Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Birthday

My dearly beloved was born on Christmas Day. I strongly suspect that has something to do with his general attitude about the Christmas season. Bah Humbug pretty much sums it up. Last year we spent Christmas/his birthday with his children in Boston. We spent a wonderful week with his son, daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Aren't they all beautiful? It was a very nice Christmas/birthday! As long as I've known him, I've suspected that he secretly likes Christmas. He's just too manly to admit it. We celebrate Christmas in the morning and his birthday in the afternoon. He's bound to feel cheated. His mother told me that when he was a child they tried to celebrate his birthday in June so he'd have a seperate celebration. But when people asked how old he was, 5 1/2 just didn't cut it. So it went back to Christmas Day. Maybe he was disappointed when he got old enough to realize all the decorations and celebrations weren't just for him? So this post is for you, honey. It's not wrapped in Christmas paper and not a single jingle bell on it. Just wishing you a Happy Birthday. You da man! Love you, Me

Merry Christmas to My Children

I forced my children to pose in these homemade fleese scarves we made last year. You can see how thrilled they look :). We made them from leftover material from the fleese blankets we made. I think my daughter-in-law thought of making the scarves. She's quite handy with making things. They are all in other places this year. So - I'm sending a Merry Christmas via blog to my sweet children. I wish for you long, happy and prosperous lives. I love you!

Remembering Christmas Past

Christmas Day was spent at my grandmother’s house when I was a child. Really through my young adulthood, until her death in 1994. She insisted on it. I didn’t understand until I was older that she pretty much made everyone come to her house on Christmas. To me, it was just what we always did. All of her sons and their families were dutifully at her house on Christmas. I’m not sure anyone questioned her authority. She decorated – really decorated. The photo in this post is perfect of her. It’s how I remember her, especially at Christmas, with all the frills, lights, candles and garland she could fit into her house. It didn’t seem to matter that she was living in a mill town in Georgia and her husband was a barber. She had my grandfather, and after his death, my uncle take her into Atlanta to Rich’s to do her shopping. She was a lady and she would have the nicer things. Period. She wasn’t a bad person. She had a difficult childhood and a strong will and with all sons, she was not going to be take a back seat to anyone. I’m not sure she wasn’t right, she set up a family tradition that contributed considerably to the closeness of the family and some very fond memories. She worked us all hard. There were no excuses for not contributing. That was expected too. She raised 5 hard-working, very fine, honorable and just basically good sons. So she obviously did some thing right. That was Christmas. We got up in the morning. Daddy always made us wait in the hall while he got his movie camera out (the kind with the huge hot lamps), when he had everything set up, we could come into the living room and see what Santa had laid out for us during the night. Then we all got ready and went to my grandmothers for the evening and opened presents again. One or the other of my uncles always had a prank gift for someone. My uncles were all hilarious. They played as hard as they worked. After dinner the men would go and sit on the porch and smoke and tell tall tales. The women went to the kitchen and cleaned and prepared for opening gifts. When I was very young I could go out on the porch with my granddaddy and uncles. I always liked going out there with them. They talked about more interesting things than the women did and they thought I was cute. They would sit me on their laps and let me light their cigarettes with those old-fashioned propane lighters and laugh at everything I said and did. I loved them very much. As I grew older, I had to help in the kitchen, but escaped as quickly as I could to go back out to the porch with the men. I remember the last real Christmas there. The last one before they all started leaving. It was crowded in her house, as usual. I remember we were at her table and she was opening presents. My daddy’s youngest brother had gone into the kitchen to get more coffee and was coming back into the dinning room, I bumped into him as he came through the door. He made some kind of joke out of it, as he always did, I wish I remembered what he said. What I do remember is that I looked straight into his eyes and I remember behind his laughter I saw a sadness. He was beautiful, he had strikingly beautiful eyes, and he was so very young. It was the last time I ever saw him. A week later he died of a massive heart attack at 47 years of age. He was the first. My father died just before Christmas the next year. Within a couple of years, 3 of the 5 brothers were dead. All died suddenly of massive heart attacks, just like their father did. Nothing was ever the same after that. My grandmother still insisted on the Christmas gatherings at her house. But it was different now. The laughter was more forced, if it was there at all. Unspoken sadness inevitably hung over the gatherings. The two surviving sons talked together and became closer than ever. My grandmother outlived all but one of her sons. When her 4th son died, she seemed to decide it was time to go herself. Eventhough she had been remarkably healthy during her life, she died within just a few months. We haven’t had Christmas together with that side of the family since then. I’ve rarely seen them at all since then. I find true joy in my family and friends who are in my life now. But during the Christmas season I always find myself thinking back on those years with a certain amount of melancholy. I am always sad for the times that have been tucked away into the past. Times that I had no idea would ever end. I miss the people who have left. I miss them, everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Open Trackback Weekend

