Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jane his wife ....

I have finally arrived at the era of the Jetson's! No, I don't have an oven that automatically pops out dinner. But, I do have the next best thing .... a laptop computer with a wireless internet connection that pops out recipes right there on my kitchen counter. Yes, it is true, I am the envy of the cooks up and down my street.

Another great use for the kitchen computer is to be able to search food blogs. Which leads me to this great find, the intelligent spoon. The intelligent spoon is designed "to taste your lousy cooking and suggest improvements." The spoon is equipped with sensors that measure temperature, acidity, salinity, and viscosity. The information can then be used to advise the cook on how to make corrections. As Rachel Ray would say " How cool is that!?"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

a place at the table ...

“I’ve moved to a new table.” My grandmother declared during a past visit. “I had been sitting with Betty and Earl but Betty couldn’t hear and Earl never said anything so it just wasn’t any fun at all.” At 93 her desire for robust conversation at the dinner table had not lessened. My earliest memories are of the family table, children and grandchildren packed in like sardines in the narrow breakfast room that served as the gathering place for all of our meals. Fourteen people and at least twenty-eight simultaneous conversations. This is the way my grandmother liked it.

At the home where she moved after my grandfather passed away, there was a large dinning room with tables of four dispersed throughout. Before she moved in, she and I had eaten at one of these small tables to test the food but more importantly to test the conversation. “Seems like a pretty lively crowd,” she observed during this meal. My grandmother went on to share with me that as a child she had moved frequently and had always been able to make new friends. She reassured us both that these early skills would serve her well in making new friends in her new “home.”

With each visit it seemed that my grandmother was once again becoming the life of the party. The past decade had been one of isolation. Living on the farm with my grandfather, socializing only at the weekly funerals of friends and family. With lively conversation, new friends and a social calendar that would make a socialite dizzy she was again becoming the invincible strong-willed women I had grown up with.

“You see,” my grandmother continued. “There was an opening at the Park’s table yesterday so I went right over and sat down. You can’t wait on these types of things.” My boyfriend and I looked at each other amused, knowing full well what had caused this “opening” at a table and impressed by the manner in which my grandmother had seized this opportunity.

On the drive home we laughed about my Grandmother’s spunk, her scheming to get the best place in the dinning room, the “bookie” who came by to collect on her bet, the poker buddies who warned us of my Grandmother’s skill at the table. We commented to each other that we hoped we would be as active as my Grandmother at 93 and corrected ourselves to say that we hoped we could be that active today.

Since our last visit my Grandmother has reached another transition point in her life. Not as spry as she was at 92 the time has come to move again, this time into a home where she can receive more assistance. I worry. I worry about her health, her spirit, the company she will find in the dinning room, the stress in moving yet again into a new environment.

When I was ten my grandmother grabbed my hand as we walked across the street. Totally insulted at her lack of faith in my ability to cross on my own, I immediately went to my father to complain. My father tried to reason that maybe she needed help crossing the street and that is why she had grabbed my hand. At ten, I believed that she was perfectly able to perform that task on her own and continued to pout.

As my family prepares to help my grandmother move, I think I finally understand a little bit about why she took my hand that day. It may have seemed like an empty street to me. A challenge to my independence. But to her it was a transition point in my life. By placing my hand in hers she was assured that we would both be safe on the other side.

1000 places to see before you die - #8

Cuzco, Peru. After three years I am finally getting my pictures from my trip to Machu Picchu scanned. Machu Picchu is an amazing place which will ultimately be at the top of my list of places to see. But, Cuzco with its high deserts and incredible cloud formations deserves a place on the list all its own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

keeping up the blog ...

Friend: You haven't blogged in a long time.

Me: When was the last time you looked at my blog?

Friend: About a month ago and it seemed to me that you had slowed down.

Me: So, past performance is indicative of the current state of things?

Friend: Well no. But, your life seems to be going well. You have the painting thing. Work is getting really busy. You're cooking dinner. And well, none of that seems to me to be interesting enough to blog about.

Me: So, you haven't been on my blog for over a month?

Friend: No, but I will now.

Too bad it will just be our conversation that has been posted.