Woman nearing sixty, and still trying to get it right. Stumbling the path toward the Divine. Discussing things like grandchildren, Waldorf education, dogs, aging parents, empty-nesting, and knitting luscious things once in awhile.
This was not a dinner I wanted to cook. OK. Part of it wasn't. The produce drawer in the frig was full of basil. There were pine nuts in the cupboard and there was garlic in the basket. Yummy homemade four cheese tortellini in the freezer purchased from the local growers market. All good so far. Right? pesto tortellini. But then...
A zip-locked bag full of crawdads in the frig, purchased from the fish monger at the market. Li'l things waving at me every time I opened the refrigerator door. Cute little things chosen by a cute little guy. Cute little things, creepy but cute little things. But not MY thing. Oh no. Not at all. But hey. Sometimes you just take one for the team.
Had a wonderful, unexpected birthday date with my son last night: an evening with Jackson Browne. He was soulfully melancholic, which was wonderful for the first half. After the intermission it began to wear on me. A little too late on a work night to hear sad story after sad story. But he is a poet that resonates deeply within me. He is a man I would have taken home to mama. And I've loved him ever since. I remember when I was in my late teens and having a thing with a guy I worked with named Barry, and Jackson was an up and coming star. We were sitting in his VW van at the beach and Doctor My Eyes came on the radio. Jackson's first hit in 1971. He said to me, "That's Michael Jackson's new song. Can you believe it?"
Ummm. Nope. I couldn't. But that was the beginning of my love affai with the guy. Which guy you wonder? Well, both. Jackson and Barry. Still have a special place in my heart for both of them today and I always will. Both unattainable. Both special. Unalterably. But, as usual, I digress romantic....
Also enjoyed a special guest appearance by Bonnie Raitt. She is amazing. The Yin to his Yang. Her energy strong as she hopped up onto the stage to join him from the audience. Her voice fresh and clear. She kinda had me using the word biaaaatch because she looks so good at 62.
Naw, really loved her and her music and energy.
Actually, I was just thinking biaaatch.
In a nice way.
Just a little mental whisper of the word biaaatch, really, ok?
Diane is my cousin by birth-rite. Our Moms were sisters. But by heart-rite she is my sister. In the truth of the light of day, she is my only sibling. We shared vacations, every holiday, and the pains of growing up. We shared a favorite grandmother (our Busha) as well as her two sisters, "Auntie Ann" and "Aunt Julie". I loved her mama, my Auntie Retta very much. And her father, Leonard, just the same. While with them in their home, I felt a predictability that I couldn't find in my own. He parents were salt of the earth while mine were party and glamour. When you're six years old, salt of the earth feels so much better.
Also when I was about that age she and I were given dolls by so and so, by somebody I just don't remember. These dolls were wrapped in festive paper, and it was pretty much luck of the draw in the gift we got. Well, I got the blonde haired, blue eyed doll and Diane coveted it. Probably had she not shown her longing to me I would have gladly traded. I don't remember the politics of this doll-getting, or even caring anything about the fact that I held the coveted doll in my arms; but I do remember that we both got dolls. Had I had the maturity to know who Diane was, really was to me (other than a girl four years older who knew what was good and what wasn't, thus my compass to the best things in the world), I would have gladly made the swap. But I knew Diane was older and she knew best. My life followed along on her mitten strings. If she wanted this doll, then I must want it too.
Diane and I recently chatted about that doll day at our family reunion. While it pissed her off totally, it probably was a good sign post along the path of uprightness as a human being for me. A spiritual lesson all wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. For this, I am grateful. For Diane, I am grateful.
And now my dear Diane is sick (a post from my daughter Brooke's blog) and I want to give her my doll. I want to give her half my heart, a kidney, a lung, my right arm, my breath, my blood. But none of these things are what she needs right now. So I give her so much love and many prayerful moments. We all give her so much love that she's gonna need her husband Dale to bring in a shovel from the garden to dig herself through it. My Diane. My sister. She is the strongest woman I know and she is going to beat this.
If you have a moment, please bless her with a prayer of yours. I can tell you, you're praying for someone you'd love too, if you had the pleasure of her in your life.
It's strange not writing about the children in my care as a nanny. Ever since I've had this blog my work with children has been a favorite topic of mine. But with my most current job it was necessary for me to sign a pretty definite/strict confidentiality clause in my contract. But I can tell you I am very happy with the family I am working with. This job has been a blessing,
I have a lovely commute each day, driving to a family who appreciates what I do and who I am.
There are four hens on the property where I work (and I don't think the hens will mind if I post photos of them.) I often feed them the household scraps each day, as I greet them with "Morning girls." They've gotten to know me and that I always come bearing gifts.
On Wednesdays everyone is out and I prepare dinner for the family. Yesterday I made a potato broccoli soup and homemade garlic croutons. Turned out pretty yummy. Here is a photo of the croutons. Just a sourdough bagette cut into pieces, spread on a cookie sheet and drizzled with melted butter and garlic. Half way though the cooking (about 15 minutes at 375 degrees) I tuned them over for another 15 minutes. They were crunchy on the outside and softer at the center. Oh boy were they something to be reckoned with when immersed in a hot bowl of potato broccoli soup topped with grated cheddar. I didn't get a photo of the whole deal cause I was embarassed to take a photo at the dinner table while at work. (Yes, even I have some photo taking pride - even though my children would disagree)
But the real beauty of the meal was this French Apple Tart (recipe found here) A slice served with some organic Straus Family Vanilla Bean ice cream was pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself. Here are my steps to its creation...
Carmelizing the apples:
Topped with puff pastry:
Out of the oven:
Inverted onto cake dish:
And while this all cooked, with all of my other chores completed, I got to sit out here on a beautiful Autumn evening and do some knitting while the chickens began to roost and I waited for the family to return home.
When my nanny family did arrive home, I saw the car driving up the driveway and one little guy came running into the house saying,
"Marianne! We were at Farmer's market and we got you a present and I picked it out!"
"Oh my goodness, why?"
"Because you are such a good nanny is why!"
So Blogland friends, remember all of my angst about employment back in the spring? I shouldda trusted that The Universe had a great plan for me and just needed some time to get it all in order.