to daddy with love from your fave!

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zzzzmebabe3My dad passed away October 28, 2006, followed by years of revelation into his great love for me.  I was the lucky one of the family of 3 girls; my first six years were spent playing the role of the “only child”.  This long period of  time with my parents and grandparents admittedly spoiled me.

My relationship with my dad was a mystery until he passed.  It was then that I began having conversations with my sisters about our childhood together.  We were born 6 years apart which meant a weird sort of knowing but not knowing each other.  Knowing but not knowing details and important facts about our family upbringing.  My dad was a very stern German, who took  out his anger and aggression on me till I was 18.  Not a pleasant memory.  But remembering the wonderful times we had together has made me smile and realize he loved the heck out of me regardless.  My dad was a very hard-working steamfitter in Pittsburgh and worked on skyscrapers, hospitals, schools, the civic arena, the stadiums, and did it in all kinds of weather conditions.  He was loud and mean sometimes swearing like a sailor, but we knew that came from the harsh company he kept on the construction sites.  He was either really nice or mean; moods came and went, and he didn’t even drink!  He took good care of his mom until she died, a devotion and dedication my mom did not appreciate.  My dad would  fix everything around our house, take care of his beautiful flower garden and vegetable plants, and kept busy most of the time he wasn’t working.

My dad treated me like his pal, almost like a son. He was the youngest of 5 sisters, and probably hoped for a boy when I was born.  Dad and I were always together, fishing, ice skating, horse back riding, baseball games at Forbes field, staying up to watch studio wrestling and roller derby programs, and playing with my first dog, “Boots”.  My dad was very kindhearted amid his German temperament, and always brought me cool presents when I was sick, for rewards, or just because.  .

I remember the day he came home from work with this big hand-carved, painted wooden horse (of which i only have the nose remaining). He told me the story of how a Negro man at work had this tremendous talent of hand carving, and he told him about my love for horses.  At the time I was reading the black stallion, so that’s what the man created for me! zzzzdady1

When I had my tonsils out, daddy bought me a beautiful china statue of a horse from a store in the Jenkins arcade. I still have that horse statue and keep it in my china closet for safekeeping

When he was working at one of the big hospitals in Oakland, he bought me a china pitcher with the words,”WHAT THE FOOL DOES IN THE END, THE WISE MAN DOES IN THE BEGINNING”.  He admitted it had a special message for me, personally.  It now holds pens and pencils on my shelf.

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In conclusion, I feel that certainly I am the “fool” inscribed on the china pitcher—-because it is in the end this fool has found her dad’s love ……

HAPPY FATHERS DAY DADDY! I LOVE YOU!

a not-so-serious bucket list

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here it is another saturday morning, and i am itching to write in my blog. i think about doing some really outrageous activities. i have been flying solo for the past 17 years, and live a relatively tame lifestyle. so for fun, sometimes i amuse myself with this not-so-serious bucket list in my head. hmmm… the bucket list in my head. i remember in school having to read “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” good story about a guy who had many identities and daydreamed about different activities in which he wanted to participate. wikipedia calls him an ineffectual dreamer, never able to actually carry out his fantasies. funny but sad.

A bucket list- what if? I land a job in a foreign country working with a researcher trying to prove that a little known tribe has no traces of mental illness? or closer to home, counseling Hurricane Katrina victims who still experience PTSD from their ordeal. or maybe traveling to Seattle to research the effects of marijuana legalization on the prevalence of admissions to inpatient psychiatric treatment. or take my little dog, BeBe, and travel to Kansas and wait for a tornado to happen, just to prove the Wizard of Oz was a true story after all?
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things i want to do before i die? much tamer than those fantasy ideas. I am now approaching retirement age, and can possibly live another 20 years (?) God willing. so with that in mind, I should really want to make every day count. do what i want to do. cut back on stress. do only those things i really want to do. paint. sew. write. play the piano. make a ton of jewelry. cook. garden. enjoy my dogs. enjoy my house. be happy.

soon i will be able to spend time enjoying my life instead of stressing!  I can’t wait!

pajama day procrastination

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zzzzwatercoyesterday, pajama day for lounging, lazy day, plans to put everything on hold for Sunday morning. coffee. laundry. nice hot shower. nice hot. no water? old proverb goes like this, “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

what a shock that the spigot turned freely and nothing came out. no water. no water pressure. no shower. no laundry. barely any water in the Keurig tank. hmmm. poor planning, or is it just a crumbling infrastructure?

what a lesson to learn—never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. one day too late.

pajama day—the best day off!

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pajama day—the best day off!

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There’s something absolutely magical and mystical about a day spent totally in pajamas. PJ’s. There is no instruction manual to follow. You wake up early in the morning and vegetate in your pajamas the rest of the day. well, maybe not vegetate, unless you want to do that. Maybe some minor cleaning, like sorting out all my old jewelry today, repairing some that needed it, and then packing a bag for Goodwill. Or cleaning the bathroom or kitchen. Leisure. R & R. call it what you want. it’s the best day off. pajama day.

Saturday is the best day for a PJ day because it is framed in by time off. if you begin your day in your PJ’s, and end it in your PJ’s, it’s like a big giant day off. Its a better day off than getting dressed up. After all, every day that we go to work during the week, we get up, eat, shower, get dressed, go to work, come home, eat, get undressed, put PJ’s on, go to bed again. So if you can break this conventional schedule on a Saturday, it’s divine luxury. There are limitations, however, especially if you have neighbors close to you. You can’t really go outside and empty the garbage, or get the mail in daylight, it’s sort of embarassing. save outdoor chores for night time. it’s actually a benefit of sorts, and it eliminates a few chores.

