Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Annual Thanksgiving Rant or What's Your Thanks in Thanksgiving?

Does the thought of stores open for business on Thanksgiving make you see red or at least a vibrant pink? Does hearing K-Mart will be open at 6 a.m., Walmart and Best Buy at 6 p.m., and Target, Sears, Macy's at 8 p.m., to name just a few, make you want to hand in your membership card to the human  race? Okay, maybe not to that extreme, there are far more important situations to hand in your card for but you get the idea. And I'm right along with you when it comes to these stores.

But I can't vilify and lay the whole blame on the retail sector.  Like the movie Field of Dreams, corporate America heard the little voice say, "if you open, they will come".  And the public did . . .  in droves.  Let's face it, if the consumers weren't there, the doors would stay shut.  So why? According to a RetailMeNot email survey one in five consumers said it gave people a fun activity to do on Thanksgiving.   They haven't talked to my husband. "Families often like to do more than just eat on Thanksgiving. Some go to movies. Some go bowling. Some go to football games or to restaurants," says Bill Thorne, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation.   They couldn't buy or borrow a DVD or play some games at home? It's not like there's not going to be another sale until Christmas! I just don't get it.

When I was a kid, the men would watch  football games, except for my dad who'd go down stairs to play pool with anyone who'd like to challenge him, and the mothers would congregate in the kitchen to help prepare the meal.  When everyone was gathered at the bountiful table, my grandmother would say a short grace that was followed by the noise of platters being passed around and requests for favorite foods.  Then came the silence broken by the clanks of silverware as we enjoyed the results of their labor.  Like a wave,  conversations would rise and fall throughout.  Afterwards, the adults would gather at the table and play penny poker while the cousins, all girls and most of us within four years range of each other, would talk and listen to music. 

Most of those adults have passed on now and the cousins are scattered across the US.  We'll never have those times again.  I miss them.  And I have to ask, what kind of memories are the families of these shoppers and workers going to have to look back on; laughter and sharing or long lines, fighting for a parking space and/or a missing family member at the Thanksgiving table?

Okay, if you feel stores should be closed on Thanksgiving, raise your left hand and  place your right hand on your credit/debit card or any thing else you use to get yourself into debt then repeat after me:

        I, say your name, solemnly swear not venture forth into any store, mall or on-line shopping site to make any purchases on Thanksgiving Day. I shall respect the ideals of Thanksgiving by spending it with family and/or friends and shall not force anyone to work because of my selfish wants.

Good for you.  Now please share what you're thankful for besides family,  friends, employment, health etc.  One of the things I, and this might sound a little strange, am amazed at times and grateful for the ability to turn on my faucet and have hot and cold, clean water whenever I want it.  So many people around the world don't have this simple feature.  We take it for granted like so many other things and we shouldn't.

May you have a wonderful, happy, and safe Thanksgiving.

Sources: Huff Post, USA Today,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Black Thumb of Death

Thank God for supermarkets.  I mean it.  If my family and I were pioneers, we'd surely starve.  I'm not lying here.

A while back I blogged how I had planted ten strawberry plants.  With the help of the neighborhood feral cats and my own black thumb, they never took.  But four pumpkins plants popped up surprising me, giving me hope. (The seeds were from pumpkin innards I threw in the compost pile the year before.)

Then  the middle of summer came and so did powdery mildew.  The poor plants didn't stand a chance.  It was a pitiful sight. At the end, I solemnly stood by the row of withered vines and blew taps.

Before the demise of the pumpkins, I had bought a tomato plant, figuring we're only a family of three, how many tomatoes do we really need.  I planted it in a container so I could move it around to the sunniest spots in my yard and to be able to get it out of the way when my husband mows the lawn.

Well, that one plant produced one tomato throughout the whole growing season. Yep, one tomato. Disappointed?  Ooooh yeah.  When it became ripe, I picked it, and proudly announced, at supper, that the tomato in the salad was our own home grown. After some cheers and smiles from my family, mainly to make me feel good, we partook in enjoying the fruit of my labor.

Then the months turned to October and I thought it would start to die back.  But what should I see one morning?  The dang plant had a small tomato hanging off one of its branches and a week later another appeared.  What the hell?   Did it realize its biological clock was about to tick its last tock and decided to push out two more before winter?

 The nights are now about 35 - 40 degrees and most days are in the middle fifties.  Not exactly the best growing temperature.  But I'm determined to see these orbs grow to their potential.  The plant now resides in the shower of my smaller bathroom at night and if it's sunny and the temp. is in the higher fifties, I carry it outside.  Hey, if the plant is willing to try, so am  I.

I will be triumphant and the tomatoes shall be mine!

Has anyone else ever had a bad vegetable garden?  Tell me please, it will make me feel a bit better. : )