Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday October 23rd – John W. Howell #WhiteHouse -Lisa Thomson #Divorce – Jan Sikes #Nashville


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

I missed some great posts last week and so I am doing some catch up today… and starting from this entertaining piece which is part of Top Ten Things Not to Do from John Howell.. and this week the most famous house in the USA…

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Laying of the White House Cornerstone in 1792

White House

Yes, this week marks the anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the White House by George Washington in 1792. I’m sure you want to be there, but before you go, take this list and maybe avoid making social or time travel mistakes.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the White House in 1792

10 If you go to the cornerstone laying, do not think the silver trowel is a souvenir. If you do, at best, a kindly George Washington will ask you to put it back. At worst, the Navy men in attendance who are also celebrating the founding of the Navy will help you put it back. (It seems as if those Navy boys have had a little too much rum, Jakome. They are serious about your yardarm swing.)

9 If you go to the cornerstone laying, do not sit in Tiny the WWF champ’s seat. If you do, at best, he will find another. At worst, Tiny, who missed his Anger Management support group that morning, will not be able to control himself. (If you can hold on for another minute, Jalen, Tiny will grow tired of spinning you around above his head. Of course, your landing after that helicopter experience might be a little rough.)

Head over and check out what else you shouldn’t do: https://johnwhowell.com/2019/10/14/top-ten-things-not-to-do-at-the-laying-of-the-white-house-cornerstone-in-1792/

John Howell, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6CGoodread: John Howell Goodreads Blog: https://johnwhowell.com/

The next post is from Lisa Thomson who shares the ins and outs of marriage..i.e. divorce on her blog. This is my second marriage, the first lasted 7 years in total (I must have broken a mirror) but this time around 39 years. Many of my friends are also enjoying their second permanent relationships, but Lisa explores the option of getting married for the third time!

Third Marriages, Yeah or Nay?

A second marriage is a gimme while a third marriage is akin to a Mulligan.

You’ll notice I didn’t ask about a second marriage because that’s practically a Gimme. It’s expected, even. It’s considered a sign of moving on. A third marriage? That’s more like a Mulligan (you will use it judicially and with caution). Why the golf analogy, you may be wondering. I don’t even know, it just popped into my head. Maybe because my ex was an avid golfer.

But back to third marriages, some say “third time lucky” but I’m more skeptical. If you’ve shanked your first two attempts at this institution, should you really keep trying and furthermore continue to drag a second person into your sub-par game of marital woes?
Third Marriages, Yeah or Nay?

What are your thoughts on this over optimistic choice to marry a third time when the first two ended in divorce? Head over and let Lisa know: https://www.lisathomsonlive.com/third-marriages-yeah-or-nay/

Lisa Thomson buy: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Thomson/e/B007HNG4CQ/ Blog: https://www.lisathomsonlive.com/Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6692957.Lisa_Thomson

The third post is from award winning author Jan Sikes who shares an article that she wrote for the Buddy Magazine.. and I am sure you will enjoy Taking Texas to Tennessee. As a long time Country music fan, I had no idea about the rift within the industry and was fascinated to find out the background. And delighted to see that the rift has been healed..

Since not everyone gets to see the Buddy Magazine publication I decided to post a recent article I wrote after my trip to Nashville. So far, it’s getting some good attention and feedback!

A Tale of Two Music Cities Divided

On the heels of the Ken Burns sensational documentary about the evolution of country music on PBS, the one undisputable fact is that country music has been and is a large part of American history.

At one time during that history, Nashville was the only place to go if an artist wanted to break into the business. However, over the years, that changed and Texas played a large part in that change.

It is no secret that there has been a complicated rift between Nashville and Texas music artists ever since Waylon bucked the establishment, insisting on making music his own way and Willie took his music home to Texas.

I compare it to the famous stand-off between the Hatfields and McCoys. Shots were fired, and many folks threatened, but now the dust has cleared, and hands shaken. Judging by the recent spate of Texas Musicians who’ve made the trek to the famous city to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, I’d say there is at the least, a truce.

Could it be that the Nashville heads are watching the flourishing Texas music industry with some envy? Or perhaps they are only seeing dollar signs.

Head over to enjoy this post in full: https://rijanjks.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/taking-texas-to-tennessee-buddy-magazine/

Jan Sikes, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
Website: https://www.jansikes.com/Goodreads: Jan on Goodreads

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Third Day of Christmas with guests Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson


On the Christmas before we left for Cape Town and aged eight I was in a bit of a quandary. I had searched the house top to bottom looking for my Christmas presents including the in the basement which was officially out of bounds, unless I was with my sister listening to her record player which had been banished from my father’s earshot.

I had found my five year old brother’s present which I have to say being a tomboy I was more than envious of. It was a red cowboy hat, waistcoat and holster with a silver six shooter… I knew who the weakest link in the family was and I applied pressure daily to find out what my gift was… Eventually the week before the big day he partially cracked and announced heatedly that it had ‘four wheels and you pushed it’.

