August 28, 2007


I'm here to whine about my eyes again.

Why is it, ever since I succumbed to the inevitability of non-optional appliance-enhanced eyesight, I am painfully aware of the need to read in many places I had not before even realized I was reading? (That is a horrible sentence. I think I will leave it and dedicate it to my dear friend eb. She collects such things.)

Take the kitchen, for example. I didn't think about needing eyeglasses there. But I do. Recipe ingredients, measures and instructions are a blur without them. If I squint, I can still set the oven temperature accurately but forget about reading a thermometer. Are you aware that standing near a pot of boiling pasta will make your glasses fog up? When will the humiliation end?

Shopping has also become a "glasses required" activity. Supermarket, drug store, office supplies, even shoe shopping! Anything I pick up, there it is. Tiny little print I cannot read despite squinting until my face resembles a prune. Don't even get me started on restaurants! Freaking menus are all printed with blurry typefaces. Hardware stores are another place where the fine print matters.

Of course it would be no problem if my glasses were always handy. Shopping now includes a routine, which, when prepared for and performed properly, ends happily with glasses perched helpfully on my nose when I need them. Unfortunately my preparation lacks consistency.

This is payback for all those years I mocked my sister, my dear sweet sister who has worn glasses since age two. She had to put up with me, all cute with my blond Shirley Temple curls and dimpled smile, always flaunting my better-than-perfect 20/15 eyesight. There she was in her awkward light blue cat-eye frames or, worse yet, those enormous frames from the 70's with the thick lenses, totally tauntworthy by no fault of her own.

So, dear sister. Please accept my apology. I take back all the eyeglass-related jokes and insults I've thrown at you over the years. My imagined superiority, by now well bruised and battered into proper proportion, has taken its final death tumble.

Karma's a bitch.


August 20, 2007

I'm No Poet

Just days after demo
And all through the house
Not a creature is stirring
(Of course there's no mouse!)

Come on down the stairs
See what we've done
Many things we are changing
The fun's just begun!

Look all around you
What's there to be seen?
To me, a blank canvas
Awaiting a theme

There's a door over there
Can you guess where it goes?
There's nothing much left
Just a whole bunch of holes

A pipe drips a little
A pail catches the spill
Yet standing there gawking
Is oh such a thrill

The dumpster is full
The Boy has checked out
Extra muscle is handy
Yes, without a doubt

The next phase will rock
(Expense not withstanding)
Rebuilding feels good
Imaginations expanding!


August 14, 2007

Baking with The Boy

Guess what? It's peach season again!

The church in our neighborhood holds an annual Peach Festival. We've never attended because, frankly, church people can be scary we are homebodies. Saturday morning as I sipped coffee on the porch, I could hear the strains of musical entertainment waft through our suburban neighborhood. It was the festival! I started thinking about peaches and couldn't stop.

My mother periodically shares with me her copies of Cook's Illustrated magazine. I adore that magazine. Not only does it offer tantalizing recipes, but in the process of crafting the recipes, the writers document the methods they tried that didn't work and why they didn't work. The most recent issue contains an article entitled "Improving Peach Crumble."

Peach Crumble? I'd never made it before, had never even heard of it. Yet the thought of delicious warm Peach Crumble topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream haunted me throughout the day. After dinner, I could no longer restrain myself. A late evening trip to the grocery yielded a sack of ripe peaches and a carton of vanilla ice cream. "Peach Crumble, you will be mine!" I chuckled madly as I drove home.

Often the joy of preparing a dish is equal to the joy of eating it. Such was the case with our Improved Peach Crumble. The Boy, no slouch in the kitchen, joined me in this culinary endeavor. The sheer delight of working with him lightened my heart and brought a silly smile to my face. Soon the house was filled with rich scents as the topping baked while the peaches macerated. The finished creation exceeded my expectations.

Tomorrow we'll celebrate The Boy's 22nd birthday. Sunday he'll be leaving on a jet plane and we don't know when he'll be back again. Instead of getting all maudlin, however, I will choose to focus on the sweetness of the times we do have together. And just like peach season, I know he'll be back.


August 6, 2007

Suburban Mystery

Dudley started scratching in earnest late last week in a manner unmistakable to any dog owner. Pixie followed suit, albeit in a more dainty and lady-like manner.

Evidently it's flea season.
Color me flummoxed.

Back in the day, fleas were an integral part of the rites of summer. They were a seasonal certainty, much like stifling humidity yet infinitely more unpleasant. Fleas just were. They appeared, they reproduced, they drove dogs and humans alike mad with their presence.

Sure, I did what I could to keep them at bay. My efforts weren't always successful despite using every tool at my disposal. I'd spray the yard, bathe the dogs, bomb the house, over and over and on and on. I had a special line item in my household budget for flea combat. From July until the first hard frost, serious battle was waged. (Is it any wonder winter is my favorite season?)

Advances in science brought us wonderous veterinary products like Frontline and Advantix. Fighting fleas became as simple as applying a few drops between each dog's shoulder blades. Summer life was revolutionized.

Then one year, spring became summer became fall with nary a sign of those nasty little biting buggers. The next summer came and went and, again, no fleas. I began to believe the little bastards had all moved out of state, or better yet, disappeared altogether off the face of the earth. It's been at least five years since I've seen even a vague sign of a flea.

So, yes, now I'm flummoxed. Why after years of absence have they returned?