Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Points

It wasn't nearly enough to win the game, but when Harry scored his first basket of the season, it was also his team's first basket of the game and the other team already had eight points.

So it those two points brought loud cheers from our side.

Any baskets bring loud cheers from our side. We're very supportive.

But those two points didn't mean our team won. No, it was 26 to 12. Thankfully the season is almost over.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

A path to life is his who heeds admonition, but he who disregards reproof goes astray. (Proverbs 10:17)

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Horns of a Dilemma

I was minding my own business in the grocery store - picking up a few necessities for the week - when over by one of the frozen food displays a woman approaches me.

She was very apologetic and a bit frantic. Her story was that she had lost her job two weeks ago and had had no income for two weeks. Her cupboards were bare. She had two children. Could I help her?

Now of course if someone is truly in need I want to help. But there were a few things happening here. One, I don't carry a lot of cash with me, so I couldn't hand this woman any money to go buy some food. I was surrounded by food in the store but I hadn't paid for it yet - I couldn't just hand her some food.

The other problem was that I didn't believe her. Two weeks unemployed and she has run through any savings and all her food? Possible of course, but... doubts lingered. Adding to my doubts was the fact that she looked remarkably like a woman who approached me and my kids in her car on Halloween. She was driving around a very quiet neighborhood trying to get together cash to pay for gas so she could drive to pick up her kids from their father's house about 20 minutes away. I had no cash on me that time either - and really didn't believe that story.

But... what if she wasn't lying. What if she really was out of food and was desperate to feed her kids. The food pantries are turning people away because they have too many to serve. So I stood there, next to the frozen fish and tried to figure out what to do.

What I did was told her that I'd buy her some cold cuts. If she was at the check out lane when I checked out I would give them to her then. I told her it would only be a few minutes. She said she'd wait for me there and thanked me profusely.

So I picked up two extra packages of sandwich meat and finished my shopping and a few minutes later I checked out.

The woman was nowhere to be seen. I looked around as I was leaving the store - but didn't see her.

Now I have two extra packages of sandwich meat and a vaguely dissatisfied feeling.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Birthday Boy

Harry is nine years old today. Not all the cousins were able to make it today, distance, snow or sickness, kept various people away, but the princess and superhero were here to help their big cousin open his presents.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

And It's Not Even a Sport

That's what Harry said when he expressed his new found pleasure in crocheting.

"It's supposed to be relaxing," he said, "and it's fun too, and it's not even a sport!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

The just man's recompense leads to life, the gains of the wicked, to sin. (Proverbs 10:16)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Birthday Fun

What do you do when a princess and a superhero (in a Steeler's jersey) share a birthday? Why you have a party that makes it look like Christmas came again. Then you play a little football. And if you're the newest cousin in the bunch you wonder what is going on.

Today my niece and nephew celebrated their fourth birthday and we got to meet the newest addition to the family for the first time.

It was a great day!
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

The rich man's wealth is his strong city; the ruination of the lowly is their poverty. (Proverbs 10:15)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The World's Loss - Heaven's Gain

Word came this evening that a dear and wonderful friend of ours had passed away. Jackie had been suffering from cancer for the past several years, and it is a blessing to know that she no longer has to suffer. But that doesn't ease the pain for the rest of us who have to live without her now.

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This was Jackie - always smiling, always happy - last year at our annual New Years celebration. She didn't make it to this years celebration because she was in the hospital, but she was with us in spirit. As you can see, last year, she has delighted to get her annual New Years' gift of bananas.

We first met Jackie when I was not quite two years old. We moved into the house next to her in-laws. Jackie was expecting her first child (my dear friend, Maria) and my mother was expecting my brother Peter.

Soon after that they moved into a house nearly across the street. And as my mother once said "you grew up in each others' houses." It was true. Jackie (the only adult we called by her first name, because her mother-in-law, our next door neighbor was already "Mrs. Maruca") was always welcoming and loving. She treated us as her own. She was more a favorite aunt then a neighbor and friend.

She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. Especially her loving husband, Rocky, her three children and her grandchildren.

And here's one more picture. Jackie is in the middle in the green shirt. This was from Christmas 1974. I'm wearing the blue robe with the gold halo in my hair, Maria is next to me with the blue cape, my brother is the one munching on the carrot (we had apparently put on a Christmas play.)

Rest in peace, Jackie. We love you.

Dinner Conversation

The conversation at dinner tonight progressed from the destruction of Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted, to the fall of the Roman Empire to Elmo from Sesame Street (and no, there were no toddlers at the table.) I'm not quite sure how we got from one to the other.

She's Got a Point

Pippi: Whoever named the speech disorder where a person can't pronounce the letter 's' a 'lisp' was just plain mean.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Feb 6, 1909

One hundred years ago.

That's the day my grandfather, Leo Tanghe, was born. I wish he had lived to see his hundredth birthday - but he did not, so we'll just have to honor the day on our own.

When asked to tell about his youth he started with "I was born, as most people are..."

He was a scientist to the core, making note of the minutia of life and recording it. His daily diaries are more accounts of what he ate and who he saw and what temperature it was than how he felt about any particular thing. But that didn't mean that he didn't also have the soul of a poet hiding behind that doctorate in chemistry.

