Nostalgic Cookie Sing-Along

Inspired by:

Lens-Artists Challenge #75: Nostalgic

…I look forward to seeing the nostalgic moments that are most special to you. Past holidays, times with family and friends, travel moments, or just something that reminds you  fondly of days gone by – it’s your call. Give us a small peek into the things you’re nostalgic about.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #76: Music

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Get out the red and green sprinkles!
And the tiny chocolate chips!
Cookie sheets!
Cookie cutters!
Start the music!

It’s Time!

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When I was raising my children – and by the time each was around 2 years old – we made Christmas cookies together as a family. Simple cream cheese sugar cookies.

We used the same aluminum cookie cutters I used when I was a child.

Our tradition? I made the dough the day before so it was easier to roll out.
My daughter – and then my son – learned how to use a rolling pin and press a tree or bell shape into the flattened dough.

1992 t
Let the decorating begin…

Creativity was serious business.

The teenage years sparked unique decorating ideas such as the occasional anatomically correct gingerbread man. Ahem. All in good fun though…

Every year we were accompanied by the Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along album pumping through the speakers (yes, we had speakers in the kitchen!)…and the clicking of the Canon camera.

My husband, I and the “kids” continued this annual family tradition for over 25 years…always accompanied by Big Bird, Cookie Monster (of course!) and the rest of the gang.

Cookies in the making. Oven warming. Four voices singing – the muppets’ lines memorized to perfection…

It’s that time of the year
When we all want to hear
A Christmas sing-along…

Or

Count, count, count — counting the days,
Count, count, count — counting the day…
I’m counting the days, ’til Christmas day is due…

(just a sample taste of this fabulous album – released in 1984 – just in time for our family).

A bit of nostalgia I never tire of revisiting…

1995 k t cookies
Cookies!
Decorated or about to frosted!

…both in pictures and in song.

Simple pleasures

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #75: Satisfying

Take a moment for enjoyment, particularly the satisfying kind, and drop us a line to share.

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The morning sun.
A steaming mug of coffee.
The day’s newspaper.
Time.

There’s nothing like it – particularly when you are retired, nest emptied…with no place you have to go.

I remember visualizing this possibility years ago…back in the days of hectic mornings. Getting kids ready for school. Homework! Lunch money! Permission slips! Hat! Coat! Ready Set Go!

Getting myself ready for work. Both paid and unpaid. And out the door before 8 am. Breakfast eaten in gulps. That ever important coffee…waiting until I arrived at my office. To be sipped throughout the morning…lukewarm to cold.

Mornings are different now…

The most satisfying part of my day is the uninterrupted time I have to eat breakfast. While I…slowly and quietly…wake up. And honor the part of me that is NOT a morning person.

And then…the highlight: I can enjoy drinking my coffee while it’s hot. As I read the local newspaper. A real paper. Without feeling guilty when it takes an hour…or more.

I quickly scan…and choose what to read first…

morning coffee 1

Until I find something positive…

morning coffee 2

…for a satisfying start to the day.

 

 

Pie Tales

pie banner


I’ll bring an apple pie!

A few weeks ago, our new friends who live down the hall invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with them and their extended family. We were honored. Also grateful, as we were not going to be able to spend it with our adult children and their families.

It’s an unusual kind of apple pie...I warned my friend. The apples aren’t peeled. There’s no top crust… I also have to make it gluten free.

She was fine with whatever I wanted to make.

It is also huge…filling a lasagna pan.

At Thanksgiving, there is no such thing as moderation. Ever. Especially when it comes to pie. The turkey? The stuffing? And all the rest?

Just the path to pie.

In Thanksgivings past there were always at least 3 kinds of pie at my table…to go along with family shenanigans and card games (as shared in my 2018 Thanksgiving story). I miss all of it.

The most popular? “Hearty Apple Pie” – each slice 2 inches high by many inches wide.

Well, it has been a few years since I made this pie. After downsizing and moving and spending Thanksgivings by ourselves, there was no need to make one until now.

I still had the old family recipe.

As I assembled the ingredients yesterday, I thought…what could go wrong?

First step: substitute gluten free flour blend for the real thing. Press into the pan.

pie crust

Doesn’t quite look the same, but should be fine in the end. It’s PIE after all.

