Monday, March 20, 2017

Husband in Kitchen

Possum sez: 


Every wife/working woman knows that after years of having her husband at work all day, when he retires, things change around the house.  Mine retired and flopped around aimlessly for several years before hitting on something to do with all this time on his hands. I suggested that there were things he could do around here which would be helpful—instead of just micro-managing me, reading The Economist, and playing solitaire. Eventually, he took something up.

Typically—at least, I think it’s typical—the tasks he decided he’d like to take over were also the ones I most enjoyed—shopping and cooking. Somehow, women are always left with the scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming, and cleaning of bathrooms, the least favorite parts of the routine. We must have it written on our foreheads, or on some stone tablet s somewhere:  “Woman, Thou Shalt Clean Toilets and Vacuum Cat Hair off the furniture to the End of thy Days.”


Anyhow, at last he took up doing something, so these are now mostly off my to-do list. I need to mention that he’s not much of a yardwork or DIY guy either. Not likely to launch into painting, or even mowing when it’s the season for that. I do half the mowing and at least half of the snow shoveling, so I’m standing by my man on those fronts, but I sometimes wish he had more of a bent for DIY. We’ve got a carpet in the unfinished basement that could probably qualify as a superfund site, but, I digress.

He’s been “learning shopping.” This entails frequent calls from the supermarket to ask me what the hell my handwriting says, or what the hell is that and where the hell can that weird-ass ingredient be found? There’s a smallish local supermarket that we’ve patronized for the last 30 years, so I pretty much have the place memorized.

There are pitfalls, however. The other day he returned with two sacks of yellow onions because they were a to-fer. He’s begun cooking Indian food—and in all fairness making delicious dinners, tasty, spicy vindaloos and curries -- so we do use a lot of onions in the course of making masalas of various flavors, but I didn’t see how we were ever going to use two sacks. After all, there are only two of us! So they sat on the counter, withering, until this snowy weekend I thought of a frugal solution: onion soup. Hating to throw anything away like a good Yankee, I suggested he chop them up. He, chef-like, has been working on his knife handling skills.


He chopped meticulously and produced an entire mixing bowl filled to the top with onions. Then with butter, salt, the same technique I’m learning as we do that “Indian Cooking” together, I slowly stirred them over medium/high for a very long time, while they cooked down and down and down and finally changed color. Next came the chicken stock, added a little at a time, all the while cooking and cooking, reducing and reducing, and at the end, a LOT of Parmesan, quickly whisked in.  It took us amateur cooks about three hours, but eventually we’d produced about six bowls of very tasty onion soup.

I don’t think either of us are going to be ready for Chopped any time soon.


  ~~Juliet Waldron


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                      http://amzn.to/1YQziX0  A Master Passion   ISBN: 1771456744

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sleeping with a Cat (When you’re stiffer than you should be at your age, for goodness sake!)


There's A Nap For That Bumper Sticker
One of the great blisses of old age is the nap—the bumper sticker with sleeping cat which says “There’s a nap for that” just about sums things up for me. Even when I was small, I don’t think I ever did too much fussing about the approach of naptime.  For me, tucked away on a smooth sheet in a room with a tree outside the window was as good as it got, in this strange new world into which I’d so recently been dropped.  Naps were a time of quiet rumination, of drifting away into Asperger’s heaven, without facing unsettling and unpredictable human interactions. 

Today, after an illuminating session of senior yoga with Kate, I arrived home relaxed, despite having had a spat with sig other before I’d gone to the class. Those spats are a feature of married life, or maybe just, this married life, but I am always left feeling as distressed as sig other is. Anyway, when I arrive in such a state  for Yoga, I think the best thing I can do is put it all behind me and JUST DO THE POSES.




“I love Yoga” our instructor announces with a blissed out smile.  It’s an invitation to join in her game. I-- and the other attendees--we’re no longer  “seniors” in any of our gym classes. We are all treated by the instructors as a crowd of very stiff, worn-out, yet tight-wrapped of kindergarten kids. This shiny faced instructor thinks that besides stretching, we also need to remember how to play again. We also need practice at smiling at the others with whom we share our circle.
Even after years of life, it’s hard to look others in the face and remember their names.  I continue to fall down at the task, even while calling myself “lazy” and “rude” and other worse things. It’s either “old” or “woman” that causes this “memory” failure—if that’s really what it is, and not some egregious character flaw. I am now working on the association thing: “Amy with the great sneakers” is also pretty and short, definitely a Little Woman.

 I can do the smiling part. Most people in this Yoga class are like me, so that’s easy, and a nice first step toward sociability.






