- First and foremost, thank you to everyone who prayed for my mother's health and wrote to me. She began improving steadily from the moment I arrived. (Isn't that nice? I got the fun of watching her improve while my poor sis got the worry of watching her decline ... )
- Tempting the invalid's appetite became my daily occupation. It was an unexpectedly interesting occupation to see what starchy dish (doctor's orders) sounded good and then to figure out how to keep it retaining flavor and appeal while steadfastly keeping any additional fiber out of it. I learned much about grating onions, for example, and straining the juice while discarding the fiber (there is more than you'd think in an onion). Also, I kept forgetting that Mom had cookbooks handy and cooked out of my head for the most part. Pasta with basil and parmesan, potato salad (twice), and Risotto alla Milanese (for that I used the cookbook) all were received with approval. Which was gratifying as well!
- Florida ... quite warm, but more than that - humid! So very humid! I didn't mind the heat since north Texas has been getting hot blasts for some time but I melted a lot when out of doors.
- My sister's porch serves as an ideal wildlife observation deck since two sides of her backyard is edged by a tiny wilderness of undeveloped lots. We would sit out there first thing in the morning, drinking coffee, watching doves dive bomb tiny mammals away from the bird seed, a bunny on his hind legs pulling down a leafy stalk to nibble ... and jump when a nearby woodpecker would hammer on the flashing and sound like a jackhammer on the metal.
- I was reminded of the importance of "living in the present moment." It is hard to do much else when one is hanging out or cooking most of the time. However, when I returned home I realized yet again how much I allow myself to be distracted by email, the internet, and so forth. They creep into a lot of my day where they aren't necessary ... and I need to keep them shoved back into their own allotted places in my schedule.
- I also was reminded of what a privilege it is to serve others. This realization came not just from cooking for my mother but in watching my sister who is a cheerful and practical servant to my mother and her own family. She might argue that her own needs have been pushed aside, but I would say that is because of emergencies that have arisen. Watching her made me realize that I had been doing too little of that for my own family and indulging too many of my own hobbies (see above note on distractions).
- When you leave a husband and 22-year-old daughter to their own devices for a week, they will take care of animals, do their own laundry (as they always do), and dust/sweep/etc. before you return. They will, however, live like the ultimate bachelors ... off of cereal and sandwiches. And when all the good bread (white) is gone and all that is left is kinda gross (whole wheat), they will just go ahead and eat the whole wheat rather than go to the store themselves. Ahhh, I am needed! If only to go grocery shopping and cook meals! ha!
- When you get home after a week in Florida and it is 6 p.m. and you know about those bachelors ... the best thing to do is go straight to Mariano's for beer, refried beans, and brisket tacos. Don't go home. Just go straight to the restaurant.
- Heroism in action: despite my laughing about bachelors, Tom and Hannah had hard duty since right before I left Wash hurt his knee to the point where he wouldn't put weight on his foot. The vet's orders? Bed rest to try to avoid surgery. Which for a Boxer means 100% time in the crate except for necessary walks outdoors. This particular Boxer had never been alone in his life and so would howl like a banshee when everyone left the room. Luckily we had enough crates to move one to the living room (which would then be taken to the bedroom each night ... don't forget: howling banshees otherwise). But it was no picnic for anyone. However, it seems as if it has paid off. He is 90% better and we are now taking him for short exercise breaks to rebuild strength. Fingers crossed, he'll be out of the crate soon and jumping around like a Mexican jumping bean!
Monday, June 20, 2011
A few snippets of things from my visit to central Florida last week.