Just A Mash

Mashed potatoes and I have a strange relationship.  okay to be fair, it may not be that the potatoes have a relationship with me.  I mean they’ve been cooked to death, squashed until they’re piles of mashed potato min do on a plate.  I really don’t think they are up for a relationship, certainly not with me.  I, on the other hand, do have a relationship with them.

I suppose I enjoyed them enough as a young child.  I mean who doesn’t love food you can play with and sculpt into whatever your heart desires?  But as I got older I lost the simple pleasures of this.  And somewhere along the line, in my life anyway, bad news began to be equated with mashed potatoes.

I know what you are thinking, no way that’s possible.  But for a stretch in my life, it seemed every time I was given bad news, like hey you have lupus, the meal I was having had mashed potatoes.  Frankly it got weird.  I mean I saw them being prepared or on my plate and I’d start to feel anxious.

This wouldn’t be an issue, except Beloved holds the potato sacred. He believes eating it in a variety of forms is a way of honouring the humble and powerful potato.  Yes this includes being mashed.  Especially mashed because evidently he is still into sculpting his meal.

While I can’t place my finger on things, I’ve had a feeling all day that something was going a bit wonky.  Naturally when I see potatoes, in the mashed variety, upon the plate Beloved is carrying, I assume the worst.  Such as his cancer is back.  Or he has heart problems.  Wait, maybe he’s leaving me, hey there is only so much one man can out up with.

So I waited.  And I watched he started to use his fork to make whimsical designs in the potato.  Still I waited as he started to eat.  Eat the mashed potato as if it was nothing.  How could he miss the omen on the plates, and in his mouth?  Finally, after giving me a strange look, he out his fork down, reached across the table and said “what’s got you thinking so hard”.

I pointed, unable to speak because surely this is where the bad news comes.  He sighed, smiled gently and said, “I had to use them up before they went off and I love a good mash now and then.  If you won’t be eating yours, I will have them.”  And that was it.  Extra mashed potatoes for him and a strange sense of what just happened for me.

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How I Know

There are poinsettias on the mantle.  A Christmas fern peeking out here or there.  A tiny holly plant in a bursting out of a snow mans’ stop hat and a Christmas cactus just ready to bloom on the table.

Soon there will be touches of Crimson on the tables,  and swatches of green here and there.  Eventually tiny white lights will be added to a tiny tree with silver balls and crystal ornaments.   And if he gets his way, somewhere in a door way Beloved will hang  some silly piece of greenery to meet the tradition of mistletoe.

Birdseed will be sprinkled outdoors, and branches will be smushed lower into the ground because that’s something he has always done.  Puddings and cookies will be planned and cooked. Presents will be wrapped, stockings stuffed and drinks mulled.

And I, well I shall not get too caught up in any of it.  I never do.  Some cookies I will bake.  Decorating I will leave for him.  I haven’t wrapped a present in years and won’t begin now.  (Gift bags are a blessing for those with joint damage!)  Instead I shall watch as the smile that starts to fill his face grows a little bigger with each task until he simply cannot contain it anymore.  That’s when I shall out presents under the tree and watch his glee turn him back into a small child if only for a few moments.  That’s when I know Christmas is here.

What’s On Your Windowsill or Decorating With Dinos

My grandmother used to keep plants and candles on her windowsills. My mother kept seedlings on hers until they were ready to be planted in the ground.  A few of the much orders ladies I knew growing up kept powder on their windowsills, to keep the haints away.  These ladies always had yellow trim on their windows to ward off the haints as well.

But me, I apparently seek the not to grow life nor to ward off those who have passed over.  You see friends I keep dinosaurs on my windowsills.  I didn’t start out with a plan to keep dinosaurs on my windowsills.  Actually I didn’t plan on keeping anything on my windowsills.  However the four-footed one opted to out her plush dinosaurs on the windowsills she could reach.  Thankfully she only has two, but that’s enough for me.

I’ve  nothing against dinosaurs, plush or whatever.  I just have no need for them on my windowsills, but every day around eight in the morning they are placed on the windowsills to be removed only when it’s time to run around the house with them in your mouth.  Well if you are the four-footed one that is.  I have no more need for carrying dinosaurs in my mouth than I do to have them on my windowsills!

 

When I Grow Up

When I was younger I swore I’d be different from the women I saw in my life.  I would throw off traditional roles, which I’ve sort of done.  Some of it was from breaking traditional roles and others because, let’s face it, I am not the domestic goddess that other women are.  But I sure can turn a turkey into a charcoal artifact like no one’s business! 😉

At some point I realized that while I can step out of a traditional role, that doesn’t mean others see me in any other light  than as someone not doing what she should be doing.  And to some I am a balance or rather a person attempting to balance modern with tradition.  For the record my ability to balance is less than ideal.

Whether I shrug off the labels and roles or not doesn’t matter to most people.  My mother certainly accepted that I’d do things my way from career to cooking.  My mother tried, bless her, still tired to offer me a way back to traditional things.  A cookbook or favourite recipe.  How-to books and subtle suggestions.  And while I’ve grateful for all of this, I’m sure she saw it as me devaluing what mattered to her by not once fully accepting her invitation on the journey of what she enjoyed.  I don’t think I could have ever done things her way without some type of modification.  (Thanks for teaching me the art of modification dad!)

