December 2020

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Not Easy

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.

Marie Curie


One Day

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness. Are you willing to do these things even for a day?

Henry Van Dyke


Hi there! Revisiting the recipes from this Super Supper post, nearly twelve years later. Greg is beardless but no less silly. In this go round, I added mushrooms, substituted sliced linguica for the Italian sausage, and though this slice would have you believe otherwise, doubled the raisins and pine nuts (I toasted them, too). Wonderfully delicious! If you’d like to double down on the healthy bits, make a kale chiffonade and toss those ribbons in, too.

And because it is the holiday season, I could not go without making peppermint ice cream! If you recall, I discovered an old-timey recipe last year for a no-churn variety, and boy have I made the best of it! If you missed it, here goes:

16 oz heavy cream, whipped to perfect billowy peaks

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I’m going to try the coconut next!)

Pour the entire contents of the can of condensed milk over the billowy peaks and blend together. Add whatever dream of ice cream you fancy (well, almost) and put in a freezer safe container. It’s best to make it the day before you plan to eat it, as it takes a long while to solidify.

Speaking to the well, almost, bit. Fresh fruit will freeze solid and be quite difficult to scoop and even more unpleasant to eat (voice of rock-hard cherry experience talking!) – best to add your favorite chunky jams or preserves.

The other flavor I made this go round was coffee (both had mini chocolate chips). I used two tablespoons beans on the finest setting on my grinder, added that to 1/4 cup of boiling water, let it cool, and strained the remaining very strong brew into one half of my ice cream base. With the additional liquid, it’s a bit more solid, but goll-ee, does it taste great!

orange roughy + braised cabbage + beurre blanc

Poutine! Greg dashed to Wendy’s for fries. The cheese curds are from our neighborhood Ranch Foods Direct, and the gravy is home made. The awesomeness scale went to ELEVEN.

Our favorite library. Since we are forbidden entry for the time being, we brought Juniper to our hold pick-up and walked the perimeter instead. Gosh do I miss a good library browse!

And in the people sometimes do stupid things without even realizing category: I was at Costco, fully masked and perusing the frozen section, when my mom called. For about two minutes of our conversation, I continued to browse with my MASK OFF, and only undertstood what was happening when I realized the mask was tangling on something. I got it back on right quick.

I now have the tiniest bit of sympathy for those I see blithely strolling sans masks in just about every store. Brain farts are clearly quite powerful.

My Grandfather, Wilfred Herbert Sohn
24th Pursuit Group
My Grandfather is fourth from the left in the back row.

Wilfred Herbert Sohn (my Grandfather) enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1939 and was stationed at Nichols Field in the Philippines when war broke out. He was a member of the infamous Bataan Death March. He made his escape back to Mindanao Island only to be recaptured when his plane was shot down at sea. At the time of the cessation of hostilities, his father was notified of his hospitalization at Mukden Manchuria (after four years in prison camp) and was released in 1945.

Sohn was cited for a Silver Star in General Orders 166 issued by General MacArthur on May 1st, 1946, and reads as follows:

Staff Sargeant Wilfred H. Sohn, Air Corps, United States Army. For gallantry in action in the Southwest Pacific Area, on 8 December 1941.

When two flights of twin engined enemy bombers attacked Clark Field, Luzon, Philippine Islands, Sgt. Sohn, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, 24th Pursuit Group, and two comrades, took cover in a hangar. One of the soldiers was struck in the back with a fragment. Sgt. Sohn removed the missile. Then, noticing a fire in some mail bags, swiftly extinguished the flames. When bombs from the second hostile flight began to explode, he dashed to a bomb shelter and drew in another comrade who had been hit in the back and legs by flying fragments. While the attack continued in unabated fury, he proceeded to his quarters and obtained sheets which he could bandage the wounds of the stricken soldier, and although he was knocked down by a concussion of a bomb blast, he made his way back to the shelter, where he applied a tourniquet and bandaged the wounds and then carried the wounded man to cover.

Moving to a nearby machine gun pit, he found three wounded men, whom he placed in a staff car with the aid of another comrade. He applied a tourniquet on the wound of one of the casualties, and directed his assistant to close all windows, and then, while an enemy aircraft bombed and machine gunned the vehicle, he drove through a section of the road which was enveloped by flames from burning gasoline. Emerging from the holocaust, the car was again bombed and strafed. Sohn ran across a field, obtained another car, and returned with it, although again subjected to attack by hostile aircraft. The wounded were transferred to the second vehicle, which Sgt. Sohn drove under repeated attack to the post hospital.

There, while the furious assault continued, he assisted in unloading the casualties for treatment. Through his sustained gallantry and concern for the welfare of his comrades with complete disregard for his own safety, Sgt. Sohn upheld the finest traditions of the American Soldier.


H E L L O !

Happy Holiday wreath to you dear neighbor. Minimalists that we are, it is the only exterior decoration at our house, but so darn pretty, and then there’s the up close and personal scent of it. That waft of forest makes me swoon.

Greg demonstrates how to make a masterpiece, which is a prelude to the photos below. I’ve spent a lot of time on ye old image editor as of late: cropping and repairing the ravages of time – stains, tears, scratches galore, editing out people, and adding fun pops of modern color. Though, I have yet to figure out a way to open my dear Grandma Esquipula’s eyes. All in good time, I suppose.

Great Aunt Mary, rosebud lipped adorableness – probably 1910 – standing in front of the Springfield house she lived in for the first eighty years of her life. What a treasure it was to find pictures of her as a child. In my mind, she was born grown and wise, a master at penmanship.

Grandma Tess

Grandma and Grandpa on horseback! Thrill of thrills to find these. Undated, though maybe both taken in New Mexico. A hot date together, perhaps?

post script

Last night, a little weepy during my nightly cuddle with the hubster, I wondered aloud, “Why do I cry when I think upon relatives and friends who have died?” I feel no yearning for them to return to bodies too old or broken (by sadness or illness) to carry them. More than ever, I feel their constant presence, more dazzling and steady than a buoy, but with that same sense of being safely carried, by waves or wings.

Then it occurred to me that the tears are not those of sadness, but of a truly infinite love and boundless wonder. We are and will always be ourselves, fleshy bodies or untethered souls on one splendid adventure after another.

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