Now it is darkening

The first disappointment was the 2-week postponement on the closing of our mother’s house. Followed by the publication of my poem the same day. Funny how life can give you such different things on the same day.

Christmas at Our House in the ‘50s

Love, generosity, and gratitude were part of the ritual.

Loud stomping noises, then Dad’s voice: “Is that you, Santa Claus?” Pause for his answer. “Are your reindeer up there, too?” Pause. “Oh, I hear them.” Pause. “Thank you for all these presents, Santa. See you next year.” Pause. “Goodbye, Santa Claus”. Pause. “Goodbye”

“Listen, kids, hear the reindeer?” Jingle, jingle of bells. “Santa’s gone, you can come in now.”

When I was young, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. I loved the music, the festive feeling in the air, the friendly spirit in everyone you’d meet, the sense of anticipation for the holiday itself. I looked forward to the cooking, the guests, the rituals, including the tree-trimming and opening of stockings and gifts. I may not have realized this until I was older, but daddy was always in a good mood at Christmas, and therefore, it was always fun. At least enough times to make a lot of good memories for me.

In Cooking This Week

Recipe of the Week

Lentils and Rice with Mushrooms

Here’s another recipe of the sort I cherish. It can be a main course one night and then provide a welcome accompaniment to a nice fried egg either ia patty or as part of a protein bowl. It could be mixed with a variety of vegetables and use up assorted leftovers. What could be better at a time like the holidays when there is already so much going on. I find the break from meat refreshing and easy on my digestion. I hope you enjoy it.

Lentils and Rice with Mushrooms

¼ cup dried mushrooms, soaked in water for 20-30 mins, drained and water reserved then chop coarsely

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, sliced in half then sliced thinly

1 pound of mixed mushrooms, preferably some shitakes in the mix

about 2 cups cooked lentils, drained, save juice

1 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon cumin

Dash of cayenne

about 1 1/2 cups cooked rice 

Salt and pepper to taste

Fry onions in 2 tablespoons oil on medium-hot heat without burning, flipping frequently till they are dark brown. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil and the mushrooms, including the dried mushrooms. Cook slowly until they release their moisture and begin to get dry. Then add the drained lentils, rice, seasonings and about ¼ to ½ cup of the lentil water or soaking liquid. Stir together gently to blend and heat everything. Pour the onions over top and serve with yogurt and hot sauce if desired.  

In Writing This Week

My Poetry Story

I Have to Tell You About my Recent Success
Not for Me, but for You
I have just achieved a dream, and it wasn’t that hard

Read the story here

Notes on my Daily Practice in December

Read the series here

December Looks to be an Exciting Month
and This Seventyish Woman
is Stuck in Baker’s Purgatory

Read the story here

Read my first published poem: “A Marriage House” at link below

Read the poem here

A Seventyish Woman Suggests Three Ways You Can be More Content and Stop Postponing Happiness During the Holidays

Read the story here

Warning From a Seventyish Woman — Five Ways You Should Never Start a Sentence

These can send you sliding down a slippery slope to old age

Read the story here

I wish you a safe and happy holiday season

Published by Jean Anne Feldeisen

I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey to Mildred Shropshire and Theodore Felsberg Jr. I was raised in Galloway Township and graduated from Oakcrest High School in southern New Jersey in the Sigma 67 Class in 1967. I attended Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, and graduated from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, in 1974 with degrees in Philosophy, English Literature, and (almost) music. After that, I taught piano to local children and adults in the 70s and 80s, had a catering business, "Jean's in the Kitchen," from 1980 to 1992, then went to graduate school at Rutgers Camden to obtain my Masters's Degree in Social Work. Since 1996 I have worked as a therapist and counselor, first in New Jersey for five years and then, when our family moved to Maine, in Augusta, Maine, for five years. For the past 17 years, I have had a private psychotherapy practice in Gardiner, Maine, During the pandemic, I packed up and moved my office home to Washington, Maine. On the year of my seventieth birthday, I decided to write and self-publish a memoir about our parents' World War II romance, Dear Milly. I began blogging on Medium in earnest in 2020 and have posted more than 265 stories, including a block of stories about my catering career which I hope to turn into a book in the next year. I have been writing and collecting poetry since childhood but never showed it to anyone. Recently, I learned how valuable it could be to join a group for feedback and support for my writing. I have taken several courses and written many poems, and recently had several poems accepted for publication. Off in a new direction, again.

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