Another benefit of a PJ day is that you can avoid a time schedule, the need for regular meals at certain times, and the need to use a clock. don’t need it. watch TV, listen to music, read, do some crafting, play scrabble online. no schedule, just free open time. Save the shopping trip for tomorrow, use your Saturday as an excuse not to shop, and you will also save money. On Sunday, you can begin your get-up-and-do-stuff routine, shopping, run errands and chores. PJ day is like a day at the spa, a rest for your stressed-out soul.

blueberry coffee cake—-yummy!

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ZZZZBLUEBERRRRYSnowing outside, great day for a warm, delicious coffee cake…..
Many people outside of New England are not aware of the difference between Maine wild blueberries and the larger cultivated blueberries. Any recipe calling for blueberries will be better with wild Maine blueberries because of the unique combination of sweet and tart flavors and the more tender skin. If you can’t find fresh wild Maine blueberries, visit Wyman’s, the largest wild blueberry grower and processor in the U.S. Their frozen berries are just as fresh tasting as fresh blueberries when thawed. To use, dip frozen berries in hot water for up to a minute or until thawed, then drain and pat dry.

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
•2 cups flour
•2/3 cup sugar
•1 Tablespoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon nutmeg
•1-1/2 cups Maine wild blueberries
•2 brown eggs
•1/2 cup milk
•1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
•2 Tablespoons sugar for top
•STREUSEL MIXTURE:
•1/2 cup flour
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1 teaspoon cinnamon
•1/3 cup cold butter
•1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preparation:

Sift the dry ingredients and combine in a mixing bowl. Add wild Maine blueberries. In another bowl, beat eggs, milk and melted butter. Combine the milk mixture with the dry ingredients, and stir until well blended.
Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured 9-inch square pan. Prepare streusel by cutting the cold butter into the dry ingredients until uniformly crumbly. Add nuts, and sprinkle over batter. Spread the remaining batter over the layer of streusel, and top with 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Test by inserting a knife tip in the center. Cool coffee cake before serving.

waking up in my gramma’s house

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imagesCAAX5X2E One of the most joyous memories I cherish is waking up in the morning at my gramma’s house. I was an “only child” for the first 6 years of my life, in the years 1948 to 1954, and stayed at her house a lot. As I look back at it, those were the absolute happiest days of my childhood. Gramma would come in and raise the blinds, sit on the bed and always asked me, “did you say good morning to Jesus?”
I could hear the birds singing wildly in the sycamore trees that lined the street. Gramma would then escort me to the kitchen where I had my choice of anything she had the ingredients to cook. One of my faves was buckwheat pancakes, with butter and syrup. She always had warm milk with molasses, and cut up fruit in season. Sometimes she would make crepes for me, thin, egg-ey, sheets of deliciousness filled with fruit jam or jelly, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and devoured quickly! Sometimes she would spread sour cream on them, and drizzle apricot preserves on top, and then call them “cheese blintzes”. I’ve seen these in the freezer section of Giant Eagle, but can’t bring myself to buy them since gramma didn’t make them.

Sometimes gramma would make me homemade donuts, zzdonut

which she cut with a metal cookie-cutter looking thing, cooked in a skillet full of grease, and then cooled on a wire rack. zzzdonut1Later we would sprinkle sugar on them, oh my were they ever good! “Twistas” were another fried favorite, that was more of a hard, crunchy dough, rolled out and cut into oblong strips, then sliced down the middle a little bit, and then the two ends were pulled through the center and back out like a bow. These were so crunchy and delicious when sprinkled with powdered sugar! Oh boy, was I a lucky kid! Sometimes gram would make me potato pancakes which were so wonderful, shredded potatoes and slight bit of onion, then fried. We put applesauce on top of these delicious morsels.zzzzpotatopancakes

Waking up at gramma’s was so wonderful….

snow day, no school!

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A snow day back when I was in grade school was awesome. I can remember when we lived on the North Side of Pittsburgh, me and my sister Linda would be so excited to stay home with our mom. A day off school was a treat because we had to attend Catholic grade school, and it was all hard work and no fun. Besides, if we were home with mom, she just might take us up street! Back in the day there were so many little mom and pop stores in the neighborhood. and a bakery. My friend, Heinz Krischke lived upstairs of the bakery with his family. I was glad I had a house. But what I wouldn’t have given to smell all those pastries baking, first thing in the morning. he was lucky. So me and my sister, and mom, would put our boots and coats, and scarves, and gloves, and walk up street. we would stop at Hites corner drug store and mom would buy us new pens and neat stuff like tablets. Then we would go to the post office to get stamps, and to Mower’s local variety store to look at all kinds of toys and household items. Stop at Isaly’s to get some chipped ham and milk. imagesCA5UALZGThen to the bakery to pick up some sticky pecan rolls, cupcakes, cookies and fresh bread. We couldn’t wait to get back home, down the big hill, and get in our warm cozy kitchen. Mom would make us soup and sandwiches for lunch, and if we were lucky, hot chocolate. Me and my sister would play school, or just laze around the house, like it was a real vacation day.