Saturday, April 13, 2013

SOME THINGS I WISH I'D SAID


Since I was in high school, maybe before, I have been collecting little bits of paper in a large envelope. I wrote on the outside of the envelope “Things I Wish I’d Said”. The following quotes, bits of advice, etc. are from that collection. Many I don’t know who said them or I didn’t write down who said them. I have attempted to give credit to the ones I know. Otherwise, I have placed the initials UK (unknown) at the end.

I can just hear all of you now.

“Oh, no!”
“ I’ll just save this to read some other time… or not.
“ Haven’t we heard enough of that already?”
“ Good grief, what more could she possibly have to say?”
“ She is the expert on everything…according to her.”

No whining.

I said…it is optional.

But, here it is.

Practice the Golden Rule in all things. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“The Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

“When you’re somewhere you should be there. It’s what you do while you’re there that matters. A place should be better for you having been there.” ~UK

Learn to say “no”. It is a complete sentence.

Give children what they need: food, clothes, shelter and love.

“Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self-control, diligence, strength, contentment, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know.” ~UK

“Worry is just like a rocking horse, it keeps you going, but it gets you nowhere.” ~UK

“You have the ability to have an incredible life. It comes down to the power of choice. Unveil your purpose. Take time to be with yourself, go internal, listen to your body and to your own thoughts. Start living a life that feels right.” ~Christian Nardi

“Tell me thy company, and I’ll tell thee what thou art.” ~Cervantes

If you don’t know something…ask someone…or “google” it. I must have called my mother, Marge and Poopsie hundreds of times with questions about how to cook something. I didn’t have access to Google or online recipes. Ericka carries that torch. She used to call me to ask questions about cooking but she doesn’t much anymore. She listened and practiced.

“Don’t regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. Enjoy today. Everyday we all get older. It will get worse…if you’re lucky.” ~UK

“Give them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy.” Amen.  ~The Book of Common Prayer.

“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others becomes immortal.” ~UK

“Nobody ever said it was going to be easy.” ~Gracie Brettholle and a lot of other people.

Make photocopies of everything in your wallet. You’ll save time and stress should you lose it. (Don’t keep the copy in your wallet)

“You cannot be so disobedient that God’s mercy will not be able to follow you, so give Him a chance. ‘Sin bravely,’ as Luther said, and see how much of God’s mercy you can invoke.” Joseph Campbell, through Sarah.

Abraham Lincoln was once being criticized for his attitude towards his enemies. A colleague asked,
“Why do you try to make friends of them? You should try to destroy them.”
“Am I not destroying my enemies,” the president asked gently, “when I make them my friends?”
Round Valley Paper

The Criteria of Emotional Maturity from W.C.Menninger, MD
The ability to deal constructively with reality
The capacity to adapt to change
A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties
The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving
The capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness
The capacity to sublimate, to direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets
The capacity to love

“Fear is the thief of dreams”. Were HD, Rica and I afraid to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter? Probably. But it was an unforgettable experience.

“Some people learn from their experiences. Some never recover from them.” ~UK

“What are the four signs of aging? They are Wisdom, Confidence, Character, and Strength. Look for them not with dismay, but with hope.” ~Valerie Monroe

“In relationships: Tell each other the truth…no matter how painful or disgustingly honest. Then you will feel safe with each other. When you don’t feel safe, you do things to hurt each other or to find safety.” ~UK

“The true success of our lives will not be judged by those who admire us for our accomplishments, but by those who attribute their wholeness to our loving them, by those who have seen their true beauty and worth in our eyes.” ~UK

“Her coping mechanism of denial isn’t working anymore.” ~ Dr.John Ragle

“What you are is God’s gift to you. What you do with yourself is your gift to God.”
Old Danish proverb

“The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.” ~UK

“Anyone too busy to say ‘thank you’ will get fewer and fewer chances to say it.”
~ Harvey Mackay

“ Simplicity is the key note of all true elegance.” ~Coco Chanel

“Man of good humor, honesty, humility and gentleness.”
Written in the newspaper about my Grandfather Hunt when he died. WOW!

