Today is Independence Day Eve! Plus, July is Independent Retailer Month. Additionally, Wednesday’s celebrations include National Workaholics Day! Most independent business owners are workaholics so naturally the two should be observed together!
Mom and Dad were classic workaholics. Their generation was brought up that way. Once their feet touched the floor, they hit the door, running. From the time they got up until they went back to bed, they made the most of every day, being as productive as possible.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 65-66)
WORKING FROM HOME: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE RECIPE DETECTIVETM
AN ORDINARY DAY for us begins at 6:30 AM. Even though, I may have had a midnight or middle of the night radio show to do, the alarm still goes off at the crack of dawn. I realized some time ago that I could not roll out of bed and go directly to the stove to make the coffee and scramble the eggs and then, upon cleaning up after all of that, still go directly to my drawing board and my IBM composer for the rest of a long day.
I could but I would not have had a good attitude. So, Paul and I go, instead, to the restaurant in the mall downtown and let THEM make the coffee and scramble the eggs for us. Then we stop by the post office and pick up the mail and, by the time we are back home, I feel like a normal working person who leaves the house every morning to go to their office.
Depending on how swamped we are with mail and subscriber contacts, book orders and government papers to be filled out and filed, we will try to take a break around noon for either a sandwich at our desks or, better yet, will run down the street to the Burger King for an orange juice and fish sandwich; or over to The Voyageur [restaurant] for half of a ‘Captain’s Salad’ or a croissant special and a view of the St. Clair River, with freighters passing up and down stream that we can feel truly inspired and refreshed when we leave there.
A break like that will renew our creative energies and also give us a chance to ‘visit’ with each other – a practice that few married couples really seem to enjoy much anymore – if they ever did at all. These breaking off periods of getting away from the house and our office within, look to others, I suppose, as if we really aren’t that busy that we can frequent the local restaurants as much as we do.
What they don’t see, however, is the kitchen where, for three or four solid hours, I was testing and trying to develop a particular recipe – making it perhaps three or four times before either giving up on it or feeling victorious and happy to print it in the next newsletter.
We take a lot of kidding about how often I am seen pushing a cart in the local supermarket and how often I am seen ‘eating out’ that you’d ever guess I cooked at all. It is, because I try to maintain and encourage a happy balance between the recipe testing and our normal life with friends and family, that we have never found the enterprise in which we are engaged, a burden to us.
So many people we know do nothing but complain about their jobs, their work and regret. My cup runneth over and over and over! I WOULDN’T GIVE IT UP FOR THE WORLD!
By five or six o’clock in the evening, we’re ready for another break; and, in between, I have probably talked to two or three radio stations, answering questions for their listeners as they call into the station; which, by the miracle of telephone, puts us in touch with each other as if the host, the listener and I were all in the same room!
The radio visits that began with [our] good friend, Bob Allison, and his very successful show [‘Ask Your Neighbor’], with nearly 30 years, opened so many interesting and helpful doors for us. All of the other radio stations since, with whom I work, became a part of our schedule after years of providing listeners with the right information, with entertaining ideas and friendship and concern for their needs.
Sometimes I have received calls from hosts of radio shows who heard me on another station than their own and asked to set up an hour with them. Some of the programs run two hours. Many of them only use 15 minutes in which to discuss a healthy menu on the latest restaurant dish to imitate at home. No two radio shows are ever exactly alike, yet in one respect they are all incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive…
Mom and Dad loved to take a day or a weekend to just go on a scenic road trip and unwind from the workload at home. Often, however, “work” would manage to creep back in whenever they stopped somewhere for a bite to eat. Mom always managed to find something good that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got back home.
Some trips involved pre-planned Secret RecipesTM work too. Mom really did enjoy what she laughingly called her “work”. It was easy to incorporate a restaurant review and an imitation of a dish (or two) into any trip. Even an occasional, in-studio, radio show interview could be worked into a vacation or road trip, instead of through the phone lines, as Mom usually did.
