Turkey in a Cooker

e200_rightThank goodness Thanksgiving is over, the leftovers eaten, and life is back to normal.

Oh dear, did we just experience Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday? Has your holiday shopping begun?

I had hoped to travel to Dallas and join my siblings and their families for an extended Thanksgiving. But, things did not work out, and so my Thanksgiving was a small affair here at home. Nice, but Thanksgiving is not the same without brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, Southern cousins, and kids galore.

It’s quiet.

I missed out on the turkey prepared on the grill in a slow cooker. My brother-in-law, Bob, always cooks his turkey on the grill, real slow. He says his mom cooked it that way when he was growing up.

The turkey always turns out moist and tasty.

I won’t bore you with his recipe. You can find one online. But I will tell you about the experience. Mind you, I don’t chop the vegetables, prepare the bird, or do anything that would suggest that I am a cook. I am an eater, that is my job, and I take it seriously with multiple helpings of everything.

During the preparation, I move back and forth between the football games and the grill and catch up on old times, smelling the rich aroma of the steaming bird, making do on an olive and a celery stick.

The anticipation for next year’s bird is killing me.

Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

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How to prepare for the holidays

Our number one tip on how to prepare for the holidays is simple:

Less stress, more Stressless.

The Stressless Legend has unique cushioning that embraces and supports your body smoothly as you sit and stretch after a hard day at the office, watching the kids, shopping, or all three. The sofa is available in highback or low back as a three seat, two seat, and single seat. Add the Legend sector between chairs to create the layout that works for your home theater.

stressless on a dessert isle

 

Las Vegas Traditions

The top tradition in Las Vegas has to be getting married. The best day to marry in English tradition is Wednesday, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday for health, Thursday or Friday if you only have the weekend to honeymoon.

Any day is a good day in Vegas unless you are losing.

Closely following the tradition of getting married is getting divorced. Hey, brides, maybe you forgot to tuck a sugar cube into your glove, a Greek tradition which will sweeten your years together.

 

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Stressless in Las Vegas

 

After that it is walking the Vegas Strip at any time of day. Whether it is the fountains at Bellagio and the Mirage volcano, Wynn billboard (the Wynn has a fountain show too, nicely choreographed to the music and billboard), or watch the crazy mass of people that floods the street.

It is always Showtime. Catch a street performer at night, or early in the morning, observe the other side of Vegas when joggers and the homeless share the sidewalks. Something Hunter S. Thompson must have often done.

And if you have some loose change in your pockets, the doors to the casinos are always open. Vegas is a city that never sleeps. And, if you can’t sleep, then relax in a Stressless recliner.

Next to that, pool side at the Venetian.

 

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Work at Home

It is not work if you like what you do.

Want some synonyms for work – labor, toil, slog, drudgery, exertion, effort, and industry, none of which sound like much fun. Noël Coward said, “Work is more fun than fun,” which makes sense if you are at home because there you can wear your pajamas, wiggle your toes, scratch your back, and drink all the coffee you want and not worry about rushing off to the bathroom.

Some people have the luxury of working at home.
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While some lingering critics insist that working from home leads to isolation, goofing off and stunted social relationships, most employers recognize it has its advantages. After all, you are relaxed. This makes for a creative atmosphere. Then too, you are in your comfort zone, you are on top of the world and in charge. What better place to make things happen, than from your home.

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What you need to do is to work hard and work smart. Let’s get to it.

First, create a work area. One that is far from the madding crowds, and away from the annoyances of family. God bless them. Lock the doors and hide. You are at your computer and phone calls, emails, text messages, instant messages, and face chats are all at your fingertips. You control access to your inner sanctum.

Don’t be hard on yourself. It is nice to have set hours, say rise at six and work til noon. But, give yourself a break. Creativity comes in spurts. A great thought comes and you are off to the races, then some days you are lost in the desert. I am not saying here that one should jump up and down from the desk like a Pogo stick. A little patience goes a long way to developing ideas. So try and work for a set number of hours. The body likes routine and gets used to a schedule.

Organize. Some people like to organize their daily activities. Know what they are going to do. Know when they are going to do it, but I find spontaneity is the spice of life. I am going to write the Great American Novel today, but sometimes a short story will do as well. Be like Stephen King when approaching a task, get an idea, like a crazy dog, call it Cujo, and see where it takes you.

