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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Like a Badge

            So many times I hear people lamenting their age, “I’m so old!” they’ll say, or “I can’t believe I’m turning (fill in the number)”.  Know what I say?  Wear your age proudly, like a badge.  Proclaim unapologetically that you are __ years old!  I am turning 53 this week, and I am happy to have survived this long.  It’s pretty amazing that any of us survive for long at all, considering that we all start as two little specs invisible to the naked eye that come together against all odds.  Then there are diseases and childhood in general to survive, not to mention those crazy teenage years during which many things happen that could  shorten our lives by quite a few years.  Not that I’ve had any life threatening health events or accidents, but really, sometimes life is so random and nobody ever knows which will be their final year.  So I say, the more candles on the cake the better—well, figuratively speaking anyway. You really have to be careful how many candles you put on a cake, depending on its size.  It would perhaps be better to make a rule that you must invite one person for each of your years in age to partake of cake with you so that you have a cake large enough to allow proper spacing of the candles.  I speak from experience.  There was the year that my husband turned 49 and, being a smart alecky kind of gal, I put 49 candles on a cake just big enough for the four of us.  Turned out it was too small for that much combustion.  After the first 20 or so candles were lit, they began lighting each other rendering my matches unnecessary.  Breathless from laughing and mild panic, my daughter and I called my husband into the kitchen to blow out the cake.  There was a lot of smoke, and a lot of wax on the slightly candle broiled frosting.  It’s a memory that I chuckle at every time I retell the story.  But I digress from the original subject which was age.  Be happy with whatever age you are, isn’t it great that you’re still here?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

We Made Lasagna

Making lasagna is so easy these days since I discovered the oven ready noodles. Sauce, noodle, cheese, sauce, noodle, cheese until all ingredients are gone and the pan is full, covered, and popped into the oven.  I love those noodles, they make the dish such a snap to put together; much less time consuming!  As I baked a pan the other evening after returning from the supermarket, my  mind did a little time travel while I puttered around the kitchen putting away groceries, making salad, and unloading the dishwasher.
It was somewhere around 1977 and I was in my friend’s kitchen with her dicing mozzarella cheese.  Bubbling on the stove was a big pot of water just waiting for lasagna noodles to be added.  As the steam rose my friend Cathy dropped in the curly edged sheets of pasta and stirred it with a big spoon.  We were chattering away about how much our boyfriends were going to like the dinner we were making.  We had walked to the Acme down the street from her house to buy the ingredients and were now in the middle of my first foray into cooking without an adult around.  I think we had overestimated how much we’d need, or else there was no large pan available to us because I recall layering ingredients in round cake pans and square pans of different sizes.  It seemed like we had pans of lasagna all over the place.  It must have been quite cheesy because I remember dicing a lot of the mozzarella cheese.  I guess it didn’t occur to us to use a grater.  As I reflected, I couldn’t recall actually eating the food, I’m sure we must have, and I don’t know which boyfriends it was.  I just remember we had fun, made what seems like large quantities of lasagna, and dicing all that cheese with a little paring knife.
I’m still good friends with Cathy, and although we no longer live close enough to cook together, we do exchange letters, cards, e-mails and texts regularly.  I don’t know if she remembers our lasagna cooking day, perhaps she’ll leave a comment when she reads this post.
So now that you’re craving lasagna, go get some of those oven ready noodles and whip up a pan!  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14

I spent 90 minutes face to face with a tall, dark, and handsome young man Valentine’s afternoon.  He began by telling me just what he was going to do, and gently laid me back.  Asking if I would like a pillow behind my neck, he applied some gel and before I knew it my lips were numb.  He stopped every now and then to ask if I were ok, and to say that there was no need to hurry and to let him know if I needed a break.  There was a talk show on the television, but I could not tell you what it was about, all I could think of was what he was doing to me.  The time seemed endless, but everything must come to an end.    When our time was over we set a date for our next session, in three weeks.  That’s when my permanent dental crowns will be in.

