Remembering

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For my 17th Birthday, from them ALL

Thursday afternoon, lunch time. Greg and I were preparing a most awesome Thai Beef salad, and as is my wont for conviviality and all around good vibes when in the kitchen together, asked him to put some music on. He chose Van Halen, which was not surprising because I’d been craving it for days. Our Vulcan mind meld going exponential every year we are together in crazy-wild fashion. Cool, cool.

Mark & Bub

Aside from the fun Greg and I have together while listening, Van Halen is my high school years, and in particular the time spent with Bub, Craig, and Mark. For a lot of people, I was a strange appendage to this band. A girl in the company of young men. An assumed sexual relationship, which could not be further from the truth. Except for a brief time when I had a crush on Mark, they were like brothers to me. We’d known each other for years, Bub and I since fifth grade. We carpooled in his Celica, sophomore, junior, and half of senior year (until I bought my Celica, and people called us the Rice Rocket twins), so him most so.

Craig

We did all manner of activity together, go-carts at the Green Scene in Boulder, where I was cowardly slow. Mini-golf, where Bub reigned supreme. Football games. Basketball games. Parties. Movies. Wild & silly. Teenagers behaving as such. One time, where I do not remember whose house, only that it was south of 64th and near Pierce, I read the comics while they and whomever’s house it was, watched porn with the sound off. Out of “respect” for me. I kept my eyes down, not at all interested in that business, and when they told me it was safe to look, I believed them. We ALL laughed heartily at my gullibility.

The last day we were all together….

Mostly we drove around, as was the way. This is where the Van Halen really comes in. Running with the Devil, Ain’t Talking Bout Love… ALL of it. Mostly in Craig’s car, a 1980 Trans Am with T-tops. Did it have the phoenix on the hood? I can no longer remember. But the feeling, I do. Every season, but summer most potently. Warm air – short sleeve shirt, no jacket required. Me nearly always in the back seat, tops off and wind whipping my hair wild while the music played LOUD, exhilarated by freedom and pure joy. Laughter. So much laughter. And being with people I loved.

They’d pick me up at Wendy’s during a brief foray as an employee and call me Burger, having so strongly smelled of flipping them. Another time, behind Mark when he decided it was the right time to spit out his chew, high speed on Wadsworth, no less, and it ALL rushes on the wind and in my face. The horror and disgust and laughter, yet again.

I’ve lost track of them all. We are scattered by winds and distance, changing interests and loss. I have no sadness about it, no remorse. They are among the best parts of my past and shall remain so.

Not really. We eat, work out, sleep, read, watch home shows and DVDs, and walk the dog. Though it would not seem so from the photos sometimes. Connecticut Style Lobster Roll from Bob’s Lobstah Trap. Very tasty. Greg got his gronked (I think?) which basically means huge and actually quite unnecessary. It’s a bountiful bit as it is, and we struggled to finish.

I made Chinese food, takeout style, with crab cheese wontons (baked not fried), scallion pancakes, which were just like Stickers in Portland (YAY!!), and sesame chicken. The chicken the least like takeout, so I will be searching the interwebs for another recipe. It was fun to have the sensation of our favorite Lucky Dragon without out the takeout styrofoam or being in a restaurant.

I can’t tell you how much I am gunning to get vaccinated, so we can get back to our old ways of eating out once or twice a week. Betting you’re feeling the same.

Not cheese queso, made with butternut squash and macadamia nuts and tasty flavors like smoked paprika, garlic, and roasted jalapenos. It hits the craving jackpot when there is nary a wedge of cheese in the casa. Yup, yup.

The near usual state of my desk. Shit piles up quickly, peeps.

Walking in a winter wonderland….

Some sort of beef salad, with macadamias. I don’t remember much else.

Greg made me the perfect egg. He’s wonderful like that!

Peach cake, made with a recipe from Carpathia – scratch your Romanian cookbook itch.

practically perfect blueberry muffin

For a whole lot of years, I made Greg bouillabaisse for his birthday, but as it is with life, some things fall way, and I hadn’t done it in a while, Pittsburgh, maybe? Then, yesterday, after forgetting to plan a meal the night before, rummaged through the freezer and saw a seafood medley practically begging for bouillabaisse. So here it is, and what a fabulous treat it was. Damn.

And here we are, on our honeymoon (June 20, 1993 to be exact), the very first time we were wowed by bouillabaisse. We were in Nice, France – it’s so nice! There’s so much going on here besides the amazing food. Greg is beardless; my hair is short; I’m wearing earrings and a floral pattern; neither of us has a single grey hair and we probably weigh 25 pounds less than today! How wild the march of time…

Juniper builds her brain power with a snack hiding puzzle.

