This Was A Biggy!

A long time tradition amongst this family is to send birthday, anniversary, get well and other occasion cards, as I’m sure it is in millions of other families. As we’ve been getting older, however, some occasions really don’t want to be celebrated, especially birthdays. Nor do we want to be reminded by receiving a card, but knowing that others in the family were at least thinking about you as they licked the stamp (or, maybe, even swearing at you because of the expense of that stamp!!) is nice.

The wedding anniversaries in my family have waned somewhat over the years with a few divorces and I’m the first to admit that I have not sent out anniversary cards every time to those sisters and brother who remain married. As a result I’ve long forgotten the number of years each spouse has actually been married. I was jolted back to reality when Nat and I received an invitation to an anniversary dinner a couple of weeks ago. I never even paid attention to the fact that this was an important one until I received an email from a niece. The oldest sister our family, and her spouse, would be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Fifty years together!! This was a family first! My parents had passed away long before their 50th only because of a stroke and cancer. Two evils that prevented a very loving couple from celebrating a half century of their undying love, which was apparent to all of us on a daily basis.

As Gail and her hubby did not want any fuss, their daughter and Claudia arranged for a family and friend get-together at The Mandarin in St. Catharines. Despite the miserable weather – snow and wind almost everyday – everyone showed up and had a fabulous time. With 30 people in attendance Gail and Bern were kept active shifting from chair to chair talking to each of their guests and pictures being snapped for posterity. I soon realized the years had flown by and despite maybe a tiff or two it was still apparent this marriage would continue on hopefully until their 75th and beyond. The family is hoping to have a larger party in the Spring when they can also celebrate a milestone birthday for their son. Looking forward to that one!!

The next day, Monday, found Nat and I staying close to home. I had discovered from Claudia that her Archived Family Photos given to each family member on a set of CDs a few years back, was no longer working. Her computer was having trouble reading the data – and I knew right away what the problem was – I had labelled the damn things using those CD/DVD Label Kits. I have since found out that this is a big NO, NO, (the paste from the label can deteriorate the disc over time) and had found a way of removing such labels on some of our CDs by using Rubbing Alcohol, which works beautifully. I took the time on this particular day to fix the problem with Nat’s help – removing the labels from our set of Archived Family Photos – popped them in the computer to retrieve the files, and then drag and drop the files onto USB Drives. The whole process took less than a couple of hours and I now have brand new Archived photos on a safer medium. Plus I was extremely happy that I had another small task to do in the office – my sanctuary at times!! If you’ve got this problem just go here:-

Tuesday arrived with more snow in the forecast. We’ve now officially had enough, but I can’t complain as my heart goes out to those good people along the East Coast of Canada and the U.S. who have been hit so hard over and over again. As Nat had an appointment in Stoney Creek, I decided to tag along and we would then drop by at Costco on the way home to stock up the freezer and pantry of edibles to survive in case we, too, get snow bound!! Naturally, the bill was much more than anticipated but at least we won’t starve for another couple of months. After heading home, unpacking our supplies and getting everything “freezer ready” we took the rest of the afternoon off. With Nat’s back getting worse and my lack of energy, we were both done for the day.

A couple of weeks ago, Claudia and Darby got to raving about their new purchase – a T-Fal Actifry. They had had complete success making homemade french fries and were tickled to death with this new gizmo. Naturally, Nat and I became intrigued and took a look at these wonder cookers. With a bit of research under our belts we went ahead and ordered one from which arrived on Tuesday. After taking care to read the instruction manual, getting some recipes from the T-Fal web site, we took the plunge on Thursday and made Crunchy Chicken Wings which turned out great. A little skeptical at first – when done, the Panko Bread Crumb coating looked a little dry, but once bitten into, the wings were crunchy, tender and juicy. I adjusted the recipe a little bit for timing, but the whole process was really well received for a good healthy meal – especially for me when I’m trying not to eat fatty foods. This recipe took no oil at all – not even the one tablespoon needed for making french fries – so Nat and I are now set to experiment some more with this little miracle machine that now allows me to eat fried foods low in fat and cholesterol!!! Who ever though that would be possible?? The times we are living in just keep getting better and better!!

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