As they say in the south, “I’m busier than a cat covering it up” this week. My planner is a disaster and last time I looked I didn’t have a personal assistant except Boo the Cat, getting plump and lazy of late. Last night I woke up around two to find the perched on the pillows behind my head chewing on my hair. This morning I noticed a cow lick, or perhaps cat lick would be more appropriate, right above my bangs. Probably too lazy to get herself up and extend the energy necessary to walk to her bowl, bend forward, and eat, she chose instead to concentrate on whatever food source required the least amount of effort on her part. Laziness is not a trait I admire. Sometimes it’s glorious to laze about, but I’m talking about those of us who are perpetually lazy leaving the work to those willing to participate. I’ve spent a good deal of time of this subject with my grandchildren, who leave a trail of destruction behind them even a blind man could follow.
Perhaps the work ethic is imbedded in my lineage. I was raised by two women, namely my grandmother and mother. Neither of them ever stayed seated long enough to warm it for the next occupant. Both kept their homes in spit spot order. Often one or the other would comment “Pardon the house. It’s a mess.”. “Where”, I used to wonder? Were they referring to the one tiny missed crumb over in the corner hiding beneath the cupboard door? For me having the house perfect is not an obsession, all right maybe I’m a bit obsessive, but the truth is I function better in an environment somewhat free of clutter. I know, I know, a clean house is a sign of a wasted life, a dull woman, a broken computer….. I’ve seen the signs, both literally and figuratively. Sigh.
Neither my mother nor my grandmother tolerated idle hands. If there was work to be done and hands available to do it, they were called into use. At 6:00 a.m. my grandmother would have her crisply pressed robe in place over nylons and underclothes. Makeup would be applied by the time I reached the breakfast table and she would be fit to meet the Queen by the time I left for school. Mother had her hair done at the salon once a week, does to this day. Through some miracle of science it remains held fast in the same position from one “doing” to the next keeping her always looking immaculate even in the middle of the night. As a child my nickname was “Mutley”. This, as you might imagine, explains a lot. Much to my mother’s dismay my favorite mode of dress is comfortable jeans or shorts and a tee-shirt. Never would I be at my best in 6″ heels decorating a runway. How do women walk in these shoes? As of this writing this hasn’t proved a problem for me since the call from my agent telling me I aced an interview for runway model hasn’t shown up in my voice mail as of this writing.
I hear a lot of people complaining about their jobs lately. A friend of mine used to say, that’s why they call it work. It is, after all, a four letter word. In our present economic environment if you have a job, probably you should be tossing a handful of confetti. People who are fortunate enough to earn a living doing what they enjoy I would imagine are not in the majority. Most of us go to work so we can feed our families, have a roof over our heads, and from time to time enjoy the comforts of life. As my resume reflects, I’ve thrown my hat in the ring many times over the years and dabbled in many types of jobs.
Back in my twenties I took a job with a company selling pipe fittings and hardware. What I knew about the subject would have fit nicely in the iris of a gnat. Despite my inequities, I needed the job, they offered me one, and I showed up the following Monday morning looking my best. The building was dwarfed by a huge industrial complex in the City of Industry, California. The City of Industry is located in the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles, and appropriately named for the sprawling sea of buildings and manufacturing plants located within the city limits. Finding a parking spot in front of the antiquated building, I opened the car door to be assaulted with the smell emanating from the plant located on the adjacent property. Later I was to be told it was a pork processing plant. Piggies came in through the gate squealing, and left in butcher wrap, if you catch my drift (so to speak).
Inside the “office” were banks of huge desks housing massive volumes. Each volume detailed the fittings sold by the manufacturer’s name represented on the cover. These were referred to as “the Bibles” and I was soon to find out it was to be my job to spread the word. Standing between me and immediate dismissal, was my ability to talk non-stop, because knowledge of what I was talking about was limited to how fast I could turn the pages in my books and how much the bull had consumed at his previous meal (you’ll have to think about that).
It was a grubby environment at best. From the look of the opaque windows no sweat had ever been expended cleaning them. Despite their original function, these afforded little light nor view, not that the view beyond them was particularly spectacular. Besides myself their was the son of the owner, a man in his thirties, and the owner herself, a sixty or so chain smoker who’s cough was so disturbing I was amazed she remained upright to light the next cigarette off the previous one.
Outside the door marked “employees only”, spread out a huge warehouse manned wholly by men equipped with little command of the English language mostly from Mexico or points south of the border. Thus, I learned to depend on myself for lunch company and conversation around the water cooler. For two years I sat at my grubby desk dishing the skinny about elbows, t-bars, adapters and reducers. It wasn’t rocket science, Time Magazine wasn’t shooting my picture for the cover, but I supported my kids, ate fairly well and gleaned more information than I’ll ever use on pipe fittings. I’ve learned a little about a lot from all my jobs. All in all a good day’s work.
These burgers were off the chart. Anyhow, this sauce is good on everything, but I love it on gooey cheeseburgers.
Cheeseburgers with Grilled Onions and Not So Secret Sauce
1 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. ground chuck
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. seasoned black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Garlic salt and pepper
4 slices Cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns
Mix all ingredients together. Form into four patties. Heat oil in large skillet over med.-high heat. Add burgers. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper if desired. Sear on one side and flip burger. Sear on opposite side and turn heat down to med.-low. Top with cheese. Continue cooking until cheese is melted.
Remove patties from pan and keep warm. Brown buns face down in same skillet.
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. Canola oil
5 Tbsp. ice water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Heat oil in skillet over med.-high heat. Add onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 mins. until golden brown.
Continue cooking 5 mins., stirring constantly. Reduce heat to med. Stirring onions, add 1 Tbsp. of water. Mix well. Continue cooking until onions begin to get dry. Repeat until all 5 Tbsp. of water are depleted and onions are deep golden brown. Remove from heat. Serve over burgers.
Not So Secret Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. chili sauce
1/4 cup catsup
1/8 cup yellow mustard
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
Whisk all ingredients together and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hr. Spread on both sides of hamburger buns.