No Luck At All

This is my new neighbor…

image001

She’s single…

She lives right across the road.

I can see her place from my yard.

I watched as she got home from work this evening.

I was surprised when she walked across the
Street and up my driveway and
Knocked on my door.

I rushed to open it, she looks at me and says,
“I just got home, and I am so horny! I have
This strong urge to have a good
Time, get drunk, and make love all night long!
Are you busy tonight?”

I quickly replied, “Nope, I’m Free,
and I have no plans at all!”

She said, “Great! Could you

watch my dog?”


Being a senior citizen really sucks!

 

Home Schooling circa 1950

Family (mother, father, son, daughter)

Family (mother, father, son, daughter) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since the calendar flipped the page to month eleven, and daylight savings time gave me an extra hour, my want to blog has waned. I procrastinate instead of writing and  Santa subjected me to his workshop under his whip. SO, this afternoon, after escaping, I am reading e-mails and the blogs I follow. Then it happened. My Lion friend Mike sent me a list of wisdom which I have seen many times before, but I must share with the blog-o-sphere.

I can attest to having heard many of these admonitions from my parents, and I must confess that I have used many of them on my kids too.

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."    
2. My mother taught me RELIGION. "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."     
3. My father taught me about TIME TRAVEL. "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"    
4. My father taught me LOGIC. " Because I said so, that's why."    
5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."    
6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."     
7. My father taught me IRONY. "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."   
8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS . "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."    
9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"    
10. My mother taught me about STAMINA . "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."     
11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."     
12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"     
13. My father taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.."    
14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. "Stop acting like your father!"     
15. My mother taught me about ENVY. "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."    
16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. "Just wait until we get home."    
17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. "You are going to get it from your father when you get home!"     
18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."    
19. My mother taught me ESP. "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"
20. My father taught me HUMOR. "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."    
21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."     
22. My mother taught me GENETICS. "You're just like your father."     
23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"     
24. My mother taught me WISDOM. "When you get to be my age, you'll understand.     
25. My father taught me about JUSTICE. "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

Two Items Become Six

This day has been great. Even though three times bad dreams and visits to the john interrupted my sleep. I punched in early at Santa’s factory and finished a series of baby steps on my latest project. I punched out by two p.m. and had lunch with Peggy. Afterwards I scoured the news sites and cleaned e-mails. The afternoon was late but still sunny, so I asked Peg to go for a ride.

We headed south and east making a huge square around the proposed third airport site in south-east Cook County. The farmers are just starting to harvest the corn and beans. We ended the tour by driving down Aberdeen Road in Frankfort. It is beautiful just as the sun falls below the tree line and casts deep long shadows across the emerald-green lawns. Oh how I miss living there. On our arrival home I immediately went to my mother’s old green covered Hungarian cook book, and found the recipe for Turos palacsinta (Crepe suzettes with cottage cheese). I scoured the frig and the pantry for ingredients and discovered I lacked two items. Off to the grocery store to buy two items. Six items later we left Mariano’s for the kitchen. My stomach told me I should not begin cooking a complicated thing like crepes at seven p.m. The last time I made them was in 2006, or in other words a long time ago. The recipe remained open next to me until I finished. Peg assisted by cleaning and cutting strawberries (item three in the basket) for the topping. We finally sat down to eat by eight o’clock. By the time we ate, and cleaned up the big hand stood straight up and the little hand pointed directly at the nine.

IMG_0864

Left over Crêpe Suzette

Occasionally I need an ethnic food fix, and the crepes were it today.

P. S. Items four, five and six were a raspberry coffee cake, a pound of thick sliced bacon, and a quart of pistachio mint ice cream. They all had Peg’s finger prints on them.

The Return of Aga Bam-bi

The garden looked better this day than it had in a long time. A cover of dark grey clouds hovered over the 2013 Monet Vision, and a light mist of rain fell giving the new plants the drink they longed for. Grumpa Joe admired his work from the dry warm comfort of the sun-room. Coffee cup in hand he walked to the kitchen to survey the area between the pond and the border garden. A flurry of sparrows and finches fought for space on Grandma Peggy’s bird feeder. She had filled it in the morning and by now it was nearly empty. He looked down to assess the amount of feed falling to the ground under the feeder. There was a large round spot of bright yellow-tan seed directly under the feeder bowl. “I wonder if Peggy is spilling feed on the ground for the critters?”  Then he spotted the furry body of Aga Bam-bi. “He blends so well with the ground, I can’t believe I nearly missed him.”

Aga Bam-bi hunched on the ground at the edge of the seed circle. His nose twitching as he chewed the seed. His ears continuously turning and twisting in all directions listening for danger. Grumpa Joe lightly tapped the window with a fingernail. Aga Bam-bi froze.

He is bigger and fatter than Grumpa Joe remembered him from a year ago. He wondered where Aga Bam-bi was for the last twelve months. “He hasn’t found the petunias yet, that is good, but I’m sure he will,” muttered Grumpa under his breath.

Deep inside the briar patch within the wetland Ali Bug-Bunee sat in conference with his cell. A full year had passed since the cell expelled Aga Bam-bi. The cell had remained in sleeper status during that time.  The cell had been busy multiplying, and Ali faced a small crowd of cell members. Many of the newest members were still shedding their baby fur.

Ali began, “The Nature Spy Alliance(NSA) has informed me that Aga Bam-Bi found his way back to the garden. It is time to use Bam-Bi as a distraction while we execute our plan to devastate the petunias under the cover of darkness. Grumpa Joe does not know we are waiting to attack him. He will think it is Aga who is destroying his Vision. Put your ears at attention and repeat after me, “I solemnly swear to be active only in the darkness under the threat of being fed to the hawks.” They all fluffed their tails and wagged their ears in unison at the completion of the oath.

