Saturday, November 28, 2015

Donations for personal hygiene

We took about $50 of groceries to the Thanksgiving service at UALC on Thursday (nicest church service of the year with the best hymns).  But I kept aside a bag of personal care items I’ve been buying—shampoo, sanitary napkins, deodorant, bar soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, liquid hand soap. These are for Tammy Jewell’s ministry, “God’s Hygiene Help Center,” which offers basic hygiene care to people who have lost their dignity because they simply can’t afford everyday items.  Some are for children, some for out of work men and women looking for jobs, some for the elderly and homeless.

Jewell is a former victim of human trafficking who came to know Jesus. Now she reaches out to addicts and trafficking victims.  When she shares Jesus, she also offers some small material aid.

My story Jewell

From Cornerstone, Nov. 22-26, 2015

A hoarder’s collection becomes art

We’ve all known a hoarder—and maybe there’s a little of that in all of us.  I don’t think of myself as a hoarder, yet I do have favorite “collections,” like small pieces of Hull Pottery, works by Ohio artists, kitty boxes (small) made of glass, ceramic, card board, etc., glass and crystal that belonged to my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, books I’ll never read but like to look at on the shelves, old photographs, and when we put up the tree yesterday, I could see decorations 40-50 years old. I even have three editions of old Encyclopedia Britannica, about 100 years old. And of course, my clothing “archive,” dresses or jackets I wore in the past to dances, weddings, Easter services, etc. The oldest is from winter dance 1955, if you don’t count the dolls and doll clothes which are from the 1940s. These dollies (mine) are sitting on my great grandmother’s chair next to my husband’s grandparents’ secretary. But is that hoarding or saving antiques? Ask my daughter after I’m gone and she has to dispose of it.

          Fifth grade dress b

   1955 Christmas dance

This daughter was ashamed of her mother’s hoarding, but eventually learned to turn it into art.

           Image result for Stephanie Calvert art

The turkey monster

Our cat has always had "issues" about food--she was abandoned and homeless, then dropped at a rescue where the other cats terrified her, then she found us--for 18 years now. For 18 years she's believed she will be put on the street and must eat. Obviously, childhood memories don’t go away with lots of love.  Yesterday I cooked up the turkey carcass, but my SIL had done such a great job of cleaning it, there wasn't a lot left for casseroles or soup. So I chopped up the bits of skin, meat and fat after straining it thinking I'd dole it out to Lotza over the week-end. She demanded the whole thing! This morning she slept until 5 a.m. (instead of 3) in a turkey stupor. Now she's turning her nose up at the canned Friskies turkey. She's just staring at me, which if you've ever had a cat, you know the look.


Cats like to stir the water in their bowl, so her bowl is very heavy and says, “Dog.” When she would spill it on the marble, we couldn’t see it.

2011 Lotza

This is her favorite napping spot. . . my husbands’ legs.  Once she moves to our bed, she likes to sleep on my legs. She’s really not very large, maybe 6.5 lbs, so she a heat seeker.

Other turkey/cat stories:

This is humor.

Turkey is not toxic.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Three Word Wednesday for November 25

I must have been thinking turkey and pumpkin pie, because the 3WW day slipped right past me.  The clues this week are:

Habitual, adjective: done or doing constantly or as a habit, regular; usual.

Illustrious, adjective: well known, respected, and admired for past achievements.

Jumbled, verb: mix up in a confused or untidy way

and there is an event being reported on TV.

“Active shooter situation, Colorado Springs”
Norma J. Bruce
November 27, 2015

Several are injured, and the police are swarming.
Jumbled thoughts as family and friends agonize.
By-standers send in video and reports.
Waiting.  Waiting. A hostage is released! Then another!
These shootings seem to be habitual.
Except the victims and aggressors are different each time,
Illustrious of past events of which they were never a part
And could not ever imagine.

INCIDENTAL COMICS: Collecting My Thoughts

INCIDENTAL COMICS: Collecting My Thoughts

Thanksgiving 2015, Friday family photo

Thanksgiving 2015 trio

Isn’t this beautiful?  My husband has been taking guitar lessons for about a year, and his teacher, Dr. Smoot, wrote an arrangement for him and our son to play together.  So they were practicing in the living room and our daughter came in and looked in the piano bench for something in the same key.  I got all teary.  Had to eat another piece of candy.

