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Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Divine Decade






Today marks mine and Keith's ten-year anniversary. The pic is of our trip to Jamaica a few years ago. It has been the most magnificent 10 years of my life. Not unlike a movie....action and adventure,exciting locations(and great food!), a few tears, a lot of laughter and many moments of pure joy. May the movie never end...until we see those end credits together.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We are SO Lit Right Now...um,Lighted..er, Never Mind












Our Christmas lights are up, Keith is off the ladder, it's all good now....:)

It's Officially Christmas Season

Growing up, it wasn't Christmas season until I saw Santa come over the hill on the Norelco Razor.....now, thanks to YouTube here's the original ad.

Leftovers
























'Tis a time for leftovers so here's some leftover pics of the holiday....including the stained glass shop Keith gets his materials from(stained glass cherries!) and some luscious pies from Corner Cafe where we had breakfast. Cheers!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lunch at....Bass Pro Shop?
















We headed to Independence to check out the new-ish Bass Pro Shop. We knew it would be of great interest for Keith's dad. I, however, was blown away by it. Bass Pro Shop is apparently the mack daddy mecca for hunters and fisherman. It's an outright amusemment park. We had lunch at the vast Islamorada Fish Company inside. Enormous in it's own right, the restaurant actually had great food not to mention a lenghty aquarium wall behind the bar. I had their 'world-famous grouper sandwich' fried and topped with grilled onions and american cheese. T'was awesome. There was nothing small about this place. The country store featured some hilariously-monikered food items.

We finished out Black Friday at Target where I ran into this lady and her hilarious T-shirt. The front said 'BFF'.

The Hall of Waters
















Next stop was the Hall of Waters. Keith, in his job as Executive Director, has helped get the venerable old institution re-opened to the community. The Hall of Waters was opened in 1937 to pipe in the water from various mineral springs. The water supported the world's longest water bar as well as a mammoth swimming pool and spa. The building is a stunning example of Art Deco design with Aztec and Mayan influences. Back in the day, Excelsior Springs was known the world over for it's mineral water and recently they have started bottling it once again. Keith is pictured with a gift box of the water.

The Hall of Waters is also the setting for the community Christmas tree display. Along with beautifully designed trees, there are meaningful trees as well. One from the hospital is highlighted by cancer awareness. Another particularly heart-tugging one is the tree from the Excelsior Springs Animal Shelter. It features 300 ornaments that represent every animal that was saved. Sadly, it also features a piece of candy for every one that was not....and there were 600 of them.

The trees all combine to help the Hall of Waters look particularly stunning right now. Onward...

Black Friday Begins































I was actually off on Black Friday this year for the first time....well,ever. We began the day in Excelsior Springs. We stopped by Brunke Supply, a hardware store that is truly a blast from the past. It reminds me of the old Triplett's hardware in my hometown. The only thing that was missing was that old Triplett's frieght elevator. The pics are of Brunke's vintage kitchen items and a contraption with a golf ball lid that we never did figure out. We also stopped by the Olde English Garden Shoppe which is run by two of our favorite people, Jim and Ginger Nelson. The wonderful Betty Bissell was working there today and I got a pic with her. The silver tree belongs to their shop.

We also stopped by Willow Spring Mercantile and did a little wine tasting with the owner Jim. The awesome trees with wine corks and foodie items belong to them.

Nice low-key beginning....

Your Father Smells of Elderberries...Happy Anniversary, Monty Python









It's Black Friday so bring out yer dead! Better yet bring me some laughs, please. Today's humor will be found celebrating Monty Python's 40th anniversary. Keith's brother-in-law Dave brought me the Holy Grail Ale that's pictured with an Around the World collection of beers for my birthday. The clip above is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail....the three questions scene.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blessings are Bountiful




























These are some assorted pics of the dinner with Keith's parents. It was as delicious as ever...the turkey was the best ever. Doing dishes the manual way didn't even hamper the day.

Keith and his dad told a humorous tale of his Mom, Helen, and Keith's Aunt Ruthie making Thanksgiving dinner many moons ago. Apparently, a tad too much wine was consumed and the result was, according to the rest of the family, the best dinner ever. Unfortunately, no one could remember how to recreate it.

How fascinating that tale would prove to be when Keith whispers to me during the prep of the Green Bean Casserole..."I'm HAMMERED..."

He'd had one glass of wine.

"I haven't had lunch!"

