Friday, June 24, 2016

Ka-RUNCH!



So I've concluded, mine are greedy molars.

I've no quarrel with soups ... but seriously?  
You can't chew it!  
(Rather, you'd look pretty silly trying.)
Remember the Liquid Diet?  Psshaw!
I could probably sip til I slosh, and still long to gnaw on something substantial.

My late father would find it astonishing, but I've come to adore breakfast.
Weekdays are no exception ....
Desktop omelet


Then - as appetites go - I came to covet something more substantial:
  Before long, one jar/week became two, and DH prophesied I'd turn into a monkey.

Time to consider a healthier alternative.
Remembering a co-worker who lost an enormous amount of weight while eating cucumbers, I beat feet for the produce section.
 They crunch, right?

Except, I discovered our container of lime juice had expired ... and, what I thought was chili powder wasn't.
I improvised by soaking them in Greek dressing and Tabasco.


It wasn 't as awful as I feared.  
Still, Day #3 required some finessing.

There, all better.


All joking aside, I recognize how critical it is to remain hydrated - particularly here in the desert southwest. 
 A former supervisor at my workplace used to caution her landscapers to keep pushing liquids:  "If you're not piddling once each hour, you're dehydrating."
(Sneaky stuff.  Deadly, too.)

Let's face it.  Water's necessary, but it's pretty boring.  
I began researching recipes and ordered an infuser to house my new friends, the cucumbers.

Unfortunately, I've never mastered the art of "all things in moderation."
There's nothing like waking up in the middle of the night and reaching for a long drink of cool water.  
..... Or in this case, liquid cucumber.  
:(
Even always-curious Macie Ann sniffed, grimaced and beat feet off the bedcovers.

Back to the drawing board!
True, I'm not fond of fruit; but there are a few exceptions:
There's a jug of diced lime chilling in the fridge, and I'm considering how to secrete a jar of grapefruit into the back of our fridge where DH can't see it.  
(His meds prohibit consuming grapefruit.)

Have you any favorite beat-the-heat recipes?
Bonus points if they crunch!

* * *


P.S. ...
I want to say, "Thanks" for your thoughtful comments on my last post ... and apologize for any misunderstanding.
Sometimes my my mind takes unexpected detours down Melancholy Lane.
An unexpected windfall aside, we need to stay put for another few years ... before relocating near my son in Alabama and settling into a nice climate-controlled underground (tornado-proof?) bunker.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!






















Saturday, June 18, 2016

You're Gonna Miss This




Depending on which direction you gaze, sure ... there are more picturesque mountain ranges surrounding the Phoenix metro.  
But these silent sentinels are what my eyes are drawn to each weekday.
I'm going to miss them.
     

It's a foregone conclusion (that) my days in Phoenix are numbered.
As we grow older, I think it's critical to be near loved ones, our support systems.

But(!) being a chronic planner, I'm finding the where's and when's annoyingly elusive.

I force myself to remember .....
"Man Plans, God Chuckles."
(Yes, on several occasions I've forced the outcome -- and had to live with the consequences.)


Are y'all familiar with Trace Adkins' splendid song, "You're Gonna Miss This"?
(No?  Well, grab a box of tissues and click on the link.)


You know, it doesn't seem all that long ago, when crossing the Florida border I whoo-hoo'd, did a little fist pump ... and vowed never to return.

OK, I know there's nothing wrong with Florida!  
Unfortunately, tumultuous events surrounding those last several years were (in my mind) irrevocably linked to certain locales.
Convinced the end of the rainbow pointed 'that-away', I pointed my car west, away from my past.

But memories are a curious thing, aren't they?
They never really stay hidden.

I'm blessed having a few old (and a two new!) friends who are residents of the Sunshine State.
.... Whose posts have unleashed a flood of memories, and unwittingly, a smidgen of longing!

Long before I moved there, Florida's gulf coast was our family's  'go to' spot each summer.  Daddy's brother was a pastor in Sarasota and in 1960  my folks built a tiny rental house in Punta Gorda.



I'm convinced, one of the biggest draws was a legendary St. Petersburg eatery called Wolfie's.


There, I was introduced to my very first banana split.
There -- observing 6 year-old Myra consume seconds (then thirds) -- a fellow at the next table hollered, "Someone, call a doctor!"

Imagine my dismay when I moved there and learned Wolfie's had closed its doors years ago.

So many of my favorite memories are set against a culinary backdrop.  (Well, maybe not culinary.  That sounds kind of snobbish.)

Like my father I love good food ....
perhaps, to distraction.

A few months back, I awoke from the most vivid dream and wanted to weep.
Like my dad's fascination with Wolfie's, I'm remembering a hole-in-the-wall Italian deli that's been playing prominently in my subconscious.  
It features something I've not been able to locate anywhere else --  made from scratch, softball size mozzarella.
If one's lucky to get there before noon, the white butcher paper is still warm.  I can close my eyes and watch rivulets of milk oozing out of its soft flesh.  
If I ever win the lottery I'm seriously hiring a private jet!

In my last post, I mentioned "Houses of Belonging."
This image - pinned up in my 'ish' room - captures an exquisite camaraderie.  It was the best of times.
Until it wasn't. 


One-by-one we've gone our separate, geographical directions.
Several of us have rediscovered one another on Facebook ... but it's different.
One recently commented, "I miss us."

My friend Paula recently asked her followers what they might advise today's graduating class.
I've forgotten my original answer, but now?
'Pretty sure I'd say, "Take a good look around. Be present. Feel it deep inside."

"Take it from someone who knows. You're going to miss this."

* * *

Thank you for stopping by! 
... and to all the dad's out there, a very HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!












  












Sunday, June 12, 2016

Belonging



Hello, my name is Myra and I'm a Watcher.
(Just keeping it real, m'friends!)