            Gotcha!  Yes, that’s right; I went to the dentist after work on Valentine’s Day.  It was a full day, beginning with a couple inches of snow.  I would have found it beautiful if I hadn’t been shoveling a path through it for Hillary’s wheelchair so I could get her to the bus by 6:45, and cleaning off my van so I could drive it to work by 7:30.  Work was ok, but of course with 10 women working together in a kitchen with a time deadline it was chaotic and cacophonous—I’ve come to refer to going to work as riding the “Crazy Train”, it’s been a wild ride this school year.  Between the laughter and nearly brought to tears all in the space of 5 hours, I was glad to leave.  Once home, I chatted with my adult daughter about her classes, had a sandwich and cup of tea, finished shoveling the driveway at the end where the sun doesn’t reach, got Hillary into the house from the bus and unpacked and went to my dental appointment.  Once back home, my hubby and I exchanged Valentine’s, ordered out for dinner from our favorite Italian restaurant, and got Hillary settled into bed before he left for choir.  We plan to have tea and some of the brownies that my daughter baked for us between when I left for the dentist and Bruce got home.

            I feel lots of love around me always, but it’s nice to have a day set aside to show it, whether you’re part of a couple, or simply part of a family.  I hope you’ve felt loved today, and every day.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Great Consequence

You will do things of great consequence.

Those words, as far as I can remember, were never spoken to me.  For some reason today they popped into my head.  Hillary has been fighting off an upper respiratory infection, so I've had to keep her home from school and take a few days off myself.  I'm not glad she's sick, what mother would be glad their child is sick?  But I'm enjoying the days at home with the freedom to do pretty much what I want in between caring for her.  It gives my mind time to wander a bit more without being pulled back to the here and now as quickly.  As I meander down the paths of my thoughts I come upon things that I have done that seem fairly inconsequential to the world.  Yet, I don't believe they are.  Mostly what I do as I traverse the Land of Sue is nothing worthy of note.  At work, I sing any scrap of song that pops into my head, and make witty (at least to me) observations about what's going on at any given moment. I try to be kind to my coworkers and the students we serve because perhaps the only bright spot of their day is lunch, and lunch should not be a stressful event. I end most days on Facebook with a silly rhyme to amuse myself.  Doesn't seem like much to me,  just trying to get through the day the best way that I can.  I advocate for my Princess Hillary so that her way through the world will be smoother, and try to be a source of support and refuge to Miss Anna and Bruce.  Something they can count on when they come home is the offer of a snack or meal, a comfy place to sit and relax and some quiet--a refuge from the world after a day at work.  Nothing of great importance.  But really, isn't it?  What if my silliness at work makes a co-worker's day less stressful, allowing her to then deal easier with family issues?  What if one of those students to whom I have shown the smallest kindness of wishing them a pleasant day feels just a little better about themselves?  Suppose Hillary causes someone to think of something about life they never would have without seeing how someone with no speech, or walking skills can be included in life in a meaningful way? What if my nonsensical rhyme changes some one's mood? What if the knowledge that they have a safe place to land at the end of the day allows my daughter and husband to do their jobs just a little better, and show kindness to coworkers and customers?  We don't know what the ripple effects of our everyday lives might be.

 So I say, to everyone, you will do things of great consequence.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Getting Along With My Smart-alecky Phone

          Well, I’ve had my smart-aleck phone for 7 months now, and I think we’ve come to terms with each other.  Sort of.  I’d describe it most like a teenager.  The trick is to get it to do what you want it to do without it knowing it was your idea.  Those of you who have or work with teenagers understand what I mean.  One wrong move and you’re sitting there wondering where you went wrong.  Don’t try to retrace your steps because you’ll never figure it out.  One time my friend sent me an e-mail with an attachment.  My phone simply refused to show it to me.  It said that it was opened, but I couldn’t see it.  I had to turn on my computer to see the image that she sent me.  Darn phone! Sometimes I stab at the screen and it takes 6 times before I open the app I want.  Sometimes I barely touch it when I’m picking it up and an app I never use pops up on the screen.  I’ve never put any music on it (I know, that’s one of the features that many people enjoy the most) since I prefer the radio and don’t like ear buds, yet every now and then when I pick it up a message appears that says “there is no music on this device”.  No kidding.  I do enjoy the camera feature, but it took me quite a while to figure it out, or make peace with it.  Sometimes I’d be taking a video instead of a still picture.  For the longest time I couldn’t figure out how to zoom, and couldn’t get the right setting for the flash thus giving me many very dark pictures juxtaposed with many ghostly looking images of my loved ones.  I almost have that figured out.  Although it seems like just when I think I’ve figured it out I realize that I don’t.  At least I’ve learned how to text, make calls, and retrieve voicemails.  God help me if I ever decide to put music on it!  Some things I just shouldn’t attempt.