Monday, May 24, 2010

A blast from the past, far out man!

Growing up my mother always sewed my school clothes. Beginning in August she would find patterns and material and then proceed to sew five new dresses all month long. Gathered skirts, Peter Pan collars, little vests to go on top, and sashes to tie into bows. The week before school we would go shoe shopping and I would get a new pair of saddle shoes – the choice I had was: black and white, or cream and brown. In the spring I would get a new Easter/Sunday School/party dress out of a sheer flocked material. At this time I’d also get my one and only pair of patent leather shoes for the year. (By Christmas they were usually tough to squeeze into) My friends and I loved birthday party days because those were the only days we could wear the lovely party dresses to school! I was one of the nicest dressed girls in my grade!

In high school she continued to sew for me. I babysat a lot (for 50 cents and hour) and I knew I could get more bang for my buck if I bought the material and patterns and Mom sewed the dresses. Mom used me to her benefit as well, she didn’t really like to cook so we struck a bargain: I would cook dinner so that she could continue sewing on the outfit through the afternoon. We both ended up happy!

I wish that I could have saved the little dresses and outfits through the years but Mom viewed them as something to cover me NOT as showing off a skill that she had. Usually after wearing the five dresses once a week all school year AND being a growing young girl, the dresses were pretty much done for anyway!

When I got my first “career job”, at the Savings and Loan, Mom made me several outfits for my birthday. I have bits and pieces of the outfits, polyester mostly, but there is one top that I love and still wear! I now call it my “Hippie Top” although at the time it was much to nice for a true Hippie!

Friday, May 21, 2010

More than a haircut.

Today I went to my favorite hairstylist, Lisa, and had a highlight, cut, and style. Over the years we have become good friends, she was a neighbor of my Mom and Dad's and was a true and loving friend to them as well. We always have a good visit, catching up on our families, and neighbors in the old neighborhood. Lisa has her shop in an assisted living center - a natural place for her. She loves the ladies and gents so.

I didn't know that today, I was in for and extra treat. As I was leaving, there was a lovely lady sitting at the entrance of the facility knitting her little heart out.  I could tell that she was a long time knitter, speeding through the row and watching as others entered and left the building. I also noticed that she knit in a way I had only seen one other person knit, holding her right hand under the needle and guiding it around the yarn and through the stitch. The first time I ever saw this technique, the lady was in a knitting class I taught. She shared that an Irish Nun had taught her to knit while she was in parocial school. On a whim I spun around and slid into the seat next to her, and said that I had noticed the way she was knitting. By any chance had she been taught to knit by someone Irish?

She told me no, that she was English and had learned to knit when she was four. In just those few words I could hear that beautiful English accent and told her so. She then continued on saying that she was English but had in fact she been born in India. Her father was a British Soldier and she lived in India until a trip to see relatives in 1939. Her father had wanted to take them to visit family in England before things escalated and they wouldn't be able to travel. The day that they arrived in London the war began. Her father left to fight and her mother and sister stayed in London until the bombs began to fall in the city. Her mother's brother then opened his home in Plymouth to the three ladies. He assured them that they would be safe in Plymouth and would not be in harms way so far from London. Shortly after they arrived in Plymouth the arms depot was bombed.

Elizabeth, the name of this lovely lady, was beginning to get warmed up....later she and her sister got married on the same day to brothers. And as they were leaving on their honeymoon her father took them both aside and said that when they got back from the honeymoon to come and visit - he had a surprise for them. Elizabeth asked if he was going to the United States of America, and he responded, "How did you know? Yes!" Shortly after her parents arrived in America, they contacted the newlyweds and other family members saying, "Save your pennies. This is the perfect place for you."

Elizabeth, family, friends and acquaintances crossed over the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth. Her Mother and Father lived in New York but the acquaintances moved on to California and soon Elizabeth and her husband were told, "This is the perfect place for you." So off they went to California.

It was nearly a perfect place for them but her first husband began seeing other women, "I know, so unlike an Englishman." and they divorced. Her first husband would take their two children every other weekend. Elizabeth called the acquaintance, Sid, who had originally told the couple to come to California. She asked Sid if she paid for her own dinner would he take her to a nice restaurant, it wouldn't be proper for her to one alone. They also both loved to ballroom dance and so after dinner they spent the rest of the evening dancing. Sid would call and ask, "Are the kids gone this weekend?" And soon they spent every other Saturday night out dancing. After seven months Sid asked Elizabeth to marry him, Elizabeth said, "I've been married and know what it's like. You haven't. You don't know what you are getting into. No." But Sid wouldn't give up and after a few more months of asking  Elizabeth finally pointed her finger at him and said, "Alright I'll show you what married live is like. Yes, I'll marry you!" And they spent many happy years together.  "He's been gone five months and three days. He was a wonderful husband."

