Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Time to Cry Tuesday… Mom

Thanksgiving, like every holiday, starts off with the business of lists and recipes, shopping and cleaning and ends up where everything seems to, with the bittersweet memories of those we have lost.

“Umm… Ame, what is up with the ancient can of mandarin oranges and what do they have to do with your mom?”, you ask. Read on my friends. This one is just plain old freakish.

I spent a big chunk of the weekend reading expiration dates and tossing ancient items out of my pantry and fridge. It is really quite embarrassing, but frankly I suck at this piece of domesticity. I usually do it before the holiday visit from my nephew, the expiration date nazi, but sadly he will not be joining this year.

I digress. I had just finished making (not enough) cranberry sauce and was on the phone asking a friend about whether to use canned mandarin oranges in my fresh sauce. My argument in favor of this slimy little canned citrus was nostalgia. You guessed it, my mom always used them. I reached into the pantry and saw the condition of the can, realizing it had slipped through Saturday’s expiration sweep.

But then I saw something so startling that even the most stubborn skeptic could not deny.


As the word ‘Mom’ left my lips, this is what I saw.

Yeh, I know, crazy, right? (and yes I am aware that this can expired over 5 years ago)

IMG_8470 (1)

So here’s the thing. This is no coincidence. Why the hell would DelMonte stamp MOM on the bottom of a can of (5+ year old) mandarin oranges?

Because, my friends, I really do believe they did not.

Here’s to you, Elaine, you cagey devil. And yes, I get it, I can’t possibly leave out the mandarin oranges.

“She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay.”

– Hope Edelman from Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss


Filed under aging, food, holidays, moms, Uncategorized

God’s Love We Deliver Thanksgiving


There are events in your life that change you. In big ways. That make you think, OMG why have I never done anything like this before?

This Thanksgiving we were fortunate enough to be part of just such an event, the annual God’s Love We Deliver Thanksgiving effort. Yesterday, we woke at 4:15 (ok, so I tend to be up then anyway, but Gary is certainly not), hopped into the city and jumped on the assembly lines of one of the most remarkable machines of humanity that I have ever seen. With logistics precision coupled with an undying spirit of combined compassion, humor and the sheer joy of volunteerism, 950 people came out to donate their time in the wee hours of Turkey Day to help make the holiday of the seriously ill a little more bearable.

In the neighborhood of under 7 hours, almost 3400 meals were assembled and delivered to 2014 homes; not just for clients, but for a guest, caregiver and children under 18 living in those homes. Not to be forgotten are the countless hours spent by the staff, prepping and cooking those meals.

Volunteerism. My dear friend Karen says sometimes she thinks that it is actually not a selfless act, but more a self satiating one, for the need it fills in all of us to help others. I cannot argue that point, for as amazing as receiving these meals is for those in need, the way we felt yesterday morning was a greater gift than we could ever provide. The people we met are veterans; most volunteers for this org are staff volunteers, meaning they work a set weekly shift, many more than one. The spirit of both having fun and the seriousness of the task is second to no other volunteer experience I have ever had. These are the kind of people we aspire to be. There is no place I can imagine spending Thanksgiving morning ever again. I have taken a big swig of this koolaid and nothing has ever tasted better!

Full disclosure, the over the top icing on the cake of this experience for us was that our oldest child, Jana, is the newest member of the GLWD staff. As a volunteer specialist, she took her special brand of camp counselor people skills and ran around with her clipboard and iPad, learning the ropes as the newbie in the dept. In the few short months that she has worked there she has experienced their gala fundraiser, worked the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, The Race to Deliver AND survived Sandy and her aftermath where they lost power and scrambled to save food and still deliver to those in need. Watching her do a job she loves AND being able to participate… Priceless!

Post Sandy has made me very reflective. I have yet to be able to finish my thoughts on that experience and get them down here, but I will. For now, I can say that being so incredibly fortunate surrounded by so much need has left me feeling highly motivated to do more. This chronic volunteer is ready to kick it up another notch. There is something about ground level, specific task driven volunteerism that leaves you feeling like nothing else.

The world is pretty broken, go out and fix a little piece.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and consider donating a portion of what you save on Black Friday to those in need. Hey GLWD is a good place to consider.


Filed under charity, current events, food, holidays, Jana


What do you do when you can’t sleep? When I can’t, I make up words and submit them to Urban Dictionary. Last month I tried to get Turkaphobia approved, but they denied it. My definition was ‘fear of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey’, which I happily overcame. I am guessing it had something to do with not being politically correct.

