Jul 10, 2013

Getting Lost In The Summer.....

We have had a solid two week period of either hosting or being hosted by family, and vacations.  I have gotten to feel like Nana, having company and making pallets and getting clean linen on all the beds.  The Beautiful Redhead has lost the mattress on her old bed to one of her younger brothers, so she has to sleep with me now when she is home, and we have the best talks this way.  My beautiful bonus daughter and her family have also graced us wither their presence lately, and I have happily been slurping on that oh-so-delicious baby.

I have been glorying in just "being home" and what my family is becoming, as the years bring changes both exhilarating and painful to us all.  How well I remember when I got to the age where things changed from "the way they had always been" to "what would be".  It's bittersweet at best, the age where it occurs to you that now it's your job to *be* home, as it feels like all your "homes" are either disappearing altogether or newly vulnerable, in your eyes, to disappearing in the future.  It makes you feel silly because you have been insisting for several years that you are all "grown up" and yet go to pieces as soon as you are called upon to act like one for the first time.  Life is like that all the way through, a series of surprisingly obvious crises and how we find the strength to come through them.  This Song has been getting a lot of play around my house lately.  I used to identify with the child watching cartoons.  Now I've graduated to identifying with being Mam Maw in the kitchen, stirring up some sugar cookies.  It's a song that only gets better the older you get, with a message that is simple eternal truth

So far into the "summer vacation" mode have I been that I got all confused last Saturday morning.  Thinking it was Sunday, I got my coffee and went to, and they hadn't updated yet.  I started to wonder what in the world was going on with this site.  Had someone died or hacked their website?  Where was my updated  Then I realized that it was only Saturday!!!  I was overjoyed!   I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have made a mistake like this, having my weekend suddenly get twice as long as I was thinking it was, and I doubt I need to tell you!  Is there anything better than that? If there is I don't know what it is.

I stopped to appreciate the days, far and few between lately, where I wake up and can't remember what day it is, and it doesn't really matter either way.  Time off is precious, even if you just stay home.

This revelation made the domestic Goddess in me come out of hiding and I started cooking.  I mean, she  started and kept at it and couldn't seem to stop.  I was just along for the ride, really.  The Domestic Goddess evidently has a quota that I had not yet met, so we had to catch up.  Or something.  I try not to question and just "go with it" more these days. ;)  This method has worked wonders for me, and I highly recommend you try it.  No pre-conceived plans at the start of each day may seem terrifying at first, but give it a try and I think you will find freedom and joy instead of resentment and obligation.  These are just the two different sides of the same coin, but a deeply important difference.  When you are feeling really under the gun, check and make sure you aren't the one putting the pressure on yourself.  If you are, give yourself a break.  It's your life, just live it and be happy.

 I had to try Trisha Yearwood's Sweet & Saltines Dessert after I had tried it at a garden party.  This is awesome! And the thing about Trisha Yearwood is that she is one of us.  She doesn't give you lists of things you never heard of or have to buy online from stranger's who you don't think it would be a good idea to trust.  Nope.  Not our Trisha.  When you look at her recipe's, you not only know what all the ingredients are, you actually already have them in your pantry. I had a little bump with my brown sugar, which had the audacity to turn solid on me.  But I just microwaved it and then beat it into submission.  "Oh, come on, brown sugar! You are never going to win this battle!  Not with ME!!" The Domestic Goddess is not one to be trifled with.  And that brown sugar, it crumbled in it's shifting, sugary way into submission.  Mine didn't turn out quite as good as the picture in the link above,  so be sure to boil the syrup for the full 5 minutes, and then don't panic when it looks like it's burning in the over.  It's not burning.  It just has to bubble up so that it will get a little harder.  In this way I give you not only recipe's but I go ahead and make the mistakes you might make the first time, if you lack patience but are long on willfulness. I think this is a worthy service to provide.  Mine was still a bit gooey but I just pressed on as always and it lasted almost 2 days.  It only lasted 2 days because I hid some of it in a Tupperware container in the fridge.  Why boys refuse to examine what might be in these containers is beyond me, but I count on it immensely.  You will love this dessert.  It's easy, cheap, salty, sweet, everything anyone wants, all at once.

Then I had found a crock pot recipe for the Hot Fudge Cake that is always such a hit, so I put that in the crock pot.  And made the Strawberry Cobbler that can be found on the same page in the link above.  I know! It was like a miracle!!  I haven't even made the noodles I planned to give as Christmas gifts last year yet.

So then for lunch I made meatballs (the sauce consists of equal parts grape jelly --not jam--and chili sauce--Heinz or the generic in the glass bottle)  and pasta (does it matter? I used Penne) with garlic Alfredo sauce (the generic in the store for about $1) and artichoke hearts (also generic, although more like $2.50).  The boys will eat this but consider artichoke hearts "girl food".  This is just fine with me, being the only "girl" in the house.  The important part is that I had left-overs and was foolish enough to think I wouldn't have to cook anymore at this point, on this day.  The Domestic Goddess knew better, and on I went.

Then I decided to make some potato salad, even though the boys usually won't eat that at all after it's cold.  We have a thing about warm potato salad at my house.  It really is best right then, when it's still warm.  The boys, however, draw the line when it's cold for some strange reason.  By the time I got that done the boys had polished off the meatballs and so I decided to make a meatloaf.  At some point during the smooshing of the meatloaf, which I use my handy-dandy disposable gloves for, The Cyclist finally asked "When are you going to stop??" (I think I was wearing him out, just watching) and I could reply "I think this should just about do it."  I probably spent too much time cooking that day, but The Rock Star was coming with his wonderful girlfriend and we were going to have a fire in the back yard, and I didn't want to have to worry about anyone being hungry.

I slightly misjudged the appetite of boys for meat products, as we ran out of all the meat first.  Luckily this nudged them in the direction of the desserts and all I had the next day was the potato salad, pasta, and a little  Strawberry Cobbler left over.

However you are spending your summer, I wish you days where you wake up and truly cannot remember what day it is, not that it really makes any difference.  Your time is the one thing that will always be your own.  I wish you enough of it that you can squander some and relax enough that you no longer feel the time ticking by in the back of your mind.  Put away the clock and let the slant of the sunlight determine what you do with your time.  I promise it will seem like you have a lot more of it.

Take time to reflect on the changes coming towards you, say what you need to say when you have the chance, have peace with all things, as far as possible, and remember these days.  They will soon be past us and we will have other pressing issues to deal with.  With any luck, our Domestic Goddesses will not forsake us during these times, and we will dine on Meatballs and Hot Fudge Cake, come what may.

If you are still slaving away with the clock ticking down the time in your head, you still have plenty of summer left.  Go float.  Sleep late.  Take some time off and then let yourself forget about what day it is.  Listen to the wind instead of the news, watch the sun transform the sky, and then the moon. You will not regret it, of that I am quite sure.