Friday, June 26, 2009

Seven Pound Burrito Smothers #3 Son

Jobhunting is boring. Let's talk family events and summer activities. Okay?

Ever seen Man vs Food on the Travel channel? Big guy Adam travels the country taking on food challenges - 4 pound steaks in Amarillo, eight breakfast tacos in Austin, 15 dozen oysters in New Orleans. Watching someone pack their guts may not be your cup of tea, but alas, in my house of men, we watch faithfully. True to the act of stuffing one's face, my husband, brother and myself found ourselves on a pleasant patio at Jack-n-Grill on Federal Blvd in Denver the other morning. Number three son, Ian, the baseball player, wanted to take on Jack's seven pound breakfast burrito. No time limit - well, maybe sometime that day.

Before placing the sled of food in front of him, he had instructions to go to the bathroom right then and there, or forever hold his guts. He abstained from the bathroom visit and before him arrived the signature dish. And a dish to behold it was.

The battle face left no hint that this was chump change in the pursuit of the mere poloroid picture left on the wall for eternity. The picture that would provide the notoriety for this accomplishment so important in life not to mention terminal free food at Jack's. So it began, spoon in hand. (Check out the lady behind him.)

Seemed a happy start - going at the steamy tortilla covering seven potatoes, and a dozen or more eggs, plus onions, and cheese smothered in green chili. No big deal.

Chipping away at the edges. (I take my time eating my breakfast of scrambled eggs and beans to not make Ian feel rushed.)

Ian fiddles with the food. Says it is steamy hot in the middle. I believe him. I finish my breakfast, file my nails, and eye the bar. I suggest to my husband that we get margaritas. He scowls and points at his watch. 11am. I sigh. I know he wants one just as much as I do.
Taking a breather - with a smile, the pursuit of the Seven Pound Burrito continues. Two sides demolished a little more than a third remaining. Ian sits back in his seat to see if his stomach will stretch out and offer up more space.

A few more bites, and then, surrender with a smile. We package that baby up and five of us eat it for breakfast the next morning. A gallant try, my Ian. You didn't even spill on your shirt or yak out the car window on the ride through the windy roads in the mountains. Good sport. Although you were quite quiet during the long ride - and you did have your window down. Anyway.

You tried it. You rock, Ian. What's next? Eight Jalapeno Stuffed Habanaros in El Paso?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer in a Hammock - Reading List

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
T. S. Eliot

'Tis time to post the summer reading list thanks to all your suggestions. I also included several from my shelf-to-be-read, plus my book club selections for the next few months. If you should come across a good read during the summer, pass it on. Meanwhile, read on, sip iced tea (sweet tea), and read on.

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
Chinese Proverb

2009 Summer Suggestions from my blogging friends:

Shanghai Girls -- Lisa See
Coraline, American Gods and Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman (series of three books)
Supreme Being - Christopher Buckley
Tender Graces - Kat Magendie
Twenty Chickens For a Saddle - Robyn Scott
White Heat - Brenda Wineapple
The Bad Mother - Ayelet Walman
The Gate House - Nelson DeMille
The Wind Blows Away Our Words - Doris Lessing
Strangers - Anita Brookner
John Henry Days - Colson Whitehead
Jessie's Girl - Gary Morganstein
Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson
Divsadero - Michael Ondaatje

Books from My Unread Shelf
Traveling Mercies - Anne Lamott
Shakespeare's Kitchen - Lore Segal
The Joy Diet - Martha Beck
Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse
Beloved - Toni Morrison
The Big Rock Candy Mountain - Wallace Stegner
So Brave, Young, and Handsome - Leif Enger
Home - Marilynne Robinson
Word - On Being a (Woman) Writer - edited by Jocelyn Burrell
Escape - Carolyn Jessop
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Ashffer and Annie Barrows
Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn
The Maytrees - Annie Dillard
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michael Faber
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Quite the list. Best get started. Happy summer reading.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vacating the Heat

I meant to write a complete post last Monday. Alas, I ended up at a Mexican restaurant drinking margaritas rather than doing all the items on my list. Did make the plane, however, to begin our vacation.

Have escaped the Texas heat to attend the wedding of a niece in the mountains. Much cooler here. And the roses are truly incredible.

Everybody have a good one, and again, thank you for following and commenting. I will catch up next week.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Current Day Eyesore A Lovely Memory

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo DaVinci

My very dear friend from Amarillo was shocked to discover that growing up my family hung our sheets on the line. That I cherished the clean scent and crisp texture of the sheets after a day in the fresh air and sun.

"Didn't you have a dryer," she asked in horror.

I returned the look of horror. Of course we had a dryer, but no one put their sheets in it. Dryers were for underwear, socks, and soft towels. Jeans. Had she never known the joy of sleeping in cotton sheets that had hung in the sun and absorbed the fresh scent of the day? Had she no idea how much fun it was to linger and hide among the sheets lined up on the clothesline? Perfect kick-the-can hiding place. Had she never experienced the sound of a back door opening and a mother yelling at the top of her lungs - Get out of my wash!

Perhaps if I'd grown up in West Texas, where the wind and dust can blow for days, I might share her dismay. But where I grew up, everybody's mother, grandmother, and aunt hung their sheets on the line. Even hung them in the basement in the winter.

In the warmer months, a homemaker could show off her skills with the art of a well hung wash, sheets neatly pinned in taut lines. With no fences to keep them from knowing who lived next door, many a woman gathered in their yards to converse with their neighbors, discuss their lives, and, of course, notice any dingy or poorly hung washes. Hanging outside also offered a cure beyond the Clorox bottle - the sun bleached the wash and made the whites whiter while they waved in the daylight.