I told her that speaking of husbands, I shouldn't keep mine waiting.

"My name is Elizabeth, I live on the second floor if you come back soon, stop by....." I will Elizabeth, I certainly will.

(By the way, when Elizabeth was telling about her parents inviting family to come to "The United States of America", she also said that her mother's brothers came from Ireland! Perhaps, her mother taught her to knit??)

It was a great way to begin my weekend.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A quick and yummy meal.

I think that Jo gave me this recipe after a large Thanksgiving turkey with plenty of family to feed. I like to fix this after a night of hubby's cooking - one Costco rotisserie chicken! Because it is just the two of us, I now make half a recipe in a 9x9 pan.

This is the original full recipe:

Easy Chicken Divine
2 10 ounce packages of frozen broccoli
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey (chunks)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(I also add 11/2  cup cooked rice to the bottom layer of the pan)

This recipe works fine without using exact proportions - I often use more broccoli and chicken depending on how many servings I need.

Thaw broccoli in microwave and drain off any liquid. Grease a 13x9 pan. Layer thawed broccoli in bottom of dish. Top with chopped chicken or turkey. Combine soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry powder. Pour over meat. May top with cheese and bread crumbs through I most often top with crushed potatochips or toasted slivered almonds.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until heated through and bubbly.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just a little teapot full of warm memories.

I have an old teapot that my mother-in-law, Maida, gave me many years ago. I treasure it because it meant so much to her. It had once belonged to her Grandmother Rosanna Fancher Thomas. The teapot had a tray to match but when the Thomas household was dispersed, Maida and her sister, Hannah Rose, split the set.
 (The picture to the left of the teapot is a picture of my Granddaughter, "Chloe A Little Bit" and her cousin Joseph meeting for the first time.) This teapot belonged to Chloe's Great--great-great-grandmother! The high chair is one I bought at an auction. It's a great plant stand but a little tippy for a baby to sit in!

Jacob and Rosanna Thomas settled in Aztec, New Mexico after traveling by covered wagon from Altamont, Illinois. This was a second marriage for Jacob Thomas. There were several children from his first marriage but only one surviving child, Maud, from his marriage to Rosanna.
Front: Jacob Thomas, Maud Thomas, Rosanna Fancher Thomas
Back: Elizabeth, Henry, Clara

Stated in the 1880 Illinois Census "Rose" was a dressmaker. Later daughter, Maud, loved to sew as well. My Mother-in-law often would reminisce about how her mother Maud would sew doll clothes and fashion matching hats out of wire hangers and fabric to donate to the church bazaar. Maida always included how she was secretly envious of the children that would receive them.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Chick has left - the nest is empty!

Last week "The Chick" flew the coop - the nest is empty. It must have been traumatic because this is as far as the post got until today......

May 5th:
Today I went to work as usual but Hubby and The Chick packed up her belongings. It was, "To The New Job or Bust!" They loaded up all the furniture that I'd been hanging onto for this big occasion, and Babycakes was put into her cage. She sang a mournful solo for a good many hours!

Sadly, when they arrived at the new apartment, the couch wouldn't fit in through the door! - IT'S NOT MAKING THE TRIP BACK HOME! - My new furniture is arriving Saturday morning! - No returns!!
The old couch came home, it's in the garage. I got my new furniture and love it! "The Chick" starts her new job tomorrow! Babycakes is reverting to her early childhood, using her binky and not sure life is okay without the Cat Whisper!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breaking the rules!

A year ago, when the blog began, I decided that there would be no whining! Mom always said,"If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all!"

The blog has been quiet for almost a month.

Today, I'm breaking my own rule. The wind has been blowing for weeks - up to 60 mile an hour gusts. Our roof is damaged, but thank goodness hubby is handy! It's no fun going out and trying to do a little gardening when you can hardly stand up. Then, the wind died down but this is what I woke up to this morning...
 May 6th, 2010

At school, it's spring - everyone is getting "fed up" - including the kiddos! One little guy came to me this week and asked, "Just what process do I have to go through to get out of this class?" There's 20 days left buddy! "Pass third grade and I'll let you go to a new class in fourth grade!"

When I got home today this is what I found peaking out....
Just maybe, things are looking up!