History Leisure Reading Recipes

Veterans Day Parade

What makes for a perfect summer day?  Sunny weather in the 80-degree range?  Smiling faces? A parade?!?!  Now that may sound like the makings for a wonderful Fourth of July in our Northern climes, but here in the small town of Anthem, Arizona, it’s what we get for Veterans Day.  On the Saturday prior to 11/11, we celebrate with a pretty large parade.  But typical of small towns, the participants are friends, neighbors, local schools, clubs and businesses. It attracts old people, young people, dancers, singers, bands, Smokey the Bear, and of course, veterans and people thankful for veterans.  It’s so not-fancy, but so sincere, I just could not love it more.

A float full of kids
Somebody’s mascot

I am so touched over and over with how respected our veterans seem to be.  As I was observing the parade sitting near a vet wearing a hat also watching the parade, an entire float of teenaged school kids emptied and each one approached the man, thanked him and shook his hand.  My heart was so full it reached my throat.

This year’s Grand Marshals were all submariners.

Grand Marshals

In addition to the parade, Anthem boasts a State Historical Site, the Anthem Veterans Memorial.  Each Veterans Day and Memorial Day services are held honoring our military. Here is the description from the artist’s, RPJ’s site:

The significance of each veteran’s day, 11-11, is central to the design of the memorial. At precisely 11:11 a.m., each year on 11-11, the sun aligns through the elliptical holes in each of the five marble pillars (each representing a branch of the U.S. military) in order to perfectly illuminate a round mosaic inlaid into the bricks; that of the Great Seal of the United States. The symbolism of the five pillars standing in formation in order to protect the United States and to complete the solar illumination is representative of U.S. military personnel working together in all regards, in the security and defense of American citizens.

Almost 11:11 a.m. on 11/10 Anthem Veterans Memorial

There are commerative brick pavers around the site bearing the names and ranks of military members.  I purchased one of the first available in my dad’s memory and it is very special to me.  The memorial is part of my exercise route and I visit it (and thus, my dad) frequently.  My husband and I walked to the park Sunday to take a picture of the illumination at 11:11 a.m. since it is impossible to take a picture during the service on Veterans Day itself.  I was so surprised to see about 100 people there with their phones and cameras ready by the time we got there.  Many were vets acknowledging each other and many were disabled, so I know it wasn’t easy for them to get there.  The mood was quiet and respectful.

Anthem Veterans Parade

One little note, our good friends Barb and Stu are both vets and I frequently see strangers asking Stu if he served, but never do I see Barb being asked, and she’s the one who retired from the Air Force!  It’s not so obvious who our women vets are, but I know many and my hat is off to them!  I also salute the spouses and families of those who served.  Every one of them makes a sacrifice.

What I’m Reading

For some reason this was a big reading week for me and I got a lot started and some finished.  I think the key is that I actually got into some books that I was interested in and thought were good.  Here’s what’s going on.  I’m currently reading Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell.  I read every single thing that man writes.  He is so brilliant, I am constantly bringing up the stories he’s written and misquoting him, I’m sure.  He makes me feel so smart when I read him.  This book really talks about more than encounters with strangers, but how our default mechanisms work in relation to others.  Very interesting.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is another dang Nazi book which I need to stop reading, but I did like it.  It is inspired by the author’s Jewish Hungarian family, and while we know the outcome of so many Jews during WWII, this isn’t just an awful saga that leaves you dreading the next page. Weaving through the whole saga is a love story which is uplifting.  I will say I don’t personally have what it takes to read every word in a 700-page tome, so there was some skipping going on.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is highly rated and I liked it.  The nature writing is quite beautiful; the love story – meh.  Again, it’s a long book and I did some skipping.  Especially over the poetry.  But, spoiler alert – you need to read the last poem.

I am currently  listening to The Institute by Stephen King.  It’s about 20 hours long and I’m in about 4 or 5 hours, but I’m hooked!

Here’s an update on my review of the audiobook The Last Talk with Lola FayeI likened it to a Patricia Highsmith, but I need to amend that and SPOILER ALERT, read no further if you’re worried about the end.  The author takes you down a dreaded road, but there is a surprise ending – and it’s a good surprise.  Thomas H. Cook, where have you been all my life and I can’t wait to read you again!

