"Why don't you take them to Polliwog Park," my son-in-law Justin suggested as he left for work, yesterday, leaving us with our two little granddaughters, who were already up and at 'em and going about the business of being a 3-year-old and a 14-month-old. Polliwog Park is a lovely Manhattan Beach park with a playground and a duck pond.
"Oh, maybe later, after we straighten up a little," I sighed, sitting at the kitchen table and holding both girls on my lap while looking around at the remains of breakfast on the table, the dishes in the sink, the books and toys already scattered around the family room floor.
"No, don't worry about that, leave it all," Justin insisted, "just pack up take them to the park."
Easier said than done, thought I. The baby's morning nap would come due in an hour and a half, which was, I figured, just about how long it would take us to get the girls corralled, washed, dressed, combed, sun-screened, snacks fixed and diaper bag packed with all the necessities required for a morning outing with a baby and a toddler.
"Don't worry about the nap, don't worry about cleaning them up, just go," Justin persisted.
As Justin prepared to leave baby Sienna reached for him and wailed with separation anxiety and Makaila sniffled that her tummy hurt. I figured they were already missing their mom, who'd left early that morning on a flight to Boston for a friend's wedding. It's Maria's first time away from the girls and she'll be away until late Sunday night.
"I think Makaila might be getting sick," I said, rubbing her hurting tummy for her while Tom bounced crying Sienna.
"Just go to the park," Justin said on his way out the door, "and everyone will feel better".
I looked at the child-induced chaos around us. "Let's go to the park," I said to Tom.
So we did.
And Justin was right. Out playing and running around the park in the warm, beautiful sunny morning air Sienna cheered up, Makaila's tummy ache went away and we all did, in fact, feel better.
Things I Learned From Polliwog Park:
1. That the soft, cushy tire mulch and tire turf under the playground equipment at the Polliwog Park is made from 12, 250 ground-up tires.
2. Never mind linoleum, ceramic tile or hardwood. What I want under my feet in my kitchen and hallway is a floor made of ground-up tires. And it comes in such nice colors!
3. That babies are so small that they lack the necessary ballast to slide down a sliding board. The just sort of stick there until you slide them down.
4. That at the play ground, as in most collective situations, socializing trumps toys and the bottom of the slide is as good a place as any to make a new friend.
5. Abandon hope of ever leaving, all ye parents who enter the swing area with your kids.
6. That a playground with palm trees might be a metaphore for Los Angeles.
Back when I had small children I decided that having small children is like living on the planet Venus, where gravity is 32 times greater than on Earth. Trying to go anywhere or get anything done takes 32 times longer than normal. Not to mention how exhausting the whole thing is.
And how wonderful.
Since Tom and I arrived in Los Angeles (he from Columbus, me from Portland) last Monday to take over the day care for the week of our granddaughters Makaila, 3 years old, and Sienna, 14 months, we've been plunged back into the joy and dog-tiredness of life on Venus.
We spend our days reading, making up games, fixing one meal and snack after another, cleaning up one mess after another, changing diapers, drying tears, giving baths, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating, making play houses out of a sheet draped over a chair or out of books set in a big square on the floor, singing, dancing, playing an endless game of "catch" that involves rolling a little wheeled toy cat back and forth across the wood floor, trying to get people down for naps, trying between all the meals and snacks and naps and clean-ups to get out to the park or the grocery store or anywhere at all.
And so all is well as long as one doesn't worry too much about things like cleaning, laundry, dishes, straightening up, getting dinner on the table on time or getting anything done or getting anywhere on time.
After all, life on Venus only lasts such a short time. And is so sweet.
...Continued from yesterday
On Sunday morning we drove back downtown for brunch at a restaurant along the Willamette River called Three Degrees.
In order to get to the restaurant we (that is, Romaine) parked the car on the street below one of the river's bridges and we walked across the bridge and took in the panorama of downtown Portland:
Three Degrees is a hotel restaurant located in a beautiful spot along along Portland's river walk.
With a beautiful interior, as well:
From the brunch menu Romaine and I both ordered a bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomatoes and capers.
