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Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

B's 85th with Cake

Gathering

There was a gathering last week for (Dad’s/Grampy’s) Bill’s birthday!  And our once quiet little house in rural Virginia became a beehive of activity with lots of talking, shouting, and barking from Elsa-the-dog, all vying to be heard to catch up on our lives.

The Grandgirls 2019

And there was the birthday boy of course.  There were MaltShop Music DVDs from the 1950’s as a backdrop.  What fun.  What memories.  A chocolate birthday cake with chocolate icing was a hit too.

Dining Delight

I made a new dish for dinner which is now a family fave.  It is called Sausage and Linguine.  Basically it is just that with a few other things like red peppers.  It was a major hit though.  Nothing like a recipe with 5 or less ingredients.

Playing with a Rescue Dog

Elsa Loves Son Corky, who managed to actually play with her.  Elsa does not know how to play.  She runs away from squeaky toys (afraid they are crying and hurt), will not fetch a ball or play tug-o’-war either.  Sad.  But she loves Corky.  He treats her like a puppy, challenges her by showing and hiding treats and and Elsa wags her tail and acts much like a puppy even though she is 7 years old now.

Laughter Lingers

I'm in Cork 2019It was a lovely day for Bill’s birthday with calls and cards, and gifts and lots and lots of love.  The GrandGirls left first, returning to D.C., South Carolina and Michigan to resume their busy lives.  Then we had time with son Corky and daughter-in-law Emmy – time for shopping, talking, laughing, planning.  It was all such fun and we loved every minute, but they are all gone now.

The house is quiet again except for a couple of thunder storms.  Elsa is frightened and shaking under my desk at my feet.  I’m sure she misses Corky and all the other big humans who were here such a short time ago.

Ditto.

 

 

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KIT IS 80!

Happy Birthday to Kit the Wit

This my oldest, first, and Best Friend Forever.

Her name is Kit and we met when we were eleven years old.

She gave us nicknames then,

and mine was not too flattering but has stuck all these years.

She is Kit the Wit.

And I am Dort the Snort.

I call her Wit and she calls me Snort to this day and she will yell out to me in a store or other public place, “Hey SNORT!  Come and look at this.”

I suppose people wonder about that, but I am so used to it I don’t notice.

We played paper dolls, jacks, rode bikes, stayed up all night giggling.

We went through the phases of our lives, first cars, first boyfriends, marriage, kids, aging.

And always laughter through it all.

We have stories to tell and memories to share about moon baths and sunburns and trying on her big sister’s clothes;  about first loves and grown up relationships and raising sons.

She is still always late and I am always early.  I am fussy neat and she is haphazard.  Some things never change.

But I still learn from my friend – the meaning of patience and finding humor in the bizarre.

The thing about Wit is her kindness and her eternal sense of humor.

I don’t know anyone else her age who has a big collection of singing stuffed animals and who joyfully winds them all up to sing (not in harmony either) at the same time.

How I wish I could have been with Wit this June 16th for her birthday!

How I wish we could “spend the night” again one more time –  talking and laughing, and laughing and laughing.

Once again, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY WIT!  You are still my BFF. ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week the son came.

Then one of the three granddaughters arrived with Kota the dog.

Followed by the middle grandgirl.

And finally, the oldest who lives the farthest away.

It was her (Jessica’s) birthday!

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A day and a night and a day.  Some left and returned and the son stayed.

What did we all do?

A whole lot of talking.

The girls made stir fry vegetables.

We ate out.

And there was  a whole lot of talking and catching up to do since “the kids” have all grown up.

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Finished Products 2017

It was a reunion of sorts…. two birthday grandgirls, a birthday son and a birthday Dor.  And getting ready for Halloween 2017 was the plan!  An ice cream cake, a favorite meal, and carving pumpkins marked a special time.

Pumpkin Prep 2017

Cork Pumpkin Operating Officer 2017Pumpkin Carving with Grandgirls 2017

 

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Lit Birthday Candle“Happy Birthday Grammy!  We have something for you.”

That was the message from my grandgirls this birthday month.  Kendall and Mackenzie, our two girls in Virginia, met up with us for a celebratory dinner, when they gave me a sweet smelling Happy Birthday candle.  I have since learned it was also from the missing grandgirl, Jess, who is in school in Michigan.

