Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I don't much like dill pickles, either. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up eating homemade sweet pickles. The pickles I grew up eating were mildly tart and almost candy sweet since they were put up in a thick sugary syrup. We only ever ate dill pickles on Bbq pork sandwiches that we picked up at a favorite take out spot and occasionally on fast food hamburgers but eating fast food was a very rare thing. We ate food at home when I was growing up and we ate foods we'd grown or raised and cooked at home. So naturally I just never developed a taste for what we didn't have in our own home.
But it's been in the last five years I find I simply can't bear the taste of dill pickles at all. And it never seems to fail that if we go out to eat burgers, mine has a double dose of dill pickles, so that you bite through layers of pickles. Ugh, is all I can say. Mind you, these days I'd be hard pressed to enjoy those sweet pickles Mama used to make, either. I lean more towards a Bread and Butter type pickle which is a little sweet, a little tart.
Now all that said, I did buy a jar of dill pickle relish by mistake and didn't realize it until I put it in potato salad. A few days later, I made egg salad for our supper. I was so pleased with that dill flavor in the egg salad. And I do like dill weed with fish, or on green beans. It was one of the first herbs I liked and led me to experiment with other herbs, so it isn't the taste of dill that puts me off dill pickles.
Another huge dislike is the color orchid. As a child I wanted the big box of crayons, the one with 64 colors...but I knew that I only liked 63 of them. Other colors in the box would be worn down to nubs but orchid remained sharp pointed and unmarred. I've seen people wear the color and it looks lovely...but I cringe inwardly even while admiring it. I have a photo of a room painted Orchid with a deep blue table and red poppies arranged in a vase on the table. It takes my breath away every time I look at it because of the intensity of the colors, but I can only admire it for a moment or two when I'm struck all over again with my absolute loathing of the color and I have to put it away.
Have you ever noticed the way guys watch TV? I mean, for instance, right now as I've been writing for the past 14 minutes, John has flipped through 100 or more channels. We've watched a WWII film, a Henry Fonda bio, Stephen Segal, Big Bang theory, Interview with a Vampire for two or three minutes each and he's clicked his way through dozens that he doesn't bother to watch at all. I often will get interested in a program he's watching only to find that he changes channels when the commercial comes on and we never seem to cycle back to that show before it's over.
For the most part I could care less what's on TV. I watch only a few programs or favorite movies. We have an agreement: during my viewing time he doesn't change channels and I don't complain for the rest of the time when he feels like just flipping.
And for the record, John has watched Interview with A Vampire many times, but I've NEVER seen the whole movie in all that time. I don't care for the movie myself, but that's not why I've never seen it all. It's because he has seen it all the way through once or perhaps twice and there are parts that he doesn't like, so he goes to another channel for a bit until the part he dislikes is past.
It's not just that movie either that I haven't seen all the way through. There are many. Occasionally he will look at me and say, "Oh that movie's sad (or funny or maddening) in the part where Character X is talking to Character Y, don't you think?" and I'll look at him and say, "I didn't know that X and Y had that conversation." "Oh you know it, we've watched it a hundred times!" Well no we haven't. He's changed channels a hundred times when that part came on. I don't even know the full sequence of some movies because I've only ever seen bits from the middle or the tail ends of them!
Last month, our Rabbi introduced me to his mother. He said in introduction, "This is my mom." That was it. Later in the car, I mentioned to John that I'd met Rabbi's mother. "Oh! What's her name?" I laughed, "Apparently her name is 'Mom'." John laughed, too. We've been introduced as 'Mom' and 'Dad' often so we understand. A couple of weeks ago, I ran into 'Mom' again and asked her name. We chuckled over the previous introduction.
But that little incident made me think. I've mentioned before that folks tend to live long in my family. So it's not surprising that I wasn't sure of my great-grandfather's name when I began this family research. We called him "Pap", as did his children and grandchildren. I don't know if anyone ever called him by his name. He was 93 when I was 8 years old and I don't recall anyone mentioning that any of his contemporaries were living. I wonder if perhaps occasionally he didn't refer to himself by name just to keep the memory of who he was intact. I wonder if he didn't say "John..." and talk to himself. I'd think after so many years of being "Pap" it would have been something of a shock to hear another person refer to him as John. He might not have remembered that was his name!
I think I've mentioned before that my children have their own individual names for me, all maternal based. To my oldest son, I'm 'Mom', and my oldest daughter calls me 'Mumma'. My youngest son says, "Mama" but Katie calls me "Mumsie" nine times out of ten. I feel each says something about our relationship to one another in their individual names for me. And yes, I answer to them all.
My paternal grandfather (son of the John mentioned above) always called my Grandmama "Woman". I only rarely ever heard him speak her name. For the most part, "Woman" she was. Considering what a young thing she was when he married her, I guess it was a sort of honorary title for her. She certainly never seemed to mind, though she did refer to him by his given name.