“A writer is a failed conversationalist.” ~Irish expression

“ If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” ~Harvey Mackay

“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” (My mother, Foxie, probably said this)

Top 5 SuperStar Carbs:
Green Stuff: Broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, asparagus, green beans, Brussel sprouts, cucumber, celery.
Berries
Sweet Potatoes: Not yams
Oatmeal
Ezekiel bread

Do not do what you would undo if caught.

Hug someone.

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” Danny Kaye

The Koran wisely advises, “You will be called upon to account for all the permitted pleasures in life you did not enjoy while on earth.”

“Keep yourself as healthy as possible.” ~ME

“Life gives you chances and choices. With some of the chances, you have to make choices. With some of the choices, you have to take chances.” ~ UK

“Smile ‘til your face hurts, dance like no one is watching, work like you don’t need the money, and love like you’re never been hurt.”~ UK

“It is better to be honestly arrogant than falsely humble.” ~UK

“Remarriage is the triumph of hope over experience.” ~UK

Floss.

“Don’t put a question mark where God has put a period.” ~UK

“As we go through life we do not get to choose our losses…we only get to choose how we will deal with them.” ~Barbara Bush

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are…endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“SUCCESS: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded upon fables and mythologies. The Christian God is a being of terrific character -- cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." ~Thomas Jefferson

”Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” ~UK

”Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ~UK


”If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ~UK

”Men have become the tools of their tools.” (Consider this in light of the computer age.) ~UK

”That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”~UK

”Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“ I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out ‘til sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”  ~ John Muir

May the peace of the wilderness be with you.

See you in Greer






Friday, March 15, 2013

NO-FAIL-NO-FEAR POT ROAST


You have my personal guarantee that, if you follow these directions exactly, your pot roast will be one of those recipes that will be passed down in your family for generations.

This was the meal my mother always had ready when we arrived after a long road trip from Arizona to her home in Illinois. Never knowing exactly when we might get there, the pot roast was waiting. These are warm and comforting memories.

The smells of the dinner, the candlelight, the soft neutral colors of her d├ęcor and the table set perfectly with beautiful china and silver, showed that she was expecting us…that she loved us.

I now realize how anxious she must have been that we arrive safely as I worry about my family when they are traveling…well, and not traveling…pretty much, I worry about them all the time.

“Let go and let God” is my motto but I’m not very good at practicing it.

For me, there’s no greater feeling than to come home from work having dinner ready and the house smelling welcoming for my family when they arrive hungry.

Slow cooker cooking is the working woman’s dream appliance.  However, you still need to do a little planning a couple of days in advance.

If the meat is frozen, put it in the refrigerator at least one day ahead to thaw. Have other ingredients on hand so you can throw it all together before you go to work.

It is also a rewarding surprise on the weekends when you can do some work putting your concoction into the slow cooker in the morning, leave for the day to have some fun and return to a fully cooked meal for the evening.

I serve this recipe with a small, fresh, green salad, some fresh baked garlic bread and plenty of soft, unsalted butter for your potatoes.

If you don’t want to put the potatoes in the slow cooker then make some mashed potatoes to go with it.

The gravy is always perfect and there’s plenty of it!

I will give you two different methods of cooking your pot roast. One is the easy way and leaves out some work. The other is the ultimate way and just takes a little while longer to put together. The ingredients are the same. The cooking time is also the same…all day.



 You will need:

1 10-inch skillet
1 5-quart slow cooker (for each roast)
Wire whisk
Large slotted spoon
Serving platter
Large vegetable bowl
Gravy boat and ladle

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon
3-4 pound beef chuck cross rib boneless roast
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic
(I use Campbell's. Why? Saving the Labels for Education can make a difference. Please, read about it online and register.)
Knorr French Onion Soup Mix (found in packaged soup section)
Garlic salt
Fresh ground pepper                
Unsalted butter
1 medium onion
8 fresh carrots cut into large chunks. I don’t peel the carrots.
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half.

