A fine Thanksgiving

When my husband, Brian and I, moved into our house, which belonged to my great-grandparents an grandparents, we inherited cabinets filled with china and crystal along with it. My great-grandmother, Theresa, and grandmother, Anna, enjoyed entertaining and collected beautiful dishes. I recall when I was young girl going with my grandmother to Norby’s in downtown Grand Forks. She  loved looking at — and often buying — the lovely pieces sold in the Norby’s china department.

For the first few years we hosted Thanksgiving, Brian and I set the table with the china and crystal. But for the last several, years,  we opted for paper plates and everyday dishes for serving the food, figuring that was more practical.

This year we decided to bring out the fine  china and crystal again. We have a visitor from Germany staying with us and wanted her to get the full flavor of a traditional American family Thanksgiving. I’m glad she is here to inspire us because our table looks beautiful and brings back memories of not only those first Thanksgiving Brian and I hosted, but the ones my mom hosted when I was growing up. My mom, Marcia, like my great-grandmother and grandmother, used her French Haviland and Fostoria crystal on Thanksgiving.

My mom, grandmother and great-grandmother are no longer with us, but my hope is that their warm, welcoming spirit is living on through me and my children. If we can make our guests today feel as special as they did, I will have accomplished that.

Best wishes for a fine Thanksgiving blessed with family, friends and the opportunity for making memories.

Garden goodness

These are gardening glory days. We have been picking lettuce for a  few weeks now at our farm and this week harvested our first row of peas. Meanwhile, our black raspberry bushes are yielding big, beautiful berries, which are wonderful whether eaten fresh, in desserts or made into jams. Our strawberries took a short break from production, but again are blossoming, so soon there will be another crop of those to pick.  In another week or two , there’ ll be beans and beets ready.

It’s a little overwhelming trying to keep up with the garden’s prolific production, but it’s a good problem to have. What we can’t use, we give away. It’s fun to share the bounty with friends and family who don’t have the time or space for a garden.

Besides being a healthy addition to our family meals, our garden is a great way to teach our children that the food that comes from the earth looks — and tastes — much different than the stuff that comes from the store.  My sons and daugher know that the best way to eat peas, for example, is to shell a few and pop them into their  mouths while they’re picking. It’s the same way with carrots. The “baby” carrots that come pre-cut in plastic bags don’t compare with the ones they pull from the garden, rub on their pant legs to remove the dirt, and bite into. And there’s nothing like a sun-kissed raspberry fresh from the bush

As always, I’m thankful for God’s goodness, this time in the form of nature’s bounty.

Marilyn mania

   If I’m not out reporting on a story, I sit and do my work and don’t have much contact with the outside world except through our wire services and the Internet. Save  for an occasional visitor, I don’t see many people besides my co-workers.

   Things have been differentthe past few days  since Marilyn Hagerty went viral and national news programs have been trooping in and out of the Herald to film segments on her.  I feel like I have to keep checking my hair and makeup in case I end up in a background shot.

     Marilyn is one of my mentors, has been for 35 years. In fact, she was my first interview.  I had an assignment in a career education class in high school to interview someone in the career we were interested in pursuing after we graduated. I wanted to be a jouranlist and chose Marilyn because I liked reading her columns (still do).  I remember stanidng in the Larimore (N.D.) High School office and nervously calling the Herald and asking for Marilyn. She kindly answered my questions and by the end of the interview the telephone receiver in my hand had stopped shaking.

    Seven years later I started working at the Herald and Marilyn became my colleague, but has remained a mentor. I continue to admire her quick wit, feistiness and sense of adventure. I just hope I don’t appear on camera. Even being in a background shot  is too close up for me. I prefer to be read, but not seen or heard.

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Marilyn mania

If I’m not out reporting on a story, I sit and do my work and don’t have much contact with the outside world except through our wire services and the Internet. Save  for an occasional viisitor, I don’t see many people besides my co-workers.

   Things have been different the past few days  since Marilyn Hagerty went viral and national news programs have been trooping in and out of the Herald to film segments on her.  I feel like I have to keep checking my hair and makeup in case I end up in a background shot.

     Marilyn is one of my mentors, has been for 35 years. In fact, she was my first interview.  I had an assignment in a career education class in high school to interview someone in the career we were interested in pursuing after we graduated. I wanted to be a jouranlist and chose Marilyn because I liked reading her columns (still do).  I remember stanidng in the Larimore (N.D.) High School office and nervously calling the Herald and asking for Marilyn. She kindly answered my questions and by the end of the interview the telephone receiver in my hand had stopped shaking.

    Seven years later I started working at the Herald and Marilyn became my colleague, but has remained a mentor. I continue to admire her quick wit, feistiness and sense of adventure. I just hope I don’t appear on camera. Even being in a background shot  is too close up for me. I prefer to be read, but not seen or heard.

The real January

     After a long, warm fall and early winter, it’s hard to get used to below zero temperatures that feel a lot colder because there’s a biting wind blowing.

      I enjoyed not putting on 17 different layers when I went out to feed the horses in the early morning and not shivering for the first few miles of my drive to work while my car’s engine warmed up. And I can’t say I missed the crunch of snow under my boots or beating the chickens water pan on the ground to break up the ice.  Meanwhile, I liked not having to worry about frozen pipes in the house or frozen eggs in the chicken coop.