Then, having stretched sufficiently--and sometimes, yes even in senior yoga it can happen, over stretched--you’re home, lunched on too much curry, rice and Brussels’ sprouts. Next, you are weary, heading upstairs for that retired folks’ mid-day lie down.  






Outside the window, breezy clouds flip the switch on and off as they pass. You reach your sleeping spot, but there atop the bed, head comfortably upon your pillow, is a twelve (at least) pound cat. You are going to have to readjust your plans for collapse, but you are ready because sometimes the cat switches things up like this—you have developed a strategy.  The knee pillow goes under the head, while you lie flat on your back with a prop in the “small”, catawampus, so you’ll fit, all because, after all, there has to be a good-sized sleeping rectangle for the cat.




~~Juliet Waldron

http://amzn.to/1UDoLAi    Books by JW at Amazon

http://amzn.to/1YQziX0  A Master Passion   ISBN: 1771456744

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Quilt, An Heiress, and A Spy









                          http://amzn.to/1sUSjOH Angel’s Flight  ISBN: B0098CSH5Q

Set in the Hudson Valley during the Revolutionary War, it's roughly 100 years since New Amsterdam became New York, but the life styles and folkways of the original Dutch settlers still lingered in the little valleys upstate.  In the early 19th Century, Washington Irving would make famous his quaint, winking tales of the Hudson Valley Dutch, such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Where he saw humor, I saw a marvelous starting place for a historical romance, among these hard-working Americans With a Difference, people who did not live entirely in accordance with the more familiar English tradition--some, my ancestors.

"Angel's Flight" tells a story with many threads, the mingling by marriage of the Dutch and English and the terrors and hardships of our first Civil War, where friends and families found themselves violently thrust onto opposite sides. There is also romance--Jack, with his multiple personas, is soon unmasked as a spy and a formidable soldier. His world, however, will be "turned upside down" by passion for a fair rebel. 




The Blue Bird Quilt is a hymn to quilters everywhere. Angelica, the heroine, hunted by men and events through the ruins of her own once comfortable, New York world, tries to keep her sanity by collecting pieces while even escaping one peril after another on the road up the river. She will, with only her needle, return a world ripped apart by hatred to a new, harmonious and beautiful whole.


                                        See this talented quilter at:  
                                        http://juliekquilts.blogspot.com/



Angelica hated it when Tories made fun of General Washington, a gentleman whom she’d been honored to meet. George Washington was the noblest—and absolutely the tallest—person she’d ever met. He had looked invincible seated on his steel gray stallion. With grave civility, he’d doffed his hat to her as he’d ridden past, accompanied by two smartly uniformed aides de camp.
“I did not intend to mock your general, miss. I think he is doing the best a leader can, without supplies or any trained soldiers. There are famous precedents in military history for his strategy, you know. Fabius was a Roman general who saved the lives of his men and finally wore his enemies out by running away. However, while your modern Fabius runs, the civilians of America are in terrible danger.”
“I know all about Fabius,” Angelica replied haughtily.
Jack’s response was to chuckle and shake his fair head, apparently amused by the dogged way she kept up her argument.
“You should read The Farmer Refuted.” She cited a patriotic pamphlet that had impressed her Uncle Jacob. “The author had a wonderful grasp of both Judge Blackstone’s work and the famous economic philosopher, Mr. Postlethwayte—”
“Good Lord, miss!” Jack burst out laughing. “By God, Armistead is right about one thing. This is a most amazing country! I’ve never, ever, had the names—much less the virtues—of either dry-as-dust scholar brought up to me by a beautiful woman before.”
Angelica pulled her arm away from the pleasant resting place it had been enjoying in the warm crook of his. “And why shouldn’t a woman take interest in the fate of her country?”
“I would never say that,” Jack replied, cheerfully capturing her hand again. He attempted to bow an apology over it, but she pulled away. “Peace, however, is the proper preoccupation of all womankind, for peace is necessary for the nurturing of children.”
“And, therefore, war is the proper interest of mankind? The cruel and pointless sacrifice of our sons as—as a sort of blood sport?”

“By God! You are indeed a philosopher!” Swiftly, he captured her hand once
more. “I thought Dutch women were like their German cousins—interested in little but babies, church, and cooking, and here you stand, arguing like a lawyer--a good one.”


Angel's Flight--adventure and romance in the American Revolution, Hudson Valley theater






~Juliet Waldron


http://amzn.to/1UDoLAi    Books by JW at Amazon

http://amzn.to/1YQziX0  A Master Passion   ISBN: 1771456744