I found this Open Track Back Party on Cao's Blog . Following the links in her Open Track Back Blogroll, I found some very interesting posts and new blogs of interest. I linked this post back to the links below to see if I can figure out how this works. And because I'm proud of my son.

Caos Blog Stop The ACLU The Right Nation

More in a little bit - we are watching the Andy Williams Christmas Show. I think I've seen it at least a dozen times. I think I saw it when it was new.

I'm finding myself wondering who would be caught dead in those outfits nowadays :)

Christmas at Arlington

Greater Love Hath No Man .... Than To Lay Down His Life ...

The picture speaks for itself. I found this at Freedom Folks Trackback url: Freedom Folks

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Behold, the Death of Unions

Ladies and Gentlemen, pull up a chair, pop some popcorn and grab a drink. Sit back and watch. We are all eye witnesses to the death of unions in America, at least for the time being. This is one of those, What Are They Thinking kind of moments in life. You know ... when you can't for the life of you figure out what the thought process is of someone who is doing something that is obviously self-destructive. I'm sure the union bosses in New York think this is perfect timing to put the squeeze on New York City. I'm sure they are thinking they are going to strong-arm New York City into caving into their demands. I'm sure the powers that be in New York City are thrilled to death to have this opportunity to get rid of the overpaid, over-benefited workers. They can and will be replaced with non-union workers at much less expense to the tax-payers of the city. Unions served a purpose at one time, but they have been dying out for a while now. Their power slowly eroding with ever increasing and unreasonable demands of the work place. Now, right before our virtual eyes, the last strong hold is going the way of other unions. They are strong arming for 'rights' that most of us can only dream of having. Their 'rights' are costing the small business man in New York City his Christmas season earnings. Their 'rights' are making the average man in New York City have to increase his work day by hours to walk to work - in the cold. They make $100,000 per year - bus drivers! They are striking for better pension guarantees. They say they 'should' be able to retire at age 55, not 62. They say they 'should' get a pension plan that requires the city to put $23,000 into their pension per year. They say they have the 'right' and 'deserve' this. They say they are doing this to save all unions. If this strike successes, unions will regain some of their power. If New York City breaks the union, it's over for unions. It is a death struggle. My opinion is that the union will be broken. There is no sympathy for the exorbitant demands of the union bosses. Most Americans would love to make $100,000 a year in a job they don't have to take home with them (I would!). Most Americans would love to be able to retire at age 55 (I would!). It's hard to feel sympathy for an inarticulate guy on TV talking about his 'right' to retire at age 55. This guy says, 'I shouldn't have to work till I'm too old to enjoy retirement.' He said this seriously. I figure one day someone will come into my office and I'll be slumped over my laptop. They'll move me out of the way and start looking for someone else to run the place. The sympathy I feel for these guys is that they are inarticulate and seemingly not very well informed. They have followed their union bosses to their demise. They are replaceable, as we all are. Unions will come back in 20 or so years, when the pendulum swings back in the other direction. Stay tuned. It's gonna get ugly up in here.

Quote of the Day

The gallery in which the reporters sit has become a fourth estate of the realm. Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay 1800–1859

Being the Boss Without a Voice ....