Next step: Core the apples. Can’t mess that one up.

apples cored

 

Next step: Slice apples in the food processor.

Um…the food processor doesn’t work. I tried a different outlet. Nope. My husband and I tried several variations of blades and positioning of the “pusher assembly” and the cover. Still nothing.

Find the directions! 

A fuzzy memory rose to the top of my aging brain. This was the new(ish) food processor we had gotten about 10 years ago. It had replaced the nice simple one from 1978. Back when there were no complicated safety features. When it was your own fault if you stuck your finger in when the blade was running. Back when you popped the blade in, snapped on the cover (the only safety feature) – added the apples through the hole in the top…and voila! sliced or chopped results.

Much simpler.

Not anymore. The current small appliance companies are in the business of saving us from ourselves. Which, in many cases, is necessary. As it turned out, there were 3 different steps and clickings into place that I had to perform before even one apple could be sliced.

I was annoyed for 2 reasons. First that I had forgotten what to do and second, that it had become necessary to make devices so complicated that I had to remember this sequence in the first place. (probably a third reason as well – that I was turning into the old fart I never wanted to be…complaining about newfangled stuff…).

Anyway, after much huffing and puffing and locating the directions…success.

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Next step: Mix with lots of yummy spices. No holding back here…

mix apples

Next step: Transfer to the waiting piecrust…

ready to bake

(fyi: covered apples with brown sugar, almonds and dots of butter which look like cheese…but aren’t)

After baking:

baked

Extra Large Apple Pie ready to share…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

(where there’s no such thing as moderation)

 

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #74: Moderation

All of Me

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #73: Whole

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leaf branch

 

I am a whole person, I should have said to her. Look at me. Hear me.

The doctor in her white coat stood in front of the ever present laptop typing furiously as I spoke…trying to convince her to prescribe several weeks of antibiotics as a preventative measure for Lyme Disease.

I’m not just the tick bite victim, I also should have said. Or a statistic to fit neatly into your column on “how to treat.” 

Of course, I didn’t think of these profound statements until later. When I was driving home and my controlled calm turned to anger.

I had my own statistics and studies to quote – to back up my request – but she would have none of it. She had her numbers and studies and her…reputation as the head of the medical practice. Avoiding antibiotics, even as a short term preventative was her mantra.

The tick that bit me 2 weeks ago tested positive for 2 types of Lyme. I paid $50 to have it tested. She brushed the report aside, explaining…I just assume all ticks around here have Lyme. It wasn’t on you long enough and you got the single dose of doxy right after.

But can you guarantee I won’t get it? But what if I am the exception…as I usually am?…I countered.

Back to her laptop. More typing. The power dynamic firmly in place. She stood as I sat. She paced. Clearly exasperated with my unwillingness to just agree to wait and see if I get the disease. The often chronic, disabling disease.

She knows I already have several chronic conditions…but her focus is just on this one piece of me. This one sliver of data.

There is a cure you know…she offers.

I don’t want to risk getting sick in the first place. I did say that.

After 45 minutes of debate…she extended a “compromise”…10 days of antibiotics.

I hope and pray that’s enough.

Time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #72: Wish

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Close your eyes.

Make a wish.

Blow all the candles out at once!

So your wish will come true…

 

birthday candles011 copy 2

A healthy baby.

One, then two.

Wish them strong and happy.

Wish they always follow their dreams.

Stay safe from year to year.

Wish them confident and sure.

Lives full of love

and

light.

 

So thankful…

For all those years

I blew out every candle.

 

What do I wish for now?

walking together

More time.

 

 

 

Wait for it

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #71: Wait

Explore with me, if you will, the concept of waiting.

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Was this the spot? Where it waited for me a couple of days ago? Before the first frost on the horizon could put it on hold…

deep woods

Camera in hand, I had waited until late afternoon to catch the sunlight filtering through the trees. I thought I was dressed appropriately. Jeans. Sneakers. Jacket. It wasn’t really very cold. The woods were deserted. The path well covered with leaves.

However, I needed to go deeper into the woods to catch the best lighting. I carefully stomped around tree branches, prickly vines, decaying logs…my feet briefly disappearing into layers of damp leaves and grass. Making my way towards the light.

