Thanksgiving Wrap-up

My request for a photo almost made grandson David late for work, but he was willing to pose with the finished family puzzle. Some of the crew stayed up quite late finishing it. I liked niece Chrissie’s stance, leaning on grandson Nathaniel. I’m pretty sure Nate was on his knees.

Chrissie took this photo the day before of Lise, David, and me.

Friend Linda chose photos from our family reunion to have the puzzle made. This is one we will work again and again.

The suitcases were packed and ready to go when Nathaniel did the mirror ritual. John, Chrissie, Lise, and son John $pencer were there for the final photo.

Daughter Lise had been with us two weeks before flying back to Denmark. After she went through security, we had a few more minutes with Chrissie in the airport before she boarded her plane to Massachusetts, and then we drove Nathaniel to Charlotte. I don’t know how far John and I drove, but Lise was over the ocean and Chrissie almost home when we returned to our house. This had been a most satisfying visit.

One FULL Day

Niece Chrissie was here only one full day, and it was certainly full. Four of us walked to the creek. John and I let the young beauties pose with Jonathan Creek.

Daughter Lise saw the bag of horse cookies on the counter. We went out for a photo shoot with DW and Vixen, our horse neighbors. Having the horses back, after being gone for several months, was a delight for neighbor Joyce and us. In fact, we saw Joyce earlier, petting them when we set out for the creek.

Lise gives DW his treat,
Vixen has her treat from Chrissie

Lise requested Christmas dinner for her last night here, only we would have the standard Danish dessert instead of English Christmas Pudding. For the foodies: we had Chicken and Stuffing casserole, carrots, frozen cranberry salad, cranberry sauce, and lime Jell-O salad.

Grandson Nathaniel pretended to be in a food coma before he headed for bed. Son John $’s ghostly presence can be imagined behind the candles. David had his share of the meal when he came home from work.

Lise posed with the dessert she had me prepare. I forgot to get her to write the name in Danish. It was basically a rice pudding of cold rice, whipped cream (substituted frozen whipped topping), sugar and almond flavoring. I left out the slivered almonds for the one who doesn’t like them. Cherry sauce was passed around to go on top for flavor and a pop of color.

Lise explained that this dessert is always served on Christmas Eve, the day Danes celebrate the holiday. One whole almond is stirred in, and the one who gets it is given a prize. It seems there is always a huge amount of pudding for people who are much too full to eat it. Everyone is required to take a serving, and if no one finds the almond, the dish is passed around until the almond is found. Lise had stories about people who found the almond early on and hid it until all the dessert was eaten. They were shameless!! Thankfully, Lise took pity on us and admitted that she got our almond on the second round.

Lise holds the almond.

The prize was a marzipan pig Lise brought from Denmark. We cut it up and ate it so quickly that we didn’t hear it squeal.

Oink! Oink! And the winning almond

Last Fling

The last four days of daughter Lise’s visit were full of activities. We picked up grandson Nathaniel from college and ate dinner on the way home.

It was after midnight when we did the mirror ritual.

Lise, John, Nathaniel, and David watch the mirror go up.

The next afternoon Lise went in the airport to meet niece Chrissie while John and I made a loop around the area. They took a selfie with Santa in the terminal.

The younger generations took a walk, which was a good antidote for lots of sitting the previous hours. This is Chrissie’s selfie at the creek.

Chrissie, David, Nathaniel, and Lise

Chrissie took a photo of Lise that I would call “Cavorting at the Creek”.

In the evening we began to work a jigsaw puzzle. This was a special family puzzle that dear friend Linda ordered for us. She used photos we took at our family reunion last summer and had a puzzle made from them. There is nothing like putting your own face together if you can find the pieces!

Chrissie, Lise, David, and Nathaniel

Of course, conversation never flagged.

To be continued.

Reading the Slippers

Daughter Lise said she was not using the step stool to get up on the high bed, but she would spring and roll to go to bed. Just after we got up, I was in her room and saw the evidence. By reading the slippers for placement and direction, I knew which side of the bed she was using and that she went head first. The evidence was right there on the floor.

A little later she walked to the creek with us, and her now-sneakered feet stopped for her to pet CAT. It was foggy, making CAT’s house look a bit spooky.

Grandson David, son John $, and Lise played disc golf at the rec center. She had David take her photo to mark the occasion. Last week David thrashed about in a brier patch to retrieve a disc, and another day he swam in the creek (brr!) to pull out a disc that was hung on a rock under water. This day $ lost a disc that was quite visible – on the roof. I’m sure they didn’t want their games to be that exciting.

