Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pumpkin Pie, the Perfect Food

Really—if you want the single most perfect food—I think pumpkin pie is it. Eggs for protein, milk for dairy, pumpkin for vegetable, and sugar for dessert. What more do we need? A meal in a slice.

Eating pumpkin pie leftovers for lunch the day after Thanksgiving, and I mean ONLY pumpkin pie for lunch, we dubbed it the perfect food.

It’s too bad pumpkin pie is mentally reserved for Thanksgiving. I say I’ll make it at other times, but then I forget.

Pumpkin pie is a big hit with my family; I do make an exceptionally good one, if I do say so myself.

Here are my secrets:

Secret #1—Double the spices, and make the ginger a generous double portion. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, but easy on the nutmeg (it’s gritty).

Secret #2—Add an extra egg, which makes three eggs per pie. Ellie, an American neighbor when I lived in England, gave me this tip.  Pumpkin pie is, after all, a custard pie, so why not load it up with eggs to make sure it sets nicely.

Secret #3— Use only the best shortening for the pie crust. (My husband says, “Use lard.”) And don’t overwork the crust; it gets tough. But then, your mother probably told you about pie crusts.

Aside from forgetting the sugar one year, which you read about last week, here’s my most memorable pumpkin pie memory.

Living in England as a twenty-something, I at least had enough sense not to run up the American flag on the Fourth of July, unlike the Americans across the street—but I did invite my English neighbors over for Thanksgiving dinner. They were very gracious and indulged me.

Sally, however, wasn’t known for her tact. When I proudly brought out my beautiful pumpkin pies over which I had slaved—making the puree from scratch, since there was no canned puree to be had—Sally screwed up her face and said, “Squash pie? That’s not a dessert.”

I wanted to laugh—and upend the pie on her head for a hat.

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Thanksgiving is a time for…well…thanks.

In between the cynicism and stress I am thankful. I know it should be the other way around. It should be—there’s cynicism and stress sprinkled in the thankfulness, but it’s tough. The world is relentless, and we people, being people, make it hard for ourselves and others.

It’s like the Thanksgiving I forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie. Expecting dessert, I bit into the pie—and got vegetable. Ick!

I have to say, and this is politically incorrect, but the sugar and spice and anything nice comes from the Lord. If any of you readers aren’t there…if you’re willing…read the Bible, the book of John for starters, and just see…

So, I’m thankful—for Jesus—and that we don’t live where the church is persecuted…that we have enough…that I have hope: the assurance of things not seen…that this earthly world isn’t the end of the story.

This Thanksgiving we’ll have our family with us around the table—and we’ll give thanks.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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British Response to the US Election—It’s a Joke, Love

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.(You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

PS: Only share this with friends who have a good sense of humour (NOT humor)!

* * * * *


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Writing as Worship

Dry, shriveled leaves blowing down the alley. Hard, scraping noise in the dark. The sound caught my attention and found a place to hold on.

I’ve felt dry. Since submitting my novel to the Operation First Novel contest, I’ve felt withered—disconnected—in general, and from the Lord. I thought it might be just the letdown of completing a huge fourteen-month work during which I was happily cloistered from reality. But it’s more than that.

I realized writing is an act of worship for me—a gift I give back to the Lord—and I miss it.

I’ve said and prayed that I rely on the Lord for every breath. And for every word.

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV

It was a blessed time, writing my novel—in a nearly constant loop of seeking and praising the Lord.

Now I’m in the praying-about-the-next-story phase, casting for the starting point. I have to remember that for some, the waters part before they take a step—others have to stick their toe in, and then the river parts.

I picture myself, sitting on my heels in the presence of  the Lord, with my gift of writing in a wooden box before me. I shove the box out to the Lord. The world pulls it back to me. But I keep pushing it out, until finally I take my hands off of it, close my eyes, and watch and pray while I wait. Worshipping.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency—Oh My!

A healthy Skye—she’ll get there again.

We’ve got a very sick dog. After a month and a half of symptoms and eight pounds weight loss, we got the diagnosis of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI).

Skye is producing almost no digestive enzymes. That means she’s hungry all the time but starving since she’s been getting little nutrition from her food. I feel like a bad parent in that it took so long to get her diagnosed, but we had to run through all the logical rule outs.

We had no idea how sick she really was. Throughout all this she’s been her usual energetic self: chasing around the yard with BFF Larry, eager to run after the ball and frisbee, celebrating Packer touchdowns.

Our vet has been very helpful. She’s getting Skye into a study on EPI at Texas A & M University. The benefit of the study is free blood work and supplements for about four months, plus we’re helping further the science in the field.

I’m writing this because it’s pretty much all I can think about right now. I’ve learned more about the pancreas than I ever wanted to know, and I’ve examined more poo than I ever, ever wanted to. I’m looking forward to a day when, after the good-morning-kiss, the first thing my husband and I say to each other isn’t related to how the dog ate or…well…you know.

The initial shock of the lifelong treatment cost has settled to a dull, aching throb in the wallet. The enzyme supplement is shockingly expensive, but the internet has turned up some sources that will save considerable money.

The good news is: she should be fine. Skye started the supplement three days ago, and it’s looking hopeful—and you know what I’m looking at to judge that!

Here’s a link to a website all about Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. The “before” pictures are pretty grim, but the “after” pictures are encouraging.

If any of you out there in Cyber World have dealt with this illness in dogs, I’d appreciate your comments, tips, and any helpful links.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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