Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thanksgiving Dinner

Carol asked . .

What did you have to eat on Thanksgiving? You never did say.
It was a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner with seitan in place of the turkey.

According to the Kroger Food Guide
Seitan is a chewy, protein-rich food made from hard winter wheat that resembles meat in texture and taste.
I won't go so far as to agree it tasted like meat, but it was very good.

Brother-in-law John spent most of the day in the kitchen. We woke to the smell of fresh baked bread and he made enough so we could have some for breakfast. He also made mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, carrots, squash, brussel sprouts, and pumpkin pie.

One of the appetizers was green olives stuffed with a generous sliver of fresh garlic clove. Normally I don't care for olives, but this combination was a mouth watering zinger. Outstanding, but not for the timid eater.

The meal was delicious and lovely.

I was so busy smelling, tasting, talking, and enjoying that I forgot to haul the camera out and take a picture.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Are We There Yet?
I'm home! Sister Doris and her DH John put much thought and effort into making sure we had a nice, relaxing, pleasant time in their beautiful new home in the woods of Virginia. And we did.

It was a lovely, family time with plenty of good food, good chat, and good company.

The airports were a nightmare. No one should be surprised by this, as Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year in the US. In SW Michigan we also have the weather factor. Mother Nature was feeling cranky.

Wednesday morning I white knuckled it 20 miles to Mom's apartment in Kalamazoo to pick her up. The roads were covered with ice and it was snowing.

For those of you who aren't familiar with sliding around on slippery roads, white knuckle driving is when you grip the steering wheel tightly, thereby turning your knuckles white, because you instinctively but erroneously think you can prevent the car from sliding if you hang on tight.

Kalamazoo to Detroit, scheduled to take off at 10:25 am

Mom and I both brought books to the airport. Turned out we had plenty of reading time.

Chicago and Detroit were sending planes to Kalamazoo that couldn't land. They would circle for a bit and then head back to Chicago or Detroit. Since those were the planes we were scheduled to fly out on, there was no service to Detroit.

Every time a flight was cancelled, the disappointed passengers had to leave the secure area, stand in a long line at the ticket counter, get rescheduled, and then go back through security.

Finally at 1:30 Northwest brought in a big plane that could handle the weather and all the accumulated passengers. We boarded and headed for Detroit where most of us had totally missed our connecting flights.

It was the first plane to land and/or take off from Kalamazoo that Wednesday. It took 20 minutes to get to Detroit. Not even time to get up to full altitude or serve a beverage.

Detroit to Charlotteville, Virginia, originally scheduled for 1:30, rescheduled for 9 pm

We sat in Detroit for 7 hours waiting for the next plane to Charlottesville, which of course was delayed. We boarded about 11 pm and arrived in Charlottesville after midnight.

Charlottesville airport turned out to be very small, even smaller than Kalamazoo. Our plane held 30 passengers on very hard seats and had propellers.

What a joy to see our family standing there waiting for us. They whisked us to Scottsville and served us tea at 2 am before showing us our comfy beds.

Charlottesville to Detroit, scheduled to take off Saturday at 4 pm

While waiting to board in Charlottesville, we were informed that every NorthWest computer was down in Detroit and nothing was able to depart or land there. Computers were out for an hour and we got to Detroit 10 minutes before our flight to Kalamazoo. The gate we needed was about a mile away.

Detroit to Kalamazoo, scheduled to take off at 7:30 pm

How perverse is this? The first flight we were late for was the first flight of our trip that left on time.

Lunch had been a vending machine bag of potato chips. There was no time for dinner and no time for a stop at the restroom.

We ran through the airport as fast as we could go, and we were the last two people to board.

Here is where an amazing good thing happened. In anticipation of dashing through the airport, we had checked our luggage for the trip home. In some miracle of airport efficiency, our luggage also made the quick plane transfer and landed with us in Kalamazoo.