Now, this restaurant was a pretty nice place and that bagel with all trimmings came to $13.
Would you believe that both of our bagels arrived burnt? I mean, burnt black! When we politely pointed this our to the waiter he very graciously took away our burnt bagels and after a few minutes, during which time we gazed at the disenfranchised cream cheese, lox, tomatoes and capers on our plates, he returned with two fresh bagels toasted to the golden perfection that $13 bagels should be toasted to; but I'll bet you anything when he brought those bagels back to the kitchen he said to to chief, "Nope, sorry, they wouldn't eat 'em. Guess you'll have to make two more after all."
That being said, the bagels we ended up with were really good, oversized bagels, big enough to pile on the cream cheese, lox, tomatoes and capers, which were also very good.
After breakfast we strolled along the river walk, which was lined with shops and restaurants full of people.
Me, looking very Portland.
Eventually lunch time rolled around, as lunch times do, and this being my last day in Portland, I found my mind wandering back to the incomparable Kale Caesar Burger Bowl from Dick's Kitchen. So we headed back to Romaine's 'hood and walked from her house to Dick's Kitchen for a farewell Kale Caesar Burger Bowl.
Though we did still have one more meal to plan for.
Romaine suggested that for dinner we walk to this little spot she'd been hearing about called The Italian Market that supposedly made a Philly cheese steak that tasted like the real thing. For those of you not from Philadelphia, a real Philly cheese steak is an entity that is practically impossible to find anywhere outside Philadelphia, except, of course, for South Jersey.
But this place in Portland was reputed to make a real Philly cheese steak.
Skeptical, we two native Philly gals decided to go put it to the test.
The set-up of this place was kind of confusing, but kind of cool at the same time.
There was a building that held a bar and a liquor store. Connected to the bar/liquor store was a cute eating area with indoor and outdoor seating:
But the food comes from a food cart outside the building manned by two energetic girls:
So the way it works is, you order your food at the stand, then go into the bar or store and get something to drink, come back for your food, then go and sit down.
It took Romaine and I a while to figure the process out. It seemed to take everybody - at least all the first-timers - a while to figure the process out. But once we did it was kind of fun.
So...did the Italian Market, which claims to be a genuine South Philly food cart making genuine South Philly food, live up to it's claims?
Well, you tell me, you native Philadelphians out there, does this look like a Philly cheese steak?
What it is is an eggplant, pepper and onion sandwich which I ordered because there were no cheese steaks at the Italian Market! The closest thing they had to a cheese steak was a pulled pork sandwich and, let's face it, that's not even close. And look at that bun. Does that even remotely resemble a steak sandwich bun?
Romaine asked one of the cart cooks how come there were no cheese steaks at this place that was supposed to be the Portland reincarnation of South Philly.
The enthusiastic young cook answered that if they made cheese steaks that's all people would want and then they'd never try the fantastic slow-roasted pork sandwiches.
Anyway, the sandwiches were good. But they weren't Philly cheese steaks. And so it continues to stand that the only place you can find a Philly cheese steak is in Philly.
I left Portland Monday morning for Los Angeles where I met Tom and where we'll be until next week visiting Justin and Maria and our grandbabies.
But before I left for the airport Romaine gave me a little memento of Portland:
A marionberry - a little purple berry native to the Pacific Northwest - hand pie. Which I did hold in my hand and eat. It was wonderful. Like Portland.
But for all its wonderfulness, the best thing about Portland is:
My sister Romaine.
...Continued from yesterday
I arrived in Portland last Thursday right around lunch time. Which was, of course, a most auspicious time to arrive, as it meant I could jump right into the varied and yummy cuisine to be found in the eateries in Romaine's Sunnyside neighborhood.
I requested that for lunch we go to a restaurant called Laughing Planet on Belmont Street near where Romaine lives. It's a really cute little place with wooden tables and benches covered with colorful pillows and the decor is artwork and toy dinosurs. They serve a burrito there that I'd been jonesing for during most of my flight from Columbus to Portland.
