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Stories

It is National Vanilla Pudding Day

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It is National Vanilla Pudding Day

Today is National Vanilla Pudding Day. Did you know that vanilla pudding had its own day? I didn’t. It is also National Solitaire Day. Who knew that solitaire needed a day, too? Maybe Vanilla Pudding Day was created to support Solitaire Day… obviously, you eat vanilla pudding while you play solitaire. Also, it is National Buy a Musical Instrument Day. So, you go out and buy an instrument after you are bored from playing solitaire and eating vanilla pudding? I like to look up National Days; I find them amusing.

What’s the story behind them?

Who registered Vanilla Pudding Day? Why was that so important to them?

How about solitaire? Who came up with that?

I don’t know the real stories behind these “special” days, but I do believe they are the start of a great tall tale.

Have a good day. I think I’ll play some solitaire, eat some vanilla pudding, and go buy an instrument.

What are you going to do today?

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Irish Heritage

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Irish Heritage

This past weekend we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. I sure hope it was a good day for you. I wore green, did you?

A fair percentage of my heritage is Irish, and I incorporate that heritage into my storytelling. As with many of us, I was not raised specifically in the heritage of my ancestors, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t come from history. It is up to me to learn about those who came before me. I am a storyteller; that is my profession, and as such, I am intrigued by the stories that were told in the countries of my ancestors. I’ve learned a lot of Celtic stories and I include them in my performances. I do not try to speak with the accents of the native lands and I am sure I would not give them justice. I speak with my own tongue, the one that belongs to me. However, passing on the ancient stories of my ancestral lands is important to me. It helps me to know myself and understand the traits I have.

I have a dream to one day go to Ireland. Oh my, I want to see that land with my own eyes. For now, I have the stories; I read them, remember them and carry them in the pocket of my mind… and I desire to share them.

What stories do you have in your mind's pocket? Share them with someone.

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People Watching at Panera

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People Watching at Panera

I've come to Panera Bread to work. As I sit here drinking my tea and eating my cranberry walnut bagel, I am looking at the people around me. One woman sits with her phone in hand as she eats her spaghetti with vegetables and I think, “That must be a new dish here. I don't remember seeing noodles and vegetables on the menu.”

Another woman eats a salad while she reads a book. The cover reads Percy Jackson; I'll have to look that up later. In the far back corner, two women are having lunch together; one has brought in a medium-size clear plastic tote that is half full with papers, along with a tote bag that appears to be heavy with books. Both of the women have a note pad in front of them that they ignore as they eat. In this part of the restaurant, there are only women. But wait — now there is an elderly couple coming into the area. The woman is dressed in all black, including her purse, and carries a blue cane. The man leaves to get beverages and napkins. When he comes back, he spills a little bit of milky coffee. Two bagels are brought to them. They must be on an afternoon date.

A third woman comes in walking quickly and joins the two women with notebooks in the corner. Their body language indicates that they have met before but not developed a friendship. Oh, there it goes: the woman with the tote is giving a presentation to the two other women. The elderly couple eats in silence. At the counter, a mother orders her food while her young daughter, who looks to be about 2 ½ years old, lies on the floor with a kid-protected electronic tablet. The little girl doesn’t want to get up. The mother picks her up.

This has become a great people watching day. They all have stories, and today they all became part of mine.

Hmmm, I wonder if anyone is watching me?

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 Dancing with the Stars LIVE

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Dancing with the Stars LIVE

A week before Christmas our youngest daughter, Carmen, called and asked what my husband, Steven, and I would be doing for New Year Eve. I asked her what was up and she said she was trying to get her plans together for the night. It set me back that she was interested in spending that evening with us. When we had our family Christmas together, Carmen handed Steven and I an envelope and inside were tickets to go see Dancing With the Stars Live on New Year’s Eve. It was such a lovely surprise.

As Steven and I watched the dancers coming on and off the stage with different costumes, different music, and set images I took note of the stories that were being told. Some were dramatic, some a little silly, others romantic. The ease and flow between transitions were striking to me and before we knew it 2 hours had gone by and the dancers were taking their final bow.

To me, the night was lovely and so joyful. I got a little dressed up and was able to sit back and enjoy the date hand in hand with Steven. To appreciate the love and generous hearts of our children, and to be thankful for the artists of the world. I took a few pictures, they might not be perfect, but they hold a memory for me.

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Ernestine L. Walden's Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

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Ernestine L. Walden's Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

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I have spent the past week craving peanut butter cookies; I am not sure why. I did my very best to ignore the desire, but alas, I gave in today. I went to my cookbooks and pulled out one of my favorites. It was one of those fundraiser cookbooks that have recipes from lots of people. I am sure you’ve seen them before or have even participated in being a contributor to one. The recipes in those books are usually contributors’ favorites, tried and true. This one was put out by the New York Farm Bureau in 1983 and given to me by my husband’s Aunt Maureen in that same year.

Over the years many of the pages have become stained, proof that I use this cookbook quite a bit. I turned to one of the most heavily stained pages, the one with the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. Ernestine L. Walden submitted it. I don’t know her at all. I began wondering about who she might be. I called Aunt Maureen and asked her if she, by chance, knew Ernestine. She didn’t. We chatted for a while, and I hung up the phone. Just a few minutes later Aunt Maureen called me again, she had done some research on Earnestine and gave me some details.

Ernestine L. Walden was born Jan 20, 1924, to Ernest and Mary Swartz Kenyon, I am guessing she was named after her father. She died January 21, 2017, one day after her 93rd birthday. She married in 1941, and her first husband died in 1971, she remarried a year later to William J. Walden, and he died in 1996.

Her obituary stated, “Mrs. Walden was a proud homemaker who raised five children. She was a member of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Franklinville and the Farm Bureau, and she delivered Meals on Wheels”. She sounds to me like she was a lively woman — someone you’d want to get to know.

I enjoyed learning a little bit of her story. I wonder how many people out there have adopted her cookie recipe and have made them part of their stories. I know it is part of mine. So, here you go! Here is Ernestine’s Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. Give it a try, tell me what you think. Will it become part of your family story?

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