So while I may never make a mean Christmas turkey, I can brew an excellent cup of coffee and colors the importance of myth, religion and well-being.  So maybe, just maybe, I’ve found what I’m going to do when I grow up! 😐😊

 

Here, There And Lists In Between

 

Beloved’s niece has decided to create her bucket list now, just in case she should become ill with something like the cooties from touching a boy (she is six after all). This is her response to learning her aunt is dying.

Beloved, upon hearing about the bucket list of such a young child, wondered out loud if it was the right thing to do. To tell a young child about death, and to do it in such a way that the young child feels the need to create a list of things she dreams of doing before she dies.

The thing is, we all face death in our own way, just as we grieve in our own way. What we want from life varies too. These ideas and concepts can very within the person as s/he ages. So the list that says eat an ice cream while on the top of the world may be altered to eating an ice cream with someone important in your life every chance you get.

Society, most certainly western society, has done a good job of making death something less than part of the life cycle. There was a time when people were closer to death. It happened, bodies laid in rest in people’s houses for visitations and so on. We didn’t hide it, pretty it up or anything of that nature. Now death is something to be feared as we have moved it from the world of knowing to being a mystery.

We have also created a whole industry around defying death, through various attempts at immortality or at least longer lives. It’s the norm now to not look your age. We see fifty year olds with vibrant, glowing, tight skin. They have brilliant hair and a body in the shape of a younger person. The fifty year old who decides to go the natural route, allow hair to grey, skin to get wrinkled, a body to soften with experience is suddenly the one on the outside. And we say things such as “boy s/he looks old”. We forget that the person doesn’t look old, rather the person has simply taken on the biological appearance combined with the life experiences of someone who is of a certain chronological age.

I don’t have a bucket list. I figure if I have a list of things to attend to before I die I’m not necessarily living in the present and making the most out of the moments I have. But that’s just my way of thinking. Do I have a list of thing I’d like to do during my life? Sort of. But if they don’t happen that’s fine and I’m not about to chase after them just to get the filled either.

Do I have an issue with a young child (or anyone else for that matter) having a list? Nope not at all. As I said we each face life, death and all the living in between as best we can as individuals. We have our own meanings to a full life, a purpose filled life, a meaningful life, what we want out of life. And we must acknowledge that death is another thing that will have different ideas and desires when it comes to each of us. There is no real right or wrong way to approach these things, provided we aren’t harming anyone else.

Of Humans, Clocks And Fools, Why We Look Foolish To Nature

The dogs do not get this time change nonsense.  Saving daylight to them is some silly human tradition.  I have to say that I kind of agree with them.  I mean we end up with daylight it’s just spread differently in the day. The same amount of hours still make up a complete day.  It’s all because we have ceased to live in a more natural rhythm with nature.  You see, and I know this will be a shock to some, nature doesn’t believe in clocks.

It is this human need to mark time, to track and keep tracking time, that has created this weird situation.  A situation that pretty much goes against the natural movements of, well, nature.

So the dogs, who are creatures of habit after all, are confounded by the starting of their morning ritual before it should be starting.  They also cannot grasp why a few short days ago it was acceptable to still be thudding around in the house at an hour that now has them settling n for he night.  Heck who am I kidding, I simply get them situated so they can settle down.  They aren’t setting down any earlier.  Why would they?  This time change means nothing to them.  Other than the fact that the crazy human has once again successfully foiled their good routine. 😉

Chances are, if we weren’t so bleary-eyed from messed up sleeping cycles, we probably find the whole ing a little silly to!  Then again, humans tend to mess up good things because routines seem somehow to rub us wrong if it’s a long-term deal.  I mean we change things up on big scales and little scales so why should I expect us to get it right now?

Booking Traditions From Angels

The pre-Christmas blitz is just starting to get under way.  The first hints of what are the must haves and must die fors are starting to be revealed.  Growing up , I recall how this time used to happen closer to Christmas.  Long after the excitement and frights of Halloween were past, my father would place his order for my mother’s angel.

Every  year, without fail, my dad would present my mom with an angel for that year’s Christmas.  And every year she’d display her complete collection during the Christmas season.  As the collection grew how and where the Angels were displayed changed.  I recall a few making appearances in odd places, like the kitchen and bathroom.

How and why this tradition started between my parents is a secret.  What it meant to them has always been a mystery to me.  I do know that as the years went by my father would struggle to find just the right angel for that year.  Some how he always seemed to pull it off and the tradition would carry on!

Beloved and I do not have any type tradition other than providing each other with the written word.  Basically we try to find each other favourite books, especially ones from each other’s childhoods, and provide tha magic again for each other.

There is  something magical and mysterious about providing a loved one with a first edition cool of his/her favourite book.  The mystery is how such an old book, a loved story, can reach so many of the senses.

This then is our tradition, sharing of books and trying to find just the right one for each other.  It isn’t a magical angel, nor is it carving and designing the Halloween pumpkin for the year together.  Just words, loved words, shared between the two of us.  I hope we keep this tradition going for a long time as there are a lot of books I adore!  And there is something truly wonderful about sharing a favourite book with a favourite person! 😉