Thursday, November 26, 2009

Laeti Congregamur

by Nancy

No, that's not gibberish in the title. It's how the first line of the hymn "We Gather Together," my Thanksgiving favorite, translates into Latin. My high school Latin teacher provided translations of that hymn along with "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I no longer remember the rest of it, but there's a full Latin translation of the lyrics here.

This is all a lead-in, of course, to the fact that it's Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a time when many Americans "gather together" with family and friends to commemorate the things and people for which we're grateful. Our blog community gathers daily, and I hope some of you will pop in today to join me and the gladiators and the cabana boys and maybe take the rooster home for a visit. Sometimes we're thoughtful, sometimes we have fun, and sometimes we mix our moods. No matter what feeling rules a particular day, I'm grateful for the Lair and its denizens, actual and virtual (because, really, there's power in imagination), and for all our buddies.

Just FYI, Sven and Demetrius are currently squabbling over who gets to carve the turkey, with Demetrius maintaining that his sword will do much better than that "dinky little knife" Sven is holding (it's a carving knife, actually, "dinky" only in relation to a sword). I'm just keeping my head down, trying to be invisible. They're the last two I want to referee between, and asking the rooster to help would be like throwing thermite on a fire.

When I was growing up, my mom worked at the college I later attended. Her secretarial position in the registrar's office let her get to know a lot of students. Those who lived too far away to go home for Thanksgiving often wound up at our dining room table. While I didn't always appreciate that at the time, I'm now thankful for the way those guests broadened my perspective on holidays and taught me to look beyond my immediate circle on such occasions.

Some of the students Mom befriended became friends of our family, too. I recently saw a couple of them at a gathering of the women in my college class. We go to the beach for a weekend every year, whoever can turn up. Even though there were comparatively few women in our class, I didn't know most of them well. I transferred in as a sophomore and so missed the orientation that would've brought me into contact with them.

I'm pleased to have made, after all these years, friends among the women I missed getting to know the first time around. So I'm grateful to Sue M. and Ann "Wicked" for pushing me to go the first time and for all the women who've participated during the years for weekends of camaraderie and memory. And to Van for posing with me and the Silver Surfer in the photo at the bottom of the blog (with only minimal wine involved).

My high school friends have started a community on Facebook to connect those of us who used to live near each other but have since scattered. I appreciate the ability to keep in touch with old friends and our collective past even though the level of activity on Facebook sometimes makes my mind go "tilt."

Reading comic books ignited my imagination. If a couple of guys from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, hadn't invented Superman, the superhero from whom all others flowed, I wouldn't have had that stimulus. So I give thanks for the creators of the many imaginary worlds I love and for the friends I've made through fandom and writing.

I'm grateful for the education that made me an insatiable history geek and for scholars and hobbyists who feed that interest. And for the dh's willingness to carry home suitcases full of books. As we had brunch on our honeymoon in San Francisco, on the first full day of our married life, we looked down from the glass-sided restaurant atop a hotel and were jointly thrilled to discover a bookstore a few blocks over. We went there immediately afterward and added to the total weight of our luggage. We spent our first New Year's together with him building and staining bookshelves in our living room because our joint book collection kept growing.

A few years later, as we walked through Gatwick Airport to catch our flight home, he had to stop every few feet and renew his grip on the suitcase. The woman behind him said, in a friendly voice, "What are you carrying--bricks?" He said, "No. Books." And sort of forced a smile. If he wishes the customs agent hadn't shared the news that books were duty free (at least then--except for dealers, I think--but that may have changed), he sweetly keeps that to himself.

And of course I'm grateful to have the dh and the boy (who once replied to a question about what he wanted to do when he grew up by thinking a moment and then saying, "I'd like to be someone who doesn't get arrested," a goal his father and I heartily support and for which we are thankful). The boy is taller than I am now and never loses an opportunity to remind me.

Our lives are enriched by our friends and extended families, who're also celebrating at their homes today. And, foolish as this may sound to some of you, by our yellow lab, the latest in the string of dogs who discovered they could be bosses of us.

We're having dinner with friends, who are contributing fabulous brownies for dessert. Since I'm utterly incapable of creating such a thing "from scratch," I'm grateful for people who can and for the warmth this family's presence will add to our table.

What are you doing today? Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving memory? A holiday that seemed bound for disaster but turned out well after all, or vice-versa? Have you made a friend later in life that you missed out on the first time around?

Do you love the Silver Surfer? Do you remember the name of his girlfriend, whom he never stopped missing? Do you have a friend who'd be willing to join you and the Surfer in a photo?



I have SFF samplers from DragonCon for two commenters today. To kick off the holiday season, I'm also including below the recipe for the dh's holiday favorite. Every year, his late mother made her Aunt Lillian's [Cringe-Proof] Fruitcake (as adapted, so it doesn't feed a battalion, by the dh's sister and brother-in-law).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Aunt Lillian's Fruit Cake (Cringe-Proof, according to Nancy's dh)
T
his makes a spice cake with candied fruit and nuts in it.

Be sure to check ingredient list and adapt for any allergies. We use one large loaf pan and two small ones, filling them a couple of inches each, per batch. This cake does not rise.

