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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for your presence in this world, and for all the wonderful things that make it such a special place.

Wishing you and your family a joyful, happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Countdown to Thanksgiving -- Bring Up the China!

Thanksgiving is almost here. The real kick-off to the holiday season.

I have posted part two of my series on grieving on Chopsticks and String. This one is about getting through the holidays and includes timely suggestions for coping with the holidays while grieving a loved one -- or helping others in your circle do the same.

It's funny -- I don't have lots of Thanksgiving memories from childhood. I remember watching the parades, but I really don't remember anything else -- no dinner, where we ate. Probably with my grandparents...

It wasn't till Mom died, and her sister seven months later, that Dad and I started celebrating Thanksgiving with the Cleveland cousins. That stopped after Dad started having travel challenges.

But I've really enjoyed the holiday in the past decade or so, enjoying it as an adult and with Rick and on occasion the kids. Sometimes friends join us -- like my friend Richard. It's a good food holiday.

This year no kids -- maybe for dessert or later. So, again we'll grill a turkey breast and eat at Rick's.

Do you watch "Barefoot Contessa"? Ina Garten has a friend, Miguel, whom she often asks to decorate her table. So lately, I've been "Miguel," bringing my turkey china to his house, along with the centerpiece and other table things! (Two versions of Thanksgiving at Rick's below!)

(I also bring stuffing, dessert and wine -- this year it's that Gewurztraminer I wrote about a couple of weeks ago! Highly recommended; $12.99)

So, I've been bringing up my Johnson Brothers turkey china from the basement. I remember driving to Canada with Mom and Dad to get this when I was maybe eight or so.

Continuing my gratitude attitude, I have to say I am so grateful to have Rick and the kids in my life -- the past 13 years have been ever so much richer for their part in it. They are my joy and happiness.

And I'm grateful for my sweet little Gypsy Rose, ace cat, blog inspiration and play pal. His purr, his playfulness, and his loving personality is truly a gift.

And, I'm grateful to my blog pals who visit, comment and offer support and inspiration. I'm coming up on my blogaversary next month (watch The Gypsy for a giveaway in December!). I'm especially grateful to Beth, Shelley and Rosemary whose blogs I visited long before I had my own and encouraged me to take that leap and fly.

I've made new friends from around the world -- and some just across the state! One day I hope to meet my blog pals in person. Till then, I remain grateful and happy that you are part of my life.

So, one more day! What's on your menu?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Countdown to Thanksgiving -- And a Meme

The days are flying by. I must get out the turkey china and shop!

But oh, look at this -- taken today after we delivered over 1,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank from our station collection (and this is only after the first three weeks; we go till December 15).

Yes, beautiful berries and snow. Looks beautiful also, doesn't it -- don't let it fool you!

Today I am grateful that I have the resources to be able to have a lovely Thanksgiving dinner (and dinner everyday) and some special treasures from my mom to make the holiday more festive, while remembering her.

But first, a meme. I saw this on Qugrainne's blog. No tagging here, but if you decide to do it too, do leave me a comment so I can visit!

Seven Things I Did Before...

Go to England
Do lots of acting
Did lots of singing
Adopt Stray Cats
Participate in road rallies
Protest Vietnam
Volunteer at a Grief Center

Seven Things I Do Now

Work for a public TV station
Have a wonderful relationship
Knit
Do art/collage
Own a house
Cook Like a Crazy Lady
Go Crazy at Christmas

Seven Things I Want to Do

Go to Paris
Retire while I'm young enough to enjoy it
Get healthy
Lose more weight
Paint my living room
Write a family cookbook with stories
Meet some of the bloggers I've met online

Seven Things that Attract Me in Others

Sense of humor
Generosity of spirit and self
Optimism
Passion
Creativity
Sense of joy
Good listener

Seven Favorite Foods

Sushi
Shrimp
Fennel
Peppermint Stick Ice Cream
Italian anything
Christmas cookies
Bread -- especially home baked or artisanal

Seven Things I Say Most Often

Actually
Gyppy, Mummy's Home
Yo!
What's Up?
Sure -- when do you need it?
OK, let's think about this.
Yeah, I can do that.

Thanksgiving Countdown! Only a Few Days!

There are only a few days left till Thanksgiving -- have you gone to the store yet?

Adding to my list of gratitudes, I am most grateful that despite several jaunts on some rather slippery roads (and early ice is the worst), I made it safe and sound.

And, I am grateful that Kevin (the younger) is home for the Thanksgiving holiday! Everyday more grown up, more articulate and more welcome!

I want to remind you that if you -- or others you know -- are grieving or anticipating loss over this holiday season, that part one of "Good (?) Grief" -- a series of four articles I'm doing about grieving and getting through the holidays -- is on Chopsticks and String, my other blog.

I hope to post the next installment later this week.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pink Saturday: JFK

It's Pink Saturday! Visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for links to other pinkies!

Today is the anniversary of JFK's assassination. That's 45 years. Pictured is a series of three ATCs I did for a swap about the 1960s back a few years ago.

I was in seventh grade English class when they announced it. It was right before Thanksgiving holiday and I remember I wasn't allowed to sell fundraiser candy during our days off from school. (That didn't bother me.)

My mom picked me up and then we got my cousin Susan who was either coming for dinner or else we were dropping her off -- that part is fuzzy. But it was snowing.

Very weird -- I remember the non-stop telly viewing -- it was almost like CNN -- news all the time, it seemed. I remember the funeral and cortege and seeing Jack Ruby be shot (I think live; maybe replay.)

It was when TV got real.
Where were you?