Have you ever heard of a Bella j candle?

They said, “Just burn it Grammy and you may uncover a diamond worth $10,000!”

“Oh, o.k,” I replied.  “And I will split the proceeds!”

I dutifuly burned my candle every night for three nights and enjoyed watching the dancing flame and the peek-a-boo sightings of emerging foil.  My excitement grew and finally, there it was – the package I hoped would hold a bonanza!Surprise Emerging

Bill said, “It’s too small to hold $10,000.”

“Maybe it’s a check though,” I said, “or a real diamond?”  Hope prevailed.
Surprise Revealed

Following instructions I extinguished the flame, waited for the candle to cool, and carefully removed the foil packet to be opened with extreme care.

Of course, it isn’t a diamond or a check, but is a tiny bracelet with a sweet little glowingly gold charm.

And I love it!  Thank you GrandGirls.  The candle is a lovely gift, the charm is a “keeper” and you (all three of you) always light up my life!

 

 

The Prize!

The Prize! Learn more at http://bellaj.com

 

 

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Friday Rambles

O.K., in spite of writer’s block I’m writing.  That’s what the advice is.  “Just start writing.”

I didn’t think there was anything to write about to describe this week.  It was birthday week after all and I have already worn out my welcome concerning birthdays – especially in the blog-us-fear.

Then again, the big day got stretched out.  Our son came early and stayed several days, culminating in a visit from our oldest grandgirl who came for dinner.  And before the actual day, Bill gave me a brand new camera.  But I told you all about those things.

After the family left we were invited for a Filet Mignon dinner at a dear friend’s home.  Hurrah!  Great company and great food!

Bill Proving a Point at Dor's B'day Dinner

On birthday morning there was a package from all three grandgirls.  It is a heart shaped silver locket.  When opened, it looks empty, but I loved it right away for the expression of love.

Still, why would a locket open to nothing?  Playing around with it a bit, the heart did open more and finally to a four leaf clover of heart shaped frames!  Each frame holds a tiny picture of a granddaughter and finally a picture of my son.  Talk about a wonderful gift!

Birthday Gift from the Grandgirls

On that very same day  I went Christmas shopping with my friend, Pam!  Nothing like getting a head start on the holidays,  and what a fun thing to do on a birthday!Locket Fully Opened

Tonight Bill and I are going to a special place for dinner so the celebration continues.   Friends will join us at Rocca’s, the newest restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.   It’s part of the Robert E. Lee Hotel, which has recently been refurbished and restored to it’s former downtown glory, complete with a 1920’s décor and revolving doors in front like a posh New York establishment.  There are even pay phone booths in the lobby that no longer take coins but look the same as in yesteryear.  I think they may provide internet access but I do prefer pay phones. All that’s missing is a speak-easy!

Today I stopped by my favorite shop in Lexington too.  It’s called Virginia Born and Bred and it is patrolled by a vicious creature who gives you nasty incredulous looks if you are not carrying treats.  Don’t let his name fool you into thinking he is a soft, sweet cuddly thing.  Teddy knows how to stand his ground!  He thinks he’s intimidating you but he’s really a sweetheart.  How I love Teddy.

What - No Treats for Teddy

You have my word that this is the final word on birthdays.  My father used to warn us kids never to wear out our welcome when visiting friends.  It’s the “dead fish” saying that visitors will smell bad after three days.

Fall comes and goes (see, I have already changed the subject) and our Red Maple has finally turned color.  That tree is actually gorgeous this year, with yellow and pinkish yellow leaves.  I will take a picture later but not too much later.   The winds are up now and I don’t know how much longer she will hold onto her “crowning glory.”

It has been a glorious fall in this part of the world, but there are now definite signs of winter sneaking in.

I am in a holiday mood already.  How about you?

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Fireworks2

 

Some of my friends actually set off fireworks on the day I was born.

What a great honor huh?

And if you are wondering why these folks are so devoted, well, it is because they are from England.

Now that does not really explain the fireworks does it?

Notwithstanding their delightful accents and delectable gifts (like Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, Cadbury Biscuits, and All Butter Shortbread Fingers from Harrod’s), these lovely people always remember November 5th and they have been remembering it since 1605!

They celebrate that day because a fellow named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up King James I during the opening of Parliament.

