Archive | November, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

28 Nov

Today is OurWeddingour 39th wedding anniversary, and neither of us are any the worse for wear. We actually got married on Thanksgiving day, and this is only the third time the dates have coincided.

I was working at Blue Cross at the time, and December through the end of March was our busiest season. We had Open Enrollment for the Federal Government, students and Medicare recipients, as well as 19 years olds coming off their parents policies. If you died you had to send in your next of kin to take your place.  Fortunately, we did have a four day weekend for Thanksgiving, so The Squire and I decided to jump at it. That or wait until after April 1st.

This was a second marriage for both of us – a second wedding, but a first marriage, and there’s a big difference. Oddly enough, we had both had civil services the first time around, and we wanted a religious ceremony this time.  I wanted to look like a bride, without being Queen of the May, tra-la, tra-la, and this is the dress I found. It was actually a bridesmaid’s dress, but it was just what I wanted.

And so was The Squire.

Surprise, Surprise!

24 Nov

The Squire will be 70 on the 29th, and I was determined to throw him a party for this landmark ocassion.

After a bit of mental mumbling, I decided the easiest and best place was to have it immediately after the late service at church today. I passed around a note during the Annual Meeting on the 10th. “Surprise party on the 24th. No gifts.” I did call a few folks who don’t attend our church; my brother-in-law, our closest friends, our eldest daughter and her family – but even people who normally come to the early service came back over at 11:30 to wish The Squire a Happy Birthday.

Eldest Daughter baked her dad a birthday cake, and one member of the early church group (do you have two separate congregations at your church?)  went over to the grocery store to pick up a deli tray I had ordered. I had hoped to have everything in place before the service ended, but it didn’t run as long as I had guessed it would – will have to ask Fr. M to preach longer sermons – so The Squire was coming into the hall from the narthex door as Eldest Daughter was coming in the back door.

My husband was well and truly flabbergasted, and nearly moved to tears.  Lots of birthday cards, a number of gift cards to Barnes & Noble, and a very happy husband. Ta-dah!

And not a single person had a camera.

Doncha’ Hate It…

20 Nov

…when something goes missing right out of your hands?

Almost my entire married life, payday has been every two weeks, and to avoid extra trips to the grocery store or hit-and-miss meals, I have always picked one cookbook for each week, selected all of my recipes from that book, and put the recipe and the page number on one side of my little steno pad, with the ingredients/shopping list on the other side of the page. I even made a note of which book it was. After I “retired” from the health insurance company in 1983, I registered with a temp agency, and this method has made it easy for The Squire to put dinner together when I am suddenly off working.

Last week, I made up my list, did the shopping, put the page from the steno pad on the fridge, and made one of the meals – a red and white cabbage stir fry with tofu and walnuts. The Squire didn’t care for the walnuts, and I made some notes in the cookbook, and then – I thought – put the book on the shelf. Except that today, I wanted to put together the ingredients for a quiche, so I could slide it into the oven when I got home from a meeting – and the cookbook  is gone.

I have checked page 187 of every book on the shelf. I even looked through some of the books I’ve put aside for a yard sale. Nada.

It’ll turn up next week, I suppose, sitting on the shelf, looking smug, and acting as if it had been there all along.

In the meantime, if anybody has a good recipe for stuffed Chinese cabbage with mushrooms, let me know. I have the ingredients right here.

If I Ever Kill Him…

18 Nov

It is a Rule of the Universe that people who need ten hours sleep always marry people who only need six. As a consequence, I am usually sound asleep long before The Squire comes to bed, and as a rule still sawing wood when he gets up.

This morning I came downstairs at 8:30, fixed my coffee, and sat down at my computer to read the online newspaper and the comics, and generally get geared up for the day. As soon as I started reading the paper, The Squire began handing me pieces of paper to put in the recycling.  “Take this.” “Throw this away for me.” The recycling bin is on my side of the desk, so his requests were not unreasonable, it was simply that the timing was off.

