Nov 23 2011

Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving brings back
many happy memories and creates many more!

Oh! How I love to think of Thanksgivings at my grandmother’s house. What a big deal they were as she was cooking for days ahead. She was a detail planner and carried off big dinners with clockwork precision. The menu was always the same because there was no way to improve upon it. Besides, everyone counted on it from year to year.

Let’s celebrate this woman’s efforts to provide the
perfect Thanksgiving, half a century ago. Where is she?
In the kitchen, of course!

My grandmother was also a great club woman as she loved to go to meetings and socially participate for the betterment of mankind. Most of her meetings were luncheons, so I remember that every meeting she went to, she would come home and recite the menu and describe the table with its tablecloth, centerpiece and place settings. She kept a hostess book, listing every gathering she gave and the menu presented. And, she kept track of what other ladies in Maryland were serving as well. So, I am smiling to myself when I recite my grandmother’s Thanksgiving menu here because the voice in my head, as I type it out to you, sounds just like hers.

Endless tasks accomplished with seemingly endless energy.
Where? In the kitchen, of course!

On a big table that was “U-shaped” and started in the dining room, ran out through the hall way and up into the living room, she served thirty people roast turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes, homemade giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, buttered kernel corn, big luscious pans of macaroni and cheese made with New York sharp cheddar, green beans almondine, homemade cranberry sauce, a relish plate of celery, pickles and olives, AND “Brown and Serve” rolls.

Lots of love on this Thanksgiving dinner table. Just
look how much is heaped in with those mashed potatoes.
And where is this loving cook? In the kitchen, of course!

They had to be “Brown and Serve” rolls, because they were the latest and greatest back then in the 1950s when each labor saving innovation was hailed as an additional blessing for which one should give thanks. I know my grandmother blessed the Brown and Serve rolls. She was the oldest girl of a family of nine children and had made many a pan of rolls, so buying them and popping them in the oven to brown before serving was a treat. Her delight and enthusiasm, as she brought the bread baskets to the tables, was infectious.

“What? Oh no! I don’t need any help. I’m almost done.
I’ll just be a few more minutes…”

The routine of it all was so comforting then. Not boring at all, like it might appear to this sound byte world we live in now. We knew who was going to be there, what we would eat, how wonderful the food would taste and, on top of it all, had the childhood luxury of thinking these Thanksgivings would last forever. We believed they would stretch out in an endless twelve month Thanksgiving cycle, connected like a string of cranberries from one year to the next.

The only problem was, of course, it didn’t last forever. Things changed, as they always do. The older people got even older and then finally weren’t with us. Then parts of the family moved away and some families broke up as the parents got divorced. But, I remember when that wonderful part of childhood, thinking everything was forever, was such a comfort in itself.

If I close my eyes, I can still bring it all back. Everyone is seated at the “U-shaped” table, laughing and talking, eating and getting full. They are all there and all I have to do is take my seat to start joining in.

How about you? Can you close your eyes and bring it all back?

I hope so…

Much love to you and please pass the gravy.


Giving Thanks

If you have an interest in this great book that has
outstanding reviews and is just mouthwatering to read,
hover your mouse over this link to preview:

Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie

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Oct 28 2011

The term Senior Moment means more than “not remembering
where you placed the car keys.” With people living longer
and taking full advantage of the good life, the term
Senior Moment can refer to pleasant moments later in life.

And, talk about pleasant moments! You’ve got to love these Seniors. What “get up and go” they have. I can remember being in graduate school and living near a ninety year old women who rode her bike everyday. I can remember thinking, “When I’m ninety years old, I hope I’ll be riding my bike everyday.” But then, I realized I wasn’t riding a bike everyday at age thirty…who was I kidding? Well, I hope when I’m in my nineties, I’ll be singing rock songs with friends…

Young @ Heart is a senior group of singers
that rock and roll to popular hits.

