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Pie Mystique

16 Oct

This time of year always makes me feel like baking  pies.  I don’t necessarily care for eating copious amounts (slices) of pie, but I’m drawn to them.  They look so beautiful in their plates, or tins, with buttery crusts and flaking edges, bubbling filling and wafting fragrances.  Pies require a tactile intimacy while you make them — rolling, folding, cutting, stirring, spooning.  A delicate filling protected in a perhaps more-delicate crust which when cooked just right becomes firm enough to stand up a perfect cubic triangle on a desert plate.

That’s what I need! Desert plates! I have salad plates but they aren’t the same.  That’s nothing, though.  You wouldn’t believe I also don’t have a pie server.

For the sake of brevity I won’t list here now all the things I also don’t have.

I’ve written about pie before, and at this same time of year.  I guess it’s all the magazine covers and pumpkins everywhere. Springtime makes me get all antsy about custard pies, too.  I bet if I baked them I could find someone to eat them for me.  Does pie have a certain mystique for you, too?

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It’s already Tomorrow

30 Nov

It’s almost 6:00 in the morning, tomorrow, in Afghanistan right now. My HD is waking up to Thanksgiving now, in a place that is cold and monochrome. It’s a regular work day for him, too, and not a holiday. Not a day off. He is treating soldiers in a clinic the size of a walk-in closet. He’s lonely and has no one to hug. The friendly smiles of his battle-buddies shared over a cigar tomorrow night will be warmest dose of familial love he receives, same as any day. We’ll talk on the phone, of course, like we do every day, and I’ll remind him I miss him and that I am proud of him. He’ll tell me we’re one day closer and that he loves me. Then I’ll share a story of Young G’s glory and we’ll sign off.

It’s just another day for him.

I’ve spent all day cleaning my mother’s little beach cottage, and cooking in her newly-remodeled professional kitchen. We’ve made cornbread for stuffing, a cranberry mold, field peas with snaps, pie crusts, and a red-velvet cake.

I have so much to be thankful for! But for some reason all I can think about is my husband. As I sit at the stool in the kitchen, chopping pecans, my brain replays memories of him slipping his arm around my shoulders and kissing me on the cheek. “Family” is never supposed to be defined without including him, and yet here we are, separated.

My son doesn’t know what the word “home” means and he’ll be two in four weeks.

My mother used to tell me, “home is where your stuff is,” but that means a storage unit in Hawaii for me, which is neither where I nor my husband are today (or tomorrow, as the case may be).

“Home” is where We are, and so here I am, homeless, separated, and ungrateful because there is no “we” anywhere right now. Just me. and him. and an entire day long of this planet between us.

I don’t know what this war is about. I don’t know why Afghanistan matters. I certainly don’t know why our troops have to occupy the country with entire miniature cities of camps that they staff for an entire year at a time! But those troops have teeth, and they need good health to do their jobs, and my husband is prepared to aid them. For that I am extremely proud of him.

For their sakes I have sacrificed my house and home, too.

My Perfect Mug

27 Jul

Ten, maybe twelve years ago, I bought a mug from a little cafe in my college town.  My roommate worked behind the counter at this little market-style shop, and we all enjoyed walking downtown for pastries and tea.  They brewed Lion Brand coffee there, too, and I bought a mug with that logo on it.  I loved the coffee, and the classic drawing of the lion’s head. 

Back in those days I would carry my coffee to class with me every day.  I lived about three blocks from campus, so I rarely got ready for school early enough to drink my cup before leaving the house.  My roommate and I savored our morning walks together while drinking our coffee.  We were different majors, so most of our time together was spent in very personal moments, like sharing the first words of the day over fresh coffee. 

Once on campus, this empty mug got thrown in my back-pack.  Many mugs were lost, borrowed, broken, or otherwise misplaced.  Sometimes we splurged on styrofoam cups specifically for walking to school with.  But week after week my Lion Brand mug remained.  Never broken.  Never lost.  Continue reading

Solving for Pie

27 Sep

Lost entries make me sad. So do dents in my Jetta. He blamed it on the dilation of his eyes. I don’t really care because things like this happen (I do things like this), but it was sad to see the little dent in her hiney.

What makes me happy, though, are evenings of Scrabble with my HD and Little G playing joyfully at our feet. I say “joyfully” because he talks and sings to himself as he plays, inserting little bursts of giggles and dances that I can’t think of what other emotion he must be experiencing except joy. Continue reading

Food, Words, and Love

25 Mar

Sometimes I think that simply by moving my blog to another site it will magically inspire me to write more.

I haven’t written regularly in a blog or journal since being married — three and a half years — and it is making me ache.  I am missing my own life, or forgetting it.

After my husband finished dental school and my personal income was reduced to a pittance, I fell away from budget-making.  I felt like I was only capable of keeping tabs on a pauper’s penny and not the Young Professional’s income.  My husband’s earnings were more than I had ever lived on in my life, and so my spending habits were not threatening our way of life by any means.   I had no trouble keeping our spending within limits.

Over time, though, our food budget began to skyrocket.  I was thrilled to stop squinting at the price-per-unit on every item, making sure I chose the absolute best can of tuna for my dollar.  I was thrilled to be able to make a menu, then a shopping list, and then choose fabulous ingredients from Whole Foods and other markets. All the while never studying prices.  This was such a luxury after years of living off the food-bank donations and sneaking into the cafeteria at college.  Though we weren’t eating saffron and caviar, there were many fine cheeses in my fridge.

Now we are a family of three.  Our infant son doesn’t take up much space or money, just a lot of time.  Cooking and shopping aren’t my number one priority every day, he is.  His food is all natural and straight from my body, which in turn makes my personal nutrition all the more important since it supports two lives.

Other bills have increased, too.  We pour money into savings right now, praying for a home to own and early retirement.  We live in Hawaii right now, too, where the cost of living is what you might expect for a mere 35-square-mile piece of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 2,000 miles from the nearest land-mass. Everything is over-priced here, exorbitantly, and we pay dearly for many things I purchased without thought in Charleston markets.

My goal is to reduce our grocery bill by half.  I am imposing this limit to challenge myself.  I also hope to find better products: organic, locally grown, un-processed, free-range, and natural ingredients for preparing meals from scratch.

I am not capable of making a complete overhaul of my habits to effectively accomplish this by next week, so I’m just going to make changes one at a time. As they come to me.  I expect to use my freezer a lot.

All I really want to do, though, is create: food, words, and love.