     Still, I realize this is North Dakota and it is January. I’m grateful that the weather didn’t turn “normal” until near the end of the month. As we approach February, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

Wrestling with the holidays

      If December wasn’t already busy enough, with holiday gatherings, shopping and cookie baking, it also falls in the middle of wrestling season. For me and my family, that means tournaments three out of four Saturdays this month and at least one during the week.

          Because we have two sons in wrestling, one in seventh grade and one in ninth, sometimes the tournaments are on the same day in two different places. When that’s the case,  my husband and I split up our family cheering section and one of us goes to watch Thomas and one goes to watch Brendan. Eventually, we both usually end up at Brendan’s tournament because Thomas’ finishes first.

     Sometimes the boys have matches in the same place, but at different times which make for a long day in the bleachers for us and for our daughter, Ellen, who usually accompanies us. I often tell Brendan and Thomas that Ellen will be due a lot of payback time when she’s old enough to be in sports.

      While I am looking forward to Ellen’s sports debut, I have to say that I’m glad it will be a couple of years in the future. For now, going in two different directions is about all I can handle. It’s hard to imagine going in three, but I’m sure I’ll adjust and race even faster through December.

 

 

Taking a breather

    After a busy fall of watching junior high and varsity football games, my family and I are in the midst of a break between sports. Next week, wrestling season starts so things will get hectic again.

     Although, I enjoy watching sporting events and am glad that my children participate in them, it’s nice to have a little time off from sitting in the bleachers. Thanks to the beautiful fall weather, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time outdoors and my family has checked a lot of chores off of our fall list. I’ve also gone on a lot of walks down country roads with our dogs.

         I plan to continue those walks this winter because they will help balance the times I’ll be sitting in the bleachers watching my sons wrestle. I hope the forecasts for a colder, wetter than normal winter are wrong because I like walking outdoors. I guess I’ll just have to bundle up and make sure I have a good pair of boots.

Blowing in the wind

    I am thoroughly enjoying the unseasaonably warm temperatures of the past week, but I can’t say the same for the wind.

     Not only are the gusty winds causing minor annoyances, such as whipping my hair into my face so I can’t see and blowing dirt into my eyes, they are blowing down a lot of pretty good-sized branches into our yard. I’m worried that a tree could be next. When your house is pretty much surrounded by 100-year old cotton woods, high winds are a little disconcerting.

         I also hate to see the wind blowing the topsoil into the next county. When I came to work this morning, the soil still was anchored to the fields, but that could change if the gusts are up to 55 mph, as a forecast I saw predicted.

            I was hoping the wind would die down by the time I go to watch my son’s football game in Northwood, ND., tonight, but  it doesn’t look like that will happen.

    I’ll just have to hunker down in the bleachers and hope there’s not too much stuff swirling in the air while I’m trying to watch the game. My guess is  I’ll be watching a ground game. I can’t imagine fans wil  be witnessing much of a passing attack by either team.

 

A fall to remember

    What a beautiful fall!  You just can’t beat the cool nights and warm days we’ve been having during the past month. It’s been even harder for me to be inside on days like this than it was during the summer, I guess because I know that colder days aren’t too far down the road.

     Speaking of down the road, I’ve been doing a lot of walking down ours with my daughter Ellen and her dog, Rosebud. Sometimes we also take Maggie, our yellow Lab with us. Usually Maggies goes running with my husband, Brian, but lately there have been a lot of farm trucks going by our house. We don’t trust Maggie’s judgement because sometimes she decides they’re fun to chase.

       Walking  with Ellen and the dogs is a great way to get a close look  the changing countryside; the corn that has turned from green to tan, the harvested bean fields that are now mostly black and the trees that are just beginning to turn from green to gold.

          The weather has been lovely for walking . My only challenge is to get home from work in time to do it before it gets dark. I may have to start walking before supper because it’s hard to get 30 minutes in afterwards. By the time my sons are home from football practice and we finish eating it’s often after 7 p.m. By 7:30 p.m., it’s pretty dark and the dogs become kind of a coyote magnet. I’d rather not have their company on our walks if I can avoid it.

Wishing for ice cream

   If you’re like me, any day is a good day to eat ice cream. Today I have even more incentive. The Cold Stone Creamery in Grand Forks, like those nationwide, is hosting an ice cream social from 5 to 8 p.m. where customers can get a free taste of its Sprinkled with Wishes Creation of ice cream, brownie, rainbow, sprinkles and fudge.

      This is the 10th year that Cold Stone Creamery restaurants across the United States have helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation during September by accepting donations for the organization which helps make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions. This month customers can buy a Make-A-Wish paper star for a dollar.

           My daughter, Ellen, and our family went on a Make-A-Wish trip in December 2008, a few months after she was diagnosed with leukemia. Ellen chose to go to Vanouver, B.C., to see the movie set of Santa Buddies, which features the Air Buddies golden retrievers puppies. After we returned home from our trip, Anna McRoberts, the writer-producer of the movie shipped us Rosebud, the Buddies puppy that Ellen fell in love with while she was on the set.

         Ellen and Rosebud will be at Coldstone in Grand Forks from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today. Ellen, who is now 8 and cancer-free, will be dishing up ice cream. Rosebud, who is now three and still a cutie, will be greeting people and posing for pictures outside the restaurant.

               Hope to see you there!