You will probably gather that a dolly pram was not exactly what I had in mind. But I was a properly brought up child, and whilst I was more excited by the books that I received, I showed appropriate gratitude for said pram, which held a blonde haired replica of what my mother considered to be the perfect child……

It took me 24 hours, but I was was wearing the holster, gun and cowboy hat which I borrowed from the end of my brother’s bed while he slept. Sadly…. when we left a few months later for South Africa the pram had to be left behind and of course by the time we got back two years later I was a teenager and it was gifted to another.

Time for a little music and here is Bing Crosby with the classic I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Time to look at how Christmas is celebrated around the world and you can read more via Why Christmas.

Today a look at Egypt where around 15% of the population are christian and celebrate Christmas. They are far more serious about advent than we are here, with a 43 day period of abstinence from all animal products. It is 43 days because they don’t celebrate Christmas until January 7th as in Russia, Ethiopia and Serbia.

There is a special service on Christmas Eve that sometimes go on until the early morning. Having been so good before Christmas, families go to town for their Christmas dinner with a favourite being ‘Fata’ a lamb stew containing bread, rice and garlic.

A great many other Egyptians also celebrate Christmas, but in the commercial sense with most supermarkets selling traditional foods and hotels and restaurants hosting special festivities.

We are now on Day three and in the traditional 12 days this would be 27th December and celebrates the life of St John the Apostle. John and his brother James were disciples of Jesus and John is probably the only one of the apostles who did not suffer a martyr’s death. He lived a relatively long life and is attributed as the author of several books in the New Testament.

The origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas will probably never really be clarified as several people lay claim to it. France is the likely suspect but it has been sung in various formats since about 1780 in England. I suspect that modern day pop stars would be delighted to have their songs still being chanted 240 years later.

As far as the song is concerned according to folklore the Three French Hens probably refer to a variety of chicken from France. There are a number breeds of chicken associated with France particular around the time of the origins of the song. These were the Crevecoeur, Houdans and the La Fleche. I also suspect that the elite of the day thought that using the term French Hen sounded more upmarket that chicken!

Time for my first guest…..

Time for my first guest who is the lovely pre-school teacher and Wedding dancer and singer Jennie Fitzkee. If you have not visited Jennie’s wonderful blog, please do and rediscover the joy of reading along with the children in her classroom. Here is the link to part one of a three part series on Language, Literacy and Storytelling

And if you are wondering about the Wedding dancer and singer bit.. then find out more and meet the Mermatrons

Here is what Jennie had to share about her most favourite Christmas gift ever

1989 was a year of very little money. It was also the year our son desperately wanted the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier for Christmas. Yes, desperately. Ninety nine dollars was the price tag, and that might as well have been nine million dollars. We couldn’t get him his dream. He understood, sort of. He never complained, yet we talked about that dream occasionally over the years.

When he became engaged to be married, we spent Christmas with her family. He unwrapped a huge package from her parents. And there it was, the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier. I don’t know who cried first, but there were many tears shed. Everyone watched in delight as this now grown man played with his beloved toy. Sometimes dreams do come true.

How lovely and what a moment.. I did manage to find a picture of a GI Joe Aircraft Carrier

I had a few ideas of what I could get Jennie as a gift for Christmas and eventually decided on a virtual invitation to join in with the next Mama Mia flashmob… location to be determined…courtesy of Youtube

 

Time for another recipe from Carol Taylor from one of our cook from scratch posts in recent weeks. Cranberries have long been associated with Christmas and usually in cranberry sauce to go with the turkey, however you might like to create a starter from these delicious ingredients. You can find other cranberry recipes Here

Camembert Puffs:

These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:

• I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.
• 125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.
• 100gm Cranberry Sauce.
• 1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.
• 1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:

  1. Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.
  2. Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)
  3. Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
  4. Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.
  5. Garnish with Thyme.

My next guest is Lisa Thomson whose passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others. Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce. You can also find helpful posts on the subject on her blog 10 Reasons to watch the War of the Roses again…

“Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lisa shares her most favourite Christmas present ever….

It was 1976 and I was in seventh grade. My best Christmas present ever was a brand new pair of skis, a ski jacket and proper ski pants!

The year before I had been enrolled in ski lessons along with my two brothers. It was exciting. It was thrilling to fly down the snow covered slopes! The only problem was, I hadn’t the proper jacket or pants to wear. We rented the equipment which was fine by me! But my warmest pants happened to be a pair of corduroy slacks. Unfortunately, they tore during one of my lessons. How embarrassing! For the next lesson I fixed them up by sewing them myself. I was 11 years old and not exactly proficient in my sewing skills, LOL. I was proud of myself though and wore them again. When another skier looked at my pants in the tow rope line up, and pointed at the stitching, she asked “Did you sew those yourself?” I must have blushed 50 shades of pink. “Yes,” I answered hesitantly. I’ve never been more mortified. Why on earth did I think I could sew and no one would notice?

Well, getting that brand new ski suit and skis was dreamy and the best Christmas present of my childhood, hands down! I did NOT say pants down…

Oh my, I do feel for Lisa, and one does hope that the skier in question got stuck on the ice on the ski lift for a very long time by her tongue……

So I headed off to ‘Youtube’ and I have secured an invitation to the next Freelance Nutcases Ski Expo – you will however have to provide your own health insurance.