That’s it. Everything else is in the details. Shower, shave, dress, carry your lucky rabbits foot with you. It doesn’t really matter because the type of personality you are will dictate how you work best and how you work smart.

Do reward yourself. Go out and buy yourself a Stressless office chair, it is a luxury you deserve.

 

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Far away in the sunshine

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

Louisa May Alcott from Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book: Containing the Inspired and Inspiring Selections, Gathered During a Lifetime of Discriminating Reading for His Own Use

Elbert Hubbard, like most of us, was a gatherer. He gathered up the spoken thoughts  of other men and women as one gathers a beautiful wildflower. This quest lead him far and wide. It was the quest he enjoyed, but the sayings we remember.

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Far away in the sunshine are my aspirations

My French teacher reminded me that words can be good or bad depending on how they are used, “les mots sont des choses, bonnes ou mauvaises.”

Words are twice translated, my French instructor would say to me, first by the author in putting words to paper, and twice by the translator who interprets the subtlety of thought into a foreign language. Context, the instructor continues, gives meaning to the words.

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I see their beauty

Loin dans le soleil sont mes aspirations plus grand. Je ne peut pas les atteindre, mais je peux les regarder et de voir leur beauté, croire en eux, et essayez de suivre où ils me emportent.

 

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I follow where they lead

 

There is, I reply, a third translation. That is, by the reader who applies their own emotions and feelings to the words. We all seek truth and understanding, but the path is a solitary one, one for which we are thankful if we are given some direction.

 

 

The French Cloister Atlantis, Bahamas

Even in a resort as beautiful as Atlantis in the Bahamas, one needs a getaway, a private spot to find a moment of silence in the midst of all the fun.

French Cloisters, Atlantis
French Cloisters, Atlantis

Such a spot is the French Cloister. Half way down Paradise Island Drive toward the County Club and golf course, tucked neatly between the road and the beach is the French Cloister set within the Versailles Garden of the One & Only Club.

Don’t be put off by the intimidating name of the club, it is open to the public.

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French Cloisters

The Cloister is the remains of a 14th-century monastery from Montrejau, France which was shipped to the United States in the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst. In the sixties, Huntingdon Harford II, Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company heir, bought the Cloister from the Hearst estate. He then discovered that the pieces had not been numbered. In 1968, Jean Castremanne, an artist and sculptor, put the Cloisters back together piece by piece over a 2 year period.

The statute in the center of the cloister is Silence by Scottish sculptor, Sir William Reid Dick. When World War I broke out, at the age of 34 years and 4 months, Reid Dick enlisted in the British Territorial Army and served until the war’s end. While in the trenches, he whiled away the time carving chalk figures that were an inspiration for may of his later works. One of his later works, the Bushey War Memorial in Hertfordshire contains this inscription, a silent tribute to all fallen soldiers:

“TO THE/ HONOURED/ MEMORY OF/ MEN WHO WENT FORTH FROM THIS/ PLACE AND FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ (names follow) ALSO THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WAR OF 1939-1945/ (names follow)/ TRANQUIL YOU LIE, YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED/ YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED”

Silence
Silence

One returns from a vacation and years pass.

And in our thoughts we recall these silent moments before we fall asleep. And recalling we think, “Silence is the sleep that nourishes our wisdom,” and reverence, the solace to soothe our soul.

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Elizabeth

Elizabeth

When her father finished reading, Elizabeth asked, “Father, what will I be when I grow up?” Elizabeth snuggled in her father’s lap where he read to her from his favorite chair.

“You are my princess and someday a prince charming will come along and take you to his castle. Then you will live happily ever after,” her father said.

Elizabeth’s eyes moistened, the corners of her mouth turned down. “But I don’t ever want to leave you.”

Her father put down the book. “It is the nature of things darling. Just as my parents read to me, and their parents read to them. One day you will read to your children. And when you do, you will remember this moment, and I hope a smile will come to your face. Your story has yet to be written.”

Ships in the night
Ah, how short the days, how soon the night overtakes us.


“AH, how short are the days! How soon the night overtakes us!
In the old country the twilight is longer; but here in the forest
Suddenly comes the dark, with hardly a pause in its coming,
Hardly a moment between the two lights, the day and the lamplight;
Yet how grand is the winter! How spotless the snow is, and perfect!”

Thus spake Elizabeth Haddon at nightfall to Hannah the housemaid,…
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn, Part Third.The Theologian’s Tale, Elizabeth.