After gathering our luggage, unburying the car from under the snow, and paying our ransom at the long term parking gate, we headed across the street to McDonald's for a chicken sandwich and hot fudge sundae.

We agreed it was a wonderful trip and headed home to rest up before starting to think about Christmas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Give Thanks to the LordHappy Thanksgiving to all my US readers.

Early Wednesday morning Mom and I are flying to Charlottesville, Virginia where we will be picked up by Second Sister (I'm First Sister) and taken to her beautiful new home in Scottsville. Third Sister is driving in from North Carolina with Griffin, her dog, to join us.

Second Sister hasn't told us what we're having for Thanksgiving dinner. Since Second Sister, her husband, and Third Sister are all vegetarians, it will certainly not be the traditional stuffed turkey I'm accustomed to.

Any body worried about Husband Bob? He's staying home with the dogs and having a turkey with all the fixings. I'm making Green Dream for him before I leave. Green Dream is a tangy lime jello salad with pineapple, cream cheese, marshmallows, Miracle Whip, and Cool Whip. It's the perfect complement for turkey, especially cold turkey.

I've been making Green Dream for over thirty years, so I guess that makes it a family tradition. Even the family members who don't like it expect to see it on the table.

We're due to return late on Saturday night, so there won't be another post until Sunday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Early Winter in SW Michigan
Cardinals eating sunflowers seeds in the November snowThe snow that started Wednesday kept coming down until we had about three inches on Thursday morning.

The first snow of the year often melts when it hits the ground because the ground is still warm. This snow didn't.

The first snow of the year often melts the next day when temperature rises above freezing. The temperature didn't rise.

It's Friday, we still have snow, and winter is officially here.

Pappy checking out the snow on the dog trailPappy likes the snow unless the temperature dips to the single digits and his feet get cold.

He knows if he picks his feet up and whines, I will carry him back to the nice warm house.

It's not that cold yet, so he's having fun looking for rodent tunnels in the snow.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Birthday Question

Your Birthdate: January 20

You are a virtual roller coaster of emotions, and most people enjoy the ride.
Your mood tends to set the tone of the room, and when you're happy, this is a good thing.
When you get in a dark mood, watch out - it's very hard to get you out of it.
It's sometimes hard for you to cheer up, and your gloom can be contagious.

Your strength: Your warm heart

Your weakness: Trouble controlling your emotions

Your power color: Black

Your power symbol: Musical note

Your power month: February

Everyone in knitting blogland is posting this - what would you call it? Blogthings calls it a quiz. I call it a question.

About a week ago, I went to the What Does Your Birth Date Mean? question. My results were so NOT me that I didn't post them.

Today I feel left out of the fun, decided to do the question again and post the results. Please don't think the results describe me.

My emotions are under control, thank you. I'm naturally blessed with the ability to keep my mouth shut and stay kind and polite even when thinking evil thoughts.

My moods do not set the tone of the room. In fact, I'm an introvert and tend to be very quiet and invisible in a gathering of people. I prefer my friends one at a time.

Maybe my whole life would have turned out different if I had known February was my power month.

The best thing about February is that it's short. I usually spend February hunkered down waiting for March, the month the snow melts and signs of spring appear.

February is a great month to wear black, though. Now what do you suppose I need to do with that powerful music note to make the world a better place?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

All the Leaves Are Down
Scenic and colorful fall viewThis was taken about ten days ago.

The trees were showing their last bit of glory waiting for the next windy day.

The windy day arrived, the air filled with leaves - leaves falling and swirling.

Fall view after most of the leaves are off the treesThis picture was taken today.

All the leaves are down. Those of us with dozens of trees and acres of land are wondering why we don't live on a small lot in town. Or, maybe I'm projecting my feelings onto my neighbors.

Anyway, I think town people take that leaf cleanup thing much more serious than we do. They have leaf bags and leaf pickup date deadlines - no matter if the leaves are off the trees yet or not.

