Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

I think I have made this resolution every year for at least 10 or 20 years.  I want to compile a family history for my children.  I'm not sure that they want a family history, but it seems like something I should provide. 

I have done some genealogical research and found lots of information, locations and, maybe, fabrications about my ancestors.  I find it a fascinating study.  Once in a while someone, grandchildren that do it for a school project usually, will take an interest for a while.  I would really like to travel to some of the locations where they lived and research in county courthouses.  I want to include all the pictures and stories and fables.

Since I have tried this before, maybe this will be the year.  Some things can indicate progress.  I take joy in the fact that I have completed some parts of the family history, mostly my husband's family.  Mine is less complete, but then I want to include memories in mine.  I need to do this soon because I fear my memory gets foggier the farther I get from the event.  I want my children and grandchildren to have some knowledge of the people I knew.  Maybe its a selfish wish--I have memories to share and, in the process, I get to relive them.

Lots of books are written about families.  They are not famous books mostly, but like mine, a memory to share.  In the grand scheme of things including New Year's resolutions, this is not a bad goal.   

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Mother's Recipe for New Year's Celebration

I remember my mother's New Year's Eve party.  I must have been eight years old.  I am sure it was tame by today's standards, but I felt very mature to be allowed to attend and stay up until midnight.  I assume that there was some alcohol, but I don't actually remember it; after all a child was present. 

I got pretty bored after standing around for a while since I was the only child, and grown people didn't talk about anything I was interested in.  There was music from the record player, but not many people danced.  There was food, but so what? 

The things I remember were Boiled Custard and Auld Lang Syne.
Auld Lang Syne  is the song traditionally associated with New Year Eve.  It means "for the sake of old times."  It is intended to fix in the mind the joys of times past.  It was the theme song of a band that was popular with my family--Guy Lombardo.  If you are reading this, you may have figured out that I like to remember the good times and I value the memories.  When I hear that song, my eyes often well with tears of joy for good times.

Boiled Custard is one of those memories.  You can buy a poor imitation of Boiled Custard in the grocery store around Christmas and New Years, but it is not nearly as good as the homemade stuff.  Egg Nog is spiked with some kind of liquor, rum or whiskey, and Boiled Custard can be, but it is a stand alone delicacy. 

In the summertime, it is topped with whipped cream accompanied by a fine sugar cookie and  eaten with a spoon from a lovely glass custard cup.  At my mother's party it was drunk from a punch cup, perhaps with the alcohol mentioned above.  As an adult I came to appreciate the addition of a small amount of rum or brandy, but it was not necessary.  

The custard and the song still come with the memories, and I still enjoy them even with the tears.  

Boild Custard Recipe

1 quart of whole milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (you may substitute  brandy or rum flavoring)

Beat the eggs very well with 1/2 cup of the milk.  Heat the rest of the milk in a pan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and stir well.  When the mixture is scalding and ready to boil, stir in the eggs and remove the pan from the heat.  Stir well.  Add vanilla or other flavoring.  Stir well.  Cover the pan with a lid and allow to cool.  When cool, chill in refrigerator.  Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Have Friends I Don't Even Know

It's really funny how blogging works.  I'm getting to know and have fun with people I don't even know.  Bag Lady is in England, and she reads my blog and I read hers.  It's funny how easy it is to read her blog and visualize her life.  I identify with her.  She said she was learning to blog, but I think she is very good, better than me, anyway.

I read King of the New York Hacks and laugh at his antics and view his pictures of New York.  Gee, it was fun to visit New York without even having to buy a plane ticket.

I read Aprons in the Kitchen.  This one really isn't fair, because I do know her.  On the other hand, I have never seen her house, and I learn things about her every time read an entry--about the things she values and the people she loves and the hopes she cherishes.

My mother didn't tell me about blogging, but she knew a lot about being a friend.  I am so happy to have become friends with these nice people.  I forgot about 52 Weeks of Wordage.  She offers me opportunities to refine my writing--mostly, I don't refine it--I just do it.  But I really appreciated her attention to how we put things on paper--or on the blog, as the case may be.

I don't have time to read very many blogs, but once in a while I drop in on a stranger, check out their desk, see if they have time for a glass of tea, share a recipe.  Maybe I'll find a new friend.  It might be you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Deal with Christmas Depression

With everybody else happy and excited, do you ever feel sad and abandoned? Read this and see how you might change.
How to Deal with Christmas Depression

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Am I Doing for Christmas?

My kids keep asking me what I am doing for Christmas, and I tell them I haven't decided.  I have.  I want to stay home alone--not like the movie with the burglars--but with certain memories and some reflection, and maybe a good book or TV show, if there is such a thing.  I read poetry.  I like to read it alone with hot cocoa, some of it I even wrote, and Christmas Day is an excellent time to do it.

Does this sound depressed or sad or, worse yet, pitiful?  Not to me.  It sounds like a time to be blessed by memories, to remember people who are not here and those moments of joy we shared.  Going to somebodyelse's in-laws, no matter how nice they are, makes me feel very isolated and lonely. 

I will enjoy the lights and decorations, and I will worship in the candle-lighting service, and I will savor the tastes and smells of Christmas goodies, and I will even join in some of the hugging and chatting and games and gifts.  But my most important celebration of Christmas this year will be the stories and blessings recaptured from Christmases long gone.  Maybe I'll share them with you. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Mother Told Me to Say "Thank You"

Not very many people read my blogs.  I have another one that is called "Does the Bible Really Say That?"  I was very excited when I got a few readers.  Hey, people I don't even know are reading my blog!  What better high is there than that?  Readers are wonderful!

Then I found a link that told me where the readers lived.  I couldn't believe it.  People in many different countries were reading my stuff.  Now, that's a high I couldn't imagine.  Maybe they were translating it.  Maybe they were just studying English.  I wondered if they understood my references and enjoyed my analogies.  Writing is so much fun I forgot to thank the readers.  So here it is.

Thank you readers, for reading my blogs.  I think some of you have read it more than once.  That is really the most exciting think I can imagine--people who read it once and come back again must have found something meaningful or funny or insightful.  At least that's the way it feels to me.  If you are from India or South Korea or Romania or Russia, or if you are from the U. S. or even right here in Texas, I appreciate you reading and returning for another visit.

My mother would want me to make you feel welcome and offer you a glass of iced tea.  Thanks again for reading and coming back.