Thanksgiving 2015 2

It’s my recollection that I bought the piano in 1965 when I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois.  Which would make it 50 years old.  So I looked around and found a photo.

new piano 1965

We had some great food, all prepared by my daughter, but she hasn’t sent the photos yet (she was having a contest with her sister in law in Colorado).  All I have are the pies.  For only 5 people, that’s a lot of pie. Hers are always very artistic.

Thanksgiving 2015 pies

Do you ever feel this way?


clean office

Special words


Liberté, égalité, fraternité and #blacklivesmatter

Although the media told us the recent events in Paris by Islamic jihadis were the worst since WWII, it was certainly not the worst religious violence in its history. Compared to what the French did to the Catholics, it was kids' play. In the French Revolution of the late 18th c., France was de-christianized, with thousands of citizens with ties to the church were murdered, imprisoned or deported. Churches, schools, nunneries, monasteries, schools, hospitals, etc. were violently destroyed. About 40,000 churches were destroyed and parishes left with no priest. The violence was at first against the throne with its ties to the Catholic church, then against everything Christian. Cries of Liberté, égalité, fraternité like the cries for "justice" and one group's lives mattering by our spoiled university students of today were meant only for a select few.

Ridiculous Black Friday stories

After we left our daughter’s home yesterday they were going to go out to buy . . . king size sheets.  One of the specials for Black Friday which started on Thursday. She should have been exhausted from her 2 days of cooking and planning, but there’s something about shopping that energizes some people.  Maybe I had that sort of energy in my 40s—and just don’t remember.

On Fox this morning I saw a story about 2 women who had shopped for “mini-sports” cars for their kids, and the containers for the toys wouldn’t fit into their cars.  So with the Fox reporter guarding their finds, they went off to find a rental car that would hold their treasures.

Now, think about it.  How much money can be saved if you need a rental car to haul home your treasures?

Students demand the President of Princeton stand up to bullies

Dear President Eisgruber,

We write on behalf of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition to request a meeting with you so that we may present our perspectives on the events of recent weeks. We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which all members of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse. Thanks to recent polls, surveys, and petitions, we have reason to believe that our concerns are shared by a majority of our fellow Princeton undergraduates.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I’m feeling safer already


This quote looks like it should come from The Onion, but unfortunately, it’s just our President speaking stupidly.

Nellemann estimates that taxation has quickly become "the largest share of ISIL's income, both through taxation schemes of the local populous," various mafia-like schemes forcing payment with the threat of violence, as well as human trafficking. The expert suggested that "in 2015, [the smuggling] business is likely going to exceed a total of $2 billion, of which the Islamic State will slowly increase their share."

In its online English magazine, Dabiq, ISIS lays out its justification for its brutality against the Yazidis on religious grounds:

"Enslaving the families of the kuffar [unbelievers] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah [Islamic law] that if anyone were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur'an and the narrations of the Prophet."

As our president says silly things about the climate and terrorism, these women know first hand that it is an evil ideology, not climate that has created these rape farms and mass graves.

What was the golden age of television for you?

Image result for golden era TV third rock

In November 2011 Peggy Noonan wrote a column about the two golden ages of TV,  for which she was giving thanks that year. Here’s what I wrote about my TV memories in 2011.

“Looks like I missed both golden ages. My parents didn’t have TV when I was growing up so if I ever saw Playhouse 90 (1956-1961) I don’t remember it. I was just too busy going to school, dating or working at the drug store to sit down and watch TV. And of the second group I’ve only seen Law and Order (now in its 20th season), and much of it only in reruns--miss Jerry Orbach. Hardly ever watch it these days--too predictable. The others in the second golden age I’ve never seen. [Noonan cited "The Sopranos," "Mad Men," "The Wire," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "ER," "24," "The West Wing," "Law and Order," "30 Rock." ]