I have a shirt which reads “I drink coffee for your protection”, and it’s no joke. You do NOT want to get near me until I’ve finished my coffee – preferably in peace. I finally asked him if there was any particular reason he felt compelled to clear off his desk now, and just exactly what time had he gotten out of bed, by the way?  “Oh, about seven or so.”

At least he had the good grace to act embarrassed.

New Great-grandson

16 Nov

We have added a third great grandson to our family.  Grandson Christian and Skye had a son, Xavier, an 9:53 on November 13. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces.  Everyone is doing well.Xavier  We told the other two young marrieds they need to have daughters to even up the odds.


12 Nov

The kitchen, she is finished!

The Squire and I hung the last of the wallpaper after church on Sunday, and yesterday I sorted through the dozens – literally – of cookbooks, trying to decide which to keep, to donate, or to toss. It seems you always turn to maybe three or four recipes in a cookbook, and never use the rest. I copied the recipes I really wanted from several books, and put them aside to donate. Most of the rest went back on the shelf.

The real problem is that I have accumulated about fifty or so paper booklets from the 20s, 30s and 40s. I can’t bring myself to part with them, and there are some I honestly do use, but they are too fragile to take the pulling out and putting away of daily life in the Rice Paddy kitchen.  I think I am going to get a clear, flat plastic box, and stow them in that.

My favorite is a handwritten collection, written by my great-grandmother. One of the recipes is for Hasenpfeffer.  It starts off, “First, get your rabbit”.  This has become a family line, and good advice in any situation.

Somebody will go on about planning for this, that or the other, building castles in the sky, and be asked, “do you have your rabbit?”

Cleaning the Barn

3 Nov

The Squire has requested (under pain of death – sorta) that I start emptying the myriad boxes, crates, and cartons from my mother’s “estate”. Today, I actually plowed through three cardboard boxes.

A few days ago I had discussed the Charge-a-Plate that most of the people in Baltimore carried in those pre-VISA days. Lo and behold, in one of the boxes, I found my mom’s plate, and the “velvet” lined case used to carry it. Notice on the case itself, a small ring to attach the case to the inside of your purse.  Even though the card carries my mom’s signature on the back, the front is embossed with my dad’s name, Ernest Parker, as it was assumed in the 40s and 50s that the husband would be the breadwinner in the house hold.

Totally worthless, but pretty nifty, none the less. Something for my kids to sort through when I shuffle off.

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Midnight Rambler

3 Nov

Last night I tied the dog out about 8:00. When I went out at 8:15 he and the rope were gone. The usual routine. Check the road, and then wander around with a flash light, calling his name. (Why the H— doesn’t he ever pull these stunts during the day, when I can find him?)

I heard him bark once, which gave me an idea where he was – back and to the left. Didn’t find him in the neighbor’s yard, so decided to see if he had wandered into the next yard up. Our neighbor has not mowed his back yard all summer, so I was trekking knee-deep in my robe and a pair of snow boots – I know; always the fashion plate! – tripping over vines and stepping into pot holes.  Finally found the little bugger, snagged on a rosebush, and the line stretched as far as he could go. I had to follow it under bushes and around trees to unhook him, and then the fool wanted to explore some more.

I am too old for this nonsense.

The Russian Light Switch

2 Nov

A friend came over today to help me try to finish papering the kitchen (How long, O Lord, how long?) and remarked that one of our light switches was upside down. No big deal. My dad and The Squire had cut the wire too short when they installed that light and it wasn’t worth redoing the entire thing.

On the other hand, all of the switches in the house where I lived with the Late and Unlamented were put in right side up, but wired upside down.

I asked him about it, and he looked at me as if I was a banana short of a bunch. “See that?” he said, pointing to the word OFF on the switch, which was pointing down at the moment, but the lights were on.  He flipped the switch up, so the word OFF was hidden, and we stood there in the dark. “Now, what’s so odd about that?”, he asked.

I didn’t have the heart – or the nerve – to tell him, but it did have a sort of odd-ball logic to it. I simply had to remember they were Russian switches.

Good old Colonel Upizoff.