December 30, 2012
The day after Christmas, we celebrated with Ted, Bev, their children, and the grandmas, Eunice and Ruth, who are family members of Kristanne’s boys, Austin and Alec. Las Vegas is a long way to go for a visit and Murphys is much closer for them.
Alec and Austin with cousins Abby and Daniel. (Ted is visible in he background.) The kids are sucking orange juice up through a peppermint stick “straw”.
After dinner, the gift exchange. Grandma Eunice gave Austin what looked like a huge bag of cash. But, hidden inside the bag was a family tradition. This year Austin got “the ugly cup.”
It has been a tradition for several generations In Eunice’s family for someone to pass on the ugly cup at Christmas. It is inscribed with these words: “I had a choice of being rich or good lookin’” Austin will now have to pass it on next year. She gave college-age grandson Alec, a gift-card of gas for his car. What clever gifts!
The boys enjoyed the Guinness Book of World Records Austin received from his cousin Owen, who is in Italy.
Bev and her Mom.
Then, later in the day, Austin in his new pajamas, texting.
Naturally, boys love to wrestle and/or show off their strength. Alec is a student but he works full-time as a manager of a Golds Gym. So, it isn’t all texting.
Next, is Christmas with my nearby siblings. I absolutely love the holidays and the extended family get-togethers.
February 13, 2012
French Canadian families of my parents generation were large. Genealogical historians indicate that King Louis gave instructions to those bold families striking out to settle the new world that each family should strive to have 12 children to populate “New France”. Those were times when it was typical for families to be large and to lose children at childbirth, and from horrible diseases with no cure. My maternal French grandmother lost six babies, and two young children. She raised ten who all married and had children. Oh, my! My cousin Vicky Buelteman, left, is the daughter of my mother’s brother. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ.
We spent an afternoon remembering the past. Vicky’s father taught me to dance when I was a pre-teen, so I could dance at his wedding. Vicky and Rod’s daughter, Michele is studying microbiology in college. She was always fascinated by microscopes and didn’t get turned off by seeing things crawling around in her drinking water. Her goal is to work in a medical capacity.
We spent a couple of hours chatting and at one point tried to figure out how many cousins we have? It was a half-hearted effort because we have so many. We don’t really know all of their names or where they are. A fun endeavor anyway.
We contemplated how many of us didn’t go to college or graduate from high school and how much better educated the next generation of cousins is.
We move to a new location today, and Jim spent the morning before our visit plotting the State Parks of New Mexico on a map, since we plant to spend a great deal of time there in 2012.
December 16, 2011
My cousin, Gary, is visiting me for a few days. A widower, he is trying to come to terms with a splintered life, making this Christmas different from any other. I spent time last night demonstrating the wonders of the computer. I think I convinced him to buy one and get involved in the on-line community.
I had him laughing at some animated jokes and reality segments that found their way into my mailbox, one of a cowboy being given a drunk test, probably still out there on Youtube under the title Best_DUI-Stop Ever. And another of cops stopping people in their underwear. Both hilarious.
I then had him pick a subject and went to my search engine and found all he needed to know about surplus airplane parts. (His former business.)
We looked at nuggets of wisdom that come through the mail as well as marketing lies and blatant promotions to pick up $30,0000 from a poor immigrant that just needs your signature to get it from the bank.
I enjoyed the cruise through my picture files as well since we share a lot of childhood memories. It dawned on me how much I depend on the internet, for news, information, fact checking of rumors, jokes, beautiful pictures from the greatest photographers in the world. Such a deal in a box. It boggles my brain at how many people I know who don’t get on the internet highway.
My neighbor popped over with a plate of Christmas cookies and we enjoyed a treat before bed. Life will move swiftly away from you unless you make an effort to catch it by the tail and fly.
February 14, 2011
Marge and Gary Rowe celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with friends and family Saturday night. Gary’s older sister celebrated her 50th a couple years back and his youngest sister will celebrate her 50th next year. Not only admirable but quite unique for a single family where every sibling is still with their original spouse.
Reminds me of a story when my oldest son was dating. He brought a girl home to meet we parents and Ken explained that she was quite nervous about meeting us because among her friends and acquaintances, (this was high school age) she didn’t know anyone whose parents were still married to each other.
