With another holiday put to bed and summer once again fading into the background, the two holiday big hitters are now squarely in our path. In a pre-holiday mood, I celebrated yesterday by adding another candle to my birthday cake. Yes, humflumgiber years ago I came sliding head first into this world. Weighing in at a robust 9 lbs. 9 oz., and sensing my food source for the previous nine months left behind me, my mother says I arrived carrying a menu and signalling for a waiter. A foodie from the first breath of oxygen.
Two weeks prior to my birthday I typically experience an odd kind of melancholy. This is guided I believe by the Ghost of Birthdays Past. In my life at least, the caprice of the birthday fairy might find the boa skirted nymph sprinkling me lavishly with birthday happy dust one year and dropping me head first in a tub of fish guts the year following. That being said, I approach my big day with a feeling better described as trepidation than elation.
This year I must definitely award a thumbs up to the old girl. Lovely flowers showed up at a steady pace to the point where it began looking like we were either burying or marrying somebody on the premises. What a treat fresh flowers are! Nay Sayers will insist sending flowers represents a lot of money shelled out for something that, in eventuality, will end up stems up in a garbage bag next to the leftover chicken salad. True perhaps, but still they make my heart smile. Snap dragons, 100 of them (buds not stems) were the first to arrive from my daughter. From my mother, a vivid bunch of marigold mums, red carnations and white daisies sprouting jauntily out of the top of a widely grinning pumpkin. My other half outfitted me for winter, and my son and his family created a photo book of their year, and it went on…..
In my lifetime I have become engaged on my birthday and said goodbye to the same marriage four years later. One birthday I spent in a hospital bed mourning the loss of my gall bladder and on another toured the Canadian Rockies in their pre-winter glory. This year, Dear Diary, was a red-letter day with much spoiling and a plethora of happy moments all tied up in a large fragrant red bow. Loved it. Seriously spoiling is definitely underrated.
It is amazing how a simple act of thoughtfulness can make an ordinary day extraordinary. Sometimes, to this writer, it feels like simple acts of thoughtfulness and common courtesy have somehow fallen by the wayside. The little niceties that make a person feel appreciated. Perhaps acknowledging an act of kindness from a friend, sending thank you notes showing appreciation for a gift received, or at least phoning and expressing thanks in person, if writing is not your choice of expression. I think it’s generational. I am constantly searching for note cards and thank you notes for my mother because she writes so many of them she quickly exhausts her supply. As a child I can picture my grandmother sitting at her writing desk and penning notes to friends for this and that occasion. It was not only courteous, but back in the day it was considered extremely rude not to do so.
Several days ago I was in town and an elderly lady in the car to my left signaled and gestured to the space in front of me in my lane. I slowed slightly and waved her in. The man behind me, obviously feeling having that one space taken up had ruined his entire day, showed his displeasure by acquainting me with the configuration of the middle finger on his left hand as well as a machine-gun display of his sadly lacking vocabulary seeming to consist of only four letter words pertaining to bodily functions.
Yesterday I was in the market. Yes, again, they are making me a gold member and dedicating a shopping cart in my honor. It was the first of the month thus the lanes were bee hive busy as were the lines to check out. Two men in paint splattered coveralls got behind me and my fully loaded cart in line. Noticing they had a bag of apples and two coffees I offered them a cut in line. They went on about this as though I’d just given them a winning lottery ticket or introduced them to Jennifer Lopez.
Last night we had reservations for dinner. After a busy day I decided I’d rather do take out so I called to cancel. The gentlemen answering the phone thanked me profusely saying that most people don’t bother and it surely makes their job easier. Really?
Not just the obvious courtesies like opening a door, or giving a deserved compliment, but simple “pleases” and “thank you’s” seem to be becoming passé. In our house if a member of the four-foot and under set demanded a cookie or a drink without including those words in their request they would find themselves holding a bag of trash to take out rather than chocolate chips and juice in those greedy little fingers.
It takes so little time to do something that means so much. Offer a smile as you pass someone or say “hello”, “good morning”, whatever. Even if they don’t respond in kind, it is amazing how good it makes you feel to have done it. In this vein, not having much time on my hands these days, I decided that I have enough time to do at least one “random act of kindness” every day between now and Thanksgiving as my way of giving back. So far, it has been a most rewarding experience I must say that makes me feel better every time I do it. Give it a try. Definitely food for the soul.
These French fries, or I guess French bakes are the best. So much less grease than deep frying with all of the flavor and more. I doubted I could duplicate it but in the interest of my cholesterol and my love of papas fritas, I had to give it a go.
If you give them a try, let me know if you agree! Um, thank you for stopping by. It is much appreciated and I am glad to have such nice readers to share my thoughts with.
Best Spicy Baked Potato Wedges
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2″ wedges
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Lawry’s garlic salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place potatoes in large bowl with lid. Pour olive oil over them and place the lid on tightly. Shake to coat. Mix all spices together and sprinkle over coated potatoes. Place lid on again and shake until evenly coated.
Cover large cookie sheet with foil. Spray liberally with cooking spray. Place coated potatoes in a single layer on pan.
Bake 40 mins. turning once until lovely golden brown. Sprinkle with Lawry’s garlic salt if desired. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.