Saturday, November 29, 2008

Round Robin Challenge: On My Table

"High - tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Super squash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff, or is it going to eat us?"

-Anita Manning

For this Round Robin Challenge, my pal Steven asked us, "What's on your table." My answer to him is probably a pretty common one this week. It's a turkey. A 25 lb. naked Foster Farms turkey in a bag to be exact! Why is there a turkey all naked on my table? Well, you see, I am short, so short that sometimes, when I want to make sure that I am seasoning a dish properly, I work with it at the table, as opposed to the counter which is a little high for me. It's not easy being 4 ft. 11. LOL. I swear the older I get the smaller I get. I think it might be true, you do shrink as you get older. Next year I will be needing a step ladder to reach the table. Holy TOLEDO... I am the INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN! LOL.

Here are a couple more photos that followed!

Thanks for the challenge Steven, that was fun. :)

Linking List

Steven... (sometimes) photoblog

Carly... Ellipsis

Martha... Menagerie

Karen... Outpost Mavarin

Jama... Sweet Memories

Liz... Visual Counterpoint

Wammy... The Ellis Family Cincinnati

Connie... Far Side Of Fifty Photos

Sandra... Strong Chemistry

boliyou... Endomental

Teena... It's all about me!

Terri... Ways I See The World **Welcome New Member**

Monica... Family Affair Photography

Sherrie... Sherrie's Stuff

Be sure to come by the official Round Robin Challenges blog on Sunday, to find out the topic of our next challenge! See you then!

"The Naked Turkey On The Table"
Berkeley, California
November 26th, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shhhhhh... Don't Tell Mom & Dad (Feline & Furball Friday)

"I always say, shopping is cheaper then a psychiatrist."

-Tammy Faye Bakker Messner

Shhhhhh. Hi, it's me Hendrix. Don't tell mom and dad that we are cuddled up in their bed! Today is something called "Black Friday" so they will be out all day. Oh they don't go shopping, they like to sit and watch other people go crazy at the malls. Whatever that means! Mommy always takes her camera, because there is always something to see! This year, however, they might be back home sooner then usual. There might not be as many people to see as in other years. That makes mommy sad. She likes to see other folks happy, and having fun. Sigh. Mew. It will be ok, when they get home we will play the "chase game" and the "catch the mousie" game. I won the last time we played, but Dylan is really good at it too! I After we play, we eat dinner. We get crunchies, but mom and dad get turkey. If we are good boys we might get some turkey too. I had my first turkey tasting just yesterday, and I must say, I LIKED IT! So please... don't tell mom and dad that we cuddled up in their bed! MEOW! :)

Now that you have read my Feline & Furball Friday entry, be sure to visit the host, Steven. You can see my pal Pickle, and find the links to my other furry pals. Steven says, Friday is the day for pets!

Note: As of today, I have been living with my new mom & dad 1 month! Wow! Dylan came after me, his anniversary is on December 5th!

-Hendrix & Dylan
"Cuddled Up"
Berkeley, California
November 28th, 2008
Early Morning

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk - festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seed time and harvest, the ripe product of the year, and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God."

-Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)



Alan, Carly, Hendrix & Dylan

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On The Day Before Thanksgiving

"If the only prayer you ever said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice."

-Meister Eckhardt

Everything is all ready for tomorrow. The turkey is prepped, the pie is baked, and all that remains is the quiet reflection of the joys and sorrows of 2008. I am happy to be able to say that, given everything that has happened, Alan and I are still happy, and healthy and going on 19 years of marriage! We are thankful for what we have in each other. We work on our marriage, it doesn't just come easy, believe me. Sometimes I have no idea why he is still with me, given some of my mistakes, but he just laughs and gives me a hug and brushes all the mistakes away. I am thankful for Alan and his ability to forgive.

I wish everyone was as lucky as me. I worry about the world. The economy is so bad, and there are so many folks going without this year. It feels good to donate food to the shelter in Oakland, but it feels horrible to know it isn't enough. And we get told that things will get worse before they get better. Sigh. Christmas will be slight for most households this year, not only will gifts be hard to come by, but so will food and shelter. Every time I get fed up with this tiny cottage I live in, I stop and remind myself of how lucky I am to have it! It's not just a roof over my head... it's home. I am thankful for my home.

I have two new little babies this year. Hendrix is my little comedian, he is a laugh a minute. Adventurous, and brave, loving and feisty. Dylan is my love bug. He is elegant in his movements, and if given a choice, he would sit in my lap all day long. He greets me in the morning with hugs and kisses, and soft kitten whispers, and then his brother joins in. I have never seen two kitten who were more affectionate. They are my boys! :) I share them with Alan because it's the thing to do! LOL. Actually, Hendrix considers his daddy, his personal property, and I apparently belong to Dylan. The truth is, I think we all belong to each other. :) I am thankful for my baby family.

