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Posts Tagged ‘Great Depression’

Irish

This is written in deference to my Irish and Scotch-Irish heritage.  Those two heritages have clashed in the past, so it would stand to reason that I ought to be warring with myself, since my ancestors come from both sides.  Oh hell, at times, I feel like I am at war with myself.  I can get in an argument with myself and lose.  That takes talent … or at least a particular kind of personality.

I’m descended from common Irish and Scottish immigrants to the Americas.  I have both Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant mixed into me.  I was raised Protestant but I have my own forms of belief.  I’m also descended from the legendary Rob Roy MacGregor.  I’m descended from a group of Irish brothers that were thrown out of Ireland and sent to the Americas in the 1600s.  I’m descended from both Irish and Scottish business people that emigrated and sat on the early New York Stock Exchange and in early Congress.  I’m descended from poor Irish farmers that moved to the American plains, began thriving farms, and then struggled through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, some of them then moving to California in the 1930s as in John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath.

Roy has an Irish & French heritage.  I don’t know as much about his Irish background (nor does he), but he does know that it comes through his grandparents and that they were first generation American born.  These are the grandparents that raised him.  He, like me, has a strong bond to his Irish ancestors.

I understand that Ireland itself doesn’t really “celebrate” St Patrick’s Day and that the party-happy Americans have morphed it into a wild drunken free-for-all.  For that, I apologize to my Irish heritage.  I also understand the difference between the warring “green” and “orange”, and I understand why I should be warring with myself and why my ancestors would be warring with each other because of me.

However, in spite of and because of all that, I salute my hot natured, fighting Irish and Scottish heritage (with a very healthy amount of stubborn German mixed in for good measure).  I will be watching the movie, Rob Roy, this weekend.  I’ll make corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, soda bread, and bread pudding … and I’ll toast you all with a good bottle of Guinness with an Irish whiskey chaser.

Sláinte

 

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We’ve all seen blaming, finger pointing, and politicization on the newest “end-of-western-civilization-as-we-know-it” crisis with which the government is trying to scare the public.  Today I saw a “march” on the State Capitol that was essentially saying someone else should pay for whatever the particular group marching wants to do, because “sequestration isn’t fair”.  Hmm, what it boils down to is that they don’t feel that it’s fair to them.  This is a regular occurrence unfortunately here on Sacramento’s Capitol Mall.

Guess what?  If we as a nation, a culture, a society, a group, a family, whatever wish to survive, it must be shared responsibility, and everyone must share in what needs to be done, not just one person or one group or one anything having to do it all for a few.  Since when has the general public become “entitled” to the fruits of what others have worked hard to obtain?  Everyone needs to understand that the only way the entire will survive is if the entire does something about it.  Otherwise, the entire will collapse.

Perhaps this is just too simple for some to grasp.  To me, it seems like plain and simple old-fashioned COMMON SENSE … or as my parents and grandparents would have called it … HORSE SENSE.  However, like my daddy always used to say … COMMON SENSE AIN’T THAT COMMON.

I work for the State Government.  I am starting to see the sequestration cuts that will go on in my department and division.  Even before this, we as State Employees have already endured cuts in the form of not only paycuts but also “furlough days” (which are really just different words for “paycut”).  We are seeing that this may affect us yet again not only as employees but also as a provider to the public.  I have no problem per se with the fact that it will since this will slow down the out-of-control spending that the Federal Government seems to enjoy.  However, we who have already endured cuts and higher taxes should only have to receive more IF AND ONLY IF other areas, other places, other programs, other people also receive the same ACROSS THE BOARD.  It shouldn’t be levied on just a few. 

I’m one of the many doing background work about this issue for my employer, and I’m by no means in any authoritative or decision-making position with regards to this, but I do have a very general understanding of it.  So, since the prior cuts and the prior tax increases have already affected me and my ability to not only make personal financial ends meet but also to handle my own financial obligations, then it is only right that everyone else should also receive the same treatment, including the Federal Government.  Why do so many think that they can make someone else carry the burden for the entire population?  It simply isn’t feasible.  That’s what sequestration boils down to, at least in my opinion.  Everyone must share the pain.  Period.

Essentially it comes down to the fact that any individual sooner or later has to “pay the piper” and meet financial obligations, or they will go bankrupt.  It’s not always easy to cut back on personal household expenditures when receiving paycuts or layoffs or higher taxes, but you do it.  SO MUST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT instead of just taxing and laying it on the backs of others.  Cut-backs must be made by all.

I guess, as I’ve said before, this all goes back to my upbringing.  I was raised to work HARD for what I wanted and to look toward the future.  I was raised to go out on a limb if I had to, like my maternal great-grandmother (Big Gramma) that moved from Pennsylvania to California on one of the first Trans-Continental Railroads for a better life and more opportunity; or like my other maternal great-grandmother that left an oppressive upper-crust household and moved to California to be free to live her own life; or like my paternal grandmother that moved from the Dust Bowl with 2 very young children; or like so many other ancestors.  I was raised to be responsible for my own success and to never blame any misfortune I had on someone else.  Perhaps that’s why, even as a college freshman at the University of California, Davis (UCD), I took a job one year as a part time, student janitor cleaning dorm bathrooms. 