But then as we were walking from Romaine's house to the Laughing Planet Romaine reminded me that last time I was here how much I'd liked the Kale Caesar Burger Bowl at Dick's Kitchen, the restaurant next door to the Laughing Planet.
As soon as I heard the words "Kale Caesar Burger Bowl" I was hit with a mental image: the ribbon-chopped kale topped with shredded parmesan, the flavorful Caesar dressing, the juicy, exquisitely tasty burger!
Yes, I had indeed forgotten how much I'd liked that Kale Caesar Burger Bowl! So much so that after I'd returned home from my last trip to Portland I'd been obsessed with trying to replicate the dish on my own, but had never quite succeeded. I immediately forgot about my fixation on the Happy Planet burrito and decided that the Kale Caesar Burger Bowl from Dick's Kitchen it must be!
So we passed by Laughing Planet and went next door to Dick's Kitchen, a plain but cute little restaurant that specializes in the Paleo diet, which involves mostly meat and plants.
So Romaine and I both ordered the $11.50 Kale Caesar Burger bowl :
Was the it as good as I remembered it?
Well, I walked out of the restaurant inspired and renewed in my determination to recreate a kale caesar buger bowl worthy of comparison to Dick's Kitchen.
We spent the rest of the day running errands, walking around and kicking around until it was once again time to eat.
As the food truck phenomenon rolls its way across the country, some cities are starting to have food trucks; Portland, Oregon has food truck parks! Food truck parks are like trailer parks except with food trucks instead of house trailers and they're all around the city.
Romaine and I decided that we'd sample some of the wares during my visit.
So on Thursday night we walked to the closest food truck park, about a mile from Romaine's house.
There were probably a dozen different varieties of food to choose from, Thai, Hawaiian, Italian, Hispanic, vegetarian and vegan among them. There were also lots of picnic benches and a nice covered shelter strung with lights.
Romaine had heard from a friend that the Greek truck at this park had the best lamb in Portland, so we decided to go with the Greek. Romaine had the $8.00 Lamb Greek Salad, which was a mound of deliciously seasoned lamb piled on top of a salad of lettuce, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and olives topped with tzatziki sauce.
I ultimately by-passed the lamb but went for the Chicken Greek Salad, which was the same as the lamb but with chicken instead.
The Chicken Greek salad was delicious. I asked Romaine if hers was in fact the best lamb in Portland. She replied that the lamb was tender,tasty, excellent, awesome, really, but she hadn't had enough lamb experience to say whether it was in fact the bests lamb in Portland. But we figured it must be close enough.
The next day was Friday and Romaine had to go into work, so I spent my day walking around Sunnyside, seeing the sights, snapping the flora and fauna,
And watching the people.
For dinner that night we decided to walk to another of the local food truck parks, this one about
1 1/2 miles from Romaine's house in the opposite direction of the one we'd gone to the night before.
This food truck park likewise offered a varied fare.
Romaine found a truck that sold Indian spinach and paneer over french fries:
I wonder if those french fries were some kind of fusion thing?
While I saw this Egyptian eatery and was intrigued:
As I'd never had Egyptian food and had no idea what it involved, I decided to try some. I had the $8.50 Falafel Supreme, which was a gyro with falafel (which I believe is deep-fried hummus, though I'm not 100% sure), cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, tzatziki sauce and...french fries?
So, are the french fries an Egyptian touch or does this particular food truck park just get a special deal on french fries??
Anyway, mine was good and so was Romaine's so I guess that's all that counts, right?
We started Saturday off with breakfast at Utopia, another plain but cozy little local spot - tables, chairs, and a counter - also on Belmont street two doors down from Dick's Kitchen.
Utopia is known for serving up a really good breakfast, though it seems that whenever I go out for breakfast no matter what offerings are available on the menu all that ever really calls to me is a stack of pancakes or french toast smothered in butter and syrup but which I never ever allow myself to order anymore. I always order instead two sunny-side up eggs, fried potatoes and toast. Then I set the eggs on top of the potatoes and break the yolk, which does something wonderful for the potatoes. Anyway, Utopia’s fried potatoes are among the very best on the planet, red skin-on potatoes, chunky-cut and deliciously seasoned and herbed.