Granny and her sisters all survived into their mid-90s (Aunt Caroline brings up the rear of that being ten years younger than Granny) and so there was always someone around who called them by name. Big Mama also had a younger sister who survived her, so she too was called by name often through her elder years. But I do wonder if it's possible to 'forget' our own name when we've been called only "Mama" or "Gramma" for a number of years as Pap was.
I guess I'll have to live to 90 to know the answer to my own question, won't I?
A lot of people go on and one about how lucky we are today to live so long (or not depending on the personal glass half full/half empty outlook). Freedom from disease and better care during childbirth has helped tremendously. But I've been astounded at the number of people I've come across in the mid 1800's on census' that were well into their 80's, 90's, 100's! Who knew that so many folks lived to a ripe old age in the 'olden days'? And just think...Here many of these folks grew up under British rule, were involved in the Revolution, and lived through other wars, including the Civil War, before they died.
Overall, my viewpoint of the past has been largely altered. I am fascinated by the little town in which my mother's great grandmother grew up. There's nothing much to it really. A railroad track down the middle, a few empty brick buildings, a handful of older homes, and a church that shows visible signs of age courtesy the original handmade brick that was recycled to use in the 'new' 1890 building. It doesn't look like much of anything at all really and now that the major highway bypasses it entirely instead of wandering around through it as it did in the past, it's pretty much forgotten. But great goodness! The life that little tiny town knew in the 1840-1890 eras!
It was such an up and coming place that there two huge boarding schools (known as Academies) in the town with nearly 200 students who 'boarded in' at the townspeople's homes. There were two drugstores, and two lawyers, a shoe factory as well as a blacksmith's shop and a leather work shop. There were two or three general stores and a post office in town. A circus came to visit at one point and well known original works of art were displayed during a touring visit. There were well known speakers who came through town to give lectures and the founder of one of the Academy's wrote a book on botany that is still considered ground breaking today. The town attracted first class medical doctors, one of whom became known for his ability to break up bladder stones, giving many people a new lease on life, and freedom from pain and suffering. There were church meetings and spelling bees, singings, and quilting bees, a Women's group and a population that is starkly contrasted by the handful of folks who reside there now. The town was the birthplace of well known political figures (state and federal), inventors, orators, authors.
The wonderful part is that this state is just loaded down with sleepy tiny little towns that look like nothing much, but once upon a time...Oh once upon a time! I wish I could have a time machine and visit them all in their heyday. Sigh....
As we rode along one day last week, I looked out the windows at the fields we passed and sighed deeply. John asked what the matter was. Nothing, actually. I was just savoring the views of fields and fields and fields of the loveliest corn I've been privileged to look upon in years upon years. Even the poorest soil this year has produced a decent crop of corn and richer soil, even those fields not irrigated, has produced corn so tall you can't reach the top of it. It's green and lush and just beautiful. It's the way I remember fields looking in summers from my childhood before the droughts stunted crops and left the cornstalks dwarfed and twisted and dying in fields until farmer's ceased to plant corn at all.
I tried to look down the cornrows, which is a crazy sort of visual/optical trick I like to do when we're out driving. I like to see how even rows are and whether I can catch a glimpse of the end of the row, sometimes a mile or more off. Well the corn is so thick that you can't see down a row. It looks dark and dense and a little scary (images of snakes and such hiding in the thick of the field bother me) and I get the feeling that on a nice hot day, you'd about suffocate for lack of air in those fields. I want to make sure and take my camera out with me here the next time I'm leaving the house and get a few photos of these fields. I don't know if we'll be blessed to see corn like this again next year, but I sure hope so! It sure does make me feel happy to see it, almost as happy as hay bales.
It's been raining all week long. Do you know what I want most to do? Curl up in a chair with a cup of coffee, watch an old romance or read a really good book, take loads of naps and just generally act as though it were a rainy day.
I suppose if I were still a child this might be fairly possible, but I am, alas, an adult. And while I am hardly too busy to stop a bit here and there, there's little reason to spend time just frittering it away with a movie...or isn't there? John and I have managed a few nice old movies this past week. One was "The Reluctant Debutante" with Sandra Dee and Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall. I really enjoyed it. And I've just finished a decent enough book by Emilie Richards The Trouble With Joe which was worthy of a few tears at the climatic point. I am a bit of a book snob by the way and this one hit on one of the things I dislike: sex. Don't mind knowing my characters have had sex, just prefer not to get the blow by blow account of the act, if you know what I mean.
Nope, I'm old fashioned in that way. I prefer to have books and movies 'hint' to me that sex took place or is about to. Leave it to my imagination. I've got a pretty good idea of what goes on and I'm about as interested in knowing what, where and when as I am in having anyone know my own what, where and when! So I was disappointed in that aspect, but I'll forgive this transgression as it was a very early book of Richards and not one of her later more complexly developed books (which pass up on the blow by blow sort of stuff).