Even at our local car wash, while seated in the waiting room, I can't help but observe others ..... trying to guess which vehicle belongs to whom. 

Only the other weekend over breakfast, hubby couldn't help asking, "What are you staring at?!"

Me:  "Over your left shoulder, about 1:00.  I dunno, they just don't belong.
No! .... Don't look now!"

Our hosts' suggestion for a local eatery was spot on:  Friendly and homey with amazing, made-from-scratch breakfast fare.  Like ourselves, everyone was clad in jeans and t-shirts; some in ball caps.  Working folks.

Then, my caloric reverie was interrupted when a Farrah Fawcett look-alike and her hubby were seated nearby.   Casually, but expensively dressed, their appearance underscored an assurance that only comes from old money and good looks.   When she rose to use the ladies room I couldn't help but covet admire her Size 2 jeans, the hounds-tooth bolero jacket, worn almost as an after-thought atop a white tee.   

Don't get me wrong.  Nothing in their behavior cried, "pretentious!"   Nevertheless, I was transfixed.  Watching their immediate absorption with their electronic devices I concluded:  They were long married.  She a real estate broker.  He in Brooks Brothers, a surgeon. Given her perfectly chiseled features, a plastics man. 
        
As we pulled out of our parking lot, I glanced about, deciding they must belong to the late-model sports car with the butterscotch leather top.  Pity we couldn't linger.  My DH has no imagination, poor soul!


Not for the first time, I wonder what unspoken messages DH and I send.  (Yes, I still care far too much what others' think.)

There's a real comfort to be found at the Houses of Belonging. Don't you agree?  
Unfortunately, there's been some unrest at the place I call 'home away from home' each weekday ...  I'm left to suspect I no longer belong.  I don't know if I'm outgrowing them ... or they, me.    

But being a pathologically-responsible sort, I'm trying to hang in there, at least for another couple of years.  

This may sound silly, but I take inspiration from this 'hanger' that I've driven past nearly every day for the last decade.  Throughout the seasons and violent sandstorms it's persevered.



    A co-worker once asked, "What will you do if, someday, it should fall?" 

Well, there's my answer, isn't it?   

Have a sweet new week, everyone!



    

Sunday, June 5, 2016

In other news ...


June is bustin' out all over!  
... the mercury, that is.

Dang it!  I just burned the bottoms of my feet helping DH carry in the groceries, all the while hopping around our drive like a lunatic.  
Never fear! The weatherman promises temps will be dropping to 109 by mid-week.

I know, I know.  "Optimistic" am I.  (not)


Thank you so much for your well-wishes!  DH and I did enjoy a wonderful holiday weekend in the White Mountains.

Last year, one of my managers and his wife parlayed an inheritance into a 'mom-and-pop' 50's era motel in Pinetop.   
When Stephan talks about their 'little place' there's a sparkle in his eyes I've not seen in the 13 years we've known one another.  
I knew I had to investigate!

I don't think I've seen folks playing horseshoe since I was in Girl Scouts!

Now, if anyone has a pretentious bone in their body, they'd be well to keep on driving.   Then again, if anyone needs a refresher course in the real meaning of hospitality, I recommend they check out Antlers! 
No, I didn't say that on account of what was waiting for us inside.

Since DH is still prone to nocturnal panic attacks (my diagnosis) - and failed to pack his inhaler, I was mighty glad I'd opted for their largest guest room.  It could have just been his getting acclimated to the near 7,000' altitude, but sleep wasn't an option.  Thank goodness, by Day #2 he was feeling fine!

Eerily reminiscent of my hometown, I'm pretty sure, if I'd visited the White Mountains back in 2002 there's little chance I'd be living in Phoenix.   Even Tom commented, "It smells so clean!"

20 years ago, taking a 4 hour spin was no big deal.  These days we're not so enthusiastic.   
Wouldn't it be nice if someone were to start an armchair shuttle service?  Niche market!

The nicest surprise?
Unbeknownst to me, DH had been doing some detective work for weeks prior to our trip.

Brief background, if I may?
A preacher's kid - later turned seaman - my father never knew what it was like to live someplace you owned.   Supposedly, one of the first things he did upon being discharged by the Navy was buy a little spot of undeveloped land in Rhode Island.
Even for most of their years in Los Alamos, housing was controlled by Uncle Sam.

Still, daddy was passionate about becoming a land owner ... believing developers' promises from Florida to New Mexico to the Bahamas and back again to Florida.  
You know, those "$1 down, $1 a month" deals.
Unfortunately, like episodes from Murphy's Law, if he speculated on the east side of the street -- the west flourished.  

Eventually, my mother quit paying the taxes on the few remaining parcels of  'nothing' real estate.

The only remaining parcel - a spit of undeveloped land in Show Low, Arizona - seemed destined to the same fate.  
I'm not sure why I've continued to pay the pitifully small tax bill each year.  Maybe it's a warped sense of loyalty.  I don't know.

At any rate, Tom made several calls to the Property Assessor's office and spent hours online, trying to get directions to Paradise Unit 1, Lot 540.
After breakfast we took a 10 minute drive to Show Low  ...then off the pavement and seemingly, the face of the earth!

We spied a few residences, probably belonging to 'preppers' - but only one motorist, who slowed for a closer look, chuckled at our misdirection and set us back on the right course.

Da hood!

You know, I never really believed I'd see Daddy's land.
In fact, for the first part of our BACK-road adventure I was hoping Tom would just turn around and go back to civilization!

Then ...

I might have grown misty-eyed, were I not so worried about stepping on a rattlesnake!


Tom echoed my thoughts as we drove away,
"If I was 20 years younger ...."

God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be back!


Luv y'all!  :)))
Myra