Pandora’s Box

December 31, 2009


Television changed our lives, and we had no idea how many ways it would do that.

  Mama and Daddy with our first television in 1953.  It was a Zenith-brand  “console” which not only had the TV in it, but also a radio and a turntable for records. 

   Mama looks happier than Daddy.  Maybe he’s worrying about how much it cost!  (I’m sure I’m on the other side of the room dancing with joy and telling them to hurry up with the pictures so that we can watch it!)

Who could have guessed how much influence TV would exert on all our lives today, when Mama and Daddy were admiring their first set in 1953?

Definitely a Pandora’s Box that can never be re-closed.  All we can do is use the remote control to “edit” what we allow it to bring into our homes.

Christmas weekend in pictures . . .

December 29, 2009

 . . . with a few words thrown in.

   Like a kitten mesmerized by a dangling string, I’m drawn to the sight of dancing flames, sparkling lights . . .

    . . . and twinkling smiles!  DD and her girls arrived late afternoon on Christmas Day and left Sunday afternoon.

  But before they arrived, we were guests for Christmas day dinner at Candy and Johns’.

    Sometimes you “eat” and then sometimes you “dine”.   And the food and the company were as wonderful as the table was beautiful.  Thank you Candy and John!

Soon after we returned home, DD and her girls arrived.

That evening we exchanged gifts and just enjoyed being together.

         The youngest gift-giver, Mimi, gave me a very interesting gift.   Can you guess what it is?

            — it’s a very warm and cozy little muff with an ice scraper inside!

        I went to the garage to test it.  Perfect!  While I’m scraping my windshield, my hand will stay toasty warm.  I’ve never had one of those, but I know it will be very useful!

         This was my early morning breakfast on Saturday morning (as compared to my second breakfast that I ate hours later with my family!) eaten while admiring  gifts from my grandchildren (including the placemats!).

       When everyone else got up, we had bagels and cream cheese with the wonderful homemade grape jelly our next door neighbors Belinda and Mike gave us.  It is absolutely delicious.  If this were the grape jelly they served in restaurants, no one would ever ask for some other spread for their toast!

After breakfast, DD, Mimi and I went shopping to spend the money gift Mimi had received at her favorite store — the Disney Store.  She bought a glittery princess gown with matching crown, shoes and wand.  The key word there is glittery!  Let’s just say, even after a good going-over with the sweeper, our house still “sparkles”!  But, she looked darling in it (I can’t believe I didn’t think to take a picture of that!) and enjoyed it, so that’s what counts.  The little bit of glitter residue is temporary . . . the memories are forever.

When we returned from shopping, we all went to Cinema Grille for dinner and the Chipmunks movie.  Mimi wore her whole new outfit, including the wand, which she did understand had to be turned off during the movie.  I imagine, with her looking like a princess as she arrived at the theater, we must have looked like her serfs just tagging along behind.

I can also imagine that when the employees went to clean up the theater afterwards, they must have wondered at the sprinkles of “fairy dust” here and there.

         Next week is the birthday of the little giver of ice scrapers/princess.  So, when we returned home from the movie, and she changed into more dealing-with-food-approprite clothes, she supervised while I baked her a chocolate cake, her favorite.  And then she decorated it.  (Why yes, she had just drank some red fruit punch.  How did you guess?)

       It’s obvious she is her Nana’s girl (besides our shared love of “sparkle”) — she loves lots of color just like Nana does too!    She was very proud of how it turned out and said she thought it looked like stars and fireworks.  I think so too!

     On Sunday, we went out for lunch and then came back to the house to have birthday cake (and, of course, to give Mimi our presents, which I had bought at the Disney Store while her mom shopped with her over in the “sparkle” section) before they left for home.

      Then it began to snow in earnest and the forecast predicted more, so it was time for DD and the girls to leave.

   Already buckled into your seat in the back of Mom’s car, and then realize you didn’t get to kiss Papa good-bye?  Not a problem.  Papa will find a way to get to you for that good-bye kiss!

   Papa’s “little girl” made sure she got her good-bye kiss too!

    And they were off for their four hour drive home, which they completed safely.

That evening, after the snow quit, Hubby went out to plow and I went out to take some pictures.

   He worked . . .

    . . . while I played.  The neighborhood lights are lovely at night. 

   There are two of these concrete urns flanking the garage door that faces the street.  I put geraniums in them in the summer, but they look somewhat “naked” in the winter. 

