Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The kids arrive day after tomorrow....I have made no holiday progress so this will probably be the last day I can languish in front of the computer.....Steve is home tonight, we have lots to do to get ready and STILL no shopping done.
Christmas was Charlie's favorite holiday...his annual peeing on the tree, sniffing ornaments, and laying under the tree keeping careful watch over Mimi who always climbs up the trunk for naps will be missed deeply. But, this is Penelope's first real Christmas and we are looking forward to making memories with her and our family.
To all of my old and new blogger friends, have a wonderful holiday...you are great!
With love, rosemary
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I love books........I love buying books, reading books, touching books, smelling books....books. With the exception of the buying part, all of the other components of book love have been there since I was old enough to read and go to the Library. My name is Rosemary and I am a book addict.
I worked in a Library and my supervisor told me that my book buying habits would eventually fade away . They didn't. I not only want to read books, I want to own them, never get rid of them, not lend my favorites, stack them over and over again each time in a different way, relocate them from room to room, alphabetize them, dust them...just possess these books in every way that I can.
When I was a kid, we had a one room Library in our "bedroom" town of Alhambra. It was safe to walk anywhere then....I did; to and from school, to and from the Library, to the market to buy cigarettes for my mom with a note, to the park...anywhere. My favorite destination was the Library and my favorite spot was on the floor in back of the Librarian's desk hidden by a short bookcase. I would sit there for hours reading......Little Women was my favorite and I probably read it dozens of times. I would walk around the Library just touching the books and trying to read titles. Every once in a while Mrs. Booth the Librarian would say to me, "Rosemary that is a grown up book section. Please sit down." I didn't know grown up from kids books. Yes, there was a children's section, but I had read all of those books and wanted to see what was on the rest of the Library shelves. Little Women was actually a "grown up" book, but it was shelved in a place where I could very slowly take it down and then sit in my spot and read. I always had a "cover" book in case Mrs. Booth ventured away from her desk which was almost never. She was a large woman and it probably took great effort just to breathe!
Eventually Alhambra left the bedroom and moved to the real world and a new Library was built. Very efficient this new Library; segregated sections, tall shelves with books out of reach for little hands, places to sit, write, study and all of this done with absolute silence. Mrs. Booth was no longer in control but several new women ran the place with an iron fist. That was Ok for a while because of all the new children's books that were added to the collection. But eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I tried to discover the grown up books once again. My mother was called, I was scolded but all this did was make me wonder just what was in those volumes and volumes of books.
By the time I was in high school, I was a reading fool. I had the dream of becoming a physician, but not the aptitude, dedication or drive....and then there were the boys. I did take all of the english, history and literature classes I could but reading fiction was so much more fun than homework. I actually had Lady Chatterley's Lover stuck in my American History book and was reading away when the instructor asked me a question....I was busted and big time; parent conference, I was wasting my brain, grounded, all of my Library books returned and my Hollywood Confidential mags were found and taken away as well. Did not change my appetite for reading.
As a young mother I went through Napoleon, Henry the VIII, European History, and California Indian reading phases. But my heart always belonged to fiction. The Library was my "other man"....it gave me the escape I needed from several bad marriages and relationships after divorces. My children had the same love of books that I did and so we were a happy little group, sitting and reading the days away. I allowed the kids to roam the Library and touch, see and wonder about all of those volumes that were not yet discovered by their little hands and minds.
I can remember reading Belva Plain, Pearl Buck, Victoria Holt, Marilyn Harris, Herman Wouk, John Jakes, Earl Gardner, Jane Austin, John Steinbeck, Bronte, Du Maurier...and any other fiction author I could find. I was never a romantic novel reader....you know, the kind with a ripped bodice and a well-hung-good-looking-long-haired man on the cover.....but I did love the epics that went on for several volumes and even years after the last one was read, another generation would emerge in yet another volume.
Somewhere along my novel covered road, I started buying books...paperbacks at first and then I became a purist; I only bought hardbacks. I joined three book buying mail order clubs....of course the main dealer for my book fixes was Doubleday. I probably built several floors of their building with my purchases. I still have Winds of War that I bought from good old Doubleday....the cover is torn and faded and it's format is the minature size and print that Doubleday used.
I have actually sold some of the books I have bought at my yard sales, but I have reluctantly done that. I have also donated some to my local Library....but with each book I sold or donated I felt like I was losing a friend. Now, I just box the books up that I have read and put them in a special place in the garages.
I have a notebook that I was going to use to record all of the books I have...but what fun is that? I would rather look at my books, touch them, smell them and think all of the wonderful experiences I will have living vicariously through their characters. So, to all of the wonderful fiction writers I have enjoyed over the years.....write on, write on, write on!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
My husband left today for a 4 day trip. The dogs and I waved and barked and yelled "I love you!" as he drove off on the icy road. When we went back inside I said out loud "What are we going to do for 4 days without him?" and both of the dogs looked at me with knowing eyes. Those dogs are spooky sometimes.
