Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just a Couple of Peasant Girls

It was a typical weekend evening on Sunday when Red and I began to discuss our taste in food and drink, as we sipped our Bloody Marys.  We’d been talking about chili, when we discovered…

Red: Oh, yeah. I love a big bowl of chili with some cheese and onions. 

Kathy: We both like chili, pasta, goulash, stew…

Red: You’re right. What’s that all about?

Kathy: Basically, we like peasant food. It’s not just about comfort food, it’s about a big pot of something, with the flavors all blended together. 

Red: You’re right again. And if it’s cheap to make, it’s even better! (she said with a big laugh)

Kathy: (chuckling, too) Yep, cheap is good as long as the quality is there. 

Red: You must have come from a long line of peasants! (mocking grin on her face)

I simply nodded my head and took another sip, thinking even my taste in alcoholic beverages was very basic. 

Kathy: I think that extends to wines and things as well. Frankly, I have no palette for fine wines. Absolutely none. 

Red: Me, too. A great wine is wasted on me. I can’t taste the subtle differences. If it tastes good, that’s enough for me. 

Kathy: Right! When you think about it, a Bloody Mary is really just a good old stew of a drink. I mean, there’s tomato juice and spices, a stick of celery, a couple of big olives if you’re lucky…

Red: Yep, and we do love our Bloody Marys, don’t we?

Kathy: We certainly do. 

We clinked glasses at that point and Red said it before I could.

Red: I guess we’re just a couple of peasant girls, aren’t we?

I nodded and smiled contentedly at her.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mirror, Mirror…

Magical Mirror by *Ironshod on deviantART 

I fell in love last week. I had occasion to share a motel room in Carson City, Nevada with my mother and sister and shortly after checking in, I wandered into the bathroom to straighten myself up. 

There it was – a six-foot wide, sink to ceiling, mirror. I spied the woman staring into it and nearly didn’t recognize myself. I was gorgeous. If it was possible I would have dated myself.

Seriously, I looked a good 15 years younger, all pink and glowing. I spent that night and the next morning taking several unnecessary trips to the mirror, staring at my long-lost self. If only I could have taken the glorious reflection with me!

This has happened to me a few times, and I know most women will have experienced this – a reflection that is almost surreal. I don’t know if it’s lighting or mirror quality or both, but it’s a wonder. The last time I fell in love with a mirror I was working in a grungy little newspaper office and the shared ladies room was located in the motorcycle shop next door.

I made an inordinate number of trips through this establishment to visit my reflected self.  I’m sure it was noticed by the other employees and the shop’s owner, who looked good enough in his tight jeans to warrant an additional round of trips to the “other side.” Yes, I did meet all my deadlines, but not with any help from the mirror or Mr. Blue Jeans.
I returned from my trip on Friday and the image that greeted me in my little makeup mirror was a stranger to me. I’m not sure who that woman is in the little round thingie. Surely not me!

I’m craving a return to my mirror. Yes, it is mine. We have a special relationship now. What’s that you say? It’s currently fulfilling the needs of some other woman?!
No, no, say it isn’t so!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rest, Relaxation and Adventure = Renewal

I began my first real vacation in three years a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely wonderful. I’ve taken time off in the past few years, but nothing involving travel and adventure. I won’t let so much time go by again.

My daughter, Vanessa, came to visit and in the past that has meant the two of us staying in my tiny RV Wanda and going to the zoo or movies for fun. This time she had a full eight days to spend with me and I structured that time so that we did not spend a moment in Wanda, which was a blessing for me. I made a point to stay off the computer as well, with the exception of posting a few pictures on Facebook.

We went to Yosemite, spent a couple of days with relatives, and then we headed to Napa Valley and on to Ft. Bragg. We spent one night in Yosemite’s Curry Village and the other nights either with relatives or in motels, the last of which was the luxurious Westin on the Sacramento River. They have beds that a person could easily spend their lives in, plush to the max.

Getting to experience all this with my sweet kid was great. What I found was most pleasurable was being away from my daily experience, away from my home, away from the cares of everyday life. I escaped, for a while, the regularity of my existence and stepped into other worlds. We had more than one adventure; searching for a place to eat in Napa and stumbling on to Downtown Joe’s – excellent breakfast, sitting for a bit along a quiet portion of the Merced River as it ambled through Yosemite (pictured above), exploring the awesome Ft. Bragg Botanical Gardens, finding a world-famous restaurant - The French Laundry - and ecstatically photographing my chef daughter in front of it and among their gardens across the street.