Along with all the personal things I am thankful about, I am also thankful to be able to say I was wrong. YEP... I WAS WRONG! I really wanted to see Hillary Clinton become our next president, and to be honest, I had very little if any faith in Barack Obama. I told you that before. But I also told you that just because we wouldn't be seeing her on the democratic ticket, it didn't mean I would lose my mind and vote for McCain because of it. I promised to try to find something to believe in when it came to Obama, and I did. Not just a little bit mind you, I completely believed in him on election day, and now more then ever!. He has acted more like a president since November 4th, then Bush has his entire time if office. I had almost forgot what it was like to have a competent individual in the White House. I am thankful for Barack Obama. I am thankful I can admit when I have been wrong!

I am thankful that our extended families are well and safe. I am thankful that my MIL is at home, resting after a recent heart attack. The doctor told her that the damage he thought was there, wasn't nearly as bad as he had originally thought. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and prayers. They reached her just fine. :) I am thankful for all of you who take a few moments out of your day to see what I am up to with life and photography. Friends on and off the net make my life a lot less lonely. I am thankful for you. If you are reading this, please know... I am thankful for you!

There is so much more I am thankful for. Little things. Rain, chocolate, spooky movies, stuffed animals, chilled pears, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a good sale at Old Navy, my therapist, music, Dr. B... . The list is endless. Mostly, I am thankful for life and whatever comes my way. Anyone can do the easy times, it's the hard times that build us. I don't automatically think about giving up anymore. I deal. I feel good about that. No hiding. No running away. No pretending something that hurts me doesn't exist. I feel it, give it it's due, and move on. Ok, sometimes I do better about moving on then other times, but I do eventually move on. I am thankful for inner peace. And oh yeah... autumn! :)

"Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day."

-Robert Casper


Berkeley, California
Autumn, 2006
Late Afternoon

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let's Talk Turkey: Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

"When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste."

-Laiko Bahrs

I am all set. Thanksgiving is good to go in our house. I gave Alan two different menu choices, and here is the one he chose...


Warm Potato Leek Soup
Toasted Havarti & Pear sandwiches on Sourdough

Mid-Afternoon Munchies
Assorted fruit, cheese, and pumpkin bread platter

Thanksgiving Dinner
Turkey (roasted with herb butter) & Gravy

Cornbread stuffing w/ dried cranberries

Homemade Cranberry relish

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
(stuffed with apple/raisin/pecan compote)

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Bake

Brown & Serve Rolls

Fruits of the Forest Pie

(Everything is prepared so it is Diabetic friendly) It's easier then you think!

I know, I know... it sounds like a lot of food for two people, but I have gotten very good at learning how to cook portions for two people. LOL. Although, I will be making turkey leftovers for quite a while, in that Alan bought us a 25lb turkey! LOL. OMG, there is enough turkey this year for each of us to eat 12.5 pounds! LOL. Oh well, I am looking forward to developing some new recipes, and it keeps well in the freezer, when stored properly. (INSERT BIG SMILE HERE). I like that I have become an expert at making a fancy meal, that is nearly guilt free! It just takes a little bit of planning. It's a lot of work, but I look forward to it so much.

I am spending the rest of the day today shopping for those last minute prep needs, such as the fresh herbs and garnishes. I am also heading down to my favorite cheese shop to purchase 1/4 lb. of about ten different cheeses for the snack platter. I will use whatever we don't eat in the leftovers I am already planning for. There is only one hitch to everything... lifting the prepared turkey into the oven for roasting. I will be on my own for most of Thanksgiving day, because Alan has to work. He has promised to help be prep the turkey Wednesday night, which is most of the work, but the lifting of a 25 pound bird, plus the wight of the baking pan, is something I am not looking forward to. Darn old torn rotator cuff injury! Sheesh, I hurt that thing way back on Thanksgiving day in 2006, and yet it is hurting today as if I just injured it. I am afraid at this point it is as arthritic as my knees are.

It will be ok. I will put a heating pad on my shoulder, and take my codeine like a good girl, and all will be fine. Heck, maybe I should just stuff the codeine in the bird then everything will really be fine. LOL. Nah, it will be ok, Alan will be home to take it out of the oven when it is done, so I only have to worry about putting it in to roast. In all seriousness, the hardest part is going to be not having my little sous chef, Elvis, to help me prepare the food. He used to sit on a kitchen stool and watch everything I did, when I was making a meal. I even had a little chef's hat for him. Our routine was a simple one. We cuddled up and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, because nothing officially starts until we see Santa arrive in Herald Square, then we donned our hats, and cooked up a storm in the kitchen. Sigh. I am so sad. It's the first Thanksgiving without him, and I miss him terribly. But I do have two new assistant chefs, who have already shown a great fondness for food! LOL. Things will definitely be interesting in my house this Thanksgiving!

So, that's what I will be doing Thursday. How about you? Tell me, what traditions do you have for the holiday? Are you having a big fancy dinner, or are you playing things low key this year? Do you prepare your feast with any special health needs in mind, or do you "take a break from healthy" for one day? Tell me everything!

"Here Turkey, Turkey, Turkey"
San Ramon, California
November 19th, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #13: Turkey Day

"A two pound turkey, and a fifty pound cranberry. That's Thanksgiving at Three Mile Island."


We in the U.S. will be celebrating Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, so let's have a little fun with the holiday... shall we?

