You know, that saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”…well, I’m kind of tired of the lemonade. And the marmalade. And the lemon curd. And everything else these annoying lemons bring.
Last night I came home and was getting ready to reheat some pasta that Bill had cooked earlier.
I didn’t want sauce, I just really wanted butter and grated cheese. Sometimes, super simple is best.
So I reached for a stick of butter…and it was soft. Inside the fridge. Now, I know the door is somewhat “warmer” than the rest of the fridge, but it’s still normally cold enough to keep sticks of butter firm.
I stuck my hand into the middle of the main part of the fridge and just felt the air.
It didn’t feel all that cold, come to think of it.
(Please excuse the language.)
Okay, I know, it’s not even October yet, but we’ve started putting up Halloween decorations anyway. For whatever reason, we felt the urge earlier than usual.
Alex and Julia scattered skeletons and skulls throughout the house, and I made spider webs out of nylon cord for some of the smaller windows.
As I was struggling with my project – it’s not easy to make a web – I kept thinking of the illustration in Charlotte’s Web of Wilbur leaping around with a bit of rope in an attempt to show Charlotte he could weave a web.
He failed, of course.
And while I don’t have spinnerets, at least I have fingers and opposable thumbs. That helped somewhat.
I don’t plan to use nylon in my next web-weaving endeavors – it’s slippery and doesn’t hold a knot really well. But still…I think they look kind of cool.
I’ve put them below the jump, just in case webs (with fake spiders dangling in them) creep you out.
My fridge is packed. And not in a good way. It’s stuffed with neglected containers of meals past, with foods that need to be chopped and cooked and canned…with feta in brine for another couple of weeks, with jars of salsas and jams and pickles that we cracked open just to make sure they had turned out okay.
I needed to do some cleaning out. And part of the clean out resulted in this version of macaroni and cheese.
I’ve got a couple of pictures below, but they’re not of REAL creatures. The pictures are at the very end of the post, so if you want to keep reading, feel free.
Just a friendly warning for some of my friends. :)
I wasn’t sure if I’d like this jelly.
I love roasted garlic. I roast big batches of garlic periodically, then puree the softened cloves with olive oil and freeze it all in ice cube trays. So good added to pasta sauces, or gravies, or dips, or smeared on sliced baguettes and topped with thin wedges of brie….
I could go on and on.
So at first the idea of a roasted garlic jelly was very appealing. But then I read that you have to strain the roasted garlic, so all you get is the juice (there are other ingredients – I’ll get to those). Which makes sense – it’s a jelly, not a jam. But I was trying to imagine a clear jelly smeared on a baguette, and it wasn’t happening for me.
But I figured I’d give it a try anyway.
And I’m glad I did.
Bill pulled one of the kale plants out of the garden the other day. It was shading the spinach.
That’s some damn big kale. Actually, there were three or four smaller kale plants around it as well. They got yanked out too. I was in the middle of canning stuff (as evidenced by the jars to the left of the picture), so I just told him to put it on the dining room table until I could get to it.
So then the dining room table looked like this:
This was my dining room table at 6:55 this morning.
Please ignore the bags of potato chips. In this house we only eat homemade potato chips, of course. Those were…for………the neighbors.
On the table I’ve got some canned crushed tomatoes, other canned stuff that’s buried and you can’t see it. Bowls of basil, sage, and kale, a little plastic container of cookes, a bowl of tomatillows, some apples, peaches, garlic, tomatoes, a few jalapenos somewhere, 6 ears of corn, that bag of shredded coconut…which is also……for the neighbors, because of course we only travel to tropical islands, climb up trees, harvest our own coconuts, and shred the flesh ourselves….
There is a predictability to the ride, especially after all these years. Clear patterns. Same old things but wearing different clothes. Here we go, yet again.
We could phone it in, but we don’t. We still invest emotion. One still hopes, or wants to. Others of us remember what hope looked like, but it’s buried somewhere in a box of empty bottles, and really, it just seems futile to look for it at this point.
