Sweet is one of those loaded words for me. I can generally recognize sweetness in other women and a rare handful of men. And I respect it and appreciate it. In others. But I tried to write a poem, ten years ago or so, about that word and how it made my hackles rise if applied to me. And, to a lesser degree, to mine.
The children’s father used to be sweet. And I suppose that today he mostly still is, although Firstborn said that the last time she visited him in the nursing home, he was irate about some bureaucrats somewhere, and cussing up a storm. 1BDH says it’s probably because of the strokes and which parts of the brain were affected.
I also think there was a tremendous anger at the “unfairness” of life that was a subtext of our marriage, which manifested as passive-aggression because he was unwilling to admit that he was angry. [My own unwillingness to admit anger manifested in eight years of cyclical depressions, the trigger being his repeated unemployment. And our children are picking their way through minefields of their parents’ making; some are doing better than others, at least on the surface, but all of them are battle-weary and scarred.]
I think there is a part of me that would like to be sweet. And I do not know that I will ever feel safe enough to do so. I think that I was meant to be sweet, and tender, and generous. Perhaps I need to dig a little deeper, and pray a little harder, to be led to appropriate venues where I can share what I have to give, and not jeopardize my health, my sanity, or my salvation.
I love our hymn that asks, “Have I done any good in the world today?” [Cool. I just discovered that I can transpose the key downward. I used to wish there was a separate hymnal for early morning seminary, or for when church begins at 9:00 because we are sharing the meetinghouse with two other congregations. In the world they say, “Busier than a one-armed paper hanger with the hives”. In the church we say, “Busier than a four-ward chapel,” which may only be a Utah/Arizona/Idaho phenomenon and one I have never personally experienced.]
I love being joyfully involved in helping out. It has staved off many a pity-party.
Speaking of which, I had one that lasted maybe fifteen seconds after reading Firstborn’s comment on yesterday’s post. I don’t think of myself as somebody so decrepit as to require an electric scooter at Costco. I can, after all, dance for hours when it suits me. But that is typically on a wooden gymnasium floor, which has a little give to it. Half an hour on that concrete floor made my feet and legs hurt. Maybe it wouldn’t be exactly awful to try out a scooter next time.
It’s vanity, pure and simple. The pride which the Nephites were always being warned about. I remember how invisible [to men] I became when I was walking with a cane two years ago, while the leg I broke line-dancing, healed. I hadn’t expected to be that invisible for another thirty years at least.
Maybe I could play “chicken” in the aisles with other geezers and geezettes? And it would certainly make the interminable waiting in line, more bearable. I could just sit and knit and smile benignly at the toddlers on wheels.
Maybe I should put that on my list of 57 things to do this year.
In the meantime, here are 50 ways to eat your chicken.
1. Have some chicken pot pie, guys!
2. And a little fajita, Rita.
3. Just pass me a leg, Meg [can’t, that’s in the stew].
4. What about some spaghetti, Freddy?
5. Or a chicken salad sandwich, Mitch?
[I don’t seem to be doing any better numerically than Rhymin’ Simon; I might be a better cook.] This is the butterscotch pudding from February’s Gourmet.
But there is great joy in Mudville. When I turned on my phone to call the elders to ask what time they would like their drive-by fooding, there was a message from Brother Sushi, saying that I had a one hour and fifteen minute window in which to call him back, because he was headed over here to Central Market, and he could very easily stop off at the antique store and pick up my bookcase.
I told him he had better call the antiques guy first, because typically that shop is not open on Saturdays; that’s when he and his brother make their deliveries.
So, I got to see my best buddy, and I have all of my bookcase in the house, if not in its final location, and one of us did some serious damage at Central Market. Wasn’t me, for a change.
He is a dangerous man to shop with; when we went on his first outing to Garden Ridge, I came home with a dozen earthenware soup bowls, a dozen small heart-shaped bowls for desserts or condiments, some Red Hat napkin rings, and a tab of over $125.
I did a lot better yesterday. Just under $25, and I brought home enough strawberries for a batch of orange-strawberry muffins; enough grapes and celery sticks to chop for my chicken salad sandwich(es); two bags of chips that leaped right into my cart when I wasn’t looking [both of them very low sodium and will last me for months]; a fresh boule; a ginormous avocado that I declare is not going to end up all shriveled and moldy like the last one that wandered home with me; a bag of the frozen sweet potato fries I like so much, which haven’t been in stock the last two times that I shopped; 2# of Key limes; a middling-sized bag of french vanilla almond granola; a handful of shallots; and a small bottle of amber agave nectar.
I resisted the temptation to buy a chunk of the Wensleydale cheese with craisins that I love so much. Nor did I get any piedras de chocolat, the chocolate-covered almonds. Nor the focaccia [spell check on Blogger offered me Fibonacci, bless its heart] that Brother Sushi bought, but which was $3.29 for one, and why would I buy one of those when I can get a week to ten days’ worth of boule for $2.29? He made me take a bite when we were out in the truck, just to torment me. When we pulled up in front of the house, I asked sadly, “I suppose I have to hand the rest of this back, right?”
I consoled myself by driving over to the taqueria and getting an aguacate torta for an early dinner. Which I parsed relentlessly, bite after bite: the roll was larger and softer than a bolillo and toasted. Thin layer of refried beans on the bottom half, then shredded lettuce and onion, thin slices of tomato and oodles of avocado chunks. Washed down with a Mexican Coke, which is allegedly made using cane sugar, but the label said “and/or high fructose corn syrup”, and I didn’t much care for it.
Although it was OK if I alternated a swig of Coke with a bite of torta. I poured most of it down the drain. [Trainman would cringe.] I ate half and
I tweaked the recipe for the orange-strawberry muffins by substituting raspberry jam for the middles, because I didn’t want to open a second jar of jam. The strawberries were so large that the recipe made more than a dozen. For the orange zest, I used one of my blood oranges when I was feeling a bit hungry earlier in the day; the zest seemed more flavorful than usual, and definitely more colorful. When I baked the last three muffins, I omitted the dab of jam in the middle; I wanted to see how that affected both the flavor and the tendency of the first batch to fall apart when I tried to pop them out of the muffin pans.