Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Little Bag of Tricks

Anna at Self-Winding found this link which is such a good fit following my earlier post.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Think Too Far Ahead

I am probably not the most upbeat person to be around. I do love life and I do find each day an adventure, but I am one of those people who is always thinking too far ahead.

For example, when my daughter was a baby, each time I nursed her, I would think sadly about the day I would have to start weaning her. Then when she became a toddler I would get sad thinking about the day that she would head off to school and how I would miss our hours together. Then, as you can probably guess, the years in junior high for both of my children were filled with my thoughts about the empty nest when they would head out to college and their bedrooms would be filled with dusty prom trinkets and forgotten basketball photos.

I really do try hard to live in the moment. I certainly think that is the healthiest way to get the richness out of each day. Having written that though, it seems I am always hardening myself to what I am going to miss when something good comes to an end. I can remember an really odd moment during (probably) desert storm in the 1980s when I saw a handsome and healthy group of sailors at DisneyWorld on leave. They were having a wonderful time. I was sitting at a table with the family eating a hotdog and suddenly tears filled my eyes and my hotdog became a lump of clay in my throat because I thought about what they would soon be facing. I was embarrassed needless to say, and my husband tried to make light of it so that the kids wouldn't misunderstand.

I really try to be an upbeat person...I am sure that is what my family would say...

International Gifts

We have a weekend visitor from Korea. He is in charge of a marine laboratory in Korea and while visiting my husband also will be visiting relatives living nearby. As Asians always do, he brought a lovely gift and presented it with gracious charm. The box itself was first wrapped in a silver-gray scarf with writing that meant something about power (?). When I accepted the gift I was surprised at how heavy it was. It is about 2 feet by 1.5 feet in size. He carried this all the way on his trip! When I accepted the gift I am sure it weighed 15 pounds!! Inside is a very beautiful assortment of Korean sweets. Far more than my husband and I could ever eat. We will share at dinner tonight and I will also share some with my grandson who may enjoy them. Now we have to think of something nice for my husband to take on his trip back next month...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Sweet Sadness

I am sitting alone in my room watching the first feathery light flakes of a new snow drift onto the gray shingles of the roof outside my window. In the background I can hear the sweet sad horn of Chris Botti playing on the stereo. I had been to a concert of his recently and remembered that I had not listened to his wonderful music in a long while and pulled out the three CDs I own.

Today is one of those days of strange dichotomies. I am lonely and yet savoring it. I am sad for no reason but know that this sadness can only be appreciated because my cup overflows with happiness. I feel the pace of my breath and heart slowing to a rhythmic peace in sync with this silver gray day. This sadness is bittersweet. This melancholy is the one side of the whole that keeps me from flying off into space.

I am savoring 'Empress of China" tea in a cup I had made with my daughter at a pottery place a number of years ago. It is an ugly green and purple and thus fits completely with the strange day.

I know that part of this strange feeling is the nearness of my retirement. I have told the important people at work and therefore solidified this leap. In the spring, I will be retired. No matter what angle I look at this, it is another milestone in my life. It is another major corner turned. It is like a gift that I have been given, but it is like a large beautiful bowl in which I must find beautiful things to place. There is a real danger of filling the bowl with bits of flotsam and jetsam.

This milestone also means that I have definitely moved away from those parts of living that meant so much. There is no innocence, there is no pureness, life is what it is. When the bowl is full there is no more pleasure in finding new things to place there. At the very end, there are only old memories after all. All the fresh new memories will be made by those that follow us.

It is sad, but it is also wonderfully sweet this little bit of life we have been given.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Lost and the Losers

I think I am not going gently into that good night as I age. I was made aware of the following yesterday and today which showed I am getting old and no longer fit:

Mr. Jobs in introducing his new tools said (among other things):
…Today he had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading.

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Last night as I watched television with my two college educated young relatives, I suggested watching the presidential debates and was told that they wanted to watch the two-hour episode of “The Biggest Loser” which we did. Yes, this is a pun in so many ways.

The cherry on the top is that we will be implementing a new security policy in our office where we will need to change our network password every 60 days and it must be 12 (yes 12) characters in length and use upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. Does anyone think this will reduce security on our PCs other than me for the OBVIOUS reasons?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Tear

It came so fast.
It was so unpredicted
In eyes that had been dry for what seemed forever.
It flowed across the hollow
And held and glistened.
All the others in the room held their breath,
Concerned and maybe even afraid.
It was as if this sudden precipice
Meant illumination or darkness,
And yet it may have determined
A presidency.


It has been wonderful to get outside with the little ones. Angel wiggles and tries to fly away in my arms as the warm wind caresses her face. It is the middle of January and we three dance across the crunchy leaves...I can't help but think in the very back of my mind that we are dancing at the earth's funeral.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Winter Tastebud Sharpening

Soon in the middle of the rest of this span of short gray days, the colorful catalogs will start arriving. They will be shocking in their brilliance and seduce us once again into purchasing joy for the spring season. I am writing about the seed and plant catalogs, of course. My husband will look forward to the heirloom plants and think about planting his 'half acre' of tomatoes.

Because of my Italian heritage, tomatoes have playe
d a very important role in my dietary preferences. As you may know, if you also love tomatoes, during this time of year (actually during all but the late summer and early fall months) the stores are filled with red orbs that are labeled as tomatoes, but taste like cardboard and have the texture of mushy apples surrounded by a hard gelatenous layer. I have discovered an acceptable substitute in the grape (and sometimes) the cherry tomatoes. These grape tomatoes (the size and shape of grapes, duh) are sweeter and while not excellent, have a touch of the essence of tomato.

I got a Nigella Lawson cookbook for Chr
istmas from my daughter, (Yes she is that lovely and voluptuous--stop drooling guys-- and a wonderful chef as well.) and we decided to check out the tomato recipes and found this recipe below. I have to paraphrase since I left the book at my daughter house.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (232.2222222 degree Celsius)
Slice tomatoes (as many as you want) (large tomatoes need more chopping)
Set in large baking pan or dish and drizzle olive oil over all
Chop an herb (basil, oregano or the recipe called for thyme)

Sprinkle herb, kosher salt and a tiny bit of sugar over all. (you can also add pepper to taste)
Pop in the oven and turn the oven off

Leave in for about 12 hours.
Enjoy in so many ways--spread on toast, in salad or eat them like popcorn as I do.

The flavor or the tomato is very concentrated yet they are still a little juicy and less chewy unlike the dried tomato. The recipe allows use of regular tomatoes, but I think that cherry or grape are the best even though slicing them in half takes a little time. If you crave that tomato taste in the winter, as I do, I think you will like this. Let me know what you think if you try it.

PS--While these can be stored in the refrigerator...they must reach room temperature or be gently heated for best flavor.