Happy Thanksgiving, 2019!

One of the things people do on this day is share memories. The present day is indeed worth celebrating, but there is something wonderful about sharing memories that reinforces the bond among family members. I realize some families have bad memories, and I have some myself. Today, we’re talking about the good memories.

After I was divorced in 1982, I started cooking Thanksgiving for my family. My brothers and parents were invited. I believe I usually had my kids for that holiday, I don’t remember being without them on Thanksgiving. It was a nice dinner, and we had fun. The fun really began when my kids were older (Frankie was 16, Nick was 12, Becky was 9), and we moved to our own house from the family home we had.

In 1987, I was able to purchase my own home, a nearly fifty year old raised ranch in an established neighborhood in Omaha. It was so exciting. With help from my youngest brother, Tim, and my son’s friend, Chuck, my kids and I moved. I even drove the U-Haul.

It was that year that we started the Thanksgiving tradition of putting up Christmas lights on the house. The boys were old enough to do it, and they took quite a bit of the day creating their version of Christmas lighting beauty. Some years, their fingers froze from the weather. Many more breaks were taken, inhaling the turkey smell and drinking hot chocolate. They strung lights, unrolled extension cords, and weighted down figures like they had done it all their lives. It was so fun to watch them see their vision come to life! Becky kept checking their progress, playing with our dog Shadow, and telling me Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday EVER! She was so funny. Not a month before, she told me Halloween was her favorite holiday ever. I love that girl. Always is happy with what is in front of her.

Once they were finished, we would continue in the house, watching football, cooking, laughing, and having fun. When we were finished with dinner, we would eagerly wait until darkness came and we would have a grand lighting ceremony. We lived on a dead end street, so we’d stand in the middle of the street, and cheer when Frankie plugged in the lights. We whooped and hollered, clapped, and congratulated the boys on a job well done. This is one of my favorite memories of all time. We really were a good, strong, single parent family. It was a lot of hard work, and I know I made a lot of mistakes, but I also did some things right. I do miss them a lot. They are all off on their own adventures, and I love that they are.

And you know what?? This was in the early to mid 1990’s, before cell phones. I do not have one photo of that whole event, or the others that followed in subsequent years. We repeated what worked. I hope my kids think of it as well, with a smile. So please, put your phones down. Your family is much more important than the football scores, the Kardashians, or your friend and you texting. Do that stuff tomorrow. Soak in your families today. We’re cooking, only one of our five is coming for dinner with her husband and two kids, and we’re going to have fun. You have a fun day, too.

Thank you for reading, and please come back tomorrow. I’m going to tell you about all the money we save on Black Friday. You’ll love it. Like and comment, you get two chances to win the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away to one lucky winner. Honoring the end of NaNoWriMo. And we’re going to celebrate me making it to 50,000 words. There’s no looking back now! See you then.

Thanksgiving Eve

Are you starting to prep any dishes for Thanksgiving dinner yet? I’m trying a new sweet potato dish. I’m prepping the dish today, and baking it tomorrow. There are all sorts of dishes you can do ahead of time. I’m going to google and find any others I can do ahead.

The dish I’m making will use sliced sweet potatoes (Slice width-wise after boiling and cooling), lay in greased pan, mix cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and some other spices, pour over potatoes and bake. Sounds easy. Baked sweet potatoes are great at a steakhouse in place of a regular baked potato. And no one else likes them, so I’m going to save portions of it for later. Yum!!

I’m also making the dressing ahead, and whatever else works out ok. No big deal. Last year, we purchased a new gas range, with five top burners (I love it!) and sure enough, it cooked so much faster than our old electric stoves did. I kid you not. We had to call our daughter and her family to come early. I’m hoping that does not happen again.

NaNoWriMo successful conclusion is still in sight. I believe 2,971 words per day for the next four days will put me in the “winner’s ” circle. It will be great to be finished. Don’t forget to enter my drawing for the Completion of NaNoWriMo. Just like the posts and comment on each day for the month of November, and you could have sixty chances to win. Use tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday to catch up!! You can read them while you’re in line waiting for Target to open! Be safe out there.

