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Friday, December 27, 2013

Oh My Gravy!

         It’s two days after Christmas and now that I’ve had a little time to recover I can reflect on the event of the year for me.  I spent about three days cooking, and weeks baking cookies and planning in anticipation of the big day.
         Anna helped me prepare the food and we had lots of it.  Stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, garlic knots, dips, chips, cheese, sausage, and crackers graced the appetizer table for our Christmas Day Afternoon Buffet (as I named it). A savory ham with pineapple gravy was the centerpiece of the dinner, flanked by two different chicken dishes, pasta primavera, rice, and rolls.  We topped the feast with Christmas cookies and candy served with hot beverages.  All were well fed and content.
         In between eating there was much merriment as evidenced by the laughter ringing throughout the house.  A modest sized house lends itself to participation from the next room in word related activities, so I was able to fully enjoy the absurdities in the Mad Libs and the resulting conversations in the dining room.  So it happened that as I was clearing up between courses the disaster occurred.  For the second holiday in a row, despite my best efforts, there is no gravy left for reheating.  Last time it was because I failed to warn my sister in law that the pan’s handle was loose and the gravy ended up all over the stovetop and the front of the cabinet.   This time, I had the container almost on the shelf in the refrigerator when it slipped out of my hand. Four cups of silky golden brown deliciousness splattered the inside of my refrigerator, my pant legs, shoes, and the floor, running under the refrigerator as well!  My daughter came running, I called for a custodian (although none came since I was in my house and not at work), and there was much slipping, sliding, and laughter as we tried to clean up the mess.  None of us had the heart to tell my husband.  He waits all year for the ham with the gravy and leftovers; it’s one of his very favorite things.  So now, as I write this, I am trying to recreate some gravy with the leftover ham.  I will of course use the boiled ham bone to make broth for pea soup, and use some of the ham for ham salad sandwiches; perhaps I will even make a pot pie.
         We had a very merry Christmas here, even with the spilling and mess.  I hope you all had a merry Christmas with few spills.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scraggly Tree

         Did you ever feel like that scraggly little Charlie Brown tree?   Like all around you there are beautiful, shiny, straight, tall, strong, spectacular trees, getting all the attention and making you look even more puny, plain, and scrawny?  I think we’ve all felt like that at one time or another.  When we compare ourselves to others around us we can feel like we are less than they are, focusing on our shortcomings as we see them, and concentrating on only the strengths that we perceive in those around us.  If we looked closer, we’d notice that there is maybe a light out here, a bend in the trunk there, and little patches where the needles are a bit sparse.  We might see that they are not really getting more attention than we are; they just happen to be what is needed at the moment.  If we are patient, someone will come along and see the value of us, and take us home.  Then someone else comes along and wraps that blue blanket around our trunk and suddenly we feel wanted and important.  Pretty soon there are beautiful decorations and lights making us feel special and, yes, even spectacular.  Friendship is the blue blanket, and kind words and deeds are the ornaments and love is the illumination.  It is then our time to shine.  So the next time you find yourself feeling like that Charlie Brown tree just wait, soon enough you’ll be feeling wonderful; and if by chance you recognize a fellow scrawny tree, be that blue blanket and watch the little tree shine.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Slow Down

               On the day after Thanksgiving I took my husband’s car to go to the supermarket for a few non-holiday items.  I found myself cruising down the two lane highway almost 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, and adjusted my speed accordingly.  It is so easy to go well over the speed limit without realizing it when I’m driving my husband’s car.  I have to be constantly aware of how fast I’m going when I take it, as I don’t wish to get a speeding ticket.  I feel like the holiday season is another area where I need to check my speed constantly.  Like driving that sleek black car, it’s easy to just speed along to Christmas week and the New Year without realizing it.  This year I’ll have to be extra vigilant because we have just a few scant weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas in which to enjoy all the holiday cheer and events that come along. I’m trying not to get so wrapped up in the things to do that I forget to actually experience life.  I’d like to be more in the moment when shopping, writing cards, baking, watching a Christmas special on TV, attending a party, or wrapping gifts instead of thinking of everything still to be done.  Do less, enjoy more will be my motto.  Slow down, the holidays should be traveled through at 25 miles per hour, not flown through at 70.  After all, life’s a journey not a race.