Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes Plans Just Don't Go as Planned.

One must have a sense of humor about life, nor must one take life too seriously, either. Case in point: Thanksgiving Dinner 2011

Plan A: Grandma's house.

Plan B: Daughter Jen decides that this year sister Heather (having never cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner before) should cook  dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving because Jen decides to work Thanksgiving Day. We were all on board with Plan B, until Jen's husband and daughter get the flu.

Plan C: Hoping everyone would be over their flu and colds, we then decide to have dinner the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Nope, the second daughter gets sick; thus, Thanksgiving dinner is totally canceled.

Plan D: I cooked the fresh turkey that I bought last week in my roaster. You see, last week just before one of the biggest cooking weeks of the year my oven died.  So old that parts are no long available, the stove was hauled out; we have ordered a new microwave/oven combo that will be in place--soon, I hope.

Hubby and I had a very scaled back turkey dinner this afternoon: mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, and turkey, probably half the calories, too. Jen did make us a lovely pumpkin pie that she brought over.

Sometimes plans just don't go the way we want, but I guess one of the perks of being well aged is that these bumps in the road don't bother me much anymore--there was a day if things didn't go as planned, I'd have been a raving idiot. Today, however, I am must more relaxed about life.

Any Black Friday adventure stories to share? None here, though we did venture out for a bit. Nothing exciting.

Next week is our last week of classes at the University followed by a week of final exams. I will have a stack of essays to grade and final grades at assign, which is always quite stressful, for while the majority of students work very hard, there are always a few who make the end of the semester very difficult for themselves, thus for me too. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Have a great week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings.

Read more about the Howlands at Ancestry. Com

Meet my distant relatives, John and Elizabeth Tilley Howland, the original Pilgrims who left England early in 1620 on the Mayflower to start a new life in the New World. John, a young lad probably in his early 20’s came as a manservant or indentured servant to John Carver. Elizabeth also booked passage on the Mayflower. According to, Howland probably inherited Carver’s estate after the Carvers died the second year at The Colony of New Plymouth, having survived the first year when so many of the pilgrims died. Governor Carver had no children, so some believe that Howland as the oldest surviving male of the Carver household inherited Carver’s estate, which allowed him to buy his freedom, though no documentation has been found to prove that he did gain his wealth and freedom in that manner. He did, however, serve in a public capacity during his long life to shape a new America. He used his inheritance to help pay for the colony's debt to its London lender.

Despite that some historians write that the Pilgrims were criminals escaping from their crimes, the Pilgrims were religious activists, so some were jailed for their religious beliefs as they sought freedom to practice their own faith outside the Church of England.

I would like to think that because I am a direct descendant on my grandmother Duston’s side, I am unique or special, but I am not, for according to various genealogy web sites, the Howlands had ten children, leaving a legacy of millions of American descendants. None-the-less, I am proud of my colonial heritage.

William Bradford, also on the Mayflower and author of the Mayflower Compact, writes of John Howland in his journal where he describes how John comes on deck during a storm and is thrown overboard. Able to grasp hold of a broken halyard, he hangs on until he is rescued. As Bradford writes, the “lusty young lad” is saved because, as the Puritans believed, God felt him worthy enough to be saved.

Thanksgiving was first determined by executive order by President Lincoln in 1863; however, not until December 26, 1941 did Thanksgiving become an official holiday when President Roosevelt signed Congressional law making it an official holiday on the 4th Thursday of November. Though it seems that Thanksgiving these days is less about giving thanks for those hearty, brave Puritans who sought religious freedom and more about eating huge amounts of good food, watching football, and getting ready for Black Friday, the holiday remains one of our favorite holidays when we can sit back and just enjoy family and friends, reflect on how great America really is, and  give thanks for our abundant blessings. As we give those blessings, let us remember to pray for those brave men and women who have sacrificed their Thanksgiving celebrations to preserve American freedoms.

PS: Let's not forget that our Canadian neighbors also celebrate their Thanksgiving, too.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Happy Eating. God Bless America and God Bless our Military.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It has been a busy week, and when I am not busy I am tired. And grading. Always grading. We have only 3 weeks of fall semester left: this coming week, Thanksgiving week, and last week of classes followed by finals week, then a nice winter's break. I will be ready.

Both the girls spent the night last Saturday with the 4 grandchildren (8, 5, 3, 2) and one rather large young pup Bruno, a doberman pincher. For a youngster, he is rather well behaved. Our old dog Max gets along well with other dogs and likes to play, but at 13 he has bad hips and while he can roam the yard and make an effort at chasing the cotton tails, he just isn't up to playing with a big pup, so Bruno spend some time in his crate, whining about it all the while.

Jen's Barbie Doll house was retrieved from storage. The little girls had fun cleaning it up and then it made its way to the basement. I went through a phase as a doll collector rescuing Barbies from Good Will so there is a tub full of old Barbies and all of the doll house accessories that they had fun playing with. Actually, I don't know who had more fun, mom or the girls.

Heather, a certified arborist, brought her chain saw to help dad trim up our broken Russian Olive tree that was badly damaged during our first winter storm. The trained professional gave her father strict instructions on how to handle the chain saw. 

 Safety classes, waders, and chain saw: a dangerous combo?

The trained professional, by the looks on her face, has some concern that dad isn't doing things the way that she recommends.

We were laughing. Who wears waders to climb a tree? 

 The broken branches were finally trimmed away. No accidents. It is doubtful that we will save the tree. 

One  foggy morning I took a picture of the grain elevator across the way. It is on the main highway at the corner of the highways 85 and 14. Virtually abandoned, the ailing building really is an eye sore, but on this morning obscured by the by the fog and with the sun shining through the fog reflecting on the old metal the elevator took on a more ethereal image. I took a dozen photos trying to get just the right image as the fog moved about, and finally cleared away.

Once brimming with agricultural business, the Farr elevator was the center of activity in our small town on the cross roads of a busy intersection, now it is home for too many pigeons and an occasional horned owl.

Finally, several days ago, I noticed that I had lost a follower. It took me several days to figure out who it was. I am sad. I will miss her. She lives in England, so her blog was full of beautiful photos that she took as she and her husband traveled about their home land. She always left the nicest comments. She had hinted at shutting down her blog, which I completely understand how the charm and excitement can wear off and how something that was once fun becomes tedious and burdensome. Blogging requires a lot of to work to cultivate a following and to keep the blog lively and interesting. I know with my own group of followers, several don't post much or at all and some have never commented, but I like my little group of friends who entertain, encourage, and inspire me. I hope that you all hang around for good while longer. I rather like your company. Have a good week.

Just a Hint of Spring with a Dose of Cuteness

It's not safe to say that Winter has made his exit. He's still hanging around waiting to surprise us. We know the routine: freezing ...