About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Beware of Dangerous Vegetables

I make a mean turkey soup, and proceeded to do so on Sat. Actually, I fixed our holiday turkey on Friday & froze the meat (this way all the mess of the turkey is out of the way & I don't have to deal with it on Christmas ... besides, I'll need the space and cooking equipment to do the ham!). I then fixed turkey soup on Sat. for a music gathering we had. Everything was going along great until I got to the zucchinis. One of them cut my thumb. No, I don't mean I cut my thumb with a knife while cutting the zucchini; the zucchini cut my thumb (I was washing it with a vegetable brush and my thumb was too close to the surface of the vegetable and peeled some of the skin ... right underneath my thumbnail ... ouch!). Well, I was able to complete the soup making (it was delicious ... and will be for some time as we are freezing about 8 quarts of the stuff), able to play my instruments throughout the evening (it was my right, or picking, thumb), and able to do all the cleanup of everything before going to bed. Then it hit! The pain was incredible and the thumb was officially infected. I'm treating it effectively, but I am still somewhat incapacitated (as far as dexterity in the kitchen and other areas are concerned), so Butch is helping with a lot of that. Hmm, interesting way to get out of doing cooking and baking during the holiday: claim a vegetable attacked me and now I am helpless!

So daughter Sandi and family will arrive tomorrow (Tues) and I have almost everything ready (well, as ready as it's going to be now). When I was a kid, my mother used to bake about 12 different kinds of Christmas cookies (double and triple batches of each) and my grandmother baked stollen. Me? I went to the store and tried to find stollen (good luck! I settled for a streusel cake) and looked at the cookies, but decided that the pies Sandi is bringing and the cheesecake we bought, plus all the leftovers from Sat. night's party, should be enough to satisfy the sweet teeth of everyone! Nevertheless, I do remember a time when I did a lot of holiday baking and really enjoyed it. I just don't have that energy any more. I am grateful for the baked goods that friends, neighbors, and family give us. But after my zucchini incident, I think I will just steer clear of the kitchen as much as possible over the next few days. Sure glad the turkey is done!

Happy holidays!

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