The Ultimate Method 

Fry the bacon for breakfast. Save most of the grease from cooking the bacon in a glass or ceramic cup. Fry eggs in the rest and eat the bacon.



Heat 3 tablespoons butter or oil in a Dutch oven or skillet set on medium. Add the bacon grease.

Put the roast in the hot oil to brown on all sides. You’ll have to hold it upright in the pan with a meat fork to get the sides browned and to keep the meat from falling over.





Sprinkle lots of garlic salt and pepper on all sides before you turn it.

When the roast is nicely browned, lift it out of the skillet and set it on a plate.

Brown the onions in the skillet in the same oil.




With a slotted spoon, lift the browned onions from the skillet, letting the grease drain back into the skillet. Place the browned onions into the bottom of the slow cooker, keeping the grease in the skillet.



Set the roast on top of the onions in the slow cooker.










Place the carrots around the roast and the potatoes on top of the carrots. Carrots go under the potatoes because it takes them longer to cook.

Into the skillet where you have browned the meat and the onions, pour the mushroom soup, the contents of the dry French Onion  soup mix package, and ½ cup of water. Mix it well with the grease and juices in the skillet.



With the heat on medium, stir with a wire whisk until the contents of the skillet look like gravy. When it is simmering and heated through, pour it over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker.

Put the lid on the slow cooker; make sure it is plugged in (not intended to be funny) and on the low setting.

Forget about it and let it cook, on low, for 10-12 hours.

About a half hour before serving, turn the slow cooker off.

Turn oven on and set at 250 degrees.

Lift the meat out of the slow cooker with two large utensils like a large fork and large spoon and place it in an ovenproof baking dish.
Remove carrots, potatoes and onions from the slow cooker and put them in an ovenproof vegetable dish.

Put both the meat and vegetables in the oven to keep warm until you’re ready to eat.

With a large strainer placed over a bowl, dump the remaining contents of the slow cooker into the strainer.

Let the gravy seep through the strainer, smashing the contents of the strainer with a masher or large spoon so that all the gravy goes through to the bowl.

Put the contents of the bowl (gravy) into a small saucepan and stir while heating on medium. You may have to add some water to bring it to the right consistency.

Before serving the meat, take a fork and separate it into large chunks in the serving bowl. It doesn’t need to be carved into slices. I also remove the fat layer and throw it away...wrapped in newspaper, of course.

I spoon a little gravy over the meat and vegetables before putting them on the table. It makes them glisten.

The Easy Method:

No bacon needed but all other ingredients are the same.

Slice the onions and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Place the roast (straight from the package) with fat side up on top of the onions.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the roast.
Put the sliced carrots in the slow cooker around the roast.
Put the cubed potatoes on top of the carrots.
Add ½ cup water to the pot at this point.
Dump the mushroom/roasted garlic soup, straight from the can, on top of the meat.
Sprinkle the contents of the dry French Onion soup mix envelope over the top of everything.
Cover the slow cooker.
Plug in the slow cooker and turn the dial to low.

Leftovers??? You now have Carne Asada!!

Cozy Pot Roast Memories to you and yours.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

MIND YOUR MANNERS FOR GRANDMOTHER


"Manners Makyth Man" is the motto of New College School, Oxford, England, a preparatory boy's school established in 1379.This is the stained glass window at the school displaying the motto, Courtesy of Wikipedia. 

I had a great grandfather who attended Oxford. I know his manners were impeccable as, I'm also sure, was his sense of humor.

These past months I have been glued to the television on Sunday nights watching "Downton Abby". It is colorful, funny, sad, educational, and offers a nostalgic glimpse into the not so distant past of my forefathers...both upstairs and downstairs.
"To Americans, English manners are far more frightening than none at all." ~Randall Jarrell
StainedglassNCS.jpg (1640×1960)
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Lest you misunderstand, I humbly acknowledge that my manners are not perfect. Everyday I hear voices in my head from my  "descended from English royalty" grandmother angels hovering above me and following me around. 

