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Tchotchkes

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Location: Connecticut, United States

marybb1@gmail.com

Friday, September 30, 2005

Mazel Tov, Doc and DJ!

October 1, 2005, Civil Union Law Goes Into Effect


I’m happy to say that tomorrow, our best friends Doc and DJ will be legally recognized as a couple in a civil union ceremony performed at their home. I wish I could say they were getting married, but it appears that some people haven’t evolved enough yet to get over the “man plus woman” equals marriage concept.

Look in a dictionary and you’ll see this definition for marriage also: intimate or close union --the marriage of painting and poetry. If poetry and painting can be married, you’d think two committed loving partners would be able to be married too. Who cares what genitalia they have? Why such a prurient interest?

The new Connecticut law that goes into effect tomorrow, October 1st, allows them to enjoy the rights and responsibilities of this limited “union” that is still about 1000 rights short of what an opposite sex couple receives when they say “I do.”

If my friends lived in Canada or Spain or even Massachusetts, they could be legally married.

(After 6000 marriages have been performed for same sex partners in Massachusetts, the state has managed to continue on and heterosexual marriages have not been affected in the least.)

If they lived in Vermont, they could have had a civil union since July 1, 2000. If they lived in New Jersey, they could have a “domestic partnership.”

Words, semantics, rhetoric don’t change a thing.

These two men love each other and have been together for years. They have supported each other, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. They have built a family together and a warm loving home.

It’s not good enough, but at least it’s some recognition of their love and commitment, that they will be granted a civil union. So we will celebrate with them tomorrow: a short ceremony by a JP and breakfast.

Then husband and I will return home and they will go about their day.

The tents, the music, the photographer, the caterer will all have to wait until their real wedding -- the one that is recognized by all states and the federal government.

That’s the day we’ll really celebrate.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Banned Book Tag - Irina got me!

Here is the deal, these are some 110 top banned books. Bold what you've read, italicize what you've read part of.

#1 The Bible
I read most of the Bible by choice - not at the request of a religious institution. I enjoyed many of the stories although I found parts to be very mean and gory. I loved the psalms..just lovely and enjoyed the different styles of writing the authors used.

#2 Huckleberry Finn by MarkTwain
Loved it.

.#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Haven't read it although I'm aware of the story.

#4 The Koran
Nope, haven't read it.

#5 Arabian Nights
Don't think I read all but did read some and had some of it read to me as a child.

#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Read this more than once. One time for pleasure and on reread for an English class.

#7 Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Too young to appreciate it when I read it.

#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Read this in high school - should read it again.

#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Yes and I adored it.

#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Yes, and loved it. Whitman spoke of sexuality in his "Children of Adam"(Enfans d'Adam) and "Calamus" clusters - ergo censorship. (Answer to Irina's question on her blog.)

#11 Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
Parts of it but not all.

#12 Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
I had trouble with the dialect, but just like Shipping News, after a while I stopped seeing the dialect and started to hear the story.

#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Read it and re-read it and cried each time.

#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
I know I read it but I don't remember much.

.#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Dickens isn't a favorite of mine.

.#16 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Had to read it for English course...long!

#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
No... but I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein!

#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
No... just never came my way

#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Great book.

#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne
No - sounds dreary.

#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Yes, loved it.

#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Nope.

#23 Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Yes, for school...don't remember much yet again...

#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Some not all.

#25 Ulysses by James Joyce

My husaband just finished it after two or three previous attempts. I tried too - now I feel like I read it because we discussed it daily - what he'd read and how he felt about it.

#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
No.

#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell
Read it a long time ago, but a great read.

#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Read it a long time ago, but a great read also.

#29 Candide by Voltaire

I read it in French which means I don't remember a thing about it (probably didn't understand much of it) except I got a leather bound edition from Alliance Francais for excellence in French which shows they made a big mistake awarding me the book!

#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A favorite.

.#31 Analects by Confucius
No.

#32 Dubliners by James Joyce
No...

#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Loved it.

#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
I like the Nick Adams stories better

#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal
No.

#36 Capital by Karl Marx
No, husband read it and shared his thoughts, read passages to me like Ulysses.

#37 Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
No.

.#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Yes, need to read it again someday.

.#39 Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
Found hidden in my father's sock drawer - wonderful.

.#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Class assignment and I loved it.

.#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Class assignment and I hated it.

