Thursday, August 23, 2007

More back to school notes . . .

Back to school also means the end of impromptu games of baseball, unless there's not too much homework . . . baseball in the back yard is easy-going fun, but also sometimes a little intense – there's always the threat of a broken window or two, or a little mud and gravel on your knees if you get to slide home. Whether you're cheering on the batter, chattering at the pitcher, or sweating out a 3-and-2 count, back-yard games are where skills and interest are built, and fun is found in a brand new bat or a well worn mitt.
I'm not a good player, and I'm not even a faithful fan unless I know the players. Then my interest intensifies and I don't want the game to end.
But end it will, if only because it's time for going back to school.

Back to School Notes

It's back-to-school time for our children and grandchildren, which means at our house, it's also cookie baking time.
Sharing cookies and a glass of milk after school offers time to talk and relax together, to catch up on the news of the day.
Since no one is coming to our house after school these days, we send those first-day-of-school cookies to them. The Unites States Postal Service kindly provides flat-rate boxes which hold two big zip-loc bags of individually wrapped cookies and a little packing material. It's a long-distance way to celebrate the start of another school year.
Here's a good cookie recipe for serious students and the moms and grandmas who love them:

1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract (or lemon)
1 egg
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cream powdered sugar and butter. Beat in vanilla, almond extract, and egg. Sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar together, and add, ½ cup at a time. Let dough rest 2 hours, preferably in refrigerator. Roll out on chilled surface and cut out cookies. Put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet; dust with sugar or cinnamon sugar if not icing. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What's In A Name, part 2

My friend Jane shared her heritage story about naming with me, and I'd like to share it with you. It's a good reminder of the meaning and beauty a name can hold.

My Name: Full Circle

Jane Marie is my name. Mother said she always liked the name Jane since she babysat for a darling little girl with that name. Besides, it "went with" Jack, my older brother's name that began with the same first letter. Most importantly, it was her mother's middle name, Cecelia Jane Grigg.
To complete my name she chose Marie from my paternal grandma's middle name, Anna Marie Fleming.
Have I become, or was I destined to be, a mixture of them---a nice combination---of Cecelia Jane and Anna Marie?
Grandma Grigg was a strong, independent woman. It was a matter of survival for her. Left widowed in the early 1930's with four teenagers, she was forced to be that way. She was a good cook, a good housekeeper---loved homemade noodles; clean, painted surfaces; fresh wallpaper. I remember the hand stitched doll clothes, the German chocolate birthday cakes, the deep purple African violets on the porch, the brown sugar and butter sandwiches.
Grandma Fleming was the countrywoman, the farmer's wife, the oil well driller's daughter. She loved to garden and was famous for her fried chicken. She could take my aunt's ready made dress and reconstruct it into one that would fit me and make me the envy of my friends. Best of all,she took a small-town girl, ME,----and made me love the country.
ME---a combination of them. I love it.Now as of April 9, 1998, I have gotten to add an extension to my name story. Actually, on July 28, 1995, that extension began with the birth of my first granddaugher. She was named Anna Maria because Anna was a much-used name on both her dad's and our side of the family. Maria is her mother Jennifer's middle name.
Then Anna's sister was born and named Cecelia, after my grandma.So you see, I have my grandmas' middle names, while my granddaughers have their first names.
Tradition, combination, connecting three generations. I do love it.