoes to straighten those babies out.

Because the "new and improved" Blogger won't let me
organize the pictures, this one is more grossly out of order
than the others. Field training camp, South Korea.
8" Howitzer pointed up and at the ready in middle of camp.

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Oasis: A Six Sentence Story

This is my family's lake house.

I go here to spend time with family.

I go here to relax.

I go here in pandemics.

I go here to heal.

It is my oasis.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "oasis"

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sugary Thankfuls

I started this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, and you'll be happy to know that I chucked it, because you would have died of boredom before you got to the end. I probably would have died of boredom before I even GOT to the end.

Then I was making cookies this evening, and not just any cookies, but an old family recipe that are a tradition in our family on Thanksgiving. They are big and cakey and have sugar sprinkled over the tops, and my extended family finds them heavenly.

My great aunt Edith (called "Ecie" by all of the cousins) got the recipe from a neighbor, and my mom grew up calling them "Josie Barth's sugar cookies." We call them "Ecie's sugar cookies." 

Here are the reasons why I'm thankful for these cookies:

My great aunt Ecie and her younger sister Daisy were like grandparents to me. I've written about them before, but suffice it to say, when visiting them, my brother and I never heard the word "no." Ecie always made the cookies when we came to spend the weekend.

Ecie, on the left, and Daisy, ca. 1973

The recipe has been in the family since probably the early 1940s.

I have Ecie's cookie cutter.

My cousins shout with joy when we get together and I bring the cookies.

I taught my cousin Delaney how to make them. It may not seem to you that making cookies is that complicated, but when I tell you there are two CUPS of buttermilk in them, you might then see why they might require training to make.

When the Great Stomach Plague went through the family last Thanksgiving while at my brother's house, my dad was the first one to bite the dust. When he finally returned to the side of the living, the first thing he wanted to eat was one of Ecie's sugar cookies.

The recipe yields about 7 dozen VERY LARGE cookies. You can feed a lot of people on that.

They leave your lips dusted with sugar.

Folks outside the family, or new to the family, don't always have a taste for them, leaving more for the ones who do!

Eating them reminds me of loved ones, both here and gone, and that makes me feel warm and sweet and tender, just like an Ecie's sugar cookie.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Stay safe! 

Ecie's Sugar Cookies

3 c. sugar

2 c. shortening (part butter)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

4 c. flour or enough to make a dough* 

Cream sugar and shortening. Add egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. I use my Kitchenaid mixer. My great aunt used a wooden spoon, a very large bowl, and muscles I don't even possess.

Refrigerate at least an hour before rolling out and cutting with cookie cutter.

*It will take a minimum of 6 cups of flour to get past the liquid stage, or as my mom's friend Betty said when she once tried to make them and called my mom in a panic, "I have SOUP!"

Flour the work surface thoroughly and work more flour into the dough before attempting to roll them out. All in all, you're probably talking 8 cups of flour.

Sprinkle each with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes for a cookie that's 4" across. Makes about 7 dozen cookies of this size. Not kidding.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wax: A Six Sentence Story

Amelia nervously laid back on the pillow, reminding herself that this is what she had been wanting for months, maybe even years.

"Move your legs apart a little bit. That's right, just like that."

Amelia felt something warm brush against her thigh and closed her eyes, torn between wanting to continue and wanting it all to end.

Feelings of panic overwhelmed her, and Amelia could take it no more, raising her head from the pillow and shouting, "Stop - I can't!"

"Too late, sweetie," said the aesthetician as she gripped the strip of now-cool wax and ripped it off Amelia's thigh before applying a cool compress to her newly groomed bikini line.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "wax"

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Week That Wasn't A Total Loss

It's been quite a week at work. Covid is knocking at our door. We are stuffing towels in the cracks and hammering boards across it, and leaning against it, but Covid is pushing hard from the other side. We are armed with masks, soap, and hand sanitizer. Let's hope our stronghold doesn't fail.

These are the times finding thankfuls is most important. It's easy when life's highway is smooth. When the road is rocky and full of potholes and dead armadillos, we have to search harder. But they exist. They always exist. Here are Ten Things of Thankful to prove it:

1. The week went by really fast. 

2. I had a long visit on the phone with my Person. I was supposed to get to see her this weekend, and that didn't end up panning out, but the long phone conversation helped a little.

3. I scored some cute clothes at Red Racks during a half price sale.

4. My husband and I went to a local conservation area to take a walk. It's in the middle of nowhere with a small lake (or big pond) and with a lodge built by the WPA. We were the only ones there, and it was quite peaceful.

5. Part two of the walk: the last time I was at this park was when the med school student was in about 4th grade for a field trip. I had charge of a group of kids, and the teachers had activity centers all around the grounds (including catch and release fishing and identifying trees). Our group was walking around the small lake/big pond when one of the kids pointed out a GINORMOUS black snake on a tree limb that was hanging over the water. As we walked, I found out there were MANY tree limbs with ginormous black snakes draped over them, and I was afraid I was going to faint dead away by the time we made it around the pond. I can state that there were no snakes on our walk last weekend, and for that, I am SOOOO grateful.