Warning: Requires very large bowl to mix

Overnight, soak the following in inexpensive brandy:
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 and 1/2 cups candied fruit (often sold as fruit cake mixture)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1 tsp. grated orange peel

Mix the following and cream well:
1/2 cup shortening (butter)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

Add:
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 and 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix well, then drain the brandy-soaked fruit and add it;

Mix well, then put into greased and paper-lined pans (use either parchment paper or brown paper);
Bake for about 3 hours at 275 degrees (Fahrenheit);
Test doneness with a toothpick--cake should not be doughy;
When cool, remove from pan and wrap in brandy-soaked dish towel (optional). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until serving, sprinkling brandy on the cake every few days if desired.



114 comments:

limecello said...

ooo

Joan said...

Gobble??

limecello said...

Happy Thanksgiving, to all who celebrate it! I love Thanksgiving, not just because I love food ;)
Loved the pictures, Nancy - the dog is *so cute*! And, heh, my Latin teacher had Christmas carols in Latin and sometimes students would go caroling.
That's so sweet -what your mom did. Usually for Thanksgiving a bunch of family friends would get together for a pot luck. We do this for all the major holidays since [real] family is too far away. In a way, these people are my family.
I'm sad some family friends moved away last month. My parents were friends with their parents before all [us] kids were born... but when I was helping with their moving sale I realized they'd been living there for 19 years. Even though I still thought of it as their "new" house until relatively recently.
Hmmm - nothing too special, but I did spend all day cooking today. Pasta salad, and then a stir fry, just because I'm random. But for Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin cheesecake, and three pumpkin-cranberry loaves. They're delicious, and dangerous. My mom and I ate half of one already :X

Joan said...

Drat, Lime......

dinky little knife"

Now Nancy you know Sven doesn't like to have it referred to as such (gladiators snickering in backgroud)

You have lots to be grateful for. I'm grateful for all my family, my friends, the Banditas of course, the BB's without question.

I'm grateful Demetrius has a sword...er, weapon...er,

Never mind.

And thanks for the recipe! I see it ending up in the State Fair next year and LOL...leave it to you to preface with a "Warning" (Will Robinson)

Have a Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

(Aunty weaves her way out of the Lair kitchen)
*HIC*
Nanshie, how long were I sposed to soak that fruit again? I think the cabanash boys poured on a wee bit too much brandy...
*HIC*

AC
who had to drink the extra brandy for medicinal porpoises... Honesh!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Uh oh, looks like Demetrius chopped the turkey in half with his sword. Now he's hacking at one piece and Sven is carving the other!

Congrats on the GR, Lime! Pasta salad and stir fry? No wonder he's headed for your place! When we started stuffing the turkey, he let out a horrified squawk and disappeared.

AC

PinkPeony said...

Hi Nancy! Congrats, Lime!

Hey, I've never attempted fruitcake before. I'm not a fan but I might make it for my Gooma. There's no flour in the recipe??

Fave T-day memory...my cousin's family owned a motel in Santa Rosa when I was a kid. There were people who lived in their rooms with no family or homeless families who would scrape enough together for a room for one night so they could shower. On T-day and Christmas, we weren't allowed to sit down at the table until we delivered a plate of turkey and all the fixings and pumpkin pie to every occupant staying in the motel. I was the youngest and it was my job to squirt the whipped cream on the pie. That was a big deal for me. It wasn't til I was older that I understood why some people cried when we handed them a plate. A Happy and safe T-day to you all.

Keira Soleore said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Banditas and Buddies.

I know Fo's going to chime in here with a shudder over fruitcake, so I'm going to get my hoe in here before she can. I adore drunken fruitcake. I mean, c'mon: sugar, butter, white flour, brandy...what's not to like??

Some Seattle area private schools are trying to bring Latin back into their curriculum. I wonder if it'll catch on.

Keira Soleore said...

Pssst, Banditas...Your book list on the sidebar needs updating.

Virginia said...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I am headed to MIL this afternoon for dinner! I made a Banana pudding and cheeze ball on Wed. May try to get out some Christmas decorations sometime today if I have time. I will have to wait and see.

Pissenlit said...

*fingers poised over keys*......................

..........Omigosh! No, I can't recall her name! It started with an 'S'... Wow, I really should go to sleep now. And yes, I have friends who'd pose with me and the Silver Surfer(and then I'd shoo said friend(s) away so that I could also have a picture of just me and the Surfer *grin*). Be back in the morning when my brain is working!

Happy Thanksgiving to those whose Thanksgiving is today!(I think that made sense)

Jane said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Are Demetrius and Sven still fighting? They do look mighty fine in aprons. A couple of years ago we decided to hit the midnight sales at the outlets. Seems everyone else had the same idea and we ended being stuck on the road for over an hour without moving. I'm steering clear of the stores.

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, it's just another day in sunny old Oz, but I'll be thinking of you all feasting and gathering and having wonderful festive family time.

I'm grateful, as always, for the Banditas and for our fantabulous buddies, for the Romans and Sven and the GR. I think we would all be better off if we stopped to count our blessings more often and I think Thanksgiving is a lovely occasion to take stock and do just that.

