Tag Archives: gifts

Gifts: Then and Now

15 Sep

I attended a Pampered Chef party a couple of weeks ago and today, my order was delivered!  It felt like Christmas morning, opening up the various cardboard and plastic containers, revealing my new goodies.  All too soon, all packages were open and I had a pile of empty containers and a display of shiny kitchen accoutrements.  I turned each over in my hands, admiring the clear, easy-to-read markings on the measuring cups, the edge and blade guard of the knife.  Just like Christmas, I have left them out so I can delight in them each time I pass by.  I just can’t bear to hide them away in cupboards and drawers just yet. 

When this comparison occured to me, I was inspired to take a picture of my culinary treasures on a holiday mat.

The child or teenage me would never be excited over measuring cups or a cookie scoop.  Well, maybe if they came along with an Easy Bake Oven.  But still.  I’ve been thinking about how my priorities have changed as I’ve aged.  As a kid, I carefully studied the Sears toy catalog, constructing a list for Santa.  I looked forward to a fabulous coconut-covered cake for my birthday and more toys.  The teenage me loved getting clothes.  Then I went away to college, got married, moved to an apartment and finally a house.

I remember the first washer/dryer I owned.  I was so, so happy to not have to go to a laundromat anymore.  My latest new washer and dryer–front loaders on pedestals–were ordered as part of a New Year’s sale and delivered months later while I was at work.  I hugged them when I saw them.  Yes, I hugged an appliance. 

This year for my birthday, friends got me absolutely the cutest measuring spoons ever–shaped like flowers, each spoon a different pastel color!  I love-love-love them!  I’m hoping for a new stove or maybe a cool leather chair I saw at IKEA for Christmas this year.  Pampered Chef catalog or IKEA catalog=Sears toy catalog?  Yup.  Same kid, different toys.  New toys are always fun!  🙂

Lest you think that I’m all about the toys of life, I’d like to share the best gift I ever received:  a private saxophone concert from Mr17, who was 15 at the time.  He learned a new piece, part of a concerto written by his favorite composer, explaining the significance of the 4 movements, including the one he played for me.  Everytime I hear the piece, I’m back on my couch, Mr15, his soprano sax and music stand in the corner, playing just for me. 

Other gifts that mean the world to me?  The people in my life–friends, family-loved ones all.  Each visit, each hug, each smile, each kiss are gifts that enrich every moment. A gift I’m giving myself right now is attending a warm yoga class every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  The first meadowlark call of the spring, hummingbirds fighting over the feeder, the first tomato of the season, lazily drifting snowflakes on a grey morning, thunderstorms circling the valley, scrunching through big piles of leaves breathing in their warm scent.  Delicious food and wine.  Mr17’s marching band performing.  Kissing the hubby good morning or good night. 

So many, many gifts each day.  I have so much to be grateful for.  What are you grateful for?

Father’s Day

20 Jun

My dad lives a long ways away–Deming, New Mexico.  He and my mom are originally Midwesterners, but have fashioned themselves into true South Westerners–wearing turquoise, decorating with pottery, landscaping with cacti.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve been with my dad on this day.  It’s turned into a phone-call/send-a-tower-of-goodies-from-Harry-and-David sort of holiday.  BTW, the Harry and David thing is no small feat; my dad is diabetic and the folks at H and D LOVE to put sweets into their gifties!  Anyway, in lieu of actually being with Dad today, I want to share a favorite childhood memory.

I grew up in Iowa in the 60s.  Mom was a stay-at-home mom, typical of the time.  Dad worked as a printer for a company called Matt Parrott and Sons.  He started there in high school as an apprentice–they called them “printer’s devils”–and worked there until he retired.  He had a suede leather sort-of bomber-style jacket. (I can visualize it, but having a hard time describing it…)  Every day he’d come home at 4:30pm and my sister and I would go running to search the pockets of that jacket.  There was a candy vending machine at work, and every day he’d bring a candy bar for my sister and I.  Most often, it was a mallow cup–like Reeces cups, but instead of peanut butter, there was a flow-y marshmallow cream in the center….mmmm!  He didn’t make a lot of money, but brought us treats anyway.  I still love those mallow cups, and every now and then I find one, usually in a hardware or lumber store.  Go figure.

Mr. 15 made his dad breakfast this morning and now they’re off fishing with the neighbor and his son.  I’m sure they’re farting, scratching and telling wild stories–not exactly the Hallmark version of the day, but you know they’re all having exactly the day they want!  A bunch of manly men doing manly things.  Mr. 15 and I went shopping earlier this week.  He carefully selected cards for his dad and step-dad, as well as gifts he knew each would appreciate.  He went as far as to get a 12-pack of Coke for step-dad, even though Mr. 15 HATES Coke, and claims that it burns his eyes just to look at it!  He carried it out of the store himself–further sacrifice for the perfect gift!

I’m planning one of DH’s favorite meals to celebrate his part in Mr. 15’s life.  Chicken is marinating in tequila, lime, cilantro, garlic and jalepenos.  It will be grilled and shredded into soft chicken tacos with cilantro, lettuce, green onions and tomatillo salsa.  The cilantro, garlic, lettuce and green onions all come from this year’s garden; the tomatillo salsa from last year’s.  The mint is going crazy right now (as mint does) so, Mojitos will be a refreshing accompaniment to the tacos.  DH has been working all day in the heat and wind at the Greenhouse.  I think this dinner will be just the thing to relax him into the evening.

Here’s the Mojito recipe–they’re the best thing to do with that abundance of mint, IMHO, with or without the rum:

In an 8-10 oz. glass, combine 20 rinsed fresh mint leaves (each about 1 1/2 inches long) and 2 teaspoons of sugar.  With a wooden spoon (or muddler), pound mint leaves with sugar to coarsely crush.  Add 4-5 tablespoons light rum, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice; mix well.  Fill glass with with ice cubes, and 4-6 tablespoons chilled soda water (I prefer using lime or lemon-lime soda).  Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.  Makes one serving, but easily multiplied up to a pitcher–which I highly recommend–you’ll want more than one!