Tag Archives: holiday

New Year, new round of FYIs

It’s been awhile since I’ve done FYIs, so I thought the new year would be a good excuse to scrounge up another round. They’re not really seasonal in nature, but whenever I write something serious I doubt posting, I always feel like I have to hurry up and write something else right away.

So without further ado, FYI:

While they say a watched pot never boils, the second you turn your back and start doing something else, it will completely spill over.

You have to let down your guard to let someone in.

It’s easier to just buy new mini-blinds than it is to try and clean them. (The same goes for shower curtain liners, but to a lesser extent.)

No one should own a pair of Pajama Jeans.

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If you find yourself saying “but I was only trying to help” a lot, you’re not helping (especially if helping involves gifting a pair of Pajama Jeans.)

Be better, not bitter.

Sundays are for washing floors and clothes, not for washing hair.

When you don’t have money to buy something, you will find a bunch of things you want to buy. As soon as you are given gift cards, you will be unable to find anything at all.

“Anonymous” is blog speak for “Chicken Shit.”

You can’t be in a bad mood if you’re dancing.

When you get a flat tire, you fix it. You don’t slash the other three. My point? Even if you take a step back with resolutions, you can always take the next step forward.

We always hear about the “good old days.” If that’s the case, then 10 years from now we’ll look back at these times as the “good old days,” so enjoy each day right now.

Then again, I much preferred Gilad’s “Bodies In Motion,” Denise Austin and Jack La Lanne to Jillian and Jackie Warner, so maybe I’m full of crap.

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Don’t fill silence with assumptions.

In life, it seems the group of people who are easily offended and the group of people who are easily confused tend to be the same group.

Since Joel McHale still hasn’t called, I’m moving on to Daniel Tosh (but Joel still had a standing invitation.)

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Say what you mean, mean what you say. Never say sorry for feeling that way.

There are two kinds of people—those that eat the skin on baked potatoes and those that don’t. The cool people eat the skin. (This logic does not apply to bananas.)

You can—and will—always be humbled by something or someone. This is a good thing.

People with the least amount of responsibility will continually complain about being too busy.

Adding Brussel sprouts to a Whopper does not negate the fact that it’s still a freaking Whopper.

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Contestants on cooking shows—Iron Chef or not—sweat entirely too much for any of the food to look appetizing.

Every minute of the day is not an emergency or something to urgently be filled with something, anything. Busyness does not equate with productivity, so breathe, prioritize and make time for yourself.

I constantly have a “writer’s voice” running dialogue through my head—observations, poems, ideas—and it’s exhausting.

Because of this, I would love to give my brain a break and read your FYIs. (OK, the two are completely unrelated, but I love your FYI comments.)

So, if one of your resolutions was to comment more on random rambling blogs, I am presenting you the chance to succeed. Why wait until tomorrow?

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Polish Ebonics: kroosh-cheek-y

While there are a lot of odd things that come along with the holidays, there are also some treasured traditions. If you’re a member of my big Polish family, first of all, thank you for admitting it. Second, you know that the holiday season brings with it not only Christmas music, kielbasa and kapusta and a few hours of dysfunctional family members drinking “slushies” trying to act functional, but also chrusciki.

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Polish Ebonics: This is pronounced “kroosh-cheek-y.” 

My grandma has over 60 grandkids and great-grandkids, but there are only an elf-sized handful of us that actually had the pleasure of making these with her when we were growing up. (I take great pride in being one of the few.) While she hasn’t been able to make them for quite a few years, my mom and I still roll and fry them out every Christmas.

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Just like Thanksgiving was different for us this year, Christmas will be too. There will be no big family gathering as we’ve done throughout the years. But part of growing up is accepting that traditions can evolve and change shape just as easily as the people who are so attached to them and the memories created.

For me, I will always remember making chrusciki with my grandma in her kitchen when I needed a stool to reach the counter and could only make the bows. Then came the year that she couldn’t stand that long in the kitchen and left me in charge of the dough—she would fry and yell at my grandpa for “testing” too many of them.

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It wasn’t long before that became a bit too much and mom took over that step, with a widowed gram yelling her helpful two-cents from her recliner in the living room during “The Wheel” or “Jeopardy.” Eventually we started making them at our house and bringing them over, and this year, we will be bringing them to her room at St. Ann’s.

But the truth is that while they’re delicious, they’re not my favorite holiday treat. For that matter, they’re not my mom’s favorite holiday treat either. But we roll and fry and cover the counter with powdered sugar because we know that every year there is a woman who looks forward to eating a couple with a cup of tea—just as she’s done since she needed a stool to reach the counter helping her mom so many years ago.