I may have been raised upper middle class, but I knew how to work, and if that’s what was needed to get through college, then that’s what I would do.  I did that for an entire year, and I then found other jobs throughout college, but I worked my own way up and didn’t expect someone else to hand it to me.  These jobs weren’t easy or glamorous.  They were far from any comfort zone I may have had or anything I’d been raised to do.  However, my parents and grandparents raised me to “do what you gotta do” when it comes to getting through life.  It’s how I raised my children to be.  Keegan could have blamed all sorts of circumstances after being born with Cystic Fibrosis, but he knew that, as I had taught my children, life isn’t fair, no matter how much you wish it were.  Logan has never blamed others for having Classic ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  It’s just how life is sometimes.  Kara has never blamed any struggles she might have on the fact that she grew up with so many major medical and emotional issues going on in the household.  You deal with it.  You carry on.  It amazes me then that so few have that ability to not throw blame anywhere and everywhere.

Like I said … common sense … ain’t that common.

Common Sense, as it says below, is a Super-Power.

 

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“She’s got an MBA and a plush corner office.

She’s got a ‘Don’t mess with me’ attitude.

She’ll close a deal she don’t reveal she can’t feel

The loneliness, the emptiness ‘cept when she comes in here,

And she’s a product of the ‘Me Generation’.

She’s got a rock and roll side when you get her agitated.

She’s got the tattoo there on her derriere from a spring break dare …

Hell, yeah!  Turn it up!  Right on!

Hell, yeah!  Sounds good!  Sing that song!

Guitar Man!  Play it all night long …”

MONTGOMERY GENTRY

 

 

(Well, I may not have that “plush corner office”, as I have a little cubicle at work … but … whatever …)

No one has ever figured me completely out.  Hell, I haven’t figured me completely out, so I don’t know why someone else might.  I come from an interesting mix of heritage, but that’s what makes me uniquely “American”.  Everyone has a different and unique heritage, and, at least in the past, this was an ok thing to have.  I hope in the current socio-economic climate, it stays that way.

I was born in the middle of the American Baby Boom generation in the suburbs of Los Angeles.  We moved all over the country, as my father was a corporate transferee, but essentially I was raised a suburban kid, with most of my time being in California.  I was schooled in the public schools back when they were good, and I graduated in 4 years from the University of California at Davis with 2 majors (International Relations with an emphasis on Political Science and Spanish).  I was aimed at the fast track into the corporate world or government analysis.  (I’ve done both, by the way, which is only in the “for what it’s worth” category, as it certainly didn’t get me fame and fortune.)

 

 

“She grew up in the city in a little subdivision.

Her daddy wore a tie.  Mama never fried a chicken.

Ballet, straight A’s, most likely to succeed …

After graduation, they sent her … for some higher education,

Put her on the fast track to a law degree.

Now she’s coming home to visit …

And she’s ridin in the middle of his pick-up truck,

Blarin’ Charlie Daniels, yellin’ ‘TURN IT UP’.

They raised her up a lady

But there’s one thing they couldn’t avoid.

Ladies love country boys …”

TRACE ADKINS

 

 

My suburban upbringing however does not define who I am at all.  I can’t really say that I *ever* felt like I “belonged” in the ‘burbs … and particularly not Southern California (although I do like my Beach Boys and Beatles, like most Baby Boomers).  I credit Roy for helping pull more of who I am out of me.  I was in the corporate world and the government service world, wearing my power suits, and rising through the ranks.

 

 

“She’s gone country.

Look at them boots.

She’s gone country,

Back to her roots.

She’s gone country,

A new kind of suit.

She’s gone country.

Here she comes …”

ALAN JACKSON

 

 

My father was born in eastern Colorado and raised in western Kansas before coming to California in the middle of the Great Depression, during the Dust Bowl years with his divorced mother (my paternal grandmother) and a younger sister.  {Read The Grapes of Wrath , and you’ll understand a bit better at least this part of my heritage.}  His father was a Kansas wheat farmer and a salt of the earth type of man (that’s the part of my family that came from a group of 7 brothers thrown out of Ireland in the 1600s and sent to “The New World” because they “didn’t fit in” … which seems to be a pattern in my life …).  Anyway, my father did not have an easy early life, but after enlisting in the Navy during World War 2 and then putting himself through the University of Southern California (USC) on the GI Bill in the late 1940s, he met and married my mother, a 2nd generation Southern California girl.  My mama however was not and is still not what Hollywood and the rest of the world considers a “California Girl”.  She’s descended from Big Gramma (see my prior posts) and, in the 40s, also went to USC and graduated with her degree, which was very rare for then.  She was a teacher while I grew up and later worked at Sears Roebuck & Co (back when that was a large retail giant), retiring as a store manager.

