MOVING IN DAY

TODAY’S WORRY

Today we helped Sarah move into her new apartment even though we had sworn that we wouldn’t do it again. She didn’t even have to ask. We offered to help. That’s what moms and dads do. We’ve moved Sarah a lot. Once when she wasn’t even there to help. John has been a wonder this week. Lifting and climbing stairs with heavy loads. He is black and blue from hauling our stuff on Thursday and Sarah’s stuff today.

Sarah was really appreciative. She even bought us lunch. And we didn’t say, no, we’ll pay. There’s a first. All of this has me thinking about what my parents did for me and whether I was appreciative enough.

They came to my concerts in high school, or at least my mom did. They took me to music lessons. We went to the beach. They loaned us money for our first house. I got a car for my college graduation. When I was young, we went on vacations. My mom always took my side in arguments. They let me play ping pong (hah) in the basement with my boyfriends. They came to my wedding.

Often I spend a lot of time recalling what they didn’t do for me and feeling bad about it. There were plenty of shortcomings. But what wouldn’t I give now, to be able to give them a hug and say thanks for all the times that I forgot to.

Towel throwing

Since I promised yesterday –

The expression “to throw in the towel” comes from boxing. When a boxer was pretty well beaten up, his seconds would throw something in the ring to indicate that they were ready to admit defeat on his part. The handiest thing was usually a sponge or towel which was kept in the boxer’s corner.

EXCUSES

TODAY’S EXCUSE

We’ve been moving households this past week and I’ve tried to keep up with the blogging but today I have to throw in the towel. Hmmmm…I wonder where that expression came from? Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll have the answer to that and other really important things. Thank you for stopping by.

OPPOSITES ?

TODAY’S OBSERVATIONS

I was thinking about opposites yesterday. There were a lot of things, especially as a child, that I regarded as opposites. Probably if I did a word association kind of thing and I had to say the first opposite that came into my mind, these strange opposites would still pop up.

What’s the opposite of vanilla? Why chocolate, of course, except that they are both merely different flavorings for ice cream. Why shouldn’t mint chocolate chip be the opposite of vanilla then? Or the opposite of chocolate for that matter.

How about salt? Pepper, I’d say. But these are just different seasonings.

I agree that white is the opposite of black, but if I said red, would you say blue? Or green? Green is the complement of red. (I asked Sarah what was the opposite of red and she said, “Anti-Communist?” She obviously thinks much deeper thoughts than I.)

In the condiment field, is mustard the opposite of ketchup?

John thinks chicken is the opposite of beef. I thought it was fish.

Do you have silly opposites?

charger

On a completely different subject, I was in Costco and they had a set of attractive chargers (not the horse.) So I was wondering where this word, charger, came from. Thank goodness for the internet for providing answers to all one’s obscure questions.

Here’s the etymology from wordorigins.org –
“ A charger plate is a large dish on the table when you are seated and other plates and dishes are placed, or loaded, on top of it. The term is either from the Anglo-Norman chargeour meaning that which loads, or from the Old French chargeoir meaning a utensil that is used to load (in this case food onto a dish). The command “charge your glasses” traditionally given before toast is of the same origin. The term dates to the early 14th century.”

I saw on another site that John the Baptist’s head was placed on a charger. That would be rather earlier than the 14th century.

HOT!!!!!

TODAY’S WORRY

Is it hot or is it just me? For a woman in those delicate years (you know, when no one thinks of you as having a sex other than bothersome), it’s sometimes hard to tell whether it’s hot outside or your own personal generating plant is the cause. Really, somebody ought to find a use for all this energy. Maybe all women 50 and older could spend 15 minutes a day plugging their fingers into some sort of receptacle which could then take the heat and turn it into a renewable power source. By the time you are at this stage in your life, there is so much you could pass on along with the energy – knowledge, compassion, love, irony – you get my drift.

Actually, I was thinking about how hot it is on a non-personal basis. All across the nation, people are wilting, even dying from the heat. I watched a tennis match from Indianapolis yesterday where one of the guys had to withdraw with heat exhaustion. The temperature on the court was a cross between the surface temperature of 118 degrees and the air temperature of 98 degrees. Plus there was a lot of humidity. What’s going on? Is this just a blip on the weather radar or a sign of things to come? We’ve had a lot of hot years in a row. And we’ve had a lot of unusual weather. There’s been a lot of hurricanes in the southeast, a lot of rain in the southwest and a lot of drought in between. Should we be paying more attention to this on a national level? Are we emitting too many greenhouse gases? Is some other country emitting to many?

The bottom line is this; it’s too damn hot. And I’m hot already.

ALARM – OFF!

