A bit of water, a handful of barley, some peeled and thinly sliced apples along with a dash of cream. A bit of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. He stirred and left it all to cool before calling it just complete. It was, he promised me, far more delicious all pulled together than it sounded.
Of course he added heavy cream, a splash of whiskey and a dash of cinnamon before serving me any of this creation. It was, as he put it, a simple and humble treat that was slightly jazzed up. He said it reminded him of his childhood, slightly altered to a more adult set of tastes.
The four-footed one was pager to give it a try, but neither of us were inclined to share with her. She settled for homemade dog bone while I tried his childhood flavors minus the whiskey. It was, I must say, surprisingly good considering what was in it.
Beloved occasionally makes flavors from his childhood, ways with a warning about how humble or simple it will be. As if I need a reminder or even care that it’s of simple ingredients. What I do are care about, is that he chooses to share it with me. That he takes the time to make it for me. Because how else can you share your childhood with another when you’ve grown up in different circumstances in different countries?
The four-footed one decided to help with yard work today. Not all of what was being done, just the things st struck her fancy. Such as raking the leaves. And pulling up of plants.
She started by running around and playing with her ball. She ignored the work being done as well as the workers. It wasn’t until the plants were being pulled up that she became interested. I think it was the noises Beloved was making at first that caught her attention. The smells of freshly uprooted plants probably kept her attention. And watching the dirt fall, the worms wiggle and such had her fully immersed in wanting to help. And by help I mean she wanted to jump into the holes that were made. She also was interested in help move the plants. She happily grabbed them to drag throughout the yard.
She was having a ball with this, until she discovered raked leaves. In a pile. Waiting to be picked up. A pile that cannot be ignored. A pile that must be investigated and rolled through. A pile that could not be picked up fast enough to avoid being spread back all over the ground.
With each stroke of the rake to gather up the spread leaves, she would go back through those leaves. Tossing some of them up in the air, letting others get caught in her fur. Suddenly raking was taking three times as long and frankly I was wondering if there would be an end in sight. There was, when she grew tired and decided to curl up in the weak sunshine and have a nap.
She slept through the rest of the raking and pulling. She slept through the bags being tied and placed by the bin. She slept through the putting away of shovels and rakes. She woke up when all the boring work was done, ready to go in and have a treat. Because yard work is hard work.
Beloved gets me. He knows how to win my heart, not with shiny objects, but with gold. The gold of fresh, juice and perfectly ripe peaches that is. A whole box full of fresh from the orchard peaches is currently sitting on my counter filling the house with the scent of sweet peaches. Or as I like to call it the smell of lazy, hot summer days.
And al the things I dream of doing with these peaches dance happily around inside my head. Beloved laughs at me as he grabs on, washes it and takes a bite, juices dribbling down his chin. If I am not careful he will consume too many of them before I start to cook, and I tell him this while he continues to eat the peach. He smiles and tells me two more full boxes are coming to the house because he wants peach cobbler and crisp and we should freeze some of these.
I pause, with this many peaches I can have even more fun; peach muffins, peach butter and a proper peach pudding just to name a few. But I will have to be quick or they will be gone with only the trace of dried juices on Beloved’s chin.
Beloved is a man with the patience of the Saint, or close to it. He has to be in order to live with me. I can’t even tolerate my stubbornness which leads to insane delays that lead me back to square one sometimes. But he just smiles and waits while I sort it out and somehow avoids the whole I told you so bit.
He claims he really isn’t all that goods with this stuff either, just has figured out how to fake things better than some other people. Of course he also says that living with someone with a chronic illness like lupus has taught him to encourage slow time. He simply savours the moments as best he can.
Beloved has the grace of someone who is a saint. He has the grace to allow me to stubborn my way through things. He is gracious with me, generous it’s time and encouragement when t might be easier to just don’t on his own. His grace allows me to admit defeat or not even starting something.
But he isn’t, a saint that is. At least not according to the religious experts. That’s okay thought because in my eyes he is a saint, my saint. He puts the sane in sanity in this life with lupus.