Having long memories and able to hold a grudge for centuries, the English have been drinking cavorting, and setting off fireworks ever since.  In other words, every year they celebrate

G u y    F a w k e s    Day!

And that’s my birthday!  A little history never hurts right?

Now if you are not English, will you please mark your calendar so as not to miss this auspicious event?

History of Guy Fawkes Day

There are lots of stories about Guy Fawkes Day, but here is a concise summary from www.history.com:

Catholic dissident Guy Fawkes and 12 co-conspirators spent months planning to blow up King James I of England during the opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605.  But their assassination attempt was foiled the night before when Fawkes was discovered lurking in a cellar below the House of Lords next to 36 barrels of gunpowder. 

Londoners immediately began lighting bonfires in celebration that the plot had failed, and a few months later Parliament declared November 5 a public day of thanksgiving. 

Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Night, has been around in one form or another ever since.  Though originally anti-Catholic in tone, in recent times it has served mainly as an excuse to watch fireworks, make bonfires, drink mulled wine and burn Guy Fawkes effigies (along with the effigies of current politicians and celebrities).

Portrait of King James I

Portrait of King James I

 

 

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Random Five Friday (even though it’s Sunday)Hull's Drive-In

At the beginning of the week Bill and I set out to downsize a white elephant piece of furniture.  It held an old television in a bookcase-desk  that stood for 25 years collecting useless items and perhaps a small smattering of dust.  We spent half a day brutally trashing unidentified papers including cancelled checks from 1989 and removing old engineering text books for donations.

The effort left us both sneezing.  Do you think it could have been a bit more than a smattering of dust?  Anyway, the result was a mystifyingly satisfying bare wall awaiting a new t.v. (another surprise birthday gift for Bill)!

Wednesday turned out to be old home week when old friends wandered in from Arizona and Washington State.  They came as another surprise for Bill’s Birthday.  But there is already a post on that.

Around that same time, a neat little console was delivered to hold the new big t.v.  That left nowhere to display all the framed photographs that were on the original white elephant shelving.  Now I am searching for a weathered wood collage frame to accommodate the pictures and to hang on the wall over the new television. One thing does indeed lead to another, requiring hours of internet searching and in-store muddling around.

Thursday evening we went to Hull’s Drive-In.   Hull’s is one of the few remaining, verging-on-extinct operational theaters that were so immensely popular in the 1940’s and 50’s and where you watched a movie from your car.  It’s a fine relic of the past that is now community owned, funded and maintained and if you are anywhere near here during their operational season please plan a visit.  This particular night was “Robin Williams Tribute Night” featuring Hull’s Drive-InJumanji and Good Will Hunting and 30% of the box office proceeds were donated to our county’s Suicide Prevention Program.

After sharing meals and giggles, memories and experiences with teary eyed goodbyes, our friends left yesterday, Saturday, August 23rd, and we have been sleeping off and on ever since.  Perhaps we are dreaming of the old days or maybe it’s just age reacting to emotional swings.  At any rate we are missing all that action and laughter.

And our wish is that you will hurry back old friends.  Hurry back.

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This week we celebrated Bill’s birthday.  He still looks young to me but we are beginning to resemble each other (much the same as dogs and their human companions). 

Wednesday was extra special though, because some very old friends came all the way from very far away to surprise us.  We have been friends with this family for 50 years and met when our son was still in diapers and Janet and her “younguns”, Debbie, Scott and Pam, were 4, 5 and 6 years old.

But here they all came 50 years later, barreling down our driveway beeping and shouting!

Party Boy Bill is 80

  Surprise!!!  Surprise!!!    

And what a time we all had. 

And what moments of hilarity we all shared.  The laughter could surely be heard all the way to the next mountain top.

We went to Hull’s drive-in movie one night even though it threatened rain.  Did you know drive-in movies are practically extinct (kinda like Bill and me)?

Bill made pancakes and bacon one morning to relive earlier breakfasts shared so long ago.

They were here for three nights and though we went practically nowhere, we certainly traveled back in time.

And we talked and talked, reliving never-forgotten joyful moments and lamenting the sad ones.

This morning they drove away again, perhaps not as quickly as they had driven in, and Bill and I were left in stunned silence.

Were they really here or were they hallucinations?

