Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall, Food, Friends, Family and Fun

 I think it probably goes without saying, but because it is the topic for today's post, I'm going to say it anyway. When family and friends gather together, it is usually around our favorite foods.  Not that we don't eat a lot at other times of the year but when the air becomes skin temperature and somewhat smokey, when a simple walk around the block fills my basket with apples, plums and blackberries, and when the farmer's market is bursting with people and peaches, corn and tomatoes.  Then we eat better, healthier and for close to free at times.
 Our favorite foods are probably healthier before we load them with the smokey flavor of the grill, but we love that taste of the outdoors and the faint hint of the prehistoric past.
 Chicken and pineapple skewered and grilled with sweet, sun ripened corn
 Spaghetti made with fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions, garlic and more garlic and a bit more garlic, mushrooms, fresh basil and fresh oregano.
 neither home-made or low fat, but french toast loaded with bananas and berries and whipped cream
 There is something about good people that calls for great food, and about great food that brings about long, leisurely visits with the people we love the most.
 A nutella, banana, strawberry crepe on the Pier in San Francisco.  I could resist the first time, but then I had to go back. Oh My, Yes.
 I love Fall, but sometimes I find it depressing.  There is that whole knowledge that the perfect temperatures and the warm light and the abundant food is slipping into the colder darker season when baskets of fresh food become canned and frozen and warming soups.  But for now, all is in balance and the world is good.

 Blackberry custard pie for now and blackberry jam for lunch on those dark days, when the warm smell of blackberry and redwood scented air has given away to the nose biting cold of a crisp winter.
 My apple tree fell so long ago, and now the berries invade but the fallen tree still valiantly produces the best apples.

 The babies once gathered at my table are now the young adults, and I'm in denial about what that makes me.
 but playing with our food seems to be something we never outgrow.
 My kids make more beautiful cheesecakes than this, but it made me think of them and smile.

 a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown
 Candy.  Health food?
 Something about gathering around a table together that lingers in out memory and keeps us feeling close even when there are miles between us.  This was the good-by meal before the first try-mester of college, and yet those smiles are with me every moment.

 Moon Festival in China meant Mooncakes, and still does though I haven't been in Beijing since 1987

 My oldest son is an excellent fisherman, and caught a couple big salmon, so we had a tiny portion of his catch with more friends and family and a fresh garden salad.

 That high chair had hung in the garage for 15 years, so it needed a lot of scrubbing before this little angel could use it.
See, I told you, the kids are masters of cheesecake creations, and masters of my heart.

So fall surrounds us now, and laughter and memories linger even as new memories are being formed.  May you all have an abundant group of friends and family and many treats to linger over with them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Don't wish your life away!

My Grandma Grace in the redwoods, she lived to be 81 and died just after my college graduation
I am down to 8 days before I take my youngest son nearly 500 miles away for his freshman year of college and kind words from friends, nostalgic movies and old pictures are among the many things bringing tears to my eyes this month. My grandma always told anyone she heard wishing it was already . . . friday or evening or Christmas or Summer, "Don't wish your life away." 

 I think I have done fairly well living by that advice although, not perfectly by and means, and I have managed to store up a jillion and one good memories and to reach the goals on my bucket list fairly completely.

 I have graduated from college with a teacher's credential and spent 10 years teaching severely handicapped kids.  I had one lovely baby boy by adoption and one I gave birth to and I got to spend a lot of time loving and playing and teaching them, and my husband has been my best friend and biggest support and has worked really hard so that I cold cut back to working part time as a Sub and be a full time Mom.  I have travelled to Europe and Asia and central America and published three books, but the biggest success in my life is that I have raised young men who are strong and kind and wonderful.

my Dad wanted to be a grandpa forever but got the Cancer diagnosis and was dead not long after this

my sister in law was young and active and died in the Heat of the Grand Canyon on a hike, much too young

I really don't know were I will go from here, or what my life goals will be now that things are changing.  I can already tell that it is fun to get to think more about my husband and I again, but that means revisiting where we want to head now that this chapter is coming to a close.

I just know that I am blessed and that blessing began when I started whining, "I wish it was Friday.  I wish it was next Christmas, I wish . . . 

And my Grandma took the time to take me in her arms and tell me to slow down and enjoy where I was right at this moment

"Don't go wishing your life away.  It'll get here before you're ready anyway."

My oldest Baby, is a hard working young man

my flame haired old man has snow on the roof a bit now and our youngest baby is heading to College

I have a wonderful addition to my family to make me laugh in the same loving way as some of the people I have lost along the way.  She would have loved my Dad and Sister-in-law and Grandma Grace

taking time to just enjoy being alive on this beautiful planet we all share

Mom and I

My Brother, Lance

 Life is fast, it is amazingly fleeting, but there is so much that is great in it.

I hope that you too, have a chance to slow down, breathe, pat yourself on the back for the goals that you have met and then look ahead with a grin and figure out where you want to be in the future and then relax and tell yourself to enjoy every moment on the way to that future.

What are your best successes and your brightest dreams?