I am soooo sick .... I don't expect anyone to particularly care about reading this. But I can't complain to anyone else, this is my blog, so I figure I can complain here. I am sick. I woke up this morning sicker than I was yesterday. I tried to speak to my husband and an awful croaking sound came out of my throat. Yuck. So I whispered. 'What?', he asked. 'I can't talk', I croaked out the obvious in a barely audiable whisper. 'You sound terrible', he said, again stating the obvious, 'poor baby, you're sick aren't you'. I glared at him. He left for work. Later, he wondered out loud if he could keep me this way. He thought that was funny. I croaked out, 'You'd miss me if I was gone.' 'What?', he asked. I tried again, 'What?'. Again I tried. 'I can't understand you, just rest your voice.' What voice? I gave him my best version of the dirtiest look I could muster. He just laughed. I called work to have my assistant call to reschedule some appointments. It's obviously pointless for me to meet with people today and I can't be sure I'll be okay tomorrow. Plus, I'm probably contagious. Someone answered the phone. I said, 'This is ...., may I speak to ... please?'. 'What?', came the reply. I repeated. She put me on hold. For a loooonnnnggg time. I hung up, cleared my throat, determined to put on my best 'boss' commanding voice and called again. Someone else answered and we went through the same rigamarole. I was put on hold again. For a long time again. I hung up again. I was steaming. I called one last time. This time my assistant answered. I was so relieved. I started telling her what I needed her to do. 'What?' she asked. I started again. 'I'm sorry, but I'm having difficulty understanding you,' she said, 'would you please repeat'. !!!!!!!!!! AGGGGHHHHHH. I croaked out, 'Stay at your desk, I'll email you'. I mustered up all my energy to get the words out and sound authoritative, but I'm sure I sounded more like a bad connection at the drive-thru of a fast food place. 'I'm sorry, will you repeat?', she asked. By this time I not only felt like death warmed over, I was irritated. So I deluged them all with emails. Phone etiquette being top on my list at that particular moment. I was bombared with emails in return. This appointment is rescheduled, they took care of this that and the other. They didn't realize it was me (I just wish I could express how much that irritated me). What did bosses do before email?

Picture of the Day

My Mother and two oldest sisters. My father took this photo with him during World War II.

My Mother, A Train Trip, Scarlett Fever and Her Marine

My mother recently found a letter she wrote to her mother during World War II. It was in it's original envelop, addressed to her mother's formal name as was proper then. The address included a PO box and the name of the town. No long hyphenated zip codes or complicated addresses. Just name, box number, town and state. She found the letter in a cedar chest that had belonged to my mother's sister. I guess it had been tucked away in the bottom of that chest for 60 years. It had been mailed from San Diago Califonia to Georgia in April 1944. The letter began 'Dearest Mother', in my mother's familiar handwriting. She then wrote 9 pages asking about people at home, particularly the two young daughters she had left in her mother and sister's care. Most of the letter she told her mother of her adventures on the train traveling to California and all that had happened since she'd gotten there. 'I just got out of the hospital .... I was quarantined for 21 days.' she writes, explaining that she couldn't write letters while she was in the hospital because the paper couldn't be sterilized. My father was a great storyteller. A real pro. He could make anything interesting and make you laugh at whatever he decided to weave into a story. He was of Irish decent - do you suppose that had anything to do with his storytelling? I remember him telling about that trip Mother made to San Diago. She had gone all the way out there to see him before he was shipped out to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese. He was a Marine and he was leaving for no one knew how long. Mother contracted Scarlett Fever on the train trip and was quarantined. He used to tell about bringing his buddies to see his beautiful wife. They would look through the windows of the hospital and he'd point out which one she was. All they could see were her feet. He pointed her out with great pride and his friends would say, 'Well, she has pretty feet.' Mother wrote in her letter that the doctors had new sulfa drugs that made Scarlett Fever not so bad. She writes about how expensive California is, 'Every time you eat out here it costs $1', and even that doesn't buy much food. She wrote about Balboa Park and all the animals she saw there that she'd never seen before. She wrote, 'It makes me feel more confident in Victory for the U.S. to see so many Servicemen taking a big part in the (church) service.' Especially since they were 'in a town with bar rooms and gambling places on every corner.' She also wrote that on the train ride the only people misbehaving were civilians, not Servicemen. It seemed her attitude was that our Servicemen were fine, upstanding, brave, strong and would save us from our enemies. My 25 year old father got furloughed to take my mother home on the train. A long cross-country train trip for a short furlough. My 21 year old mother would stay home with two young daughters while her husband and brothers and friends were off to war. When I read that yellowed letter, it struck me how young she was. How young they both were. That was my mother long before I was born. Her words made me think about the fact that they didn't know the outcome of the war then, it was uncertain. They didn't know what my father was going to have to live through before he got home again, or if he'd get home again. Some of their friends didn't come home and some came home broken with wounds that wouldn't heal for the rest of their lives. They didn't question the sacrifices they had to make. Our country had been attacked and the country had to be protected. We've never been called upon to make those kinds of sacrifices and can't really comprehend it. As I was reading the letter, Mother told me she and Daddy had destroyed the letters they had written to each other while he was gone to war. They were so young and, I suppose, wanted their communications to be theirs alone. Or perhaps to put those years behind them in some symbolic way. She seemed glad to have found that letter. It reminded her of things she'd forgotten. I was glad to read it. It gave me a glimpse of who my parents were in those years. And now she has her own blog - RuthLace - go figure.