Petunias. Esperanto: Petunoj. Français : Pétun...

Petunias. Esperanto: Petunoj. Français : Pétunias. Русский: Петунии (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grumpa Joe finished planting the last six petunia plants near the window where he spotted Aga two days ago. “I’m taking my chances with this critter, but he has stayed away from the feeder for a while, and I feel confident that he won’t eat them.” As Grumpa Joe patted the final plant into place, he spotted Aga in the far corner of the garden eating clover flowers.

Grumpa Joe slept in on Saturday and shuffled to the kitchen for his coffee. He raised the shade on the window and looked out at his fresh planting. “What the he. . .? Peg, come here. Look what that damn rabbit has done to the petunias I planted yesterday. He has eaten them to the ground.”

“Now, now dear, he is only a poor little creature who lives a very hard life in nature,” said Peggy.

“That’s it, I’m taking some serious action today.”

“What ‘ll you do?

“I’m building an IED.”

“You aren’t going to blow the poor thing up are you?”

“No, no, I meant an Improvised Entrapment Device(IED). I’ll catch him and take him for a ride.”

The striped squirrels working for the NSA were listening to Grumpa Joe from under the stoop. Chip made a mad dash across the patio and through the Cranesbill into the wetland to report to Ali.

“Excellent work Chip, you have done well. Grumpa Joe doesn’t suspect a thing. Aga will get the blame and we will fill our bellies with petunia flowers until they are all gone. If we are lucky, Joe will trap Aga with his IED and we will be rid of him too.”

to be continued. . .

I Watched Mom Make Thousands of Them

Santa let me out of the workshop just long enough to bake some cookies for Christmas. It was a special day. I picked up my nine-year old grand-daughter from school and we came to Santa’s kitchen to bake a special recipe.

As a kid, I watched my mother bake often. She was expert at making delectable goodies which I loved to devour. One of them is kifli, or crescents. They are squares of dough rolled over a filling. My favorite filling is walnut. My job for Mom began by cracking hundreds of walnuts to pick out the meat. I’m sure that out of every pound of nuts Mom got about nine-tenths of it for baking. The other tenth went down the hatch, hymmmm. Over the course of her lifetime, Mom made thousands of these cookies. She never tired of it. The faster we devoured them the more proud she was. I helped her many times and watched her make those thousands. I testify to eating thousands too. Although my favorite filling is walnut, she made apricot, poppy-seed, and prune filling also. All are delicious.

This was a special adventure for me because even though I watched Mom make these cookies often, I never made them myself. It has been sixty years since I witnessed the action in her kitchen. All I have is a faint memory, and her Hungarian recipes.

I taught grand-daughter how to grind nuts, separate yolks from whites, how to make meringue, and how to roll dough. My daughter cooks with Jenna often, so when my Jenna works with me she comes as an accomplished kitchen worker. One mix of dough gave us six small batches of about a dozen cookies each. By the sixth batch our kifli began to look like the ones Mom made. We didn’t roll the dough thin enough on the first batch, the crescents looked like doughy bread. On the second batch we cut the squares too small and we had trouble rolling them. By the third batch we got the dough thin enough, but over compensated on the size of the squares. Anyway, by number six we got the dough thin enough, and the squares just the right size. Thankfully, we didn’t over bake any, and they came out a light golden color.

I used one of the eight recipes for kilfi shown in Mom’s cookbook, the one with the green cover. The ladies of the Dorcas Guild of the Magyar United Church of Christ who compiled the recipes must each have had their own recipe, and to save argument, they published all eight. The cook book is only forty-four pages long but is has the basics for any Hungarian palette.

Here is the recipe in all its simplicity.

IMG OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sprinkle the finished product  generously  with powdered sugar to make a scrumptious treat. I can’t honestly say which batch these kifli are from. No matter, I’m enjoying them just like I did Mom’s.

Learning the Meaning of Dysfunctional

Dysfunctional Family

Dysfunctional Family (Photo credit: Chris Pirillo)

Many times I have read a movie description which proclaimed the film to be about a dysfunctional family or couple. I never truly understood the meaning of dysfunctional until a few days ago. Peg and I were planning our thanksgiving meal.  You must understand that Peg and I are widows who married. We have two sets of kids, two sets of grandkids, two sets of traditions, two sets of nationalities. This marriage isn’t like our first ones when we married young and stayed with our partners until “death do us part.” Because we started young we grew up together as a family. We adopted the good from our parents and families. These became traditions for us. It wasn’t long before I adopted the traditions of my young wife and she modified the traditions of my family to fit in. Together we set up a new tradition that was exclusively ours. Peg did the same with her husband.

Here we are in our mid-seventies trying to make everyone happy. Simple things like “what time should we serve?” become a major debate.

“My kids all have to work and can’t come until late.”

“Well, my kids have young children and they can’t stay late.”

Suddenly, the meaning of dysfunctional began to roll through my mind. Is this what they mean? Suddenly, two families merged into one begin behaving outside their norms. Will we ever live long enough to create a new tradition that melds the two families together?

If we do succeed, it will be because Peg and I will concede and drop hosting the holiday meals by delegating the job to our children and grandchildren, who I am positive will make us happy by providing our favorite traditional dishes from all nationalities.

I look forward to this year as the most dysfunctional Thanksgiving ever.

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