Returning home was a jolt, but a day or so later, I was dog-sitting for my sister and found myself zoning out on their On Demand. Since I don’t have a television, I took the opportunity to watch Seasons 3 and 4 of the absolutely amazing Showtime series The Big C and every available episode of Storage Wars. I came away with a brain washed clean of all the realities of my own life, as if my mind was a giant blackboard and someone had taken a big eraser to it.

This two week period brought home to me what I’ve always known but sometimes forget to act on; that rest, relaxation and adventure are necessary ingredients to a sense of renewal everyone needs in life. It’s difficult at times to recognize how badly run down we are, especially if we don’t consider ourselves to be working at our full potential. That, in fact, can be even more stressful on a person than clipping along at a frenetic pace.

Last night, I ended my two weeks of self-imposed vacation, after spending an entire day watching Season Three of the FX show Damages on my personal DVD player. As soon as I mentally declared myself back from vacation, my mind started frantically working. I had several amazing ideas for books I’m working on and a new one. It was exhilarating.

All this from two weeks of escape from reality and one, only one, Bloody Mary!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Inspired by a Brave Dog

I took this picture on July Fourth. The beautiful white Labrador in it is Indy, my sister’s dog, and she’s blind. 

It’s probably not all that remarkable that Indy still swims, because she’s been kindly re-introduced to the family swimming pool. However, I felt a small thrill a year or so ago when she first began taking off from the steps obviously unsure of where she was going. Now she’s got a circuit from the steps and back, so she more secure of how to get out of the pool. 

That weekend I witnessed her jumping from the side of the pool directly into the middle of it with little more than slight hesitation and some vocal support from my sis. 

Indy leapt into the water, trusting that it was actually there, based entirely on her hearing. It was wonderful to see. She looked magnificent sailing through the air and landing in the pool. You could almost see confidence flowing through her when the wet confirmed what she believed, that there was water there all along. 

How many humans would do the same thing, in spite of actually being able to understand the words being said? Hell, we often don’t even trust when we CAN see the water and someone says “Come on in, the water’s fine.”

I hope as I continue on through life, the next time I need to jump blindly into something I think is there, I’ll have the memory of Indy’s bravery to spur me on.  I wish that for you too, dear reader.

Friday, June 28, 2013

It’s All in How You Look at It

Some of you already know this, but I live in a 23’ RV full time. For several hours a day, it sits in full sunlight, which makes it a virtual hot box during warm weather. Last week, the air conditioning gave out. We had three lovely days of rain and drizzle, so I put off calling the repairman, assuming he couldn’t work on a rooftop AC unit in the rain. Well, it turns out I should have called anyway to get a foot up on the waiting list. Apparently, everyone’s AC had given out at once and I must now wait until July 5th for a repair appointment.

The weather here in Sacramento will be unseasonably warm for the next eight days, hovering around 103 degrees for most of the time. Yikes! My first reaction was to panic and then calm came over me.  After all, our pioneer ancestors didn’t even have fans, let alone air conditioning, proving, in my mind, that this little tragedy was definitely survivable.

What to do? Well, I decided to turn the next week into an adventure. I would need to be away from Wanda, my RV, for about 7 hours a day, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s was totally doable.  It was simply a matter of being organized. I could do this.

So, I devised a name for this period of time, “The Great AC Adventure”, since naming everything is one of my endearing qualities (or so I keep telling myself) and then on to the planning. Yesterday, I started out on a used book buying spree at the Friends of the Library bookstore that took up a good hour, followed by a trip to the local pet store to stock on up dog goodies for the puppy that will soon be joined by my niece’s first baby (hoping to stave off natural jealousy – maybe he’ll regard the new baby as just another treat for him!)

Then I headed for my sister’s house and swimming pool. She has a couple of Labradors that are members of our family so we swam together and beat the heat for two hours. By the time I headed home it was cool enough to work outside, listing my book finds on Ebay. I didn’t head inside until 9 p.m. when the light finally faded from the sky. Essentially, I had a lovely day.

Today is starting out the same way – absolutely fabulously. I headed for the library at 10:30 this morning and so far I’ve read for an hour and now have jumped on my computer to write this post and work on my WIPS. I have big plans to go to see a movie, “42” the Jackie Robinson story, in a couple of hours at the cheapo movie theater (something I would never have done without this “crisis”).

I mentioned my circumstances to my park manager and he’s going to have someone place a small AC unit outside my bedroom window until I get mine fixed. So, I’ll have at least a partial rescue.  I almost regret it. This was turning out to be such a great adventure.