I'll be taking a couple of pink weeks off for vacation, but back with you in December! Meanwhile, if you have recently experienced a loss or know someone who is grieving, please visit my other blog, Chopsticks and String, where I have the first of several writings related to grieving posted. (And a recipe for toasty roasty tomato soup!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Coming!

Don't look now, but it's almost turkey time! (Above, a vintage postcard from my collection.)

So, between now and Thanksgiving, I'm sharing a few "gratitudes."

Today I am grateful that Kevin is home from school for break. You don't realize how much you miss them till they're gone!

And, I'm grateful for all fans of my pumpkin rolls -- thanks to you, I'll have a bit more to stimulate the economy with!

(Which I did today, coming home from a DTV workshop presentation in a town called Chesaning, about 50 miles from here. A wee bit of damage, with a postcard, bottlebrush tree, and Christmas wreath!)

And finally, today I am grateful it is the weekend! 'Nuf said!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Only Five Dollars!

Last summer, during one of my junking runs, I came across this wicker rack -- three shelves and a little cupboard.

It was pretty ragged, but with good bones. And after a sanding and a bit of paint, it cleaned up rather well.

Oh, you notice the not-so-well-painted parts? A victim of cold weather (I don't have adequate ventilation for indoor painting) and running out of paint.

Good enough for now. Next summer, a second coat of paint!

I love it because it gives me another spot to keep the people I love around me when I'm being creative! (Not to mention memories from my past -- who IS that little girl?)

I have a "few of my favorite things" on this shelf...

The box in the center with the doll head sticking out is my lucky win from Sandra Everston's drawing a couple of months ago. The box was received in a swap, while the tin came from my Canada visit and reflects two of my favorites, Fred and Ginger.

This shelf has a box I made to hold my ATCs, and a tin of the Queen I simply love, along with those photos I mentioned!

Isn't this a great portrait! She was so young!

Not the best photo, but this was my first cigar box. I loved the lion graphic so I covered it a good deal -- but not that part!

So, all in all, a good five dollars spent! (Oh, and that little cupboard is a great spot for holding lots of things!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Write on Wednesday: Life In General

Today the wonderful Becca offered us a beautiful post at Write on Wednesday...
...and this prompt:

So tell me, what are the areas closest to your heart?What aspects of your life in general do you find yourself sharing in writing? Do you enjoy reading/writing personal essays? Who are some of your favorite essayists?

I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone who reads the Marmelade Gypsy that the area closest to my heart is my family (my three guys below, as well as my relatives!) and friends.
(That includes the Gypsy!)

I love writing about the things I enjoy doing with all of them -- and the places we love to share. The Lake comes to mind...

And all the things related to it -- like farm markets...
...and sunsets.
I love writing about the things that I'm passionate about, like art and creativity...

Homekeeping...

And cooking.

And I much prefer writing an essay or opinion piece related to these things than something longer or more plot-oriented. Perhaps that's why I fell so comfortably into blogland. I'm able to share family, friends and home with new people.

I like recounting stories of my youth...

And my parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents.

I will venture into things that make me sad, make me think, or (dare I say it) philosophize (Is that a word?)...

And nostalgia.

And sometimes, I simply wonder...

I enjoy reading essayists. (And I don't know if this category covers humorists or personal short story writers) Anne Lamott comes to mind as one whose work I genuinely love. Calvin Trillin is a favorite. Anna Quindlen. I know there are more!

Becca also offered us an extra credit. I won't bore you with my list -- once I make it. But perhaps you would like to try this one yourself. Couldn't we all use the boost of confidence?

Extra Credit (from The Right to Write): In your journal, list 50 things you’re proud of about yourself…what does this list tell you about the things you value most?

Bits of Art!

The Gypsy and I are happy. The new "Artful Blogging" is here.

I've been pouring over the beautiful blogs and photos -- some familiar to me, others new. The photography inspires me!

So, I thought I'd post a few pieces I've just finished. All are cards -- these are full-sized, blank 5x7s.

Do you recognize this? It's the ATC from Pink Saturday, only bigger and bluer!

And this is art from a vintage postcard that so resembles the late, great Stimpy, I can't resist it!

Then, thanks to the Cuddlebug, some shortbread-mold pressed paper and a little bit of ribbon, I pulled together bunches of note cards.

Who knows -- Invitations? Thank you notes? Baby blessings? They will have a life of their own -- with me or with someone else!

A reminder to newer readers that if you or so someone you know is grieving the loss of someone they love (or anticipating that in the near future), I am posting a series of articles about grieving (each including a recipe) on my other blog, Chopsticks and String. The first is in place; the others will publish between now and the holidays.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Glorious Evening and a Snowy Morn!

The snow was falling quietly and gently this morning (actually, Sunday) as I walked the two blocks from Rick's home to mine (with no make-up. But oh, it was peaceful!)
He was getting ready for a bike ride (because that is what he does, till it's too cold or too icy to attempt). And I approached my house, eager for an afternoon of art and homekeeping.

What a glorious walk! Big flakes of snow on the holly bush in Rick's yard...

The pines in my back yard -- tall, stately, and tipped with white...

Oak leaves, with big polka dots of snow.

Even the last of the outdoor plants had a bit of white on them.

And the bird house was tipped with white.

It has been a lovely weekend. Last night, my friend Holly welcomed us to her home for dinner (pictured here with Judy's husband, Dick.)

She and her husband, Tony (here with Judy and Rick) hosted a lovely dinner prepared by a culinary student at our community college.

Chicken curry, pork tenderloin, a couple of other lovely dishes... all wonderful.

Best of all, we celebrated good friends, good company, and good times before the hectic holiday season takes us in different directions.

It was simply divine.

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