No not towards turkeys, but towards the country.

I am happy to report that this month’s submission – insomnomaniac – has been approved. I am not so happy to report that there is a typo in the sentence that I used in the example where ‘an’ is featured as ‘and’.

For those who can not read the picture above the definition is:

One who can’t sleep and becomes obsessed with late night activities.

Define obsessed.


Filed under absurdities, urban dictionary

Doody Babies

I know, after the holiday weekend I am supposed to keep the warm and fuzzy alive and tell you all how special my holiday was. How wonderful it was to be with family and friends. How everyone sleeping in their own beds and having my kids home was absolutely the best. How perfect the table looked, how the Chambers oven earned itself another year of life by actually cooking the turkey in a reasonable amount of time (define reasonable).

But all I  really want to share with you is my son and two nephews and how after eating the holiday meal they felt it was important to pose in this photo with their…

doody babies.

My son has gone so far as to name his Chester (we do not know why). He would be on the right with that more than concerning stance of a true pregnant woman. Look at the way his hand is bracing his back. You would actually think he was pregnant!  All three of them look quite authentic. When I posted this on facebook someone commented on the patriotic touch of the red, white and blue. Um, yeh, well ok.

Just curious, does stuff like this go on at anyone else’s holiday dinners? And have any of you ever heard of doody babies before or is this just our family? (you should hear our table conversations)!



Filed under family, holidays, humor


Tonight’s word is ‘gelatinous’. In an attempt to get a head start on Thanksgiving I decided to make the cranberry sauce tonight. Happy to have Jana and her girls in the kitchen we set out to make the easiest of holiday recipes.


It would appear there was too much water. Or not enough sugar. Or just plain beat cranberries. But in no way did this cranberry sauce possess the (here it comes) gelatinous consistency that we expected.

We were, however, happy to be able to use the word gelatinous more often than humanly possible.

There were years when I used to burn an apple pie, then have to bake another. I suppose the cranberries were tagged as ‘it’ this year.



Filed under family, food, holidays, humor

Time to Cry Tuesday – If these walls could talk

Home. It’s more than just a house. Sometimes it is not even the ‘right’ house. Certainly not the dream house. But definitely home. With its drafty windows, ancient kitchen and not enough space… I still take comfort within these walls.

This is the place where the kids came home from the hospital and now come home from college. Where I walked the floors with them as teething, croupy, bronchitis babies and walked the floors again alone waiting to hear that garage door open when they started to drive.

And now this house – that has been so quiet these past months – is starting to come back alive with laundry and the smell of bacon. One kid home, first with a stomach virus and then a with her boyfriend. (21-year-olds get better quickly). And the other kid will be home before Tuesday comes to a close.

Not only have my children been gone, but their friends have been missed almost as much. I cannot wait for the door to open to those man-boys who love yodels and hug me till I almost fall over. Who initial the fruit and leave notes in the cup cakes and whose humor keeps me laughing all night long. I long for a foyer full of big sneakers and the shouting of video games in the basement. I can’t wait to have a late night kitchen full of  young women who want to bake and hear all the plans of the lives they will soon enter when they graduate. I am thrilled to line this house with air mattresses and make breakfast for the masses.

There is now life in rooms that since the summer laid silent. And if these walls could talk they would tell the tales of a family that has grown up here. The years seem to echo in these walls, and as I walk through them things catch my eye that make me smile. For instance, the photo above brings me back 20 years. That would be a drip of Baby Tylenol on the wall in my daughter’s room. We have painted it twice since then, but it would appear that Tylenol trumps Benjamin Moore and it keeps bleeding through. It is a reminder of the strong will she had as a baby that serves her so well as a young woman.

If these walls could talk they would tell you that maybe this family never got to upgrade their house, but they have certainly built themselves a warm, solid place filled with love that they can always call home.

To my beautiful kids: don’t believe what they say…. You can ALWAYS go home again.

Happy Thanksgiving all. May you and your families feel at home no matter where you may be. And may your turkey not be pink when you carve it.


Filed under college, danny, family, gary, Jana, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Expiration dates

Is it bad that I had a 5-pack of zinc oxide in my closet with an expiration date of 1997? Oh, how I wish i was making this up.