If you are a Black Friday shopper, do you know when it started?? The first recorded use of the term was in 1969, and had nothing to do with shopping. It signified the crash of the gold market on September 24, 1869.

History.com reports the city of Philadelphia coined the phrase to describe the crush of traffic and pedestrians from the suburbs out shopping the day after Thanksgiving. The cops worked twelve hour shifts in an attempt to control the chaos. Poor guys! Shoplifting was rampant. In 1961, the city fathers tried to rebrand the day to be called “Big Friday” since it had a better connotation. Didn’t work. Additionally, some businesses were also open on Friday after Thanksgiving, and many, many people called in sick, thus creating a worker shortage.

So, whatever you do, if you are out and about on Black Friday, take precautions. Hydrate, eat well, and be careful to stay out of the way of anyone who thinks a cheap TV is worth trampling people for. Keep an eye on your belongings, as thieves will mix among the shoppers like always. Be aware of your surrounding. And keep up being grateful for everything you thought of on Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling over the next few days, I hope the bad weather misses you. We got some slushy stuff and a bit of snow last night, so nothing bad. The sidewalks are tricky, but watch where you’re going, you should be fine. Walk carefully. Enter to win. Thank you for taking time to read today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Joell!

Today is a very special day in our family. Our oldest grandson, Joell, turns twelve today. It is so hard to believe! He is in sixth grade, which is middle school where he lives in Maryland. We visited in May, 2019, and were present for his Promotion Ceremony from elementary school to middle chool. He has attended a Spanish Immersion program since first grade, and the school is pretty amazing. He will continue the SI program until he graduates from high school, I believe. His mother’s family is Puerto Rican, so it is good that he can practice the language with his mother and some relatives.

No More Elementary School for This Guy.

I hope Joell realizes how special he is to us. We talk about you a lot at our home. We are getting better at texting you and communicating since you now have a phone # of your very own. We love you for a lot of reasons, one being your big heart, so full of love.

You have been taught to share from a young age. Sometimes, when we have been visiting you for Thanksgiving/your birthday, we have seen your parents take boxes of hot meals they have shared from our dinner table to downtown Washington DC and you have helped give them away to the homeless. You were with your Mama on Thursdays to deliver Meals on Wheels. You saw many older people who were lonely and couldn’t afford nourishing meals. You and your mama took food to them and visited them. You helped them be less lonely. You think about other peoples’ feelings. You are a generous young man. I remember when you, your parents, cousin Addison, Grandpa and me, and Shucks from South Dakota went to Puerto Rico.

You were happy to show cousin Addison the places your family loves in Old San Juan. You and Addison posed for photos at the ruins there, and flew kites as your mama did as a little girl when she visited her Grandma who still lived there. And when you and Addison came upon the man who sold ice cream from a cart on the street, you pulled out your wallet so you could treat your cousin. What a generous soul!

Through the years, we have seen you have parties with your school friends, and were happy with all the good friends you have made. You will continue to be a good friend to many people who will continue to meet and get to know. It’s part of a balanced life. Your parents have taken great pride in making sure you learned from an early age about the important things. Family. Friends. Faith.

Last Day of Safety Patrol, May, 2019

You are an accomplished world traveler! You have been many, many more places than some adults have been in your life. You and your family were in Hawaii for a couple of Christmas’, have traveled to Europe and seen good and bad parts of world history. The beauty of Rome and the horror of Auschwitz have made impressions in your young mind. You are curious about things like this, and make it a point to learn the lessons the world needs to learn about such events. You have learned about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and saw where many of the slaves crossed into Canada. Your experiences have been very rich, thanks to your parents. What a lucky young man!

At the Vietnam Wall, Summer, 2019. You are helping your Grandpa heal.

Your dad took this photograph at you and Grandpa at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, his summer. It is a perfect reflection of the two of you, a first and third generation of males of this family, and signifies your importance in Grandpa’s heart, and mine too. You can learn about Grandpa by knowing what experiences he has had in life, just as we learn about you by going to swim classes and competitions with you. You are an incredible swimmer! It’s something I never learned because I was too scared. You have mastered something that is a real accomplishment.

