My Dog Lexi And Me

Vanilla custard with raspberries, blueberries and slices of thinly cut kiwi fruit, a small chunk of fresh pineapple, flaky almond crust. Small bites spread over an hour with a blue glass of icy cold milk. A dessert fork, lights dim not glaring. A peaceful Sunday night dessert.

Fresh fruit tart with kiwi, raspberries, and b...

Monday is cold and biting, raining, sleet. No place to go, to rush out the door. My dog is downstairs curled up on the couch, she looks like a sleeping fox. She, apparently, has no energy today either, I try to take her out but she looks at me with disdain.


She will not go. We look at each other wisely, we agree we should all move together to a warmer climate. “Florida?” I ask her. “California she murmurs, less humidity.” I agree immediately.”Someday” we agree.

We sit on the coach as we do every morning. Her body and paws on my lap, my arm around her head softly scratching behind her rusty colored ears, in her favorite place. We talk together.  She tells me if we move she is scared to swim in the ocean, I tell her I totally understand. We will start very slowly until she feels comfortable or if not she can play in the sand. I wouldn’t force her to do anything, I’m not that kind of mom.

I never forced my children to do anything they didn’t want to do either, I just insisted on them having good manners and being respectful. They both are. I am so proud of your siblings, I whisper to the dog,and I am so proud of you.”  I let her in on a secret: “they will be home very soon to visit you.” The dog looks up at me, her eyes brighten with interest. She knows when her brother comes home he will rough house with her, she knows when her sister comes home she will get extra hugs and kisses, mostly in private.

Everybody says we should not feed the dog at the table

but we all do except for dad, he is the strictest of the family. I just need a soft, warm, mushy look and my hand is out. Sister sometimes slips too and gives in not to mention grandma who gives pieces of food all the time, even to the dog’s cousin where it is really NOT allowed. “But it makes him so happy” she says, calling the dogs boys when they are both girls. It’s a language thing.It makes us all laugh.

It is finally time to get out of bed and take a hot shower, whether I want to or not. It is so cold in the house, I am shivering. Nothing motivates me except the amount of days I haven’t showered. I have accepted/relented to Winter because I have no choice. I will stay in as much as possible, that is my coping mechanism. I can’t fight it, I may as well hide from it. I’ve given in.

Time does not stand still, not at all. It breezes past, its bitterness a step away from me. I like it that way. If I don’t have to go out, I won’t. If I can’t live in a warm temperature, I will make the temperature warm in my house. I will only go out when I need to go out. Tomorrow, I need an EKG, just a three-month check-up, no biggie. I will go and I will come back, happy to be home.  I will make a cup of tea with a spoon of honey

and I will appreciate that even more than usual. After that, I will sit once more, with my dog, lying on the bed and we will close our eyes, together. Nap time.

 

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Plinky Prompt: Best Rooftop View

  • Best Rooftop View
  • Ba, LL And The Last BBQ
    Boston Sunset My friend Barbara and I were on the rooftop of an apartment she was renting in Boston. This was the last night I was going to see her before she moved to Florida. I was devastated that my best friend was leaving but I knew to appreciate the last night we would spend together.
    Barbara was an amazing chef, for our last meal, she decided we would have a barbecue up on the roof, she must have made enough food for fourteen people. There were pork ribs glazed in syrupy sweetness, bbq chicken in a maple glaze, vegetables on the grill, potatoes, several kinds of thick, crusty bread, chips and of course, a selection of dessert I had brought: a little chocolate tart, a small fruit tart, strawberries, blueberries and apricots glistening with sugar.
    We sat together on folding chairs, overlooking the Boston skyline, while the sky changed colors from yellow and red to pink, purple and blue to late in the evening when it turned almost black. I remember this evening vividly. If you have to say good-bye to your best friend, you want to remember it this way, with magic.

Hey Ba, I Think It’s Now

a bird nest

Image via Wikipedia

I’m beginning to think that”these days may just BE the good old days” and I want to stop and appreciate them as much as I can. I want to  savor my children’s laughter, energy, and yes, even fighting. I want to enjoy family dinners served with a sauté of sarcasm and lumpy cheese sauce with laughter. I’m not saying that things are great but they are definitely good enough and  that’s just fine. My husband is still unemployed and our kids are just about to skip from home to college and I will be living in my own new reality, as an “empty-nester” which is both incredibly sad and exciting.

When I was in my early twenties, my best friend Barbara and I would alternate saying “Laur, when is it gonna get better?”or “Hey Ba, when is it going to get better?” I don’t even remember now what was so bad back then. We asked each other this as we were selecting French pastries from a small patisserie: the fruit tart or the chocolate mousse? Two Libra girls in an enchanting bakery meant only one thing: both. Now, thirty years later, back then seemed like it WAS better but it was just different. “Youth” is wasted on the young” my mother used to mutter. We laughed and knew she didn’t know what she was talking about. We have all said the exact, same thing to our children as they look back at us and roll their eyes. How can we expect them to understand what no other generation ever did before?

