Saturday, September 29, 2012

Muffin [Wo] Man ***

The sunset tonight. So beautiful.

And in the kitchen bananas. Languishing. Since Friday. Word has it that my paternal grandmother would only eat bananas when they were completely black, which means that, since she lived in Ireland, they had to have been lying around at least six months. Blech. Where is my grandmother when I need her? Here, the aging process for bananas is faster....five days from green to black to mush. Max. And, in these parts, as soon as the first freckle appears there are two options: the compost heap or muffins. Since I am a thrifty soul, the compost heap is only a theoretical option. The Bean says, s-l-o-w-l-y and emphatically, as one talking to the feeble minded,

"Mom, why don't you just cut them up and put them in the freezer," [then he'd use them to make smoothies.]

My question for the world at large is "Why can't he do that? He knows where the freezer is;  where the freezer bags are; where the knives are.....So simple!"

But instead I make muffins.

Spanish lessons notwithstanding, I was still restless on Tuesday, Monday having been a blur of work. Two batches I made, and oh, it was so satisfying, seeing them lined up on the cooling racks, glistening deliciously! One batch was Blueberry Banana, supplemented with a little applesauce, because the one thing I've learned over a lifetime of muffin making is that, if you don't have exactly the ingredients called for, improvise. In the early, by-the-book days, if I didn't have nuts, there went my baking plans. Tuesday I only had one cup of mashed bananas so I had to improvise!

...........And one batch of Sour Cream Lemon.  Mmm!

I wish you could have been in my kitchen to smell the aroma!

 In the middle of my muffin making I heard the pool guy clattering through the door of the pool cage. As company-deprived as I'd been all weekend I was almost tempted to run out and throw my arms around him, but the plumber-butt vision that met my gaze as he bent to pour chemicals into the pool helped me to restrain myself. I did stick my head out the door to say hi. He always does a more thorough job if he knows someone is home....

It was a very satisfying morning, although, surveying the fruits of my labours, I did think to myself.

"In this house there is one adult female, human, on the lean side, and one adult male, feline, not so lean, but not a muffin eater. And now there are thirty nine muffins. Something does not compute."

God be with the days when the children would tumble in the door from school. No muffin disposal problem then.... However, Wednesday was a work day and the muffins were very well received there; the Bean had to make a lightening stop home for a decent night's sleep on a real bed, and some clean clothes, as the ones he had were turning crusty---so, in addition to clean clothes he took away a plateful of muffins;  and today I went to quilt group, bearing muffins, and no-one stopped me from entering, or barred the door.

 Since Granny went to her eternal reward more than half a century ago, and the smoothie maker is only here sporadically, I think I'll leave bananas off the grocery list for a while....

***When I came home from running errands this afternoon the Bean was home....Is it possible the week galloped by so fast that another weekend is already here?

The moon climbing...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buenos Dias! Mi Nombre es Molly....

The house was deathly quiet all weekend. I moped around like a dog without a tail and eventually, to pull myself out of the doldrums, did something I've wanted to do for ages... logged on to the library's website and signed up to take an on-line Spanish language course-- - Ever since Latin classes in secondary school, I've had a notion to learn Spanish. I think it was the nuns' way of assuring us that Latin would be worth the slogging when they told us that, with Latin under our belts, we'd be able to learn Spanish or Italian in under six months,. Not sure I buy the bit about six months, but it was a very pleasant distraction working my way through the introductory lessons and finding them so easy.

 Miss Oriss understands Spanish, having lived in Argentina as a child. She watches Spanish language soap operas when she's at home, and did likewise while she stayed with me. Every weeknight at nine o'clock we tuned in to "Abismo De Pasion," a good, old fashioned bodice-ripper, complete with love triangles and conniving mothers in law, young studs hard put to keep it in their pants, and older dudes trying to position themselves to be as rich as possible while doing as little work as possible. I didn't even need a dictionary to understand the title! Thrilling stuff. Mostly I did the daily crossword or sudoku while glancing occasionally at the screen. After a few weeks though I found myself caught up in the action and actually able to follow the general thread. Of course it was all in hundred-mile-an-hour Spanish, so I had to get a considerable amount of help in the translation department from Miss Oriss.