TODAY’S WORRY

It’s gotten to the point where I just don’t want to listen to the news anymore. There is so much violence and hatred in the world. There’s so much division and backbiting in our own government. There’s not enough money to deal with human needs in our country let alone in the rest of the world. With terrorist acts, ideologues, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, religious zealots, sexual predators, and the price of crude oil awakening me every morning, I just want to pull the covers over my head to block it all out.

sesquipedalian

In today’s NY Times puzzle, one of the down clues was “hardly sesquipedalian.” I got the answer, “terse,” basically by getting the acrosses. I looked up sesquipedalian in the dictionary later and found the meaning below. I usually think of “terse” as being shortly concise rather than using short words. It’s a nuance of meaning I found interesting.

Sesquipedalian – Given to the overuse of long words

Sesquipedalian comes from Latin sesquipedalis, a foot and a half long, hence inordinately long, from sesqui, one half more, half as much again + pes, ped-, a foot.
(dictionary.com)

IKEA, East Palo Alto, California

Yesterday, John and I had lunch at IKEA in their cafeteria. We were shopping; it was lunchtime and it seemed easier to have lunch there then go get in the car and drive somewhere. Plus, with the price of gas here, driving is less of a first option. (Found a low price station where the gas was $2.55 yesterday. Most of the ones around here are about $2.67 for regular.) Anyway, we were pleasantly surprised.

We had the couscous special which was couscous and lentils with lots of different vegetables. These included red peppers, onions, carrots, corn, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms. All the vegetables were well-seasoned although the whole thing was a little greasy. This came with a thick, white garlic sauce which was so-so. We also got a fried stick of vegetables in a batter which was reminiscent of a hush puppy.

Probably the best part was the salad which was from a limited salad bar. The greens mix had lots of argula and also some watercress, radicchio and something else they looked sort of like dandelion. The toppings were chickpeas and carrots. The greens were really tasty. There was also a selection of rolls. We had dill rolls. They were good.

The whole bill including drinks came to $12. Pretty good meal, pretty good price.

Mary’s grade – B
John’s grade – B+

PATRICK’S PUZZLE

TODAY’S HUZZAH

Patrick’s puzzle is in the New York Times today! His name is right there next to Will Shortz’s name. What a triumph. Patrick is a friend by way of being Ryan’s sister’s boyfriend. We discovered we had a mutual love of crosswords. He’s now taken it one step further.

The puzzle is great. It has a theme and lots of contemporary clues. Clever ones too, like “Mormons, initially.” It’s a three letter answer.

So hat’s off to Patrick who has made it to the BIG TIME!

PREJUDICE

TODAY’S WORRY

John and I have been watching the series, 30 Days, on FX. If you haven’t watched or heard about it, the program puts a mainstream American in someone else’s shoes for 30 days. For instance, a devout Christian lives with a Muslim family or an affluent American lives on minimum wage. It’s interesting.

It caused me to think about what I believe in and why. So much of it goes back to when I was a kid and the experiences I had. I really had the ideal situation growing up in Red Bank, NJ. I had a kindergarten class of sixteen kids. We had three black kids, three Jewish kids, two Catholic kids and seven Protestant kids. It was a microcosm of the United States. My first knowledge of prejudice was when one of the other girls said we should get in line to go the bathroom in front of the black girl. I’d never really noticed that she was different before. This memory stays with me even after 50 years. I felt uncomfortable.

Later, when I was in sixth grade, I had a social studies project. We were assigned randomly with other kids in the class. I had the group meet at my house. My teammates were a “poor white trash” girl and a black girl. Well, I didn’t realize what a brouhaha it would create. Neighbors called my mother to complain about my bringing these people into our neighborhood. I felt more than uncomfortable this time.

Then, in middle school, we would watch the kids from the parochial school go by in their bus. All of us “regular” kids would yell taunts. “Hey, Catholic kids, you’re no good.” And things along that line. Ooh, really uncomfortable if you are a Catholic kid going to public school.

Finally, on our eighth grade trip, we went to a cathedral in Washington D.C. My best friend who was Jewish said that she didn’t know why we were going to see a Christian shrine. She was shunned the rest of the trip.

A lot of people grow up in places where they only see people like themselves. I think I was lucky to grow up in a diverse place and to recognize the horrors of prejudice.

A LOVE STORY

TODAY’S CELEBRATION

On a hot, hot day on the 17th of the July, 1972, John and I embarked on a long and lovely marriage. With weddings costing tens of thousands of dollars these days, it seems that the hoopla surrounding the wedding is much greater than the hoopla of a successful marriage. Definitely not so in our case.