A recent article from the Green, Inc. blog on the New York Times website asked if clotheslines might come back in style to save energy costs or would opposition to them as an eyesore quell that idea. What? Eyesore? I felt the writer hadn't done her homework. (A reading of the article suggests she is looking for us to provide the homework.) No discussion of the fact that clothes last longer when they are hung as opposed to dried in a dryer. That they keep their shape better, that slipping in between the crisp sheets that have been air dried is a sign of clean freshness. That detergents promise on the front of the boxes that they can satisfy the Clothesline Fresh concept.

And an eyesore? Did you know there are neighborhoods that actually ban clothes line poles in their deed restrictions as they are considered - what? I don't even want to think what they might be considered. Sort of like people who think vegetable gardens are a tacky advertisement of not being able to afford food. Or that pink flamingos in the front yard are somehow a big zit in the neighborhood.

I have a clothes line that is strung between two large trees in my backyard. I'd like to say I use it regularly, but I don't. When I do, I wonder why I don't take more time for this easy delight. I gain a gentle, methodical pleasure while hanging a wash. The matching of the corners of the sheet, reaching for the clothespin, shaking the wrinkles out to tautly connect to the lines. And then, at day's end, to fold them into my basket and bring the sweet smell of summer into the house.

Easier, faster to throw them in the dryer? Absolutely. But just as washing dishes by hand can provide therapy when the waters from the faucet pour soothingly over my hands, the time taken to hang a wash can bring a similarly simple joy. Not to mention a visual reminder of work well done as the hanging wash sways in the breeze, free of the dryer's buzz.

Economic aid? Certainly. Eyesore? Not in my mind's eye. Both too simple an explanation for a complex joy and healing touch so easily attained.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Taking a Breather - Ian Feeds the Goslings

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

You make me happy, when skies are gray.

You'll never know dear, how much I love you.

Please don't take my sunshine away.

Yes, Ian, your mother is strange, but you know that. Jacob and Jordan, she loves you, too. This is just what happens when the old lady can't sleep at 3am and her creativitiy has escaped her.

Nice looking family

Friday, June 5, 2009

For the Love of Reading

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away.

Emily Dickinson

Wrote half my new post this morning with a promise I'd finish it this afternoon. Got caught up in a book and I couldn't stop. I'm very excited.

Pleasure reading, my favorite past time, has escaped me for the past few months. When looking for a job, I couldn't concentrate. When working, my eyes ached at night and I couldn't bear the thought of opening a book. Went back to the days with young kids when I only managed three paragraphs at a time. Seemed each page weighed a ton as I turned it. You may have noticed, in my reading list I've been as far as EIGHT New Yorkers behind. Even the newspaper has eluded my daily repertoire.

Today, I became ensconced reading my first book by Doris Lessing, the Nobel Prize winner from last year. Hooked. What a lovely feeling.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday - I'll get back to that post about hanging sheets on the line. Much more interesting than job hunting, yet doesn't compare to a good read.

Please comment, and if you want, let me know what you are reading.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Passing of Generous Motors

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.
David Russell

In 1980, my husband and I lived near Detroit in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He worked on the line at a General Motors plant. Twelve hour night shifts. Sometimes seven days a week. Newly married, I taught school and whenever we had time off or a few dollars saved, we'd load up our Chevette for an adventure up north, to Chicago, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Ontario, where ever the road took us.

My husband is a pretty smart guy (don't tell him I said that.) Doing the same task, over and over, sixty times an hour, twelve hours a day, wasn't working for him. After two years, we decided to chuck that job and have him return to school full-time for an engineering degree. I would support us.

Shock waves wafted through my husband's family. Generations had made their living through the plants and offices of the motor car maker. Landing a job at General Motors assured 40 or 45 years of a steady paycheck, generous pension, and a second home -- up north. Once a GM job had been secured, never, ever did giving it up laud consideration.

An engineering degree earned at General Motors Institute or the universities of Michigan or Michigan State, and then a return to the car industry, might have redeemed us. But, no, we headed west to Colorado - and a degree in chemical rather than mechanical engineering.

How we chose that path, I'm not quite sure. Perhaps we didn't want the same life as those in past generations. Perhaps we saw into the future and knew that opportunity may not garner the same results generation upon generation. Or perhaps it was simply dumb luck. A young couple choosing a different route.

At present, we worry for our family members and friends who depend on the pensions they earned so diligently. Also for the thousands of current GM and Chrysler employees who join the ranks of the unemployed, not to mention the trickle down effect that will have on many industries. I will not be lonely in the Midlife Jobhunter quest.

Although I do believe GM squandered their chances to remain competitive in this world and that the years they made gobs of money and gave everyone, union and non-union alike, healthy packages and salaries, and made poor car choices, I do hope for their rebound. Any trip to the Midwest does not find a BMW, Toyota, or Nissan in front of one on the freeway. The true believers in the Rust Belt drive their Pontiacs, Buicks, Chevys, Dodge, Ford, and Chrysler vehicles, and of course the ultimate sign of success in the GM automotive industry, the Cadillac. They are a people who support the American life in a way they know best.

Long ago, my husband and I burned the bridge to the GM legacy. Instead of the car business, we chose the precarious semiconductor industry. True to the form of their parents, our children have chosen their own bridges. The journeys continue.


Related Posts with Thumbnails