EMPS #13: Happy Turkey Day!
Even if you don't live in America, you can have fun with this photo assignment. Here's the general idea. Photograph anything TURKEY! TURKEY thawing in a pan, or roasting in the oven. You can use a stuffed TURKEY (as in stuffed animal) or a stuffed TURKEY ( as in dinner) as your subject. A paper TURKEY or plastic TURKEY used in a centerpiece would be interesting. TURKEY sandwiches, or TURKEY soup would do nicely, as would a TURKEY TV dinner. Live TURKEYS gathered in the wild, or at a petting zoo works, or if you can't seem to find a fowl TURKEY, but you know a real live human TURKEY, feel free to take their picture and post it. But don't forget to get their permission, if you don't they might think you are the TURKEY! I will even accept a photo of TURKISH coffee! If it refers to TURKEY it's perfect for the assignment! One thing... PLEASE remember, this is a family friendly photo assignment. No harming animals folks. Let's show our appreciation for the beautiful bird the TURKEY!

Extra Credit: If you do serve TURKEY for Thanksgiving, show us the WISHBONE!

You have until next Sunday, December 1st, at 9:00 PM Eastern time, to get the photo and post it to your blog, and then comeback here with the direct link. I cannot accept hyperlinks. It must be a direct link to the entry specific to this challenge. And don't forget to link back here so others can join in the fun!

Linking List for EMPS #12: Hot Beverages! 11/17/08


Jama says, "Tea for me, coffee for the hubby." :) Just like in my house!

Karen shows us some unusual hot chocolate, in some unusual mugs!

Liz shares soup and a poem!

Wammy likes to drink a big mug of peppermint tea, but sometimes "just to switch it up," enjoys some peppermint coffee as well!

Connie has a favorite hot cocoa recipe, which she shares with all of us!

Martha also enjoys hot cocoa, especially in a pretty mug!

I think we hot chocolate drinkers have the coffee drinkers beat this time around! :) VERY well done everyone! I will be looking forward to your turkey photos this coming week!

Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! See you in one week with an all new photo assignment!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Share Butterflies

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

-Tenneva Jordon

This year has certainly had it's moments. At times it has seemed jammed packed with bad news, if not for America in general, then for us, on occasions. I knew 2008 was going to be a bumpy ride, when the pipe in the wall behind the toilet decided to become hopelessly clogged on January 1st! LOL Whew... what a way to start a new year! LOL. But then February brought the untimely death of Alan's wonderful brother, and March began with the death of our friend, and landlord P. Elvis was diagnosed with Cancer in April, and that hit us just as hard, if not harder, then all the previous bad news. Alan and I had a lot to deal with over the summer, but we came through just fine, on the prayers of friends and family. October came along, and it was mixed with sorrow and joy, as we lost our Elvis, but gained Hendrix and Dylan. Our new fur babies, that make us smile every single day.

Life is a roller coaster, I keep forgetting that. With the sweet comes the bitter. Yesterday, I got a call from the pastor of my parents-in-law's church. It seems my MIL suffered a heart attack a couple days ago! She is in the hospital right now. The doctor performed a, Cardiac Catheterization, and found that some minimal damage was done, but he isn't doing anything for it. Apparently whatever damage that happened will either fix itself, or doesn't need any additional repair. Either way, I am thankful she is resting comfortably. My MIL means a lot to me. She has always treated me like a daughter, rather then some strange creature that lured her son into the depths of HELL! LOL. Over the 19 years we have been related, we haven't had one single argument. Have we disagreed? You bet! Was it ever so bad that we couldn't agree to disagree... NEVER!

We have shared many things over the years. We sent books back and forth, and compared and shared recipes. Which, let me tell you is completely intimidating, because she is a chef and nutritionist! Yikes! And yet, I managed to impress her with a couple recipes of my own. At least she said she was impressed. LOL. We sent photos back and forth, and she was so enamoured with Elvis, that she actually began her very own, Grandma's Baby Book, to share with all her friends the photos of "her cat" Elvis. She is a lovely, strong, impressive woman, and I felt cheated when she and Dad moved away from the Bay Area just a year after Alan and I wed. I worry about them both, so far away, but fortunately they have a lot of folks around to take care of them and look out for their needs. I just wish I lived closer.

It sounds like she will be coming home from the hospital early next week, and I know someone will have them over for the holiday, but I wish Alan could spend Thanksgiving with them. You never know what can happen, and in that he has always had a happy and healthy relationship with them, it just seems like he should be there. We took a hard hit, financially, after Elvis's illness. We wouldn't change a thing, we have no regrets about giving him chemo, but the cost of everything has made traveling way to expensive to just pick up the phone and book a flight. Hopefully, the economy will get better in time. We'll see. For now, while going back east is out of the question, we are close in our hearts. Please keep my MIL in your thoughts and wishes. I just know if you could meet her, you would love her as much as I do. One of the things we share most often, was our mutual love of butterflies. Every time I see a lovely butterfly I think of her, so the picture above is just for her. :)

"Beautiful Butterfly"
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
Spring, 2008