An apple picking trip, a free turkey and a little rutabaga lesson (7 quick catches)


It’s been a few years since we went apple picking. So when we realized we had a few free hours on a sunny Saturday, we headed over to Baugher to pick some apples.

We never went this late in the season so there weren’t as many apples to choose from. But we picked up two sacks of apples and made some souvenirs before heading home. I always forget that picking apples is so slippery. It was beautiful, though, especially on what felt like a summer day.

Now I have two bags of apples on my counter, begging me to cook them into something delicious. That’s a big problem to have.


When we woke up the next morning, I found an oatmeal recipe I could make in our Instapot.

I feel a bit more confident with Instapot after having success with soups. The oatmeal was delicious and warm and magically used…a whole apple.

I’m starting to smell an apple pie in my future and maybe apple cakes. I haven’t made this apple cake since I made one at the start of the pandemic.


The other day my dad texted me from the grocery store to tell me he had won a free turkey. He uses our phone number to collect the bonus card savings, so I congratulated him and told him we would invite each other over for dinner to take advantage of it.

I have no doubt that my father won this turkey on his own since our card is probably not linked to our landline. But it seemed like a good reason to invite each other to dinner.

The turkey was outstanding and the sides were delicious. Then my mom pulled out her pumpkin pie and I was blown away, as I always am.

We may not even need Thanksgiving this year.


You’re probably wondering what we bring when we come to my parents’ house for dinner. My dad asked us to pick some rutabagas, so we showed up with four big rutabagas. I was going to cook it – and had done my research – but my dad wanted to take care of it, so we just brought some ugly, waxy rutabagas into the house.

During my research, I learned that rutabaga is a staple of the traditional Eastern European diet, it’s a mix between a cabbage and a turnip, and it’s packed with vitamins. I also found out that you can cut off the end and put it in the microwave for a few minutes to make it easier to peel. (I haven’t tried it myself. I just learned about it in my YouTube video.)

If you’re not the rutabaga type, I imagine you’ve already moved on to the next take. But my parents always have rutabaga on the table for their Thanksgiving.


Our dishwasher is always broken. I recognize that there are many bigger issues in the world, but it’s either been six weeks or an eternity.

I also don’t think the inventor of the dishwasher is celebrated enough. And the person who might deserve the most credit for the modern dishwasher is Josephine Cochran.


Our eldest son will turn 15 later this week, the same day my sister Treasa and brother-in-law George celebrate 10 years of marriage. It is also the anniversary of the day I started my current job at Loyola 14 years ago. Oh, and it’s Treasa’s half birthday.

Obviously, around us, one of them takes the lead, and all our energy will be concentrated on the 15e birthday. But I enjoy the multiple layers of festivities and how they are all intertwined. It’s kind of funny that I started a job on the first birthday of a child I hadn’t met who was to become my son. God writes such wonderful stories.


The other night, after going to All Saints Mass, I was crossing the church parking lot when I struck up a conversation with a man who was also heading for his car.

He recounted the parts of the Mass and the homily that touched him the most, including the words of Saint Jean Vianney that our pastor used to explain how we all journey to heaven.

The man told me that when his mother died he knew she was about to be with his father and he could feel Jesus welcoming him home.

We exchanged names and smiles and continued on our way. As I got into our van, I told my son, who was with me, that I felt a little like I had spoken to an angel. This man that I did not know at all had pushed me to review an experience and to draw from it all that I could spiritually.

His words have been with me this week, at this time of year when our deceased loved ones can seem so close and yet so far away.

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