Those Missing 10 Days

    Well, one thing for sure was that I was still cooking and eating. But there were so many other things going on that even though I was writing and making notes there was nothing actually posted. It made me feel like a bad blogger!

    Gardening; in this part of Texas if you don’t get plants in the ground by June 1 you may as well not bother. And even then many of them won’t make it. We had so much rain this Spring that many of our xeriscape plants produced ‘volunteers’ that I wanted to move to new locations in the yard. It was a juggling act between rain soaked ground and being sick from the copious amounts of pollen and mold allergens produced by all the overgrown plants. So on occasion when it was dry enough, cool enough, and the allergies were temporarily suppressed I would run outside to dig and plant. And then be sick again from being out in the middle of it all. So far three Purple Sage plants have new locations as does a baby fig tree and a Sago Palm. My favorite gardening book is Gardening Success with Difficult Soils  by Scott Ogden. ‘Difficult’ is a very kind way to describe our dirt . . . .

    Ray, my paternal first cousin had a birthday. Attempting to arrange a visit to take him to lunch and bring him a pan of brownies turned into a circus driven by doctors’ appointments due to his battles with allergies and inconveniences of age. He has written a novel based on one of our East Prussian ancestors, Four Flags, which is on Amazon and I am in the process of editing his next book, Broken Star, which is set in Central Texas during World War II. He is so much fun to chat with. His black cat Velvet divides her time between us, we delve into the mysteries of his computer and then take yet another tour of the incredible variety of plants in his yard. Each visit sends me home with the start of yet another hardy native Texas or adapted plant. Our Grandmother Mina taught us both to care about such things.

    Then Rita sent me a link to a blog where she found with an intriguing recipe for Golden Flax Bread on Anima Healing Arts by Kiva Rose posted in May of 2008 (the internet is such an amazing library!). The bread is super simple to mix up with a whisk or spoon, no mixer or kneading required and the ‘flour’ is a blend of ground flax meal and nut meal. I have baked three batches to date varying the ingredients slightly. I took some with me on our trip to Fort Worth last weekend where I enjoyed the Mother’s Day treat planned by daughter Teresa.

    Teresa has come to appreciate the art of Georgia O’Keefe as do I. And with the current exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame  in Fort Worth it seemed like the perfect way for the two of us to spend an afternoon. The Georgia O’Keeffe and the Far Away: Nature and Image exhibit features a number of sketches and paintings from the section of New Mexico that held a special fascination for the artist. The geographical area is presented in the photographs by several individuals (including the iconic Ansel Adams) who spent time camping there with her. Between the video of the artist in that location, the narrative, the sketches, the paintings, a diorama of her camping equipment and clothing you are immersed in the feel of that landscape which is what she captured in her art.

    My #1 Son (a family joke – his being the only son), Jorge (who lives in California) is battling a shigella intestinal infection that had him in the hospital for more than a week and his far-flung family stressed out. No one is more capable of taking care of him than his partner Rick, an incredibly capable and compassionate man. During this time I still received a wonderful bouquet for Mother’s Day. And as icing-on-the-figurative-cake, his alma mater chose to honor him in Spotlight on Alumni.

    Rita, knowing my deep affection for all manner of fruit but especially tender, juicy pears again sent me a shipment of those legendary Harry and David Royal Riviera® Pears  for Mother’s Day. The boxes are taking up two shelves in the fridge but I am slurping my way through them at a very leisurely pace. Pears, when chilled, stay nice for a very long time and I intend to thoroughly enjoy them.

   Late one evening with the recipe book, The Cake Mix Doctor, coming due at the library I attempted to pull together a gluten-free cake mix and merge it with instructions  to create a Tiramisu Cake. The technique, if successful, would have opened up an easy, incredible world of cake-based desserts. The resulting experiment was way too sweet – can you believe that I would ever say that? It was pretty good when initially served but more than a few bites is way too much. The leftovers turned into a pan of really dense and gummy glop overnight. What Don and I learned was that enough batter to fill a mini-donut pan makes just the perfect size dessert cakes. When those are drizzled with the coffee-flavored syrup, topped with a teaspoon of whipped ‘cream’ and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar they are just the right serving size. Then instead of a large, soggy, cream-laden cake the mini-cakes are frozen until the momen they are needed – that concept seems workable. I’ll come back to it in a month or so. Baking is going to slow down now that the weather is warming up.

    Granddaughter Megan has returned home for the summer break and I am back working in The Pantry at The Caring Place on Friday afternoons with Ann filling food orders that have been approved in the Client Services area. It was very exciting to find that there is now a ‘specialty food needs’ section being developed. So far it includes sugar-free for diabetics and nutritional supplements for people on dialysis or in rehab. Gluten-free and low-calorie needs are being considered. The support for the mission of this organization within the Georgetown community is inspiring. Nowhere is there a finer staff and volunteers – these people are tops.

    Then out of nowhere last week came an email asking for immediate assistance with taping a segment on our local channel 79. Everyone else in our organization was out of town or unavailable. So on 2 days notice I wrote a script using the approved outline – it was for a contest for the best neighborhood and I still don’t know what the prize is. The producers wanted 3-4 people per neighborhood for the show. I met my eventual co-anchor for the first time 30 minutes before taping (we have >500 residents in our neighborhood and I don’t know all of them) and we sorted out which parts we would read. There was no rehearsal – our first time through was live. I was never good at public speaking and the whole scenario freaked me out.

    And lest I forget (not likely), we are preparing the house to have all of the carpeting ripped out and replaced by ceramic tile. Hard surface floors are much more allergy-friendly than carpet. That means packing half of everything we own into boxes. It is like moving only you don’t.

Mom (somewhat frazzled and back to blogging)

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