Monday, December 31, 2018

Tabor is Ruthless

It is now the time of those in-between days. I am a bit too old for all that self-renewal stuff. Yes it is the coming of a new year and I will try to do better, but I am not going to re-invent myself.   I will make the silent resolution of cleaning out everything.  All the crap  memories that no one wants and that will be a burden to others long after your funeral, unless someone starts a yard fire.  This house has way too many great storage areas! 

There are some things in the guest bedroom and a closet that I will hang onto for a little longer for reasons I do not wish to go into right now.

BUT, the kitchen cupboards are going to be relieved of all those dishes and stuff I have never used during the 12 years we have lived here.  They will go, along with a big batch of books, to the Thrift Shop.  I am going to be ruthless!

Hubby will be going on a long fishing trip in mid-January and that will give me days to go through his stuff in the basement.  I guarantee he will not miss that box of reprints on shrimp reproduction, which should be available digitally these days.  He will not miss the plastic containers for the jam that have gotten brittle.  And how many empty cardboard boxes does anyone need these days?  He will be pleased that I went through the messy drawers in the bathroom.

The most difficult will be boxes of Pacific seashells in that dark corner on the shelf in the basement that are so lovely but hidden away and never seen!  They will remain for another year.

I will be boxing and sending off VHS tapes to digitize---FINALLY.

Later in spring I will go through my closet and toss anything I have not worn for a year.  I will be ruthless.  (Who was ruth (ruthe) anyway?)

But until then, the days between Christmas and New Year's Day usually looks like this around our house.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

It's All Garbage

Its all about the birth of Jesus, right?

Except on the day after Christmas, it is all about getting the garbage out to the street on time to prevent the fire hazard your house has now become.

The neighbors (a demographically perfect family of four - once divorced) across the street from my daughter's house have a somewhat normal batch of detritus.

Then the neighbors across the street, also a family of four, but liberal and environmentally correct have a very nice and reasonable batch of detritus.

It was early the day after Christmas and all were still asleep and I was sipping coffee and reading my Kindle at my daughter's house when I heard the rumble of the garbage truck. I had on the water shoes I got for Christmas from my son as I dashed out the door to get the stuff from her house out into the street.  My feet got cold and wet as I slopped through the sump pump drainage on the side of the house and drug out piles and piles of stuff---six trips.  This is the demographically larger family of five that keeps the economy going for the rest of us!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Different and Hopefully Better

In the holiday spirit, I printed a new recipe for cookies from one of those foodie sights out in the vast Internet. We really had not been eating too many desserts, unless you count the doughnuts I bought when the grands were here or the pecan pie I bought from the grocery two days ago or all that mint chocolate candy in the Tupperware. Anyway, I was thinking of Christmas cookies to take up to the city for Christmas Day, so we were not going to eat them all!

The recipe was for thumbprint cookies and would allow me to use up more of the abundance of persimmon jam we seem to have by putting a tiny dot in the hollow of the thumbprint. The recipe only required 5 ingredients, including the jam, so the work went easily. I watched them closely in the oven spread into thin flat spheres of sugar and butter with the ones in the back of the tray burning just a little on the bottom. The second batch did the same even though I turned the oven down 5 degrees and cut several minutes off the cooking time. Now I have two dozen thin almost burnt wafers of confection! They look nothing like the thumbprint cookies on the Internet.

Hubby is on the third/fourth day of a nasty head cold and he did not seem at all dismayed by my cooking disaster as he ate two of the broken ones just like the Cookie Monster does. I do not bake cookies as often as I used to, and maybe I am just out of practice.  He is not out of practice on the eating, though.

Today I will drag out an older recipe that I have used in the past and make different and hopefully better cookies.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Scrooge Got His Comeuppance

I was lucky to get the Grands last week. Mom and Dad had one of their dressy Christmas parties in the city with an overnight in the hotel. We took the Grands out for sushi (a fav) and then home for hot cocoa.  

I did not have tiny marshmallows so cut up some big ones.  The next morning I asked them to decorate my tree. It was kind of a surprise when I remembered that hubby and I had donated our full-size artificial tree to the thrift shop last year and only had the small artificial tree to decorate. But it also meant that they were the age where all I had to do was select the boxes of ornaments with the right colors and tell them to put on the decorations. It was fun seeing them discover new (to them) decorations and put stuff on the tree. 

There was no argument or shoving or anything. They worked exactly as if they were Santa's elves! They alone brought the season of joy into my heart.

(I elevate it on a small wooden box that normally holds other things in the basement.)  I put the cover around the base and then I get a really lovely Christmas tree with an aura of specialness this year.  Scrooge has retreated.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Busier Than I Thought

No holiday parties to attend except for the organizations to which we donate and those parties have come and gone without us.   They are nice people, but getting out in the cold snowy weather late at night is not much fun for us oldies but goodies.

We did drive up one afternoon to attend daughters "Cheer" "challenge." These are held in large, noisy arenas with expensive junk food and lots of crap paraphernalia to buy.  Our entry as seniors cost us $20 each.  

If you are not familiar with this venue, it is something that makes takes millions of dollars from parents.  The cheer group parents pay a couple of thousand dollars a year for a coach, several weekly 2 to 4-hour training sessions, a professional choreographer, and of course very fancy costumes, which the young ladies (and a few young men) outgrow within the year!

According to one consumer report, 67% of the participants suffer injuries.  It is probably one of the most dangerous sports around.  The girls also get costumes that are flirty and youthful looking with bows in the hair, they wear lots of makeup as if they were showgirls...or something else, some wear artificial wigs so they can look even more "Stepford."

