Friday, September 16, 2011

Old Mother Hubbard

What began as a simple search for a small can of chicken broth to take a stab at a new soup recipe, ended up as a total purging of my kitchen cupboard.

I do skim through my cupboards occasionally. 

When the boy-scouts solicit door-to-door in their quest for can goods to benefit the local community pantry, I rummage through my cabinets to donate to this worthy cause. 

When the mailman, through the post-office, makes his yearly appeal for food items, I dig in again and fetch a few more items.

So see?  As I purchase new food, I do clear away the un-used…or so I thought.

But during my hunt for that elusive chicken broth, I came across cans, bottles and boxes of food that….well, let’s just say, were a tad significantly outdated.

Out came cans of veggies, bottles of dressings, cartons of bread crumbs, jars of sauces, and boxes of assorted jellos.  Some containers dated from years back.  Where did the time go?

Since my divorce almost 4 years ago, I don’t cook or bake nearly as much anymore.  Throughout my 36 married years, I had always made dinners…full course meals. Meat, potatoes, vegetable, bread, dessert.  And I always had plenty of food.  Growing up in such a large family, I witnessed food served in large quantities.  Good food, too.  Huge bowls of home-made spaghettis and stews.  Large pans of oven-baked chickens, and flavorful roasts.  And don’t forget the long sheets of pastys (U.P Style) by the dozens, coming from the oven.

Even now, when entertaining, I always have enough to feed an army…no matter what the occasion. 

You can take the girl out of the large family, but you can’t take the large family out of the girl.

So now I have outdated cans, cartons and bottles cleared from the cabinet sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.  Out to the trash just in time for garbage day.

I’m confident I’ll be back to the grocery store soon to begin re-stocking.  This time, I hope to re-stock much more slowly.  Now where’s that chicken broth?

Monday, September 5, 2011

End of Summer

With the last days of summer on the horizon and the searing heat at 98 degrees today, I headed outside thinking I would make use of my swimming pool one last time for the season.  The pool beckoned my family throughout the scorching month of July, but as soon as August came around, the enthusiasm for swimming at grandma’s dwindled.

That happens every year.  Seems as if during June and July the deck is filled every day.  People (me) soaking up the early summer sun, and kids swimming.  But by August, it’s as if we’re already looking for some slightly cooler days.   So I was playing with the thought of closing the pool next week, a bit earlier than usual.

Besides, my pool chemicals are down to the last tablet and I just hate to head to the store for more because then I'd have a full barrel of chlorine sitting all winter long. 

I must proudly admit, though, that in the 5 summers since my divorce (I can’t believe it’s been that long already) that I have been caring for the pool on my own, I have had C-R-Y-S-T-A-L clear water.  Almost unbelievably so.  I don’t understand what the problem was all those years before….humm. 

The only help I need on occasion is with some muscle for opening the chlorine-feeder.  That so-and-so (the chlorine-feeder) is as tight as a drum.  My son fits the muscle requirements.   Luckily the feeder only needs to be wrestled-open every 3 weeks or so.

Anyway, if I am not playing working at my desk, or watching my 5 grandchildren, I am usually outside “playing” in the water.  Today, when I stepped out to use the pool, I noticed that the deck needed a light scrubbing.  Out came the hose, but when I looked up near my dining room window, I spotted one of the ugliest spiders I have ever seen.

I am not afraid of much. 

I take that back……..that’s a lie…a big, bold-faced, mortal-sin lie.

Let’s just say that spiders are ONE of my fears.  Although since being on my own, I’ve noticed that my fears have diminished.  I guess you do what you gotta do.

Anyway, after seeing that eight-legged arthropod beast, I was a little repulsed, but I was gonna get that sucka if it was the last thing I did. 

His web covered much of the diameter of the window.  At least I am assuming it was a He – all the more moxie for me to get him!

Don’t tell PETA, but I was armed with a hose primed to the POWER setting; I had a gallon-sized jug of Home Defense bug spray ready to drown that creepy-crawler; and I had a broom. 

Was that enough power for defending and protecting poor little me?  

Oh yes…my camera.  I ran inside to fetch it so I could document this huge undertaking.

Should I broom him away first and THEN spray the heck out of him?  I decided to spray first. 

I pumped up that blankety-blank jug until the pressure in the little release valve was ready to burst.  Cocked and ready, I pulled the trigger and let him have it.  


Probably over-kill, but he eventually fell to the ground where the broom did its job.  Smash. 

I took my trusty hose and washed him (what was left of him) through the deck and down-under.   Gone.  Nothing.  Nada.  Safe again.

What’s that saying?  Where there’s one….?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Manicures, Pedicures and Massages…Oh My!

Mannies. Peddies. Facials. Massages. Waxing. Even cuts and colors. I am not into them…not too much, anyway. I normally make an appointment for a haircut only when I desperately need a trim after too much of my own “butchering.” So, yes. I normally take care of my personal needs myself. Except for last week.

I ducked into a small neighborhood salon for a quick manicure and pedicure. I had no appointment. When I pulled open the door, I noticed 3 chairs. Two of the seats were occupied with women reading and relaxing while having their toes painted.

It was after a quick glance to the sign on the wall indicating only $35 dollars total to have my fingers and toes done, that I noticed a young girl curled up sleeping on the couch in the waiting area.

One of the women working yelled out something to me that sounded like “what do you want.” I told her what I had come in for and she motioned for me to have a seat.

After only a few seconds, the young girl dozing on the couch awakened. I presumed that the women who had asked me what I wanted woke the young girl when she blurted out something to her in what I believe was Vietnamese.

The young girl with the pale skin woke from her sleep and disappeared into the backroom just as the older woman quickly waved the back of her hand at me as if she were shooing me away. She was directing me to the shelf on the wall holding an array of vibrant, multi-colored nail polishes. She ordered me to “pick color.”

A minute later, the young girl reappeared from the backroom and motioned for me to take the third seat, next to the two ladies who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their peddies.

I placed my purse on the floor next to me, and removed my shoes and set them next to my purse. I placed my feet up on the foot rest while light colored blue water swirled into the small tub below me filling the basin to the brim.

To my left was an acquaintance I knew when our children were in school together. We were making some small talk when suddenly, on my right leg, I felt a Tap. Tap. Tap.

I turned from my conversation and eyed the dark-haired young girl. I must have had a puzzled look on my face. She tap tap tapped me again. Was I supposed to know what that tap meant? She did it a third time. Tap. Tap. Tap.

I think I even started to ask her what she wanted, when I realized she wanted my right foot to soak in the water. Duh. I felt a bit foolish at first. I lowered my toes into the water, and went back to my conversation with the lady in the adjacent chair.

Tap. Tap. Tap. NOW what, I thought. The tap was on the right leg again. I assumed that means out? Tap. Tap. Tap. This time on the left leg. Well guess what? I was finally catching on.

This tapping seemed to go on numerous times. It was beginning to get comical…to me, anyway. Both feet were never in the water at the same time. In..out…in…out. Never a word, not a motion…just that Tap…Tap...Tap.

When it’s time for my next manicure and pedicure, I guess I will be digging out the polish remover and nail color and doing my own nails. I can paint them as well as the next girl...or at least the LAST girl...Tap. Tap. Tap!