When on a train trip away from his soon-to-be wife (in 1934) he detailed some of the experience in a letter home.
The Pullmans are fixed up quite nice compared with the day coaches. Only the middle half of the car is taken up by sleeping quarters. At one end there is the men's washroom and smoking lounge. Hot water, mirrors and towels are available. At the other end there is a similar compartment for the women (I presume, without making a thorough investigation of the matter.)
The berth had a great deal more room than I had expected. Two could lie side by side provided they did not worry too much about getting their clothes mussed up, or about lying real close to each other.
It seemed as though we were going along leisurely at about the same rate that Alan might be pulling a cart down the sidewalk with no particular destination in mind. Yet the train must have been going about 60 miles an hour in order to get there in eight hours.
He kept a diary during their honeymoon trip. The first entry is from June 30, 1935, the morning after the wedding.
Fine day to start out our honeymoon. Warm and sunny all day long. Our destination is the Adirondacks - no special place in particular - except to be able to give vent to desire to see the massive wooded hills again. There is something attractive about the mountains. Even after having been here several times before, I return again in preference to going to a place where I have never been before.

Such an unpardonable error, for now we are two - Ruth and Leo. The word "I" must be cast into oblivion.

Such joy I never again expect to experience, as when I looked on her pretty head resting deep in the pillow. On that pillow too, I could rest my head right next to hers.

There is the word "I" again, but I am sure that word speaks for the both of us. Whatever joy was mine, was also hers. Our joys bound right back from one to the other, just as light does from two mirrors facing each other.

They raised six children together, my grandmother home taking care of the children, my grandfather working as a chemist for Kodak.

He loved photography and nature and especially mushrooms. He was a noted mushroom expert in the Rochester area and would be called upon to identify possibly poisonous mushrooms or even to discuss mushroom poisoning incidents on television as he did in 1995 - and recorded the event for several journals (second section).

When my daughter was born he sent a letter telling us what he was doing as they awaited news of her birth

We got this message [that I was at the hospital] just before we left for the 9:30 Mass at St. Charles. This is quite a struggle for us during the winter. I have to get out of our house through the back door on my butt and then get into the wheelchair and let Ruth push me to the car in the garage. Luckily I do not have any trouble driving [yeah, that raised my eyebrows too]

He loved to make jams and jellies and would invite all of his local great-grandchildren over in the spring and they would make raspberry jam from the raspberries growing in the backyard.

He had a recipe for Hot Pepper Jam that showed his scientific side:
4 lb sweet peppers
4 lb hot peppers
1 lemon
6 c vinegar
5 lb sugar
2 pkg (1 3/4 oz each) Sure Jel

I prefer red over green pepers - better flavor and more appealing color. These are available in late Sept and early Oct. at the Publbic market.

Quarter the sweet peppers and remove stem and seeds. Cut tops off red peppers and leave sees in. Quarter the lemon and use it all. Put peppers and lemon through coarse food chopper. Some juice may run out; catch it and add it to the ground mix. Place in a large pan or kettle with a heavy bottom.

Add vinegar and bring to a boil.

Add sugar and bring to a boil

Add Sure-jel and bring to boil (about 102 degrees C or 217 degrees F) and continue to boil until the thermometer reaches 104 degrees C or 220 degrees F while stirring. It is important to stir occasionally at the beginning and more often near the end. If you don't it might stick to the bottom or boil over and make a mess you will never forget. This will take about an hour, depending on the heat setting.

At this point put a test portion in a small container (bottle cap or milk carton cap) and cool it in the refrigerator. If it is too runny when chilled, boil it a little longer. With practice you can tell by the consistency when it has been boiled down enough.

Pour into sterilized jelly jars and cover with melted paraffin wax. If the jars have screw caps and take dome lids, wax is not necessary.

You will love it or hate it. You can adjust the "hotness" by varying the amounts of sweet and green peppers. You might want to use half or quarter of the above amounts for a first trial, but if you like it make a big batch and give some to your friends.

He was always ready to share his knowledge with anyone who was interested. Here he shows my cousin Jodie how to use a sliderule. Ten-month-old Pippi looks on, figuring this may be important someday.

For more great pictures go to my mom's blog Morning Glory Alley.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool is imminent ruin. (Proverbs 10:14)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Winning isn't Everything

...but it sure would be nice now and then.

Sure we all saw the Cardinals almost pull a victory out of last night's Superbowl and the Steelers rallied back. An awesome few minutes of sports. We cheered for the Steelers, we felt bad for the Cardinals. But hey, even though the Cardinals didn't win the Superbowl - they got there. That means they won a lot.

Now - to this year's township basketball season. There are four teams in the minor boys division. There are about a dozen games. We're more than half way through the season and Harry's team hasn't won a game yet.

Oh, we've come close. There have been times when we were ahead by a few points. But the other team always ends up ahead at the final buzzer. Usually by about three points. Sometimes only by one.

It's hard to watch your kid's team lose all the time. You want them to win. At least once in awhile. Everyone likes to win.

And there's still more games. Maybe Saturday will be our lucky day!