Friday, November 27, 2009

5:00 Fridays

Before the din of Christmas falls upon us like the anvil from Road Runner and Wiley Coyote cartoons, I'd like to pay one last homage to fall. I'm feeling a tish lachrymose about bidding adieu to the season that is upstaged by Christmas even before the last leaf has met its acorn match in the mulch.

Fall is my favorite season, with its bounty of gourds and roots that roast into succulence, apples so sweet and fragrant that they leave you wondering what happened to the 5 pound basket you just bought, sweaters and fleece enveloping you on a crisp afternoon watching the kids rake and jump into leaf piles, tall boots that give way to flip flops. Fall brings us Halloween and Thanksgiving, my personal favorite.

As my last toast to fall, I'm conjuring up some spiked cider. I get the natural kind from the farmer's market that is ruddy and more golden brown than yellow. The grocery aisle jug that looks like a day's worth of urine samples is not the way to go here.

Spiked Cider
1 mug of good quality, fresh apple cider
shot of whiskey or bourbon
shot of cinnamon schnapps (optional)
cinnamon stick for garnish

Pour a shot of your favorite whiskey or bourbon into a heat proof mug. Add heated apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. For those who are not faint of heart, toss in a shot of cinnamon schnapps. And for the record, Mac Daddy spikes his cider with Maker's Mark.

Now light a fire (whether inside with a remote control as ours works in these uberly modern times, or outside with wood and kindling gathered by neighborhood kids) nestle into a toasty fluffy wrap, shawl, or blanket, sip on a mug or two of this spiked cider, and take time to chat. Turn on some music but turn off your cellular devices. This is a sipping drink that is meant for chatter and conversation.

No one needs to be texting or blipping or tweeting or gaming while they could (should) be relishing each other's company. Christmas will hurl us into a frenzy soon enough. Let's just take one more moment to enjoy the crunch of leaves underfoot, the glisten of the night sky, the culinary treats that fuel our souls.

Cheers to Fall, may we not take you for granted, may we revel in your memory when winter bares her frigid snare.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks. Giving.

At the risk of ringing the cliche bell and sounding treacly mushy, I'm going to tell you that today I am feeling particularly blessed. I am thankful for Mac Daddy and my family. I am most thankful for my Bird and Deal. I cannot imagine what I was thankful for before I had them. I am thankful that they gave me the kind of family I longed for.

On this day of pies, crumbles, brown bettys, cakes, dressings, gravies, turkeys, hams, taters, casseroles, and elastic waistbands, I want to just say that I am most thankful for the little things.

Those little things that are actually quite grand.

I am hugging my family a tish tighter.
I am counting my blessings a bit slower.
I am saying my prayers a pinch louder.

This Thanksgiving my heart is full. My belly is full. My life is fulfilled.

And in my prayers are my dear friend Jen who is battling stage 2 breast cancer, Anissa, 35-year old mother of three who suffered a massive stroke one week ago, my nieces who are desperately missing their mother, Mac Daddy's sister, who passed away eight years ago, and my father-in-law, the grandest of grandpas, whose gracious gravely laugh and 'Sconsin accent I still hear.

Let's take today to show Thanks for those who have touched us. And to be Giving of our hearts, our tolerance, our grace, our goodness, our selves.

Happy Thanks.Giving.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting Down with Pink Gloves

My dear friend has stage 2 breast cancer. I haven't written about it because I can't bring myself to. You see, she is the most lively, funny, zesty chick I know. And she is lovely. Lovely, I tell you. She wears sassy like it's a fashion accessory and dons pearls 24/7. Even to the gym. Trust me. I've seen her curling barbells with pearls dangling over the stretched out collar of her tattered T-shirt. The pearls are a cheeky juxtaposition to her swearing, bantering, tell-it-like-it-is self. This friend, this strong, smart, witty woman, cannot possibly have breast cancer. The universe doesn't work this way. Or does it?

She's too young.
She's too spirited.
She's too too too...everything.
She's my dear friend.
She's a mother.
She lost her mother to breast cancer just a few years ago.
Her mother never met her daughter.

This friend has a punchy sense of humor. She can laugh heartily at herself, though she prefers it when someone else is the butt of the joke. Sadly, that is rarely the case because she is simply too perfect not to poke fun at. My Lilly Pulitzer wearing friend who is perfectly lovely with nary a swipe of lip balm cannot have cancer. Her laugh is more akin to a toddler guffaw, which is naturally infectious. She is not a patient, in a hospital with probes and pokes or otherwise.

My friend is always up for fun and mischief, and she appreciates the wackiness of life. This, I know she got from her mother. Oh, they are so alike, yet I wish they were as different as Lilly and Betsey when it comes to this battle. My friend, who loves a laugh more than she loves a sunset sail in the Keys with a cold brew in hand, is a good sport. She'll resign herself to link arms on the dance floor to form a kick line to Sweet Caroline. She'll bitch about it, but you'll catch her cracking up and having a grand time.

So on that note, I'm sharing this silly little video that my pal Scot sent me. My dear friend will get a kick out of this video. And you can bet that if some cameraman came barreling down the hall cajoling her to strut her stuff for a viral video about breast cancer awareness, she'd hide in the bathroom stall with her blue pedicured toes propped up on the toilet lid until sundown. But I guarantee she's tapping her foot at the silliness of it all right now.

Pass this link on to everyone you know who's been touched by breast cancer. That's pretty much everyone, right?

Here's what my buddy Scot shared about the video:
Emily Somers created, directed and choreographed this video in Portland last week for her Medline glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was all her idea to help promote their new pink gloves. I don't know how she got so many employees, doctors and patients to participate, but it started to really catch on and they all had a lot of fun doing it.

When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community.

Sounds like that's something to get down to.
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