Holiday Rituals; Life Rituals


This year’s Thanksgiving pies: pecan, pumpkin, and peach-blueberry. Facebook just offered me my 2013 Thanksgiving pie photo as a memory, and it shows the same three pie flavors–in the exact same photographic arrangement. See what I mean about ritual?

Holidays bring out the ritual in me, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Who doesn’t have some sort of ritual associated with major holidays?

For me, it starts with the food:

  • Thanksgiving = Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and lots of pie – always including pumpkin pie
  • Christmas = Swedish meatballs and potato sausage, baked beans, Swedish mazarin torte, and mostly the same kinds of cookies year after year after year
  • New Year’s Day = Lentil soup
  • All holidays = Sour cream macaroni & cheese for my vegetarian son

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Feeling Thankful

Fall color, Illinois

Just a couple of days before our whopping November snowstorm, this is how it looked.

It’s that time of year, of course, when we’re inundated on social media by “be thankful” memes. You know the ones: “Join me in a month of thankfulness.” I don’t begrudge my friends their participation in these observances, and I actually enjoy reading them sometimes. But I have to say they usually make me feel just a teensy bit guilty for not joining in.

So I have been thinking a bit about gratitude lately, and trying to pay attention to things for which I am grateful, even while not actually sharing them publicly. It’s not that I’m making any sort of statement by not sharing–more that I know if I promise to share daily, I will inevitably falter. So I am not setting myself up for failure or a broken promise.

That said, there are a few reasons why I truly am feeling grateful.

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Saturday Distraction: Google 201

By AlphaZeta (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Image by AlphaZeta (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Looking for some distraction on this fine Saturday? How about a fun little learning tangent that will leave you better able to search and find what you want on the Internet? Behold: Google 201 (or, as it’s technically called, “Get More out of Google.”

This nifty infographic is far from new, but still has in it a whole lot of Google tips that many people don’t know. Things like: how to search Google for a specific type of file; how to limit your search to a specific website; and how to search for a word only in titles.

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Saturday Distraction: The Internet in Real Time

Today I’m learning about StumbleUpon and Reddit, two social networks with which I really have had only passing contact in the past: StumbleUpon is on my list because it drives a good deal of traffic to a website with which I’m involved, and Reddit because it’s a favorite of my teen-aged son. In the spirit of StumbleUpon, though, that’s not really what this post is about. I actually want to share with you something else that I discovered in passing during my quest – in fact, something I stumbled upon with StumbleUpon. It’s a whackin’ cool infographic called “The Internet in Real-Time”:

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I love my public library, and I’m not alone

I grew up going to the library every week. My mom would load my sister and me into the car, drive us into town, and we would read and search there to our delight. I’ve no memory of what my mother did while we were there – whether she came in with us and went off hunting for her own selection of borrowed treasure, or (probably more likely) took the opportunity of an hour or so without any kids to do shopping or other errands that would be easier without the pair of us than with us.

cardcatalog1But for me, there was an hour or so of exploration and quiet discovery, and I’d leave with a stack of books, and then I’d be back again for more the next week. Continue reading

Pecan pie – and a lesson in making pie crust

pecan-pieThis post is for my friend Al, who asked me months ago for my pecan pie recipe and has waited ever so patiently even though it’s now less than a week before Thanksgiving. Not only have you earned the pie recipe; you’ve also earned the pie crust recipe and secret. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, this also is for all my friends who think pie crust is hard to make and are amazed that I make mine from scratch.

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