Friday, January 21, 2011

You Too???

I love the new "people connecting" web sites. I’ve been able to catch up with so many friends from the past. People I had known all my life but had somehow allowed to let slip away when I moved 1500 miles south and was caught up in the everyday chaos known as life. We get to chat, play some games and generally enjoy catching up with over 35 years of lost time.

But the thing I love best is when one of them posts a note about something I myself have recently experienced. The last such situation was when a friend commented that she had set the coffee up the night before but was surprised when the pot was full of only hot water in the morning. We’ve all done it, forgotten to add the coffee. Our bodies are in the moment but our minds are on to the next thing. It just so happened that that same night, some two thousand miles away, I had left a gas burner on low on the stove after cleaning up from that night’s dinner. My husband found it when he went out for his evening snack.

“Wendy, is there something you forgot?”

“No,” I said getting out of my chair where I was reading the latest Golf Digest. (It’s winter, nothing is on TV and the magazine was within reach).

“So you meant to leave the stove on?”

This is one of those stupid &$%#^& questions that piss me off. Tell me I did something stupid. Don’t say it like I’m three and need a lesson.

“Yeah, I did. I was trying to see how long I could leave it on before we ran out of gas.” (We don’t have a propane tank... we’re hooked in to the gas line.)

I get the sigh.

“Seriously, I had the beans on so low that when I pulled them off for dinner I didn’t even notice the flame.”

I wanted to say it was better than the time I left the burner on under an empty pot and burnt it so bad I had to throw the pan away, but why give him more ammo?

Later that day, I talked to a good friend in Idaho. She told me the night before she had inadvertently put the fish back in the tank she had just cleaned, but forgot to put in the anti-chlorine drops, killing her grandson’s seven goldfish. (She keeps the fish at her house as her daughter doesn’t like to have pets in the house. A whole other chapter about the crazy kids we raised is coming). I told my husband at least I didn’t kill a living thing.

He just looked at me, smiled and said, “Yet.”

So my friends and I were commiserating. We noticed that it is usually the husband that discovers our little slips or failures.

Haven’t we all left the hose running outside when, in the middle of watering, the phone rings? Run out to pick up something at the grocery only to find that you left the back door open and the lizards have taken over the sun room? Put the washed clothes in the dryer and an hour later you go up only to find you forgot to turn the damn thing on? One friend was halfway to work before she realized she still had on her fuzzy slippers.

There are those things we forget all the time. The curling iron, the hair straightener, the light in the closet. But my kids have done those,too. Just look at the burn marks on their bathroom counter.

Again, I use the "brains too full, I’m too busy" defense. I am always thinking of the next thing that I need to do and sometimes, I SAID SOMETIMES; I forget to finish what I started. But I haven’t burned the house down and the water bill was only really high that ONE time. The things we do right outweigh the other stuff and until such time as the reverse is true, cut us some slack.

Monday, January 17, 2011

You Are Such A Good Friend

Last week my husband and I went to a friend’s house for dinner. I offered to get there early and help out. As I’ve already mentioned I love to arrive early. So she put me in charge of making the salad. I LOVE MAKING salad. I love taking those healthy ingredients, cutting them up and mixing them all together to make a divine, delicious, cacophony of tastes and textures. I put the lettuce in the bottom, not a lot because everyone knows the best things about the salad are the extra ingredients not the lettuce itself. I layered the red, green and yellow peppers, the orange carrots, the crimson radish and cherry tomatoes. I added chopped boiled egg, olives, celery and fresh mushrooms. The knife was chopping away as the salad grew. I tossed it all together layering a small spattering of bacon bits (fresh not the faux stuff you buy prepackaged) and topped the bowl off with grated cheese and garlic( again homemade) croutons.

You may ask what about this story proves this person is a true friend. Well as I was getting ready to put away the leftover veggies I asked where she kept her foil and baggies and such. At my house it’s in a drawer that shares space with doggy treats and batteries and sometimes is so full it catches when you open it so you have to stick your hand through the small opening and push the contents down. I don’t often let anyone in the drawer besides family.

“Middle drawer in the island.” She answered; pointing in the direction where said drawer was located.

I pulled open the drawer and there was the most beautifully organized spectacle I had ever seen. Each package was face up so you could read the contents. They were laid out in order of size. Freezer bag to sandwich bag. Next came the foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper. And the coup de résistance was the drawer was so clean. No bread crumbs lurking in the corners, no toothpicks stuck into the crevices along the sides, no small bags of ketchup or soy sauce from the latest take out.

I glanced over at my friend. This unknown neat freak. How could I have not been aware?

“This is amazing.”

“It’s not that special.”

“Are you kidding me? I should take a picture and send it to Better Homes and Gardens.”

And then she said the thing that made me realize how good a friend she really is, “I cleaned it out yesterday ‘cause I knew you were all coming over tonight.”

You see a real friend is honest even if it might destroy the myth. Anyone else would have pretended the drawer was always in such dazzlingly beautiful order. They would have left you thinking that your somehow substandard drawer would never measure up to their immaculately organized one.

“In fact I had to move the doggy treats out just to make room for the foil that was in the pantry and the parchment paper that was on top of the fridge.”

I almost hugged her. But the next day I organized my drawer. As they say, it’s the little things.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beer Beer Everywhere

Many of my friends have started drinking wine. My husband and his best friend even keep track of good wines we have tried. When it started they would buy an occasional fairly expensive bottle. Then they challenged each other, who could get the cheapest, best tasting wine. (Can you say two buck Chuck?).

I have tried to learn to like the wine. But it has become evident that I AM A BEER girl. Seriously, give me an ice cold beer and I am happy camper.

Recently my husband and I traveled to Denver and I discovered micro brews. Let me just say this place is a little piece of heaven right here on earth. We tried a different beer every night. And they have these wonderful boards that will give you “Samplers”. That’s right you don’t know what you like? Try a sampling of eight different beers.

Now, you might be wondering why I am writing about this in an over fifty blog. Most people my age were able, legally, to drink beer at eighteen. Yes, it was legal in Ohio, but it was 3.2 percent. If you’re my age you remember the difference between 3.2 and 6 percent beer. It took you twice as many beers to get a good buzz going. And if you remember 3.2 then you remember how we use to buy quart bottles for Friday night after the game. Some of my friends that had a more sophisticated palate drank wine. Boones Farms Wine that is, Strawberry Hill was a favorite among my group of girlfriends. Then we would light up the Switzer Sweets Cigars. Yeah, we were rebels back then.

Show me a wine that "compliments" pizza or a bold red that adds to flavor of a medium cooked burger with all the fixings. I'll match you with a frosted mug from the freezer with ice crystals forming down the outside of the glass while the amber liquid bubbles and swirls.

So you may offer me your Merlot, your Pinot, or your Chianti but don’t be surprised if I respectfully decline in order to hoist up a cold one.