#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Loved it.

#43 Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Depressing - glad it was over at the last page.

.#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
No.

.#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
No.

.#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Freaked me out.

.#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys
No.

48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I liked it.

#49 Jude
the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
No.
.#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Can't remember so I'll say no.

#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Saw the movie but that doesn't count.

.#52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
Kant bear Kant.

#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
I loved it and loved the movie...

#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
Nope.

.#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Sad kind of funny book.

#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Not a favorite

#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker
Terrific book.

#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Why didn't he write more?

#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
No... .

#60 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
No.

#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Yes, but what can I remember? nothing.

#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Yes, but see above.

#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Yes, loved it.

#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Great book.

.#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
No

#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
No,

.#67 Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
No, but on my list of future reads.

#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
No.

#69 The Talmud
No, but I would love to be able to read it.

#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Did I or didn't I read this? Seems like yes but I'm not sure.

#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Nope.

#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
Yes, I love Lawrence

#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Yes.

#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
No.

#75 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Another did I or didn't I.

#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Yes.

#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck
No.

#78 Popol Vuh
No.

#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
No.

#80 Satyricon by Petronius
No.

#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
No.

.#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Sock drawer find...wonderful as was Ada.

#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright
Yes.

#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
No.

85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My favorite Vonnegut.

#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
No.
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle
No, I think not...read some Aristotle in a philosophy class.

#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Read some Wilder.

#89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
No.

#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
No, though I'm looking at it on my book shelf.

.#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Can't remember, have read some Greene.

#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner
No Faulkner for me.

.#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
See above.

#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
No.

#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Ditto

.#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
No.

#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
But what did I understand?

.#98 Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Enjoyed it.

#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
No.

#100 A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Yes, after I saw the movie.

#101 Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
No.

#102 Émile by Jean Jacques Rousseau
No.

#103 Nana by Émile Zola
Yes, during my intellectual period ;-)

#104 Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
No.

#105 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Maybe, I did read some Baldwin.

?#106 Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
No.

#107 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
No.

.#108 Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
No.

#109 Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
No.

#110 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Loved it.

Phew -- I wouldn't do this meme for many people but Irina tagged me so I did it.

I won't tag anyone...but if you do it let me know!

Tee Eye Are E Dee

Oh what fun! Provincetown is so quaint, so beautiful. Summer’s last flowers were still abloom while a hint of fall could be smelled in the air.

We whale watched (saw a whale or two, saw a whale poop…wow impressive! Saw 900 dolphins with baby calves leaping into the air and surfing the ship’s wake.)

Saw a pet parade led by the local police force in a car with flashing lights and bursts of siren…the parade lasted 4 minutes but it sure had an impressive start! (Proceeds of the donation cans went to the local animal shelter.)

Saw the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus perform a hilarious show; saw Poppy a new comedian who’s appeared on TV (she was very, very funny). Ate the best meals I’ve had ever and tons of seafood.

Walked the beach and Commercial Street, which has a shop for every need, and tried Provincetown fudge which is as addictive as oxycontin.

Saw a Provincetown cat – one of the super big, white with black splotches cats that have inhabited Provincetown for generations.

Met wonderful people, drank tons of lattes and cappuccinos because the inn where we stayed (The Brass Key) had a 24 hour huge coffee machine that could make coffee so good I managed to have way more coffee than I normally do.

Swam in the heated pool, sat outside and read peacefully in such beautiful surroundings I want to immediately create a patio with bricks and stones and lattice and creeping hydrangeas and weeping yews and find some beautiful iron tables and gates to dress up this patio I’ve created in my mind.

The bed – oh that bed has changed me for ever. It was the most comfortable and best dressed bed I ever slept in. Fluffy down pillows and coverlet – sheets so soft they felt like silk…French doors that we could leave open to allow the crisp night air to flow into our room…as we snuggled down into this heavenly bed…(insert big sigh of remembering….)

We met lots of couples vacationing; mostly gay as our inn was probably about 70/30 gay to straight guests. One gay couple had been together for 31 years and were getting married on the beach when we left. Another gay couple had been together for 28 years and a younger lesbian couple together for nine years. They were great company and very interesting people – we hope to see them again, maybe next year.

It was so quiet and peaceful it was hard to believe – and so beautiful. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were a nightly perk of the inn at 5 PM– we never missed a night – and a continental breakfast that crossed the continent in content and taste was another perk of the inn.

