It has been a busy summer. I miss this old blog when I’m not writing on it, but summer this year hasn’t been dedicated to either kitchen time or quiet moments. When time permitted I sat down in front of the TV to catch up with the most recent remark Donald Trump was making on the news. Got to give him this, he certainly knows how to keep the spotlight positioned directly on his face. I watched the Republican debates. Looked like a football lineup with the fifth quarter team in tow. So many players on the field this go round. Should be an interesting campaign season. I hope the mudslinging is kept to a minimum. Stick to the issues and you have my attention.
Kids are already back in school. When I was enrolled we were let out running in mid-June and dragged back through the doors in mid-September. Glad I attended class when I did and not now. Our educational system on the whole is in the tank. Kids are pushed through from one year to the next without regard for whether or not they’ve earned the privilege or have taken with them a modicum of knowledge from the year behind them. Makes me sad.
I moved to Southern California when I was nine from my home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. So far ahead was I from the other fourth graders in my new American school I could have successfully taught the class. In Canada at the time twelfth grade was the first year of college. What we learned to get us into college, provided that being the life plan, was crammed into our brains in the eleven years prior to that. I knew much about the U.S. when entering fourth grade here but found my classmates knew little if anything at all about Canada. Until I acclimated, I endured countless questions about polar bears, penguins, and if I got cold living in an igloo. In hindsight pointing those fingers back in my direction, I suppose I perceived California as a golden state with sunny beaches, Disneyland, and movie stars parading up and down the street. The first two proved true. Certainly to my recollection I never saw one star walking down the streets of Santa Ana. As the years passed I met several notables while in Hollywood or Palm Springs for this event or that. Met would be a stretch. Perhaps saw a better description of the experience. Once I sat next to Phil Everly at a blackjack table in Las Vegas. Most of you scratching your heads and thinking “Phil who?” are far to young to recognize the name. For those of us with some years under our belts you will remember him as half of the singing duo The Everly Brothers. In high school their hit “Wake Up Little Susie” was my mantra.
Education should be high on our candidates list of vote getting agendas, I believe. We are lagging far behind other major players in this department. I didn’t graduate from college. Looking back I wish I had. Now with competition for middle income jobs so high, a college education is almost a necessity to live above the poverty line. States keep moving the minimum wage up the ladder to help those working in lower paying jobs, but unfortunately the cost of living marches right up the steps behind it.
Life got in the way while I was pursuing my college degree. With two children and a mortgage my educational goals kept moving further off in the distance until finally they disappeared from view altogether. Fortunately, I had clerical skills which provided, if not a palatial house on the beach, a roof over our heads and a good income. Several times in such jobs I worked in manufacturing plants. The first produced tin cans and the second made sump pumps. Interesting stuff huh? Take a sip of coffee if you need help in keeping your lids up. Both jobs were interesting in truth. In the can plant, I worked for the Plant Manager. The administrative offices were situated in heart of the manufacturing area itself. Huge windows captured the view of the assembly lines and general hubbub associated with producing metal cans. Danger lurks in any assembly line, and with sharp edges associated with tin any line worker has to remain alert in order to keep all fingers and limbs attached in their original spot. Several times while employed there I saw first hand what not keeping your mind fully on your job could result in.
The plant manager, a man recently having unhappily beckoned in his fortieth birthday, was going through a mid-life crisis. Working on his second marriage to a woman roughly the same age as his oldest daughter from the first, he was struggling to keep up. Aside from my administrative duties I served in the capacity of “work wife”. The young wife didn’t sign up for any household duties it seemed when slipping the over sized diamond on her finger. Thus, loosely in my job description a number of these duties had been written in. Often my days at the plant were spent running errands of a personal nature such as dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, going to the car wash, dropping papers off at the attorney or the insurance company, banking and generally everything else of a domestic nature from grocery shopping to picking up the newest member of the family at day care. Why the little guy was in day care when his Mama didn’t hold down a job wasn’t my question to ask, but it lingered in my mind when gathering his belongings from his cubbie on the way out to the car.
Aside from this the man drank from the moment his eyes opened in the morning until he passed out at night. Being young I stuck it out for a while, but after a year I filed for a “work divorce” and went about finding a job more suited to my skills. No alimony was forthcoming.
Anyhow, I am glad to be back. I will share with you this delicious end of summer salad. A nice change of pace.
Avocado & Cucumber Salad
2 large avocados, pitted and chunked
2 English cucumbers, seeded and sliced
1/2 red onion, thin sliced and halved
3 radishes, thin sliced and halved
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
3 drops Sriracha sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice cucumbers in half. Run a spoon down center of each half to remove seeds. Place cucumber in colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for 10 mins. Rinse well and pat dry. Put in mixing bowl and add remaining vegetables. Whisk together dressing and combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.