Down for the Count Up, 9

SORT, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

It is that time of year again. My favorite time of year bursting with colors, and my worst time of year bursting with tears.

I was told the hurt never goes away, it just changes. Some years it seems it has; others it seems it hasn’t.

This is one of the hasn’t.  Last year I barely had time to think about anything else but condo purchase. This year, I’ve got the time.

I used to write about it a lot more, intent on gathering thoughts and feelings and memories; sorting.

I’ve never been much good at sort. I’ve always argued that Mc should be filed after Mb and before Md – if such name roots actually existed. They don’t warrant their own alphabetical sub category or file tab. Should the Mac’s be filed with the Mc’s? If not, accurate spelling will be imperative when trying to figure out which drawer to pull.

Then there’s the fabric stash. Grouped mostly by solid color, unless there’s a pattern; American Flag fabric would sit nicely between red and blue – if red and blue were adjacent on the color wheel. They are not. This is my confusion. Would Poinsettia fabric be best placed under mostly red, mostly green, assorted floral or catalogued as just Christmas?

Sort ranks up there on the difficulty chart with where to start.

I’ve started this before, and I’ve done ok. Tidbits here and there; succinct vignettes.

Written, shared, abandoned or saved. It’s going to take some cull.

I’ve been at this 8 years now. Haven’t missed a Tuesday, yet.

Background matters, but this isn’t biography.

I was born somewhere, some date, schooled, worked, and have been writing since 1973: poetry first, some stories, blogging 2007. It’s key, relevant, but not now.

Now, I’ve got to start somewhere, so it might as well be here:

  1. Haslett, Michigan, a slightly-above word-processing level computer, a phone-line dial-up, a bottle of wine (no idea what kind) and the unexpected blessing of one very persistent neighbor.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 29 sort ranks up there with where to start jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Simple:  http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/memoir-vs-autobiography-2

Complex: http://www.biographile.com/autobiography-vs-memoir-the-changing-landscape-of-recollective-writing/21575/

The Way the Crinkle Crumbles

Back to the Crinkles:

The first issue, was that I proceeded to try and puncture the cookie with the toothy strength needed to break through our family tradition of over-caramelized undersides and dry snappy hardness.

As a result, I overly chomped right through the softness and took a mini-chunk out of the inside of my bottom lip. Reflexively, I attempted to shout like hurt people do, “Oh, ow!” Instead, on the inhale, I vacuumed some of the powdery topping (which, being unfamiliar with Crinkles, I didn’t realize was powdered) into my mouth and throat and very upper bronchials.

I spewed forth a spattering cloud of exhaled wheezing, followed by immediate tears; continuing with a deep barking coughing spell that seemed like it was never going to end. Jeff handed me a cup of presumably water, which turned out to be milk. Not fond of straight-up milk, I unhappily expectorated it before it got too far. Jeff’s eyes bugged wide, eyebrows rising toward his hairline in astonishment.

He grabbed a kitchen chair, rolled it over to me and pressed down on my shoulders until I was seated. Firmly patting me on the back, his face mere inches from mine, Jeff alarmedly asked if I was ok. I shook my head ‘no’ at first, but eventually, croaked out that I thought I would be. “Ok.” Jeff bobbed his head, clearing his face of concern. With my hands in his, hope in his eyes, and an adorable earnestness, Jeff took a deep breath, then asked, “So, how’d ya like it?”

He never did make me an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie, but believe me: the ones he made were surely enough. Snickerdoodles and Sour Cream cookies. Buttery Sugar Cookies and melt-in-your-mouth Spritz.

Soft Peanut Butter and rich Scotchies. Potato Chip cookies and Billy Goats. Almond Crescents and Thumbprints. Perfectly spiced Gingerbread, both, soft rounds and firm, but not tooth-breaking, rolled.

Anise Stars, which, without fail, he would purposefully mispronounce, then laugh out loud at his own  joke. No-Bakes, which I firmly argued against calling a cookie.

Later on, and only for us, Jeff spiced cookies with various degrees of heat. Habanero shortbread; dark-chocolate cake-based cayenne. Spicy icing and mini-cheesecakes flavored with an awesome heated line of dessert hot sauces called Toad Sweat. 

Oh, and what turned out to be one of my favorites – Crinkles. I would safely lick most of the sugar off of the pretty tops, before delicately biting to ensure injury-free enjoyment.

Quote for the Week:

2018 12 25 For good measure, the proper ratio of sugar and spice jakorte

Cookie Season

I like cookies. I’d say I love them, but that wouldn’t be fair to cake. Especially, since cookies actually fall third to my super love: donuts!

Oh, who am I kidding? Unless it’s got a walnut or pineapple in it, I’ll eat any cookie that comes my way. It’s Cookie Season, now. I’m plumping up a bit, but that’s what New Year’s resolutions are made of.

Cookies weren’t really varied in my youth. Standard homemade choices were chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal. All crispy, all crunchy, all of the time.

With the exception of rarely made and ridiculously rigid sugar cookies, holiday cookies were softer. Concocted of a cream cheese enriched dough; featuring some sort of jelly, preserves or fruit butter. The same ingredients, just presented differently, depending on the celebration.

I had no complaints as a kid, but Jeff taught me about other confections. My contented hard-cookie horizon expanded to a galaxy of undiscovered soft and chewy treasures.