You could skip lunch and dinner and just eat the wonderful fare supplied by the inn if you wanted to – but we managed to eat out every night, one restaurant better than the other – but if you are going to Provincetown, I recommend Front Street and the Red Inn as the best of the best.

Now I’m up to my ears in laundry and getting back to the real world…darn it all! But I won’t forget this vacation – ever.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vee Ay Cee Ay Tee I Oh En

Reservations were made 7 months ago, but time does pass and finally my vacation is only 2 days away.

We’re going to Provincetown on the Cape for 6 days 5 nights of fun, frolic and feasts. I can’t wait to visit all the boho shops, art stores, hand-crafted jewelry stores, book stores and of course the delicious New England seafood that I adore awaits too.

We’re leaving Wednesday morning, and will be back on Monday. Just thought I’d let my friends know why my blog will not be updated for a while.

It’s a walking shoe/comfy clothes kind of vacation where even the 5 star restaurants don’t care a fig if you’re dressed in shorts and a tee. I love this kind of vacation, easy to pack for and easy on the feet.

Now let’s hope to hell the dog sitter doesn’t quit mid vacation. I don’t know if she knows what she’s in for – attempting to keep these two farm-animal-sized dogs fed, in the yard, and off the furniture.

To my pet sitter: bless your heart my dear friend!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Boycott United American Technology!

(Heard about this on the radio and I couldn't believe my ears...a quick Google search, because I have to scoot, came up with this article but there are numerous articles discussing this company's hateful campaign against homosexuals.)


Conservative Phone Company Exploits Wedge Issues for Profit
Company Attempts to Capitalize on Country's Culture Wars



Companies like Oklahoma-based long distance carrier United American Technology, are taking telemarketing to a new level by using conservative rhetoric to attract new customers. (ABCNEWS.com) (click link for full article)

By JAKE TAPPER and GEOFFREY BENNETT


June 7, 2005 — The newest battle in the culture wars is being waged on the telephone lines. In a departure from the standard telemarketing calls aimed at selling long distance service, United American Technology has taken telemarketing to a whole new level.

The Oklahoma-based long distance carrier, which describes itself as a Christian conservative company, is seeking like-minded customers by bad-mouthing bigger rivals for their "sinful" behavior.

"Our base, which would be a conservative base, really does not like the same-sex marriage that has been pushed down our throat," UAT consultant Carl Thompson told ABC News.
UAT niche markets its service by railing against Internet pornography, homosexuality, and then criticizing competing phone companies it claims promote both...."

United American Technologies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

United American Technologies is an Oklahoma-based telephone service and Internet Service Provider which has become the center of a controversy concerning its telemarketing techniques, which include anti-gay polemics.

The telemarketing campaign, originally run by a nonprofit organization called "Faith, Family and Freedom" would begin its pitch by asking the callee if they were opposed to same sex marriage. If the callee responded positively, they were then transferred to a United American Technologies representative who would explain to them how the more common telephone service providers, such as AT&T, MCI and Verizon were supporters of gay marriage and child pornography, and that United American Technologies is "the only carrier that is taking an active stand against same sex marriages and hardcore child pornography".

"Faith, Family and Freedom" is a 527 organization created by Lance Cargill, the Republican floor leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. A percentage of the profits from each caller who switched to UTA would be directed back to the 527 to pay for conservative political campaigns.
--------

I went to Urban Legends (snopes.com) hoping this was nothing but nonsense but unfortunately it is real...

That's one company that will get a perpetual busy signal from me.

I Love Word Verification


urpist

Well I am not angry at all actually, but the last word verification (WV) I had to put in were the above letters. Made me laugh so hard.

I have been writing the special verification words down – the ones that actually speak to me and the ones that sound like words I’d like to incorporate into my vocabulary.

ponsar

I like the sound of this WV – not sure how to use it in a sentence but I’m leaning towards: No man would ever push this woman around; she had enough ponsar in her little finger to fend off the strongest of men.

shupskki

A Yiddish word for ponsar.

bointo

Bointo be wild…boin to be wild…What do you think, was George Bush bointo be president?

phlapums


She had spent 100 dollars in Victoria’s Secret buying bras for her phlapums.

gybmo


Gybmo regards to Broadway…remember me to Harold Square…

mrvzag

Dear Mr. V. Zag,

Thank you for taking time to alert me to the dangers of roller blading on sidewalks.