Romaine ordered a mushroom, cheese and sausage omelet with potato pancakes on the side to which she likewise gave an unqualified two thumbs up.
After our utopian Utopia breakfast we set sail for a day of shopping at the Lloyd Center, Southeast Portland’s shopping mall – funny thing about malls: no matter what city you’re in, when you’re at the mall you always feel like you’re back home, right?
Anyway, in spite of my substantial breakfast after a few hours of cruising the mall I felt the need for more sustenance - just a little snack to hold me over, really - so we meandered over to the food court where I found a Greek food counter and refueled on a snack of Greek cheese pie - I had never heard of Greek cheese pie before but it was very good: a warm, soft, pizza-like crust folded over a tasty cheese filling - and a couple of meat-stuffed grape leaves with tzatziki sauce, also very good; in fact, suprisingly good for mall food.
After returning home from the mall it was yet again time for another snack to hold us over until dinner, so we pulled from Romaine’s refrigerator the tub of Toby’s Tofu Dip that we had picked up on the afternoon of my arrival from Fred Meyer’s – the Kroger’s affiliate in Portland – for just such an occasion as was now presenting itself, and we dug into the dip with a mess of blue corn chips.
I love Toby’s Tofu Dip so much that I’m thankful it can only be found in Portland (though believe me, after the first time I tried it in Portland I returned home and scoured our Columbus Kroger’s stores in search of it) because it’s one of those things that, once I start eating it I can’t stop until the carton is empty. So if I could buy in it Columbus I’d have to never allow myself to buy it anyway. It’s the same way I feel about cottage cheese. So, much as I love cottage cheese, I never buy it. It would be the same with Toby’s Tofu Dip if I could buy it in Columbus.
But I do allow myself to indulge in Toby's Tofu Dip while in Portland.
On Saturday evening we met Romaine’s dear (and awesome!) friend Michael for dinner downtown at a German restaurant called Gruener.
We had a wonderful time talking. laughing, and, of course, eating our way through dinner.
We started with appetizers. Michael had a fruit salad that was so lovely it looked like a piece of art. Romaine and I ordered and shared a plate of German dumplings mixed with vegetables and a bowl of meat-stuffed ravioli in broth. Michael said his fruit salad was good, but I frankly found Romaine's and my dishes kind of tasteless. And - do you believe this? - there was no salt on the table! [I guess the chief has a pretty high opinion of him- or herself! ;) ].
For our main courses Michael ordered salmon topped with cherries and Romaine and I both ordered bratwurst with saurkraut and potatoes.
Michael again found his choice to be delicious. Romaine thought the bratwurst dish was okay and I guess I'd say the same, though I can make better bratwurst and better potatoes than the ones we had at this restaurant. The saurkraut was really good, though - the cabbage was cut thicker than in most saurkraut.
So, though up until that point I was finding my meal kind of mediocre, my dessert was fantastic. It was a plate of 4 berliners, or German doughnuts. These doughnuts were sooooo good! They were small sugar doughnuts that were kind of crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, served warm with a garnish of cherry sauce to dip them in - heavenly!
Michael and Romaine both ordered blueberry almond cake with a ring of white chocolate icing around the bottom of the cake - they both agreed that it was delicious.
But next to the sublime sugar doughnuts my favorite thing about Gruener was how they presented the bill: stuck inside a Hermann Hesse book!:
Is that not a cool idea?!
To be continued....
Since last Thursday I've been in Portland, Oregon visiting my sister Romaine.
It's been a great visit. Visits to Portland are always great visits. I love Portland.
How do I love Portland?
I love Romaine's house.
And back yard:
I love all the art pieces around the house done by various artists:
And all Romaine's artwork:
This one is called
Romaine lives in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Southeast Portland.
I love Romaine's neighborhood:
I love that within walking distance of Romaine's house there are dozens to places to eat; during my visit I snapped all the above photos as we walked to and from one or another local eatery.
Is there good food to be had in the Sunnyside?
Tune in tomorrow for where. 8)
To be continued...