Cough, Cough

I started feeling sick yesterday and felt worse today. I went to the doc today and he said that I was, indeed, sick. I have bronchitis. I went back to work after my doctor's appointment and everybody there kept telling me to go home. I can't imagine why they wanted me to leave (cough, sneeze, sniffle, sputter, moan and groan). So I stayed tucked away in my office a couple more hours and finally left to go home. At least everybody stayed out of my office. I should make a recording of myself like this for future use when I want everyone to leave me alone. (g) I was really just hanging around till my prescription got filled cause I knew I wouldn't want to go back out to get it. After work I took my prescribed antibiotic and thought I'd piddle around the house and get a few things done that I've neglected terribly over the last few weeks. I was home around 4 p.m. and I'm hardly ever home that early in the day. A load of laundry got put in the washer, I picked up the broom and sat it down again without using it. I decided I'd feel better if I took a shower, so I did. Then I sat down at the computer. Long story short ... I just spent the entire evening roaming around the internet and playing with Paint Shop Pro trying to get a new template going for this blog. How pathetic is that!?! Totally useless time spent. About as useless as this post! Oh well, I'm supposed to be resting anyway. buonas noches

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quote of the Day

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

Monday, December 19, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, so much for slimming around blogdom anonymously. I have a large family and at least half of them have blogs! lol It's hopeless. The story of my life actually. Thank you for the happy birthday wishes from The Median Sib (who has been despicable and posted photos of me, one in a diaper and one covered in chocolate!). Daddy's Roses has posted a very nice birthday wish along with some Christmas trivia and info about a colonoscopy (do those things belong together?). Thanks to both of you for your birthday wishes :) My mother is over at RuthLace with an excellent post about a Chaplains report from Iraq. She also has some wonderful tells of her childhood. She has a wide variety of interesting articles on her blog, but not a mention of my birthday! That's okay though, she wrote me a very nice email reminding me of how pretty my daddy thought I was when I was born! lol My brother, Alone on a Limb didn't mention it, but he's male so he can't help it. I have a cousin on a blog too - but she's not likely to remember my birthday. I don't remember hers so I can't hold that against her! She's a Cozy Reader and has really been dressing up her blog a lot lately. I guess that's why she didn't think about my birthday. She says she's been sick and her son's inlaws are in town - but I see how it is! There are probably others, but they shall remain annonymous :) My husband actually remembered my birthday today. That's new and different. I think he saw the email my mother sent cause he mentioned it when I came home briefly after lunch. He took me out to dinner tonight, which was nice. Both of my children wished me happy birthday first thing this morning. Even my wonderful son who is overseas. It doesn't get better than THAT. Speaking of my husband and birthdays. Until the last few years, he always put my birthday down as December 21st on everything, so that when I tried to use insurance, for instance, it was turned down because the birthday didn't match. I've finally pounded it into his head - the 19th!!!! If for no other reason then that I can go to the doctor without having to go through an ordeal to get the insurance straightened out every time. He tries, but he doesn't remember anybody's birthdays. His children have to call him and remind him when it's their birthdays. It's pitiful really. But he means well :)

