Saturday, June 26, 2010

My grandmother's girl

Back when my father was alive, he and I would frequently get into discussions in which I was obviously the person playing the role of the responsible adult. His favorite insult to throw at me at such times was, "You sound just like my mother."
 Though I never said it aloud, I often thought, "Thank you. That's the nicest thing you could possibly have said."
True, my grandmother was not an easy woman to live with. Strong willed, highly opinionated, powerfully intelligent and prone to meddling, she was ahead her time by at least a half century. Educated, professional, enlightened well beyond the immigrant middle class constraints of her birth and upbringing, she lived a life of her own choosing, even when her choices -- like divorcing the father of her young son at a time when decent women did no such thing or getting herself a college education and later marrying a man 13 years her junior -- made her the talk of our little town.
I adored her and I grieve the loss of her still after nearly 40 years.
There is no denying that I am hers. Whenever I look at my hands, I wonder why they cannot simply pick up knitting needles and manifest sweaters, scarves, afghans, and all manner of wonders the ways hers did. Some days, I catch my reflection in the mirror or a storefront, and my breath catches in my throat. I look more like her every day. Today, a little more than usual, I think:
My grandmother's girl
This is my self portrait for today. I'm doing one a day this year to document myself at 50. I think she would have liked this one. My hair is out of my eyes.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Unintentional Domesticity

So, my husband, Damon, played his guitar for a few hours today at the Magnoloia Farmer's Market. I went along in my traditional role of Swiss Army Wife, prepared to help carry his gear, sell a few CDs, and smile at the nice folks who stop for a few minutes to listen while he plays,

After he got set up and started playing, I strolled the booths, discovering local honey, some beautiful beets and baby carrots, kale, and leeks. I also picked up 6 pints of strawberries and two very sexy tomatoes. I was all set to come home, take a nap, and whip up something tasty for dinner.

Damon played well. I sold a couple of CDs, and the transient audience made mostly of people stopping to sit while they ate their really yummy looking veggie & cheese quesadillas was generous with their tips.We also swapped a CD for some delicious garlic-dill Cheddar curd from Appel Farms.

After he finished playing, one of the sweet ladies who works at the market came by and dropped a bag of carrots and chard on the table. She told Damon to hang out a bit, then returned to our table three more times, each time carrying more fresh, lovely (mostly organic) produce: more baby carrots, arugula, sorrel, asparagus, green onions and leeks. It seems that far from being a gig for sales & tips, the market pays its performers in produce.

When we got home, I went to work in the kitchen, cleaning the beets and carrots first, tossing them in olive oil, salt & pepper, and popping them into a hot oven to roast while I cleaned and bagged the greens. When the beets and carrots came out of the oven, I turned it down to 175 degrees and popped a couple of canning jars in to sterilize. Then I went to work on two pints of the strawberries (I gave two pints to our neighbors when we got home), cleaning and cutting them into pieces just the right size to dissolve slowly into jam.

The jam is done and cooling. While I was making it, I kept thinking about baking biscuits or scones or making Monte Cristo sandwiches. Sounds like I may know what we're having for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. I also want to incorporate some of the leeks and the asparagus into a nice risotto.

I still have two pints of naked strawberries waiting to be eaten or turned into a pie.

It's almost time for dinner. I think we'll eat the carrots and beets with salmon or tuna. 

I never did get that nap.