Did anyone other than John and I expect our marriage to last? I think not. Since we came from two totally different religious backgrounds, Catholic and Jewish, just the idea of such a match was still a very touchy matter back in the 70’s. I’d get into what I think of religion and its do’s and don’t’s here, but this is a celebration piece. Well, finding a place to hold the wedding was never going to please everyone so we decided to please ourselves and found a Justice of the Peace in the Yellow Pages. I told my mother the night before our ceremony that we were getting married and my mom, dad and sister boarded a plane the next morning for Boston to be there. I’ve got to give it to my mom on this, she had never flown before and was scared stiff. When we found out late Sunday night that they were coming we pushed back the wedding time from 10AM to noon on Monday. They took the Eastern shuttle out of Newark at 8:30 AM and we picked them up at Logan airport around 9:30. Since no celebration in my family can be held without drinks, we then had to find a liquor store and had whiskey sours before we left to see the JP.

The five of us piled into my un-airconditioned Pontiac Tempest and drove an hour in 90 degree weather to the JP’s house. We were all in a good mood by the time we got there. Arthur Collins, our phonebook official, was a nice man whose wife was the witness. John, with his long hair and in his interview suit, and I in my dotted Swiss navy dress with really long hair , looked the perfect hippie 70’s couple. The ceremony took 5 minutes, we stopped at Anthony’s Pier 4 for lunch, took my parents and sister back to the airport to catch the 2:30 PM flight back to Newark and it was done. Not much hoopla, as I said.

So what’s made it last? Maybe knowing that neither of us are perfect and accepting each other’s foibles. Certainly, laughing at the dumb jokes we make. Knowing that each other is the best thing that has ever happened to either of us, for sure. We’ve come through these 33 years ignoring the statistics, celebrating everything, discussing everything, and raising two great kids who have the same or a better outlook on what’s important in life. We saved our hoopla for every day.

WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

NOTE: Sorry, this was supposed to be yesterday’s blog but for some reason (I think it was about deleting cookies) my computer wouldn’t let me log-in. So here’s yesterday’s worry, today.

TODAY’S WORRY

I‘m willing to say, I’m game (no pun intended), but I’m no great shakes as a cook. Every day the inevitable question arises, “what do you want to have for dinner?” It’s a question I dread more than actually making dinner. Hmmmmm, what did we have last night? As we become older, this becomes a more and more difficult question. Of course, it’s easy to remember last week, last month, last year or what we ate on our 10th anniversary, but last night? Say so long to short term memory. Well, I might say, I think we had asparagus last night, that’s probably an indicator of fish or chicken. Sweet potatoes, might be a steak or lamb. But sooner or later we’ve got it pinned down. Let’s see, last night we called China Garden for Moo Shu Vegetables and Monglian Beef, the night before we had what we affectionately call Big Chicken (Take it home tonight! Barbecued chicken from the supermarket.) Okay, the night before that was popcorn and wine, and the night before that we must have cooked something.

When we had kiddles in the house, Monday always meant chicken. Tuesday was a meatloafish kind of night. Macaroni and cheese, enhanced with peas and tuna, or not , ruled the roost on Wednesdays. Thursday was a guilty night. It was time to make a real meal; maybe pork chops or lamb chops but probably tacos. Friday, it’s weekend! If anybody was around to eat, frozen entrée seemed a good idea. A barbecue on Saturday and then we’re back to China Garden. And always, always, you must eat at the table and NO TELEVISION!

So now John and I are eating takeout, a salad, frozen eggplant parmesan, or some other easy entrée. Cooking is a sometime thing. It’s funny. In Utah, we cook all the time and never eat at tray tables by the TV but in CA we are poised with our forks, watching Hell’s Kitchen and wondering what’s for dinner tomorrow.

BLOGNALYSIS

TODAY’S WORRY

Yes, I know, I’ve been derelict in my blogging responsibilites. Yesterday should have been a blog day. And I’ve skipped a few days over the last month. So you’re saying to yourself, “Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it means that Marymom is not so worried.” Perhaps you are right. Sarah drove to Los Angeles for the Fourth of July weekend with friends and I said not a worry word to her. Yes, of course, be safe but that was about it. Ryan and Jon drove all the way back from Colorado this past weekend and except for a few passing worries, I managed. I’ve even been driving in high places. My god, does that mean a lifetime of neuroses is coming to an end? Will I just be a contented husk of my former self? Maybe with the escalation of worries around the world, there’s less time to pick at all the little niggling personal fears. Or maybe the blogging has actually helped.

agnate

In May, I wrote about enate, a word which means related on your mother’s side. Well, just this past Sunday while doing the NY Times Crossword Puzzle I ran across it’s opposite, agnate, which means to be related on your father’s side. Both words come from the Latin root meaning, to be born, but the prefix on enate gives it the meaning of “born out of,” while the the prefix on agnate gives it the meaning “born to.”

