Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas, Fruitcake, and Healing...

Those who know me well already know this, I haven't been able to celebrate "Christmas in my heart" for the past few years.  I did celebrate, but the deep joy was missing.  Maybe it was my health, or maybe it was too much loss, I'm not really sure.  I would make plans and not follow through.  Promises to bake all the traditional dishes, even to the point of buying nuts, spices, fruits, etc. only to toss or donate after the holidays were over with.  Plans to visit friends and go to concerts all cancelled at the last minute.  Using my messy house as an excuse not to invite folks in.  So, when I had my husband buy all the ingredients for his mother's fruitcake recipe, I think I saw a little eye roll and heard a bit of a sigh. 

Well, tonight the fruitcake is in the oven!  I never truly appreciated the work involved.  The batter is heavy, so heavy that my big spoon broke right in two!  That did not deter me.  I stirred the 7 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of butter, the sour cream, the brandy, the fruit, the nuts.  It reminded me of kneading bread!  My arms are so tired, but I got it all in the oven just in time to sit and watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree light up!  I had been listening to all the beautiful music while I worked.

I never really cared for fruitcake (sorry Grandma), but my mother-in-law's recipe was unique.  I'm hoping my first attempt will do her justice.  It's been a lot of years since my family had Grandma Jahner fruitcake.  I plan to make a few more treasured recipes during the next three weeks.  And yes, I will be starting a "diet" after the holidays.  For now, I'm going to celebrate all that is good and fun and delightful! 

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me."
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Thursday, November 24, 2011


For the past couple of days, people have been lining up for the midnight sales that start tonight.  One part of me says they're crazy, even greedy.  They could be spending the day with family.  On the other hand, maybe it's the only chance they have to give their family the things many of us take for granted.  Nice dishes, a coffee maker, toys for their child's Christmas, a television set, linens, clothing.  As I sit here this morning typing on this PC that I am thankful to have, sipping a hot cup of coffee from the Keurig, and listening to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the background, I realize that I am abundantly blessed.  I shouldn't judge those who are willing to camp out, in the freezing cold, to get a little more of their American dream. 

As I wish you Happy Thanksgiving, I'm so grateful for my family and for all we have.  Many people this holiday season are without jobs, standing in food lines, wondering what the future will bring.  In today's paper there is a photo of a young soldier in uniform, with his family, standing in a food line.  It's wrong, so very wrong.  

I'm praying for a light, and an answer, in this current economic darkness.  May God bless each of you today, and fill your homes with peace and love.                               

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm still here...

Busy life these days.  I've been getting over a cold, working on projects, making Christmas shopping lists.  My 55th birthday came and went.  It was a good day, other than being a bit under the weather.  This birthday made me very reflective about my life, because my dad passed away at 55 from cancer.  When it happened, I thought he was way too young to be gone.  Nothing has made that more clear than reaching 55 myself.  I have so much life I still want to live... so many things waiting to be done.  It's a wake-up call to get with it.  Make time for the people I love.  Do the things I've been putting off.  Appreciate every day that I'm given.  I'm so thankful for my life, my family, my friends.  Wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Happened To October?

Oh my! Time flew away while I was busy enjoying the warm days, crisp nights, and colorful leaves.  I woke up today and it really is November!  It's been raining/snowing/raining/cold/wintry, and I just wasn't ready for that.  Oh well, I have started my Christmas shopping and list making.  I took down the Halloween stuff and put up the Thanksgiving decor.  I'm ready for whatever comes!

One wonderful thing that happened this week... my youngest son got all the pieces and parts delivered yesterday and sometime in the wee hours of the morning, he built his own computer!  The best part, he's selling me this one at a great discount, so now I have my own PC again.  I'm thrilled!

Warm thoughts going out to all the folks with outside jobs, like my husband.  He is one of the dedicated employees of the Post Office who will deliver your mail, no matter what the weather!  It is totally worth the price of a stamp to me!  I love getting mail... real mail... the kind you hold in your hand.  Post cards, letters, packages, fun! 

Oh, and while I'm talking about the Post Office, I just have to rant a bit...
I'm heard a lot of comments about packages being destroyed by letter carriers.  You would not believe how poorly people wrap packages to be sent through the mail.  Please wrap it like it's going to be tossed into a truck, onto a plane, stacked under hundreds of other boxes... not like you're hand-carrying it to Grandma's house in your own car.  By the time precious boxes of goodies reach your own letter carrier, they have traveled many miles under rigorous conditions.  And please be good to your carriers.  My husband has delivered everything from bills and birthday cards to live chicks and the ashes of somebody's loved one.  He takes pride in his job.  He watches out for the people on his route, especially the elderly. The following quote became part of the USPS 2001 Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations.  It's a creed my husband lives by.

We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever.