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September 2008

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Temporary Hiatus

Hope everyone had a great week. Tim and I went to visit the kids in Wisconsin and had a wonderful trip. It’s always so hard to say goodbye, but they’ll be home in a few weeks for our annual Pumpkin Carving Party so it kind of softens the blow.

I just wanted everyone to know that I am taking a temporary hiatus from One Generation to Another. As many of you know, Michelle and I started a craft blog, Wee Folk Art and that needs quite a bit of attention right now to get it started. Also, I’ve wanted to give One Generation a bit of a face lift, a slightly different format, and a different hosting site so I’ll be using the next few weeks to regroup.

I have so enjoyed meeting and becoming friends with so many of you. Please feel free to drop in at Wee Folk Art anytime. Michelle or I usually post every day, and although it is a “craft” blog, we also talk about family and friends. If you’d like me to notify you when One Generation is up and running again, just post a comment, and make sure to include your email address under your name. (If you do this on the lines provided on the comment form, it will not show up in the comment itself.) Or drop me a line through CONTACT.

This is not goodbye, just “see you later”. I wish everyone well, and please, feel free to contact me anytime through the site. I will not be taking it down until I have the new site up and running. I wish to thank everyone who’s stopped by and shared the last year with me, especially those of you that were frequent contributors. Be “seeing” you all soon.

Nothing's Perfect

Raising three children you quickly learn their individual needs. For example, my daughter, the oldest, needed extra time at night for her tuck in. By nature, she was a night owl. She was not ready to shut down at 8:00 p.m. when her brothers were tucked in, so we’d sit and chat or play an endless array of word games, most of which we made up, until she was ready to settle in. When she got older and started reading chapter books on her own, she’d often lie in bed, reading, until sleep overcame her.

My middle child, the oldest son, pretty much passed out after a story and a song. He played hard during the day, and bed was a welcomed friend. He, however, needed a slow and leisurely wake up. The first 15 minutes of the day set the tone for the rest of his day. If rushed in the morning he was apt to be ill tempered and off the rest of the day. So, I usually began his wake up process 15 minutes before he needed to get up. I’d rub his back, hum little tunes, and as he became responsive, we’d discuss the up and coming day. By helping him to get centered in the morning, his chances for a successful, pleasant day were greatly improved.

My youngest, also a son, was an amiable opportunist. As the third he learned early to take attention when attention was given, to play the games his older siblings played and to sleep when a quiet moment presented itself. He had a jovial personality, and like many third children, became the family diplomat. He always sought me out when he needed to talk, and I just needed to be in tune to his subtle nuances. Even as a teen he’d wait until I had a quiet moment, usually when I went up to read in the evening, to come in and plop on my bed. Then I'd know it was time to close my book and to listen.

So, red flags went up one evening, when I went up to read at 10:00 p.m. and found my oldest son, then 7 years old, still up. I went into his room, sat on the bed and asked…

Me: What’s up?

Him: I’m trying to think of something that’s perfect, and I can’t.

Me: I’m a little confused. What do you mean?

Him: I just want to know that something is perfect.

Me: Why does something have to be perfect?

Him: Because what’s the use of doing anything if you know there’s no chance of it being perfect?

Me: Well, sometimes we can have a perfect day. Everything seems to go right, and we’re happy.

Him: But it’s still not perfect. There is always something different you could have done that would have made the day better.

Me: Well, sometimes when I’m in the garden, I marvel at a perfect flower.

Him: But if you looked at it really closely under a magnifying glass, you’d see it wasn’t perfect at all. SOMETHING would be wrong with it. It might look perfect, but it wouldn’t be.

At this point I’m wondering how many other mothers around the world, at this precise moment, were having the same conversation with their 7 year olds. I was inclined to believe the number was undoubtedly infinitesimally small!

Me: Well, I guess you’re right, nothing is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t good. We can be pretty happy with things that aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect, but I love you and you make me happy.

Him: (Not satisfied and getting a little annoyed.) I KNOW that BUT there must be something that is perfect.

Me: (Now knowing that unless I offered him something that was perfect, he would not be at peace, so I whipped out the Spiritual card.) Well, maybe there isn’t anything perfect here on Earth, but we are told, that Heaven is perfect.

Him: (Mulling this over) Hmmm, so Heaven is perfect?

Me: That’s what we are told.

Him: And everyday will be perfect?

Me: (Now feeling the smugness of imminent victory.) Yep.

Him: Wouldn’t that be boring?

There are times in our life when we all crave perfection…a perfect partner, a perfect fitting pair of jeans, or a perfect resolution to a nagging problem. In the words of a very profound and often enigmatic 7 year old, wouldn’t that be boring?

I Hab a Code in My Node!

