Archive for the ‘turkey’ Tag

2-26-2015 Journal – Goodbye X-mas!   Leave a comment

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‘Before’

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‘After’

I’m exhausted.  This morning I’m feeling exceptionally lazy and with little or no effort I could stay in bed all day. This is truly the downside to Christmas if there is one.

Yesterday’s celebration took a lot of thought and planning from both my better-half and me. It was worth every minute we spent preparing.  Everyone had a great time, received an abundance of gifts, and ate until they couldn’t eat on more thing. 

It all began with what I’m sure will become an ongoing Christmas tradition. Everyone received a goody bag and in the top of each bag was a can of Silly String.  It took just a few seconds for the adults to open the cans and let the strings fly. The grandkids weren’t familiar with Silly String and were pretty much covered with it before they could get their cans opened. It was the perfect way to set the tone for the day even though the cleanup took a little longer than we thought.

Two hours later the room was filled with torn tissue papers, ribbons, empty boxes, and a lot of laughter. As you can see Christmas is a messy proposition if done properly.

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‘I think there’s a kid under there somewhere.’

Then it was into the kitchen to complete the food preparations and to get that big fat bird ready to eat.  The meal went without a hitch and we all left the table fat, dumb, and extremely happy. As we vegged out in the living room it was time for viewing everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Vacation.  Since almost everyone in the family has the best lines memorized we could have turned off the sound . . . but we didn’t. Then began the continuous stream of funny and sarcastic comments about the movie which were endless.

I was one of the first to call it a day but my better-half wasn’t far behind. It was a great day for everyone concerned and I’m sure they all slept as soundly as we did.

I hope your holiday was as enjoyable as ours.  Now it’s on to New Years with all of it’s silliness. 

Hey! . . . someone! . . . where’s my coffee?

12-27-2014 Journal – Bye Bye Christmas!   Leave a comment

Finally Christmas has come and gone.  For me it was the longest Christmas season of my life.  The retailers started their season well before Halloween and it increased in intensity every week.  It wasn’t all that bad but it truly was annoying at times.

The house is quiet for the first time in a week and while I had a great week it was also exhausting.  The visitors and family have returned to their homes safely and for that I’m grateful.  I ate too damn much, drank a little more than I should have, and helped spoil the hell out of our grandson.  It was all good until I climbed back onto my treadmill yesterday.  I thought I was gonna die.

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Christmas Day was insane as you can see from the pictures.  The grandson was sitting in the middle of the debris and I just thought I’d tell you that my cat is also in there somewhere.

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“Stuffing”

My bird turned out great and so did the better-half’s special family stuffing recipe. The day after we all had cold turkey sandwiches that we’re almost as good as eating it fresh from the oven.  I see a huge turkey pot pie in my future and after that the remains of that poor bird will make an excellent soup.  If I could figure a way to eat the bones I would.  I’m a true carnivore.  Here’s the before and after photos of that delicious bird.

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“Before”

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“After”

I suppose we’ll be keeping the decorations up until New Years has but there’s more going on there than even you can imagine.  A few days ago my step- daughter made a comment that she knew me and was sure that the Christmas tree would be down and packed away before 2015.  After some discussion my better-half and I decided to do something totally off the wall  and outside the box. It looks as if we’re going to keep the tree up for all of 2015. Each month it will be decorated for any holidays that fall during that month.  Next up will be the Valentines Tree but before that the Superbowl Tree will be killer. 

Each months pictures will be posted of the tree and copies forwarded to the all knowing step-daughter as well. I’ve accepted her challenge and it should be a hoot.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

09-23-2014 Happy International Coffee Day!!!   Leave a comment

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I’ve been a coffee addict in a serious way since my time in the U.S. Army.  During those years my Army buddies and I drank a great quantity of what was called coffee.  It was strong and thick and black as night.  It was really just a poor man’s substitute for “speed.  It would keep you alert for hours on end while patrolling or carousing in the nearby villages until all hours.  It was as important to us as the food we ate and there was an endless supply available in the mess hall around the clock.

I returned to the states to resume my civilian life and within a  short time became a member of the Pennsylvania State Police.  The coffee was a little weaker but we drank it constantly as we patrolled both at night and during the day.  And no, donuts weren’t as prevalent as the media and stand-up up comics would lead you to believe.  It was all about the caffeine.

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I come by my coffee addiction honestly and it still remains an important part of my existence to this day.  Just as a point of information I feel the need to reiterate; I hate Starbucks.  They’ve made coffee a yuppie joke to those of us who are real coffee drinkers.

