It occurs to me the generation moving up the ladder may be losing some of the crafty skills generations proceeding them were noted for. Sewing, cooking, handicrafts, are being replaced by electronics. Even beloved books are read on Kindle and other Ebook tablets. Recently, I visited a museum in our area. Museums, I would suppose, aren’t for everybody. For me, they’re a peek back in time. I could spend hours wandering through the halls looking in the cases and breathing the dusty air. Perhaps this is why I’m so fond of libraries. Racks of well-loved books leaning against one another helter skelter. There’s something comforting about it.
When my kids were small if cooking on a weekend and they were around, they loved to tie on an over sized apron and get their fingers in the dough or toss a few ingredients to the pot. These days both are excellent cooks and really enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Around Christmas at our house it was traditional to roll out sugar cookies with everyone decorating their own plateful. There were no guidelines, mind you. Orange bells with purple sprinkles, so be it! Sometimes, like with trimming the tree, we adults want the end result to look as if we had decorated it ourselves. For little ones, whose imaginations stray far beyond the confines of perfect, this might seem restrictive. Tradition is the glue that welds the family unit together. Small bits of history passed down from one generation to the next keeps the ties strong as one group fades into the past and the one following comes into view. Not to be bound by tradition, as all traditions are neither functional nor are they good, but taking those worth moving forward and holding them dear.
Fourth of July was always barbecue and fireworks for us, not much different from most families I wouldn’t think. Potato salad sprinkled with paprika, deviled eggs, glistening chunks of ice cold watermelon and whatever meat we’d chosen to throw on the grill. Tending to marry sports enthusiasts, many such holidays for me were spent sweating in the stands enjoying a baseball game with fireworks flying overhead once the sun had gone down. Perched high in the stands it almost felt as though you were in the middle of the bursting clusters rather than a casual observer.
This year there are worries about the frightening things bubbling up around the world spilling over onto U.S. shores Perhaps making a show of patriotism and solidarity even more important than in years past. Definitely our world is changing and we are struggling to keep up with it all.
This fourth was, not surprisingly for July, hot. Thankfully, not as hot as the beginning of the week. Walking out to the mailbox Wednesday morning the temperature on our outside thermometer neared 80 at not yet eight o’clock. PG&E will be sending us a thank you note by the end of the summer. Hopefully, our air conditioning unit will continue humming along. On inspection earlier in the season, we were told it was old but reliable and probably has quite a few good years left. Kind of like us.
With a house if it isn’t one thing, surely it will be another. We no sooner paid for the new water heater when we found the deck needed to be resurfaced. There goes our lovely vacation by the sea, or at least it will be postponed. Ah well, this would be the downside of owning rather than renting, but I like being able to do what I want to in the comfort of my own home.
Over a lifetime I have owned five homes. It is difficult to hold ownership up to renting, because both have decided advantages. Yesterday we were watching a program on TV where a man was dealing with a broker in New York City working to locate a rental unit for him. The brokerage fee for such services totaling nearly $3,000.00. I guess housing is so dear in the city proper you nearly have to hire someone to find a suitable place to live. In the end, this man ended up with a small apartment, nothing special at all really, for nearly the same monthly outlay he paid the broker to get it for him. Better have a good job I guess if you’re to live in New York. Where do all the starving actors live you always hear about? Perhaps they band together under one roof?
Renting definitely has it pluses. If a water main breaks rather than getting out your checkbook, you dial your landlord’s number and he gets his out. Conversely, if you are renting a studio apartment and come across the cutest “little” St. Bernard puppy at a local pet shop, you’re definitely going have to contact your landlord before giving your fuzzy new friend a name.
My second house was a small starter home in Southern California. By the time we signed the loan papers there were two small children in tow. The house, as I remember, was one large box really. Going from room to room, eventually you ended up on the room you started in. I liked it though. Easy to clean, and cute and cozy in a mini-me sort of way. The kitchen window overlooked a large sunny yard highlighted by a huge old oak tree towards the back. Many a kids party or barbecue was hosted back there. By the time summer came around we had put in a large above ground pool for the kids use and ours. Like the in-ground counterparts, above ground pools require chemicals and some man hours to keep them clean. Children don’t differentiate between concrete and plastic when it comes to relieving themselves while swimming, nor do some adults. Once in a friend’s pool they put a chemical in the water that turned blue when urine was present. It was quite illuminating. I’m just sayin.
I had a neighbor in the small house from Mexico originally. Although she was twice my age and in spite of some language hurdles, we became fast friends. She taught me how to make tortillas from scratch and salsa. On the Fourth the fireworks show at their house equaled any you’d find at a public venue. Invited to share in the bounty, we brought a dish, pulled up our lawn chairs, and spent time with their lively family on the holiday. Four years later when the “sold” sign was again posted in the front yard, I think I regretted leaving her behind more than our little house.
Wherever you live once you settle in it is home. For me I’m thankful for the roof over my head and the air conditioning humming under the garage. Hope you had a great Fourth, and a safe one.
These crispy and delicious Brussels sprouts showed up on our table next to the rack of lamb. I’m always searching for new ways to disguise the little buggers so Rick will enjoy them. This one did the trick!
Crispy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cooked
1/8 cup cold butter, cubed
2 tsps. garlic powder
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to broil.
Cover the Brussels sprouts with water in large saucepan. Sprinkle the top of the water with garlic salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover, and reduce heat to high simmer. Continue cooking for about 20 mins. or until vegetables are tender. Drain. Add butter to saucepan and toss to mix.
Place sprouts in pie plate. Sprinkle with garlic powder then Parmesan cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and vegetables are slightly charred. Add salt and pepper to taste.