Beloved’s elderly aunt decided that both he and I needed gifts, a little something to boost our spirits as she put it in her daily emails to us. Experience has taught me not to decline her generosity as she becomes very offended by this.
She does this every once-and-a-while, randomly out of the clear blue she will announce we need our spirits boosted, even if nothing out of the ordinary is going on for us. The first time she made this declaration we were the recipients of a gourmet meal at a very fine restaurant. It was a place we would have otherwise never tried and shared our experience with her after in an email.
Naturally we wanted to surprise her and searched for something different to send her way. She was delighted that we would send her anything, I get the feeling Beloved’s siblings just accept the gifts with heartfelt thanks and carry on with life. Granted they can visit her a little more easily than I can.
This time she insisted on sending Beloved a special wine tasting trip. He was tickled pink by the gift. She insisted on supplying me with several manicures so that regardless of how awful I may feel, I have something special for my “lovely” nails. (She admires my natural nails and laughed when I told her it was a sign that I don’t do manual labor.)
When I feel a little better I will go and get my nails done and then I shall take a picture to show her. But first I want to find something extra special for her, something that is whimsical and will tickle her pink. Her joy, delight and genuine pleasure is really the best gift I could ever receive!
Beloved came home looking a little dejected, he hadn’t made the short call this time. He had been so busy preparing and going through everything he hadn’t been the most attentive to things here. He also had missed phoned a few friends for their birthdays. It’s easy to reason things into place when you are still chasing the golden ring or the first place.
When you are no longer in the running, it is harder to ignore the phone and things you’ve let slide while you were busy. I wasn’t too concerned about how he had been preoccupied he had been. I went into this whole thing with my eyes wide open and if the worst call I got was one that said he was coming home because he didn’t make the short call I could live with that. Besides we both realized that soemtimes dreams pull you into a different direction than your partner is heading, you either weather the tempest or you don’t.
Most, but not all, of his friends who record belated birthday wishes understood. Some people though felt that he should have taken time out of his preperarion and auditions for their special moment. You never really know what means the most to someone else until you fail to do what they need you to do for them at that moment. Frankly I doubt would have his grace after missing out on something to immediately phone people after I got home. I know how much he wanted this for himself and for us.
In some ways it is more disappointing because of how close he came and yet it still feels he was so far away. But there will be other short calls and interviews for him and when it’s right, he will win the gold round so to speak. Either way he is more than enough to me as he is.
UI received the most beautiful flower bouquet today. No special occasion, mom special reason. Well other than that a few friends attended a workshop on how to arrange flowers. I was supposed to attend the workshop, but due to lupus I had to cancel, thankfully one of my friends was able to make use of my ticket. In return she sent over the arrangement she had created.
The workshop was supposed to teach you how to create effortless and beautiful looking arrangements, both in vases and hand tied. The bouquet that arrived at my house was a beautiful riot of colour and perfume, tied up in a delicate pale lavender ribbon.
Based on my lovely gift, the worship completely delivered all it promised. And based on my friend’s phone call to thank me for thinking of her and offering her my ticket Id say she has completely run with the lessons!
She phoned me in between cutting flowers from her yard to create arrangements for both her mother and mother-in-law. And she had made plans with the other friends who attended the workshop to go flower shopping tomorrow so they could create some more arrangements to take to some seniors homes. (She told me that they hoped I’d come with them and learn from them. If I’m not well enough or have enough energy for the full deal, they’d stop by after picking up the flowers so I could still learn or just spend time with them while they make the arrangements.)
Beloved is currently collecting a count of the flowers we have so he can cut some tomorrow for arrangement lessons. He wasn’t able to sign up for the workshop and couldn’t use my ticket today because he was with me, but perhaps tomorrow he will have a chance to learn. I bet the smell of the bouquets the ladies make tomorrow will smell especially sweet and heavenly the way mine does. Not because of the flowers used, although that helps, rather because the simple gesture of care and surprise that goes into making something for someone when s/he doesn’t expect anything.