Yesterday I arrived in Portland, Oregon for a visit with my sister, Romaine. (Sorry this post is so late - 3 hour time difference, right?).
Anyway, I had a lay over in Los Angeles and on my Los Angeles - Portland flight I ended up seated next to a stocky, shave-headed young guy dressed in a blue checked shirt and khakis who started up a conversation as soon as I sat down.
He asked me, in a more serious tone than one is accustomed to being asked by a stranger on a plane, how I was doing today.
I gave him the stock standard response/follow-up that I was fine, thanks, how was he?
The words poured out of him. He'd missed his early morning flight to Portland for a job interview because he'd had to take his 11-year son to the doctor with a fever, sore throat and ear ache, and now he was worried that it would be held against him that he'd be showing up half a day late for his interview. Man, he just couldn't believe it.
I asked him if he'd called and told his interviewer his situation. He had. And how, I asked him, did his interviewer respond?
"Eh, it didn't seem to bother him," the man said, a slight nervous quiver to his voice, "he said to just catch the next flight out. But I don't know how this will affect their decision to hire me."
I told the man that of course it shouldn't affect their decision, that the people involved in the interview process probably had children of their own and so they would understand. After all, he couldn't leave his sick son. I asked him about the job he was interviewing for.
"Regional sales," he said. He had deep brown eyes which he kept focused on me while he spoke with sincere intensity, telling me that he was 36 years old, that he'd been in sales since he was 18, had started selling Kirby vacuum cleaners and had sold a lot of different things since: car parts, food service supplies, construction equipment, janitorial supplies. But this job that he was interviewing for today, this was going to be his big break, his chance to really make it. There would be potential for him to move up in this company.
I asked him what this job would involve selling.
"Steel ball bearings," he said.
I asked him if he knew a lot about steel ball bearings.
"Nah. If they want me they'll teach me what I need to know. Then I'll go out and sell it."
He told me that he loved being in sales. His eyes lit up as he told me that, since he worked on commission, he woke up every day feeling like the sky's the limit. He spoke with such enthusiasm and made a career in sales sound so appealing that as he spoke I could almost see myself hopping out of bed every morning to go out and sell ball bearings or janitorial supplies.
In fact he reminded me a little of my son-in-law Justin. (But of course not as handsome!).
Maria and Justin
He told me that after high school he'd had no desire to hit any more books. He wanted to go out and get started. I expect he meant get started on life.
And today was his big chance. But he feared he might have already blown it.
I told him again that anybody with children would understand that he had to take care of his sick son first. It's what anybody would do.
He then talked about his son, his only child, what a good kid the boy was, a great kid. He didn't like sports, but that was okay by his father, he didn't have to like sports.
I agreed and shared my opinion that in this country children are pushed to do too much sports too soon to the point where they're doing damage to their young bodies and sometimes their young minds.
Seeing that he didn't need to be on the defensive about his son's indifference to sports, he talked with pride about what a good student his son was, he was in 6th grade now, how much he loved to read, how all the boy ever wanted to do was read. Then his expression turned serious. He looked away from me and said softly, "Man, I hope I get this job."
I, too, sincerely hope that he got the job. Because I liked him. And I liked his book-reading, unathletic son whom I never met and for whose sake this man obviously so badly wanted this job; and because of whom he now feared he might not get it.
Back when Maria was a junior at Bishop Hartley High School she wrote the following essay on thrift store shoppping, or thrifting, as we call it (as in: "Wanna go thrifting?") for an English class writing assignment.
I thought it was quite good so I suggested to her that she submit it to a few magazines that cater to the teen-aged girl demographic. She submitted it to "Seventeen" and "Teen" but the piece was rejected by both magazines.
And so her lively little tribute to the acquisition of second-hand things sat in a folder in our second-hand file cabinet for eighteen years until today, when, in tandem with yesterday's post on second hand stuff in our home, her essay has finally found an appropriate venue for publication. ;)
By Maria Liszkay
Copyright 1996 and 2014 by Maria Liszkay Reese. All rights reserved.
I come from a family where people spend more time trying to figure out ways to save money than they do sleeping.
