About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

On Having Adventures

So, I got the address of the place I *might* be moving to in June, and we drove by there. It’s in a neighborhood that is modest and unassuming, much like the one in the town where I lived until I was eight. And even though it is one of the few homes on the street that is un-spiffed, as it were, it still looks like it could easily be home to me.

And it’s less than half a mile from a really good yarn store. Can we say Saturday morning walks? [LittleBit said “yes, we can.” She was waiting semi-patiently for the bread cheese puddings to come out of the oven so she could eat hers, scald her tongue, and go buy a USMC t-shirt at the mall. I started the draft of this post last night while dinner was cooking.]

Remind me not to wax rhapsodic about “the adventures of the day ahead” until I have actually experienced them and know whether I should rejoice, or duck and cover. For adventure we did have, and while it turned out well, there were a couple of “oh bleep!” moments that involved grabbing the sissy bar and wondering if the truck was going to hit us, or if we were going to hit the truck. Thankfully, neither. I don’t know if that idiot has any idea what a close call he had, but I suspect there are a bunch of angels up in heaven who are still blowing on their fingers to cool them off.

It all began with a parking brake that we forgot to undo. LittleBit and I both managed to miss that small detail. And she drove maybe a couple of miles, never more than 40mph, past what may be my new meetinghouse in a few months, when she noticed that the brakes were suddenly not responding as usual. Just as somebody who ought to be pushing a wheelbarrow came out of a side street and nearly hit us. She kept her head and took swift and effective evasive action, and we found the nearest stop-and-rob with a mostly vacant parking lot so we could offer up a prayer of thanks, and I could take the wheel for awhile. It wasn’t until we mooshed to a stop that I noticed the handle was still up on the brake.

I called 1BDH, who works in Fort Worth and is typically at work at that time on a Saturday afternoon. He was just leaving the office, and he picked up a few extra tools in case he had to replace something major. He met us there maybe half an hour later [he is such a good son!], checked out the brakes and the brake fluid and the seals in the back. We blued the steel on the drums, but there appears to be no permanent damage. 1BDH told me to keep an eye on the brake fluid level for the next little while.

I drove us to Central Market for fresh stuff that the local market doesn’t carry, another piece of fish for today’s dinner, and my free-chicken-breasts-with-a-$40-purchase. Also the hummus that my local market no longer carries, a couple of great cheeses, a bit of French vanilla almond granola that I’ve already portioned out into snack bags for breakfasts on the go.

LittleBit put the food in the car and returned our cart [and three others] while I walked over to the bookstore and picked up that issue of Texas Gardener that I’d been wanting. By the time I walked out of the bookstore, she had backed the car and was coming to meet me. She drove us home, and the brakes were responding almost normally by the time we got here.


I made the bread cheese pudding a little differently last night, and it was the best yet. Here’s how:

Toss an unopened can of cherry pie filling into the freezing compartment of your fridge, if you didn’t have the foresight to put it in the fridge to chill earlier. I buy the “lite” variety because it’s not cloyingly sweet, but I make sure that I get the kind without artificial sweeteners.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter individual ramekins [for us “individual” would be about 5” in diameter; we likes our BCP, yes we does] and lay down slices of baguette, tearing some into pieces to fill in the gaps. Grate your favorite sharpish cheese onto a slice of baking parchment and sprinkle a light layer on top of the bread. The more flavorful the cheese, the less of it you will need. Three total layers of bread and cheese came just to that lip or edge on the inside of the ramekin.

For two ramekins this size, beat three large eggs with about a cup of milk, a nice sprinkling of sweet Hungarian paprika, and half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of Herbes de Provence. Divide evenly and carefully between the two ramekins, place them on a cookie sheet for support, and bake for half an hour or so until the pudding puffs up and is golden.