Rereading the book Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg is helping to keep me in the present. It’s a book about a woman dying of cancer and her loving friends. It makes you stop and think about your life. For me, these are the good old times. Are we silly enough to think that things will get easier as we get older? They don’t. I prescribe reading Ms. Berg’s book surrounded by tissues and as Oprah would say “a-ha” moments.

Now, while we still have our two children home, at least for a few more months I am relishing my time with them. I want to freeze these days like photographs on our mantel. My son, my first born, a Senior, is always running out the door, his black and orange sneakers barely trailing him. He has about four and a half months before he leaves home  for the summer to be a Counselor at the camp he attended for many years. Camp is my son’s other home; it is a magical place that helped shape him as a person. My first-born,  has the same temperament as I do; we understand each other with a casual glance. He’s waiting to hear from colleges in the near future. As much as I try to spend time in the present, I miss him already.

My daughter, a Junior in High School came home from “College Night”  and sounded like a newly opened bottle of soda; her enthusiasm and excitement was contagious.  “I want to go to college tomorrow, Mom” she chirped.  I will have a whole year with just her where she doesn’t have to share the limelight with her older brother. I am not even ready to think about what life will be like when she goes off to college. This beautiful young woman will always be my baby.

I would like the world to stand still so I can try and burn memories in my heart. My nine year old dog is sleeping at the foot of my bed. The children laugh, fight, shout and antagonize each other yet their love for each other is incredibly obvious. I know my husband will find a job eventually and I just want to hold on to this feeling of our family; for as long as I possibly can. Here is my life lesson: cherish each moment; it’s as simple as that.

Thank You, Erica

Candlelit Table for One

Image by ecstaticist via FlickrI

I am not a paid restaurant reviewer so I am writing about my love of eating good food (not making it.)  I also have great admiration for those who cook incredibly well. Our friends, Mike and Erica, hosted a reunion a few weeks ago and old friends from the East Coast and the West Coast gathered together.  Erica made a divine appetizer of stuffed mushrooms based on Ina Garten’s recipe. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten and this is NOT the Food or Cooking Channel. We ate those amazing stuffed mushrooms with our eager fingers and never have I eaten such different tastes and textures in one appetizer. The sausage, olive oil, cheese, bread crumbs and mushroom appetizer combined with seeing old friends, talking, hugging and laughing, was a highlight of 2010 for me.

It felt like the kitchen scene from the movie, The Big Chill,  except no one died (although one person did leave the dinner table, head to the living room, wrapped himself up in a blanket, appropriated two pillows and apparently fell asleep on the couch for 3 hours.) I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Presently I fantasize about eating my favorite things in an expensive restaurant.  My husband and I would be seated inside a small dining room near a beautiful fireplace. A small bouquet of red and purple flowers sit prettily on the thickly starched white tablecloth where a soft candle would be burning.

To start, I would have jumbo prawns with cocktail sauce and a wedge of lemon (that had a paper coverlet on it to protect it from seeds.) In some circles the prawns would be the delicacy but in our family we have named the shrimp as the vehicle to which we get to eat the cocktail sauce. Another example of this would be that lobster is the vehicle to get to the melted butter sauce. You get the idea.

After that I would order a salad made with a lemon/olive oil, vinagrette salad dressing (the words truffle and champagne could be added although I don’t know exactly what they do.) Ripe cherry tomatoes, julienned carrots, red cabbage, and chopped parsley and chives would be on top. I love adding sweetness to things so for me, some craisins would be tossed in there as well.

The table is laden with “everything” flat crackers and warm, soft, dinner rolls with butter, room temperature (I hate hard, freezing cold butter)  shaped like sea shells. My entrée would either be the outstanding chateaubriand, like it is prepared at the  restaurant X2O or the divine filet mignon served at the Crabtree Kittle House, both amazing restaurants are located in New York. Rice pilaf or mashed potatoes would work nicely with this meal, but nothing fried and undignified as french fries and ketchup (those go with cheeseburgers only.)  Grilled brussel sprouts paired with a hint of maple syrup glaze and slivered almonds would be our vegetable.

Blood orange or lemon sorbet served in martini glass would be our palate cleanser. It would be served to help settle our wonderful meal and to leave room (not that this has ever been a problem for me) for dessert.  I am a sugar junkie and I like a variety of things so because it is my fantasy I am picking two desserts: a fresh fruit tart served in a marzipan shortbread crust with vanilla custard and a fluffy (never flourless) milk and dark chocolate mousse cake with real vanilla bean ice cream.

Thanks for joining me in my food fantasy. Here’s to 2011, with good friends and great food.  Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy and delicious New Year.