Every holiday gathering turns into a contest over who gets the best deals. Uncle Donald recently acquired a left-over twenty-five-dollar couch for free. (The fact that it is neon green and straight out of the seventies doesn't make it any less of a deal). Uncle Stevie still talks about how he traveled from his home in New York all the way to West Virginia to purchase a used hot tub for two hundred dollars. He then spends another fifteen minutes describing how he fixed it up with aluminum tape so that it "runs like your brand-new two-thousand dollar hot tub." Of course, he doesn't tell his audience that it looks likes it's held together with aluminum tape, too. Aunt Mary Jane is a garage sale addict. A well-stocked garage sale is her cause for jubilation.
Now, my relatives will spend "good" money on something like a roto-tiller or a camera, but only after pouring over pages and pages of consumers' guides. It's the little luxuries that come cheap: things like furniture, household trimmings and clothes.
I definitely inherited the "cheap clothes" gene. I hate spending more than a few dollars on something I'll only end up, well, wearing.
And how long do we actually wear our stuff before we get sick of it and want new stuff anyway?
So when one of my mom's friends introduced me to the wonderful world of thrift stores, the contents of my closet doubled almost overnight! I love thrift stores because I am actually willing to pay their price for clothes. I can feel good about spending two dollars on a pair of jeans or thirty cents for a T-shirt. Now, granted, I may find difficulty in finding a certain shirt in a certain color in my exact size, but when I buy a shirt from a thrift store I can feel confident that no one will have that same shirt.
Shopping at thrift stores is also fun 'cause it's like treasure hunting. When I have spent twenty minutes searching through a rack of frosted and hot-pink "80's" jeans and I find a pair of wearable Levi's, the rewarding feeling is comparable to that of getting a date with Brad Pitt.
Some people may think that thrift stores contain slummy clothes that no one would actually wear, but, joking aside, there are so many clothes there for practically everyone at a price that anyone could handle. I have brought friends along with me on my thrift store excursions and now they, too have become addicts.
Over Thanksgiving break my Uncle Stevie, the uncle with the "hot tub", came along with my cousins and me to a thrift store where he bought five pairs of jeans, seven T-shirts, four dress shirts, and some cooking utensils for the Boy Scouts - all for a grand total of thirty-two dollars!
Thrift store shopping is also about recycling. Disposing of perfectly good items is pointless if someone else would enjoy them (and at such a good price!). Many thrift sotre clothes look like they've been worn only one or twice, some appear practically brand-new. I must admit that some of the clothes do have holes and stains on them; but that's why my family spends "good money" on sewing and washing machines! (It's all about making good investments).
I can't promise that I will purchase dim lights to save electricity, keep the thermostat at fifty to conserve heat, or even plant my own vegetables, though these are all practices my family preaches. But I will always shop at the thrift stores. Even if I become a millionaire, my money will never be spent on the mall's clothes, After all, why should anyone pay more?
That was what Maria wrote when she was seventeen years old. Now, eighteen years later, has Maria stuck to her resolution to always go the thrift store route?
Today I'm flying out to visit my sister Romaine in Portland, Oregon, and next Monday I'll fly from there to Los Angeles to see Maria and her family for a week . While I'm visiting them I'll give you a full update. 8)
Maria going to high school dances:
In a thrift-store dress,
And in her bedroom with the little girl she used to babysit. Evey piece of furniture in her room was second hand.
Claire at her prom wearing a recycled bridesmaid dress of mine.
In fact Claire has worn that dress to several parties since, including her 29th birthday party. According to Claire, "It's still a great dress!"
Writing a while back about our exchange student Judy and how much she loved to go thrift-store shopping reminded me how long it has been since those days when I used to be a thrift-store regular.
It was really my oldest daughter Maria and my youngest, Theresa, who were the true thrift-store afficionados of the family, though in recent years Tommy has also developed an appreciation for thrifting. (Claire, on the other hand, has never liked shopping, period, and still does not to this day). Anyway, back in the heyday I was generally just the facilitator and financier of a trip to the thrift store, though while meandering through the racks and aisles I often found some recycled treasure or other.
