HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LOTS TO BE THANKFUL FOR

Happy Feast Day. Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite holiday of the entire season thanks to the amazing traditional spread my mother, sweet Alice, would produce every November - except for one.

Matt Capell and I were mere young roustabouts making the college scene at UWEC and one November we decided that we would go over to the farm early Thanksgiving Day, just after mom, dad, and John had left for Mass in Menomonie.

We clambered in with as 22 pound turkey and enough yams and russets to feed the Bulgarian army - fresh cranberries and two "made from scratch" pumpkin pies.

We also brought along way too much red and white wine. By the time the rest of the group came home, we were the happiest chefs in the world.

Things change with time. Jack and Alice are gone home, John lives way out on the west coast, Anson is newly moved to Algoma, Wisconsin. Bob and Dorothy graciously invite us to join Dorothy's large family of sons, daughters, grandsons and grand daughters, but since I am so selfish as to keep this day to myself, this year it may well just be Kim and me.

So the first thing I did was make dessert - er, actually, desserts. Monday I turned out an amazing no bake peanut butter cheesecake. A pound of cream cheese, a pound of peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, all whipped together in the Cuisinart, turned out into a bowl, then whipped a half cup of heavy whipping cream and gently folded the whipped cream into the batter, poured it all into a spring from pan and refrigerated it.

Tuesday I turned out two pumpkin pies. Wednesday I made yet another cheesecake - this one Kim's favorite - a two layer cheese cake with a recipe from long time friend Thom Sobota.

So I am up and at 'em this morning as I have dressing to make (Italian sausage, mushroom, rice, wild rice, and bread stuffing), then I will finish thawing the 9 pound ButterBall turkey, get that stuffed and into the oven so as to be ready by supper time.

I do love Thanksgiving!

And I have so much to be thankful for! After all, John McCain and Sarah Palin might have been our leadership on this day.

I have two terrific sons in New York City - both supremely talented musicians and great guys. I also am blessed with three great brothers and I am blessed to be married to Kim Wilson, the best person in the whole world!

So HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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I have to share two e mails I got from my e mail pen pal, Kirk Roebuck, of Ohio. Kirk and I have been conversing through e mail for several years and i would love to meet him some day!

Here are some of his observations on professional sports figures and a "sick and tired" editorial written by a friend of his:

I kind of agonize when people (athletes, actors and singers mainly) hang around too long. Seeing Muhammed Ali and the condition he is in now makes it hard to remember the good-looking tremendously skilled boxer that owned the sport for so long. I recently saw a picture of Forrest Gregg being introduced at a Packer game and to me he looks kind of like a large, really old elf. Andy Williams was once a good singer with several really good hits (love Moon River) and good Christmas shows..now he can barely hold a note in tune, yet refuses to quit, and sad people still pay lots of money to hear him. What’s really sad (and scary!) is old sex symbol women (actresses and models) that try to pass themselves off as sexy and good looking when they clearly are not. Around here, browns fans (dumb fools that they are) like to talk about Jim Brown quitting at his peak……….but they either forget or don’t know………..he quit when Modell wouldn’t allow him to miss training camp so he could be in Europe filming The Dirty Dozen…so he threw a hissy fit and quit…….and was surprised when he didn’t get his way. Same thing happened with him this year…when the brownies had their ring of fame crap (why do all teams just copy each other?) he was upset about something so he wrote a letter about racism and stuff and didn’t show up. Ooh…that really showed the Cleveland organization.

I think there is something in we humans (in the genes, I guess) that doesn’t allow us to know when it is time to quit……….yet really big money might have something to do with it!

My mom used to say (not an original thought) that when you think you are going to be missed, take a bucket, fill it with water, put your foot in it, then pull out your foot…..the hole you leave in the water is how much you’re going to be missed.

More and more in our sicko society there is the evidence of schadenfreude……..pleasure derived from the failure, misfortune of others. (Particularly in those with low self-esteem). Brain scan studies show a correlation with envy. When I see fans in the stands heckling and jeering and booing I wonder what kind of sad lives they must live.

I guess what I see is the respect Favre gets from other players………….forget the media and the fans……….they can’t relate because they haven’t competed at his level. At the end of the Packer-Viking game in GB, seeing so many Packer players and even some of the non-playing personnel shaking hands, hugging and saying things to Favre is probably the highest achievement in the sport………….respect and admiration of your peers.

In one sense I am glad to see that he was able to play so long………….eventually all organizations will cast aside ANY player, no matter what they have done for that organization. Yet Brett was able to say…fine…I’ll play somewhere else, and he did, until no longer able. Good for him. Kind of funny though how the whole Viking team collapsed this year. The offensive line, the whole defense. Wow.

Right now, I am hoping Philly will win the super bowl with Vick as MVP…………………that would really annoy the dog fanciers, wouldn’t it!

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I’m tired of the right stating they want to take back their country when they said nothing when Bush was spending millions to go to war in Iraq.

I’m tired of the constant complaints from the right about the mortgage melt down when they refused to put in oversight to the banking industry.

I’m tired of the tea baggers complaining about the deficit when they will not offer up one area they would cut because they know it would be political suicide. Anyway, it is so much easier to criticize than to offer constructive ideas for improvement.

I’m tired of the constant complaints about healthcare, even though we are the richest country in the world and have individuals that can’t get chemotherapy of access to good healthcare. Call up a cardiologist and tell him you want an appointment but you have no healthcare and no money.

I’m tired of the worn out slogan “support our troops” when men come home from Iraq and Afghanistan with no jobs and no future. And can you imagine your future if you were wounded?!

I’m tired of the rich and corporations complaining about their taxes when everyone knows they have shelters and other tax deductions most of us do not have because we are taxed based on our first dollar.

I’m tired of the constant racism against Obama. They call him a socialist, a communist and even a Nazi (which is a grave insult to everyone who died in the Holocaust) because they can’t call him the N-word. (at least not in public)

I’m tired of the praise for Condolessa Rice when she ignored the warnings before 9/11 and did absolutely nothing but become a puppet for Dick Cheney who made a fortune from Halleburtin and the Iraq War.

I’m tired of the right wingers making themselves sound so pure and innocent and against big government when they said absolutely nothing while Bush was spending money like a drunken sailor.
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