The American South: America's Whipping Boy

Everything that is wrong with this nation is due to the despicable influence of The South. It's true. Ask anyone from another part of the country. In a previous post I mention an author whose whole premise seems to be that The South has infected the rest of the country. He seems to feel it's up to what he calls 'the creative class' to stop the virus from overtaking the country and leaving 'the creative class' isolated and outnumbered. That got me to thinking about how The South is perceived. Election night 2004. I watched as the commentators commented as the poll results were coming in, with no attempt to mask their dismay. I heard Chris Wallace say something to the effect of, 'It looks like most of the country is voting like the south!', with astonishment and disbelief in his voice. One morning a couple of years ago I heard Katie Couric commenting on a news report that had just aired about racial conflict somewhere. She seemed disgusted and shook her head and questioned/commented as to why The South is 'like that'. She was corrected by her co-host. This incident had happened in a northern state (I don't remember which one). She looked confused for a second and then just shook it off. She didn't get it. I can't tell you the relief I feel when I hear news of a KKK rally and find out it was up north - Michigan or Wisconsin. Thank God it's not in Georgia or Alabama. That would be fodder for endless analysis of the evils of The South. There was a news story that occured close by where I live. It involved a young black man. The national press took it and ran with it. The spin the story got in the national press was that it was 'The South' punishing a black man for getting a scholarship to college. Of course, if that were true, there would be all kinds of punishing going on down here. Lots of people get scholarships to college. We'd be slap worn out from punishing. This young man was painted as a victim. I happen to know the rest of the story, and the rest of the story was certainly NOT related in the news. He was not a victim. Some of the leaders of the national black community came to this area to shoot reports about this incident. It was ludicrous and embarrassing. Our black community booted them out of town. I was proud of them for that! One of the news reports I particular remember was done by a nationally known reporter. He stood in front of a raggedy ol' barn that had a confederate flag painted on the side of it for the entire segment. He told his national audience about how backward we are and how hard we work to keep 'young black men in their place.' That really was news, it was news to the people who live in this area. Now, I live close by, like I said. I have NEVER seen a barn with a confederate flag painted on the side of it like that. Since I saw that segment, I've kinda kept an eye out for that barn. I still haven't seen it. He had to have looked high and low to find an old run down barn with a confederate flag painted over the entire side of it around here. If there is one. I'm not saying there aren't any problems here. I know there are. I'm not saying there aren't confederate flags here and there. There are. But come on! Well, as my husband says, The South is the nations best kept secret, otherwise everybody would be moving down here and that would not be a good thing. Let them keep thinking if they come down here they'll have to wrestle with albino banjo picking hillbillies. We'll just keep our little secret.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Monthly Marathon

The Median Sib is starting a Monthly Marathon. Sounds like a great idea. Check it out.

The New Year is almost here, and I have a good idea for those of us who want some inspiration to exercise regularly. Let's do a MONTHLY MARATHON. I'm going to work on a blogroll for it. Here are the conditions to join the blogroll: (1) For 2006, you promise to walk, run, skip, hop, or crawl 26.2 miles each month. This is a very do-able goal. You can cover 1 miles 26+ days each month, 2 miles 13+ days per month...You get the idea. (2) You will check in each month with your total mileage for the month. Who's interested? Let me know, and I'll get the blogroll started by the first of the year!

America's Earliest Terroists

I ran across Collecting My Thoughts today (well, actually, I went there because she had left some comments on mine). She has a lot of interesting and informative information. Facts, in fact, that are well-researched and documented. If you are really interested in understanding some of the issues our society is facing dealing with, you can find a good collection of articles in her blogs. She touches on a wide variety of subjects. I found an article I found particularly interesting having to do with the Our Earliest Battles With Islamic Terrorists. She states, among other things, that in 1786 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. They met to negotioate a peace treaty and protect the United States from the threat of Barbary piracy.

"These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, "that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams came to learn back in 1786, the situation becomes a lot clearer when you listen to the stated intentions and motivations of the terrorists and take them at face value.

It's worth reading and thinking about.