Despite the roar of the nearby highway, I enjoy the peaceful pull of these woods. Bordering my condo development, the local utility company owns the land and has left it virtually untouched. The smell is comforting. Familiar. Summer camp. Vacations with my kids at a lake in the mountains.

And now…retired, nest emptied, I have all the time I need to grab the camera and explore. Taking all the pictures I want to. Standing still in the damp leaves. Waiting for the light to shift. Crouching down. Looking up. Quickly focusing.

Time passes. The light moves once more. And so do I.

Maybe it was here…

deep woods 2

They say you should tuck your pant legs into your socks. This never occurred to me. My woods feel safe. A sanctuary of sorts. Like I said…peaceful. I’m alone, but not really. A lone chipmunk scurries out of a fallen tree trunk and sits feet away, unafraid. A hawk swoops overhead alighting on a top branch…before taking off seconds later – too fast for my amateur photography skills.

There are also the deer I’ve encountered over the past few months…
The mama and her two baby deer who stand motionless when they see me at the end of the access road to the woods. We briefly stare at each other before she turns, babies following, and trots away…disappearing through the trees.

This time, when the light started to fade and I headed back home, I unknowingly transported more than my camera full of new images. After dinner, I transferred the photos…got ready for bed…

And that’s when I discovered what else I had carried home. It was actively feasting on my right thigh.

WTH?

A deer tick.

After much freaking out (this was my first tick), I removed it – with some difficulty. Apparently the little critter was hungry. (full disclosure: my husband assisted)

There is a high risk of Lyme disease transmission where I live in the Northeast so we deposited it in a tiny plastic bag for testing.

The next day, I spent hours…waiting…for the doctor to call me back. Will she or won’t she agree to follow the (current) protocol for antibiotics to hopefully prevent the onset of Lyme. A potentially disabling disease which I could not fathom dealing with on top of the other health challenges I already face.

Waiting for phone calls from doctors takes on its own anxious energy. Unleashing wild imaginings, which I admit are worst case scenarios. However, when you repeatedly hear how you are the exception to the usual rules of medicine (that doesn’t usually happenI’ve never seen that before…), that’s where your imagination – unfortunately – goes. Waiting that sucks the time right out of your day. Right out of your life. I hate spending precious time this way.

After six hours, the doctor called back (the nurse, not actually the doctor – since that rarely happens) and, yes, I can take the antibiotics.

Now I wait to see if they work.

 

tick

(I couldn’t resist a macro shot of this unwanted guest…safely secured in its plastic resting place)

 

 

Alien cures

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #70: alien

 

What an interesting prompt from V.J. this week.

Sometimes I also feel like an alien in the same way that V.J. does. As I juggle multiple health issues that are often met with a doctor shrugging his or her shoulders commenting: I’ve never seen that one before. Before giving up. Time and again.

So imagine my surprise and fascination upon entering a General Store exhibit (at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont) this summer. Filled with – among other things – items from an actual pharmacy circa early 1900s.

I could have spent the entire day in that one building. Hundreds of medications, potions, elixirs and tonics in their original packaging. With claims for cures for most everything that could possibly be wrong with you. I noticed a proliferation of products to help babies sleep at night…and cures for all things bowel related. Interesting!

This is how people were “medicated” back then.

All of it alien to me.

old drugs

That face on the orange box (described as the “laughing baby” trademark)…Sorry, that baby is NOT laughing. He/she/it could possibly qualify in the alien category.

Was it really tasteless? I wonder. At first I thought it was to help babies chill out, but apparently not.

However…

Got me thinking…perhaps there may still be one pill out there somewhere that could cure all kinds of peristaltic problems. Ahem. Plus dizziness and headaches. And costiveness. Yes, I had to look that one up: aka constipation.
Dr. Harrison where are you.

old drugs 2

And if all else fails, there is always the Electric Cough Cure. That chloroform and codeine combo could make a comeback if we’re lucky.

old drugs 3

Unfortunately that wouldn’t cure what ails me.

Either would these…

old drugs 4

But I’ll bet babies who cough would sleep well at night.

 

[All of these products are displayed in glass cases – hence the reflections…]