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

One of the items that Costco used to carry was Michael Angelo’s baked eggplant parmesan. It was quite good and you could eat half of it and still stay on your diet. On the WW plan, it would only cost you about 5 points. A good deal for that much food. But it disappeared from the Costco shelves. Not willing to let go of one of my favorite foods, I contacted Michael Angelo’s to ask what happened. Apparently, there was a contractual dispute with Costco and Costco discontinued carrying all Michael Angelo products. The baked eggplant parmesan was made only for Costco so it was totally no longer available.

Just recently, at my local grocery store, they started carrying Michael Angelo’s baked eggplant parmesan in single serving size. Hurrah! I thought. But they changed the formulation to include ground chicken in it (for some unknown reason) and that not only upped the calories but really upped the fat content. It still makes a reasonable dinner size-wise and calorie-wise (390) but the fat is now 18 grams, which is a lot. Why, oh why, Michael Angelo’s couldn’t you leave a good thing alone?!?

AND THE ROCKETS RED GLARE!

TODAY’S WORRY

Over the past few weeks there have been a lot of wildfires in southern Utah. It’s been hot and dry and smoky. Luckily, few structures have been destroyed and no one has been hurt. But it was close. So as we were driving through town a few days before Fourth of July, we were amazed to see that they were selling fireworks. Fireworks! You’d think that at least this year they’d give it a pass. Leave the incendiary celebrations in the hands of professionals. But, no. Not surprisingly there was a small fire started. Once again, people had to be deployed to put it out. Amazingly, someone wrote in to the paper with the same idea as mine – What are you thinking selling fireworks!!! And just as not- amazingly, someone wrote back this week that what were we going to do next, ban cars and other objects that could hurt us and others? Because in Utah it’s all about individual and property rights and not so much about common sense.

Kokopelli Grill, Entrada Country Club, St. George, Utah

It is always with great trepidation that we venture out into the St. George dining scene. As I’ve mentioned before, for an up and coming retirement area, there is a woeful lack of restaurants and nightlife, not to mention only one liquor store to serve about 70,000 people. But I digress. Ryan and Jon were visiting so we decided to go to the newly opened Kokopelli Grill at Entrada Country Club.

The dining room and the views are gorgeous. And the menu is both traditional and inventive. The service is a little slow but I think they are still working out the kinks. We were served rolls which we all liked although John thought they could be crustier. They have a wine list which you ask for (this is Utah) and they need a little work on wine service as they didn’t cut the foil. The waitering was a bit aggressive. Plates were cleared while you were still chewing. But this is minor stuff.

We ordered three spinach salads and a pear and goat cheese salad. All the salads were excellent. The spinach was fresh, there were slivers of tart apples and lightly sugared walnuts and a mellow dressing. The pear and goat salad had a nice raspberry vinaigrette and a crunchy crostini.

Ryan and Jon had elk which they thought was good although it could have been seasoned a little more. The side of vegetables were good and the corn fritters (really hushpuppies) were great.

John had venison chops which he felt were spectacular and seasoned well. They were served with fingerling potatoes and lovely small green beans. There was a tomato coulis for sauce.

I had NY steak. I’m still afraid to wander too far from Utah eating rules. (See note below) The steak was cooked just right and was very tasty. It was served with cheddar mashed potatoes and mixed root vegetables. There was an ancho chili sauce. My only criticism is that except for the steak everything was lukewarm.

For dessert we shared a yummy crème brulee. We wished that there had been a little more burnt sugar on top.

This was a fine dining experience. We’ll definitely go here again.

Jon – B+
Ryan – B+
John – A-
Mary – B+

NOTE: Utah eating rules were established by our family after too many awful meals. The idea is to improve your chances of a good meal by eliminating as many preparation steps as possible – fewer opportunities to screw up. The most basic meal would be, kill cow, cook cow, eat cow, as in, have a steak.

AN EYE FOR AN EYE…

TODAY’S WORRY

Another bad day for the world. With the latest terror attack in London, I am trying once again to understand the “why” behind it all. If it’s to force countries to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, then why the 9/11 attack? We hadn’t invaded either place back then. Or maybe they hope that through whatever retribution Great Britain makes, the Islamic nations will be galvanized against the West. But then why did they kill the Egyptian envoy? And attack other Arab diplomats in Iraq? That seems counter-intuitive. Our president has said that all these attacks are because the terrorists hate freedom. Obviously, they hate us. Wish us dead. Is it because we support Israel? Is it based on hundreds of years of religious warfare? Are they still fighting against the Crusades? Why do they hate us so much?

We have a short memory here in the US. One time enemies, like Germany and Japan, are now friends. Some of the really awful things we have done like genocide to Native Americans and enslavement of Africans are in the past to us. In the Middle East, they have long memories. And apparently there are many eyes yet to be accounted for.