Over the years we’ve enjoyed Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) both when it was current and later in reruns; Mary Tyler Moore (1970-1977) and the spin-offs Rhoda and Phyllis; Love Boat (1977-1986) was great for seeing all the stars not usually seen; Cheers (1982-1993); the Bill Cosby Show (1984-1992) and still laugh and identify with the family situations and love the fashions [aside: unfortunately that memory has been tainted by recent sex charges]; Murder she wrote (1984-1996) with Angela Lansbury was never missed and we enjoyed it in reruns too; Golden Girls (1985-1992) although I think I saw this mostly on reruns; Murphy Brown (1988-1998)--great ensemble cast; Frasier (1993-2004) again mostly seen in reruns; Ellen (1994-1998); some of the movie channels like TNT and AMC for the movies I never saw when they were current; Third rock from the sun (1996-2001)--hard to believe Tommy is almost 30 [now 34]; we enjoyed Dharma and Greg (1997-2002); Monk ([was]still current and watching it tonight); The Closer ([then] now in the 5th season).

And remember the great variety shows--Sonny and Cher (1971-1974), Donny and Marie (1976-1979), The Captain and Tennille (1976-1977), Hee Haw (1969-1993) and now we even watch Lawrence Welk, which we never would have done in the 1950s and 1960s, as archives were dusted off with added interviews from the “Welk family” (1986- current) for its old time slot on Saturday evenings (tomorrow will be the Thanksgiving special on PBS). “

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Democrats try to destroy the spirit of Thanksgiving. . .

vintage pumpkin postcard

I’d heard this before—actually from all the talking heads in the news, about how everyone is supposed to stay off politics on Thanksgiving.  But Democrats have carried it to new levels (low), according to James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s Thanksgiving, and the Democratic National Committee is declaring war on uncles. “The holiday season is filled with food, traveling, and lively discussions with Republican relatives about politics sometimes laced with statements that are just not true,” the DNC declares on a website called “Here are the most common myths spouted by your family members who spend too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh and the perfect response to each of them.”

There are 10 “myths,” with accompanying talking points in response—five about Republican presidential candidates, five about political topics. If you’re a Republican uncle and want to stump your DNC-informed niece or nephew, you might want to say something disparaging about Hillary Clinton or bring up national security, as these don’t make the list.

The talking points are unsubtle and tendentious enough that one suspects they were written by the unwieldy named Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself. Example: If your uncle says, “I like that Donald Trump! He says what he means,” you’re supposed to respond:” . . . you can fill in the blanks.

Happy birthday to my bouncing baby boy

Phil and Norma 2015

From the first day he’s kept our life interesting and lively. He’s got the curly hair and long legs I’d love to have. Smart as a whip and intellectually stimulating.  Loves to talk politics with mom.  The light in the corner is probably his guardian angel checking in.

Posters about the jihadi risk in immigration

Map Syria

One of the memes/posters going around Facebook in the last few days concerns America’s rejection of European Jewish refugees in the 1930s, equating it to the current fear that there might be jihadis among the newest Syrian immigrants with no way to vet them. Let’s parse what was happening in the 1930s.

Our government’s response to the Great Depression.  In the 1930s the U.S. was weighed down by a terrible economic depression, and had the leadership of the Democratic party and Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) who continually failed to reenergize the economy. I don’t personally remember, but it colored the lives and behavior of my parents who were teen-agers in 1929.  Other countries had pulled out of that world wide depression in 3-4 years, but with the tinkering and social goals of FDR, we were well into it for a decade. People lost their savings, careers, farms, businesses, dreams and self esteem and were not thinking about the problems in Europe. Many Americans were still first and second generation immigrants from WWI and 19th c. recessions--thousands returned to their birth country.

The role of the media.  There was no social media in the 1930s, but radio and newspapers did a good job of misinformation and propaganda. Then as now the media lied to the American people about the seriousness of the situation.  Just has they sat on the information about the slaughter of the Christian Armenians and the Ukrainian famine and who was to blame (Moslems in Turkey and the USSR in Ukraine), so American intellectuals, Communists in the administration and politicians kept the public in ignorance.

Blame the Jews. America then as now, was awash in anti-Semitism.  If you think the publicity about Israel and Palestine on college campuses is lop-sided now, go back and read original material from the 1930s.  Rich Jewish bankers were blamed for everything that was wrong with our economy,  just as the “rich,” banks and investment companies were blamed for the collapse in 2007-2008.  Then as now, it was government manipulation of the markets and regulations  not Jews that created the mess, but a scapegoat was needed.  Following the traditions of centuries, it was “blame the Jews.” Today, even though the income gap is greater under Obama than any previous president, “the rich” has become a code word for our problems and Jews.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Professor reports on discrimination and bullying

“I can confidently say that when I was in graduate school, my identity as a Christian was far more under attack than my identity as a black,”

“I was repeatedly informed, ” [George] Yancey continued, “that Christians like me were the source of most of the problems in our society, and challenged to leave my Christian identity behind. Like many Christians today, I did not feel safe.”

