Sunday, November 29, 2009

Maybe if you have a cast iron stomach.....

My daughter and her family have holiday meals with me.
My son usually has his holiday meals with his dad and step-mother. Once in a while those plans change. This year he was invited to the home of a woman he's been seeing. He had a nice meal with her family. He told me that he was also fixing a turkey dinner so he and his daughter would have "leftovers" to feast upon after the holiday. I was amazed that he was cooking something like this because I've never shown him how. I figured perhaps someone else had instructed him at some time through the years. He's a middle-aged man now. I know that he can cook some decent meals but I don't know the extent of his knowledge in the kitchen. I was about to find out.

Well, he called me on Saturday morning and said that he was coming over and bringing dinner....turkey and all the trimmings. Since you all know what happened with our "already prepared" meal at my daughter's, I was looking forward to some homemade authentic holiday food. He was soon at my door, roaster pan in hand. He said to me, "I'll just put this in the oven to warm it up and we can eat in about 30 minutes or so." Sounded like a plan to me. I took note that there didn't seem to be any cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie (drat!)....everything was apparently in that one roaster pan. I visualized creamy mashed potatoes.....mmmmm yum.

I set the table and fixed our drinks and soon he took the roaster out of the oven and ceremoniously took the cover off. He said....." it turned out pretty good....I'm anxious to see how you like it." You know what something smells like when its too greasy? Well, that's what was assaulting my nostrils as he stood there beaming at me. I glanced down at this half gone bird and observed that the cavity was still filled with stuffing and upon further inspection I found the bag with giblets intact, still inside the bird with stuffing covering it. It had been cooked that way.

All around the turkey in this roasting pan were potatoes and carrots cut up, much like you would do if you were making a beef roast. The potatoes and carrots had cooked in the very greasy turkey drippings. He had even tossed in a couple cans of green beans for good measure. I mentally added up in my head how long the stuffing had stayed in this bird. He fixed this meal early Thursday and this was Saturday late afternoon. Hmmmmm....3 full days. Not good. I was always taught never to leave the stuffing in the bird, that to do so could cause food poisoning. My mom was always so careful about, not wanting to take chances, I never stuff the bird. I toss an onion chopped in quarters and a couple stalks of celery in the cavity and leave it at that. I fix wonderful stuffing, but its in its own bowl and cooked separately.

I hated to hurt his feelings but I had to warn him about the stuffing. I told him not to eat it at all and to pitch it because of how long it had been in there. I tasted a bit of the white meat and it seemed ok but I didn't taste anything else. I was afraid to. Somewhere along the line he must have gotten roast beef confused with roast turkey. I am going to have to take him aside and give him some detailed instructions on fixing a turkey. His heart was in the right place but I don't need my granddaughter getting sick. He did say that he had horrible heartburn for the last couple days. I imagine I know exactly why too. I can't even begin to tell you how greasy those carrots and potatoes were. I have to laugh and shake my head. all his dreams....did he come up with a meal like that when he's had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners so many times and they have always been know, with mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes and stuffing. It looks like everything is against me having a normal, regular Thanksgiving meal this year. Did you ever leave the giblet package in the turkey and cook it that way? I did....the very first holiday meal I fixed after I got married. My mom laughed so hard at me I thought she was going to pee her pants. It took me a lot of years to live that one down.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My verdict.....

Well, if today's experience did nothing more than make my family appreciate me (Queen Mama), then it was worth it.

With the aches and pains I'm having from this damnable arthritis plus my bad knee, I just find it way too hard to be standing on my feet for hours at a time preparing a huge meal for my family with no help. For years now I have been whining and complaining about this but it fell on deaf ears. I kept asking for help in making the food and also the clean-up but help was minimal. Finally, this year I decided that enough was enough. I announced to my family that I was not cooking dinner. That I didn't care what we ate or where we ate it....but it was not going to be prepared by these little hands. My daughter said that she would take over. The torch was passed............sorta.

She decided.....since she really does not like to buy the dinner already prepared. At our local grocery you can get such a meal. For $69.99, you get dinner and dessert....enough for 8 people, already prepared. All you do is warm it up. She ordered this meal and picked it up the night before Thanksgiving. All looked in order. Thanksgiving day she put the turkey in the oven and when it was ready (after 2 hours) she then warmed up the rest of the stuff.

