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Everyone’s doing it…..

This is the post excerpt.

So, I have always enjoyed reading the blogs of friends and thought that maybe, I could do one myself someday, but what would I talk about? I mean, let’s face it, we all know I can talk, but does anyone listen? Well, I have decided to give it a whirl, and start with the basic blog, and who knows, if I enjoy it maybe I will update it and do it more frequently.

So, when to blog, what to blog about… well, there are many things that I enjoy, hanging out with my friends, breaking bread together, going on road trips, finding new and interesting places to explore, oh and music… lots and lots of music. Well, since this is the first, maybe I should start with a little bit about myself.

Me or Myself:
my·self/mīˈself,məˈself/
pronoun
  1. 1. used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself as the object of a verb or preposition when he or she is the subject of the clause. “I hurt myself by accident”
  2. 2. I or me personally (used to emphasize the speaker). “I myself am unsure how this problem should be handled”

Well, talking about oneself is often hard, you have to walk the line of letting someone know who you are and not end up sounding like a braggart. I can tell you that I was molded by my surroundings, my mother was a stay at home mom in the beginning, my dad worked during the day and went to school at night to finish a degree. Both my grandparents lived in Albany, blocks away from each other at one point, and could not have been more different from each other. My mother’s parents were simpler folk, never really left New York State, whereas my father’s parents were world travelers, on a budget. Both of my grandfathers served in the army, one a M.P., and the other on reconnaissance (funny stories about that later). My grandmothers couldn’t have been more different as well. Loretta, my maternal grandmother, had a few sisters, and all seemed to have been cut from the same cloth. When I think of them, I think of them as the women who would have gone to work in the factory when their husbands went off to war. Pretty tough dames, that didn’t take lip, or if they were given any, they would give it right back. My fraternal grandmother however was definitely different, she had an older sister and the two of them couldn’t have been further apart, let’s just face it one was two steps (or three kids) from being a nun, and the other was a rebel. Margaret was always an actress, even when not on stage, she was surrounded by a troop of friends that were of similar minds, and often traveled together, some of them even organized a travel agency.

So, where does that leave me in all this? Well, I don’t really remember much of my childhood years, I don’t ever remember my dad living at home, and barely remember when he moved out. Weekends, school recess, vacations, and summer vacations were spent in Albany, at Margaret’s house and when she was working, my grandfather would take care of me. I was a latch key kid early on, babysitters were expensive even back then, so when it came to a point where my mother thought I could be on my own, maybe around the age of 11 or 12, I was. Oh sure, I was never too far from the eyes of a neighbor, Annabelle Chamberlain always had a watchful eye over EVERYONE, and she was a better hollywood reporter then Hedda Hopper. So, I would come home, let myself in, grab some food, and my favorite toys (hotwheels and matchbox cars back then), bring them out to the front porch and play with them, and the neighborhood kids.

Early on, I knew that I was different from the other little boys and girls in my neighborhood, but that is another story.

 

Too much of a good thing?

So, what is too much of a good thing? Go BIG or go home right? Over the time with Weight Watchers, a lot of focus has been on people who are either “all in” or “all out”. And personally, I have always thought I am not a person that falls under either. Yes, I can have slip ups, but that never makes me quit, I am not a quitter… unfortunately, I am also not the best follower either.

Well, food could be one thing that is too much of a good thing. I have a hard time with portion control, I always have. Hmm.. 8 people are gathering for a potluck dinner… I think I need to make two trays of macaroni & cheese, and I mean LARGE trays. Recently, I figured out how I can stop this, I bought large muffin tins, and figured I will only make one pound of pasta, and portion them individually in the tins, for up to 12 portions, but at least I think that will cover the one pound of pasta, and the rest of the fun ingredients easily. Now for a short story:

Margaret Nolan, my grandmother, amazing person, witty personality, and amazing cook. She could, and would cook anything! I remember early on, when I lived with her, she asked me what one of my favorite meals were, she wanted to make it for me. So I told her, that I always loved my aunt Lois’s goulash. So low and behold, later that week I came home to an amazingly prepared goulash… truly authentic hungarian goulash. Now, of course it was amazing, it was delicious, it was EXTREMELY filling, it was not however, Aunt Lois’s goulash. My grandmother looked at me puzzled, “Is it okay?”, “yeah.. but it’s not the same.” I thanked her, told her I enjoyed it (which I did), and went along my merry way. Later I found out that my grandmother called Lois, and asked her how she made her goulash. Lois said it was nothing more than ground beef, green peppers, Campbell’s tomato soup, and elbow macaroni. They laughed, because Margaret had looked up the recipe (in a cookbook because she did not internet), and went out and got beef stew, pork, and all the ingredients, and served it over egg noodles. To this day, I have two favorite recipes for goulash, Lois’s and Margaret’s.

Shrimp ring salad

So, another Margaret story: This one has been requested by Daisy Ford Paglia, the story of the shrimp pasta salad. Now, the details are a little fuzzy, as the last time I heard it from the source was many years ago, so the details now live as whispers in my fond memories. Every year, the Nolan’s would gather up at Ed & Dolores Nolan’s camp, for a family reunion, I have many fond memories of these events. Since it was a large gathering, usually everyone brought a dish to share, and their own beverages. There were coolers of many colors lined up outside the enclosed screened in porch, and kids throughout the day would be opening and closing them getting an iced cold soda. The food was usually done in two shifts, a late lunch and then a dinner. Mostly hamburgers and hot dogs were served from the barbeque pit that was in front. Desserts were kept in the screened in porch, and there was a refrigerator in there to keep things cold as well. Margaret frequently made a shrimp salad, which was pretty simple and consisted of P&R pasta rings, diced cold shrimp, diced onion and celery, and Hellman’s mayonnaise. The trouble with P&R past rings, they are very very small when they are uncooked, which lead to more than one box being used. So the tale that has been told, is that on one such occasion, there was so much pasta ring salad made, that not only was it brought up to the family reunion, that it also filled two large vegetable crisper drawers in the refrigerator at 64 Hoffman Ave, for a week or so after the event. It was served with every meal, at every occasion. I am sure she even brought some into “Piggy Heaven”. And for those of you who want to know about “Piggy Heaven”, that will have to wait for another story…

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