Thoughts from a Noble Woman: On Holidays and Family Dinners

In honor of the Season, and all the accompanying stress it brings, I hunted through M.A.’s journal hoping to find something that could help us. (In case you missed it, our discovery of M.A. was first mentioned HERE.)
Sure enough, we found something! Not only that, we found a most intriguing recipe for apple pie that includes… wait for it… wine! (Gasp!)

MA 2

From M.A.’s Journal

The holidays bring mixed feelings: Joy, for what we hope they will be, Dread, for what we fear they will be. We place so much importance on these days, wanting everything to be perfect, only to be tired by the end of them.
Remember that holidays are made by humankind, for humankind. No more than that. They are what you make of them. Resolve now to make them what you need, not what you imagine you want.

Family is coming. Why does that make us nervous? Are these not the people with whom you shared your childhood?
Yes. Perhaps that explains it.
When apart, we choose to think of our past as we want. When together, we’re forced to see things as they really are. No matter what we want to believe of ourselves, these are the people to whom we belong.
Are we shamed for not living up to their standards, or for they not living up to ours?
No matter, for both are folly.
If it is your actions, then change them. If it is theirs, accept. It is all you can do. That, and love. Love the quirkiness, the eccentricities, the pain. Yes, even the pain, for all of it is what made you who you are today.
Therefore, the Noble Woman has three tasks before her with regard to others:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Love

With regard to herself, a fourth task is added to these:

4. Resolve to do better

Also, make a pie. Families who eat pie together, smile together. No one argues. No one fights. The world is a happier place when people eat pie.

This is truth.

From M.A.’s Recipe Drawer

Tipsy Apple Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy with cheats
  • Print

There's not enough alcohol in this pie to qualify as tipsy, but the wine helps bring out the flavor of the fruit. If you'd rather not use it, I suggest a tart fruit juice such as cranberry.

Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • basic pie pastry for a 9″ double-crust pie*
  • 6 to 7 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used the Golden Delicious variety)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine (I used a Zinfandel)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Egg wash and raw sugar for top of crust

Directions

Heat oven to 425°. Roll out pastry for bottom of pie, line 9″ pie plate. Roll out top crust; cover with a clean towel as you make the filling. (See note below for alternative to using crust.)

In a large bowl, combine apples and lemon juice. In another bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add to apples, along with wine, and stir. Fill pie plate with fruit, top with bits of butter. Cover with top crust, cut and flute the edges. Cut a few vents on top of crust; brush on egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower oven to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes. Test to see if the fruit is tender by inserting a knife through a vent.

Note: You can use pre-made pie crusts to make this easier, or skip the crust altogether and make an Apple Crumble: Pour fruit filling into a greased 9″ baking pan or casserole dish. For crumble topping, mix together: 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and a pinch of salt. Bake as directed above. 

My Glorious Summer of ’76

Note: Since I’m on vacation, I’m giving you a rerun. This first appeared on June 3, 2015, back when I was new to blogging and had about 10 followers. It relates a childhood memory of mine that involved murder and explosives, as all good memories do. Also, the post includes a recipe because when I first started blogging, that was supposed to be my schtick. Then I forgot my schtick.
That’s the trouble with schticks. They only work if you remember them.
Oh well. Enjoy.

Growing up in the 70s was great. I’m not even talking about the movies and music from that era, although we had some darn fine ones.

What I’m talking about is the total lack of parental involvement. Even if a parent stayed home, they pretty much left us to our own devices. It was great.Kids-jumping-and-playing-outside-940x600

Brother and I had it even better, as both Older Sisters and Older Brother were out of the house.

We’re talking complete lack of supervision, baby! Frankly, it’s a wonder we didn’t burn the whole place down.

Though we came close. Continue reading “My Glorious Summer of ’76”

Message From 1924: We’re Gonna Be Okay

Not sure about you, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not quite feeling the lighthearted folly I try to bring to you every Wednesday, if you catch my meaning.