So, I am making my comfort food; lentil soup. Growing up Catholic made for some interesting meals on Friday. In those dark age days of my youth Friday was a meatless day. I can't remember what we ate on Friday before I was about eight, but I sure do remember after that. My dad would barbeque swordfish. Swordfish. Dry, tasteless swordfish. White, bland, textured like cardboard swordfish. Swordfish; barbequed. Those meals were unending as I chewed and chewed but just couldn't swallow. I heard the poor kids in China story every Friday and still I couldn't swallow the stuff.
After my sibling was old enough to complain about fish Friday, it was only my dad that ate swordfish and my sibling and I were the recipients of the newly created fish stix. Greasy, bread crumbed, nasty fish stix. I remember thinking that they were made out of fish feet....they had a peculiar smell while baking. Eventually I complained too and I was given the gift of lentils, alphabet pasta and garlic simmered for hours and tasting like food of the Gods. For as many years as I lived at home I had lentils on Friday. I would eat the contents of the entire sauce pan, ate them until I was far beyond full, feeling bloated I ate until they were gone. Thankfully my sibling never liked them and went on to Friday pancakes and waffles.
I am not a cook, don't bake from scratch, am kitchen challenged except for cleaning up and have and would still be eating as much fast food as I could had I not gotten old and had this high blood pressure/cholesterol thing going on. As hard as I have tried, I have not been able to replicate my mother's simple lentil combination...it comes out mushy, or undercooked, or tasteless no matter how much salt and garlic I put in it, but.....I have created a really tasty lentil soup that is simple and used to taste better when it had real sweet Italian sausage instead of turkey copy cat sausage that doesn't even come close to tasting like the real thing. But, it has lentils and pasta and garlic and the rest of the ingredients are simple....diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, a veggie, mushrooms, onions and a little of this and that for seasoning. It will simmer all day, I will sample it every few hours, I will eat it twice a day until every last bit is gone and not have to share it with anyone. My husband thinks it is an OK soup, but he isn't wild about lentils so I don't feel bad about eating half a bag of lentils and all of the other stuff in the soup all by myself. I figure he will be eating with friends in a restaurant, having someone serve him and clean up after him and I can eat the entire pot of soup without any guilt! Evens out I think.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I made a comment on a blog yesterday...The Boomer Chronicles. It is a neat site, fun without competition and great information and trivia.
My comment was about a list of calories burned relative to an activity. My response was about vacuuming, my favorite sport. That got me thinking about my friend John. John died of lung cancer in February 2005.
I inherited John from my husband. They had been friends since grammer school. I met John in 1989. He was living in a shack with a woman and they were both in the same shape; alcoholics, no jobs, dirty, and bad teeth. John however, had a glorious, dry sense of humor. John could be forgiven for any action because of that sense of humor.
John called himself a gutter drunk and made no apologies for his lifestyle. He said it was a life lived on the edge with every day being one of risk, adventure and trying to panhandle enough money to stay shit faced. He had been married and divorced several times, had no children and no obligations other than the multiple DUI infractions that he eventually paid for with jail time. He possessed a variety of junk cars at times, the most memorable one being an old Datsun with no floor boards, no windows but a motor that ran, 4 wheels with tires and a seat and steering wheel.
John met his last wife through a strange set of events.....he was house sitting for a good buddy while that buddy was in the hospital dying from alcoholic liver disease. It was while housesitting that John became sober. The buddy died, his ex wife and daughter came up to settle the buddie's estate, the ex met John, they fell in love and eventually married.
John had not had a main stream job for over 20 years. When he moved to Sandpoint he was a house painter, had money, built a home, bought a car, had thousands of dollars in paint equipment and he lost it all to beer and lost it fast. After he married for the last time, his role became that of a once in a while house painter for good money and he was the ultimate house husband. John cooked, gardened, built a deck, managed the snow in winter, just did it all around the house.
John was opinionated and I never talked politics with him. He told the truth as he saw it...told it about himself and others. If someone was offended, well too bad. He wasn't hurtful, but if I had some ugly sox on, he told me but using his great humor..."Hey Rosemary, did you get a deal on those sox at Goodwill? I'll have to see if I can get Barb a pair like that and see if she divorces me!"
He was a true and faithful friend. The man that helped him get sober was not the best role model for sobriety and being drug free, but John never forgot the gift of sobriety help he received from this man and defended him no matter what. My husband "hired" John for a variety of odd jobs at our crazily built home so John would have smoke money when he was not painting. My husband has NEVER thrown out one journal, magazine, file or any other piece of paper he ever had and John boxed those papers and journals and hauled them from one garage bay shelf to another time after time. John called his work for my husband his 401K.
My love for John besides all of the wonder of his personality? He loved to vacuum. The one joy we shared and, yes we said it out loud, was seeing the vacuum design patterns newly left on a carpeted floor...and it really pissed him off if someone walked on it too soon....wife, friend, dog or critter. I really, really miss John.