Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Making Cookies with Jim, Kenny and Dolly

My family's favorite cookies are "Viennese Crescents". I got the recipe when I was in High School (many years ago) from a lady from Germany. She was the mother of my high school boyfriend who my Dad named "Mr. Touchdown". That's as far as we are going in that direction! I have made them for Christmas every year since. They are similar to a wedding cookie filled with ground pecans and double dusted in powder sugar. My husband calls them cocoons.

I love to listen to Christmas music so I put my two favorite CD's on and made a double batch of these goodies this morning. I love Jim Brickman and his "Christmas Romance" CD is wonderful. I have always wanted to play the piano and believe me I have the hands for it. Since I never learned how to play anything but chop sticks and heart and soul, I have to be content listening to someone else play. His music is a delight.

My other favorite Christmas CD if from a old TV special that Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton did back in the early 80's. The show was called "A Christmas To Remember". They had it on for a few years and then all of a sudden it disappeared. (Kind of like my pickles). They made a CD from the soundtrack so I was thrilled when that came out.

Notice the CD is not the same name as the show. The CD is called "Once Upon a Christmas". Maybe it got caught up in a copyright mess. The special was also a favorite of my mom's. She and I both look every year to see if it's going to be on TV, sadly it seems to be archived somewhere. I did a search this morning on it and came across a clip from You Tube that shows the song my mom and I really like from the show. "Christmas Without You". The film is a little fuzzy but if you like Kenny and Dolly you'll enjoy it. So grab a cookie and click on the link below if you have 5 minutes to spare.

Enjoy it mom!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Decorating

Years ago I used to decorate just about everything in sight. For the past few years I have been downsizing, putting less and less out. This year I put about half of what I have up. I told myself I was not going to buy any new decorations but I fell of the wagon today when the hospital gift shop had a sale. I got this cute little figurine by Jim Shore for 50% off. I love all the colors he uses and you know how I am about my cats.

I tend to stick to the same old themes. My mantle hasn't changed except for the snow I put in around the candle in the hurricane glass. My mother made the kids stockings and I've used them every year.

Before kids I used to do a lot of craft work. All kinds of needlework including embroidery, needlepoint, crochet, etc. Here are a couple of things I made that come out of the closet at Christmas.

I made this afghan many years ago. It's huge and was a lot of work. The pine cones and acorns are cross stitched on to the afghan. I smothered my chair in it so you could get a better idea of what it looks like.

Our tree is a smorgasbord of ornaments gathered over 25 plus years. Ornaments from friends and relatives, Hallmark goodies, Tom is fond of the apples I bought to fill in spaces. Most precious are the ones my kids made. The angel Molly made in kindergarten out of a toilet paper roll is ever present on the tree. Jackson made Rudolph out of Popsicle sticks. Both she and Jackson made ornaments using an ice cream cone. Unfortunately Molly's broke but we still have Jackson's to remind us of hers.

I found this ornament a couple of years back of "Eloise".

When I was a little girl one of my favorite Christmas books was "Eloise at Christmas". I read it over and over again. This is a picture of the actual book. I'm surprised it came out looking this good, it is about to fall apart.

Santa Clause brought this book to me. See he even wrote in it!

As Eloise says "Ooooooooooooooooo! I absolutely love Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I See The Moon

Last night the moon was supposed to be the biggest full moon of the year. It would be the brightests and closest it has been to the earth in 15 years. Only 221,560 miles away it would be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual. It would also appear larger at moonrise than later that night.

This is somewhere in North or South Carolina

I kept running outside with my camera to get a picture of this fabulous sight to see. Finally about 6:30 I was able to get a couple of pictures without the trees and houses getting in the way. It was very bright but not near as big as I had imagined. My little camera is not meant to take magazine quality photos. Sadly this is the best I could do.

On December 1st another celestial event occurred. (I don't know what I would do without Yahoo telling these things are about to happen!) The Waxing Moon aligned with Jupiter and Venus is right below them. This event will not be visible again in North America for another 44 years. This is what it is supposed to look like below.
Coming home from my mom's house I could see it clearly, right at dusk. I grabbed my camera and ran out back to get a photo.

Somewhere in this pitiful picture is the Moon, Jupiter and Venus. I believe they are right above the squiggly lines. I may have captured a picture of some little alien flying in front of me or maybe it's Sagittarius in motion. I think I need some lessons in photography.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Most Beautiful Mom In The World!

