All posts by Barbara in Rivertown

Turkey, Eggs, & Onions

This past Sunday was an early Thanksgiving Feast, a potluck at our Unitarian Fellowship. Husband is on the planning committee for that, so we ended up roasting two 12# turkeys. There is still some leftover turkey.

The next morning I woke up realizing “Oh, we get to have Turkey, Eggs, and Onions for breakfast!” This is a dish I learned about when married to Wasband, and living in and around New York City. He was from a Russian Jewish tradition, though I suspect this dish is more an East Coast thing than Jewish. (East coasters eat turkey all year round – a good inexpensive fowl to have any time.)

It was quite a learning curve when I arrived in New York with Wasband in 1974. I had absorbed four years’ worth of San Francisco and coastal California culture, and thought of myself as rather worldly. Ha! Within a couple of months I experienced living (briefly) in a household with completely different family dynamics from mine (and a strong Brooklyn accent); a new religion, though they mostly practiced what I call “Holiday Judaism”; and the death of Wasband’s father, with all the rituals and drama that surround that.  

A couple of months later we were living in our own apartment in Brooklyn, and I had found a job being messenger for a typographic firm in midtown Manhattan. As I ferried packages of type from one building to another, I was a pretender to a whole new set of cultural mores – riding the subway up and down Manhattan (from, i.e., Wall Street to Central Park); ordering “kwahfee” or buying a pretzel from a street vendor. At first, Wasband’s friends were my only social circle. Then one woman invited me to join her Ladies Poker Night, so I was able to have some of my own experiences with other “real New Yorkers”.

After two years, I left all that for the more familiar Midwest territory. But I’m very glad I was able to experience these other cultures. And once in a while I’ll do something that reminds me of that time, which makes me smile.

When have you adopted customs of a culture different from the one you grew up with?

What’s your favorite thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

The Beginning of (Computer) Time

Today’s post comes to us from Barbara in Rivertown!

This morning, we had a young man named Paul come to help us with our computer – just a few little things that we might have been able to learn for ourselves with some internet searches, help links, etc. but WHO HAS THE PATIENCE FOR THAT? He was probably here a half hour, and I handed him a twenty… he thought it was a bit much, but it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a while.

I was remembering back to the beginning of my computer use, in (I guess) the mid-nineties. The internet still didn’t really have ads (!), at least nothing I can remember. About all I did was to use an online encyclopedia, look at the library catalog, and email. There were a couple of amazing things about emailing with aol.com – which ‘most everyone had at the time. If memory serves: 

1) If you caught it in maybe half an hour, you could “delete” – remove – an email you’d just sent to another aol.com subscriber. I didn’t use this a lot, but came in handy when I’d caught a major error.

2) I hadn’t yet needed to keep any emails, and certainly not sort them into folders. Whatever emails were there in your inbox, AOL would delete after two weeks – kept you on your toes! [Who knows when I started doing folders? Now there are folders with hundreds of old emails that I should go through and delete.]

So, a couple of questions:   Am I dreaming – was aol.com really like that?

What do you remember about your very early computer days?

Glossary, Almost Two Decades into the Millennium

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

Ever wonder, Baboons, what a “vlog” is, or how long the word “selfie” has been around? Here’s an article with 50 words that have been added to the dictionary since the beginning of this millennium, compiled by “Stacker” in this article .

Of course, they haven’t included anything from our own Glossary of Accepted Terms, but then, we haven’t added anything to our G.O.A.T for 2½ years now. Here’s what I’ve compiled since the last time .

Accordion calendar – a schedule with a too-concentrated number of days, followed by a more spacious number of days.“ Mostly I’ve fine with what I signed up for, except when too many things are required close together – it seems to occur sort of like an accordion playing.” Barbara in Rivertown   August 27, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Adiophra – insignificant things that one allows to make one’s life one of stress and worry.  “My main worry is that my flight from Bismarck isn’t delayed and I make my connecting flight in Minneapolis. My worries are adiophra.”  reneeinnd says: March 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Akrasia – Weakness of the will, by which we do that which we really want to do in  the full knowledge that we should be doing something else. [I lost track of the origin of this one – anyone remember whose it is?]

Arrghify – to increase the intensity of, as in: “You should teach them all how to POWERIFY that!  Actualizify! Collaboratify! incentivisify!”      xdfben September 25, 2018 at 10:45 pm

[Arrghify belongs in our dictionary   NorthShorer September 25, 2018 at 11:14 pm ]

Cliffy – a piece of arcane knowledge, a la Cliff on the TV Series Cheers, as here: “Nice Cliffy.”   Linda March 3, 2019 at 9:05 pm …. in response to: Blue Mound State park in Luverne, MN has one of the most genetically pure bison herds in the country.”  reneeinnd   March 3, 2019 at 11:20 am

Farcher – a cross between a farmer and rancher, as in: “I used to spend the first week of November with my farcher friend, Larry.”   July 3, 2019 at 10:19 am   Minnesota Steve

Geezer chute – I think your observations about what is being made are correct – not that you are spiraling down the geezer chute… verily sherrilee   September 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Marie Kondo – verb transitive:  to make things disappear, as in: “Can we Marie Kondo the heck out of this snow? It no longer brings me joy…”  ANNA, March 2, 2019 at 11:44 am   

Opposite equivalent – an alternative alternative (?) “Perhaps the opposite equivalent (I just invented that phrase!) is going outside every night before bed and standing for a few minutes.”    xdfben    January 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Tsundoku — A Japanese word for the guilt-pile of books you’ve bought but haven’t yet read.     PlainJane    May 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

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What new word would you like to see added to the world-wide dictionary? OR, what word would you like to never hear again?

OH, sIT cLOSE!

