12.22.2004

Bah Humbug . . .

. . . not really, but I have to share a funny XMas story. In the main Housing/Residential Life Office are 3 co-workers: The Director of Housing (DH), The Director of Residential Life (DRL) and, my best friend, Peggy, the Secretarial Assistant or whatever they call her position now days. Yesterday, I sent over a couple of gifts, 1 for the DRL who had given me something last week and one for Peggy. Peggy and I were to do lunch today (still did), but I sent the gifts yesterday just in case the Uni closed today due to weather. Anyway, I did not send a gift over for the DH simply because she has never exchanged gifts with me in the 14+ years we have worked together. These gifts weren't much, mind you, just some home-made things from my kitchen (Emeril's Essence and Roasted Mixed Nuts With Rosemary). As the DH was leaving the office yesterday afternoon, she saw the gifts sitting on the counter and stopped to see what they were and who they were for. I had wrapped the jars in a cellophane wrap and tied it up with wired ribbon. Hand-made tags finished the gifts. Well, she went ballistic (I was told this by Peggy today) whose exact words were, "She [the DH] threw as good as fit as either Luke or Grant could". Luke and Grant are Peggy's grandsons. The DH was screaming about how rude it was because there were 3 of them working in the office, and I only brought gifts over for 2 of them. She then finished with, "Well, Cher can just kiss my ass!" before storming out. How freakin' funny is that? This from the woman who has never exchanged gifts with me ... I used to give her gifts. I remember the last XMas gift she received from me. It was a very nice bottle of wine from a little winery in Jamestown, TN for which I never received even a "thank you." THAT was the last gift she ever got from me. Please don't think that I'm all about giving and receiving gitts - far from it. I love to give gifts that match my friends and family and don't mind if I don't get any back. That's not what this season is all about. It's not about how much I spend or don't spend; it's about caring enough about the person I am giving the gift to to take the time to make the gift fit. My joy comes from the giving. However, I'm also not one to continue giving things that go unappreciated. But, back to the DH, she is one of the most unhappy people I have ever seen. She doesn't love herself and is incapable of loving others or allowing others to even like her. I class her and some others I work with as vampires as they constantly suck the positive energy right out of others daily. Anyway, I'm certainly glad that I'm no longer stuck in that office with all the negatives.

I finally made it to the PO today. I haven't been in over a week, and just as I figured, there was a yellow "package too large for box" card in my PO box. So, I get out the bit of mail that's in the box and separate the bills, XMas cards, etc. from the junk mail before going in to pick up the rest of my mail. Of course, once I picked it up, the sorting began all over again. Anyway, I got home and began opening the cards. I received several this year - from MY college Hall Director (hard to believe it's going on 20+ years since those days), family, friends and a home-made one from a long-lost cousin. I received a photo card from another cousin of her 5 y/o daughter with Santa. What a cutie Annamarie is, and it's hard to believe she's already 5. What was written on the card started me thinking. The card read:

"We "BELIEVE" . . . Do You?" and was followed by In Christ and then their names.

Why is believe in quotes? Am I not capable of understanding in who or what they believe? I'm not condemning, just wondering. Yes, kids, I do believe, but not in the same way or religion as you. I'm convinced we believe in the same thing - we just do it in different manners. I've seen you stare at the pentacle I wear around my neck just as you wear your cross/crucifix. I'd love to talk with you about it, but you never ask, and I never prosetylize. Oh, well.

Looking out the window, I see the snow's begun again. It's warm and toasty in my apartment, and it's beginning to smell like XMas. I've got a Creamy Nutmeg candle (a gift from my Assistant Coordinator) on the candle warmer and a loaf of Cranberry Orange Bread in the oven baking. Funny how scents can evoke such pleasant memories. Right now, I'm thinking of mom and the many loaves of banana nut bread she baked for XMas gifts. I remember how yummy the house smelled and the Saran wrap and then shiny aluminum foil she wrapped each loaf in after they had cooled and helping her pick the bows to stick on each one. I remember hulling, cracking, shelling, and then picking out the black walnuts that came from our trees in the back yard. I didn't realize the value of those nuts at the time - I just remember how good they made the bread. We didn't have a lot of money, so mom made lots of baked goods to share. That's why I like doing the same now I guess. I remember when my younger sister (she was always the naughty one while I was the good one) ruined every loaf that mom baked that XMas by running her finger down the cracked top of each to scoop out the warm gooey center. Was my mom EVER furious. However, it became a good story to tell and laugh about over the years.

That's what this season is about - remembrances of happy times, of not so happy times, of life. All the best to those who read this blog of mine.

Blessed Be,
Cher

Oh, and if anyone's interested, here's the recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread. I've made several changes to make it fit my life that are listed at the bottom of the recipe:

Cranberry Orange Bread

2 cups, sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 beaten egg
1 tsp grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
2 T salad oil
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and soda. Combine egg, grated orange peel, orange juice, and salad oil. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just till moistened.

Bake in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or till done. Remove from pan; cool. Wrap; store overnight before cutting.

MY CHANGES:


  1. I use whole wheat pastry flour.
  2. I omit the sugar.
  3. I substitute dried lemon peel for the grated orange peel and add it with the dry ingredients.
  4. Since I use whole grain flour, I add about a cup of applesauce to the liquid ingredients. Today I used home-made cranberry applesauce left over from last night's supper.
  5. I add the following spices:

    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp allspice
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  6. I also added 1 tsp maple flavoring.
  7. I used pecans and upped the amount to 1 cup.

The recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Enjoy!

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