Love, I believe, is the most misused or misunderstood, word in the English language. Layers of meaning can come from the simple statement, “I love _____”. You can love Chinese food, love Paris, love your children, your spouse, your Yorkshire terrier, but it is a word that comes with so many degrees and depths of emotion. In fact, I love rainy days like today, and actually for May I welcomed hail and loved that as well, but it is not the same deep feeling of love that I have for my family or hamburgers, both of which are lifelong and heartfelt loves. It’s a word that’s tossed around casually and unintentionally can leave a stronger mark than the original target it was aiming for. “I love you”, on a third or fourth date can signal either a huge step forward in the relationship or an “exit stage right” reaction. The word is right up there with marriage which has love somewhat trumped because love does not always lead to marriage, but marriage is usually preceded by love, although occasionally trumped by a substantial financial portfolio.
My second oldest grandaughter is getting ready to graduate from high school in two weeks. Where did the time go? I can remember this curly haired little pirate with her enormous blue eyes, who would place her small chair directly in front of the spinach dip at family gatherings and guard the bowl with the same loving attention a mother bear might give to her cubs. We’re all “foodies”. It’s a curse. It seems that she has morphed into a beautiful young girl ready to go to her first year of college. Amazing. Love, the deep heart pounding version, hasn’t struck her yet, other than the love she has for her family, and a serious Justin Beiber fantasy. I can’t remember these days exactly what it felt like to be so young, relatively untouched by all the experiences, good and bad, that life has to offer, and having empty pages more in front than behind me. The choices that are yet to be made, some taking us in the direction that we’re supposed to head, and those that divert us from our path, still unwritten on the pages of our life. That surge of that first rush of feelings for another person that precludes all good sense and hijacks all rational thought about anything but the object of this affection. It’s a powerful and wonderful way to be. Too bad that rush couldn’t linger a bit longer, but I suppose if it stuck around too long it would preclude us from accomplishing anything else past that in our lives.
Last night was her prom night. It seems that many girls actually rent more expensive gowns these days than they could actually afford to purchase and accessorize them themselves. This way with some of these dresses hitting the lower registers at $5,000.00, they can still feel like princesses on their special night. It still surprises me at times that so much emphasis is put on what you’re wearing and how you look, and so little focused on who you are and what you do. This phenomenon has added no new flavors to its mix since I went to school and still retains the same odor for me.
Back when my daughter was going to her prom, she and I went shopping about a month before. After much of the usual mother/daughter debate ensuing in the dressing room, me being the ogre from hell, and she being the misunderstood and much put upon abused child, we finally found a dress we could both agree on and it was purchased. Hair and nail appointments were made for the day prior to the big event, shoes and a purse located, and except for her date standing at the front door she was good to go.
The dress was white, off the shoulder on one side, with a fitted bodice and layers of soft fabric that fell just below the knee. With her masses of chestnut hair pulled up on one side and secured with a glittering hair clip, I remember thinking she looked so absolutely lovely.
I loaded the camera as the car pulled up out front carrying her date and a friend of his and his date that he’d arranged to have join them. Alterting the upstairs camera crew to prepare for the grand entrance, I answered the door. There stood two young men, one in a tux and the other in a tux jacket, jeans and tennis shoes. In the middle of the two stood a lovely blond girl wearing a dress that was white, off the shoulder on one side, with a fitted bodice and layers of soft fabric that fell just below the knee. Oh-oh. It took everything I had to resist the urge to shut the door and say we were moving to another state. Trying to ward off the impending meeting of the blonde and brunette versions of Barbie, I turned to find my half of the look alike team moving down the steps for her big entrance. Sigh. Those poor girls. After the initial shock of seeing themselves reflected in the other, they had to enjoy dinner together and spent the evening sitting at the same table listening to their friends comment on the humor of the situation.
It’s a right of passage. I went to two proms, one at my school and one at another. At the second prom I wore the same beautiful satin dress with sequins on the aqua bodice and white flowy skirt. On the second run of this dress and one hour before my date was to arrive, the zipper broke on the back and refused to go up or down, rather just sat in the middle with a gap of skin visible on both ends. Ach. My mother grabbed my neighbor and with her help the two of them literally sewed me into the dress and were there to cut me out of it when I got home. In the scheme of things it didn’t really matter, we had a wonderful time. At Shakey’s we ate huge pizzas and blew cheese at each other through our straws (duh, how mature), and danced to Earth Angel under the cheesy, glittery paper stars hanging from the gym ceiling, and shared a kiss or two until the light flickered on the porch signalling that I either came in or the Gestapo came out. All in all, it was kind of magical.
This is a great quick recipe for when the kids and their dates show up after a movie or before they head out. I always keep the ingredients on hand because it’s an excellent quick solution to unexpected company. I make it for my friends, but essentially we’re just gently used kids.
Hot and Cheesy Tortilla Wedges
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 14 oz. can pinto beans, drained and mashed
1 cup thick and chunky deli salsa, mild to hot depending on preference
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
3 green onions, sliced thin (white and green portions)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 pkg. 9″ flour tortillas
Salt as desired
1/4 cup Canola oil
Garnishes: Sour cream, salsa, and guacamole
Cut the tortillas in quarters. Cut each quarter into three triangles.
In medium skillet heat 2 Tbsp, of oil. In batches add triangles to hot oil cooking for about 30 sec. on each side and removing to drain on paper towels. Add additional oil as needed. Lightly sprinkle with salt as desired.
In a medium saucepan heat 1 Tbsp. of oil over med. heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapenos. Cook for 3 mins. until onion is translucent. Add pinto beans, salsa and cilantro. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to broil. Spread the bean mixture on the triangles leaving a slight border around the edges and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and top with green onions. Broil until cheese is bubbly and melty. Serve with garnishes.