Today my mother is 86 years old. I am absolutely NOT going to write anything mushy. My mother is known for crying very easily and that is the last thing I want her to do on her birthday! I have this picture in a frame in my living room. I'm pretty sure it was taken when she was 20 years old and I think it's the best picture I have ever seen of her.

Unfortunately it has some ripples in it. I have some photo software that will fix it but I haven't figured out how to use it.

Lucky as I have been to have such a wonderful mother, I have become even luckier through the years to have her as a best friend. I'm trying not to get mushy mom! We talk on the phone everyday and never cease to run out of topics. From television shows to world politics and we have all the answers to everything. Together we are so smart! She never ceases to amaze me with her wisdom and she has a way of "telling it like it is". I should write some of her comments down and write a book. It would be a best seller I am sure. Enjoy your birthday today and tomorrow. (We're celebrating at the Cheesecake Factory tomorrow!)

Happy Birthday Mama!

Loving You "Always".

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two Things I Do

This is where I work!

Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX is a huge complex of hospitals and specialty centers all connected to each other. They are ever growing, about half of these buildings weren't there when I started to work there 30 some years ago. I helped build the tallest building which is called the Roberts Hospital. It is 17 stories of patient floors, ICU's, transplant units, surgery, meeting rooms, etc. I'm quite proud of the fact that I donated a dollar out of my paycheck to help fund this project and had a coffee cup to prove it. The cup had "I'm building Baylor University Medical Center" on it. I used it for years until it broke.

I started to work here back in 1972 in the Transfusion Services Lab making $450.00 a month. Yes, I paid for my apartment and living expenses on that salary. (Mom and Dad paid for my car and insurance thank goodness). Transfusion Service is exactly what the name says. This laboratory prepares and supplies all the blood and blood products patients need in this hospital. I still work in the same department and have seen many tragedies and so many miracles in all those days. Our hospital alone transfuses over 6,000 blood products a month!

That brings me to "One Thing I Do".

I am Blood Drive Chairman for Baylor Health Care Systems 7 hospitals. I also coordinate 4 blood drives a year at my hospital. Getting donors is an extremely difficult task and I applaud the Blood Centers and American Red Cross who deal with this on a daily basis. You are about to be bombarded with lots of facts!

1. I already told you how many blood products my hospital uses a month. Now think about how much the entire Nation uses.

2. Someone needs blood every 12 seconds.

3. 70% of us will need to be transfused in our lifetime.

4. You can give blood every 56 days.

5. You will "NOT" get a disease from giving blood.

6. It's the one charitable thing you can do that does not cost you a penny.

7. I've heard every excuse there is for not giving blood.

I bet most of you know someone close to you who has had to be transfused. I was transfused with 2 units of blood after Molly was born because of post partum bleeding. My mother who is anemic had to be transfused with 2 units last summer. So where does the blood come from? YOU! I don't know who wrote this, but it sums it all up.

What Good Is A Blood Donor?

A blood donor is good for people who go through windshields and red lights. For someone with cancer, hemophilia, or anemia. Or hepatitis. Or ulcers. For people being operated on. For people into feudin and fightin. For people who are almost out of life because they are almost out of blood. For a little girl who doesn't know that leukemia has happened to her. Or why. For a little boy who needs something revved up that wound down. Like energy. For people having open heart surgery. For people who need a blood donor and also an organ donor - a part as well as a pint - a new heart or new liver, a lung or a kidney. For new babies needing new blood. Or new mothers needing a transfusion. For little kids who get into poison or fall onto something sharp. For people who fool around with something that explodes, goes off, bites or shatters. For people burned pretty bad. For daredevils. Tree climbers. For people in the wrong place at the wrong time. A blood donor is good for people who are in a lot worse shape than most people you know. Someone needs a little of your blood a lot!

I am fortunate enough to be able to give blood. When I donate I think about all those patients and miracles I've seen over the years like the young girl (Julie) who survived a torn aorta after a car accident. Her heart stopped for 7 minutes in surgery but survived it with the expertise of a gifted surgeon and lots of blood. The student pilot who was the only survivor of a plane crash. Seeing him that day in the ER I knew I could handle just about anything. A young woman with a liver shattered after a motorcycle crash who married the nurse who took care of her in ICU and paid us a visit later with their new baby. The fireman who was kept alive for 48 hours without a liver being massively transfused with over 300 units of blood waiting for a donor. After his transplant he came in the laboratory to thank us and to autograph his new tennis shoes.
Donating blood is the 2nd thing I do. I feel really good about that!