And Nancy, that was a lovely post. Great photos! I don't think it's at all silly to give thanks for dogs. They are like a member of the family, only they don't drive you as crazy. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Helen said...

Congrats limcello

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE

What a lovely post Nancy I do hope that Demitrius and Sven are behaving as Christine said it is just another day here in Oz and I have been at work all day it is now 9-30 pm Thursday evening as I am typing this and my book and my bed are calling LOL.

The cake sounds really good I make a Christmas fruit cake every year my family loves it and I make them as gifts for friends as well I have made 3 already and have another 3 to go.
Melt and Mix Christmas Cake

3lb mixed fruit
1/2 cup sherry rum or brandy
1 green apple
1 tablespoon honey or golden syrup
1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
4 large eggs
8 oz butter
1 & half cups plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons sherry rum or brandy extra

Place mixed fruit in large basin. add apple sherry peeled and coarsley grated apple honey sugar and eggs mix well with wooden spoon or hand to break up any large clumps of fruit. Add cooled melted butter and sifted flours and spice mix thoroughly. Place into deep 9 in round or 8 in square cake tin which has been lined with 3 sheets of greasproof paper. Make sure papers stands up around edge of tin to a height of about 2 in this is to protect the top of the cake during cooking time.
Bake in slow oven 3 & half hours until cooked when tested. Remove from oven and brush evenly with extra sherry cover tightly with aluminium foil leave until cold. Remove from tin leaving lining paper intact. Wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap then in foil store in a cool dark place or if weather is humid in refrigerator. This cake will keep for 3 months.

This is my Chrissy cake receipe very easy to make and very nice to eat if you like fruit cake.

Have Fun
Helen

Gillian Layne said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and Nancy and Helen, LOVE those cake recipes!! Now I'm all set for Christmas. :)

Beth said...

"I'd like to be someone who doesn't get arrested,"

ROFL! Sounds like something my son would say *g*

Loved your post, Nancy!

Today we'll travel a few miles down the road and spend the day with my family. I'm just hoping the Sangria recipe I'm trying for the first time turns out :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Buffie said...

Wonderful post Nancy! I love that you and the hubby went to a book store your first full day of marriage!!

This afternoon my parents and my inlaws are coming to our house. We are in full cleaning mode right now. I still have two desserts to make, but that's it. My mother-in-law loves to cook and is pretty much bringing everything else. It should be a low key day filled with food and fun (Wii games must likely).

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Good morning Banditas and BBs and a Happy Thanksgiving to you.
Nancy I told you I would come and see you today in the lair.
So, are we going to decorate for Christmas after we recover from dinner?
I do have a friend who would pose with the Silver Surfer with me and if I know her, (and I do) she would probably try to find a way to get in a compromising pose because she is just naughty that way.
I am not doing a lot actually, my son is going to his dad's for dinner and the weekend, BF is hunting and won't be back until Sunday, so I won't see him at all. I have considered several options for the day and weekend but have decided that it would be a very good time to get in my son's room with several trash bags and get to work.

Anna Sugden said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate, from those of us left behind when the Mayflower sailed *g*.

Nancy - you and your hubby sound like me and my hubby - can't resist a bookshop!

I'm thankful for my Bandita sisters and all of you BB's who make the Lair such a fab place to be all year round. And for the cabana boys, gladiators and hockey hunks who make the Lair etc etc

Linda Henderson said...

I am headed to my sisters today to meet up with my family for a big dinner. We have new babies in the family this year so there will be a lot of cuddling today. I don't know anything about the silver surfer so I'm useless for that question. Everyone have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. I'm thankful to be here today.

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on bagging the rooster! I hope you'll keep him too busy to stir things up here today.

Joanie T, maybe next time!

Nancy said...

Limecello, glad you liked the pictures. I'm still fumbling my way through iPhoto and have just acquired a card reader that lets me upload, which I needed since the one thing about my digital camera I did not check before buying was iPhoto compatibility.

I know what you mean about friends who are family. I'm lucky to have some of those, and they're wonderful. Your pumpkin treats sound great. I didn't much care for Pumpkin Anything when I was younger, but I love it now.

Nancy said...

Joan, I am not going to, uh, touch that line about Demetrius's "weapon." *g*

The problem with holidays in the Lair is that the guys tend to factionalize. It must be a guy competition thing. Like they don't have enough to do, so they make up stuff revolving around one-upmanship.

Glad you like the recipe. The dh's Aunt Lillian was on the Swedish side of his family and actually was his great-aunt. He thinks this recipe has Swedish roots but doesn't really know.

Nancy said...

Hi, AC--The brandy acquires an interesting taste from the fruit. We use the drained brandy for the first brushing over the cakes that're done.

The dh's mom "sprinkled" liberally and regularly, but most of our friends prefer their cakes with minimal brandy, so we put from none to one or two little brushings over them after they're done.

We always keep one for ourselves. The dh buys egg nog, and we have spiked egg nog and fruit cake for snack during the holidays (note to self: absolutely must return to gym this week as prophylactic measure).

Nancy said...

AC, thanks for watching the guys while it was night here. I think Anna Campbell's somewhat dire remarks about chicken entrees have made the rooster hyper about all things poultry-related.