The American South: The Scourge of the World

I was happily reading blogs a little while ago, feeling a little guilty that I was wasting time when I have work that needs doing. But I was adequately suppressing my guilt to be able to keep surfing. The TV was on Book TV and I was basically ignoring it. UNTIL, I heard the speaker make a statement to this effect, 'Our society as a whole is moving dangerously close to the same type of thinking we see in the South.' That got my attention, my ears perked up. I even left the computer for a moment and went over to another chair in the room to listen to what this guy was saying. Richard Florida, a professor of some sort, was lecturing on his book, 'The Flight of The Creative'. He made statements like, 'Conservatives are frieghtened of creative people.' 'Creative people need to come together to educate the conservatives and the southerners to broaden their minds.' 'Conservatism equals fearful.' etc. By Golly Gezz. We sure are ignorant. Being from the South, I have known that for a very long time. There are two incidents that stick out from my childhood that were light-bulb moments when I realized that we, as Southerners, were different than the rest of the nation. And, more importantly, that we were inferior. The first time was when I was 7 or 8 years old. My father had taken us on a trip 'up north'. We were in Pennsylvania on a beach and I remember my father had given us some money to buy a coke from a vender there. I went up to the vender and ordered a 'coke'. He acted like he couldn't understand me. I repeated myself. He still couldn't understand. I said it again. He said I didn't talk right. I remember feeling humiliated and confused. I went to my father crying. My father went to the vender and said something (I don't know what). The vender got all red-faced and mad looking and I got my coke. My father told me the guy couldn't understand perfectly good English and it wasn't my fault. He told me that guy didn't talk right, not me. The other time was in an English class in elementary school. I remember the teacher was teaching us to diagram sentences. She was a stickler for doing it correctly and for speaking properly. We all moaned and groaned when she told us to do it again and again until we did it correctly. One day, she explained. She told us that Northern schools were better than Southern schools. She told us that Northerners think they are smarter and better than us. She told us that we must speak properly and learn and be well educated because it was up to us to not be the sterotype we were painted to be. I remember her little talk to us well. It was the first time I understood that we were different and inferior to our northern brothers. I have seen proof of this repeatedly throughout my life, especially as an adult. It would take a book to write all the incidents and nuances down. Mr. Richard Florida of the Creative Class is not the first to use Southern synonymously with ignorant, backward, racist, close-minded, stupid and/or well, NON-creative. For the record, I have an education (higher education), I come from a family of well educated people, I have all my teeth, I wear shoes, and we have inside toilets. So there.

The Healing Power of Chocolate

I went to a big whoop-te-do of a Christmas party this evening. Got all dolled up and looked pretty dadgume good if I do say so myself. The party went even better than I had hoped. We got 'er done. It was a great success and I'm still hyped. Preparations have been going on for weeks, painting, cleaning and planning. We had a decorator come in who said we needed more 'bling-bling' and he blinged the living daylights out of us. We were well blinged and it looked cheerful, tasteful and festive. He did a good job. I've worried and worked long hours and planned and worried some more. I've dreamed about it and thought of things I had not planned for and worried some more. Thought of things right up until people started arriving. I had a phone in both hands all day today. My husband commented this afternoon that I had a phone in both hands and was balancing one on my head all day. I haven't slept much and have eaten less. I didn't eat at all today. As the last of the guests were leaving tonight, I finally made my way over to the buffet. Wow! It was spactacular. The caterer I had hired really did a world-class job. The layout was stunning. The tables were artistically decorated with huge magnolia leaves among other things. And the food. The FOOD! I guess I was just standing there looking at it because all of the sudden I was aware of the caterer handing me a plate and saying, 'Ms. Beth, I'll be insulted if you don't eat some of everything.' Oh gee - I hate that!!! I wouldn't want to insult. She started loading the plate she had handed me with a little bit of everything. Salmon, meatballs, sauces that were to die for, some pineapple cheese ball type concoction, little stuffed tomatoes, all sorts of healthy and absolutely delicious delicate combinations of tastes. Even the punch was delicious. But, as my adrenaline levels started going down, and I was finally able to sit down for a minute, I kept eyeing the chocolates. Little squares of cheese cake, baklava, and little squares of some sort of chocolate nut pastry. I dutifully ate a little of everything (not wanting to insult the caterer). But it was the chocolate nut pastry things that kept my attention. I ate 3 of them. THREE! I'm a pig. But, oh my, all the planning and preparation had resulted in a very good party, the task was done, the fun had been had, the mission had been more than accomplished, the worry and work was over and I was starving. When faced with a decision between healthy food and chocolate, I will always choose chocolate. Today was a very good day. buona notte