More snow!

Mud flats. Yuck.

The Way to Rainy Mountain – what a dream of a book…

Gyorgy “George” Taposik

S.S. Pisa

Hello Saturday!

It’s a gorgeous and not freezing day here. To steal a line from religious folk I’ve seen on the T.V. – Can I get an Amen?! I feel 100% grateful to have not lost power during that wretched stretch of sub-zero temperatures. What a nightmare to hear of friends shivering at 40 degrees indoors. Hoping they are feeling some much needed warmth!

And speaking of cold places, last weekend I made my first ever batch of runzas. They are a solidly Russian / Eastern European delight of ground beef, cabbage (which turned so blue!), onion, and cheese (sharp cheddar in our case). I also added caraway seeds, because when in Rome, right? They’re like the best hot pocket you can imagine, and can be done a million ways, just roll out the dough and fill them with whatever you fancy. Or, for the lazy or otherwise overwhelmed, head over to the Runza restaurant site, and they’ll ship some to you!

As we were enjoying them, I thought on my Grandma Tess’s father Gyorgy. He emigrated from Jenkovce, Slovakia (Austria at the time) in 1900 on the S.S. Pisa, at the ripe age of 18, with a whopping $2.50 in his pocket (about $70 today). He was a coal miner in and around Springfield, Illinois for the rest of his life and, rather sadly, died of black lung. I imagined him feasting on a runza, this simple all-in one in its own container, while down in the mine; the delicious, fortifying comfort of home.

In a further nod to the Taposik side of my family, when I was little, my Grandma Tess had this Bissel sweeper. I have many a memory of its delightful back and forth whir. I hadn’t thought about it in some time when I saw the Fuller model Greg is using pictured in the Vermont Country Store catalog. My mind got to clicking as I thought on Juniper’s wild riot of dog hair all over the hard woods. Would it work? It was surely worth a try. So I bought it. Wowie!! It’s pretty dreamy and way better than dragging out the noisy vacuum. So thanks Grandma, for the memories and the help! I love you.

Manipulation

H E L L O !

Happy Holiday wreath to you dear neighbor. Minimalists that we are, it is the only exterior decoration at our house, but so darn pretty, and then there’s the up close and personal scent of it. That waft of forest makes me swoon.

Greg demonstrates how to make a masterpiece, which is a prelude to the photos below. I’ve spent a lot of time on ye old image editor as of late: cropping and repairing the ravages of time – stains, tears, scratches galore, editing out people, and adding fun pops of modern color. Though, I have yet to figure out a way to open my dear Grandma Esquipula’s eyes. All in good time, I suppose.

Great Aunt Mary, rosebud lipped adorableness – probably 1910 – standing in front of the Springfield house she lived in for the first eighty years of her life. What a treasure it was to find pictures of her as a child. In my mind, she was born grown and wise, a master at penmanship.

Grandma Tess

Grandma and Grandpa on horseback! Thrill of thrills to find these. Undated, though maybe both taken in New Mexico. A hot date together, perhaps?

post script

Last night, a little weepy during my nightly cuddle with the hubster, I wondered aloud, “Why do I cry when I think upon relatives and friends who have died?” I feel no yearning for them to return to bodies too old or broken (by sadness or illness) to carry them. More than ever, I feel their constant presence, more dazzling and steady than a buoy, but with that same sense of being safely carried, by waves or wings.

Then it occurred to me that the tears are not those of sadness, but of a truly infinite love and boundless wonder. We are and will always be ourselves, fleshy bodies or untethered souls on one splendid adventure after another.

BBQ drummies, corn, and blue cheese mashed potatoes. We eat well!

Juniper’s monthly bath (shower, actually) day landed on a very cold day.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Since they were all the rage when I was a kid, I have loved ceramic Christmas trees. Aside from damaged ones at the thrift store, I’d never seen them for purchase. The holiday decorating gods must have sensed my need because I received a catalog from the Vermont Country Store, and voila! They have them in multiple sizes, white or evergreen, and you can buy different “lights,” too. I chose the holly leaves and am pleased as punch. They also have bayberry scented candles, and we’ve been jammin’ on the nostalgic scent of Christmas every night since it arrived.

Peggy, my best friend from Pittsburgh, sent me cookies! They’re from Cheryl’s and positively delicious, too. She will also be delighted to see that we’re doing a little puzzling (a toughie comprised of house plants leaves) while eating them. Thank you friend! Love you LOTS…

Happy Birthday to my Grandma Tess, who would be 98 today!

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