Usually those who do not like blacks or Muslims admit that they are intolerant but simply try to justify their intolerance. Those with Christianophobia tend to deny that they are intolerant but rather that they are fairly interpreting social reality.

Envisioning themselves as fair and free of intolerance allows them to blame those they detest rather than recognize how their emotions have distorted their intellectual judgments.

By documenting just how hateful some of the attitudes are toward Christians, and who tends to have such hateful attitudes, I hope to bring Christianophobia into the light so that we, as a society, can discuss this social problem and how we might address bigotry in all of its myriad forms.

Note: “So many Christians so few lions” is an anti-Christian  bumper sticker/slogan, which I assume is the reason for the title of the book.

Do you ever feel like you’re from another time and place?


German Muslims join ISIS, then return to Germany

“Former militants who used to fight in the ranks of so-called Islamic State (former ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups against the troops of the Syrian and Iraqi governments are now coming home, raising the threat of potential terror attacks to a new high, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told Bild am Sonntag.

The number of potential attackers currently living in Germany is “higher than ever before,” de Maiziere said, estimating the number of German citizens joining terrorists at 760 people, about one-fifth of them women, who usually do not fight among jihadists, but rather “assisting” the terrorists “in other ways,” de Maiziere said.

The vast majority of Germans fighting in Syria and Iraq are men in their 20s who were raised in Germany and had German or double citizenship, De Maiziere added.

According to the minister, some 120 German citizens have died in the conflict in the Middle East; while about 200 have managed to return back home. The rest is still somewhere out there, participating in terrorist activities, he added.”

Europe closed its eyes—all countries, not just Germany—to the dangers of their insipid multiculturalism, where all cultures are of equal value, and the U.S. is going down that path.

Fellowship or worship? What do you look for in a church family?

Former Fundamentalist and Evangelical Dr. Wesley Vincent shares his faith journey to the Catholic Church. Hosted by Marcus Grodi.

Dr. Wesley L Vincent, CP has a medical practice at 139 Hazard Ave, Suite 7, Enfield CT. He specializes in clinical psychologist, and has over 27 years of experience in the field of medicine.

As an adult he found a church with wonderful music and powerful sermons and after about 2 years discovers that the pastor’s “wife and daughter” were not—she was his girlfriend, and not divorced from her husband.  At another church, he felt he needed to correct what his son was learning in confirmation class. Some churches didn’t teach the trinity; another refused to use The Lord’s Prayer. He finally began to read the early church fathers thinking he would find justification for all the protestant churches different beliefs.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Music is good for you, especially in your later years

Image result for classical guitar

“Music, the most-studied art reviewed, has been shown to have a number of benefits. One landmark study compared older adults who were invited to join a choir to those not invited. Twelve months after the study began, choir members showed decreases in doctor visits, falls, and over-the-counter medication use. Improvements were seen in overall health rating and number of activities performed. In a larger study that randomly assigned individuals to a choir program or a control group, the choir partisans had lower scores on a depression/anxiety scale, and higher scores on a quality of life scale. A survey of older amateur singers before and after joining a musical group showed increases in emotional well-being, social life, quality of life, and self-confidence. In studies of instrumental music, 98 percent of 1,626 survey respondents said that playing an instrument in a group affected their health in a “uniformly positive” way. A study of organ players not only showed decreases in anxiety and depression, but also revealed increases in human growth hormone, a molecule associated with a number of positive health outcomes. Another study that compared the length of time a musical instrument was played (from zero to over 10 years) showed a possible linear relationship between the amount of playing and cognitive performance. However, not all studies reviewed showed such significant results, and in some cases the positive impact of a musical program were not maintained as early as three months after the program was completed. It should be noted that the studies with significant results were considered to be more rigorous.”