I was about to give it up for lost and take the week off, certain you’d understand, being the understanding sort of readers you are. Then yesterday evening, while going through a box of old photos, I found a little Valentine’s Day card dated 1924: Continue reading “Message From 1924: We’re Gonna Be Okay”

The Suicidal Mice of 40th Drive

One look at that little rodent corpse, the serene look on his face, and I knew. It was a clear case of mouse suicide.

My family lived in west Phoenix in a square cinderblock home, painted turquoise. And the thing to know about cinderblock homes, however unattractive they might appear, a splash of turquoise paint makes them nearly… less unattractive.

housemouseIn any case, cinderblock keeps out rodents and reptiles, and for desert living that’s darn smart.

Although about the time I was 12-years old, my dad built a garage in our backyard.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a garage as a giant workshop/sanctuary. It took up nearly half our backyard and was made primarily of wood.

That’s when the mice moved in.

The reason we knew we had mice is that every so often, about once a week or so, we’d find one floating in Pepper’s water dish.
Pepper being our family dog.

Continue reading “The Suicidal Mice of 40th Drive”

Do You Hear What I Hear?

reindeerWhen I was a young lass, I believed Christmas songs were like homemade cookies. There was no such thing as a bad one.

Then someone shared their mom’s cookies made with raisins, dates and orange peel, and my childhood innocence was lost forever. Continue reading “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

A Fabulous Football Quilt From 1939

quiltA few days ago, someone brought a quilt into the office that was made by his great-aunt. She made it in 1939 when she was 15 years old, living in the small town of Ajo, Arizona.

Fifteen years old!

She made it in honor of her high school football team, the Red Raiders.

It’s clearly been well-cared for and the workmanship is excellent, but it was the attention to detail that impressed me the most.

See for yourself: Continue reading “A Fabulous Football Quilt From 1939”

Why I’ll Never Enter Another Contest

Have you ever read about lottery winners who won a huge jackpot, then messed up their lives?

That’s not the kind of contest I’m referring to, but even winning on a smaller scale has its drawbacks. Trust me on this.

Husband and I were at store recently and they had a drawing for a $25 gift card. As the guy was reading off numbers, I realized I was the only one not holding a ticket.

marbles1This was no accident. I duck past drawings, raffles, ‘guess-how-many-marbles-in-the-jar’ contests I see. Because I know, with my luck, I’d probably win.

And I’d probably hate it.

Because having my name announced in a room full of people brings back painful memories. Dark memories.

Such as the time I was in college…

Continue reading “Why I’ll Never Enter Another Contest”

Evel Knievel, Redux

Holy cow, guys, check this out!

Remember back in June when I visited Idaho and soared over Snake River Canyon (in my dreams) just like Evel Knievel tried to do in 1974? (I wrote about it here.)

Well, turns out someone is going to do it for real! Possibly TODAY! (weather permitting)

Hollywood stuntman, Eddie Braun, is going to attempt the jump in a replica of Knievel’s rocket cycle. According to CNN, they made improvements to the parachute system but other than that, the technology is the same.

eddie-braun

You can read the full article HERE.

Sounds like Eddie is getting a lot of criticism over it, but personally I think it’s cool.

It’s cool he’s not using the original launchpad, thereby keeping it intact. It’s cool he’s not using modern technology, instead trusting Knievel’s vision.

Plus, there’s this:

It’s not about doing something Evel Knievel couldn’t do. It’s about fulfilling his dream,” he said. “How many people get to fulfill the dream of their hero?” -Eddie Braun

They hope to have a livestream of the event. If so, I’ll be watching.

God speed, Eddie Braun. I hope you fly like the wind. 🏍

UPDATE!

He did it! 😀  Here’s the video:

All the News That’s Fit to Print in 1912

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Sometimes my inner Reporter gets a little zealous digging for facts.

Actually, “a little zealous” describes her off-days. Most of the time she’s a research fanatic.

But I can’t complain much because she often finds some real gems. Case in point, a charming publication called Old Settler’s Gazette. A compilation of century old news, brought together for the residents of Pulaski County, Missouri.

Interesting year, 1912. Remember it? Continue reading “All the News That’s Fit to Print in 1912”