What this Blogger is Thankful For…

Thanksgiving, family, food, thankfulIf you’re an American, this Thursday, you will sit down with family and friends to some rendition of a Thanksgiving dinner.  Or you might decide to give Mom/Dad (whoever the cook is) a break and go out to eat this year.  If you are carnivores you will consume great quantities of turkey, ham, giblet dressing, oyster dressing, stuffed deviled eggs, and football.  If you are vegetarian you will consume delicate, beautiful, tasty dishes made with all the food groups except those that had faces.  Football optional.

A bit of trivia:  Historical records strongly suggest that shellfish, geese, ducks, swans, and venison were the meats of the first Thanksgivings....then referred to as the Fall Harvest Celebration which traditional lasted 3 days.   Here’s how Edward Winslow described the first Thanksgiving feast in a letter to a friend:
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Happy New Year!!

bth_new-year[2]happynewyear        Since today will be a day of hangovers, sleeping in late, a little of the dog that bit you, big screen football, over eating (again!), shoveling snow, and a few burbling burps and other nefarious sounds thrown in (if there are men involved), I won’t be writing  my usual scintillating blog.New Year, cats,happy wishes

I’ll just stop by long enough to leave you with these wishes:

a recipe for a hangover: two raw eggs in a glass of tomato juice with a couple of healthy doses of Tabasco  followed by gallons of water throughout the day.  Booze dehydrates you.  Or replace the tomato juice with Bloody Mary mix (a little of the dog…).
This is one of the few days you can ignore the clock and snuggle down under the covers and dream…..
Hope your team wins in the last minute of the game and……
Your snow shovel stays in the garage.
Go ahead, have that second helping….that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.
What’s a few bodily expulsions  amongst really good friends?

fireworks4……..and….. finally to wish you and yours a great New Year full of health, laughter and good writing!



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Auld Lang Syne…a hodge-podge of memories

It’s that time of year….Auld Lang Syne or as the Scotsman/poet, Robbie Burns would write,  “old long since”.  And I’m in the mood to tell a story.

Christmas Eve I was in the grocery store buying flowers for a hostess gift (big Irish family had invited me to share their Christmas dinner), some mini-cupcakes for the same event and some fruit.  As I wandered toward the produce section it suddenly struck me that for every woman in the store there were at least ten men shopping.  I smiled to myself as I pictured ‘Mama’ in the kitchen prepping food for the big day and realizing she had forgotten to buy some ingredient.  Yelling for her husband as she dashed off a small list, he is sent off to the store with a final,  “.…and hurry!”

I noticed a middle-aged man walking away from his cart which was  blocking the apples, of course.  Where was he going?  To the scale?  Who weighs out their produce anymore?  Apparently this man did.  As I picked out my four Fiji apples, he hurried back, smiled and moved his cart, saying, “can you believe how much it costs to eat healthy?”  I laughed and remarked how the red delicious apples were so much tastier out of state.  That  I was from Washington and I was convinced that they shipped the best of our delicious apples to other markets.  We easily fell into swapping stories.  He reminisced how, as a boy in upstate New York, his family would buy a bushel of apples, cheap, from a local orchard.  They would store them in their naturally climate-controlled cellar and have fresh apples the entire winter. We wished each other ‘happy holidays’ and went our separate ways.

holidays, family, holiday dinner, family stories           As I drove home, in a very ‘Auld Lang Syne’ kind of food-mood, I  remembered things from my long ago youth at  holiday time.  Especially my mother’s traditions in the kitchen.  Christmas dinner was a big stuffed turkey with all, and I do mean all, the trimmings.  Dinner began with a ‘shrimp cocktail’.  If there was fresh shrimp (and there had to have been; we lived in the Pacific Northwest for goodness sakes); my mother had never heard of them.  Canned shrimp filled two third’s of a martini glass, topped with her homemade cocktail sauce (ketchup with horseradish and minced celery).  A sprig of parsley  on top and the glass was then placed on a paper doilie covered saucer.  On the saucer was ONE, (never two or three) Ritz cracker.

The sage, giblet stuffing was made from scratch and that means my mother saved the heels of bread loaves for weeks. I’ve never tasted dressing as good since.  She would make the usual trimmings, gravy from the turkey drippings, green beans (out of a can, of course) flavored with bits of boiled bacon, baked sweet potatoes, and jellied cranberry sauce.  She considered whole berry cranberry sauce savage.  Home made biscuits and mashed potatoes.  And then the pièce de résistance………..her oyster dressing.  Heaven in a bite!

Not being a particularly religious family the blessing would be short.  We would toast each other with Manischewitz  wine. A wine connoisseur she was not!  And I never knew why a Kosher red wine was part of her tradition.  As a little girl I was served one part wine and five parts water.  I felt very grown up drinking my ‘wine’.

As dishes were passed around the table,  someone would always mention my mother’s off colored joke about a “boarding house reach“.  It went like this:  My mother, a stickler for good manners, would instruct us that a ‘boarding house reach’ was when you couldboarding house, stories, family tradition, family stories ‘reach’ for something on the table and at least one cheek remained on the seat of your chair.  That was an acceptable ‘reach’ and not bad manners. Otherwise, you must ask politely for someone to pass down what you wanted.

I was never certain whether she had run a boarding house or had just lived in one sometime during her 1920’s flapper, bar owner, professional bowler, speckled younger days.  If she had run a bordello it would not have surprised me!    Miss you, Mom!


Footnote:  “Auld Lang Syne”  is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well-known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.

The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old times”.


Writers, do you research enough? (4of4 Fairy Tales)

fairies, fairy tales, Tinker Bell, short plays, small casts, Disneyland, writing        While writing another short play, “Daughterland“,  I wanted a whole new spin on Disney’s Tinker Bell.  So more research.  This is what I found:   James Barrie’s first draft of his famous story  (1924) of the magical boy who never grew up originally christened the world’s most famous female fairy as “Tippy-Toe.”  By the time the play was first performed, the little pixie had been renamed “Tinker Bell” and has remained so ever since.

Probably most readers know that a tinker was an itinerant tradesman who mended pots and pans. He rang his distinctively high pitched “tinker’s bell” to announce he was in the neighborhood

Barrie pictured the fairy with fiery red hair because she was so small she could only have one emotion at a time, and the red hair seemed to reflect her most common emotions. From Barrie’s unpublished screenplay, here is the description of the first appearance of Tinker Bell:

“The fairy, Tinker Bell. Swallows perched on the outside of the window. The fairy music comes up. The fairy, Tink, flies on and alights on the window sill.  She should be about five inches in height and, if the effect can be got, this should be one of the quaintest pictures of the film, the appearance of a real fairy. She is a vain little thing, and arranges her clothes to her satisfaction. She also keeps shoving the birds about so as to get the best place for herself. Finally, she shoves all the swallows off the sill.”

When the animated feature was first released, the Disney publicity department insisted that this would be the first time that Tinker Bell would be visible as more than just the little spot of light flitting around the scenery. In actuality, a silent movie version of Peter Pan released by Paramount in 1924 had a live actress appear briefly in some close-ups as Tinker Bell.   Courtesy of Wade Sampson                                                                                                                                                               My research changed the way I thought of Tinker Bell, the Disney version. In doing so, my ‘Tippy’ (yes, I went with her orginal name) is quite different.  But the play is really about a father and daughter trying to find new ground in their relationship after divorce.