My husband is leading the way because (a) snake 
potential and (b) I was annoying him by singing
the Lumberjack Song from Monty Python

6. I know there is a very real risk of obliterating these from the planet by my very mentioning of them, given the Grape Propel Fiasco that continues to this day, but peach Outshine Frozen Fruit Bars are making my mouth and tummy very happy. It's like eating a frozen peach without the yucky parts, like the fuzz, the hard, stringy stuff around the pit, and the slippery texture. Side note: I also love peach Propel water, but it only comes in bottles and not in packets. Side note #2: my husband says I don't love peaches, I love peach flavoring.


7. Speaking of grape propel, one of my wonderful preschool mamas sent me a little gift today with her son's birthday cupcakes: GRAPE PROPEL PACKETS!!! WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT NOW?! Yeah, still her son's, but how thoughtful is that?! 

8. We played in a big pile of leaves at school this week. There were leaves in hair, leaves in clothes, leaves in shoes, leaves in diapers, and it was totally worth it! And no, there's nothing wrong with your eyes. I blurred the video (keeping those sweet babies safe!).

9. My poor, old iPhone 6S+ is still hanging in there. It takes hours to charge it, because the pie hole spits out the charger, and it's given to seizures where it vibrates violently for no reason and sometimes completely blacks out, but every day it holds on to life is another day when we don't have an iPhone payment to make. 

10. One of my daughter's roommates tested positive for Covid. The roommate's symptoms have been mild, and my daughter has both tested negative AND not had any symptoms. Cautiously optimistic here.

See? Ten thankfuls in a week that might have otherwise been chalked up as a loss, had I not sat down and listed them. You can do it, too. Link up with us below!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Clip: A Six Sentence Story

By day, he was a less than ordinary man, the kind you wouldn't particularly notice even if you had ridden next to him on the bus all the way downtown. His short sleeved, white dress shirt was wrinkled, not in a pulled-it-from-the-dirty-clothes-hamper style, but in more of a thrown-on-the-hanger-carelessly kind of way. His trousers were a little too short and showed a little too much of his socks, the non-descript clip-on tie had a stain on one of the stripes, and his shoes were run down at the heels. A lock of his dark hair fell over his forehead, and the lenses of his horn-rimmed glasses bore fingerprints and smudges. He was, in a word, forgettable.

But by night, with the stage lights in the tiny, dark club dancing across his silver sequined gown as he laid gracefully across the piano, he was nothing short of extraordinary.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "clip"

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Time Change Hasn't Killed Me Yet And Other Thankfuls

This week. It's been a rough one. Covid cases are at an all-time high. The presidential election is still up in the air. Those poor people who have to count all those paper ballots must be getting ulcers from it. Imagine the pressure of trying to make sure you were as diligent as possible at this! I hope they are able to dig deeply and find some thankfuls. I did and here's my Ten Things of Thankful for this week:

1. Beautiful weather this week, which was much deserved after the dose of winter we were delivered last week.

2. The time change means it's light in the mornings when I leave for work. 

3. Part two of the it being light in the mornings when I leave for work is that deer don't observe the time change, and most of them are back home in the woods or thicket or wherever they go all day and not running out in the road when I'm driving by.

4. Afternoon naps, because time change.

5. Early bed time, because same.

6. No more campaign ads.

7. An almost-three year old boy in my class reached up and touched my hair the other day and said, "Your hair is pretty!" True love!

Me and my shaaaaadow!

8. A nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market had grape Propel packets AND I BOUGHT ALL OF THEM. I scored 11 boxes. That'll last me a few weeks!

9. MSNBC's Steve Kornacki and the fact that Kornacki's khakis are trending on Twitter.

10. I'm especially thankful for Kristi of Thankful Me. She is taking a much needed break from hosting the Ten Things of Thankful, and I am going to do my level best (bearing in mind that I am a low achiever) to pick up the torch and try not to set the entire place on fire because I dropped the damn torch and it rolled under the couch and caught the dust kittens on fire. Make sure you let Kristi know how much her leadership has meant! She deserves it!

It's been a tumultuous week. But I spelled "tumultuous" without having spellcheck scream at me, and if I can do that, then you can write up YOUR thankfuls and join us!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Tender: A Six Sentence Story

"This cake is amazing!" exclaimed Marilyn, pressing the back of her fork onto her nearly empty dessert plate, gathering up every tender crumb and sighing with pleasure as she slid the fork into her mouth one last time. 

"I'm so pleased you enjoyed it," replied Patricia as she lifted the tea pot next to her and, after raising her eyebrows at Marilyn and receiving a nod in return, refilled her guest's cup.

"There was a flavor I couldn't quite place," continued Marilyn, sipping her tea, and Patricia answered, "Nothing unusual, maybe nutmeg?"

Marilyn closed her eyes lightly, breathing in the fresh cut oleander that Patricia had arranged in a vase on the little table; a whisper of a smile appeared on Patricia's face, and she leaned back in her chair and waited.

Marilyn opened her eyes suddenly and reached for the linen napkin in her lap; failing to locate it, she grabbed at the tablecloth, pulling it toward her and frantically dabbing her forehead.

"I don't feel well," Marilyn managed to say as Patricia gathered up the tea set, threw it into the rubbish can, and walked out through the garden gate, closing it carefully behind her.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "foundation"