Take the cookie sheet and its miraculous contents out of the oven, and the cherry pie filling out of the freezing compartment or fridge. Give thanks, and dig in. Traditionally I have made this with the heels of all the loaves that come into the house, saved in bread bags in the freezer until we accumulate enough to fill a baking dish and the majority of them being Mrs. Baird’s potato bread, which is hard to find these days. We liked it because it maintains a modicum of structural integrity while swimming in savory custard. The sweetness of the cherry pie filling plays nicely off the flavors and textures of the pudding.

But we had been meaning to have fondue for dinner, all week, so I needed to use up those baguette slices. [I can buy a bag of them for $1.49 at Central Market. Sublime!] They weren’t as stale as if I’d left them out on the counter, but they were past their prime. And the cheese I bought was “Classic Beemster, aged 18 months”.

We also bought a sliver of Brie, and black cherry confit and water crackers to go with it. And I bought a small amount of six-grain cereal to cook and try. I bought another blood orange, and a big old navel orange to keep it company, and *pitted* kalamata olives, this time around.

Our little adventure sucked up almost all of my cooking energy. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go out and see “Enchanted” or curl up on the couch and read some more, and knit.

We have just enough of last week’s baguette slices for French toast this morning. But another good thing to do with them is to toast them lightly in a pan, then spread them with a bit of Nutella, dollop a tablespoon of ricotta cheese on top, and drizzle that with dulce de leche. I got that recipe from Cooking for Mr. Latte. Three of them on a plate make a sensible and surprising dessert, one of those “how could that possibly be good?” recipes

I’ll be meeting my friend who owns the rental house in the next few weeks for a walk-through. But I don’t know whether we will be able to make this happen in terms of timing. I think she will need to have somebody in there before my lease is up. And I am not yet at the point where I can afford to have a pied-à-terre for weekend life and a primary residence in this school district. Would that I could. It would be so great to get my studio all arranged, and the parts of the dining room and kitchen and pantry that I don’t currently need, all set up, before we had to call in the good guys with the weak minds and the strong backs to do the heavy lifting. [Just kidding, guys!]

So what did I end up doing last night? Met my best friend at the movies and saw “Juno”. I mostly liked it. There were a couple of parts that made me squirmy, and the language was appalling, especially when she was in labor. But the young actress who played Juno did a great job, and I love Allison Janney. Nobody can play a tightly-wound mom or step-mom the way she can. I liked the guy who played Juno’s dad, too. Reminded me of some of Dad’s friends. I won’t say any more about it, because LittleBit and Fourthborn have plans to see it together. Oh, except that Jennifer Garner has that “Linda Gray trembling lip” thing down cold. She really did have a thankless role. But Allison Janney [who is the same age as my best friend, and my niece] ruled. She hit so many of the buttons I’ve hit as a mom, over almost 30 years.

I think what I liked best about “Juno” was that while in theory it’s a teen movie, it’s also about the parents and how this affects them. They’re not just cardboard props taking up space. Very well-written, except for the language, and unfortunately I’ve heard similar stuff from more than one of my own girls, over the years.

OK, enough rambling for one post. We have a new schedule at church today, which means that we get the 11:00 - 2:00 slot. I’m going to sit down with the Sunday School study guide and the Relief Society manual and read the lessons. We have a four-year rotation in Sunday School: just finished the New Testament last month, will study the Doctrine and Covenants and some church history next year, and the Old Testament the year after that. But this year is my favorite of the four; we are studying the Book of Mormon, which is what brought me to Christ in 1975. I love how it supports what the rest of my Christian brothers and sisters get from the Bible, clarifies some difficult passages, and teaches true principles in modern language while losing none of the poetry of the King James Version of the Bible.

Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath.


Tola said...

dont you love ho we're studying BOM *and* Church History the same two years we are doing Joseph Smith? i rather like to think that was planned!

punkin said...

That sounds like a full day! Thanks for the comment on my new-to-me swift. Since yours has served you well, then I can hope that mine will also do its job for years to come.