Watching these Young @ Heart videos pump me up. How invigorating it is to see everyone having a good time, being active and refusing to sit back and let the world pass by.  Isolation can occur at any age.  So, it’s good for everyone to remember to enjoy enriching group activities.

When I found the following videos on YouTube, I was tickled to see people who grew up without computer technology adding to their experiences. What fun they are having. They are enjoying life and each other.

The frustration of trying something new and having no point
of reference increases the learning curve quite a bit.

Think of how computers have changed in the last twenty-five years and how they have changed everything we do. When I started working with computers in the mid-1980s, the screen was yellow green and the only way to move the cursor was selecting arrows on the keyboard. In 1993, when Microsoft released “this new program” called Windows, I couldn’t understand why I had to buy a new computer and just couldn’t enlarge the memory of my old one. And then, on top of buying a new computer, I had to learn new things. Sigh…  Now, I believe my acceptance of having to learn things hard and fast in the computer world has changed me for the better. I expect to be frustrated with innovations on the computer and to work through them successfully.

This video is endearing as love surmounts unknown technology.

Back when Windows was first introduced, the thought of buying a new computer just to accommodate a new program was hard to understand. It was equally hard not to invest, though, because friends were raving about Windows and were very convincing as to its merits. When I bought a new computer with Windows, I was amazed at how Windows enabled one to work on tasks without flipping back and forth through many screens. Why, one could just open a new window and do more than one thing at a time! It was wondrous and now, with all of the videos, colors and graphics we have today, computer progress during the last twenty-five years is truly a miracle.

Another Young @ Heart video to put pep in your step.
I dare you to stop toe tapping!

I guess what keeps one eternally young is “going with the flow.” Getting up and out of the comfortable chair, going out to see what the world has to offer, then jumping in and learning how to enjoy what’s new and exciting. Works well at any age, but especially so when one is older. At that time, it is easier to believe there is nothing new while one sits in a comfortable chair looking at the same four walls. And, sadly, it’s true. There won’t be anything new, if one doesn’t get up and go out to find it.

One reviewer says: “Race around the board and challange each other to remember lists-from the simple to downright goofy. For example: can you remember to: pat your head, whistle “Dixie”, stick out your tounge, give the peace sign and touch your nose…in that order? 2 to 8 players. Ages…sorry, but we can’t remember how old you need to be to qualify! I read that out of the magazine that I orderd it from.”

If playing Senior Moments sounds like fun to you, hover
your mouse over this link to preview the game,
before you forget…    Senior Moments Board Game

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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 6:20 pm Comments (0)
Jan 01 2011


A very Happy New Year to you and yours with all
the best wishes for 2011, each and every day!

It is wonderous, nothing short of amazing, how fast the year goes by. I am sure I don’t have to go on at length, because I bet everyone out there will agree with me. I am always reflective, therefore, when I come across heartfelt sentiments from year’s ago, like the greeting on the back of the above postcard:

12/29/16 Dear Abbie: I wish to thank you for all the
presents you sent me. We had a dandy day for Christmas
this year. Everything was all white. A Happy New Year
 to you all. Edith

Am I just nosy? I just naturally HAVE to know who Abbie was. Who Edith was. Their relationship, how they lived and how they died. Such love and sweet sentiments from almost one hundred years ago remind me that, just as everyone says, the years pass too quickly and our turn to enjoy life comes to an end. At this time of year especially, it is good to reflect that each day a gift.

With that in mind, here’s a little penguin who knows how to get the best out of each moment, even though his elders aren’t quite sure what to make of it:

I get happy watching this little fellow. Isn’t it catching?

And look at these people! What a genius it took to create this eye catching performance. If you remember back to the 1970s, the following video will make you smile and get your New Year off to a happy start:

Rock out with some memories while this “group” puts on a show.

Once again, here’s wishing you and yours the best of life and love in the New Year. Come back and visit as we take on 2011 together. I’ll be watching out for you and leave a light on!

