Tuesday, July 31

Full Circle

It's good to be home.

My luggage arrived a mere 36 hours behind me. I have never been so excited about dirty clothes in my life!

My Black-eyed Susans--and all other growing things--have exploded in my absence.

I have plenty of catching up to do.

While JB admitted that domestic chores were about to whip him, he did an excellent job and now has a deeper appreciation of just what it takes to be a domestic goddess.

Friday, July 20

Getting My Second Wind

I hooked up with my Texas women's cult last night.

I had looked for phone numbers in the city's fat phonebook earlier this week and found only one of them listed. After a tongue lashing for "friendship negligence" she immediately suggested an impromptu dinner gathering so we could all catch up.

Rejuvenated, I hung up the phone and anticipated a real meal.

There's seems to be a discrepancy in this apartment as to what qualifies as a meal. The kitchen IS small and the cooking utensils limited. But I am bound and determined to find a small rice cooker--so I can demonstrate adaptability and acceptance.

I have a bit of trouble with acceptance--so she gets it honest. I taught her to treat people fairly and be honest so you start each day with a clear conscience. But I failed to effectively cover the finer points of interaction with those individuals who are somewhat unfamiliar with these concepts. But, I'm still dealing with that one myself.

Honesty is a tough one. Human nature makes us see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. And perhaps to have a tendency to say what we think the other person wants to hear. It's just easier and causes fewer uncomfortable situations.

I've always been accused of blunt honesty. However, here lately, I open my mouth and my brain is still sorting out the proper words.

My daughter hasn't hesitated to bring this to my attention on several occasions. She's a bit impatient, like her mother.

As I maneuver through midlife, I realize it is more important to choose your words carefully. The message gets across in a very diplomatic sense and there! It's on the table. It's like labor's deep cleansing breath.

And just like the end result of labor, it creates a much different world.

Tuesday, July 17

Still Here In Texas

When I packed up all my toys and moved to Virginia six years ago, I left behind my crazy friend (the nurse) that had been a part of my life since the girls were in diapers. She helped me pack for the big move, sobbing the entire time.

I sold her my house, complete with 5 cats. The cats were old then and have finished their life in my absence. The house looks like the nurse's house now. The only reminder I have of that family with two little girls is the writing just outside the kitchen door, in the garage, that notated the height and date as my daughters grew.

I've walked the block or so to her back patio for morning coffee a couple of times since I've been here. It gives me a break in the action and allows me to be outside. The backyard was always a haven for me... an escape from the chaos that comes with a family.

Sunday, July 15

Cruising The City

I've rode with my daughter a time or two since I've got here... in her new car. This one replaced the car that hit a brick mailbox some months back.

She's not the reckless type, really, but has managed to total 3 cars. I think I totaled one by the time I was her age. But I didn't grow up in the city.

I wish I could convince her to come back to Virginia with me. And I am fully aware it is for selfish reasons... my peace of mind. If she were closer I could watch over her, take care of her. But she is strong-willed like her mother, so my guess is she will continue to live in this over-priced studio apartment in Texas. I've alerted the apartment management to repairs that have been neglected--I can't help but think they're taking advantage of the younger folks. I assure you, my voice dripped honey when I carried the broken shelf from the refrigerator and let them know the freezer was dripping a pan of water a day. I'm thinking the apartment manager is ready for me to go back to wherever I came from.

My flight left this morning... without me. I do miss home, JB and Momo and Pop. But my business is not finished here. I can't leave just yet.

I need to teach this pretty young lady how to cook in an efficiency kitchen. But first, she has to learn that she MUST eat.

Wednesday, July 11

She's A Grown Up Now

I'm in Texas.

Even though I had lived here some 20 years, it all seems so foreign now. I'm staying at my oldest daughter's apartment.

While she recovers, I'm busying myself with cleaning. Housekeeping keeps the mind, as well as the hands, busy.

I can't help but envy the parents of small children and toddlers. Life was much, much simpler then. When they're younger, you can fix things quickly ...keep their world safe more easily ...make decisions for them.

It's a reflex to want to make decisions for your child. Sadly enough, there comes a point and time when we must come to terms with the fact the child is no child.

Thursday, July 5

That Which Makes Us Different

This "horned" tomato wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I planned our garden this year.

I was hoping for bright red slicers I could layer over mounds of crispy lettuce and Turkey bacon. Definitely not this devilish tomato that more closely resembles animation than a vegetable.

When the first plant was put in the ground, I was anticipating the taste of homegrown goodness. But I can't bring myself to eat this one. It just doesn't look right.

So, he sat upon the windowsill in the kitchen and became a conversation piece.

JB felt the little guy needed a face to go with those horns. Being the eternal optimist, I suggested a rabbit look. With Sharpie in hand, JB created his rabbit rendition.

While making pea salad for the cookout yesterday, I came across a carrot from the same gene pool and showed it to JB.

Within an instant, the tomato lost it's shine.

Monday, July 2

Rub It In

This has got to be the absolute best seasoning for pork I have come across. I did this Friday for our weekly get-together and have been feeling guilty all weekend for not sharing it with you sooner. I have used it on ribs and pork chops with great results. On Friday, I made pork kabobs with Granny Smith apples and white onions. It was delish!

Here's the spice rub:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons (Chinese) five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon Lowrys seasoned pepper

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Rub spice mixture over meat (about 2-3 pounds) and refrigerate until ready to grill. If desired, you can lightly baste with the molasses glaze below.

Molasses Glaze:
1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons Grandma's Molasses
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
several dashes bottle hot pepper sauce.