With International Coffee Day approaching on September 29 I thought you might find a little coffee trivia interesting since it’s been an important commodity for millions of people throughout the centuries.  Here we go. . .

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Once in the past, coffee was believed to be the devil’s drink. Pope Vincent III heard about it and decided to taste it. He enjoyed it so much he baptized it, saying "Coffee is so delicious it would be a pity to let the infidels (Muslims) have exclusive use of it."

Both the American Revolution and the French Revolution were born in coffee houses. The American Revolution was developed by patriots who were customers in the Green Dragon (some say it was the Green Lion) Public House in London.  The infamous French Revolution in 1789 was spurred on by Camille Desmoulins’s verbal campaign in coffeehouses.

  • Vincent Van Gogh was a big frequenter of the café society and famously said “I have tried to show the café as a place where one can go mad.”
  • An interesting Turkish law decreed that it was quite acceptable for a woman to ask for a divorce if her husband failed to provide her with adequate coffee rations.
  • Coffee was denounced by many religious leaders as the drink of Satan. Coffee houses were known as “hotbeds of sedition”. In the 1700’s many coffee houses were ordered to close.
  • There are 900 different flavors of Arabica. Complex and very volatile, they deteriorate if exposed to air and light.

The original blend called "Maxwell House" got its name from The Maxwell House Hotel, where it was first served in Nashville Tennessee in 1886 (also where Teddy Roosevelt was heard to say "good to the last drop", creating the Maxwell House slogan).

In 1732, at the height of his creative genius, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the Cantata No. 211 or Coffee Cantata. It is considered by many to be a work of perfection.

In Turkey, bridegrooms were once required to make a promise during their wedding ceremonies to always provide their new wives with coffee. Failure to do so would be grounds for divorce (no pun intended).

  • The second most widely used product in the world after oil.
  • It is a living to more than 100 million people.
  • It is consumed at the rate of 1400 million cups per day.
  • The world’s second most popular drink after water.

Beethoven, a known coffee lover, was not only particular about his music. He was also particular about his coffee brew. He always wanted 60 beans for each cup of his coffee.

Today, there must be 10,000 coffee shops in Venice alone! (In the year 1763, there were already over 200 coffee shops in Venice)

Cappuccino derived its name due to its similarity in color to the robes of an order of Monks called the Capuchins.

Well-known performers such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan began their careers performing in coffeehouses. Another singer, Lightnin’ Hopkins, complained about his woman’s neglect with her domestic situation because of her coffeehouse socializing in his 1969 song, Coffeehouse Blues.

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Well there you have it.  Every thing you always wanted to know about coffee but were afraid to ask.  It’s now time for me to get back to my new friend, the K-Kup coffee maker, for a hot and sweet cup of vanilla/biscotti.  Man that’s the cats ass.

11-27-2013. Thanksgiving   2 comments

It’s just turning 6 am on Thanksgiving morning.  It’s a windy and chilly day as it seems to be every year on Thanksgiving and I love it.  This just happens to be the one holiday that means more to me than any of the others.  Many holidays are religious and since I’m not a religious person they mean very little to me.  My best memories of my family are those from the many Thanksgivings we spent together.  There is no anticipation of gifts and the many negatives associated with that mind set.  It’s just a peaceful family gathering to share a meal and to be thankful for the good things in our lives.

I’m lying in bed with my better-half who’s sawing some serious logs next to me.  My cat just jumped up on the bed to demand his Thanksgiving breakfast, and the coffee pot just came alive and is beeping to let me know it’s time to get up.  This morning is  going to be just about me and that big, fat, twenty pound bird awaiting me in the kitchen.  I began thawing  him out two days ago and yesterday I began some of the prep work for his debut today.  Tradition means so much to me and I love preparing the bird.

As a youngster I spent all of my Thanksgivings with my immediate family at my grandmother’s home. She was an old school cook whose Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were the things of legend, just incredible.  She was responsible for my undying love of cranberry sauce (the jelly kind) and the stuffing and gravy she was famous for.  I begged her for years for her gravy recipe but she’d just smile and say “maybe when your a little older”.  She went to her grave with the secret and I’ve spent years still trying to get it  just right.  Man do I miss her at this time of the year.