Jeff made marvelously moist Oatmeal Raisin cookies, often. I once (and only once) requested the addition of chocolate chips. He stared at me in confusion for a beat, then simply stated, “There’s not supposed to be chocolate chips in ’em.”

He didn’t understand rather involved Rugelach, but he made them for me, anyway. Minus walnuts, plus my chocolate chips. As far as I’m concerned, he invented the stunning combination: chocolate & unseeded-raspberry rolls of delight.

I’d never heard of a Crinkle Cookie, until Jeff made them for Christmas. They looked so pretty on a tray: gently sloping, round mounds of contrasting dark dough and a bright white, crack-emphasizing topping.

“Try one,” Jeff encouraged.

“What do they taste like?” I wanted to know.

“Like a chocolate cookie,” he answered matter-of-factly. “Try one.”

Death by Chocolate can be a very real thing. That pastry almost killed me.

Quote for the Week:2018 12 18 What's normal for one is novel for another jakorte

Cookies brought to you by J, T, V & Me.

It’s good to know folks who make cookies. Those who makes cookies are usually good folks!

 

Snow Food

It hasn’t really snowed yet. At least not according to my adaptive measuring Michigan-ness. That would have to be at least 5 inches. We’ve had a few flaky days; an early artistic dusting of trees. Trust me, I’m fine with this. Never cared for snow.

Jeff loved it. “Oh, good!” He’d exclaim. “Cook and cuddle!”

Jeff did the cooking. I was occasionally asked to participate in pre-preparation. I did the most cuddling. Either with a cat or a dog, but always with a book.

Winter Food. Recipes that only warranted their worth in work in weather cold enough. A not-really-needed excuse to fill the house with warm scents and the extra added nostalgic heated residue of a warm open oven.

Chicken Noodle Soup without the noodles, but with finely diced onion, carrot and celery. Jeff was absolutely tickled when he discovered there was a name for that. Mirepoix became a staple shout in our house.

“I’mma making zee mere pawx,” he’d call-out, purposefully mispronouncing in a horribly ridiculous, entirely undefinable accent. He made his own egg noodles, once or twice. Decided it wasn’t worth it. Dumplings and kniffles worked just as well.

Meatloaf and mashed. That’s where I learned that adding cream cheese or sour cream and/or whole cream to the mash made them silky smooth, creamy. There were no lumps in Jeff’s potatoes, unless he wanted them to be there. If he wanted them to be there, it was because he’d decided to make smashed potatoes. “Not the same thing.”

Adding a healthy handful or two of ground sausage to the ground beef made meatloaf heavenly. Oh, there was goulash and paprikash. Chili and scratch biscuits, too.

Jeff made bread by hand. When I say ‘by-hand’ I mean by hand – hand kneaded, no bread maker. Glass Corning Ware mixing bowls of proofing dough were common on Friday night. The very first he tried was rye bread, chosen for my tastes. It was deliciously denser than any I’d ever had; heavy and filling. Thickly-sliced slabs, steaming warm from the oven, slathered in butter – mmmm.

Maybe, snow’s not so bad after all.

Quote for the Week: 2018 12 11 Recurrently inherited cooking basics often arrive jakorte

How to Miss a Wedding (part 3)

Here’s the thing. One person’s prolonged wrong can turn into another person’s wrongs, multiplied.

It was an unpaid ticket for which he’d received multiple notices… at his mom’s address. Sally had been safely tucking them away. She’d given Jeff a few; might have misplaced one or two. Jeff never took them from her while I was there. In any case, he had an inkling. A very strong inkling. Strong enough to make him want to hide his suspended license in my purse.

So, that explained a lot. He’d planned on taking care of it, but had ‘forgotten’ until the flashing lights did not pass us by. But, the extra excuses – 

That he didn’t have the money because I did our banking, and watched it like a hawk…

That he never had a chance because we were always together…

That he didn’t want me to know because I’d be upset … – were the ones that irked me even more.

I don’t know how Jeff talked himself out of being handcuffed and taken in, because that is where the officers told him he was headed. Or why they didn’t take into account his shady evasion tactics. Or even why they believed him when he’d told them I had no idea that he’d shoved his card into my purse. They just gave him a multiple-fine ticket to add to his already outstanding charges and told him to take care of it within three days.

‘Three days’ would mean mid-week. Mid-week would require both of us taking a day off. Jeff argued that I didn’t have to go with him. I countered with the thought it would be a very bad idea for him to drive himself since his license was worthless, at that point.

We emptied our savings of cash, because none of our credit cards would be able to handle the full amount. I didn’t know if they would run multiple cards. I wasn’t going to ask, and we weren’t going to be taking any chances. Jeff suggested we could borrow money from his Mom, if needed. This is where my parental influence kicked in.

It never kicked in on the advice to save money, or plan for the future much, but it somehow stuck with me that borrowing money was the lowest thing you could do. It would show the world your failure and absolutely ruin relationships. I told Jeff that I would never agree to stooping so low, and insisted that nobody really needed to know, anyway.

We’d just have to deal with it like adults. Money was going to be very, very tight for a few months, and I decided we were going to get through this on our own.

Quote for the Week:

2018 06 12 One persons prolonged wrong jakorte