Despite his 'inebriation', dinner was magnificent. The country stuffing is Paula Deen's and it's my favorite. The link is here..

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/good-old-country-stuffing-recipe/index.html


And yeah, I threw in a pic of Spiderman at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.....cause it's Thanksgiving. And it's Spidey. Just sayin'.

Happy Thanksgiving















Top of the Turkey Day to all of my friends and loved ones! Timing is everything on Thankgiving Day but timing sucked for us today in one aspect. The heating element went out on the dishwasher just in time for Thanksgiving dishes! Ouch. Such is life...

These are pics during the prep of the day and include Keith's chai tea and Dylan searching for Black Friday sales....I swear this site was not meant to be Those Darn Cats but they keep posing so I can't resist.

Third and final Thanksgiving memory:

Seven years ago, Keith and I were living in Washington, DC. On this rare occasion, neither of us were traveling for the holiday or hosting dinner for friends. We volunteered for a wonderful group named Burgundy Crescent who put us in touch with agencies in need. Thanksgiving morning, we volunteered to help prepare holiday dinner to be delivered to AIDS patients. We arrived in a dangerous side of town at an industrial kitchen set up for the express purpose of feeding the homeless. Along with at least 50 other folks, we formed assembly lines to quickly prepare and box up hundreds of meals. It was a long morning and a lot of work and worth every second.

The morning was not, of course, without humor. A local DC TV station came to the shelter to do a spot on the volunteering. They wanted someone to interview and chose me for some reason. After a quick run-through, the camera light went on and the reporter proceeded to ask me what I was thankful for. I said something along the lines of," I'm thankful for this. And grateful. I'm thankful and grateful. For gratitude. Gratitude for this." And it went on....I just babbled nonsensically. I noticed the reporter's eyes glazing over and that finally shut me up.

Sigh.

I had hoped it wouldn't be used.....but it was. I saw it. Every bit of bad karma I created from complaining about how people conduct themselves when talking to the local press came back to bite me in the ass.

Oh, well. In the end, the feeling of accomplishment that came with the day overwhelmed everything else. Making the holiday about helping others as opposed to helping myself to another helping made it my favorite Thanksgiving ever. I wish I could say I walked the walk like that all the time but that just isn't the case. We made that year, though, about something other than ourselves, and for that I will always be thankful...and grateful....with gratitude.

Stay tuned for pics of the dinner itself...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brine That Bad Boy












Tonight, we put our beloved bird in a time-tested brine for the next 12+ hours. The brine is as follows:

1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 lemons quartered
2 oranges quartered
6 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of rosemary

This has made for a juicy and tender turkey for the past couple of years.

Thanksgiving memory #2:

About fourteen years ago, the extended family on my mother's side, the Rineharts, decided to host a family Thanksgiving celebration at the St. Marys Marina. At the time, I was working at the Levee House Cafe in Marietta. I found out one of my co-workers, Mikey S, didn't have anywhere to go for the holidays so I invited him to attend the family blowout with me. It seemed as if everyone was coming in, from Illinois to Florida and this hadn't happened in a long time.

On the day of the event, we arrived and I introduced Mikey to several family members as the amazing array of food was being set out. I hadn't seen many of these relatives in quite some time so I was catching up on kids, illnesses and gossip.

The day as with any family holiday(mine anyway)was not without drama. I introduced Mikey to my bipolar sister who at the moment had decided my parents and I were persona non grata and for some unknown reason wasn't speaking to us. She at least was cordial with Mike.

The big surprise turned out to be my cousin Jerry and his wife Marylou. Jerry at the time was a DEA agent working in Bogota, Columbia during the Pablo Escobar regime and Marylou worked at the Embassy. They hadn't planned on joining us due to his work. Two nights prior to the holiday, Jerry and Marylou had just finished hosting a party complete with mariachi band when they were awakened by agents, quickly moved from their home and smuggled into the belly of a C-130 transport plane and flown out of the country. After arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, they were eventually able to leave and come home to SM. Apparently, they narrowly escaped a hit on them that was about to take place. So, to everyone's surprise including theirs, they joined us for Thanksgiving.

The food was brilliant as it always was with the Rineharts and there were many hearty dishes and sumptious desserts. Aunt Bonnie's noodles took center stage as usual. The food is the best reminder of the love, laughter and personality the Rineharts always share no matter what dramas may occur.

After we left, Mikey seemed almost shell-shocked. He said,"You have a very.....interesting family."

Yes, I surely do...and the food is awesome, too!