I am not a total downer here, because my granddaughter eats like a horse and without this intensive exercise, she would have a weight problem.  She also has a core body that is strong and solid and she is HEALTHY.  She also loves this and has few other things she loves as much!  She has learned a lot about teamwork and pushing through when things seem tough.

The award ceremony after a long day is lengthy and noisy.  All those hormones on a padded mat.  Glad I was up in the stands.  This pretty much took up the whole day.  Wish I would have thought of this as an investment a while back!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Why I HATE This Time of Year

Taken early this morning as the sun was coming up.

All those sweetness and light ads making you assume that Christmas is about buying stuff to make people happy are evil. Not everyone is able to buy food this time of year, much less an automobile, French perfume or an exercise bike! I hate the commercialism more than anything. Yes, there are lovely decorative lights covering homes (adding to global warming), there are rich and delicious foods (contributing to obesity and diabetes), and there are numerous parties where you have to find another fancy dress and hire that expensive babysitter to make small talk with people you barely know. (I do not get invited to any of these anymore, needless to say).  OK, I will give you the music.  That is the good stuff.  (Unless it starts getting played before Thanksgiving.)  Yes, I am Debbie Downer today!

I am almost in tears right now as I type this because that young man who knocked on my door asking for chores a few weeks ago so that he could bring home some food is back this morning. We gave his number to the food pantry folks and maybe they called. Maybe his mother was too proud and hung up on them. Maybe she accepted the charity and her family can eat again. I do not know, but on this snowy day with schools closed, this young man is back asking to shovel my driveway. It will be totally melted by this afternoon as most of the snow has disappeared where the sun hits the driveway. He asked for maybe $20. I, of course, said I would love to have him shovel it.  I am thinking of having him shovel my back deck so I can pay him more.  I do not know how far he walked to get to my house.  I also realize he does not want charity and I am being careful. 

An hour later he knocks on my door and as I pay him and hand him a bag of persimmon bread and homemade cookies, he tells me he has graduated from high school and is taking classes when he can at the local community college.  That is good news although he seems to lack the sharpness and sophistication that will be needed when he moves forward into adulthood.  I ask for his number and tell him my husband may call if he needs a young helper.  He is really pleased with the baked goods and gives me a surprising hug.

I wish I could believe in a God, but this just makes my heart so heavy that such poverty is common.  It is not some Christmas novel, it is real life and I hate that children have to deal with this!  I just drove my very privileged and lovely grandchildren back home with their dirty clothes separated so that the "maids" can do the laundry.  Along the trip they had their faces glued to their various technology toys.  They are good kids, but I have serious concerns about whether they will understand the world.  Even more, I wish I was rich enough to start a foundation in this county that can help families like this young man's.  Yes, we all give to various foundations, but it is not enough.

Looking forward to getting past this time of year.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Stupid Headlines

"Cardi B Shares First Photo of Daughter Kulture Hours After Announcing Offset Split

It took me a minute or two, or honestly, I gave up trying to figure out the headline above in under a minute.  I just glanced at the article to make sure it was not something important I needed to know.  I have no clue who these people are, I do not care who these people are and I wonder when we are going to quit trying to be so unique in this world when we hand out names!

I also hate that my life gets cluttered with emails and FB posts about such nonsense.

Yes, I am really old!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Part II of Stories We Tell

OK, now for Part II. If you have not gone ahead and listened to Malcolm Gladwell's Season 3 podcasts 3 and 4 on Revisionist History, go back to the prior post, click the link and I will wait...I will just look at the trees....If you are too busy, then it is your loss. I mean really. You would enjoy it.

OK. Here are three versions of the same event.  (I actually tried to search my blog to see if I had written about this story before but could find nothing, so maybe I am not repeating myself after all!)

I worked as an au pair for a family in Hawaii while I was in graduate school. They gave me food and a place to live and that saved me tremendously so that I could get my degree.

Version 1.
One afternoon my employer came to me to let me know they were having company for dinner and instead of eating with the kids (which I did when they had company), she asked if I would join them for dinner to make it a "foursome." She explained the young man they had invited was a biologist at the University. He had become a friend on a cruise that her husband had taken. They explained he was a bit nerdy on science and maybe somewhat intense, but I might find him interesting and they just wanted a fourth to balance the table. I reluctantly agreed as I was in the middle of mid-terms.  I figured that I would not join them for pre-dinner drinks and work on my term paper and show up before dinner later.

Version 2.  
The man who came to dinner (my future husband) tells the story a bit differently.  He says that they invited him to dinner because they wanted him to meet a young woman that they thought he would like.  They explained that she was charming and interesting.  He had been complaining to them that he could never seem to meet a "nice girl."

(As an aside, I was dating a number, small number, of guys while attending graduate school. I am guessing they were not impressed with my selection of dates.)

Anyway, that night I arrived later than my future husband felt was polite form and we did not hit it off.  I completely forgot that he did not seem to be nerdy because he seemed to be so offended that I was not super eager to meet him.  I remember thinking he seemed so full of himself!  The evening did not go well.  Hubby says that I was really offish to him the whole night!

Needless to say, we did not begin dating right after.  We did run into each on campus a few times and slowly got to know each other, and because hubby is a determined person, we actually did start dating a month or so later.

This year we stopped by on our Hawaii trip to meet up with the couple that brought us together over 46 years ago.  They are now in their late 80's early 90's.  We told them our versions of the story and they do not remember the story as going either way.  They said they just remember inviting us to dinner as a break for both of us working so hard in school.

Clearly, the truth of the story is somewhere in the depths of each person's version both at the time and in the following years as it gets re-told.