My mother didn’t love to cook, but there were a few things she made that we all looked forward to. Her hamburg pie, of course. And apple pie (although I don’t love apple pie from anyone’s kitchen). Fried haddock and fries. When I was young she also made bread. Teacakes – little circles of bread a bit smaller than your typical hamburger roll, brushed with butter on the top before going into the oven. One time, she showed me how to make them, let me help form the rolls. There seemed a special technique I just couldn’t get, but really it was just a matter of stretching the dough and patting it back together into a little cake. Mom wrapped her hand around each one as it was placed on the pan and smushed it together a bit more. A final hug. Even before they went into the oven, the smell was intoxicating. “The best way to eat a tea cake,” she told me, “is right out of the oven, with a bit of butter and a cup of tea. I’ll call you when they’re done.” She didn’t need to call me. I stayed close by, breathing in the toasted yeasty smell. We sat at the table together, and had “tea” even though it was too early for an official British teatime. She sipped her tea and me my milk and we oohed and aahed over the delicious bread. And we were both so ridiculously happy to be sitting there you would have thought it a great holiday. I don’t know what day it was. I don’t know why I was home alone with her. But my taste buds can remember the buttery teacakes still.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
I was in Junior High when Nana died, the first major loss I had to face. Someone whose hand I had held, whose check I kissed had ceased to exist. I remember being at a loss as to how to react. Was I supposed to cry? I felt like I should but I almost had to force it because really I was in shock, numb. I knew that my Grampas had died before that but I had never known them, never held their hands or kissed their checks. I never expected Nana to die.
Nana died 32 years ago today.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
In my memory, I’m in Nana’s kitchen. There’s a feeling of clutter around me; not mess, just stuff everywhere ready to be picked up and used as needed, a project or two left in the middle to attend to other things. Just then she was attending to my hunger and fixing a snack; a dollop of peanut butter in the middle of a Hi Ho cracker (Ritz crackers being a bit too pricey). As she handed me the cracker, she explained the proper way to eat it. “Nibble around the edges where there is no peanut butter, then pop that last bit into your mouth. Delicious.” And it was.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I am thankful for the full schedule that has kept me from posting for the last few days. While I might sometimes complain (OK, I complain a lot!) about the amount there is to do, when I ended my work day today I felt good about all I have accomplished. I work with some pretty amazing colleagues who push me to be better every day. I am challenged in two classes I’m taking this semester and the work I’m doing there has already improved my work at school. I have two active daughters involved in theater, soccer, Destination Imagination, and National History Day so my week is always broken up by their schedules. While I don’t exactly thrive under pressure, I do work better with a list of things to do. When I don’t have a lot on my list, I actually slack off more.
The best part of all? No matter how much time I spend planning lessons, reviewing the latest research, cooking supper, doing laundry, and driving all over town, I end each night beside the man of my dreams.
Yeah. Thank you.
Monday, November 4, 2013
My plan today was to write how very grateful I am for my baby girl who turned 13 today. Life with her has had its ups and downs and I am truly thankful for the ride.
While I was doing dishes, my husband came up behind me and said, something like this: “13 years ago you had a tough day. A lot of pain. But look what resulted. Thank you.” And I realized how important it is to express gratitude to each other.
Grateful for my beautiful family.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
So, when I mentioned the Thankful Challenge to my daughter while we were getting a quick bite at Panera yesterday she said, “You should write that you are thankful for asiago bagels.” And at that moment, I truly was. She had gone out to breakfast with her dad earlier, but I stayed home to do a few chores. As soon as she got home, we ran out to shop for a few things last minute birthday gifts for her sister. In the rush of the morning, I forgot to eat breakfast but once settled in the car, my hunger surfaced. We went to one store and then detoured across the parking lot for a bagel (and a smoothie for her) and with that sustenance, I was able to finish the rest of our errands.
Yes, on November 2 I was grateful for that bagel but really for so much more. For the financial security that allowed us to be out on this gift buying errand and to stop for a bite. For the freedom of movement and choice. For the joy of being with a teenage daughter who wanted to be there and engaged me in conversation for our entire time together and thoughtfully picked out gifts for her little sister. And if it hadn’t been for that bagel, and that comment, and this challenge, I might never have noticed.