We have leaf fires and compost piles. On cold short days when we'd rather be indoors, we think it's perfectly OK to leave those leaves until spring. After all, it's not like the leaves are going to smother our grass. Grass doesn't grow in the heavy shade.

Anybody want to come rake a bit?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Marguerite Needs . . .
Here's a silly little game that's been popping up all over Blogland. I couldn't resist.

Google "[your first name] needs" and post the ten best results:

1. Marguerite needs new routes for commuters.

How amusing!

From Wikipedia
Marguarite is a free shuttle service Stanford University offers to its students, faculty, staff, and the general public. Named after one of Stanford family's horses, Marguarite operates a few dozen bus shuttles throughout the university and the nearby town of Palo Alto, California.

According to the Marguerite webpages, the shuttle service serves 135 stops on or around the campus; in 2004-2005, it carried some 1.2 million riders; and it runs approximately 64,000 hours a year.

Note the misspelling of Marguerite. It happens frequently. The most common misspelling uses a "q" in place of the "g", Marquerite. Sigh.

2. Marguerite needs you to come play with her today! ...
She is lovable and sweet, though she requires an owner who can handle her large size!

Happy to report that Marguerite has been adopted from the Lexington Humane Society.

3. Marguerite needs nursing home care.

How sad.

4. Marguerite needs someone to love and respect her for herself.

Doesn't everyone?

5. Marguerite needs suggestions for speakers. She also needs help with calling sponsors, soliciting table reservations, set up,. guarding the prize table, ...

Marguerite needs some assertiveness training.

6. Marguerite needs someone to talk to.

But it's not easy. Her phoneline is usually in use with her laptop dialup.

7. Marguerite needs to give me more treats.

Is one of my dogs writing a blog I don't know about?
Is that how all the dog hair got under my keyboard?

8. Marguerite needs to have a rest for a while.

Please send a cleaning team and a lawn crew.

9. Marguerite needs to be reported on to the welfair for taking money from welfair.


10. Marguerite needs to be planted in drifts or used as filler between other more substantial plantings.

Oh, that explains what's wrong with me lately.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Upjohn Pumpkin Torte
Looking for a wonderful holiday dessert?

Back in the 80s when I started working for The Upjohn Company, the cafeteria had a chef who made wonderful things from scratch. The Upjohn Pumpkin Torte is one of those wonderful things. It's a rich, heavenly dessert. Takes a little effort to make but it's not difficult and well worth the effort.

I'm posting this well advance of the holidays so you'll have a good excuse to make it twice. After all, you do have to make it once to try it out before the big dinner. Right?

This recipe was created to be sinful. Don't try to change it into something healthy. For the intended results you need real butter, real sugar, real cream cheese (not lowfat), real eggs, and whole milk.

This is the original recipe with my changes, suggestions and notes in parens.

1 pkg graham crackers - about 10 (I use 1-1/4 cup packaged crumbs.)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (Use the real stuff.)

  • Mix together.
  • Press into a 9 x 13 pan.

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz. cream cheese (pre-softened to room temperature)

  • Mix together and pour on crust. (I use electric mixer to get it smooth.)
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

2 cups pumpkin (I use 15 oz can pumpkin. NOT pumpkin pie mix.)
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
dash salt

  • Cook to a boil.
  • (I microwave it two minutes at a time, wisking after each two minutes.)
  • (It's hard to tell when "boil" happens in the microwave. Mixture will be noticably thicker.)

1 envelope plain gelatin
1/4 cup cold water

  • Stir in gelatin and water while (pumpkin) mixture is still hot.
  • Cool.

3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

  • Beat egg whites with sugar until stiff.
  • Fold into pumpkin mixture.
  • Spread on cheese layer.

8 oz. whipping cream

  • Top with whipped cream or Dream Whip.
  • Chill.

(I use real whipping cream whipped with a couple of tablespoons sugar and a teaspoon vanilla.)

No nutritional information. If you have to know, you shouldn't be eating this.