Sincerely, Mary

miwebbite

Yes I am…I used to be a luddite but not I am definitely a webbite!

Friday, September 16, 2005


Osama Bin Laden -- where are you?

You have not been found yet. In fact, we don’t hear much about you anymore. There was a time when we were told that troops were closing in on you and you’d be found in a matter of days. But then that talk stopped.

Everyone who flies now has to walk around in their stocking feet, little children are patted down by airport security, and the Patriot Act has kept us Americans right under the thumb and eye of the government-- but we aren’t the ones that masterminded 911 – it was you, and you’re still out there eating bonbons and having back rubs.

Sometimes when I’m drinking my morning coffee (like today) I think about you and wonder if you are snuggled up all comfy and cozy in a feather bed or if you are dining on your favorite foods or making love to one of your many wives and it makes me sick to my stomach.

Why are you such a needle in a haystack? I could recognize you in a second if you were in my town. So how is it our prez promised to find you and bring you to justice but nothing has happened? Why are you invisible?

We’ve gone to war in Iraq because of you, in fact, the current prez might very well have been elected from the effects of your egregious deeds and his promise to protect us from you and your ilk.

Because of you, a single squirrel on a power line causing a 15 minute blackout can cause people’s blood to curdle and shoot our blood pressure up to astronomically high numbers.

Because of you we have a constant terror alert on our news channels and of course, in our minds.

So where the hell are you and is anybody still looking for you?

I’ve heard more about Natalee Holloway, Jennifer Wilkens (runaway bride aka mourning dove) Lacy Peterson and numerous other people missing…but you seem to be receding from the news with each passing day.

Anyhow, Osama, I’m still looking for you and thinking about you and you should be very thankful I am not the president, because if I were, all the manpower and money going into the Iraq war would be used for tracking down your sorry ass, Buster.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Women are not Xerox Machines

We must keep control over our Reproductive Rights.


Ladies, hold on to your uteruses (uteri?) as we are getting very close to losing the right to decide what we want to do with this specific organ.

(I know, it is located inside our own body, but for some reason, that just doesn’t count.)

Roe vs. Wade could be overturned if Bush pushes through two extreme, conservative, anti-choice justices (men) to fill the Supreme Court vacancies.

John Roberts who’s up for the top job appears to be as innocent as an ingénue, but don’t be misguided by his soft voice and liquidy eyes. He’s a staunch conservative and has been for decades. At age 50, he can hold his top spot as Chief Justice for many years, maybe as many years as he is old.

His reputation for being intelligent is widely known; his past judicial history is meager. He’s been groomed for the Supreme Court since the Reagan days and has been following directions on how to make it to the top court by having so little written opinion to peruse or dissect that there is little to debate or discuss.

Roberts would not be where he is today if he openly opposed any single view held by the current president. Just look to the prez because there’s one thing we know about this administration: no one will be placed in any position of power who challenges the prez’s beliefs or mythology.

In the early 60s birth control was against the law, even for married women. A woman’s “punishment” for having sex was the possibility of pregnancy. Illegal abortions were always readily available to the rich, but the poor had to deal with back room operations performed by people who weren’t competent enough to slice a pot roast, never mind scrape a uterus.

I would hate to see American women returned to back rooms where unsanitary conditions and incompetent “doctors” are their only choice in order to maintain control over their own bodies and own lives.

Women will never be equals if there are special laws that control their internal organs. It is our bodies and our right to choose and no government entity should ever threaten, cajole or alter our decision whether they like our decision or not.

When faced with pregnancy or preventing pregnancy, no one person, male or female, no group of people have-- the right to play god and decide a universal policy for all women.

I sincerely hope that whoever is placed on the Supreme Court will leave Roe vs. Wade as is and not pander to extremists who want to make their opinions the law of the land.

Now me and my uterus are going downstairs for a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ESPN's "Sound Bite" Bites!


ESPN spent all day Saturday promoting a show on Reggie White and using one of his sound bites: “Homosexuality is a decision not a race.”

I must have heard it 40 times as the sound bite popped up through out the day. It was making me insane. All I could think of was the masses of men (and women) who were tuned in to the football games and getting this surprise brain washing as they watched.