At the celebration, I also took a five generations photo. My cousin, stands next to his 94 year old mother, his son to his left, and his grand-daughter and her new baby complete the five generations. What a wonderful message of stalwart peoples, who have learned to take on life and play the hand they are dealt without caving in along the way.
Another sign of the test of time is Marge with her oldest friend-from kindergarten.
The DJ changed the music from hits of the fifties to more current tunes and the young people taught us some new, wild and crazy dance steps, kind of like line dancing.
With some serious moves on the dance floor, it was time to remove the spikes and get into it.
Son-in-laws and brothers..
First cousins and second cousins..
and sons and daugthers, all gather to honor their relative or friend in common, but also to share fond memories, and re-aquaint. and catch up with each other’s families.
These rituals of life are an important element of family and thank goodness we had such a wonderful occasion to bring us all together. Congratulations Marge and Gary.
January 7, 2011
I had so much fun visiting Jim’s cousins when we were back East in 2010. I guess its my turn to introduce him to my cousins. Karen Prelog came to greet us at our motor home here in Apache Junction, Arizona yesterday morning. Mid day, we spent time in the hot tub and did some grocery shopping.
Last night, Karen had us over to her house for a wonderful dinner. Karen’s mother and mine were sisters. None of our aunts and uncles are with us anymore. Its seems impossible to realize, WE are the older generation of our family.
Karen has four sons, all with families, all live in Arizona fairly near. Karen is a nurse and it keeps her young and strong. We will rendezvous with another cousin on Saturday, Vicky Bueltman from Scotsdale, daughter of my mother’s brother. Its nice to have someone recommend a good Mexican restaurant nearby for us.
As for me, its time to get acclimated to the rhythm of life in the motor home. We have a very weak signal and my email is not getting through. I’d forgotten about those vicissitudes of the road. Hopefully it will be better in the next few days. Gotta do e-mail.
And, since my engineer partner fixed my computer with a plastic toothpick, I think I’ll concentrate on getting everything transferred to the new machine. Its a Toshiba, rated second for reliability by consumer guides, just under Acer computers. It’s hard to change from what you are comfortable using, but it has to be done, even though when we took the toothpick out of the button, the button began working on its own. There is no understanding electronics.
December 26, 2010
When cousins get to tease cousins, no matter the ages they all enjoy.
Aunt Cathy with Abbie.
California weather meant the little guys spent several hours on the trampoline Christmas Eve Day.
Daniel and Beverly.
Its hard to wait your turn to open a present.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
As the day got late, the guys put up the candles and lit the tree.
By popular request, Cedric made his pecan sticky buns before working on one of the Christmas meat pies, or pastie, as the traditional dish is known in our family.
Laurie displayed some Christmas “bling” with her lighted necklace.
The “dueling” cooks each made a giant pastie, each a bit different, both delicious. The banter goes something like this: “Your pastie is an abomination, its too juicy its too much like a pot pie.”
“Yours needs a little something to spice it up.” All in fun, not a morsel remained after breakfast on Christmas Day.
After dinner, the candles were snuffed, the tree adored and the family enjoyed the evening.
One of the grown-up “kids” helped the little ones with their toys.
The guy who drove the farthest distance enjoyed a nap.
And, a merry Christmas was had by all.
November 29, 2010
My neighbor, Jan Stewart, invited Jim and I over for a second Thanksgiving Dinner with her family. Jan is my friend and neighbor.
Her son, Brian, went to grammar and high school with my youngest daughter.
November 23, 2010
I really get into cooking Thanksgiving dinner because its always exciting to try new dishes and use everything in the spice cupboard. Well, in my case, that isn’t actually possible because I have soooo many spice choices. In fact, the spice cupboard is full.
It has spilled over and taken up a shelf in the pantry. Some items are dried fresh from the garden and put in little bottles and jars.
And then, there are seasonings I have to have handy to the stove that I use the most.
I tend to plan for weeks ahead, choosing and discarding recipes, favoring this one over that one. I like to make paella with saffron rice. No stores in my area carry saffron anymore because it is too expensive. I should have thought to go online. Gosh, what bounty we have in our country. I’ll remember next year.