At my mother’s residence (and nursing home) several weeks ago, she and I attended a concert in the Main Dining Room, where there is a baby grand piano. A collection of string quartets (and one trio) were performed by students from St. Mary’s University String Festival – a 10-day music camp for middle and high school musicians. 

The campers attended concerts of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, whose dates coincided with the camp dates, and a concert performed by the St. Mary’s faculty – aka the Lark Quartet. The students also gave two concerts, one as community outreach that acted as their dress rehearsal, which is what Mom and I saw.

I wasn’t sure if Mom would last the entire concert, and in order to position us with an “escape path”, we sat to the far left, but ended up quite close to the First Violin. Now that I think of it, I doubt if she had ever sat so close to a performer before. The first few offerings by the young musicians went well enough. Just when I thought she might be falling asleep, she sat up a little straighter and looked at me out of the corner of her eye – she was REALLY enjoying this, and was enthralled with watching whomever was in the first chair position. Not only did she last the entire hour-long concert, she talked to the students as they came around to greet us afterward, and said over and over how she had never seen anything like it before. She was charmed, and so were they.

I remember at the end of my first summer in San Francisco, I got to see the traveling Broadway show Hair, twice in one week. The first time was with tickets acquired in the usual way, and we were in the second balcony so got to see, essentially, an overview. Two days later my roommate and I were offered tickets by her friend who could not attend – these were in the Third Row Center… I will never forget this experience as long as I live.

When have you seen a performance “up close and personal”?

Which do you generally prefer – an overview, or a close-up experience?

First Day of School

The other day I came upon one of the most charming news clip ever:  someone from MPR had interviewed Kindergarten Alumni (aka, First Graders) about how to survive the first day of kindergarten. It is part of a story by Elizabeth Shockman, “Five Tips for Kindergarteners’ FIRST Day of School”, with content actually aimed for their parents.

In a video by Derek Montgomery,

“We asked first graders from Duluth, MN, what advice they had for this year’s kindergarten class.”

These were the topics the kids were asked about:

Friends:  how do you make them?

Food!  What’s on the menu?

Is it scary?

What about rules?

I will personally never forget my first day of kindergarten – as a teacher, that is. Boy, was I nervous! It all went fine, apparently – once I was able to pry them out of their parents’ arms. I eventually managed to get all forty of them to sit down in their seats – at seven little tables with forty-odd little chairs. They would have received their personalized box of crayons, and tried them out on some paper handout I would’ve prepared. Some of them would have been able to write their names – wish I knew what percentage. (This was 1970, so most of them would not have been to a pre-school or day care.) I would have directed one table at a time to take the crayons, when finished, to their “cubbies” – their special place to keep their things. I would have tried herding them to the carpet area for a story, sung some songs, and had recess outside in our own private little courtyard. I wish I could remember more.

Do you have any memories about your first day of kindergarten? (You can use the questions above to jog your memory…)

How about memories of a first day of any new school year?

Surprise! It’s a Wedding

I’ve observed recently how many weddings are more expensive and elaborate than they used to be, while at the same time skipping over some of the tried and true rituals – paper invitations in the mail comes to mind. This week’s CBS Sunday Morning program featured something I’d never heard of before – a Surprise Wedding. What happens is this:  the happy couple, for whatever personal reasons, invite their desired guests to a Party, and once everyone is there partying, announce that that it is ALSO THEIR WEDDING. In the show’s clips , the guests were loud and ecstatic in one, and kind of stunned and subdued in the other. (I wonder if, for the surprise wedding where everyone was so joyous, they let at least the parents know ahead of time.)

I can imagine why someone would want to try this, considering all the difficulties and angst involved in wedding planning. When Husband and I started contemplating our wedding, we got stymied at the guest list – my extended family was all over the map, plus I’d already made them travel to one wedding that did NOT prove to work out. Husband’s family is huge, and where do we stop – if you invite one cousin, should you invite all 39? We kept putting off the decisions, and then decided to elope! We did tell our folks about it beforehand.

There are a few planners, apparently, who can help you pull it off. It does seem to cut down quite a bit on the wedding gifts, but with any luck you’ve also cut down on some of the expenses.

How do you think you would react to being at a party, and discovering you were also at a Surprise Wedding?  What’s the most fun you’ve ever had at a wedding?

Maui Wedding

Well, we did it – just spent close to a week in Hawaii on the west end of Maui (near Lahaina) for Stepson Mario and Natalie’s. Husband and I have a difficult time committing to plans far ahead of time, so right from the start this was an exercise in letting go. We also don’t fly often, and each time we do there are new things to get used to – what exactly is “flight mode” ? (Found out it only applies to smart phones, and ours is a dumb phone). Booking online is still scary for me – I long for the days of travel agents to do it for you.

By the time we made our reservations last November, the cheaper flights all involved either two stopovers or a Red-eye flight, and we got one of each on this trip. Luckily we made all of our connecting flights, and the only problems flying were that “caged” feeling you get in narrow airline seats, and the inability to really sleep on a plane. We were able to avoid jet-lag by waiting to sleep until we were ready to drop, and then logging in a good long stretch before the next full day.

Rental Car Chickens

The wedding and dinner (at a seaside restaurant called Merriman’s) also went off without a hitch; all 34 of us behaved properly (at least while I was awake) – youngest daughter teared up and was not able to finish her solo song during the ceremony, but no problem. The vows were touching and sometimes funny, and the stories told during the ceremony and dinner were heartwarming.

Most of our days were spent doing things with the family, a lot of it on the beaches, for which we were grateful. We reconnected with the various other parents (there were a lot of us, there’s a story for another time.) It was soothing to hear and watch the waves, and playing in the ocean.

We are so very glad we made the effort to get there – it was definitely an event not to be missed.

What’s the farthest you’ve traveled for a Wedding or other Major Event?