So even if she only eats one and enjoys that one—and the memories it brings—it makes entirely worthwhile.

Well, that and the fact that every time she tells me they taste perfect—just like hers—I feel as if I’ve been able to give her a little (powdered sugared) piece of the happiness she’s brought me.

Chrusciki

I have to admit that I’m a bit protective of this tradition, as it is often replicated in a fashion not as favorable as the real thing.

There are a couple tricks, the first being that the water has to be ice cold. Second—and most important—it you MUST roll each and every strip out paper thin. This means rolling it out once, cutting it into strips, rolling each individual strip, cutting them into sections, rolling each section out and then finally making the slits and pulling them through.

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If it’s not thin, it’s crap.

No, this is not a political statement, but rather the most important thing to remember. Too many people make them thick, which in turn makes them heavy and chewy—not what we’re going for. They should end up delicate and light.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients—only seven in fact—and they’re not that complicated to assemble. But to make them traditionally is truly a labor of love—and totally worth it.

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From gram’s pen to our rolling pin.

4 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

3 t. baking powder

1 stick of butter (softened)

3 egg yolks

3/4-1 c. ice cold water

powdered sugar

Sift dry ingredients and add cut butter.

Add beaten egg yolks in center.

Gradually add in water and work mixture with your hands and a fork—yes, only your hands and a fork—until the sides of the bowl are free of dough. The amount of water needed may vary from batch to batch.

Form handful-sized balls of dough and roll out on floured surface with rolling pin. Cut into long, thin strips and roll each until paper thin.

Cut each strip into 3-4 inch segments, slit each segment and pull top through middle to form a bow-tie of sorts.

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After all dough is rolled and twisted (should take around 2 hours if done correctly,) fry in peanut oil, drain on paper towel, transfer to large bowl and sprinkle with large amounts of powdered sugar.

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At this point I’m covered in powdered sugar and stink like peanut oil, meaning I may pull out a couple other things I learned to say from my grandma, namely “Jezusa I Maryi” and “gouvna” at different decibel levels. Ahh…traditions.

So although I have no idea how to say it despite her many (failed) attempts to teach me—Wesolych Swiat!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

What’s a traditional family recipe that you make every year, even if you don’t really enjoy eating it yourself?

Pin-Up Girls and Giving Thanks

This time of year we all give thanks

For blessings small and big,

I’m thankful for my family,

Good food and my work  gig.

But things don’t always get the love,

I feel that they deserved,

Those things that keep me happy

On those days I come unnerved.

So instead of taking out my angst

By working out too much,

I’m once again presenting you

With rhyming crap and such.

Because…

I’m thankful plain Greek yogurt has

a presence in my fridge,

fage

As even if it costs too much,

Abstaining’s sacrilege.

I’m thankful for the job I have,

Although some days it sucks,

Writing this and fixing that

For other lazy…people.

I’m thankful for my pots and pans,

although I rarely “cook.”

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But chickpeas, rice and veggies here

is all it really took.

I’m thankful for my morning tea,

that helps to get things moving,

tea

(Although no one will say it,

a good movement’s mood improving.)

I’m thankful grocery clerks nearby,

All know me by my face.

As apparently I stop there

More than any other place.

I’m thankful that somebody makes

a frozen pizza right,

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Along with pumpkin and tahini oats,

(I could eat this every night.)

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And I might. Don’t judge.

Anyway…

I’m thankful for the bloggers that

I’ve met throughout the years,

We shared some food, some thoughts, some jokes

and also shared some tears.

Cancer’s probably touched us all

the breadth of it  is sad,

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But this calendar will donate funds,

in memory of Deb’s dad.

I pretend to smoke asparagus

and look like a cartoon,

Abby

but was thankful for the chance to help

and hope you order soon!

(Seriously. Go check out her post and all the Blogger Babes—they are fabulous, especially Smoothie Girl herself.)

I’m also glad I took time,

To try and be amusing.

Instead of fighting mental wars,

I sometimes end up losing.

But I’m also thankful there are days

When honesty means more.

You all help me face the struggles that

I normally ignore.

(That’s as sappy as I’ll ever be,

let’s end this thing with more of “me.”)

All in all…

I’m thankful that I have the chance

To blog here any day.

Cause even if I’m full of shit,

You read it anyway.

And for that, I am truly thankful.

What are you thankful for?