Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Dear God, I pray for the cure of cancer. Amen

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating Even if it's to one more person.
In memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer or is still living with it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am thinking of you, really I am. You have all been so kind with your encouragement, but where is the time going? Every day I mean to post and then I don't even get a chance to turn on the computer. There is the House from Hell to clean out as well as getting myself and my own home ready for the holidays. My parents were here for four days before leaving for Arizona Wednesday.There is cooking to do (and you know that is my favorite part), presents to wrap and I have to get ready for my "baby" to come home from Seattle on Tuesday AM. The house is not really decorated but Mother Nature helped yesterday by covering the outside in a fluffy white looks beautiful and oh so festive. On that note I wish you all a Very Happy Holiday and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Read below to lighten your will not lighten the rest of you, lol.

HOLIDAY EATING TIPS 1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls. 2. Drink as much eggnog as you can - And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it! Have one for me ...Have two! It's later than you think. It's Christmas! 3. if something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat. 4. as for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission. 5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? 6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog. 7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again. 8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each . Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day? 9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards! 10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO!! What a ride!"



Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Thank you each and every one of you for your kind words, thoughts, phone calls etc during this time. I am so grateful that Mary ( I never even knew she was called Mary Ann by friends) seemed to have only suffered terribly for the last day and the Doctors thought she may have had a stroke of some sort. I saw her late Tuesday afternoon and I prayed she would die overnight and fortunately my wish was granted. Even though I am almost 58 I have never actually seen a person so soon before death and it was so sad and shocking to me. But enough about sadness; Mary would want us to buck up and go shopping.

Do you have the Marshalls ads where they declare you to be Shamelessly Shoportunistic? Well, those ads were meant to describe Mary. I always knew she liked to shop, but I was never fully aware of the consequences until we started on the house. Closets are jammed full and the more you pull out of them the fuller they is like something from Fantasia. Each room has rolling racks for clothes and there is 24 feet of hanging space in the basement. In the last year or so she has just been keeping clothes folded on the spare beds and the couch in the Parlor. You know those sweatshirts that "mature women" ( OK, Old Lady Sweatshirts!!) wear, the one with Peter Pan collars and embroidered birds/flowers on the front? We have given away more than 100 of them, over 100 purses, over 40 coats and jackets and the killer ( no pun intended) so far we have donated 34 new curling irons. All in all I have bagged over 100 bags of clothes that have been donated to Good Will/Salvation Army/ St Vincent DePaul and Planet Aid. There is a bedroom 2/3 full of yarn...floor to ceiling...that is my next mission. The goal is to have the house cleaned out by February 1 so we can paint, rip out carpet and generally spiff the place up for a March 1 Market Debut. Keep your fingers crossed, the clothes were just the easiest place to start. So this is how we grieve. I brought a couple of purses home and a couple coats and I have already put them in a bag to donate; I am scared to bring in more stuff and have it accumulate. On the up side I now have 8 King Tom Turkey Plates...look them up on Google, I am honestly too tired and lazy to provide you with the link. I also have a set of Mountain Woodland by Nasco...very autumnal. Did I need more, but she would have wanted me to have them because I am the one that has cooked for holidays since I became part of the family 17 years ago.

Gotta run, but thanks again for everything and now I really have to think seriously about Christmas.


Edited to add: I found enough energy to get you this picture. I have 8 plates, the platter and the gravy boat (cracked and badly repaired).
This means I now have 3 kinds of turkey plates and can feed 24 people as long as they don't mind sitting "Native American " style on the floor.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace

Mary Ann (Pedro) Magina
April 21, 1927 - December 3, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008


Sorry to be gone so long. Thanksgiving was lovely and we are going to eat the last of the delicious free range, organic bird tonight. There is a cute Irish Pub in Coronado CA where the Trolley Tour stops ( do you know it, Susie Q?) that serves a sandwich called the Irish Dip. In reality it is a turkey sandwich with a little cup of gravy for dipping. Tonight we will have my version along with Mama Janet Fries (oven baked Russets). We sent all the desserts home with the kids. I made Apple Crisp and also a Pumpkin Gooey Cake from Paula Deen. Let me tell you, you Southerners sure like your sweets...a pound of confectioners hardly begins to describe it, but the kids seemed to like it.

In other news, Bob's Mom is in the hospital. She has had cancer for almost a year , but she wouldn't admit it or let anyone talk about it. Less than a month ago I was thinking I would get her a wheelchair ( she "slips" a lot) and try to get her out for a brief shopping and lunch trip, but she decided that was "too much". We have been walking a fine line between carrying out her wishes and worrying about her safety. I have been trying to go over and heat up some food and make sure she eats at least once a day. The final straw was when she told me on Wednesday that she wouldn't be coming over for the T'giving meal, could we please bring it to her? On Friday she went to the hospital. Apparently the cancer is much further along than we knew and she won't be coming home. We should be having a family meeting with her caregivers within a couple of days and we will see where she goes from here. She is on some morphine ( because Tylenol is bad for her liver, doncha know?) and is already having the "drug dreams". She has accused Bob of selling her house already..if only it were that easy in this market.

So, if I am sporadic about posting and not leaving you comments on your posts this is why. Hopefully it will be quick and without pain.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Thanksgiving with Maxine

Okay, so the cartoons didn't load; I am sure you have seen many of them before. My parents came down from Vermont a day early to avoid all of today's rain and now my schedule is all off, plus my MIL is not doing very well, so I have become Nurse Jane FuzzyWuzzy ( anyone remember Uncle Wiggly's muskrat housekeeper??). While my parents are contentedly watching Family Feud on the Game Show Network...someone spare me please...I am sneaking a bit of computer time, maybe a few games of Super Text Twist or Web Suduko to relax before the cooking marathon begins.