I know, that’s an awful thing to say. Giving up hope. Losing faith. You’re not supposed to do that.
So okay, I can hope, maybe, but I don’t have a whole lot of faith in hope. Hope isn’t an action. Hope isn’t a behavior. Hope, sometimes, lets you sit back and wait for change. But you can’t just sit there.
Maybe hope holds the door open.
You still have to get up and walk through it.
Does that make sense?
Doesn’t matter. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of things don’t make sense, and maybe the best plan is to stop looking for the sense and just accept the crazy.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Hope’s not in there. Acceptance and courage. Those are more effective.
Wisdom is still elusive.
Conversations are like rollercoaster rides and you’re a person who really doesn’t like rollercoasters.
You just want the ride to stop so you can get off.
There’s a wonderful sentence in a book I read. Winter House, by Carol O’Connell. It’s a work of fiction, yes, but there is a lot of truth in fiction.
“Crazy people make sane people crazy.”
That’s how it feels sometimes.
When you have conversations where you’re trying (again. and again.) to point out The Problem. The Issue. The Pink Elephant Who Used To Be In The Living Room But Has Now Made Herself Quite At Home In All The Other Rooms, Too. The Addiction. And you point out specifics that have to do with It. Problems, health issues, fall-out…all related to It.
And you get a response like this:
“I guess you think I’ve been a bad (insert relationship here).”
“No, that’s not what I said.”
“Obviously you think I haven’t done a good job as your (insert relationship here).”
All this is designed to a) change the subject, b) distract you from your original point, and c) evoke sympathy. Or guilt.
“Oh, no, no, please don’t say that, you’ve been a wonderful (insert relationship here). If you weren’t, would we be this concerned?”
Success. Conversation hijacked.
Wait, what were we talking about?
That doesn’t happen now, though. We’ve caught on. We don’t fall for it.
But for a while, it felt like we were saying one thing and somehow it got twisted in translation. Or so we thought. And we’d squint and think and wonder…did I say that? Did I fall asleep and miss part of the conversation? Nope. That’s just the crazy-making.
Denial. It lives long and prospers. And, given enough time, it builds a cocoon and bursts forth as Alternate Reality. A place where the people who care are the ones in denial. The ones who aren’t facing facts. The ones who don’t want anyone to have fun.
“Are you (insert undesirable behavior here)?”
“(Telltale pause) …no.”
Oh, yeah, specificity counts.
“Have you BEEN (insert undesirable behavior here) within the past twenty-four hours?”
“Well, yes, but it was only (insert one form of undesirable behavior here, which, when you boil it all down, isn’t any different from any other form of said undesirable behavior).”
“It doesn’t MATTER! You shouldn’t be doing it AT ALL.”
“My doctor said I’m in great health. My heart, my lungs, my blood pressure, my ability to create my own reality… We had a very good conversation at my appointment last week. He really listens.” (Of course, so does the dog. Really. So, ipso facto, abracadabra, the dog cares more than we do.)
So from this, we are led to believe that the doctor understands and condones this undesirable behavior. And that any concern we express means that we don’t understand AND we don’t listen. We don’t have medical degrees, either, so our listening is only a layperson’s listening, not a that of a trained professional. (The dog’s diploma must be hanging on the wall somewhere. Probably behind the liquor cabinet.)
“The sky is blue. Again. It’s blue. We tell you this because we love you. Why can’t you see what is so clear to everyone else?”
“No, dears, it’s red. My doctor and the dog agree with me. If you don’t agree, you must not love me. The sky is red.”
And so goes the battle.
This isn’t something you’ll be able to make all the time, of course. In fact, in order to make the project worth your time and effort, it helps if you gradually stock up on the ingredients over, say, a year.
It really helps if you’ve got small children and your whole family gets massive head colds throughout the winter. Just, you know, save the bits and pieces in ziploc bags in the freezer so they’ll stay nice and almost-fresh.