Like this dresser in my living room that I keep sheet music in. (I remember when I got it Maria said, "Mom, you can't put a piece of bedroom furniture in the living room!" Turns out I could). The two clocks on the dresser are also thrift-store finds.
As well as the poster hanging above the dresser:
Still, I'd say nowadays the only die-hard thrifter left in the family is Theresa, who still loves to spend an afternoon trolling the aisles for some awesome $1.99 stuff. She and I went thrifting a couple weekends ago and she re-stocked her tee-shirt supply and picked up a few shirts for Phill.
Including this esoteric Moose on a motorcycle shirt.
While I found:
The purse of my dreams!
They tell me it's a Kathy, whatever that means.
To tell the truth, I do like second-hand stuff. My house is full of it, mostly family hand-me downs.
In Tom's and my room is the bedroom set we inherited when we were married that belonged to Tom's mother's aunt that she brought over from Hungary:
Also in our bedroom is the desk that my father had in the office of his first medical practice on which sits my sewing machine and a thrift-store lamp:
The book shelf below was given to us by a neighbor who couldn't sell it at a garage sale. The little seat under the vanity was the chair to a vanity I had when I was little. I bought the mirror from K-mart about thirty years ago:
The dresser in Tommy's old room used to be Tom's when he was young:
The beds that went with the dresser are the ones Maria and Claire slept on in their old bedroom. I bought the desk and lamp second hand, and Tom's mom gave us the little glass hurricane lamp. (Scroll up and you can see its mate sitting on the vanity in my bedroom).
Our kitchen table, which we've had for about 35 years, was Tom's family's when he was growing up:
And the art above the table was painted by a friend of my father's back in the 1950's and hung in my family's living room when I was growing up:
Among the other art I pilfered from my parents' home is this painting of Rigoletto also done by one of my father's artist friends back in 1961:
And a van Gogh knock-off:
I also have my father's mother's wedding dishes
And a teapot that belonged to my mother's mother:
That sits on the other garage sale left-over book shelf that our neighbor couldn't sell.
The red teapot and dishes on the bottom shelf I bought when I was in France 40 years ago from a friend who needed some cash more than she needed the flea-market teapot set.
I expect I could go through the provenance of all the other second-hand stuff that make its home in ours; or I could save a few thousand words and just show a few pictures of some (but not even all) of our recycled possessions:
The file cabinet and the table are second-hand, not Tom. Him I got brand new! ;)
Over the weekend I saw an arty Canadian movie called "What if" starring Harry Potter- I mean, Daniel Radcliff, but still looking like Harry Potter.
It was a pretty good flick - a romantic comedy about two young people trying to negotiate the confusing world of relationships.
But I predict that if this arty movie ends up having a claim to fame it will be over a recurring motif within the story.
This recurring motif was a sandwich. Called Fool's Gold.
I had never heard of a Fool's Gold sandwich, and if this is the first time you're hearing of it then I'll bet, thanks to the movie, this won't be the last time you hear of it. God forbid you might even end up trying a Fool's Gold sandwich. But I pray nobody does. Even though I'm going to give you the recipe for it. But I still hope none of you tries it. Because I wouldn't want to be responsible for whatever consequences ensure from eating one of these things.
Anyway, according to the movie, Fool's Gold was a favorite sandwich of Elvis Presley. My initial reaction to the on-screen image of the sandwich was, nah, nobody, not even Elvis, would actually eat something like that, it must just be something made up for the movie. But then later I got to thinking that in a world where there exists such weird unholy unions as dounut burgers (see post 08/04/2014 ) and grilled cheese donuts (see post 08/14/2014) it's probably in fact not outside the realm of possibility that there could exist such thing as a Fool's Gold sandwich, and if it did exist Elvis of all people would surely have eaten one.