Y'know, I thought that sword was trouble. I guess Demetrius figured the best way to win the argument was just to hack away. *sigh*

He didn't sneak a toddy, did he?

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, yes, there's flour in the cake. It's right under the pumpkin pie spice and just above the sale on the list, 1 and 1/3 cups flour.

What a wonderful story about Thanksgiving, and how kind of your family!

Nancy said...

PS to PinkPeony--I'm not a huge fan of fruit cake, either, at least not the kind that's a giant hunk of candied fruit compressed into a block. This really is more like spice cake that happens to have candied fruit in it.

We have the recipe because the dh offhandedly mentioned how much he loved it and missed it from his childhood, so I called his mom (who used to make it for wide distribution) and asked for the recipe to surprise him. His sister was there when I called. She looked at the recipe and said, "Unless you want fruitcake for your whole neighborhood, let me look at this and scale it down."

She and her dh used to own a restaurant, and there's nothing food-related they can't do. She emailed me the recipe a few days later.

And I don't know how we'd make the original version. This one takes the biggest bowl we have for mixing.

Nancy said...

Hi, Keira--Before Fo starts to shudder, she should realize this isn't regular fruitcake. There's a reason the dh dubbed it cringe-proof. Though cringing is, of course, a subjective reaction. *g*

You know, I really enjoyed Latin. My teacher traveled among several jr. high and high schools. I don't know whether they kept the class after she retired.

I was so disappointed a few years back to buy a Latin study guide and discover the publisher had Anglicized the sentence structure. In classical Latin, as many of you know, the verb comes at the end of the sentence. The publisher had it in the middle of all the examples.

The first Latin sentence I learned was "Agricola aquam portat."

Translations?

Nancy said...

Hi, Virginia--I love cheese balls. My mom used to make one on occasion. They never do stay pretty for long, though. Once people start slicing it, it's all over!

Banana pudding is one of my favorite desserts. We have a friend who makes divine banana pudding. Her older son, who grew up to become the boy's guitar teacher and now teaches English in South Korea, loved it so much the first time she gave it to him, when he was about two, that he plunged his face into it.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit wrote: Omigosh! No, I can't recall her name! It started with an 'S'...

It did. Indeed, it did.

That photo was taken at the restaurant where our beach weekend kicks off with Thursday night dinner every year. They've now moved the Surfer. He's mounted on a wall, with the board at a 45-degree angle from the wall. Much harder to take photos with him now. So I'm glad we got that one when we did.

Do you remember HIS name? *g*

Nancy said...

Jane, the guys have now devoured the demolished turkey (much like the Bumpus dogs in the dh's favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story; our dog things the Bumpus dogs are very mighty and envies their success), along with copious quantities of AC's toddies. Now they're all, er, belching. At least it's a change from quarreling. *sigh*

Sven is experimenting with wassail for the holiday season, and they're all sampling that, too. In fact, I'm not sure I'd even think about lighting a match in here for a while.

I avoid the stores, too. I just cannot abide crowds and chaos. I try to have my shopping done by early December because the mall is so totally freakin' nuts those last few days.

Nancy said...

Thank you, Christine. After our weather the last few days, I'm envying the Spring sunshine in your hemisphere.

There've been times in my life when the warm, comforting, undemanding presence of a dog has been invaluable. Unfortunately, ours tend to quickly develop a sense of entitlement (can't imagine why). They've all been someone's castoffs, adopted through newspaper ads, friends or rescue groups, and every time, we've said, "How could anyone not want this dog?" and tried to "make it up to them," though we do realize it's not a concept that enters the canine brain.

I think the boy wishes we would take this approach with him. *g* No way, big dude!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Lime! I hope you've got ham for the holiday...

Happy Thanksgiving, all! ;>

Nancy, you'd pose with the Silver Surfer with me, so I suppose the answer is YES to that question. SNORK!!

I'm happy to be among family for Thanksgiving and hopefully find some pumpkin pie. Love me some pumpkin pie.

Lime, I can still sing both O Come O Come Emmanuel and O Come All Ye Faithful in Latin. :> Then again, I was a choir geek.

AC, medishinal porpoises? SNORK!!!

There's waaaaay too many things for me to list for which I'm thankful, not the least of which among them, are the Banditas and buddies. :>

Nancy said...

Thanks, Helen. Wow, that recipe looks yummy! The apple seems especially intriguing.

When you brush with the alcohol, do you perforate with a toothpick first? We do, so it soaks in. We also make some with no alcohol brush for friends who want to share with their kids and prefer not to have the alcohol taste for them.

Nancy said...

Hi, Gillian. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

Nancy said...

Thanks, Beth. I hope your travels are smooth.

Sangria recipe? Does Joan know?

Nancy said...

Hi, Buffie--I hear you on cleaning mode. We invite people over and enjoy not only the company but the side effect of being forced to clean.

No matter how careful we are, though, when we sit down in the living room, I never, ever fail to spot a hairball under whatever piece of furniture is directly in the guest's line of sight.

I think Herself does it on purpose!

Anna Sugden said...

Ah Latin studies. That brings back memories. I did like translating the Latin poetry *g*. Loved the snarky poem about the man with the far from tiny nose!

