Saturday, December 31, 2005

Thank heaven for little girls...

My mother began calling this trio of granddaughters “the Little Girls” when they were, oh, about 3, 5, and 7 years old. Old habits die hard, and she still calls them “the Little Girls.” It seems like only yesterday that they were back in the spare room at Grandma’s playing with the little girl toys – the baby strollers, the stuffed animals, the baby dolls, the miniature piano, and the dress-up clothes – that have now all been put away. The two older ones are now in college. I wish I could have spent more time with them as an aunt (and we say “ant” in our family!), but we only see them maybe once a year for a short time when we are on vacation. My sister and her husband, and my brother and his wife, have been excellent parents and have raised their daughters to be lovely young women.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lord of the kitchen...

Page back to the blog entry I can’t figure it out for a “then” picture. That really wasn’t such an unusual sight on a day-to-day basis, especially when I had a lot of editing work to do. I don’t happen to have a “now” picture, but while I was in California, R decided to take over the kitchen. He has been less than happy with my housekeeping lo these many years—especially in the kitchen--and so now he has become Lord of the kitchen. He does the dishes after every meal (and empties the water in the dishpan), he cleans the counter, and he sweeps the floor. The kitchen has not looked this good in years. It gave me a very weird feeling, but I’ve decided to let it go and let him do it. He jokes that he is becoming more and more like my own father, who similarly took over the kitchen when he retired 25 years ago. My dad also does the laundry, but R hasn’t made any comments about taking over the laundry. I can always hope.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trying not to stress out..

I am waiting in a silent prayer..
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now

Breath of heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of heaven
Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness...

...I offer all I am....
Help me be strong...
Help me be....
Help me....

(Chris Easton and Amy Grant (c) 1992)

Chilies relleno

Last night we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and I ordered chilies relleno, which is what I normally have. Chilies relleno is one of the few Americanized Mexican meals, aside from tamales, that I do not make at home. The fresh chilies to make the recipe from scratch are not readily available in Podunk, Missouri. Earlier in December, when I was in Los Angeles, visiting my parents I thought it might be a good time make chilies relleno from scratch. My parents buy their produce from a Mexican market and I assumed there would be a wide variety of fresh chili peppers. I was right. I chose three long, dark-green chilies that looked promising and asked the produce man “are these the chilies that I need to buy to make chilies relleno.” “I don’t know,” he says. That surprised me. He talked with another man in the store and a few minutes later he came over and said, “Yes, those are the right kind.” When we got to the checkout counter, I picked up one of the chiles and asked, “Is this the right chili to make chilies relleno.” The cashier and the grocery bagger were both women and I figured they would know. The woman bagging the groceries gave me an odd look and said, “I don’t know.” The clerk said, “I don’t know.” I imagine I made their day: a stupid white woman asking about chiles for a dish that probably no “real Mexican” makes. I felt like an idiot. Later, my mom said “of course they don’t make it from scratch, they probably don’t have time.” My sister got a recipe for me off the Internet, and I set I forth to make chilies relleno. It was a disaster. The peppers were too convoluted, and I couldn’t get the skin evenly blistered to peel them. So, I just diced them up fine, dumped them in some beaten egg, fried the whole thing up, melted the white Mexican cheese on top, and had a delicious omelette.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Chaos at the feeding station

The “suet” feeders that I hang in front of several windows have been mobbed by a small army of yellow-rumped warblers ( Only a few showed up last year, so this sudden invasion is an unexpected surprise. I am thrilled to see them; however, we must not take a lesson from them. They are not polite, they are not patient, they do not share, and they do not cooperate. Another LGB (little grey bird) that I have yet to identify is also helping itself to the “suet—some warblers in their fall and winter plumage are difficult to differentiate and it may even be a vireo. I don’t have time to pour over the bird guide at the moment. Almost immediately upon returning home from my vacation, I was required to once again put my nose back on the grindstone.