A review for Hearts Unbroken.

Hearts Unbroken’ by Lisa Thomson is an anthology of short stories that tug at reader’s heart, as they talk about human emotions and relationships, some of them so fragile that they need a solo long drive to figure them out. Sarah’s marriage is a façade and she discovers it the day she decides to attend her family reunion without her husband who has no respect for her emotions and desires. He shrugs her off with an insensitive remark. No less poignant are the questions of Samantha who is too little to understand why her mommy is not coming home to tuck her in her bed.

Lisa excels in bringing out raw emotions without letting them melt into a melodrama. Her characters move on with their life despite heavy baggage of betrayal and internal strife. If Kora felt imprisoned within her own home, she had the courage to break free from the dazzling world of Jack, if Ava had rebuffed men to avoid an affair, she also knew how to calm her carnal desires. Grief stricken Rachel could rise to the occasion to save Alex. All these persons seem to be so familiar. They could be one of our friends, struggling with an unhappy marriage or a neighbor who doesn’t know how to deal with domestic abuse.

Lisa’s stories deal with these realistic problems in the most authentic manner, holding the reader’s interest till the end. If you wonder what good relationships are and how they can be nurtured, read this book. If men fail to appreciate the role of a woman in their homes and how much work is required to keep it blossoming, they would surely learn from Mack. I devoured this book within hours!

Time for a carol and one of the favourites of mine as a child….and sung by another great artist – Nat King Cole

You cannot leave the party without enjoying a festive drink… or two

Mulled wine is not the invention of early Christmas revellers as the Romans were heating red wine a long time before and no doubt other pagan cultures too. After all it is a delightful drink. They even spiced it up and it was the invading Roman soldiers who took it through Europe and into Britain and like their long straight roads that still exist today, they left behind their recipes for us to enjoy.

It has various levels of sobriety from non-alcoholic through to lethal. Concoctions abound with port and spirits being added liberally. Apart from Christmas it is also drunk extensively in ski resorts and there is usually a mobile aid station at the bottom of the slopes at the end of the day. I do not trust two short planks down a mountainside at 60 miles an hour but would of course force myself to await my husband after his black runs for an hour or so fortified with a couple of mugs of warmed wine.

In the Scandinavian countries and the Alps it is usually referred to as Glögg, or Gløgg the accent differing from place to place and dependent on inebriation.

Here is a lovely recipe that should be delightful on cold nights leading up to Christmas: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/235298/hot-mulled-wine/

Thank you for dropping in today and please let us know about your most memorable Christmas gift  in the comments… and if you could share that would be amazing.. thanks Sally.

My guests tomorrow are Olga Nunez Miret, Norah Colvin, and Amy Reade.. I hope you will join us.

 

Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – #Music requests from Stevie Turner, Jaye Marie, Lisa Thomson and Dolly Aizenman.


I thought I would share this in the ‘just after midnight slot’ as Letter’s From America is now on a short break until a couple of weeks before Christmas, when my letters to my parents began again following their return to the UK at the end of November.

Unfortunately there was not the space or time to play all of the guest requests at the four meals over the weekend but I promised to do so during the week. Here were the missing tracks from Brunch.You can find more about these guests in more detail Sunday Lunch

Author Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. You can read more at Stevie Turner  Stevie has a wonderful blog and you will find short stories, interviews, posts on writing and also ones that give you something to think about such as this one on education: Exams fiasco

Here is a selection of Stevie’s books, find them all and the reviews Amazon

Stevie mentioned Rimsky-Korsakov’sScheherazade’ as her favourite piece of music and I found part of the 2nd movement of the suite.

Jaye Marie is one-half of the writing partnership, Anita & Jaye Dawes.

Jaye will often be found around the blogging community and social media and is very generous about sharing all our posts. You can find out more about Jaye and enjoy posts and book reviews on her blog Jaye’s books and reviews can be found on Amazon

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Jaye requested something from the 1980s which offered me an excuse for a walk down memory lane….so I selected Take My Breath Away by Berlin.. for lovers of Top Gun.. and to remind you that they are making a sequel.

Lisa Thomson is a recent and welcome addition to the Cafe and Bookstore.

Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce. “Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. You can find out more about Lisa on her website  You can find and read the reviews for Lisa’s books on Amazon

Lisa requested American Pie by Don McLean and explains: So much music means everything to me but the last month it’s been this song. It reminds me of my childhood, a time when my family was close.Courtesy of maildavenow

You can buy Don McLean’s music on Amazon

And my final request comes from Dolly Aizenman of Kool Kosher Kitchen blog and cookery book.

Dolly is now semi-retired, loves to cook, and has time on her hands to share recipes and exchange new food ideas. Find out more, including the fabulous recipes from around the world on Dolly’s website  You can find Kool Kosher Kitchen and reviews on Amazon

Dolly requested Yesterday by The Beatles courtesy of Various Artists – Topic

Thank you so much for tuning in and for all the comments and shares for the End of Summer Posts.

There is one final celebration and that is tomorrow morning, just after midnight, when Paul Andruss, who has been on an extended break, shares a brand new post written to bring this week long party to a close.