Off the top of my head, Nancy, it's something to do with carrying water possibly to the farm.

My first Latin was unsurprisingly the schoolboy's favourite ...

amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant.

Nancy said...

Dianna wrote: I do have a friend who would pose with the Silver Surfer with me and if I know her, (and I do) she would probably try to find a way to get in a compromising pose because she is just naughty that way.

Okay, now you've put many unfortunate images in my head. *g*

I remember you told me you'd stop in, and here you are! Nice to have you.

I don't envy you the cleanup. The boy has been redoing his room to upgrade to more appropriately teenager-ish interests. While I totally understand his thinking, it's sad to see the knights and Jedi and superheroes fall by the wayside. (Have you any idea how hard it was to find a Mace Windu action figure?)

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--I hope the weather on that side of the Atlantic has calmed down.

The bookstore was an omen of things to come, little though we realized it at the time.

When a friend told us about Hay-on-Wye (used-book mecca of the universe), we could hardly believe it. I could've spent both a day and a fortune there, if we'd been able to afford either. But I tried to restrain myself. For those who haven't heard of it, it's a town on the Welsh border with a dilapidated castle amid a sea of used-book shops.

There's a wonderful wry, humorous memoir by an American writer who lived there for a while, Sixpence House by Paul Collins. We read it aloud in the waning days of the boy's interest in being read to. I was reading part of it I thought was funny to the dh, and the boy said, "Could we read that? As a family?"

We loved it so much we gave it to several people for Christmas that year.

Nancy said...

Hi, Linda--You have to be a pretty hard core comic book or comic book movie fan to know the Surfer. He's one of the more obscure Marvel heroes now, though he had his own book for a while (maybe still does).

Your day sounds wonderful. I love the way babies and tots take such a fresh, absorbed look at everything.

Nancy said...

Jeanne wrote: Nancy, you'd pose with the Silver Surfer with me, so I suppose the answer is YES to that question. SNORK!!

This is so very true. *g* Hadn't thought about it from that angle.

Safe travels, Jeanne.

Nancy said...

Anna, we never got to fun poetry. We reached Caesar at the end of Latin II and then started Latin III with reviewing, which was obviously going to last for a big part of the semester. Since I didn't really need or want such an extensive review, so I dropped Latin for Band Assistant.

But I did love the subject and the teacher.

Your translation is close.

Y'know, the amo, amas, etc. often turns up in the NYT crossword puzzle clues!

Nancy said...

I really appreciate everyone stopping in today. I was afraid I'd be lonely.

Tomorrow, we have Kensington debut author Lori Brighton discussing her Victorian Beauty and the Beast paranormal, Wild Heart. I hope those of you who're hiding from shopping will take a peek and those who're done shopping and exhausted will stop in.

Joan said...

Joan, I am not going to, uh, touch that line about Demetrius's "weapon."

ROFL....

Joan said...

Do you remember HIS name?


Rumpelstilsken???

Joan said...

Sangria recipe? Does Joan know?

(Hic) Yes.

NOw gotta go...Demetrius is polishing his sword...

Minna said...

Happy Thanksgiving from Finland!


Miljoonasade: Marraskuu (November):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxW6DeHJme4

Nancy said...

In the weird way of associational thinking, mentioning Sixpence House reminded me of other books I've enjoyed.

Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, which I mentioned in a blog earlier this year, is a wonderful, uplifting story of making a difference in a troubled part of the world. Mortenson builds schools for dirt-poor communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and girls as well as boys attend. The book has been on the NYT list for almost three straight years now.

Mortenson has a sequel coming out December 1, Stones into Schools. It's on my wish list.

His work has been featured in Parade magazine (just last Sunday, which is where I saw the sequel mentioned and probably what put it in the forefront of my brain) and highlighted by NYT columnist Thomas Friedman, and he consults, according to the article in Parade, with the US military.

He came to speak here last year, in the theater on the university campus, and they had to turn away 150 people because of the fire code. At the end, he said, "Not everybody can give money. But if you read Three Cups of Tea and liked it, please tell somebody about it." Judging by its enduring presence on the Times list, lots of people have.

I never urge anyone to buy a book without checking it out for themselves, but I think these are well worth a look.

Nancy said...

Joan, nice try on the Rumpelstiltskin, but no.

And don't drink too much Sangria. :-)

Nancy said...

Trivia answers will be posted late tonight, for the curious.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wow, Nancy, I loved this post, and am still laughing at your son's comment. I wish that for all my kids, too!!

Usually, I get to work on Thanksgiving Eve, so by now I would have the turkey stuffed and in the oven, and I would be in bed, leaving the basting of the turkey to DH and Rocky-the-wonder-dog. But since I had the night off, I slept in a little, then got up to make the oyster stuffing and clean said bird. Here's the image of what occurred in my kitchen.

I hauled said-bird from the frig, where it has been slowly thawing for 3 days. Hefted it into the sink and began un wrapping and cleaning it so it would be ready for stuffing as soon as that was made. Standing beside me, his now just high enough to reach the counter was my faithful writing partner and assistant chef...Rocky-the-wonder-dog. Bird, of any kind, is his favorite food. He sniffed, his miraculous dog nose going infifty directions at once, then looked up at me with those big brown doggy eyes as if to say... "Nice Lady (my kids' name for the dog to call me), there's a giant bird in the sink that I'd like you to feed me now, please!"