New this year is a kale recipe my daughter and her mother-in-law tweaked from a deli dish they tasted. And, as always, her pear with almond paste desert that has become a family tradition over the last five years. Its nice that family traditions change a bit with time, giving the feast an element of surprise.
Normally, the whole family arrives with their own special treats, and usually some extra friends or brothers, or cousins. Daughter-in-law Laurie, daughter Virginia and son Douglas are all good cooks and love to make special dishes for Thanksgiving. Doug picks summer berries and freezes them especially for holiday pies. He plans to smoke the turkey this year and I plan to make two different stuffing recipes on the side with a zinfandel and apple gravy. We always have something with pumpkin and corn to remember the Pilgrims.
Laurie always surprises us with some exciting new recipe. She is an artist and designs special place markers for everyone attending. This year, they will not attend since grandson Mason will be playing in the Macy’s Parade and at Carnegie Hall. He is part of an awesome band from Green Valley High School. He plays clarinet and will have some camera time because a group of the boys will do a little spotlight take-out on the street.
Today is my major cooking day to prepare everything that can be made ahead. Ain’t life grand? The spice of life probably isn’t spices, but at Thanksgiving time, they play a great part of making life exciting.
August 9, 2010
It’s small quarters to have visitors in a motor home, but Pat, Diane and Simone came and crowded in for a few minutes before moving into Wendy and Jim Jaillet’s spacious house here in Ivoryton.
Jaime’s middle name is Simone and she is named for her first cousin, twice removed. Its always a pitfall to figure out cousin positions for the purpose of defining how they are related and I’m hoping I have that right from my forays into genealogy. Not that it matters. What really matters is that occasionally everyone makes it a point to get together.
Over lunch, we talked about that quite a bit, that we’ve become the oldest generation, and the family history often resides in our memories. Its important to share those things that you think about once in awhile. “Wasn’t she the daughter of…? Where did Aunt Irene get married? Maybe the same church we did. No, it was the depression, they had a small ceremony. I have a picture you might like a copy of.” And so it goes.
It always seems a surprise that the younger generation grows up so much from the last time you saw them, though we all know it happens. (Jaime, Jocelyn and Eric Jaillet.)
Young couples engaged in raising their families, with work, school, and extra circular activities-it practically takes an act of congress to get the whole family together at the same time. I remember those days. Eric, for instance, had a meeting to attend before guests arrived. He came back with a prize from a drawing, dirt bike tires.
The dessert was delicious, but also signals the end of lunch, and soon everyone was on their way, promising to get in touch again soon.
Jaime, Jim and I each won a game of Quiddler. She also won a game of checkers on-line (with Jim’s help.) Jaime said she had never slept in a motor home. Our first overnight guest.
For a few more pictures click:
June 8, 2010
I remember she came into the restaurant where I worked and none of the waitresses would wait on her because she was so demanding. (Ricky & Sue.)
Do you remember the year Camello and Jeanette put on the movie of us as kids meeting Santa while we were playing Santa with our kids?
Oh yeah! The year I played Santa Claus, I had to wear extra pillows. (Lucy)
Holy Cow! You traveled 7,000 miles in your motor home this year and that’s only half way? (Terri.)
Cousins are fun. They welcomed me like a long lost sister even as I struggled to keep new names straight with new faces. (Danny.)
Camello and Jeanette were celebrating their 57th anniversary. When asked how they met, Camello told us serious stories about his difficult life in Italy during the war, his parents killed, bombings, hunger. And then, his transition to America and a new life. So much history and great memories in one family.
I met almost all of Jim’s (matriarchal) cousins and identified with the fun of slogging down memory lane, telling stories on each other and laughing a lot.
Earlier in the day, Jim’s cousins Jackie and Ray stopped by the motor home and brought pictures and spent a couple hours reminiscing. Jackie has two grown biological children, and 9 adopted kids. Talk about a powerful accomplishment. She is the keeper of the genealogy and gave Jim some paperwork to help him keep track of everyone. (Men are often not good about that kind of stuff.)
Later that night, we had another great feast with Bob and Donna, entertainers extraordinaire. We ate the two “different” meat pies, French and Portuguese. Both delicious but we gave the Dave Souza meat pie the edge.
The difference between a meal and a feast is the company you keep.