So anyway I did some research and found out that there really was a Fool's Gold sandwich, the recipe for which was invented by the owner of a Denver Restaurant called the Colorado Mine Company. And Elvis really did love this sandwich so much so that, according to www.secretrecipes.com:
"On the night of February 1, 1976, Elvis was at his home Graceland entertaining Capt. Jerry Kennedy of the Denver Colorado police force, and Ron Pietrafeso of Colorado's Strike Force Against Crime. The three men began discussing the Fool's Gold Loaf sandwich and Elvis decided he wanted one right then. The men flew two hours to Denver, arriving at 1:40 AM. The plane taxied to a special hangar where the passengers were greeted by the owner of the Colorado Mine Company, Buck Scott, and his wife Cindy who had brought 22 fresh Fool's Gold Loaves for the men. They spent three hours in the hangar eating the sandwiches. When they were done, they flew back to Memphis without ever leaving an airport."
So, then, what is the Fool's Gold sandwich that Elvis and his two friends ate 22 of and that is destined to make "What If" a memorable movie?
I got the recipe for the Fool's Gold sandwich from the foodie website Chew Nibble Nosh. In fact, if you'd like to see some actual photos (if you dare look!) check out:
In the meantime here's the recipe:
Elvis Presley's Fool's Gold Sandwich
Sandwich Prep time: 20 mins. Cook time: 10 mins. Total time: 30 mins Serves: 8-10 or one Elvis Ingredients:
And be sure and take your blood sugar reading afterwards. Be sure 911 is in your speed dial.
As for me, I would never eat a Fool's Gold sandwich. Or a grilled cheese burger. Or a donut burger. All that stuff sounds positively inedible and dreadful. I can't believe anybody would eat that sort of thing.
I would, however, most gladly scarf down a Peepsnut.
If I'm going to eat something from the goo-and-glue food group all its parts have to be from the same sub-genre.
This past Friday I was at Krogers busily checking out at one of the self-check machines when I heard someone call "Hi".
I looked around and saw the self-check attendant cashier looking over at me. "Hi," she called again.
(This was the same girl, probably in her mid to late twenties, who a couple months ago was ripped up one side and down the other by an angry customer one day when all the self-service check-out stands seemed to be waging a war of the machines (see the 06/27/14 post ). All of us who were trying to check out had to wait our turns as the girl hurried from machine to machine to machine putting down the rebellion with her electronic zapper-gun. But there was one woman, a foreigner dressed in a long black hijab veil and dress who was obviously angry about the hold up and took it out most harshly on the poor young check-out attendant. After the mean lady left I talked to the girl and told her I was sorry about how that woman had treated her, that the woman was 'way out of line, and that I was going to tell the manger what had happened and how well she, the cashier, had handled the situation).
"Oh, hi," I called back to the girl, "how you doing?"
The girl left her post and walked over to me.
"How's your day going?" I asked her.
"Pretty good," she replied, "not too busy yet."
She stood by me for a few moments in silence while I rang up my groceries. I took a guess as to why she might have come over.
"Hey," I asked her, "Do you remember that day when that lady was being so mean to you?"
It was as if a floodgate had broken open. Even though I'd been there that day and had seen it all, she began pouring out to me the details of the incident, how all the machines were off, how she'd had to go around and re-set each one, how this lady had yelled at her, how afraid she was that she'd get into trouble, how relieved she was that she didn't. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes a little teary.
I sympathized with her over the incident asked if that lady had ever come back to the store.
"I don't know," the girl said. "There are so many ladies who come in with veils on who look like her, I can't tell. Whenever I see one who looks like her I think, 'Oh, no'." She held a hand over her heart for a moment in a gesture of distress.
I reiterated what I'd said to her on the day of the event, reminding her how helpful she'd been that day, how friendly she always was to all the customers and how much we all appreciated her. I told her that back when it happened I'd wanted to follow the mean woman out of the store and tell her to go back and apologize to the young cashier she'd just been so rude to. But I was afraid to. I also thought the woman might be a little crazy.
"Good thing you didn't say anything to her," said the cashier, "who knows what she would have done?" Then she added, "I just wanted to thank you for saying something to me that day."
I told her don't mention it, and by then my groceries were all packed and I was ready to roll and she had to get back to her post so I told her to have a nice day and she wished me the same.
As I left the store I recalled an Arabic proverb I once read: "Wounds heal but words don't".
Let's hope that proverb is wrong.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.