Thankfully, Rocky is a polite dog and does not stand up to reach things on the counter...at least not while I'm standing in the room. So, I managed to get the bird stuffed and into the oven, (all 22 pounds of him...must have leftovers!), and poor Rocky will spend his day drifting past the oven, exercising his nose too see how the bird is doing.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: Agricola aquam portat

Agricola carries the water, right? Grins.

On Silver Surfer I don't remember his name, but I think his girlfriend is Susan.

But then again...I may be full of...pumpkin pie.

Suzanne Welsh said...

So, What am I thankful for?

Well, first that my mother loved books so much she taught me to read at the age of 4. That she took me to the library every week until I was in middle school, then she shared her favorite romance novels with me.

I'm thankful for people like Grace Livingston Hill, Barbara Cartland, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, and others who hooked me on good books and opened my imagination! The same ladies who inspired me to take up pen and paper to write my own books.

I'm thankful for RWA and DARA, two oganizations that allows me to persue my second career, and all the friends I've made through both, especially the Bandits and all our BB's!

I'm thankful that my parents paid for my nursing education and that God watches over me every day that I work. I'm also glad he gave me a warped sense of humor to see me through the bad times at work, too.

I'm thankful for my husband, my kids, my grandkids, my parents, my sister and her family. They keep me grounded and make me feel loved.

Louisa Cornell said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Banditas and Buddies,even the ones who don't celebrate National Food Coma Day!!

Lime, I knew he would be at your house for Thanksgiving! ALMOST, JOANIE!

I am presently eating my small Turkey Day feast before I have to go to work. Did I tell you how much I HATE working for Wal-Mart? I am off tomorrow so I won't have to deal with the Black Friday chaos!

I am thankful for all of you - your friendship, your intelligence, your humor, your talent and your support. This is my home away from home and I'd fix a huge Thanksgiving meal for y'all any day!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

And Suz, don't forget Rocky the Wonderdog. :>

I'm so thankful for my Bandit Pals and RWA and writers and libraries too. We must have started in that 4-year-old readers club together, Suz. Grins.

Oh, and I'm hugely thankful for my two dogs and the dog-sitting-friends who are managing them while I'm on the road.

Grins.

PJ said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm normally not a fan of fruitcake but I just may have to give that recipe a try, Nancy.

I'm at my family of the heart's house for the holiday. We're having turkey (named Binkie by the kids) and all the trimmings. There are nine of us, including my friend's in-laws and the next door neighbors (and their adorable one-month old son). Oh, and three dogs. Can't forget them. Actually, it's impossible to forget them since they've been lined up in front of the oven most of the morning. lol

It's a beautiful Thanksgiving day here in Charlotte!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Nancy said....While I totally understand his thinking, it's sad to see the knights and Jedi and superheroes fall by the wayside.
I hear you lady, mine is now 19, almost 20, and it hurt my feelings to see the Star Wars, and Star Trek go. Oh, and LOTR as well. I am an adult and I still love them.

Nancy said...

Suz, we were just saying at dinner last night that the problem with tall dogs is that they actually can see what's on the table. They don't usually attempt to get it, though we once made the mistake of leaving plates on the table while we watched TV. We heard a clatter, ran into the dining room, and discovered our big golden, Hudson, standing with his front paws on the table while cleaning Mark's plate.

Let's just say we learned from our mistake!

Do you really trust Rocky baste? Wow.

Herself keeps leading the dh to the oven and looking expectantly at him.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, you're close on the Latin but galactically far off on the Surfer's girlfriend.

Must be all that pumpkin pie. *g*

Nancy said...

Suz, we're all very grateful for you and your warped sense of humor, too!

Nancy said...

Louisa, I am so glad you're off tomorrow. As I said earlier, I really hate crowds, and frantic crowds are worse.

And we're grateful for you, too.

Nancy said...

PJ, the kids named something they were going to eat? Or is that just what they call turkey in general?

The dh's sister bought some chickens a couple of years ago. I didn't realize chickens only produce eggs for a few years and then are useful mainly as entrees, but then the dh's brother said, "I knew she shouldn't name those chickens. She'll never eat 'em now."

Nancy said...

Dianna, I still love them, too, and had a hard time getting him to understand why we couldn't open the box to play with Star Trek Barbie and Ken. He had a complete set of the LOTR figures from Burger King, thanks to a manager who took a shine to him when he was little and saved each new figure for him (yes, we ate too much fast food back then). Those are not going in the trash. They can be mine.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Did someone mention cheese ball? Lars and the cabana boys have made one roughly the size of an NBA regulation basketball. They've set it up in the dining room with enough crackers to pave Times Square (or Picadilly Circus).

Sven has enormous bowl of wassail at either end of the table, and of course there are apple-tinis for those who prefer something tart.

BIG THANKS to everyone for stopping by! Whether you celebrate Food Coma Day or not, we are sooo very thankful for you!!!