Now the picture above is of a TV dinner and I'm going to tell you that I think this particular TV dinner probably has more taste than what we ate. This already prepared meal was very bland. The turkey almost had no flavor. Its beyond me how you can mess up a turkey. The mashed potatoes tasted like a mixture of instant and real....we will probably never know for sure what it was. The dressing, however, was good but the gravy was horrible. It was the color of vanilla pudding and had no taste at all. I didn't even try the broccoli or carrots. The fruit salad was good. The pumpkin pie was awful.

My family is spoiled because I am a good cook. I cook with love and I take extra measures to make sure the food I prepare has a wonderful taste. Nothing bland comes from my kitchen.

I think my family learned a lesson. Everyone agreed that nothing could compare to what they are used to. My daughter announced that at Christmas she was going to learn how to prepare a meal like I've always fixed and asked if I would show her how. (haven't I been trying to do this for 15 or more years now?)

So, my verdict on already prepared least from this a score of 2 out of 5. If you can make a meal out of dressing and fruit salad. True, it was cheaper to put it on the table than it would have been if we had bought the groceries and prepared it.....but we have nearly no leftovers and the food was not that good. For the first time....I didn't even CARE if I had leftovers to bring home.

So sometimes you just have to show your family (tough love) what its gonna be like without a home-cooked feast in order for them to actually do something about it. I think I'm going to go to the store and get the stuff to make some pumpkin bars and/or a pumpkin pie. I really missed that. I'm already looking forward to Christmas dinner.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How about a good HAPPY cry.....

Just in time for the holidays. Just in time to renew our faith and affirm that goodness is alive and well. Just in time to prove that miracles do exist and manifest themselves in the oddest places from sources you would never suspect. After all this, how could anyone ever deny that there is a higher power. So have a happy cry as you watch this and don't let anyone ever try to tell you that there is no such thing as a miracle.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Saturday, November 21, 2009

C'mon, get Happy......

I've been reading "Chickens in the Road" every single morning for a long, long time. Its my morning coffee even when I don't have time for a cup. She's left the chaos of big city life and moved back to her a small town in West Virginia. Suzanne can find happiness in a blade of grass. She's creative and up-lifting on rainy days as well as sunshiney ones......not to mention the excellent recipes! I simply love her site. She's a paperback writer and up for a contest and has made an excellent showing....all on the votes of her readers, like me. But the competition is tough so I'm posting this in hopes that you will go there, read her blog and like her enough to vote for her to get this job that pays $5,000 a month for 6 months. So please think about it. All her bubbly enthusiasm needs to be rewarded even though she feels rewarded just by making people feel good....but this new job is writing to make people feel good and she's doing that she's perfect for this. Agree?

So, after viewing the video, go here and please vote for click a day until December 7. Bookmark her site and return often....become a member of her blog community. You won't regret it for a second. Thank you all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

dogs, squirrels and shopping.....

Well, first of all, my daughter had to put down her wonderful pet, Mollie. Mollie, a black lab, just had too many aches and pains from old age and it was something that had to be done as she could barely move any longer.....she was an important part of our family for over 15 years and was a bit of a heroine to my old dog, Tommy. You can read about it here. Rest in peace Mollie.

If you read that old post, it gives you a little insight on the problems I have had with squirrels. They are the cause of many power outages, not to mention the intimidation they do to the family pets. Tommy (my Lhasa Apso) wasn't able to fight them back like Mollie did so he had to put up with it. This dog I have rat terrier, Abby, just hates squirrels. I think her breed is born hating them. She spends her days running from one window to the next watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree or scamper all over my roof. Since Abby would rather chase a squirrel than eat, I have to let her out on a 50 foot nylon leash so she won't leave my yard....the squirrels have learned just where the boundaries are and they will run around just inches beyond her reach with her angrily yapping. Yesterday I let her out and she tore off the deck and headed straight for a squirrel that wasn't out of her reach....he just wasn't paying attention. My sweet little pet turned into a snarling savage as she tackled this squirrel....they tumbled ears over tails in the yard and the squirrel managed to get away from her. That was her first taste of actually having one in her grasp. When I let her inside a few minutes later and went to unleash her my hand came away covered in blood. Upon checking her over I could see that the squirrel had bitten her on the top of the head and also on the ear. Abby has her first battle scars and she wears them proudly. I hope she was able to get a couple bites on him too. I called the vet to make sure I didn't have something to worry about as I've heard that a lot of squirrels carry rabies. They said as long as she's up to date on her shots, (she is) that she should be fine. I cleaned her wounds with peroxide and put some antibiotic ointment on them. Now when I let her out, she actually prances. The squirrels are keeping their distance for right now, but I know they'll be up to their dastardly tricks again before too long.

