Wednesday, November 30, 2005

... To Grandmother's House We Went

Me and my brother at Christmas

During my childhood my father worked for United Airlines, and was transferred from Washington D.C. to San Francisco in 1962.

This meant we usually traveled twice a year, back to visit the family.

The Christmas visit was my favorite for many reasons, one of which was both locales had snow! I'd previously lived in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia- and was not happy about living in sunny California with it's absence of snow.

My mother's family home in Maryland was decorated simply during the holidays, the main focus being on both food and family. We always took a separate day-trip to see my cousins nearby in Cockeysville, otherwise we were mainly with adult family members.

Grandmother Warren served dinner daily, around 1pm. Supper was usually soup and sandwiches, and eaten in the early evening. Her meals, especially the big Christmas dinner, were consumed at a large dining table, groaning under the weight of various home-cooked foods. This is still my idea of the perfect holiday meal, although I now serve buffet-style due to the size of our dining area.

On the other hand, my father's family in Rochester New York was less formal. My cousins lived just down the street, and were always up for some sledding. The house was decorated to the max, with a huge tree and home fully lit.

Grandmother Nicht's best friend from across the street was a destination in itself! Mert's home was off the charts. One could hardly walk through the living room for all the decorations. There were several trees, trains, tables loaded goodies; and even their bathroom was screaming Christmas!

This grandma cooked things I'd never had anywhere else. Boston Baked Beans, served with brown bread steamed in used cans was a favorite. She always served Swiss Steak, definitely not something I was partial to. Liver and onions...

Returning home after two weeks was always a let-down. Sure, the first thing we did was run to our friend's to see what they received from Santa. It's always good to sleep in one's own bed too... but I always missed that magical snow!

~Disclaimer~ To all you bloggers who are already sick of snow, keep in mind I was a child and didn't have to shovel, nor drive in the stuff. I now live in a place where we get a little of the white stuff- and I still sit up all night watching it fall.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Getting Ready For Winter

Knucklehead wearing his winter coat

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and hope you all did too! Friends, family, an abundance of good food... what more could one ask for?

The meal was hosted elsewhere, so I used the week to begin my Christmas shopping, and I'm almost done!

I hung the outside wreath last night, my annual first step towards Holiday decorating. Afterwards, I dragged out my wrapping supplies and began wrapping!

My sister will be hosting the big Christmas Eve get-together, and we discussed the menu over coffee, after the Thanksgiving meal. She and I are both leaning towards the non-traditional. We're so tired of the typical turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy...

My favorite Christmas Eve dinner ever, was something non-traditional to our family. I'd pre-warned the guests that I was working a half-day shift, so I was serving dips, coldcuts, a shrimp platter and a huge pot of homemade bean soup. I'd also ordered a medium platter of croissant sandwiches. The market lost my order, and to compensate, gave me an extra platter for free!

I was able to spend time with my guests- what a concept!

Needless to say, I'm excited to see just what my sister comes up with.

Note to my kids: I'm preparing pretty much the usual Holiday meal on Christmas Day, since I know you expect the customary.

So- are you sticking with tradition this year?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Off To A Good Start?

Morning Shadows

I awoke yesterday morning, saw the time and swung out of bed, forgetting I'd thrown my water-resistant down vest over myself during the night.

Instead of my feet touching ground, I slid over the vest and off the mattress heading toward the floor... not a big deal, except one of the dogs was laying beneath me!

None too gracefully, I hit the floor mostly horizontally, eliciting a string of at least ten swear-words strung together. (The dog was fine.)

Just a bit sore, I gimped my way into the kitchen for a lovely breakfast of coffee and some Advil.

My husband was already up, having some tea, and didn't say a word.

Later that day I mentioned my mishap to the spouse, and he admitted he'd heard the whole thing!

My mouth agape, I inquired "AND...?"

He responded "When I heard those blue-darters coming out of your mouth, I figured you were OK."

Ain't love grand?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shouldn't It Be "Sweet Pee?"

The septic truck

Well, it was finally time to have the septic system serviced! We weren't exactly sure where the tank was located, but the digger remembered the location from the last time he was here over six years ago!

Being naive as to home ownership in the country, we'd thought we were getting away with some savings... after all, we don't have to pay monthly water bills, nor any sewer charges on our property tax.


We recently had that new well pump installed {$$$}, and this septic service came to $480.

Note to my children: Your inheritance is depleting rapidly, pray the stock market recovers.

By the way- am I the only blogger who can't get into my comments from my last posting? It could be my own stupidity...

Update! Now that I've posted again, the comments are working. Hmmmm.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Enjoying The Quiet

A Light Sabre Fight

My guests have gone, leaving me with some much needed peace and quiet!

The visits culminated with a lunch, attended by all of my three children, two friends, and of course my grandson.

My son had assured me he was on a diet of steamed vegetables, but regressed to his usual stir-frying within a day of his stay. He stir-fried his rice, his vegetables, and even the semolina flour he used in an Indian pudding he made for the lunch.

I'm still cleaning olive oil from the stovetop, the cupboards, and even the doorknob to my office, which my son used as a guest bedroom.

After all this, I was dreading 'doing' Christmas this year, and thinking of offering to host Christmas Eve instead of the usual all-out Christmas Day meal. Setting out lots of appetizers and perhaps a lasagne or some homemade soup sounded appealing as well as easy on the cleanup.

Then I checked my emails. My sister offered to host Christmas Eve, letting me off the hook! Sure, I'll have to drive 3+ hours to get there, but it's a dream-come-true.

I'll probably bring some home-made bread, and whatever else is requested, but I can promise there will be absolutely no stir-fried foods traveling along with me!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Waiting On Hold

The grandson on the phone-

We have some unexpected company! They'll be here until our expected company arrives early next week.

Needless to say, my blogging is curtailed for a while.

Hopefully I can visit my blogfriends sometime during this period...