Tag Archives: eating

Thankful, once more and always…

The turkey is roasting and it smells delicious. B and O, my wife and daughter, are still out of town. They’ve loaded the car, but haven’t hit the road, yet.

I’ve alluded to it in the last several posts but haven’t been direct. B’s mother and my mother-in-law, my favorite mother-in-law, I might add, passed away a week ago Monday morning. The funeral was last Saturday. Her wake, funeral, post-funeral gathering was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman who led an extraordinary life. She leaves behind three children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and seven grandchildren. We will miss her.

I drove home with W, my son, Sunday afternoon. He slept, I drove thinking about the two days I had to teach my 8th graders.

Instead, I thought of all of the parts of my life for which I have to give thanks.

I am thankful for so much. I am third.

I am thankful for my faith in God, who has sustained me over the last several years as our families have struggled with loss.

I have a wonderful family, a great wife and kids, and a great dog, too. My mom, step-mom, my brothers, my wife’s brother, sister-in-law, her sister, and all of nieces and nephews, who are strong role models for my two children and always make time for them. Continue reading Thankful, once more and always…

Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

It was good to talk with you this past Sunday and great to hear your voice. I am glad you got the letter I wrote in Michigan.

I gonna sit right down and right myself a letter....
I gonna sit right down and right myself a letter….

I write a lot about growing up on my blog. I reflect and write how growing up made me who I am, why I do what I do, and why I think the way I think. I have never taken an accounting of the balance on my blog posts between you and dad. If I had to guess at a ratio, it would be mostly dad, about 70 – 30. Abraham Lincoln said it best, or maybe wrote it:

“The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.”

The complete quote is, “There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.”  From the Lincoln Nobody Knows by Richard M. Current (1958).

But, it really should be 50-50, after all I am a product of the two of you.

Every once in a while I’ll call to thank you for something or to apologize for all of the headaches and heartaches I put you through growing up, especially that period between 13 to 25. I don’t know how you did it considering since that period of time was magnified three-fold and lasted until we all grew up.

Growing up is a process and I continue to grow and mature, even at my age. When I stop learning and growing, it’ll be time.

Thank you for all that you shared with me that shaped me into who I am.

I love to cook because you love to cook. You taught me that it was okay to fail, as long as I learned from it and moved on. Your maxim of no comments until after dinner is good advice for a cook. You taught me to be open to new foods and even though we were young, we all remember Julia Child’s kidney recipe as well as Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, S.O.S. – dad’s recipe from the Marine Corps – and so many other foods and dishes. Continue reading Dear Mom,

Roadside beach

Sometimes you just have to pull over and take time and breathe.

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist

sunset, Lake Michigan - eastern shore, June 8, 2014

I was up north for the weekend. I drove north Friday night and came home, reluctantly, Sunday evening. Saturday was busy. It was full of chores and full of pulling in air, something I desperately needed. Saturday afternoon, I slow-cooked a pork butt on the grill and made my famous cucumber and red onion salad, at least it’s famous to me. It tastes like summer. I sliced off some pork slathering it with BBQ sauce Continue reading Roadside beach

Plat du Jour

It is Monday morning. Saturday has passed, Sunday, too. It’s Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday weekend and there is no school. On a normal Monday morning, I’d be up to my eyebrows in teaching ELA, but today and last Monday, and the Monday before last – school has been out. I enjoy the three- day weekends, but I get lazy and don’t accomplish what I should. However, last weekend was a three-day weekend for my students, it was not for me, the teachers had a workday and I got a lot done. Full Disclosure, though it felt like a three-day weekend.

Saturday morning's sunrise....
Saturday morning’s sunrise….

The weather has been typical Midwest January – cold. Continue reading Plat du Jour

Saturday morning, again

saturdayweatherRight now, it’s almost fifty degrees warmer than it was Monday morning. By some standards, it is cold but it feels rather warm. Following our freezing cold of Monday morning with the incredible wind chills, we’ve warmed up, relatively. It’s still January and there are colder days ahead; and of course there is February and March and possibilities of more cold and snow. It’s winter in the Midwest. It is the price we pay for the three other seasons.