As a young man I married and moved away from my home area in Pittsburgh to Massachusetts and lived twenty minutes from Plymouth Plantation.  I visited Plymouth every year and attended as many of the local celebrations as possible.  I ate Thanksgiving dinner at the Plantation, was on and off the Mayflower many times, and really developed a love for the area.  We even visited many of the Wampanoag  Indian ceremonies that we were introduced to us by a friend who was a member of the tribe.  It was a terrific tradition we’d developed but as in all things change was inevitable.

Divorce required me to find a new residence.  I bought a small cottage near the ocean in Kingston, Massachusetts only 5 minutes from downtown Plymouth.  I lived there for three years and submerged myself in the history of the Pilgrims, the Indians, and everything Thanksgiving.  Again changes had to be made when my company bankrupted and I moved to Maine.  For the next seven years I celebrated a rather lonely Thanksgiving tradition.  I returned home to Pittsburgh once or twice during that time but for the most part it was just me, my cat and two ferrets. I maintained my own tradition with a large turkey breast, stuffing and all the trimmings and made the most of my crappy situation. The memories of all my past Thanksgiving’s helped tremendously but once again change was in the air. It arrived unexpectedly in the person of my better-half.

After a few years of adjusting to one another we’ve finally settled into a rather happy life and the holiday traditions had to change once more. We both maintain certain of our own family Thanksgiving traditions and are now creating a few of our own.  This year we’re welcoming our new grandson to the table for the very first time.  He was just a pooping and crying ball of flesh last Thanksgiving but now he’s grown into a walking and almost talking little person about to be officially seated at the holiday table.  I hope in the years to come the memories of his grandmother will mean as much to him as mine do to me.

I also hope that your Thanksgiving will be even better than what you expected.  The best thing about traditions is their flexibility.  No matter how much change we’re forced to deal with, both good and bad, the traditions carry on regardless.  The thoughts of years past and loved ones who are no longer with us  are the real traditions and they can never be taken away.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

11-24-2012   1 comment

They’ll be no more mentions of Thanksgiving and related food topics.  I’ve eaten enough turkey, turkey pies, turkey soup, and turkey sandwiches for this year. It’s onward and upward to the next step on the stairway to 2013.  My better-half and I have begun planning another of our annual holiday visits to faraway family members.  Since my mom passed this year a trip to western Pennsylvania won’t be happening.  Instead we’ll be on our way to the state of Maryland for a birthday bash/holiday visit for my better-half’s mom who is turning eighty.  Her many siblings and their spouses, partners, and significant others will also be in attendance for the festivities.  I’m not at all thrilled about traveling during the Christmas season because it seems every time we do something bad happens.  In years past I’ve had two near-death experiences in unexpected blizzards where we played bumper cars in the snow.  I’m beginning to appreciate all of those years I lived in Pennsylvania and was within driving distance of most of my  relatives.

My better-half has been in great spirits for the last few days and I suspect she’s suffering from Pre-Vacation Silliness Syndrome.  She has a vacation scheduled to start in fours days but mentally she’s already checked out.  Combining that with her never ending Christmas cheer might be enough to drive me “over the edge”. How would you like to drive for eight and a half hours through possible snowy conditions with a tone deal Christmas elf singing carols in your ear.  I hope her sister and brother-in-law have a good supply of alcoholic refreshments chilled and waiting my arrival. I’m going to try my best to hide those stupid red antlers she soooo loves to wear because I just know the first police officer that sees her in that outfit will most  likely what me to stop and chat so he can smell my breath. I hope and pray the weather cooperates and we get there and back without incident.

Now for some new business.  I received a message from Matthew Ryan at A Toast to Dragons nominating me for the coveted and spectacular, Very Inspiring Blog Award.  As part of my acceptance I ‘m told I need to list 15 of my favorite blogs.  Since I ‘m a very discerning reader fifteen is out of the question.  Here are five in addition to Matt that I read religiously.  For sweetness and poetry – Don’t Quote Lily, for sexy – Snarky Snatch, for our military – Brain Rants, and for an Australian perspective – Polly Woffle.  I have one last blog that I’ve read for years even though the blogger passed away in 2006.  His family maintains the blog and it’s archives and I still visit it every chance I get.  Go to Gut Rumbles as written by the late great Rob “Acidman” Smith.  He’s the only reason I’m blogging today.  Any one of these blogs is well worth your time.

I’d like to continue this but I’ve been assigned repair duties today.  Fix the kitchen light, put out the Christmas flag, take down the screens, and blah blah blah.  Just another day in this paradise that is my life.  Tomorrow is another day.

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