Now this is off the above subject but its something that I have to pass on or I'll surely forget to. About 6 months ago I came across what I refer to as a best kept secret in the shopping world. Yep, its a family owned department store somewhere in PA. They may have more stores elsewhere in that general area too, I'm not sure. I was looking for something ( I can't remember) and I believe their name came up in Google. I checked them out and really liked what I saw. I have bought from them 3 times now and they are wonderful. This last time I got my granddaughter a London Fog winter coat for only $43. and some new Mary Jane type shoes for $16. I also got her some nice waterproof and insulated Totes winter boots for $23. These prices are absolutely unbeatable....especially for brand name merchandise. Yes, they were having a sale, but they seem to have a lot of those. They ship for a flat fee of $9.95 no matter how big your order is and they are prompt, as well as accurate. I'm not getting anything from them to promote their business....I just wanted to pass along a good thing. Go to and see for yourself. I just love it when I find good deals. And just in time for Christmas too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another movie review.....

This time its the movie, Sideways. The cover on the DVD boasts that it was nominated for FIVE academy awards, including best picture and best director. That it was the winner of TWO Golden Globes, including the Best Picture. And Access Hollywood has deemed it "The Best Comedy of the Year". Well, with all THAT going for it, I figured I was in for a red carpet evening.


I'm seriously wondering what these people are smoking. At first I thought maybe it was me.....but I'm not going to fall into that trap again. I'm a normal person and I still DO have a sense of humor. I know its still in there someplace....although its getting harder and harder to find lately. But back to the movie. To say I was grossly disappointed is an understatement. Even the full frontal nudity of one of the bit part male characters didn't liven me up. Now maybe if he had been something to look at it may have....but he was nude except for a knit cap and shoes....very much out of shape and when good looks were passed out, he was taking a nap. So that was a failure too. It wasn't even funny.

Virginia Madsen was one of the stars and I like her. Her part was nice. Sandra Oh was another one. She played a sex-crazed single party gal. Nothing was funny though. If anything, it was sad in more than a few spots. WHAT movie were these critics watching when they said it was the best comedy of the year??? It was more of a 'character study' type of picture. I kept watching it...thinking to myself....its GOT to get better soon.....after all, it won best picture. In my opinion it didn't get better, it only served to make me angry at the male character who was due to get married.....and this week long trip taken with his best friend was his last as a single guy and he wanted to be wild....and he was...much to the dismay of his friend. The poor friend took a lot of abuse and still hung in there.

I've concluded that its best not to take any stock in these crazy recommendations of Hollywood and their so-called critics, as well as the people who hand out the awards. Either they are all under the influence of something or I'm just stuck in a rut.....a rut that says Good movies, really good movies, should be the ones winning these awards. Don't waste your time or money on this one....its not what I would call a really good movie. Hell, its not even a good movie....on a scale of 1 to 5, I would give it a 2, at best.....and I do that because of some nice scenery of California wine country. And so I continue with my find some really good entertainment we can access from the couch or easy chair with our feet up and, if we our jammies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day....Thank you

This is a picture of my parents when he came home on leave. She was afraid and uncertain and he was getting ready to be shipped overseas and was putting up a brave front for her. The feelings of so many couples during WWII were exactly the same. The feelings of parents seeing their sons or daughters off with a prayer to please come home safely. The flags that were hung with pride.

Thank you Daddy. And thank you to all the Veterans who fought so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. We were so dad came home.

Every time I see a Veteran, I stop and thank them. It only takes a few seconds and it means so much. Make it a point to do that the next time you come across a veteran and see their eyes light up.

Thank you to all the servicemen and women who are presently serving this fine nation and another thank-you to their families. Thank you truly .....each and every one of you. ~

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My- my, how time does fly.....

Well, I now have a happy car. $1,237 later. Its a shame when you see on the bill that nearly $800. of it was labor.

They had to replace the crank shaft sensor, replaced both rear wheel cylinders, replaced rear break pads and turned the rotors, replaced the brake line and did an oil change and winterization maintenance. The only two things on this list I fully understand are oil change and winterize.

Its just too darn bad that I didn't take an in-depth course in auto mechanics. I certainly could have saved myself some money in this case. Of course, I'm not going to complain too loudly. Having these repairs done may have possibly saved my life and I'm grateful to my 'angels' for looking after me.