I grew up in south Texas where summer begins in early May and ends in late September, or November depending on the year. Winter comes for a week; sometimes, for two weeks, but it is like that houseguest you are glad to take to the airport at the end of their stay. Depending on who’s telling the story (I escaped \ I was released \ I ran away) Continue reading Saturday morning, again

Christmas

this morning's view from my 'office'
this morning’s view from my ‘office’

It’s a wonderful morning in Illinois. The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, and there is a blanket of snow on the ground. We, at least W and I are, are back after spending Christmas in Ohio. B and O stayed another day and will leave for Michigan sometime today. W and I will head north early Sunday morning to join them; in the meantime he and I, and Ivy of course, have the run of the house. We also have a few things to do, like study for finals (W) and grade papers (me), before we pack up and drive north.

Somehow, Christmas always catches me by surprise. It sneaks up on me, pounces, and leaves me dazed. No matter how hard I try, I never seem to be mentally, emotionally, or physically prepared for the season. Perhaps it goes back to my days working in restaurants when the Christmas season was a blur of long days and even longer nights, or maybe there is a deeper reason for my Christmas surprise. But, my restaurant days are behind me, almost twenty years behind and I still find myself lost at this time of the year. Teaching has replaced working in restaurants and there is a two week long break for Christmas. When Winter Break and Christmas do arrive, all I want to do is rest, sleep, or just enjoy downtime. There always seems there is more to do than we have time for, or places to go and visit, there never seems time to just, be, to enjoy the holiday. We have our family traditions – we put up the tree, decorate outside, and inside – B always does a wonderful job of making the home full of  Christmas spirit. O loves to listen to Christmas songs and when she rides along with me, there is usually a fight over the radio, but not during December. I believe it all goes back to scarcity and choices; or how I use time, or not. I do enjoy Christmas and the entire holiday season, I just never seem to have it all together. It drove my dad nuts that I was so, so laissez-faire. It drives B crazy, too. Continue reading Christmas

Burgers and dogs

old fishing bobbers and Petosky stones
old fishing bobbers and Petosky stones

It’s another beautiful morning by the lake. It’s quiet and everyone is still asleep, including Ivy. I have drained the coffee pot, checked e-mail, transferred photos from photo cards, played games, and done everything imaginable except start writing.

The weekend has come and gone and with it another Ausable River Canoe Marathon. It’s an epic event for the town. There have been sixty-six of them, including this year’s race. The town hosts a festival and it is a big deal. The parade is bigger than the Fourth of July parade. There is a Saturday car show, carnival rides, a craft fair with vendors, and at nine o’clock, the race begins when racers pick up their canoes and run to the river, jump in, and begin paddling to Oscoda – some 120 miles away. It’s quite an event.

We had guests this weekend. Continue reading Burgers and dogs

Cottage Time

Ivy WILL NOT be left behind
Ivy WILL NOT be left behind

I am at the Michigan cottage now, it has been 1600 plus miles in one week. That’s how far I driven since my trip to Mississippi and back and to the cottage last Friday morning. That’s a long way. The drive down to Mississippi didn’t seem to faze me, but the drive back took its toll. I was whacked, the following day. All I wanted to do was sleep, I would sneak off to lie down and catch a short nap, if I could. It only frustrated B because there was much to do, there always is, especially when we were packing and heading north for a week. Continue reading Cottage Time

Road Trip – Part 2: Homeward Bound

IMG_0010It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve been in Oxford for five days; counting this morning and Friday night, really, three full days, and I do mean FULL days. Regardless, my mission is done. Julie, rather Juliana (only one ‘N’) has the internet and an iPad.

During my time, here in Oxford I have exposed her to all sorts of new experiences – e-mail, the internet, and iPad apps. Along the way, I have left her a trail of notes and left behind a notebook with screen shots, but I hope, nothing overwhelming. It has been fun to visit, talk, and share. I wish we lived closer so I could visit more often, or she could visit us. However, that is not an option so I’ll have to write, e-mail, and call maybe even face-time.
Continue reading Road Trip – Part 2: Homeward Bound

The turkey….

roasting and getting ready for dinner!

It’s Thanksgiving morning and the turkey is in the oven. There are yams cooking on the stove and it’s pretty quiet. Ivy’s been out a couple of times and she had a treat to start her day. I mixed chicken broth, warm chicken broth, with her dog food this morning and she enjoyed it.  Actually, she’s in the doghouse with B, because Ivy woke us up just as the sun was peaking over the horizon. She had slept at the top of the stairs just outside our room and let out a yelp and short bark to let me know it was time to go out. I felt the warm spot on the carpet when I went downstairs to let her out and start the day. Unfortunately, B’s sleep was collateral damage and she followed me downstairs.

It’s my job to cook the turkey and it’s in the oven. The smells are just now wafting through the house and before long; the aroma of Thanksgiving Continue reading The turkey….