Please visit me when they put me in the home because I’m sure I’m going to end up there if I put in another day like Friday. I’d like a nice corner room with a view of the ocean, I prefer Scrabble to Checkers and I have a particular preference for cherry Jello with whipped cream on top. I hope you’re taking notes.
Life has been too much the last few weeks. Even for me, and I’m usually a joyful participant. Friday it really ramped up throwing in some laptop issues, escrow issues, family issues, cat issues and other people’s issues to the point where I am now seriously having issues. As an aside, have you noticed that your laptop, printer, dishwasher, phone, etc., rarely cease to function while you’re lying on the couch working on a three-letter word for garden implement in the daily crossword puzzle? Instead, these wily devices cunningly lie in wait until the crucial moment where your sanity or future success depends on their participation in the program, then they roll over on their backs, and play dead.
Since my children first emerged from the womb I have regaled them with Susie’s pearls of wisdom regarding spending time above ground on this planet. Whether this has helped or hindered their progress is up for debate. Life, for the most part, I told them, is not always fair, rarely predictable, capricious on the best of days, and the very moment you are convinced you’ve amassed more answers than questions with regard to the living of it, life will wink devilishly and change the rules of the game entirely, neglecting to share the new rules with you. Never, I don’t suppose even while drawing our last breath do we ever fully grasp the scope of our world. Perhaps this only serves to add to the mystique surrounding a world we know relatively little about, and helps to solidify our deep roots in religion or whatever beliefs one might hold when it comes to the hereafter.
Friday for me, was a soul-searching, what the hell is going on, kind of day. One which I don’t care to repeat again for, well, I don’t care to repeat again for-ever. First on my agenda was a task I was dreading. Miss Mouse the Cat first came screaming up our driveway looking for shelter from the storm about a year ago. Since then, we have taken our foundling into our house and when we weren’t looking she went and insinuated her furry self right into our hearts. Unfortunately, Miss Boo the Queen of Cats did not in the beginning, nor does she now, share our affection for this endearing, if slightly off balanced, unexpected housemate. Try as we may, following all guidelines provided by our vet and the pet store personnel, we have been unsuccessful in reaching a de tante between the two felines. Each time we attempt to get them to share space together fur flies, and I mean that in the most literal sense. This cold war necessitated a daily game of musical rooms. When we shut one in a room, we let the other one out of another. It wasn’t I minded the game, it certainly occupied those occasional moments with nothing to fill the time, but in our new house, considerably smaller than our present digs, I could see it becoming a nearly impossible task and a difficult proposition for all concerned.
It was due to the move, indirectly, that Mouse has come to find a new home. One estimator, while at the house providing a quote, ran into Mouse reclining on the steps while on his way out to his car. Leaning to pet her, he asked me if there was anything else he could do to help. I joked, “do you need a cat”? To which he replied, “why, yes”. Oh-oh. This was not the answer I expected. On further discussion I was to determine he is a married father of five living in a rural area on a large piece of land. Both he and his family are animal people. There definitely are such beings. I know, because I am one. Those humans who can overlook the occasional shredding incident, brush aside a bit of fur on an easy chair, and welcome a furry chum into their lives expecting little in return (in the case of cats) but an occasional doling out of affection. On further conversation he explained a month ago they lost their beloved cat. When I realized he was serious about taking Mouse, I asked for a day or two to think this over. With a heavy heart and after much deliberation we decided such a gift as finding a good home for our sweet Mouse could not go ignored. We agreed to allow her to be adopted, with the stipulation if it did not work they would return her to our care. After all the darn cat is definitely a candidate for Prozac, and I wanted to leave an avenue of escape open (not for Mouse but for them). Intellectually I know this to be the right decision for Mouse, but emotionally it has been a sad 24 hours and I’m sure I will miss her silly furry self for some time to come. I do not like goodbyes. I wish my little friend well on her journey. Much, she taught me, about trust and love.
On another vein, our escrow is snarled up on some ridiculous piece of red tape, so progress there has temporarily reduced to a snail’s crawl. I’ve had fishing line that was easier to untangle than government paperwork. To add to the mix, our laptop, which comes into play often with all the paperwork involved in home sales and is the only computer not packed and ready to go, began locking up. When rebooted it cycled for so long I cooked a rack of ribs before it finally displayed the desktop icons. Four times I got on-line with the remote techies overseas, averaging about two hours each time. Still the bloody thing insisted on hanging up. On my last nerve, and eying the toilet bowl as a place to deposit this devil’s tool, I picked up the phone and dialed the geek patrol. A gentlemen arrived not long afterwards and whisked my laptop away to his lair of technology to perform his particular brand of magic on it. Personally, I believe one of these talented tech support people with their creative brains and infinite knowledge of the workings of the beast should be included in every computer sale. I’m just sayin.
I have done many varieties of brussel sprouts, but these brussel sprouts were particularly wonderful. I adapted them from something I saw on TV. Tess, write this one down as I know you have a preference for the wee cabbages.
Baked Brussel Sprouts with Lemon and Garlic
4 slices bacon, diced
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/4 cup olive oil
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
Pinch of kosher salt (generous)
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices lemon
2 Tbsp. butter
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut up bacon and saute until cooked crisp. Drain on paper towels.
In large bowl combine all remaining ingredients except butter and chicken broth. Toss to coat well.
Place a 22″ sheet of tin foil on top of a cookie sheet. Top with a 20″ piece of parchment paper. Place brussel sprout mixture in center of parchment paper. Top with slices of butter. Fold in tin foil on all sides to cover. Leave on cookie sheet and place in oven for 45 mins. or until very fragrant.
Place chicken broth in large skillet. Heat over med-high heat until boiling. Dump contents of tin foil into broth. Cover and lower heat. Cook an additional 10-15 mins. or until fork tender. Season as desired. Serve with sauce.