To soothe me however, I'm going to read something old fashioned next, perhaps a bit of a series of books by Elizabeth Ogilvie which is always a nice summer-y sort of read straight from the coastal islands of Maine.
"tis the season...Well obviously not the time to think of Christmas. I'm referring to the old fashioned, lovely, summer custom of sharing garden produce. We were gifted this week with two large green tomatoes. I do love fried green tomatoes. I made the mistake one summer of not even considering the purchase of a green tomato...Come autumn I realized I'd missed what is a major source of summer food enjoyment for myself. It's like going without peach cobbler. Or a refreshing, tall, tinkly glass of iced tea on a hot day. I vowed at that autumn I'd embrace the joys of each season fully from then on and I've not missed one single thing since.
John came in earlier this week with a bag full of produce. Big red tomatoes, lovely little cherry tomatoes, tiny yellow onions that are crisp and sweet with a slight bite to them, and a variety of peppers. One of his co-workers shared the bounty of her garden. I think that is just the nicest thing ever and I happily accept all contributions.
John has never learned the complete taste satisfaction of garden fresh produce. He thinks what we buy at the grocery is just fine and it's not bad, when it's seasonal foods but right from the garden? The taste is 100% better. And the best thing of all? I can eat almost all I want without a care, because it's lower calorie than most 'treats'.
Every now and then I like to look back through old blog posts and read what I was doing a few years ago in the same month as this current year. Well, I've discovered that I am the world's most boring ritualistic person in the world. Whatever I might be writing about now on my blog is generally what I wrote about then. I'll just say it nicely: I'm very consistent in what I like about each month!
Last night I read back through the old Blue House On the Hill blog. It was a fairly painful time in my life and it went on through the next four years. The funny part, or not, as you might soon see, is that these days all came on the heels of a Word from an evangelist who came to the church we were attending at the time. I didn't mean to stay and hear the program but as we dressed for practice that day, I felt in my Spirit that I was to stay and hear a special message from God to us from this woman. So we stayed and her Word was very encouraging, very positive. I wish I could say the past four years were as encouraging and positive as those words! They were, in short, hurtful, hard, difficult and many and many a day John and I have looked at one another and asked where the blessings we were told coming our way were.
It's been a time of testing and of shaking up what we thought we were, where we thought we were going, what we expected our lives to be at this stage. There's no doubt that God has, is, will, bless us, but they are different blessings than we expected. We are learning to surrender ALL to Him and wait for Him to show us what is best for us. I will say, if I'd known then what I know now, I might have been less enthusiastic in saying I was ready for these blessings. I'm so glad I've had to go along blindly trusting because I'd have missed a great deal that has been good, glorious and awesome, albeit not what I'd expected!
I've shared before that I am overweight and have been for all my life. Prior to being hit by a drunk driver I also was fairly active despite my size. Over the past few years, I've slowly regained the physical strength I lost in the years it took to recover. I have good blood pressure, no problem with blood sugar, a very good immune system. I am blessed with very good health, but I confess I've missed that active person I used to be who loved to play and dance and swim and jump rope and walk for the fun of walking fields and woods. Never have been one for exercise per se because that never felt fun to me.
I have just been looking at a magazine with a fitness section (the third this morning by the way) and I just want to share this: more overweight women and men might well be interested in exercising if every magazine spread didn't show a size 0 model in yoga clothes doing things that are virtually impossible if you weigh in excess of 200 pounds and haven't been active in a few years. Truth is I know people who are out of shape without being overweight and they can't do those exercises either. I'd love to see some moves that are user friendly for the more rotund among us. Anybody agree with that point of view?
In the meantime, I continue to enjoy our elliptical bike and can see noticeable improvement. I've made fun challenges for myself. John is pretty much one for endurance. How long can he stay on and how fast can he go type thing. I might work out for thirty minutes at a nice steady pace or challenge myself to do a 5 minute mile for three miles, or 2 miles in ten minutes. I don't think John thinks much of my method, but I'm satisfied that I'm doing some good. This week I found my Pilates book that had been missing. I mean to incorporate a bit of that in my routine. I won't however be submitting any photos any time soon. I do know there is a visual reason why those magazines use models after all!
And one last item before I wind up...I am so over the sexual innuendos in food commercials and of late they have gone beyond suggesting and being downright naughty! There's one brand of dressing I doubt I will ever buy again, a potato chip commercial that has seriously inhibited my desire to eat their chips and several chocolates I can't imagine ever again having upon my shelf here at home because the advertisements have gotten so suggestive.
It all goes right back to what I said about my reading material. Call me a prude if you will, though I assure I'm not, but I wish things were just done a little more nicely these days...
And that is where I've wandered this week!