Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Punch Recipe

This is such a lovely time of year.  Love abounds in all its forms.  A favorite for us is being invited to an annual party where the focal point (for me) is this amazing punch.

They call it "Open House Punch" but in the days of yore, it was known as a "Singapore Sling."   Whatever you call it, here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

1 Fifth of Southern Comfort (Note for neophytes:  this means one whole bottle, not 1/5 of a bottle)
6 oz. frozen orange juice
6 oz. frozen lemonade
6 oz. lemon juice
3 liter bottle of 7 up or Sprite

Mix together and add ice (but not too much!)  Then garnish with colorful things such as orange slices and whole cranberries. 

Serve in a pretty glass punch bowl with some kind of large, decorative ladle.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Cat Whisperer

Written by Guest Blogger Lani Salisbury (age 14)

You may think that cats can't talk, but you are wrong, this cat spoke to me.  It was blistering sun and we were almost to our favorite park in La Grande, Oregon.  When we pulled up, my friend and I jumped out of the car and ran to the playground.

There he sat alone.  I asked my mom if we could keep him.

"No Lani, " she said.  "He's probably someone's cat that likes to play at the park."  It sounded reasonable, so we went on our way to Sun Valley for a week.
We had a terrific time in Sun Valley, but the day we drove home was nasty.  It was snowing really hard and it was icy.  We always stop at the same park on our way back, too.  At this point it was snowing and probably no more than 15 degrees outside.
I asked my mom if the cat were still there in the snow if we could take him home with us.  She said, "Yes.  But no cat would hang in the snow."
This time when we pulled up, I was out of the car before it was even stopped!  I sprinted to the play ground and started searching for the cat.  My mom and I searched through the whole loop of the park.  There was no cat.  My mom headed to the restroom, and I kept looking.  I climbed one of the play structures and started making a meowing sound.  Then ... in the silence of the new fallen snow ... I heard a Meow back!  My heart leaped as I ran, slipping and falling down the stairs, landed on my feet, and ran fast around the corner.  There he was!
After our brief reunion, I looked for my mom to show her.  She was astonished that I had found him!  I told her, "Ok, now let's go.  We're taking him like you said."
She surprised me when she turned around and said, "No, No, No, No, No!  I can't just take a cat out of a park in the middle of Oregon."
"But you promised,"  I kept trying to tell her.  "Besides no cat would be there in the snow a whole week later if he had a home."
She still kept saying no, and I kept arguing until we left.  With no cat.  Just a half an hour up the Blue Mountains my mom started wishing we had taken the cat.  I was mad at her now.  We drove home both wondering about him.
Once we arrived home, I started patrolling La Grand's weather on my phone.  It dropped every day.  Never rising past 10 degrees.  At least it was sunny though.  I told my mom all the temperatures and she was worried about the cat, too.
I just knew that cat was supposed to come home with us.  It was as if he was still "speaking to me."  Somehow we both knew it was meant to be.
My mom and I scouted the weather and made our plan for the next day.  We would make the 6-hour trip back to the park to see if that stray cat who "spoke" to me was still there.
We got up at 4:30 a.m. and left at 5:00 a.m.  The drive was easy but long.  When we got to the park, I ran to the play ground and looked then I meowed and meowed again.  My mom was talking, but I heard a faint noise.  I shushed her and listened.  That same cat came walking out from behind a concrete pile.  I rushed over and grabbed him.
The cat now named Thomas lives in our house and is very smart.  He knows 3 tricks.  He can high five, do jumps, and he can stand on his hind legs!
He can also curl up on the couch.
Note:  This is Lani's story as written.   I simply posted it on my blog.  She is our grand daughter; a good writer; and the very first guest blogger to appear on Skagit Leeks.  I am proud of her and delighted she would share her story with me to publish here.  D.Haase

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What Parachute?

** I wrote this post based on a story shared by someone very close to my heart.  It is not my story, but it could be yours or someone you know.  These are hard times. **

The iconic job hunter's guide "What Color is Your Parachute?" by Richard Bolles has been used and revised every year since 1975.

But if you're like me, your recent experience as a job seeker was pure free fall.  Just you and a big blue atmosphere, flying with arms spread open, wind racing through your hair, soaring on a wing and a prayer and trying to keep from crash landing.

Parachutes are ... well ... for someone else.  Someone with techie skills or a young fresh face.  Someone with program management credentials.  At least someone who had a resume that wasn't labeled "eclectic."

My relentless bush-whacking through the wild and treacherous border designed to deter Job Seekers from slipping into the coveted Land of the Employed was by far the most grueling, demeaning, and discouraging experience I've ever endured.  Me.  The one who started young with a lemonade stand and kept right on working at whatever jobs I could finagle, while getting good grades all through school, and even earning a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Given all that, my continued unemployed state at this point had to be my age (Forty-Something), or possibly the way a couple of my work history gaps were perceived.