If you used to be active in the arts, but no longer are, perhaps you need to rethink why you’re enjoying life less, why there is more anxiety and depression, why you don’t feel well.  Pick up the trumpet, or sit down at the piano, or join that choir.  It’s good for you.

Republicans have led the way for women

Have you noticed how feminists have taken the back seat to LGBTQ issues, or to “blacklivesmatter” issues, or white microaggression, or any of the other victimology themes in today’s political and academic streams of thought? Now the media have to trot out Bruce Jenner for woman of the year, as if  hormone supplements, a manicure, and a glamorous dress make one a woman—accoutrements that a few years ago were an anathema for feminists. 

So looking back to the 2008 campaign I think Sarah Palin stole their thunder.  Feminists just didn’t know what to do with her, and gradually disintegrated, at least as victims.  The left had to seek new and fresh victims--trust fund black students, transgendered reality stars, and anchor babies wanting in-state tuition.

This item appear in SF Gate, September 21, 2008, written by Phyllis Schafly. Sarah Palin never became the first female vice president, but she perhaps did more—she led women out of the feminist swamp even if that looked impossible in 2008.

"Feminist anger against Sarah has exposed the fact that feminism is not about women's success and achievement. If it were, feminists would have been bragging for years about self-made women who are truly remarkable achievers, such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, or former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, or Sen. Elizabeth Dole, or even Margaret Thatcher. Feminists never boast about these women because feminism's basic doctrine is victimology. Feminism preaches that women can never succeed because they are the sorry victims of an oppressive patriarchy. No matter how smart or accomplished a woman may be, she's told that success and happiness are beyond her grasp because institutional sexism and discrimination hold her down. . . Sarah Palin is an exemplar of a successful, can-do woman, and the feminists simply don't know how to deal with her. I hope she will usher in a new era where conventional wisdom recognizes that feminist negativism is ancient history and American women are so fortunate to live in the greatest country on Earth." SF Gate, Sept. 21

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Obama has given us

1.  ISIS.  No matter what you think of the wars of the Bush era, they were essentially over before Obama took office.  He only had to do the mop up and withdrawal.  He hastily left a vacuum into which ISIS/ISIL/IS poured.  Then he underestimated them more than once—first calling them the JV team, then calling them contained.
2. Iran.  The other Arab/Muslim countries should be able to work out a solution to the Syrian refugee problem, and join forces to defeat ISIS (they are afraid too—different branches of Islam).  But because Obama made a deal with the devil (Iran), they don’t trust him and won’t work with him.
3.  Trump.  Probably the worst “Republican” candidate of an otherwise terrific bench, any one of which could run circles around Hillary Clinton, is Donald Trump.  But Americans are so fed up with our juvenile, lead from behind, hate America first, know-nothing president they are falling for Trump’s glib, bombastic “just bomb ‘em” and “close the mosques” temper tantrums.

Don’t worry. . .


Are the campus cry babies and ISIS volunteers just Hunger Games babies?


“The world of the Hunger Games is a commentary on our own. The world in which we live is one in which our greatest goal is comfort, yet their [sic] are children dying in our streets from starvation. This is not just far away, it is right in our own country. This is just one talking point for Christians and the Hunger Games: what is it that we should be doing to curb our own “capitol”-like tendencies?”

Really?  Children dying in our country’s streets from starvation? When our 123 wealth transfer programs amount to $22,000 per person? When the average “poor” family in the US has HDTV, cell phones, regular manicures and over 30% have more than one car?
I’ve read the reviews of the books and movies.  I understand it’s science fiction, but I also understand that this is mind manipulation of children.

The Hunger Games movies have always been predicated on an emphatic and high-minded moral: War and death should never be a game. And it instructs that even when wounds from such dire dealings aren't visible, they sometimes never completely heal.

That kind of serious structure makes these movies hard to watch, none more so than this grand finale. Many people wondered how the final half of Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay book could possibly snag a PG-13 rating given its kill quotient. And it is truly a harsh experience—one that could really upset and even scar some moviegoers, particularly younger ones. I can't stress that enough … but even in the midst of such horror, this movie gives us hope.

When Katniss and what's left of her team take a breather under the streets of the Capitol—a metaphorical underworld, perhaps, bedecked with demons—the Mockingjay is overwhelmed by the horror of it all. She blames herself for the growing casualty count: "Everyone's dead because of me," she says.