   But about a month ago I saw this suggestion in an article on outdoor decorating — you put an evergreen wreath on top of an urn and put a big Christmas ball in the middle.  It was easy to do and I like the way our seasonally drab urns look “dressed up” for Christmas.

A fun weekend with friends and family.  I hope yours was the same.

Always doing your best should be your goal — whether a player or a team

December 28, 2009


Warning:  Rant ahead.

Tomorrow I’ll post the pictures from our fun weekend, but as I was working on that post this morning, I kept thinking back to the embarrassing Colts game last night, and decided I had to get this off my chest first.

Last night we watched the result of the Colts’ front office losing sight of what football is all about, i.e., always playing hard and doing your best, whether winning or losing, by insisting that Coach Caldwell bench his starters, to “rest” them for the play-offs (hello!? — what about momentum and team spirit?).  That was very hard for us to watch on TV (and we did turn it off long before it was over) — imagine what it was like for the fans who had paid to sit in the stands to see a top-notch team play with all their heart!

I just have one question:

If it’s obvious that a player, in any sport, is intentionally not playing their hardest, aren’t they investigated, penalized and possibly fined?  Then why is it okay for a team to intentionally not do their best?

Shame on Colts’s owner, Jim Irsay and head strategist, Bill Polian (who I have always admired greatly for his ability to pick obscure players in the draft who turn into superstars).  I’m sure they’re thinking that if they win the Super Bowl this will all be forgotten, but I would say again, they’ve forgotten what the game is all about — doing your best every time you compete.  Consequently, I believe this will be a blemish on the reputation of our beloved Colts forever.

 It’s a sad day in Mudville when Casey doesn’t get his chances at bat.

While grandchildren visit, life changes!

December 26, 2009



Dear Readers, Commenters and Lurkers,

You know I love you guys, right?

But DD and her three girls got here on Christmas Day and will be here for the weekend.  And, as much as I love my readers, grandchildren take love to a whole new level!

So, have a wonderful weekend.  I know we will.  And we can meet here again on Monday, okay?

And, in the meantime, maybe we’ll run into each other at the Chipmunks movie or out shopping for a good deal!

Love, Sandra

My journey to eternity . . .

December 24, 2009


. . . began on the night of My Savior’s birth.

May the eternity He purchased for us all with His birth, death and resurrection give us joy and peace in these troubled times.

Curiosity may have killed the cat . . .

December 22, 2009


but it only slightly wounded me . . . in the pocketbook.

   This is, for you less curious sorts, a horned melon.

“Why on earth would you buy something called a horned melon?”, you would ask.

And I would answer, “I was taken in and dazzled by the slick perveyors of exotic fruit at Christmas-time at the super store!”  I can picture that when the produce manager was making an end-of-day inventory and realized one of these had been sold, he chuckled to himself and thought, “I can’t believe some poor schmuck actually bought one of those!”.

But, in my mind, it must be good, or they wouldn’t sell it, right?  When you look at it, can’t you just picture natives on some tiny, isolated island where this is the main edible vegetation, enjoying roasting these over campfires or simmering them with some native grasses and a few grasshoppers for a hearty stew?  Me too.

So, I took my horned melon home thinking, while I wouldn’t do any roasting or stewing, I would eat some of it in all its freshness with a sandwich for lunch.

A little background:  When I was little and we ate watermelon, there were lots of seeds in it (back then they would have just laughed that someone would even try to grow a seedless watermelon!).  So you learned very young to do some sorting in your mouth — you sorted out the seeds, spit them on your plate and then savored and swallowed the delicious pulp.

So, while I could see the seeds were plentiful in this fruit, I was undeterred.  I would simply apply what I had learned in childhood and do some in-the-mouth sorting and spitting (in a very ladylike manner, of course) in order to enjoy this exotic new fruit.

Unfortunately, as I believe I have mentioned before, my mind tends more toward the creative side and not so much to the analytical/mathmatical side.  So, there is a ratio thing going on here that hadn’t occurred to me.  When I attempted to eat this fruit, it was practically all seeds, with just a bare minimum of melon holding them together.  I only ate one slice.  And ate probably isn’t the appropriate word.  Because by the time I spit the seeds out, there wasn’t anything left to eat!  The horned melon went in the trash.

And now, when I walk past the horned melon display in the produce aisle, I smile a knowing smile and keep on walking!  That slick produce manager has put one over on me for the last time!

“Oh, wait a minute, what’s that ugly brown thing with wrinklely skin over there on the next aisle?  I wonder how that tastes?”