I was cleaning out a bookcase and came across a DVD set of the old Amos n' Andy TV series shown back in the 50's. I watched a few of them this weekend and even though the quality wasn't the best, I got a kick out of them. This is definite proof that a program could be entertaining, creative and funny without a bunch of sexual innuendos and crude jokes or actions. I know it was felt that the programs were a slam against a certain racial group, but I never thought of them in that more than you would think that of The Beverly Hillbillies or Married With Children. It was just good creative entertainment with plots that were sometimes brilliant. I sure did enjoy bringing back some memories ("Holy Mackerel Andy") and am looking forward to watching more of the discs each weekend. Do you remember this classic old program?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My car is sick.....

I was finally able to get my flu shot on Monday. The Health Dept. and all the drug stores and senior centers and other places that were giving the shots were out of them completely. I managed to find a doctor's office that still had some. I'm not going to get the H1N1 unless my doctor specifically tells me I have to have it. I'm just glad that I was able to get one. I've had a flu shot every year for over 30 years and have rarely had the flu and even when I did have it, it was a very mild case. So I do believe that the shots help a lot.

The other day my car stalled while I was driving down the highway. Not cool to be driving along at about 45 mph and suddenly your car quits. Its never done that before and it was pretty unnerving to say the least. Since then its been doing it a couple times on the way to and from work....and its only a 6 mile drive one way. I figured that maybe I got some bad gasoline or worse yet....maybe my fuel pump is going. As much as I hate to part with the money, I need my car and have to keep it healthy so I decided that on my day off (today) I would take it in to see what's causing this.

I had my daughter follow me so I could leave my car there. I took it to the dealership for the repairs. I've always used the dealership unless its something small like an oil change. I trust the mechanics there. I told them to winterize it and change the oil too. Also I told them to check the brakes because they still don't feel right to me. I had them checked a couple months ago because they felt "spongy" to me but the place I took it to (not the dealership) stated that the brakes were fine. I was beginning to feel like I'd lost my mind. I figured they were right and I was wrong.

Now I want to tell you all something that just proves beyond any doubt that I have some powerful guardian angels looking after me. I've learned to listen to their whispers. See, I've been driving my car even though I felt something was wrong with the brakes.....but I was driving it because people who are supposedly professionals told me there was nothing wrong. I probably would have continued to drive it even though I still felt that the brakes didn't feel right. That is until this new thing happened with the stalling. Having a car that stalls out in heavy traffic is extremely stressful and only a fool would put up with that. So that made me go and have my car looked at and while there, I felt a nudge at my shoulder and a whisper in my ear.... I heard myself saying, .....'oh yes, would you check the brakes while its here....they feel spongy to me but no one seems to think I know what I'm talking about'. Yes ma'm....we'll check them out for you.

They found the reason why my car is stalling....some sort of electrical problem that can be fixed without much trouble. But.....the brakes.....the brakes, the brakes. Seems as though my rear brakes have been leaking brake fluid for quite some time and the brake pads are soaked and the master cylinder has to be replaced. Dangerous? You bet! They will be repaired and yes, its going to cost more than $600 for everything to be repaired....the stalling plus the brakes, plus a tune-up. I'm going to do it even though my car is old. I'm going to do it because I've taken very good care of my car since I bought it new and it has low mileage and I can't afford to replace it right now. I'm going to do it because my car has always been dependable and has never caused me any trouble. I'm going to do it because my guardian angels have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure I knew about those brakes. Somebody up there loves me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back to normal.....

Just a quickie post. I asked the maintenance man at work about my circuit breaker box and he told me that I have to flip the switch all the way off and then flip it back on in order for it to reset. So I did that and my microwave came back to life. The other affected outlet in my kitchen also came back to life which means that my coffee pot may not have died. I will test it out to see if there's any life in it and if so, pack it away and use it only if I have a lot of guests, like over a holiday or something. Its about 10 or 12 years old so I wouldn't be surprised if it has turned up its toes. If it has, I guess I can't complain after all those years. Its a Bunn. In the meantime, my one cup brewer, which is a Keurig, has made me extremely happy. I am discovering different little tricks so that I get the perfect mug full. I have sent for some sample packages of coffee so I can pick out my favorite brand. So far, I've liked just about every one I've picking one isn't going to be easy.

Halloween was very quiet around here. I saw just a few kids and they were on their way to the subdivision behind me where the houses are closer together and no fences are in the front yards to slow their progress. I didn't get any kids again this year....none of us here did. My granddaughters went to a party at the school and then just went in their own subdivisions on actual Halloween night. It was a beautiful night, but cold....only in the 40's. Friday night it was the same temperature but pouring rain. I think that kept the "devils" at bay so mischief was minimal.