Bad enough White said that foolish statement, it was horrid of ESPN to select those words to repeat over and over again. I am flummoxed as to why ESPN would select that quote to promote.

Maybe White was a good football player, but he sure didn’t know shit about homosexuality.

No one makes a decision to be homosexual just as no one makes a decision to be heterosexual.

I feel like I have to write this down forty times to counteract the damage ESPN has done by using that insipid sound bite at every commercial timeout. What were they thinking? I hope they were just being stupid rather than diabolical.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I have a date with a bushel of tomatoes.

I adore sun dried or oven dried tomatoes and every year I make a huge batch of them that I freeze and use in soups, stews, rice pilafs, etc. So I am going to put on some nice music, open up windows to let fresh air in and start preparing tomatoes for oven drying.

Every good rant deserves to be followed up with a good rave.

I have to rave about this absolutely gorgeous day outside; the beautiful birds that visit my feeder; the two fat and lazy yellow dogs who following me around like the puppy dogs they are; the superior yet loving cats that allow me to pet them if I've been very good; the dearest husband who made kick-ass chicken pot pie and a wonderful apple pie yesterday with a crust that tastes as good as the apple filling; my best friends who will be getting civil unionized on October first (or is it civilly unioned?) my family from the youngest to the oldest; for having three cases of my favorite red wine in the basement; for being alive, safe, bills paid and happy.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Worst President Ever


The Bushes are out of control. Yesterday Laura Bush mispronounced hurricane Katrina’s name twice. And she is supposed to be the smart one of the bunch? Her claim to fame is she can read.

( We know she isn't a terrific driver: 17-year-old Laura ran a stop sign, causing the death of the occupant of the vehicle her car struck. Imagine if Hillary had done the same thing?)


But she is supposed to be able to speak. Yet she’s so disconnected to the event – she can’t even remember the name of the hurricane. Duh! This was not a slip of the tongue.

On national TV she said “hurricane Karina” twice, while she delivered familiar platitudes about the importance of education for the displaced New Orleans children.

The Bush women are placing their feet in their mouths on a daily basis and we wonder why the Prez is a nincompoop?

The “what the heck is the name of that bothersome storm” gaffe, made by the first lady, follows Mama Bush’s, statement that claimed poverty-stricken refugees were better off thanks to the hurricane.

Except for Fox news, whose sub title is: We love the Bushes no matter what…the rest of the world is shaking their heads in disbelief.

I have had it with Bush country and all the Bushes --it’s time that Bush comes to shove – shove off you illiterate, nasty, elitist fools.

If you can’t pronounce nuclear or Katrina you should just shut up until you can.

Don’t pretend you care about the poor - you don’t give a whit about anyone who isn’t white, rich and upper crust.

It’s we “liberals” who do care.

Your "compassionate conservatism" amounts to too little help too late. Mr Prez you are a skinny-hearted mo fo and your whole family is a bunch of dolts.

Now I’m going shopping for one of those “Worst President Ever” tee shirts.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Little Bits of This and That


Grandma knew about scrimping and saving; she knew about hard times and poverty. Her trash pail didn’t need frequent dumping because she used and reused almost anything she got her hands on.

She saved all pieces of string, clean aluminum foil, glass jars, rags, and cut all buttons off of clothing headed for the rag barrel. The carrot parings, onion skins, and potato peels went into broths that would be strained and packed in the freezer as a soup base for a later date; a small chicken would yield 4 or 5 wonderful Grandma dinners because she not only knew how to stretch food, but she cooked like an angel.

Stale bread was turned into bread crumbs and croutons. Leftover anything, from rice to macaroni and cheese, from a lone chicken wing to ½ a pork chop went into a container in her freezer that would be pulled out on a cold day and turned into a soup that people would fight over.

People would ask for the recipe and she’d laugh: “Oh there’s no recipe, it’s just a month or two months’ worth of leftovers…”

When asked, “What’s in it” She’d reply: “Who knows, little bits of this and that.”

At the first hint of fall, I instantly think of Grandma’s “little bits of this and that” and how much I would love a bowl of that soup. I can still smell it bubbling on her old, but immaculate stove. I can see it being ladled into her ancient blue willow, soup bowls. I can see her tan hands bringing a bowl of soup to the table and placing it before me.

I can clearly remember looking into the soup bowl and thinking: What the hell did Grandma put in the soup this time?