For the last few weeks, I’ve been busy with the family. And when they’re not demanding my attention, I’ve been holed up in my office writing. So the only thing interesting in my life to report is that this …
… has finally turned into this …
… but what I’m really looking forward to is this …
May your spring arrive quicker than mine.
Today is the anniversary of my dad’s passing into the great unknown. It’s been three years since he left us, so in honor of his memory, I’m reposting one of the first blog posts I wrote.
I inherited my nose from my dad. I also inherited his calves, his easy going personality and his love of reading. He died in 2009 but my all time favourite picture of him shows him sitting on the beach in a lawn chair, a book in his hands with the sun shining down on his head.
The first book I remember holding was a beautiful hardcover copy of Cinderella, filled with strange words I couldn’t read and beautiful pictures I adored. Once I learned to read, I worked my way through Dick and Jane, on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and in between, the back of every cereal box my mom ever bought.
When I ran out of reading material, I would sneak into my dad’s book stash, which he wisely kept in the garage, and read his Harlequin romances. He also had some racier novels there, stories with – gasp! – sex, and if my mom knew I was reading those books – heck, if she knew my dad was reading those books – she would have banned them from our reading material.
These days I’m allowed to read whatever I want and I want to read a lot. In fact, I want to read more than I have time for. Favourite authors include Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Samuel (O’Neal), Ann Voss Peterson, Linda Style, Susan Vaughan, Virginia Kelly, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few. And with the arrival of the e-reader, not only is my to-be-read pile contained within one small device instead of all over the office floor, but I’ve discovered indie authors like our own Women Unplugged bloggers Dianne Venetta, Christy Hayes, Patricia Yager and Sharla Lovelace. If you haven’t read their books yet, run to your nearest e-reader and download them now. I’ll wait ….
Shortly before my dad died, he gave me the book Volcano by Richard Doyle. When he told me I had to read this book, there was a tone in his voice that I recognized so well. It was awe and wonder for a can’t-put-it-down story, emotions I too experience whenever I fall in love with a story or an author’s voice. Although I have yet to read the book – I’ve become more of a love-to-laugh-out-loud reader – Volcano will forever remain on my keeper shelf because it was the last time my dad shared his love of reading with me.
This is how I will always remember my dad, with a book in his hands and another waiting to be read. This is, hopefully, how my children will remember me, too.
So who did you inherit your reading gene from? Who are some of your favourite authors and books?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!
Hopefully, you already knew that.
I do it traditional…with turkey and ham, candied yams, corn casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, potato salad, pumpkin pie, sopapilla cheesecake, and lemon meringue pie.
It is, I believe, more of a family holiday than possibly any other…even Christmas. If that sounds weird, this is what I mean… At Christmas–which is my favorite holiday of the entire year, by the way–yes there is family and food and that magical feeling in the air. But it’s also chaotic and a buildup to the craze which by the end of the day always leaves me feeling a little sad that it’s over. Thanksgiving is the beginning to that build. It’s the kickoff to the season, where family gets together for sometimes the first time in a while, eats great food that we also haven’t had in a while, and starts talking about Christmas.
We talk about who’s going to venture out into the madness that is Black Friday and we pull out all the sales papers and help them make a plan. Who is putting up their decorations on what day. What people want for Christmas. The adults do a drawing for a fun Christmas gift game we do every year. The parades are on, the football games are on, desserts come out, everyone flops on the floor like seals… It’s just a good day. And nothing is over yet, because that buzz is in the air…Christmas is coming.
We sometimes talk about what we’re thankful for. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Two kids who may be scraping by but they are making it. One is on his own and learning how to be an adult. The other is a senior in high school who has signed up to join the Navy in July. My husband was just able to retire this year and is enjoying it. I’ve had two books and a novella published this year…my dream. None of it is easy…but they are blessings nonetheless.
And then there’s that magic coming. Yes it’s expensive magic, but still, I’m like a little kid at Christmas.
So, what are your traditions? Do you do Black Friday? Do you have any crazy holiday rituals?
And more importantly, what are you eating??
My guys love bananas. I however do not. I have a vivid memory of eating a banana as a young girl but near as I can figure, I had sunstroke and the end result wasn’t pretty – or discussion for a food post. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of bananas. Whenever any of my guys eat them, they’re not allowed near me with their banana breath.
This recipe started out as a labor of love but turned into a healthy favorite family snack.
In our house, we have bananas around for breakfast or lunches. However as soon as the bananas get spots, my guys won’t eat them. Needless to say, there’s always several bananas left on the counter that either get thrown away or turned into my version of Banana Nut Bread.
This recipe makes a single loaf with 1 to 2 bananas, doubled with 3 bananas or quadrupled with 6 bananas. You can also play fast and easy with the amount of white or whole wheat flour you use. My preference is half and half, originally because I didn’t want to scare my guys off with an all whole wheat flour concoction. In the end, it’s what suits our taste buds, so that’s the mixture I’ve stuck with.
Because I can easily make 4 loaves at once, I’ve always got a few loaves frozen for lunches or to pull out to take to my mom or my parents-in-law’s house, saving them the trouble of baking for themselves or guests.
Banana Nut Bread (makes a single loaf)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, sift together:
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Put the following ingredients into a blender:
3/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 to 2 ripe bananas (when doubling recipe, use 3 bananas)
Pour liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn into the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes, then turn out of the pan to let cool on the counter.
Eat the loaf while it’s warm or freeze it for later use. And even if you’re like me and can’t stand bananas, give it a try because once it’s cooked, the banana smell and taste are totally gone, replaced by something far more delicious.
So what’s your least favorite food and is there a reason why you can’t stant to eat it?