As I mentioned in my last post, I recently spent a couple of weeks at my mother’s home in San Jose. Thankfully, she recently replaced the inflatable mattress on the hide-a-bed in the spare room so I wasn’t up at 3:30 as in previous visits refilling it. As with most things my mom buys, the mattress was “top of the line”. However, years of bearing company “top of the line” or not it simply couldn’t bear the load anymore. Air or no air the newer auto inflate units are infinitely better than the original hide-a-bed mattresses. For those of you who have ever slept on the old ones you may still have the scars where the metal springs poked into your body as you slept.
While living in a small one-bedroom beach apartment in Redondo Beach my ex and I had such an animal in our living room. It was rare we slept on it, but occasionally when someone special came to visit we gave up the master bedroom and we unfolded the couch. Once I recall folding it up after a restless night of combat with the mattress only to notice a small furry paw tentatively reaching out between the pillows. Thankfully, the old cat belonging to the paw wasn’t annihilated when I applied the usual sumo wrestler torque it took to maneuver the mattress back under the bed of the couch. A rescue ensued, but Kitty viewed the couch with a jaundiced eye long afterwards.
There were times when I would have been glad to see that lumpy old hide-a-bed as I reflect. For one year when my children were small their dad and I traveled across the U.S. by car. The only bed we had five nights out of seven was a mattress in the back of our station wagon where the kids slept. Rainy nights necessitated sharing that space with my two little ones often resulting in sleepless night with small hands across your face or worse yet a wet spot on your back by the time morning arrived. Our money allotment for the year allowed for two nights a week at a motel along our route. We split the nights up most weeks so that the hot baths came in the middle and at the end. In between we bathed in lakes and streams, rest stops, and even on occasion soaped up in a gas station restroom.
We put the nomad in nomadic that year. If not curled up with our babies, or snug in a motel bed, bed was wherever our sleeping bags hit the ground once we packed it in for the day. For me, one eye perpetually remained open scanning for predators during those star filled nights. Most probably I would have died of a heart attack had a reptile slithered in next to me to get warm. God knows how many small creatures shared space with me over that year, or how many spiders and gnats marched their way down my throat. What an interesting year it was for me, bugs and all. One I will never forget. Was I young and ridiculously idealistic, I would do it again without hesitation. There is something so freeing about turning the wheel in whatever direction you please, with no one to answer to or no place to be. I shall always remember that time as the freest of my life and never for a moment be sorry we set out on our journey.
Beds are such a personal choice. Some people like them hard as cement, with others preferring a mattress they can sink into. I believe I fall in between. Several years ago with stayed with our best friends in the Bay Area. They had recently remodeled a small home in Contra Costa county. Having turned the two spare rooms into a den and an office, there wasn’t a lot of room for guests to camp out. Luckily they had a queen sized inflatable mattress in the garage we thought would work just fine. Not having seen each other for a while my friend and I stayed up well into the night catching up and reminiscing. Rick, tired from driving most of the day, decided to turn in before me. We blew up the “bed” and sent him on his way. Needing my purse from our room I opened the door just in time to see Rick turn over and catapult off the overfilled mattress into the potted plant. To be honest I had no idea he could still maneuver a back flip, so after I stopped laughing I found myself suitably impressed. In the end he slept on one end of their sectional, with me dangling off the other.
Beds are on my mind as we have discussed getting a new mattress recently. Ours is reaching its longevity point, and though turned often is starting to lose its original comfort level. Our pillows also need replacing. For some reason I cannot find good pillows. I’ve tried expensive designer pillows guaranteed to offer a peaceful night’s sleep only to find them either too hard or within months having the filling wad up like a bowl of wet cotton balls. I’ve considered the ones you see on TV, but have a friend who bought two. After trying them out for a month or two she tells me she doesn’t see anything amazing about them other than the price. Hmmmmm.
I am one of those people who likes a lot of pillows. I have three behind me plus one I wrap an arm over. Rick says when he comes to bed (most nights hours after I have) usually only the tip of my pointed head is showing in a sea of cotton and foam.
I don’t know what the answer is. Not looking forward to mattress shopping down the road. Rick is fond of firm mattresses where I like a little give. Maybe we need one of those you can dial “your number” for either side. Things to think about on a Thursday.
These lamb meatballs were so good as a change from beef. Be sure to get a fine mince, or have the butcher do it for you to get the desired result.
Lamb Meatballs with Wine Tomato Sauce
1 lb. lamb mince
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. dried mint leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1 6 oz. can tomato sauce plus 1 can water
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2-1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
pinch of cinnamon
Mix minced lamb with all ingredients through garlic powder. Form into meatballs.
Heat butter and oil over high heat in large skillet. Add meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Deglaze skillet with red wine. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and add meatballs. Spoon sauce over top. Cover and cook on low for 30 mins. uncovering several times to spoon additional sauce over top.
Serve with rice or herbed noodles.