One day, we hope we can all go on a trip through South Dakota, so you may learn about the family and surroundings Grandpa Dan had as a boy your age. We look forward to spending more time with you, and would love to show you Mount Rushmore, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life. The Black Hills played a huge part in Grandpa’s life. We’d love to show it to you. Great camping, but we will probably stay at a motel. I think our camping in a tent days are over. Yours are just beginning. You have been to many National Parks in your area, which is rich in history and stories.

So Happy Birthday, Joell. We hope you have a year as incredible as you are to us, and that Grandpa gets better so we can visit again. He is feeling much better, thank you. Don’t forget how much we love you, and remember, you can text or call us, too!! Love you, Grandpa Dan and Miss Kathy.

To my regular readers, I hope you remember the $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway drawing is December 1, 2019 at NOON. Like the post, comment on the blog, you can have two entries per day during the month of November. If you haven’t read all the blogs, catch up during the Thanksgiving Days off! Read while you’re in the Black Friday shopping lines. I’ll be cozy at home, writing. Thank you for reading, and see you tomorrow!!

Laid Back Saturday

Yes, date night was a success. It starts with a Babe (a/k/a Dan) and his wife, (Moi). We just have fun. If you want an out of the way place that is a dive bar, go to Buck’s. Dan had prime rib, I had a filet. Both were very delicious, and $22, $20, respectively. Typical mid-western full plate of food. Meat, Potatoes, Salad, Hot Veggies. No wonder John Denver wrote, “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy!”

Jimmy Weber, Singing “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy”

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ringside seat/view of the performers. The venue is pretty small, and you take whatever table is open for dinner and probably end up there for the entertainment. We had a table behind a small wall. Could hear well, but couldn’t see. I still took many photos and videos. Unfortunately, Dan still quite a bit of leg pain when he sits for any amount of time. He toughed it out until the headliner, Ray Scott, did about two songs. We just couldn’t stay any longer. Sorry Ray, maybe next time!

A sweet couple requested a song and were serenaded by Jimmy singing “Wichita Lineman.”

Wichita Lineman

Jimmy and Ken Sitler performed a couple of songs. Ken is a fellow Air Force Veteran with Jimmy and they do make great music together.

Jimmy always opens his shows with the Star Spangled Banner, and ends with “Taps, God is Nigh.” Jimmy and a couple friends wrote some beautiful additions to the original lyrics of Taps and I’ve included it here.

“Taps – God is Nigh”

If you ever get to see these people, go! You will be glad you did. I love music that makes me happy. This did.

Today, it was back to Puppy Training Class, and it was fun. The Babe told me to look at how much all the puppies grew since last week! Goldie went from being the biggest to being the smallest! I wonder what the next week will bring?? This class goes four weeks, and a lot of it seems pretty fast, but it’s to keep the attention of a puppy, then let them all play as reward at the end.

We love having Goldie. That said, it’s really a full time job keeping up with her. She was really tired on the way home and fell asleep on Dan’s chest. I think she had too much fun chasing and playing with the dogs. We’re learning a lot about teaching her things, and it’s a shame we never had the time or resources to do this for the other dogs we’ve had. I hope she continues to learn at the rate she has been. She’ll be a genius dog!

Once we returned home from Puppy training, we had lunch and just relaxed. It was so nice, not having to be anywhere else. The Nebraska Game was good, and now, here we are relaxing some more. I have the feeling next week should fly by – speaking of flying, we need to get a turkey. (Remember WKRP in Cincinnati??) Cooking will be in order.

And starting Friday, the holiday madness will begin. Don’t get bogged down in it. Do what you can do, and leave the rest. Spend time with your family, you will never regret it. Scale back on demands this time of year. Spend time just relaxing and petting your dog. It’s why we have two of them!

What are you looking forward to doing this holiday season?? Comment below, like the post, and I’ll enter you in the NaNoWriMo giveaway I’m having on December 1, 2019. You can increase your chances by catching up on all the blogs for November, you’ll have 60 chances to win!!

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. See you tomorrow!

Goldie is down for the count. Until tomorrow!!