Thank you Janet, Pam, Deb and Scott for reminding us of the value of real friendship!

 

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Chicken Paprikash and “Knuckles”

Today is my birthday.  And tomorrow’s my son’s birthday.    The result is an odd couple of days of happy celebration.   I do love birthdays!

Son and grandgirls are here and have once again requested Hungarian Paprikash for the birthday(s) dinner.  It’s a family tradition.   But this time my husband wants to take us out to eat (what a prince!) and I can’t resist escaping  from the kitchen.  Can you tell I’m feeling guilty?  I may even have nightmares about not living up to expectations!

Still, Chicken Paprikash is a wonderful dish.   My Hungarian Dad taught me how to make it, complete with nokedli  ( mini dumplings).   My little brother and I called them “knuckles” when we were little, because we couldn’t pronounce that word in Hungarian.   We still call the dumplings knuckles.

There is no real recipe for the Paprikash or the knuckles, but I will give it a try to share with you.  Here is my family’s SECRET recipe handed down through the generations!  Oh, the things we reveal for the sake of blogging!

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN PAPRIKASH

Chicken pieces (with skin) – Your choice – 6 to 10 pieces.

2 Onions chopped

Paprika – Unlimited amount

Butter – 2 Sticks

1)       Melt the butter in a big stew pot.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Begin adding chicken pieces.  Place the larger pieces (skin side down) on the bottom.  Spoon over a little of the onions. Then add the smaller pieces (skin side down) on top.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2)      Now reverse the above procedure.  Move the smaller pieces skin side up to the bottom and the larger pieces to the top, skin side up.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes more.  This recipe will make its own gravy.  I have never had to add water.

3)      After the 40 minutes of cooking you can begin spooning paprika by the tablespoon into the gravy.  Keep adding and adding and stirring in more paprika  until the gravy turns tomato orange.  The gravy should look like it was made with tomatoes – a fairly bright orange.  Simmer 10 or 15 minutes more.

You’re done!  Do NOT add salt or pepper.  Salt will toughen the meat.  Guests can add salt at the table.

Note:  If you are feeding a mob, you will obviously need to add more chicken, more onions, more butter and more paprika.  This recipe is based on 6 to 10 pieces of chicken which will feed up to six people.

Suggestion:  Serve Paprikash with Sour Cream on the Side!  Many recipes include sour cream in the cooking process but my family prefers  to add it at the table or not to have sour cream at all.

HUNGARIAN NOKEDLI (“Knuckles” to Go with the Paprikash)

I never had a set recipe for making these “dumplings” although I’m sure you can find one on the internet.  This was the way I learned to make them as a child at my father’s side.  Knuckles are the best part of the Paprikash feast and I can never make enough of them.

Start with:  4 Cups of All Purpose Flour

2 Eggs

Milk  (Undetermined amount but quite a lot)

Salt and Pepper

1)      Bring a big stew pot of salted water to a boil and keep it at a bubbling simmer.

2)      In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add some flour and a little salt and pepper.  Add milk and begin stirring.  There is no definite amount of milk.  Just pour in about half a cup and start (I use a table fork to do the stirring).  If the mixture is dry, add  more milk.   If the mixture is too wet, add more flour.   Keep adding and stirring and adding and stirring.  Strive for a stiff dough that acts sticky and stringy like taffy.   You can always add more flour or more milk until you reach the right consistency.

3)      Now take a Tablespoon of the dough.  Begin “slicing” bits off the end of the spoon with a butter knife into the simmering water.  Keep dipping the knife into the water to make it easier to “slice” the dough.  The water should stay at a slightly boiling simmer.   Take another tablespoon and repeat slicing until the dough is used up.  Each “knuckle” is about an inch long and half an inch thick when cooked (thumb tip size).   If they look too small or too large, just adjust the size of your dough slices from the end of the spoon.

4)      When all the dough is used up, you’re done.   Let the water simmer another few minutes so the last ones get cooked.    Add the cooked knuckles to the gravy in your Paprikash pot.

Good luck with making the knuckles!  It’s easier than it looks, but really hard to explain.  You can also cheat and use boxed egg noodles or shells instead.  That’s what I did as a young bride.  Packaged noodles are never the same, but still pretty darned good.

Enjoy!

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