My sister, Monique, recommended a Neal Bascomb and I ended up with the audio version of The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War.  Loved it and loved the narrator.  It’s pretty sad when a WWI tale is refreshing after so many WWII tales.  Ha!

Looking for Christmas gifts for the readers in your life? Ree Drummond,  John Grisham and Lee Child all have new books out.  Gotta love the timing – just in time for the holidays. The Guardians is the new thriller by Grisham and gets great reviews on GoodreadsBlue Moon is #24 in the Jack Reacher series.  It looks like reviews on Goodreads are mixed, but still good.  I don’t know, I don’t think I can give the guy up. It doesn’t really matter what the reviews are, Jack Reacher and I have a thing going on. Don’t worry, my husband knows all about the affair.  Ree Drummond is absolutely darling in my estimation and I wish her the very best.  The fact that she is sitting on top of New York Times Best Seller list makes me smile.  Pioneer Woman Cooks:  The New Frontier gets lower reviews than some of her previous books but still might be in contention as a Christmas gift.

What I’m Eating

I don’t get every gadget on the market for my kitchen.  For one thing our kitchen is not really big.  For the second thing, unless I’m raiding the pantry, I don’t really enjoy being in the kitchen.  Cooking – ugh, cleaning – ugh.  But, we eat at home almost every day.  We like controlling what we eat and find we enjoy food more at home than we do out.

However, one gadget we did get was the air fryer which has been a game changer for us.  My husband tends to like fried food and for years we have oven fried, which is pretty tasty, healthier  and very easy. But air frying really is better and for small batches of food, so convenient.  We have a small fryer, really more perfect for single servings, but it’s so fast, it is not problem making two or more batches. It’s inexpensive and easy to store away in the pantry when we’re not using.

Air fried chicken

Part of our regular rotation is chicken fingers and fries.  This meal would please anyone over the age of three.  Because my husband has Celiac Disease, I make a gluten-free coating with cornflakes, a pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper just crushed semi-fine in the blender.  I use frozen chicken tenderloins from Trader Joes because they are already trimmed and thaw so quickly, but you could use any breast meat and trim it to size.  I coat the fryer with avocado oil, spray the chicken with a bit more oil and air fry for about 6 minutes and then turn and fry for a few more minutes.  You really have to check on them so they don’t get over done, but we like them crispy.  I use the same process with the fries.  Slice potatoes (or use frozen fries) spray with oil and toss in the fryer.  I always try to serve two vegetables with our meals and this one turned out beautiful.  Wonder what’s in the little red bowl?  Frank’s Hot Sauce.  I use that s*&% on everything.  Hahaha.

Air fried chicken, fries, fresh veggies and my mocktail

I mentioned before that my sister Susie has a mountain house with adorable cabin style furnishings.  Not sure if she’s celebrating Thanksgiving there or not, but this tablecloth is perfect.

I have had a long weekend thinking about our vets and feeling patriotic. I mean this sincerely when I say God bless us and keep us. Praying for the day when weapons are not needed and peace reigns.

4 Comment

  1. Love the tablecloth..and ordered it! Just clicked on the pic, and got it! Thank you!! I am excited to get it :). I have seen the Anthem memorial-so pretty. What an awesome parade. I work for USAA and get to work with our military members daily..what an honor! I have been thinking about an airfryer-it looks like it works well for you too. I may have to put that on my Christmas list. Thanks for the post!

    1. I hope you love your new table cloth. Is it for your beautiful mountain home or your beautiful home in “town”? We recently switched to USAA and are happy with them. I have seen you in action and you should be employee of the year!

  2. 1. Your memorial is a whole lot of awesome.
    2. The Invisible Bridge and Where the Crawdads Sing are both on my “top 20” favorite book lists.
    3. My air fryer was a game changer for me in the kitchen. I originally bought a cheaper one because I didn’t know if I would like/use it. I got a great Black Friday deal on a souped-up version.
    4. Miss you!

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