Wishing you all Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Sorry to have been absent since Friday and to leave you all in the lurch. I have been trying to get my house in order for Thanksgiving and the way too quickly approaching Christmas festivities. I am not much of a housecleaner. I can't stand clutter or messes, so that is not usually a problem and my house is never really dirty, but it is rarely as clean as I think it should be. Case in point...Monday night we moved the stove out and cleaned under and behind, plus the sides and the sides of the cabinets. I don't even want to tell you the last time that was done, but it is done now. That of course prompted me to take stuff off the backsplash and clean all the little spots. Remember my kitchen gets used every single day and it does take a beating. I cleaned a couple of the copper pots, not all; I wouldn't want it to look like a kitchen showroom!! Last night we moved the refrigerator out of the space it occupies. The space is approximately 1/4 of an inch bigger than the fridge, so maneuvering it is a challenge. But should anyone want to look under or behind it is spotless.

After all this work I decided to take a break this morning. I set the oven to clean and left the house for my Root Canal appointment. Still numb.



Friday, November 14, 2008


144 Brattle Street sold recently for $3,777,350 in 34 days. I swear I took a picture of this very house, but it is gone. There is approximately 5900 square feet of living space and don't worry there is an elevator from the basement to the third floor. Taxes are $19,400 per year, pretty reasonable for the size, location and the history. Just a couple of pictures for you to enjoy the ambience.

Lovely staircase...just picture Loretta Young, hand on railing

Cabinets not my style, but I would live with them forever to have that stove. I also love the chandelier over the table, sort of Gothic/Spanish and moody. And I would use all the copper pans ( I use mine all the time and sometimes I even polish them!)OK, so there is vinyl on the what?I would write my memoirs at that desk in the window while watching colorful leaves slowly drift by, or maybe snowflakes. The room just looks so welcoming and I think I can smell soup simmering from the kitchen.

Then I would retreat to my bedchamber with a cozy fire to read before retiring.

Fantasy over..back to life with my abcessed molar.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


This home looks very much like one I walked by on Brattle Street, but is in a similar neighborhood not far away. It recently sold for almost $5,000,000 in just over a month. Recession? What recession? I thought it would be fun to show you the pictures that accompanied the listing.

This gives me some "kitchen envy" even though I can't see the whole room. Coffee and a good book by those windows, anyone?
Then we will wander out to the patio for our glass of wine before dinner

Nice retreat, I might want some window coverings, especially in the winter months
Was that fun? Tomorrow I will show you interiors of one of the houses I did show you on Brattle Street. One of the yellow ones. Stay tuned.


Monday, November 10, 2008


Look at the size of these leaves I picked up. They are huge and will look wonderful on the Thanksgiving Table. I love to pick up leaves and press them, oftentimes forgetting them in a you pick up and save leaves or am I just strange??

This Second Empire Victorian looks absolutely modest compared to some of the huge Georgian and Federal Colonials.
Yellow seems to be a popular color on Brattle Street

Perfect symmetry...Georgian Colonial

This home dates from the late 1600s...can you imagine?

Now you know why these are known as "Burning Bushes"

Do you like to shuffle through leaves like this? I just can't resist, no matter my age.

That's the end of the tour; it was a really fun day despite the large blister.


Friday, November 7, 2008


View of Boston from the Cambridge side of the Charles River

Wednesday I went to Cambridge, home of MIT and Harvard ( get it??) ,with my hubbie. While he worked in the morning I wandered across the Harvard Bridge to the Back Bay of Boston and browsed (really I didn't buy a thing) a few shops on Newbury Street. Very nice shopping, but way too posh for my current budget for sure. Then I walked back across the Charles River("Love That Dirty Water"...remember that song?) to Cambridge and off we went to Harvard Square. We had lunch and then we walked and walked and I know that we walked at least 6 miles and that doesn't even include my little side trip to the Back Bay in the morning. The first pictures here are a few I took as I ambled about in the Back Bay. The rest are of either some buildings from Radcliffe College ( now a part of Harvard) or of Brattle Street. There will be limited commentary so that you can enjoy the very impressive buildings and private homes. I believe the late Julia Childs lived on Brattle Street. Many of these homes date from the late 17oos and some from as late as the early 1900s. The prices are astronomical and there is a lot of "old money" and a tremendous amount of American History on this street. I can't imagine the maintenance required in homes of this age or size to say nothing of the property taxes. Several are being extensively worked roofs, new paint, new *this* economy. Okay, sit back and enjoy.

Even city folks decorate for fall!

The Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House built 1759
Home to George and Martha Washington during the British seige of Boston
Later Home to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was here that he and his wife, Fanny Appleton raised their five children and he wrote such poems as "The Song of Hiawatha" and "Paul Revere's Ride". The home is open to the public seasonally, but apparently not this season. Beautiful grounds with formal gardens in the back. Next year I hope to go and tour the house and gardens, I amagine they are lovely in the summer.

A former Carriage House that was next to the rear grounds of the Longfellow House. Hard to see, but it was so beautiful hidden behind the golden leaves on a cloudy day. The epitome of cozy.

I am going to end here for today so that I can get some cleaning/laundry/errands done. More on Saturday or Sunday.

Edited to add: Julia didn't live on Brattle Street, but on a street closer to Harvard Yard. Whoops!