Much Love,

Fondly, Robin

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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 4:25 pm Comments (0)
Dec 25 2010

If I were not shy, I would bestow
My Greetings under the Mistletoe,
But as I fear you might take it amiss,
I’ll wish you a “Merry Christmas” through this.

December 25, 2010
Saturday morning at 8:00am

Hello there and Merry Christmas!

I hope you are reading this with a light heart while enjoying the day with some well deserved time off. If you have to work, like I have many times being in the medical profession, thank you for providing whatever valuable service you provide.

Here in Maryland, some of us have a long standing tradition of having Panned Oysters for breakfast on Christmas Day. We were out late last night, so we are getting a late start this morning.  That can happen without small children around to activate the Christmas morning proceedings. I haven’t even begun the Panned Oysters and will have to wait until everyone is out of bed.

We waited to buy the oysters until yesterday, Christmas Eve, to make sure they were as fresh as possible. You have to be on your “A” game, though, in getting them, because, if you wait too long, the stores will be sold out. And, you need to have a good organic bread upon which to serve the oysters as they are rich, especially when cooked in butter.  We toast the bread and cut it on the diagonal, twice, to make toast points.

Panned Oysters are simple to make, which is another reason they are favorites on a hustle-bustle Christmas morning. Just take a frying pan and melt a stick of organic butter from grass-fed cows. Use one stick of butter for up to two pints of oysters.

After the bottom of the pan is covered with melted butter, as
it’s melting, gently place oysters into the pan using a slotted
spoon so most of the oyster juice is withheld in the container.

Now, for extra flavor, add about three tablespoons of the juice
to the pan while cooking and add the rest of the oysters. Note:
Ignore teenagers asking whether we are having brains for breakfast.

The oysters should be cooked until the edges draw up and “ruffle.”

Once the oysters are “ruffled,” they are ready to be lifted onto
the waiting toast points. The butter essence is then spooned over
top and that’s it, you’re done. Yum! Yum!

So, I guess I better get hopping to make things happen around here. I’ll be hopping and hoping that you find some peace, love and comfort today and, in addition, that all of your dreams come true for the coming year in 2011.

Have fun throughout the holidays!

Much Love,
Fondly, Robin

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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 2:56 pm Comments (0)
Dec 02 2010

It can be a real challenge trying to run a family efficiently and make sure everyone’s needs are addressed. It’s hard enough when the kids are little and shorter than you are because you have a fighting chance as long as you can run faster than they do. But, what happens in the teenage years when they sometimes equate size with superiority?  Just because they are now taller then you, it seems they think you’ve “gotten stupid.”

Enter Jean Tracy, MSS.  I found Ms. Tracy’s website while looking for information on making household chore charts, including how to decide what chores are age appropriate for what child. What a wealth of information I found. The woman is wonderful. Very pleasant, down to earth and to my tastes, realistic with a heavy dose of common sense thrown in.

Jean Tracy, MSS

Ms. Tracy’s welcome says, “I earned my Master of Social Work degree from Bryn Mawr College. Parenting Resources grew out of my experiences as a mother, a teacher, a marriage and family counselor for over 20 years, and as an author and speaker.” And I believe every word! She seems great to me. Try going to her web site, by clicking here, and see what you think. Nose around because there is lots of information and it will take a while to settle in.

Now, remember, if all else fails, you can always simplify things and follow Anita Renfroe’s methods instead:

If you haven’t seen this video, today is the day!
It’s a big hit at our house, but I know each member
of the family has a different reason for thinking so.

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Oct 31 2010

Halloween – October 31 –  All Hallow’s Eve

What fun we used to have on Halloween in the 1950s! Running around the neighborhood, knocking on doors until they opened and yelling, “Trick or Treat!” We loved the people who gave us full size Hershey bars, although you didn’t have to say, “full size” then because there was only one size. On the other hand, we couldn’t understand the people who gave us apples and insisted they were good for our health. We thought that was just peculiar.

