Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gift from a Stranger

Just when I’m about to lose hope in the kindness of humanity, that feeling is washed away by someone who goes beyond just to brighten someone else’s day.

I was wearing on of my favorite bracelets the other day and the stand-in receptionist from a temp agency complimented me on it. She looked like a woman with a great sense of style with her manicured ‘do, fitted grey suit, and perfectly matching grey hoop earrings. I said thank you, happy to receive the compliment, and went about my way. As I passed by the receptionist desk later that day, she mentioned how she has a great anklet that would go perfectly with my bracelet.

“Oh, really?” I said. “Neat.” I mean, what else are you supposed to say to that? “Great, would you like to borrow my bracelet?” She then went on to say how she has two of them because she thought she lost the first one, so she bought another one just like it.

“Nice, one for each ankle,” I laugh.

“I’ll bring the other one up here for you when I get a chance,” she said.

I said okay and went about my day thinking that people say stuff they don’t mean all the time, so I’ll probably never see the anklet. I mean, why would someone take time out of their day to take something to someone else they hardly know. How would they remember the next day? Why would that make the top of their “things to do” list?

The next day I had completely forgotten about our conversation. Our permanent receptionist was back and I was busy facilitating a class. Around 10:30 a.m. I was called to the front lobby. The administrative assistance said the receptionist from the temp agency was looking for me.

“Why?” I asked, not having a clue why she would be looking for me.

I walked to the front lobby and there she was holding the anklet, still in its packaging. She reminded me of my stylish grandma. Her hair was perfect, her fancy rhinestone flip-flops matched her turquoise shirt, and she held her wallet and the keys to her Cadillac in her other hand.

A smile beamed across my face as I tried the anklet on. It just so happened that I was wearing a skirt. I proudly wore my anklet the rest of the day.

I said thank you and she, happy with her gift, rushed off on her way to finish the things on her list to do the rest of the day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love for Home Cookin'

Recipes like sweet potato pie, pecan crusted fish, and chive butter filet mignon make my taste buds quiver with excitement. I’ve discovered that most of my “free” internet browsing time is consumed by searching for recipes. I’ve spent hours reading about how to beat egg whites until “soft peaks form” or how to make chicken or fish taste like they’re fried when they’re not.

I’m not sure why this new obsession recently emerged. I used to dread going through cookbooks to find new recipes. The first years of my marriage, our dinners included spaghetti, tacos, and chili. It was easy, it was from a box or jar, and it didn’t take much time. Two years later Sheldon and I were sick of eating tacos and spaghetti every week. I guess I’ve learned to love trying new recipes.

The new addition to my already over-stacked baker’s rack is Paula Deen’s “The Lady and Sons” cookbook. It’s southern, down-home, comfort food. I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to use this book.

Others on the new-cookbooks-to-get list are Weight Watchers cookbooks – Simply the Best: All American and Take Out Tonight. Both have excellent recipes that taste like real home cookin’. I know this because I’ve tried a few recipes from a friend’s copies of the books. One recipe I spotted today is Coconut Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce. Yum! Who wouldn’t want to try that?

A challenge I’ve tried to overcome is cooking for two. I have all these wonderful recipes and no one to cook for. No big family Sunday dinners going on at the Anderson’s. No pitter-patter of little feet, or big feet for that matter. And if I did have family to cook for, I wouldn’t have time. Between work, school and volunteering, I don’t have much time left in the day.

But I’ll hold onto my many cookbooks in hopes of one day fulfilling my taste buds’ pipe dream.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys

Dad, Sheldon and Cody posing with the dune buggy they just fixed.

Cody fixin' to ride.

Sheldon gettin' ready to ride.

The Biker Boyz - Sheldon, Cory, and Mark.

There's something about machinery and engines that attract boys and men. Even from the young age of two, boys make crashing and booming sounds with Tonka trucks while girls hum and dance around with their dolls.

I give Sheldon a hard time about his car, a 1971 Chevrolet El Camino, but I know he loves it. And I love that he loves it. He likes to tinker with stuff. He would be perfectly happy working on his car all day. When he can't work on his car, he dreams about how he'll customize his bike so windows will shake when he rides by. Among his list of other toys to eventually own are a boat, a 4-wheeler, and a dirt bike.

Girls need girl time, this is why I love Girl's Night. Boys need boy time too. Sheldon got to do that this past weekend and he had a lot of fun. He rode over 160 miles around Central Texas on his bike with his friends and no worries in the world. Everyone needs to ride free once in a while. I'm glad he got his chance.

So, when's the next Girl's Night?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I love this time of year

It’s just barely September, but I’m already excited about the upcoming holidays. I love ‘um. I love ‘um all. My house already has its fall touches in the living room, dining room and kitchen. I have my pumpkin decorating patterns picked out and I’ve already made plans for Thanksgiving. My Christmas tree is still in its box, but there’s a designated spot in our new house for it to sit and be lovely.

There’s even a cool breeze today, a hint that fall is on its way. Warm clothes, happy faces, and stomach-warming goodies are what draw me to this season. I love to bake, so I couldn’t wait to get out my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe and fill the house with the aromas of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

I don’t have a fireplace, but sitting on the couch enjoying holiday movies with an apple-cinnamon-scented candle will work just fine. Favorite movies of the October through December holiday season include: Ghostbusters I & II, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, The Grinch that Stole Christmas (both the Jim Carey and cartoon versions), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Most of all I enjoy all the family and friend get-togethers during the holidays. I feel a fall fondue party coming on!