Saturday, November 29, 2008

My First Turkey & Mom's Altered Book

My First Turkey

I cooked my first turkey for about 25 senior hikers. The group of seniors were on a walking tour of the Continental Divide and they’d requested a full fledged, American Thanksgiving dinner once they arrived back at the ranch. They were from London.
Working as a wrangler and all-purpose ranch hand, I was 25 and from Florida. I’d never cooked a turkey in my life, much less one for more than 25 folks. The grocery store was 2 hours away—down the mountain in Creede. I made a list and B.K. went to gather the goods. I figured I’d make turkey, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, yeast rolls and a green salad. Sound good?

On the day of the great turkey feast, I found myself in the kitchen with Michelle, the rancher’s 16 year-old niece, also a wrangler, who worked with me. She was peeling potatoes while I tried to figure out how to light the gas ovens. The ranch kitchen, recently remodeled, housed 3 gas refrigerators and two gas stoves. I needed to light the pilot light on the stoves in order to get the ovens heating.

Click. Click. Click. My lighter just wasn’t doing the job. I could faintly hear the blue, whoosh of the gas, so I new that there was fuel to light, I just couldn’t get it to light. Click. Click. “Let me try it,” Michelle interrupted. Click. Click. Nothing. Next to the fireplace in the lodge, we kept long stem matches. Probably as long as my forearm, I figured I could light a match and then stick it right into that old hissing pilot light.

The gas had been going for a while.

I lit the match. “Lee Ann, maybe…”

Whoooosh! A ball of fire shot out of the oven and hit me in the face. It was gone just as quickly as it appeared –I wasn’t hurt, but I was quite surprised.

“Well, it’s lit now,” I declared turning to face Michelle.

“Are you … oh my gosh,” she dissolved into laughter.

“What? What?”

“Your eyebrows!”

The big woosh had taken care of all of my facial hair and a good part of my bangs. No eyebrows, no eye lashes and as a matter of fact, I didn’t have to worry about my mustache for weeks.

Needless to say, the turkey came out fine.

Thanksgiving through Collin's Eyes

How many Thanksgivings? How many turkeys? How many loaves of dilly bread? How many scrabble games? How much laughter? How much love? During hard times in college I used to tell myself "just hang on until Thanksgiving...if you can just hang on" and I would and then I would go home. Mom's love would save me every time. Those days were long ago, but the power of my Mom continues. She cooked this year and Collin and I enjoyed Thanksgiving hanging out at Meme and Papa's. Collin picked up my camera at one point in the evening and took a bunch of pictures (enough to fill the memory card!). These are the best of his pictures--I couldn't help but think of the 7-year-old perspective as I watched them put together.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Give Kids the World

Originally uploaded by spillarke
Great "Christmas" Thursday volunteering at Give Kids the World with students. Give Kids the World is a place where "kids rule!" Founded by Henri Landwirth, Holocaust survivor, Give Kids the World is a vacation resort for children battling life threatening conditions. Families, through the Make a Wish and other foundations that serve children with life threatening illnesses, stay at the Village for a week. The week is filled with theme parks and happy memory making. Thursday evening is Christmas in the Village. It is my favorite day/evening to serve. Though I usually do face painting, yesterday I marched in the Christmas parade with my students. Twenty five angels strong, it was quite a Wonderland parade! Simply fantastic.

Now here's my plug... if you are looking for a place to give this holiday season, I would encourage you to look into Give Kids the World. The Village runs on volunteers, filling over 1,000 shifts a week. They can use your time, your talent and yes, even your treasure. To donate directly visit their website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Camera Finds!

Camera Finds!
Originally uploaded by spillarke
Enjoyed Sunday at Renniger's with Erin. What fun we had poking around the antiques! Erin found a great old globe and a wrought iron bird cage. I want to go back, like today! I found these two cameras--I love the accordion camera. It was and still could be were I to find film a postcard camera. This coming weekend is the Antique Extravaganza... should I go?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Collin and I have been reading about presidents this week. Grace for President and So You Want to Be President? are our favorites. These lines from latter moved me tonight:

"Every President was different form every other and yet no woman has been President. No person of color has been President. No person who wasn't a Protest or a Roman Catholic has been President. But if you care enough, anything is possible."
If you care enough, anything is possible.

This morning we got up early and went to the neighborhood polling place. I thought that if we got in line early, we'd be set. We arrived around 6:10 a.m. and were maybe 125 people from the front. I'm glad we went early because by 6:30 there were probably 300 people behind us in line. It took us about 90 minutes. We voted! I penciled in my hope, my contribution to history. My prayers are with the candidates and all of those that care enough to participate in our democracy.
Democracy is not something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate.
Abbie Hoffman

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Line's Up Here, Boys

The Line's Up Here, Boys
Originally uploaded by spillarke
Collin's first football game, a winner. Actually the game was tied at the end, but if they're having fun everyone's winning. Collin is on a team with several boys we know. Here's a clip of he and Robert lined up a little too far back!