 

 

“I ain’t never had a problem with California.

There’s a lot of good women from Sacramento to Corona,

But them Hollywood types after a while wear on ya,

Struttin’ around in their size zero’s,

Skinny little girls, no meat on their bones,

Never even heard of George Jones!

Ain’t you glad we ain’t all California girls?

Ain’t you glad there’s still a few of us left

That know how to rock your world,

Ain’t afraid to eat fried chicken and dirty dance to Merle?

Ain’t you glad we ain’t all California girls? …

GRETCHEN WILSON

 

 

Well, anyway, my mama probably *can* wear a size zero (she’s a little bitty thing and feistier than most everyone put together and I love her dearly) and she’d *NEVER* dirty dance to Merle (*I*, on the other hand, would … in a heartbeat …) … but she sure isn’t afraid to eat fried chicken … THAT is for sure!

Anyway, again, I digress (see other posts … I may digress, but sooner or later, I’ll circle back to my topic at hand).

All of this background, however, has made me an interesting combination of personalities as a 3rd generation California girl and a Grapes of Wrath Dust Bowl descendant … among other things.  Maybe that’s why I like where I live so much now, in Northern California in the Gold Country / Mother Lode.  I live out in the sticks, up a dirt road, in the hills.  I’d like to think I’m a country girl but I’ve got “city” and “suburbs” mixed in … and I work on Capitol Mall, 2 blocks from the State Capitol Building in Sacramento as a government analyst.

My mixture confuses everyone (not to mention my relatives in particular).

 

 

“Well, I ain’t never been the Barbie Doll type.

No, I can’t swig that sweet champagne.

I’d rather drink beer all night

In a tavern or in a honky tonk or on a 4 wheel drive tailgate …

Cuz I’m a red neck woman.

I ain’t no high class broad.

I’m just a product of my raisin’ …

So here’s to all my sisters out there keepin’ it country.

Let me get a big ‘HELL YEAH’

from the red neck girls like me …”

GRETCHEN WILSON

 

 

Maybe my whole point with this is to say … I truly relate to the following song … because my parents raised me with good family values.  I’m sorry to see so many people have abandoned those.

 

 

“Clear creeks and cool mountain mornings;

Honest work out in the field;

Cornbread in my mama’s kitchen;

Daddy sayin’ grace before the meal;

Family ties run deep in this land;

And I’m never very far from what I am.

I was born country, and that’s what I’ll always be,

Like the rivers and the woodlands, wild and free.

I got 100 years of downhome, runnin’ through my blood.

I was born country, and this country’s what I love.”

ALABAMA

 

 

 

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I’ve written a couple of things regarding my “Big Gramma” and her recipes. This one is for her *awesome* potato rolls. I make them for special times usually, but they can be any time, particularly if you like to make yeast breads and whenever you have leftover mashed potatoes. This recipe is again unique though, due to the history behind it.

Like I said, my Big Gramma was a strong-willed individual, very good at surviving whatever obstacle was put in her path. This recipe was built out of survival and used in the Great Depression and World War II, when people truly knew how to survive and didn’t expect or want free government handouts, because they wanted to make it *on their own* without intervention by the government (like I was raised to do). It was when milk, butter, eggs, and sugar were a rare commodity, so they learned to stretch what little they did get into good hearty filling foods.

I generally make this recipe into rolls but I’ve done it into a loaf of bread also and it works well. If you want it to look “fancy”, make it into “cloverleaf” (my favorite: see picture above) or “Parker House” styles. It’s a hearty but airy bread or roll with a *lot* of flavor and can be made the day you eat it or several days in advance and frozen or refrigerated or kept in a bread box for later use. My kids love them and pigged out on them when little.

So … here you go … trying to measure as best I can, since I make them by “eyeballing” it (as I was taught to do when learning to cook).

🙂

It’s not a real sensitive/exact recipe … but don’t substitute the types of ingredients, or it’ll not work right.

*~*~*

Big Gramma’s Potato Rolls

1 c warm mashed potatoes
1 c cooled potato water
1 pkg or cake of yeast
1/2 c canned evaporated milk (*not* sweetened condensed)
1/3 c shortening
1/3 c sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp salt
5 c flour (approximately)

-boil potatoes
-reserve water when potatoes are soft enough to mash
-mash potatoes to eat but keep out 1 c of mashed potatoes for this recipe (the rest can be used in your regular meal)
-dissolve yeast in the water that the potatoes were boiled in when it is lukewarm
-lightly whisk together all ingredients except flour
-add about 5 cups of flour till stiff enough to knead
-knead till smooth and elastic
-let rise til double
-punch down
-make into rolls or loaf as desired
-let rise till double
-bake at 325 about 12 – 15 minutes for rolls

 

 

 

 

… posted via WordPress for BlackBerry …

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