You see, here’s the thing; It’s not like I have not cleaned that closet out in the past 13 years, it would simply appear that I do more organizing than actual cleaning. You might wonder why I would have a 5-pack of zinc oxide back in mid-90s. Well, do the math. Young Danny had his butt in a diaper in the early 90s, so I would imagine it took quite a few years for that stuff to expire. And my neighbor was a pharmacist… hence the 5-pack.

Being the weekend before Thanksgiving I have been obsessively nesting. Since my nephew – the expiration date Nazi – will be visiting, I kept going on the hunt for expired items in the kitchen and garage pantries.

Here is a brief list of the worst items I have found with their expiration dates: walnuts/2006, canned pineapple/2003, pumpkin pie mix/2005, assorted pudding mixes/2007-2009… should I go on? I think you get the idea.

Maybe I should put a challenge out there. Anyone able to beat the zinc oxide from 1997?


Filed under absurdities, holidays

Pre-holiday Musings

I have been out of the basement and out in the world these last few days. Here are a few of my thoughts (scary when I let you see the inside of my head, isn’t it?):

1. Saffron. why is this sold like drugs in a vial and why on earth does it cost almost as much. Yeh, yeh, I know you only need a few threads but seriously, $15.00 for a spice? Do people snort this stuff?

2. Parking lots. Who designs them? And do they have little cameras in their offices just for kicks where they watch people lose their minds trying to park? You will be happy to know I have shed my parking lot rage and have learned to behave myself(ish) – I think the back up camera in the new car may have helped. But I have seen quite a few people with less than stellar behavior these past few days.

3. Turkey. What does a 28 lb. turkey look like when it is walking around? (and have I just ruined everyone’s appetite for the holiday?)

4. Cranberries. What makes them organic and why does that mean they should cost $5.99 a bag?

5. Airports. Why is nothing open at 10:30 at night at LaGuardia? Aren’t we the city that never sleeps?

And last but not least:

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS… why are these up before Thanksgiving!!!

Sorry. that last one is a pet peeve of mine. Not because I am a Jew (hey I don’t yank out the Menorah the second the Halloween candy is gone either), but because I feel the need to savor the moment of one holiday before the next one is out there.

Sorry, but it’s kind of like those people that say the summer is almost over on August 1st.

So folks, my holiday message for you all is to try your best to BE HERE NOW. Where ever that might be. And try to spend at least one day with your glass half full (hopefully with alcohol if you are spending it with family).

Love. Hugs. And a spectacular L-tryptophan induced sleep at the end of the holiday to you all.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook


Filed under absurdities, holidays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Thankful

My mom found this the other day. I think Danny wrote it in 4th grade. (you gotta love the illustration!)

One would expect a little brother, three years junior to his sister, would idolize her at that age and write something sweet like this. But what got me as I read this was how close they have become now that they are grown. Not just siblings, they are truly friends who always have each other’s back.

‘I hope you be with me till the day I die’

And that, my friends, is a hell of a way to start Thanksgiving. Welcome home Jana-girl – nothing like everyone sleeping in their own beds!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook


Filed under danny, family, friendship, holidays, Jana, Time to Cry Tuesdays

What I Learned this Thanksgiving


1. The vintage Chambers stove is way too fickle to cook a turkey correctly.

2. The pop up thermometer is ALWAYS wrong.

3. The overpriced William Sonoma electronic thermometer is ALWAYS right and I never believe it because for some ridiculous reason I want to trust the plastic little pop up one.

4. Two 18 lb. turkeys is too much anyway when you are serving sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice, stuffing (carb much?), cranberry sauce, vegie lasagna, salad, squash and string beans. And a sick amount of desserts.

5. The above menu is what happens when a jewish girl and an italian girl make a joint holiday.

6. There is ALWAYS a kid’s table no matter how old the kids are (15-23 in our case)

7. The kid’s table always seems to be having more fun than the adult’s table (note to self: sit at kid’s table next year)

8. If you stare at your daughter who is home from college too much she will start to feel like you are stalking her.

9. A little health scare before the holidays makes you appreciate not wearing a hospital wristband way more than usual.

10. There is nothing better than your husband’s best friend marrying a woman who is the best wife a girl could have. 

Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday as much as we did.

Now where are those friggin’ sweatpants?

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at Mid-Century Modern Moms and at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

 : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine :  :  : TailRank : post to facebook


Filed under family, holidays, humor