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Too Much

My belly rumbled as I picked up the restaurant’s menu. Ordinarily, I enjoyed eating out, but today when I scanned the meals listed, nothing excited me. The menu was filled with bright pictures of juicy hamburgers, steaks, chicken, soups and eleven different kinds of sandwiches. It even offered all day breakfast meals, so the problem wasn’t a lack of dietary variety.

Arnie and I had been on vacation for the past week. Every single meal since leaving home was at a restaurant. When we left home I’d thought eating out all week would be like a dream come true. There would be no meals to cook, nor dishes for me to wash. All I had to do was lean back and enjoy myself.

The first thing I discovered was my dear husband had turned into a dietary camel sometime during the previous twenty years since our wedding vows. He loved to eat huge breakfasts early in the mornings, but then didn’t want to stop to eat anything else until six or seven in the evening. I, on the other hand, like to graze for most of the day. I needed at least a bowl of soup or fruit every four hours. I ended up furtively snacking on candy bars to keep from passing out.  Continue reading

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Listing Right

I dropped into my desk chair and pulled a note pad toward me, remembering a comment that a friend had once made. She said, “If you have a job you want done, tell a busy person to do it.” What my friend said was true. When my life was busier, I was always able and usually willing to add extra jobs to my already full days.

After a moment of thought, and a few doodles on the corner of the pad, I began to scribble a list of things to do. I wrote, ‘write letter to Barb, call Rosie, wash-dry-fold laundry, rearrange living room, clean kitty litter pan, weed flower bed.’

I have always liked making lists. Being able to cross off the items as I do them makes me feel good. Non-work items show up on my lists, ‘sit and read the newspaper’ and ‘soak in bath tub’. Some people wouldn’t write those things down, but I do. Just because they’re not house maintenance, doesn’t make them unworthy to be listed! Continue reading

Mountain Ash Pub

Twilight rendered the headlights of my car to be totally useless as I headed home. Were they even on? Along the road I saw heavy mist close to the ground in low areas. More ethereal on higher ground a thin, silky veil sinuously wrapped itself around shrubs, trees and farm buildings. The word, ‘gloaming’, an old-fashioned word for this time of day came to my mind. It made me think of things spooky and mysterious.

Shivering, I turned up the heat. My car instantly responded by blowing a steady stream of warm air from its vents. Bright yellow leaves on trees along the road looked like patches of sunshine the day had forgotten as it so quickly departed moments before. The day had been warm, but now the chill and mist was so typical of fall evenings. Continue reading

Misbehaving Cooks

Spicy aromas coming from the kitchen made my mouth water. Maybe if I begged Mom, she’d let me taste something. Bracing myself on the stairway banisters, I began to swing down three steps at a time. Before reaching the main floor, I heard Mom yell, “Supper’s ready!”

Daddy and my sisters flowed out of the living room into the kitchen ahead of me. One brother made a bee-line out of his room at the end of the hall to the table and the other brother quickly stepped in from the entryway. They all looked as hungry as I felt. Hints of garlic, onion, oregano and basil hung tantalizingly in the air.

Mom had placed two large jelly roll pans of homemade pizza on the center of our table. One sister exclaimed, “Those look beautiful!” She was right. The crisp crust around the edges were a light golden brown. Although topped with plenty of melted cheese, I could see chunks of meat, pizza sauce and mushrooms below. Beside the pans were shakers of Parmesan cheese and dried peppers. Continue reading

Unscheduled Plans

I studied the store’s colorful display, looking for the perfect birthday card for my friend. Other shoppers came, quickly selected and left, but I spent ten minutes intently browsing for a funny one that suited my friends sense of humor. Finally, locating the perfect combination of art, sentiment and price, I headed for check-out.

Later that afternoon, I sat at my desk to write a message in the card. Remembering all the fun we’d had together in the past, I ended with, “Let’s get together some time. We haven’t had a visit in ages!” I put a stamp on the envelope. As I licked the flap to seal it, I sadly thought, “Every year I suggest we get together, but we never seem to do it.”

The phone rang as I returned from the postbox. Another friend I see frequently was on the other end of the line. After a short conversion she ended by saying, “We should go shopping together sometime soon.”

I’m a social shopper, a person who merely runs into stores to pick up needed items when alone, but considers shopping the biggest event of the month when I have company. “That sounds like fun!” I responded.

My friend answered, “Then let’s schedule it. If we don’t, it won’t happen.” We picked a date and noted it on our social calendars. Continue reading

Never Gets Old

My mother sat like a queen on an upholstered rocking chair. Taking turns, my young adult daughters leaned over to greet Grammie with hugs and kisses. June sunshine gently peeked into the room through open living room windows. Outside, someone was mowing the lawn. We could hear the soothing hum of a distant lawn mower and smell freshly cut grass. The rose in a vase on the table next to Grammie’s chair scented the room as a soft, warm breeze fluttered its leaves.

My mother’s gray eyes sparkled. She perfectly fit the textbook picture of a grandmother. Her stylishly waved white hair framed a face with soft pink cheeks and smiling lips tinted to match her easy wash-and-wear, coral-colored polyester pantsuit. She peered intently up at her visiting grandchildren, striving to get a good look at them despite her macular degeneration.

“Happy birthday, Grandma,” my daughters chorused. Continue reading

Big Banana Tree

I frowned when I looked at the pole beans. They weren’t a lush, happy green. Some of the leaves were turning yellow. A few had turned brown and fallen to the ground. This had happened last year, too. Were pesky insects or a virus damaging my bean crop?

Shaking my head, I leaned into the shovel as I dug a hole between the garden rows. When it was deep enough I picked up a bowl filled with potato peals, apple cores, crushed egg shells and banana peels, that I had brought out from the house. Dumping the compost materials into the hole, I covered it with dirt.

Leaning on the shovel, I thought about how I tested the soil several years ago, shortly after my husband Arnie had died. My son-in-law, Mike, had taken over Arnie’s Farm Care business. When he read the results to me, he advised, “You need to add organic matter to the soil.”

Because of his advice, every summer I bury kitchen scraps and in the fall and gather dried maple leaves for the soil.  Glancing around at my walkway vegetable graveyard, I announced to my garden, “The soil needs to be tested again. I have a feeling that something more than organic matter is needed.” Continue reading