One time, she and Dad went on a “working” road trip/vacation to Branson, Missouri with one of her favorite radio show hosts, Art Lewis, from ‘Listen To The Mrs.’, on WSGW-Radio (Saginaw, MI) and “the crew”.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 94)
EVERY DAY, IN OUR OFFICE
EVERY DAY, IN OUR OFFICE and our home, because it’s hard to separate the two, is the fact that things here are quite unpredictable! The layout of the newsletter is done – as I described it before – like a patchwork quilt, [as] are the books, at best, for there is not enough ‘quiet’ time in which to carry out a major project.
Mostly, it is a day filled with pleasant interruptions – such as the grandchildren dropping by to see us for a few minutes – or a radio station calling and asking me to fill in at the last minute! There are visits from the rest of the family, a phone call from my mother once in a while, when she needs somebody to talk to… and I am always a ready listener.
There are the discussions over how to handle a particular problem with a shipping order, or how a dish should be coming out that doesn’t! Countless things occur in this office (and/or home) that contribute to the overall picture.
This is what I tried to describe… to Julie Greenwalt of People magazine, when she called and asked me to think about those typical things that happen, here, which could be photographed to accompany the story she was writing about us.
It will be interesting to see how it comes out, as this book [cited above] will be ‘going to press’ before People does with their story [which was in their May 7, 1990, issue].
I love the attitude of George Burns, who was always an inspiration to everyone, of every age! Doing what we like best, whether we succeed or not, is what keeps us going and keeps us happy. I cannot imagine doing something badly that I enjoy doing.
So, of course, we do our best at something we enjoy, because that is part of the satisfaction of doing it – seeing the good that results from our efforts.
[Paul and I,] both, take time during the week to enjoy something completely unrelated to our work and even our family. I bowl on a wonderful women’s league every Wednesday morning and Paul bowls with the men’s league on Friday nights.
For the past four or five years, I’ve driven to Algonac, about 40 miles round-trip, to participate in one of the nicest groups I’ve had the privilege of belonging to; and while I have yet to have that 200-game, whether I bowl badly or splendidly, I drive home all smiles, happy that I went!
Paul, on the other hand, bowls just down the street from us here in town. He bowled so much when we were dating, I tell people we were married by an ordained pin setter!
Friday is the 42-year anniversary of Mom’s FIRST appearance on the Phil Donahue Show (July 7th, 1981), from which a workaholic’s be-careful-what-you-wish-for nightmare arose. We received over a million letters from that episode, as it played and re-played world-wide! It was both, overwhelming and a godsend.
July 3rd – Aug. 11th is considered The Dog Days of Summer. “The dog days” is a term we often hear, and many of us assume it refers to how dogs lie around, lazily, on these extremely hot days. However, “the dog” is actually an ancient celestial reference.
According to History.com’s “Why Are They Called ‘The Dog Days of Summer’?”, by Christopher Klein (no date), “… it’s a throwback to the time when ancient civilizations tracked the seasons by looking to the sky. The ancient Greeks noticed that summer’s most intense heat occurred during the approximate 40-day period in the summertime when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose and set with the sun…”
Ancient Greeks believed that Sirius (aka: “the dog star”), which is also part of the Canis Major (aka: Greater Dog) constellation, gave off heat like the sun because it was so bright. Thus, they supposed that it’s daytime appearance, along with the sun, contributed to the extreme daytime heat.
When Sirius breaks its sync with the sun, returning to the night sky, it’s considered to be a sign of the end of “the dog days”. FarmersAlmanac.com’s, “Why Are They Called ‘Dog Days Of Summer’?” (by Farmer’s Almanac Staff; updated July 11, 2022) claims that the exact dates of “the dog days” vary by latitude.
Currently, in the U.S., it’s around July 3rd through Aug. 11th; but Farmer’sAlmanac.com also reports that, in ten thousand years or so, Sirius’ coordination with the rising and setting sun “will fall back so late on the calendar that future civilizations in the northern hemisphere will experience ‘the dog days’ of winter.”
In honor of Wednesday, being National Hawaii Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Aunt Jenny’s Pineapple Bars”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 5).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
July’s observances include: National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!
Sunday, July 9th, is… National Sugar Cookie Day!
…27 down and 25 to go!