As for pictures with the Silver Surfer, I can't think of any of my friends who would NOT pose with me and the shiny dude!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Latin was very popular at my high school because the Latin students got to have a Roman feast, complete with togas (many bed sheets were sacrificed) and all the trimmings. First year students had to be slaves, second years were patricians, and third years were nobility or gods/goddesses. Dumb me studied Spanish so I never got to go to the party. :-(

I also happen to like fruitcake, but NOT that overly sweet block of candied fruit that somebody mentioned. BLECK! I have my own recipe that does not include raisins, which I don't like. And gotta agree with Helen. You need to wrap it up tight in aluminum foil so that it stays moist.

CABANA BOYS! More apple-tinis!

AC

PinkPeony said...

Hi Nancy...

Thanks...I didn't see the flour listed in the recipe! I'm going to make this for my aunt. She's the only one in the family who eats fruitcake and I've been buying tins of fruitcake made by the monks in an abbey in MO for the past few years for her.

You mentioned Silver Surfer...I'm not a comics book fan but I did buy several sets of Marvel postcards to send out to my soldiers who are comic book fans.
Check out this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Vintage-Marvel-Collectible-Postcards/dp/0811858928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259263711&sr=8-1

100 postcards, very nice color printing...it has all the Marvel characters.

Do you have a good cheeseball recipe? :)

Anna Campbell said...

HEY, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!!!!! May you eat lots and have lots of people you love around you and may you win all the party games. Do people play party games at Thanksgiving? It still seems a remarkably exotic holiday to me!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, what a lovely post. I love the way you in America have a holiday where you actually give thanks for all the good things in your life. I'm really thankful for all the friends I've made through my writing, especially the Banditas and Buddies! You guys are the best. I'm thankful I live in a Western democracy where women have legal rights and the opportunity for an education. I'm thankful that I've got access to good food and health care and, yeah, has to be said, a nice glass of wine now and again!

I think the GR is thankful any day he doesn't go to P226 frankly!!!!

catslady said...

Just stopped in to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Turkey's in the oven and I'm taking a break before the next onslaught lol.

Pissenlit said...

Nancy - Do you remember HIS name? *g*

NORRIN RADD! ...and I still can't recall the girlfriend's name. You can see where my priorities lie. :)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Hey gang, here is a little holiday link for the Banditas and BBs

http://hrdwrkdmom.com/Banditas/Thanksgiving/Thanksgiving.html

Pissenlit said...

Mmmm, there've been mentions of cheese balls. I could live off those things! I'm of the opinion that every get together can be made that much better with a cheese ball. I went to a Christmas party one year and brought one made from a great aunt's recipe. This year, I RSVP'd in the negative and the host emailed me back saying that they'd miss me and my giant ball of cheese. Sounds like they only love me for my cheese ball. *tear* Heh heh heh! :D

jo robertson said...

What a phenomenal post, Nancy! Although I'm Canadian and our Thanksgiving has already passed, I'm taking time today to be grateful for many things...and high on that list is the Banditas. Wishing all my American friends a wonderful holiday with your family!!!

Anna Sugden said...

Just wanted to say that in honour of Thanksgiving we have ordered in pizza and are watching the NFL *g*.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Dianna,
Thank you for the lovely link!

All of us here in the Lair are so thankful to have YOU and ALL OUR WONDERFUL LOYAL READERS!!

Drive safely to pick up your son and hurry back because the hockey hunks are serving up a very special dessert. I'm sure I heard one of them muttering about shaved ice...

AC

EilisFlynn said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Nancy. And I always knew that kid of yours was a pip!

Nancy said...

AC, your description of the table hte guys have set up just gave me a horrible thought--you don't suppose they're preparing to throw a party, do you?

I can't imagine a cheeseball that big.

Nancy said...

Hi, Pink Peony--those postcards look like fun!

And no, I don't have a cheeseball recipe. Apparently Sven does, though. :-/ And it makes enough for his entire neighborhood.

And Virginia also mentioned making a cheese ball. I bet hers is sized for normal humans to eat.

PJ said...

Nancy, they name the turkey every year and thank him for providing our dinner.

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna C., and thanks. No, we don't play party games, at least at our house. I'm not what you might call a huge fan of party games, actually.

Y'know, the GR complains a lot about p226, but have you noticed he's always just a little bit smug after those training sessions? Kind of like, "guess what I know that you don't?"

Nancy said...

PS to PinkPeony--Pissenlit also has a cheeseball recipe!

Nancy said...

Catslady, thanks for stopping in, and Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

Nancy said...

Pissenlit--DingDing! Yes, the Surfer's real name is Norrinn Radd.

Nancy said...

Jo, thank you. I tend to forget that you're Canadian. Sorry I missed your holiday!

Nancy said...

Dianna, that's a phenomenal link. And you did that with all the cleaning, too!

Thank you.

Nancy said...

Anna S., we're all in favor of pizza. Do you have an NFL favorite?

Nancy said...

AC, the hockey hunks are in the kitchen, TOO? How are all those guys fitting into--never mind. You know what? I don't want to know.

Nancy said...

Eilis, hi--I bet you know the name of the Surfer's girlfriend. Yes, the boy is a pip. An increasingly tall pip.