But Peeta reminds her that those who died in the tunnels, they died as free men and women—unlike those who died in the games.

"All those deaths?" Peeta says. "They mean something. … They chose this. They chose you."

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is no more a nice movie than Katniss is a nice person. But it is a courageous movie, just as Katniss is courageous. And it cares about a cause, just as she does.

Collective bargaining for teachers result in poor student outcomes

“Laws requiring school districts to engage in collective bargaining with teachers unions lead students to be less successful in the labor market in adulthood. Students who spent all 12 years of grade school in a state with a duty-to-bargain law earned an average of $795 less per year and worked half an hour less per week as adults than students who were not exposed to collective-bargaining laws. They are 0.9 percentage points less likely to be employed and 0.8 percentage points less likely to be in the labor force. And those with jobs tend to work in lower-skilled occupations.”

The new ten dollar bill

Here’s a history of how it’s changed over the years.  We know that this change will be political and that a woman will be chosen, even if she is unknown, unworthy, and undeserving.  It’s time; just like for the Democrat nominee.
Alexander Hamilton’s face has been on the $10 bill since 1929.


I was talking to my brother in northern Illinois yesterday when he mentioned the snow and predicted chill factor.  I hadn’t been watching the weather report, so I thought he was kidding.  No.  Snow is early this year, especially in South Dakota.

Fourteen inches of snow were reported in the southwest quadrant of the city by Friday evening, the National Weather Service office said. On the other side of town, Sioux Falls Regional Airport recorded 7.1 inches by 6 p.m.

The numbers shattered the previous snowfall record for Nov. 20, which was measured at 3.8 inches in 1975.

Other parts of southeast South Dakota had a variety of snowfall levels. In Harrisburg, one area measured a whopping 17 inches of snow, while Huron did not see a single flake, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Weisser.

Snow totals for Friday

Tea –18 inches

Southeast of Harrisburg – 17 inches

Southwest Sioux Falls - 14 inches

Tyndall – 11 inches

Yankton – 8 inches

Salem – 5 inches

Chamberlain – 4 inches

Dell Rapids – 2 inches

Madison – 1.2 inches

Flandreau – 0.3 inches

A solution to the book overflow?


Most of the books designated for give away have at least left the garage counter (one bag is still in the car, one box is on the porch of our summer cottage, and 2 titles snuck back into the house).

books ready to leave

A special Thanksgiving menu from November 22, 2007

                Jeremiah 31 3

Today is my wonderful daughter’s birthday—she has been such a blessing.  I can get teary remembering the first time I laid eyes on her—and her face really hasn’t changed that much, but she did grow into her long eye lashes.  Last night I came across this “Thursday Thirteen” which listed the 13 items she’d prepared for our Thanksgiving dinner in 2007, so I decided it was worth a delicious rerun.

“It's all about being thankful--for family, friends, country and milestones passed. So yesterday after church we drove along the river and past some woods to my daughter's home for her 40th birthday and our Thanksgiving celebration. I asked several times and offered to bring something, but she wanted to do it all, and she really did. All I did was dry the dishes after dinner.

Here's the fabulous meal that awaited us--and we're going back today for leftovers! Everything was sugar-free, and most dishes were low-fat until we got to dessert. She used her lovely Lenox wedding china and crystal and seasonal decorations.

1. A 24 lb turkey roasted to perfection--I've never seen a prettier golden brown.

2. A spiral sliced honey baked ham.

3. Cubed and roasted butternut squash, the best I've ever tasted.

4. Fresh, buttered beets.

5. Homemade, chunky applesauce.

6. Wild rice and mushroom stuffing (I think I saw one of her Martha cookbooks on the counter).

7. Sausage/corn stuffing (with a side portion without corn for my husband who hates corn)

8. cranberry relish, home made

9. Veggie platters of 4 colors of bell peppers, grape tomatoes, pickles, celery

10. hot clover leaf rolls

11. Mashed potatoes and gravy

12. red wine (2 choices), coffee

13. 2 deep dish homemade pies (apple and cherry) and one pumpkin pie, with crusts so tender and flakey she's getting very close to my mother's standard, served either with Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.”

We’ll be going to her house this coming Thursday; I can’t wait to see what special things she’s prepared for her family.