This year, it seems like it’s going to be pretty cold for the kids. Cold like it was the year I decided to be a mermaid. And what a disappointment that was. It was bad enough that mother and daddy refused to pull me around in a wagon so that the illusion of a tail fin could be maintained, but the costume that mother had come up with to keep me happy and make a pretense of me being a mermaid was a long green skirt with the outline of a tail fin drawn on it. Needless to say, I was totally disgusted and humiliated that this ridiculous excuse for a tail fin was being placed on my body. Adding insult to injury, I was supposed to be gracious about it and wear it with a smile. Very hard to do when one is so emotionally encumbered.

This was before Walt Disney’s Little Mermaid, Ariel, but somehow I had channeled the image of a glorious fish tail with real scales and the ability to move my legs as one to make it fan and flip, which would have been relatively easy if I had been in my wagon like I wanted and was being pulled along like I was supposed to be. But no, there I was, a bipedal self embarrassment in a long green skirt with a fish tail drawn on it, shuffling along with a pillowcase of candy, glad that it was dark so nobody could see it, but then alternately mad that it was dark so nobody could see it to realize what I was being put through. The sympathy vote might have been worth a couple extra Hershey’s Kisses, after all.

But actually, the worst thing about that Halloween night, long ago, was that it was cold. So cold, I had to wear a coat over my mermaid costume and the top half of me was the only redeeming feature of the ensemble. I forgot to mention that in my haste to tell you how stupid the bottom half appeared. Mother had done pretty well with the top half and wasn’t it a shame that nobody would see it because it was too cold and I had to wear a coat?

Well, you might be saying, trying to make the glass half full and pull victory out of the jaws of defeat, at least least I didn’t have to wear a hat.

Oh NO! You would be wrong! Of course I had to wear a hat! This whole thing is happening in the 1950s when sensible children with sensible parents were always dressed appropriately to the weather. That night it was cold, and if a coat was needed, then surely a hat was needed, therefore, a red knit peaked hat with a pompom hanging on a chain stitch piece of yarn from the peak that bobbed to and fro was required before I could even think of leaving the house. It was a nightmare come true. There was no hope except the glimmer of truth that no matter how I was dressed, I would come come with a pile of candy. That was the only thing that kept me going.

And so, this Halloween, if any of your children are dressed like a decent mermaid with a shiny, slithery, sparkly, scaled mermaid tail and you are pulling them around on a wagon to create the illusion that they are half fish like they want to be, may I reach out and shake your hand to tell you what a great parent you are? And if you live in Florida so that they don’t have to wear coats on Halloween, may I congratulate you on your unselfish foresight? You have transcended all obstacles while holding down a day job to make your child’s dreams come true.

And may I say, “Bravo! You won’t regret it.” And you won’t have to read their blog fifty years from now to see the trauma you caused them and beg them for forgiveness.

What a great Halloween you will have, with many more to come.


If you enjoy Halloween as much as I do, consider
visiting this site for everything Halloween and MORE!

If you would like to buy a haunted house, click here.

If you want to order the candy you ate as a kid, try this site.

Go here, if you would like to make yourself into a zombie!

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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 3:13 pm Comments (0)
Sep 18 2010

With whom do you live communally?
That’s who’s family to you.

It’s fashionable now to take about, “redefining the family,” as family groups now are more popularly acknowledged to include more than just a mother, father and kids. But families have always existed that didn’t fit that rigid paradigm. People have been forming families for mutual interdependence and community for years that answer to what’s now been “redefined.” Life is full of surprises and what we can count on today, we might not have tomorrow. The same with our families. Things ebb and flow. There will be gains and losses, but Sunbonnet Smart will be here to give you attention whenever you drop by. We’re family to you!

Pirates have a family on board each ship.

So, whether you have a large family or a small one, or whether it’s just you and Sunbonnet Smart, let’s get together on the Internet to blog, to chit and to chat. Holidays especially. We’ll keep the light on for you, tea in the pot and cookies in the oven!

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