It’s been a pretty regular day today. I made an experimental batch of cinnamon rolls with mushed up peaches in the filling (yum, in case you ever want to try that yourself)…Julia went to a birthday party…our niece, Lisa, is up visiting from Florida and we got to spend some time with her. A good day. Relaxing.
The sky is a brilliant blue today.
I kept feeling, this past week, that I should write something to…what word to use? Commemorate? Acknowledge? Remember? To give a nod, bow my head, to this date, September Eleventh, and the horrible events of ten years ago.
Only I didn’t know what to say.
Busy day. Still not feeling great, but despite (or because of) that, I spent the day – like the past several – careening around the house like a pinball from one must-do project to another. Why? I don’t know. It’s how I careen.
Anyway, let’s see, I dropped Julia off at a birthday party, then about an hour and a half later Bill took Alex to his (Alex’s) ball game (fall ball), and then I picked up Julia, dropped her off at Alex’s game, and then headed to work. Bill had told me to call in sick, but I couldn’t do it. Anyway, I got there, and they didn’t need me, so I got to leave in order to (per one of my coworkers) have some soup and some tea with honey and lemon.
I opted, instead, to catch the end of Alex’s game.
Started with a sore throat the other day, aches, slight light headedness, weird clenchy/hungry spasms in my stomach.
But I have so much to doooooooooooooooooooo!!!
I had planned to spend my two days off canning things, baking, writing posts, working on a baby quilt, working on other sewing or jewelry projects…with the occasional load of laundry thrown in.
My head wants to do stuff, but the rest of me doesn’t. So I’m doing a little bit here, a little bit there. I made a batch of feta last night, some tomato sauce, baked rigatoni with lots of cheese and a batch of garlic bread – comfort food.
The other day I made a jam that I want desperately to call “booger jam” but that might be a bit off-putting if you’re older than six. Still working on that post.
Today I’m hoping to make a batch of watermelon jelly, mainly because it’s pink and sounds interesting – there’s lemongrass in the recipe – should taste interesting.
I have other canning projects to do, plus I want to make some biscotti and we need bread…what else, oh, yes, there’s finishing reorganizing the pantry, the neverending loads of laundry, sinkloads of dishes, picking up after the colony of monkeys that romp through the house on a daily basis…I’m sure there’s other stuff too. Oh yeah, pea soup. I have a big smoked ham bone in the freezer and it really really wants to help me make pea soup. Maybe I’ll make that for dinner…..
So, once I get the kitchen stuff done, I hope to sit down and write my “booger jam” post.
Or I’ll take a nap.
School was supposed to start last week, but Hurricane Irene gave Bill and the kids an extra week of summer vacation.
Last Tuesday I had the kids doing all sorts of day-before-the-first-day-back-at-school things: cleaning their rooms, stripping and remaking their beds (okay, I did the remaking), cleaning out their backpacks and restocking them, choosing their clothes for the next day…lots and lots of work.
And then, at some point early in the afternoon, I learned that the first day of school wasn’t going to be tomorrow. It might be Friday, but they weren’t sure.
So I told the kids, and they immediately dropped everything and tried to go off to play, but I stopped that nonsense and told them they still had to finish.
“Why? We don’t even have school tomorrow!”
I don’t care. You need to clean up this big mess that you made while you were cleaning. Just do it now, and then it’ll be DONE.
Grumblingly, they trudged back to the dining room and finished my cruel and torturous chores.
Some days, motherhood is so much fun!
We tried growing tomatillos once years ago, but we didn’t know what we were getting into. We thought we’d have tame, manageable plants, kind of like tomatoes.
We were wrong. The tomatillo plants grew huge and crazy, and since we’d planted them in front of shorter things, we ended up (gasp) yanking them out of the ground before they could produce anything.
I know. Shameful. But we were relative novices then, and skittish. This year, armed with experience, confidence and more garden space, we tried again.
I just put up a new banner for this month.
It went through several incarnations, but I knew I wanted to include images of yesterday’s harvest.
September is a big transition month, I think, garden-wise. Lots of harvesting, lots of clearing out and preparing for the winter and the following spring.