Now that she's gone, I've fallen by the wayside. I haven't tuned in to "Abismo" since she left. I do not know if Gayel has killed Damian for stealing Elyssa away from him, or if the padre has regained consciousness and revealed who it was that ran him off the road in an effort to silence him. I may never find out. But in the meantime I can tell you, in Spanish, what my name is, where I am from, what a pleasure it is to meet you, and that I travel frequently to Puerto Rico [even though I don't.]

The OC had better watch out. Next time he drops in here he could find himself falling into an abyss of passionate, hundred-mile-an-hour Spanish.

Hasta luego muchachas!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Miss Oriss Heads for Home

She left yesterday at 6 a.m. while it was still dark. I stood in the driveway in the oozing, saturated night and thought bleakly how lonesome it was going to be without her. Since she sold her father’s house, may he rest in peace, she has stayed with me while she sorted his possessions and his affairs.  Though we’ve known each other close to fifty years, this is the most time we’ve ever spent together.

You could make the case that my early friendship with her determined the course of my life. If  she hadn’t befriended me when I was the gauche girl from Ireland that summer long ago, I would never have met her father, the Carpathian Prince, who would not then have been inspired to set his son up to accompany me to a party one night, after the last flight for Ireland had departed; and said Prince would never have landed, late one evening on my startled parents’ Irish doorstep to check my pedigree. Finding my parents, not only startled, but respectable, and without criminal records, he still railed against our plans, his next argument being that we were too young. Which we undoubtedly were.  But his son was as stubborn as he and calmly proceeded with his plans.

When the Prince saw that he was losing the battle, he insisted that, if we must get married,  it should be on his turf, in New York. As far as I knew that was for the bride to decide, and this bride accordingly dug in her heels.  Ireland or nowhere.

He threatened that he would not come.

But in the end he could not stay away, and furthermore would have had World War Three on his hands had he tried to keep his wife from attending, even though it meant she would have to worry forever more that her pride and joy  would starve to death.

And so it came to pass that, because I had become friends with his daughter, the Prince found himself in Ireland one summer, attending his son’s wedding, complaining about warm beer and the fact that a wake-up call in his Irish hotel meant that a maid came into his room and shook him!

He was not a man who liked to be thwarted.  He registered his displeasure by not allowing his daughter, my friend, to attend her only brother’s wedding. I wonder how he explained that at the Pearly Gates.....

She and I started out as a couple of innocents, full of the excitement and possibilities of being almost twenty and on the threshold of whatever life might hold. We're less excited now. Older, wiser, scarred. We've weathered it all, the good, the bad and the horrible.

And we’re still friends.

It was so nice to have her company over our morning coffee; so nice to have company at dinner, and someone to sit around with afterwards. Every day we made progress, advancing a little further in sorting all the dangling threads of a life that is over. The furniture, the linens, the china, the crystal, the figurines, the chess sets, the cutlery, the paintings, the appliances, the beautiful, hand-crocheted doilies, the suitcases, the tools, the gardening equipment, the barbeque.   Everything clean and spotless. Everything needing a home. We learned to negotiate our way through Craigslist and to place ads in the newspaper without ever leaving the couch. We learned that, mostly, people want something for nothing. We donated bags and bags and bags of beautiful things to charity and churches. And it became easier, as time went on, to let it go. We lost all interest in shopping. Who needs more stuff? Too much stuff just clutters up your house and your life. Life should be about more than the care and feeding of  STUFF.

The care and nurturing of  people who matter to us, for instance. I’m glad we had the time together that we did. She's still getting her head around the fact that the Prince is gone. My own father died thirty eight years ago and I’m still not used to it. I’m sure when she gets home she’ll miss his daily phone calls checking that she is safe and well, and giving her the lowdown on his day. She might even miss the oft-told Threadbare Tales. I wonder where he is and who he’s telling them to now?

Miss Oriss arrived home safely early this afternoon. All the boxes and "stuff" she had mailed from here were there,  waiting for her. It almost made her want to get in the car and come back.

All I have to say about that is "I'll have the coffee ready when you get here!"

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Blue Moon....

Not sure how it was different than any other full moon, but, apparently, we won't see it again until here's how it looked from here last night.