Curiosity may not have killed this “cat” yet, but hopefully she’ll learn her lesson before she uses up all her lives!

Glazed Chicken Under Wraps

December 21, 2009



We don’t have a PF Chang restaurant close to us, but years ago we went to one out of town and I still remember loving the appetizer they served that was a chicken mixture wrapped in a lettuce leaf. 

Wellll, Rachel Ray has a recipe for something very similar.  As usual, I made a few modifications, including doubling the amount of chicken because it allows the recipe to making eight servings at 5 WW points each.

btw, Hubby likes the chicken and the lettuce wrapped up in a whole-grain tortilla.  But, that means an extra point!

Glazed Chicken Under Wraps

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced in small, thin pieces

1-2 T. Grill Mates Montreal chicken seasoning (enough to sprinkle over all the chicken)

2 T. vegetable oil

1/2 t. ground ginger

2 t. minced garlic (in the jar) or 4 cloves

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced

1 1/2 C.packaged shredded cabbage and carrot mix

3 green onions, chopped fine

1/2 C. plum sauce (in Asian section at grocery)

1 1/2 C. fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

1 T. fish sauce (also in Asian section)  Note:  NOT fish oil — two totally different tastes!

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, cut in half again

1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped

Thinly slice chicken into strips and sprinkle with grill seasoning.

Heat a large skillet on high.  When really hot, add vegetable oil, then chicken.  Cook chicken 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the ginger, garlic, peppers, cabbage/carrot mix and green onions and stir fry another 2 minutes.  Add plum sauce to glaze the mixture.  Toss 1 minute.  Then add basil and wilt leaves.  Add fish sauce and turn to coat.  Transfer mixture to a bowl. 

To eat, wrap a spoonful of the chicken mixture and some cucumber in a lettuce leaf as you would a tortilla. 

Note:  If you decide to try this, please don’t skip the fish sauce because you don’t like the sound of it.  Nothing about this tastes fishy and I assume the fish sauce is one of the things that makes it taste “Asian”!

Hope you like it.

How Deep The Father’s Love for Us

December 20, 2009


  At our Christmas Eve service last year.

In a recent service we sang How Deep The Father’s Love for Us, which included these words:

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom.

But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?  I cannot give an answer.

But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

May we remember the reason for the season, and find comfort, peace and joy in it.


December 19, 2009


I was browsing my blog roll early this morning and Jen at Cake Wrecks, after doing one of her normal, hilarious posts about cake decorators’ attempts to do snow flakes (see “Total Flakes” here), directed her readers to a site where real snowflakes have actually been photographed.  Amazing!

If you would like to take a few minutes to be awed by God’s handiwork in the intricacy of a snow flake, go here:

You can even read about the details of how the photographer does it, like what camera, lenses and settings he uses and the challenges he faces — like keeping the room cold enough for the snowflakes not to melt but not so cold the photographer freezes!

Thanks to Jen at Cake Wrecks and fwwidall for giving my Saturday a great start!

Mama Remembered: Kids and Comic Books

December 18, 2009


Comic books were a big deal when I was a little kid, but it sounds like they may have been even a bigger deal when my older siblings and cousins were growing up. 

   Roy and Bill, the comic-book-trading cousins from Kansas City with my brother behind them.


Here is another excerpt from Mama’s book I Remember:

Our children loved comic books.  They had stacks of them.  Of course, in those days — the 30’s and 40’s — they only cost a dime.  The kids used to trade comics with all their friends.  They also traded with their cousins, Roy and Bill, every time our families got together.

But when we moved to Springfield, Missouri from Kansas City in 1946 the kids lost a lot of their traders.

After we had been in Springfield a few months, Ivy (Mama’s sister, Bill and Roy’s mom) wrote that she and George and the boys were coming to see us.  The kids panicked.  They were afraid Bill and Roy would forget to bring comic books for trading.  There wasn’t time to get a letter to them, so the kids pooled their money and sent them a telegram that simply said, “Bring comics.”  Needless to say, when they got to our house they had the trunk of their dad’s car full of comic books.

They all laugh about that even today when they get together. 


Communication was so much different in the 40’s than it is today.  Letters were the way they communicated with anyone out of town.  If they got a long distance call or a telegram, it was expected it would be about some serious emergency, like a death.  So, I’m sure it was a big event at my aunt and uncles’ house when they received a telegram, especially one to their sons from their cousins about comic books!

Simpler times.