            This is what happens when I wait ‘til Monday night to write my blog…something always happens! Then, I’m up into the wee hours trying to write something creative under duress or propped up at my desk Tuesday morning at the crack of dawn cursing myself for swearing off coffee. (4 months caffeine free and trying to remember why I’m doing this!) Anyway, I’ve been running all day long; first a 5 hour stint with my mom at the doctors, then sitting on the bleachers watching my grandson’s Tae Kwon Do, and finally, being caught in a cold rain. At about 6:30 p.m., I started aching, my throat started hurting, my nose started flowing like Niagara Falls and I have an overwhelming desire to hedgehog on the couch. By Jove, I think I’m sick! So, this my friends IS this week’s blog. Not a shining moment for me, BUT have you ever tried staring at a computer screen when some virus is playing bongo drums on the back of your eyeballs?

            So here’s my question for the week…what natural remedies do you utilize to ward off or lessen the common cold.? BTW…in my opinion whiskey IS a natural remedy! Please share your tried and true ways to confront yourself when the flu bug hits…uh, asap, please!

Sure Sign of Fall

Know how I know falls a comin’? No, our leaves haven’t begun to change colors yet. And, no, it’s not because the kids are going back to school. (Mine have long since graduated, and the grandbabies are homeschooled.) And it’s not even because the days are getting cooler. As a matter of fact, this past week we’ve had some of the warmest days of this summer. I know that fall is around the corner because I’ve been given my first request for chili!

The family gathers at our house for dinner every Sunday. Tim’s daughter called to say her and her boyfriend could not make it this week. When my son-in-law got the news, he stopped just short of doing a victory dance. When the excitement died down, his response was, “Can we have chili?” Now, it’s not that he doesn’t like them. He likes them just fine. It’s just that the only meat Tim’s daughter will eat is chicken. After years of making dinners she would not eat, I started making chicken most Sundays. Although this does cut into my recipes, there still are tons of ways to make chicken appetizing, and I save beef meals for the Sundays they can’t make it. So, naturally, with her not coming, everyone else expects beef.

Like most people, my menus change with the seasons. Although I consider myself a decent cook, I’m in my element in the fall. Soups and stews are my forte! Although everyone has their favorites, chili seems to be a hit with just about everyone! Over the years I have played with many different chili recipes…ranging from a very fruity chili, my personal favorite, to a white chili, using chicken and turkey. But several years ago, I stumbled upon a chili that was an instance success. It is a bit of a bugger to prepare. The recipe itself calls for 7 pounds of meat and feeds 20! I’ve never tried to cut the recipe in half, but I do quadruple it every year for Tim’s office Christmas party! It takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours to prepare, and can cook overnight. It also calls for some ingredients that may not be stock items in your pantry. But having said all that, the chili is so good I’m willing to bet you’ll find it was worth the trouble. It is especially respected by males, and has a bite, but not a kick…if that makes sense. Anyway, if you have the time, and you want to make something that is sure to become a favorite, give it a try! BTW, you certainly can cut the recipe in half, but in this household it would be blasphemous, because everyone takes some home and it freezes well. As a matter of fact, Tim’s daughter’s boyfriend is on his way over as I’m writing, to pick up a tup for himself! No reason for him to be deprived!

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT CHILI– Serves 20

Ingredients:

3 pounds lean ground beef

3 pounds lean round or flank steak, cubed

1 pound spicy sausage, chopped fine

3 purple onions, large, chopped small

3 Walla Walla Sweet Onions, or other sweet onions used for garnish (optional)

6 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 cans green chilies, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped small

2 red peppers, chopped small

6 celery ribs, minced

1/4 cup parsley, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin, ground

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons oregano, dried

4 red peppers, dried or 2 tablespoons crushed

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon coriander, crushed or ground

2 tablespoons Maggi Seasoning

1/4 cup Tiger Sauce

16 ounces Beef broth

2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)

1 can tomato paste (12 ounces)

1 cup Italian plum tomatoes, whole, diced

2 tablespoon Masa Harina or flour

1 beer

Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, for garnish

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add garlic, onions, bell peppers, and celery. Cook until the onions are clear. Remove and reserve.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and sauté meat, cooking until browned. Drain fat. Place reserved vegetables and meats in chili pot. Add all remaining vegetables, spices and liquids (except the beer and Masa Harina). Bring temperature up to a simmer.

Cook covered on very low heat approximately 5 hours*. Adjust the consistency after 3 hours. If too thin, uncover and reduce by turning up heat slightly. If it is still not the desired consistency, add masa harina or flour to thicken, beer to thin, as needed. Taste and adjust for spices carefully (the flavor will develop as the chili cooks). It should be hot enough to be memorable, but not so hot it takes the skin off the roof of your mouth. It is better to sneak up on hot. You can’t take it out. If it cries out to be hotter, add just enough Louisiana hot sauce.

Serve topped with chopped Walla Walla sweet onions and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

I often make my chili the night before and let it simmer overnight in my electric roaster. Also, Maggi Seasoning comes in a bottle, as does Tiger Sauce, and can be found in most large grocery stores.

In our house, chili is a sure sign of fall. What one dish do you make that triggers the start of fall? Please share your recipe!