"Do not speak with your mouth full, don't chew gum in public, dine properly at the table, don't be grouchy, be polite at all times no matter what you are thinking, show respect to everyone, don't discuss religion or politics, don't speak unless you are spoken to, and practice the The Golden Rule:
'Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You'."
"Good manners: The noise you don't make when you're eating soup." ~ Bennett Cerf
Manners are much more complicated than just those suggestions. What my mother, grandmothers and great aunts were really saying is that you must seek social approval.

In other words...don't disgrace them. 
My Great Grandmother, Hannah
Is social status associated with income? Think about it. Have you known upper income people with no manners who behaved like animals or lower income people with perfect table manners, social graces and civility?


"Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go." ~Margaret Walker

I know it was a reflection on my mother if I didn't meet her expectations. I thought it would be a reflection on me if my children didn't demonstrate what I should have taught them when visiting their grandmother.and...on and on it goes...generation after generation fearing their grandmothers.


Living in the southwest of the USA, I would be perceived as uppity if I practiced much of the protocol of my ancestors. I learned early on, when I jumped off the "stagecoach", that the standards of social behavior in the West were different. The times were more casual as was the language. 

But, good manners never go out of style. Woe to those who never learned them anywhere.
"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." ~ Clarence Thomas
They must be ingrained and second nature. You can't learn good manners at the last minute if you are invited to meet the Queen of England or dine at the White House...or invited to your girlfriend's house to meet her parents. You will be too nervous to remember all the rules. 


I'm the short one with the white gloves...with my Grandparents Hunt
Practice daily!

If you don't know any better, you'll only be comfortable with other people who don't know any better.

If you do know good manners and protocol, you'll be comfortable anywhere.

Grandmothers shouldn't be intimidating. They are supposed to love us unconditionally and be cuddly and affectionate.


My mother on her 90th birthday
The traditional image of a grandmother is a plump, soft, rather short woman with white hair pulled up in a knot, wearing a cotton dress, some kind of weird heavy stockings, and clunky black shoes.

Oh, and she always wears an apron that covers her from her neck to the bottom of her skirt...kind of like Mrs.Claus.

I do, on occasion, fit that image precisely.

My mother and grandmothers did not. They were not soft and cuddly. They were teachers. They were dependable, worthy of respect and admiration.

They were kind and with great expectations.

They were the epitome of proper class and breeding passed down from generations of grandmothers.

I am blessed beyond measure to be a grandmother. I do love my grandchildren unconditionally.


A very classy bunch!
I respect the position and wish to be a friend and trusted companion to my grandchildren should they need me. Mostly, they don't need me and I am also thankful for that. Age does slow you down and they can all outrun me.


Nana at 60
I don't, however, want them to fear me.

My mother intimidated my children. They didn't want to disappoint her...or be reprimanded by me.

Mother would never have corrected them. She would just sit smugly and quietly wonder where she had gone wrong with me, their mother.

Before a visit, they were instructed by me "to mind their manners".When we would drive to Illinois there would be two-three days of drilled instruction in the car.

They thought they would be judged by their grandmother if they didn't say the right thing or used the wrong fork or didn't use their napkins properly, or ended a sentence in a preposition like "at" (Heaven forbid!)...say "Where is it located?"...not "Where is it at?" Ouch!.

How could they relax in the presence of such formality?

My children learned their lessons well. If they were afraid of upsetting their grandmother, the process worked very well.Their children, my grandchildren, are being taught good manners.

Being cautious of being around grandmothers is a good thing if the only fear they have is that they won't demonstrate good manners and their grandmother might raise her eyebrows and give them that look.

One of the easiest social graces anyone can apply is not using profanity. My high school speech teacher, Miss Jessop, and my mother said using profanity was like advertising to the person with whom you are speaking that you have no education and possess a very small vocabulary.

Yes. Cussing has impact. The wrong kind. Don't say anything...anywhere that you wouldn't say in front of a child or your minister or priest.

We used to be a civilization of high attainment.

Alas!