Nancy said...

PJ, if that works for the kids, I think it's great. I hope your meal was fun.

Joan said...

Jo??? You're Canadian??? But you live in CA???

I'm so confused!

And dianna...THANK YOU for the cool link!

Jo...Canada? (scratches head)..

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, what disturbs me about those P226 visits is I'm not quite sure I like to see a rooster with a six pack!

Hey, you're rockin' the blog today! Good on you, Thanksgiving chicky!

Nancy said...

Anna, the six-packed rooster is kind of a scary image.

I'm grateful that so many people have been able to pop in today. We've had fun.

Demetrius and Sven have maybe had a bit too much fun, if you know what I mean.

Lady_Graeye said...

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Enjoy your day!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx Lady G! Hope yours is great too!

And I'm pretty sure that was our lovely KJ who popped in under Jo-Mama's log in.

Nancy, I'm very afraid that an all-out "GUYS BLAST" is what our crew is sneakily planning. OY! The clean up will NOT be pretty!

AC
who is studious avoiding the fruitcake AND the wassail until she has some turkey and stuffing

Pissenlit said...

Oh, if anyone wants it, here's the cheese ball recipe my family uses.

- 1 can crushed pineapple (drained) - 14 oz.

- 1 pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese - 250g

- Old cheddar cheese - about 4 cups when grated (Sorry, I don't have a real recipe, so I'm not entirely sure how much. You need quite a bit. You can't really go wrong with too much cheese, I suppose)

- 3 tablespoons Miracle Whip dressing

- chive, cut fine

- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

- crush walnuts or dried parsley flakes

1. Mix all of the above(except for the walnuts/parsley flakes) together(I'd suggest mashing the cream cheese with a fork before attempting the mixing).

2. Roll it into a ball by putting it on wax paper and using the paper to shape it. It's less messy this way. I've also done it with cling wrap.

3. Roll it in the crushed walnuts or dried parsley flakes. I give no guarantees to the tastiness of using walnuts as I've never tried it(I like to breathe too much). :)

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Dianna, that link is just lovely! And Happy Thanksgiving right back at ya! It's just business as usual down here in Oz so it gives me a great big smile to think of you all having a wonderful time on the other side of the world.

Just in case anyone missed it, Dianna did a Thanksgiving message for us all:

http://hrdwrkdmom.com/Banditas/Thanksgiving/Thanksgiving.html

Nancy said...

Lady G, thanks. I hope yours was great, too!

Nancy said...

AC, maybe that was KJ. I always think of her when someone mentions Canadians, but I figured that was Jo.

That would explain it.

Nancy said...

AC said: Nancy, I'm very afraid that an all-out "GUYS BLAST" is what our crew is sneakily planning. OY! The clean up will NOT be pretty!

Oh, drat! I was afraid of that.

But y'know--the cleanup is Sven's job. I wonder if he's had so much wassail that he's forgotten. . . .

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, thanks for sharing. I hope PinkPeony pops back and sees the recipe. It looks wonderful!

Nancy said...

Anna C., wasn't Dianna's Thanksgiving page great?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey everyone! We've had a lovely sit down with about 28 people, lovely day in Durham, NC, and fabulous food. Oh,and PIE!!! Yeah!!

Nancy, I'd have never remembered Norrin Radd, so I must be thinking of someone else's girlfriend. Ha!

Dianna, that is a FAB link! Thank you!!

Fo, you'll have to come over for Thanksgiving sometime. My father's friend from England has always been fascinated with our thankful-food-coma-holiday. Heehee. He used to come every year until he remarried. :>

Anna S, that pizza and football sounds good about now! :> Esp. since I did a lot of dishes and could use a slice and a sit down.

Jo, like everyone else, I'm thinking..."Jo's CANADIAN???" Grins. The things you learn on the RB blog. Hahaha!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, 28 for dinner? Wow! I'll bet that was fun.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

It was great. Lots of laughter and fun.

Joan said...

Who needs wassail???

I had Apple Raspberry WINE today....

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee giggle....

Nancy said...

JT, you had apple raspberry _on top of_ the sangria you snagged from Beth? Have you been aiding and abetting that party Demetrius and Sven are planning?

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I'm glad it was good!

Pat Cochran said...

It's late, just wanted to say Hi!

Nancy, the fruit cake recipe sounds
a lot like one Mother used to make.
She would start some three months
prior to the holidays, baking many
medium sized fruit cakes. Every 2-3
days she would sprinkle them all with bourbon and re-wrap them tightly. By the time Christmas arrived, the cakes were so laced with liquor that stepping into the
closet where they were kept always
made me dizzy! I've printed out the recipe and will try it for our
annual Castillo Family Christmas
gathering and see if my sibs see the similarity!

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Hi, Pat--I hope you like the cake. The dh's mom used to make it about 3 or 4 weeks ahead and drizzle with brandy daily. I imagine they were pretty potent cakes.

jo robertson said...

What a great post, Nancy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Here's hoping your day with friends and family was sweet and fun.

Nancy said...

Thanks, Jo. Glad you made it. We were thinking about you today.

flchen1 said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Nancy and all!

Nancy said...

Thanks, Fedora!