COVID Thanksgiving

Almost everyone’s Thanksgiving celebration was different in this viral year. We went to church via a recorded service, since there were no services in the building. There were no neighbors for dinner and only one special guest. Laurel, a friend from the church choir, was going to spend the day with her cat, but she agreed to spend the afternoon with us. What a delight she was! She brought liveliness and a party spirit to our table.

John $, Laurel, John, Lise, and David

For the foodies: We had the basics for Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, gravy, dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry frozen salad, butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry-mince pie, and Aldi’s cheesecake slices. I was lazy and did not bake the usual pumpkin cheesecake.

I hope everyone had some special happening for this strange Thanksgiving Day.

Family Fun in the Mountains

On her first full day here, daughter Lise asked the mountain to pose with her. It was pleased to comply.

Evidently, I am shadowing Lise.

We also took the ritual photo of us at the creek, although I cheated the creek of its rightful space.

Anne, Lise, and John

In Walmart, I noticed sweatshirts with masks pinned to them, and Lise found one she liked.

We had a lovely meal at Boccelli’s. It was open for take-out only for the longest time. What pleasure it was to eat hot food inside!

Grandson David measures boxes by whether he can fit in them. This one was a bit too tight.

As you can imagine, we are having a wonderful time together as the days fly by.

I Dusted the Tub

How do you define a mother’s love? Among other things, I always cooked for my children to show my love for them. This time I went far beyond that for daughter Lise. I performed a household chore that I despise – dusting. She is the only one who has ever taken a bath more than once in our tub. That’s why I dusted it before she arrived. Using water to clean it would have been a disaster.

While we were driving to the airport, neighbor Shawn’s grandson Pico explored our porch. He loved the trains and took the yellow boxcar back to her house. She texted me that he had done it, but I couldn’t see the photograph she attached until we got home. Isn’t he cute?

Pico and the boxcar

Lise loves pumpkin pie, and I always make one for her when she visits in November. This year four of us ate half of it at one sitting. If she doesn’t get enough to satisfy her, I’ll make another one. At the time she ate her slice, she had been awake and traveling for 24 hours. I think she looks pretty good to be as tired as she must have been.

Lise’s pumpkin pie

Anne Flips her Lid

It was my fault the sun was so high in the sky. I lay in bed reading comments and blog posts that had come in during the night instead of getting up when the alarm rang. The sun was welcome to warm our backs at the creek. When we turned to walk home, it was piercingly bright in our eyes. John shaded his face with a hand, while I just squinted. On the way up the steep hill, my hat had a suggestion. It said, “Pull the brim down, silly.”

I’ll bet the hat got its wisdom from friend Karen, who knitted it for me several years ago. I flipped the edge and felt instant relief from the unrelenting sun. Anything that dramatic should be recorded.

Would you agree the camera did an excellent job with this one-shot selfie? It must have been on auto-pilot, because unlike a cell phone, it has only one lens. Good going, Cammie!

Logan’s Chocolate Punishment

The way I’ve written about neighbor Logan, you’d think he walked on water and never did anything wrong. He is a normal ten-year-old, and he succumbed to chocolate temptation. This is how I knew about it. A couple of hours after Shawn said they would come for lunch to celebrate her birthday, she asked if I would please not serve dessert. That put me on the spot, because I had just finished cooking a dark chocolate pudding. Almost in a panic, I texted her, explaining that the dessert was already made. The choice was hers – we would not have any dessert at all, or we could have a dollop of pudding. She wrote back that a tiny serving would be fine. Logan had sneaked some of his Halloween candy after she told him he could have it the next day. I’ll bet this was a classic case where the punishment hurt the parent more than the child. We’d all roll with it.

Lunch was very pleasant, since Logan’s manners are quite good. He entered into the conversation and sat quietly while waiting for us to finish. I had my mind on making coffee before bringing out the dessert. Maybe that’s why I forgot to put the candle in Shawn’s pudding and didn’t take a single photo. After David came home from work, I put the candle in his dessert. It is pictured with an orange to show how small it was.

No one complained about the diminutive dessert, though we joked about it. I suggested we set a timer to see if we could make it last five minutes. The challenge was accepted. We did it! All four of us still had a bit in our glasses when the timer rang.

The next day I laid out the glass beside a normal teaspoon and the demitasse spoon we used to eat the pudding.

The spoon was too big for the glass. We used the spoon right way up until it wouldn’t fit, then we turned it upside down and used the handle to finish.

And the rest of the story? John, David, and I had normal portions of pudding before going to bed. I was surprised to realize the tiny one was far tastier, probably because we concentrated on making it last.