Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Gramma's cookies for Puppa's Birthday Season

I didn’t grow up with my Grandparents close by.  Dad’s mom was in Wisconsin, his Dad was deceased, Mom’s were in Boston, travel wasn’t as easy so we just didn’t see them much.  Every other year my Gramma Porter would come out on the train or plane for Christmas and those were the best years, because she made cookies.  And cinnamon rolls.  Both were the best I had ever tasted.  My mother recalls the kitchen being a mess, I just remember flour all over the counter and cookies, lots of cookies.  Tomorrow’s my Dad’s 86th birthday.  What the heck do you get an 86 year old that can go get anything he wants himself?  I decided this year I would make him his mom’s cookies.  It wasn’t an easy task getting the recipe. However, after a few phone calls and a trip down memory lane with a cousin in Michigan, I got the recipe for Gramma Porter’s cookies AND her frosting.  I made up a batch today and from the very first bite, I was a little kid in the kitchen with my Gramma.  I guess the thing I am most grateful for is that my Dad is still around to enjoy the cookies.  And that he is really good at keeping in touch with folks, so he can call around the country and get phone numbers for me to call.  Happy Birthday Dad.  I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as I enjoyed making them.

PS  For those of you who have recipes in your family that you love, make sure you get them while you can. Rumor has it that Gramma made the best lemon meringue pie, I sure with I had tasted that too.

I hope this finds you having a great day.

In Health and Love,

Roy and Eugene loving on Gramma, I'm just along for the love.

Good things start here.

Here's the flour!!!!

Decoration supervision
Puppa and Mr Poppins

Puppa's Box of Birthday Booty... Aunt Grace Style

Friday, November 15, 2013

Back to Texas

I know my life is a sound track.  I have a vivid memory of crossing the street in New Brunswick, New Jersey, behind Caitlin and her friend Rosie.  I was just singing my usual stream of consciousness when Rosie turned around and said “Catherine, I think your life is a soundtrack.”  Well, it is.  I may not be able to carry a tune too well, but they always seem to be filling some space in my brain and occasionally have to bust out in song and dance.

I can’t believe that I’m moving my daughter to Texas and that this event would be the catalyst for the return to me blogging.  The last time I blogged was after I had driven her and her stuff FROM Texas, post her college graduation.  Blogging is a lot of work.  In writing, I remember things and get to share my adventure with others.  Some things are just too good not to share.

It seems that just about every day for the last couple weeks, I’ve made some kind of goodness in the big yellow bowl to either say thanks to someone for being so awesome to my daughter, or just because I needed a little comfort and making pie or Caitlin’s favorite foods seemed to be the best thing to do. Tears that fall into pie crust or turkey loaf seem to be the perfect seasoning.  This morning, after last night’s feast, I thought, “Well, today is the day, time to hit the road.”

Yesterday, it seemed better to work on my “play list” for the big road trip than pack the one back pack of clothing I was allowed to bring on the trip.  By not packing and focusing on the music list, it meant the trip wasn’t really happening.  As I was revisiting my CD’s in the sewing room, I found my Honk CD, the soundtrack for a surf movie from the 70’s, “Five Summer Stories”.  I thought, “This is perfect!”, and I immediately emailed a photo of the album to my friend Chris, because I knew he would totally get it.  I said, “No road trip is worth it’s salt without this one.”  This morning, I had a response in my inbox, “Absofreakinglutely!!” and one verse... “The dew of your back drop changes, and each new day brings more delights.”  Despite the sun not shining today, despite the fact that my baby was off to live the rest of her life, everything was gonna be ok.  So after a nice walk to Swami’s with Caitlin and Rodeo, and the best poach eggs I’ve ever made, we set out in Caitlin’s car packed full of her worldly belongings.  First days destination was Tucson, Arizona.

Last time we drove through Tucson, it was late at night and we were on a two fold mission.  To get to Encinitas in one day from Carlsbad, New Mexico.... And for me to find the sign commemorating Jerry Garcia... In the blink of an eye, in the middle of the night, we saw that sign! I screamed for Caitlin to pull over.  About the length of a football field later, she did, and proceeded to back up.  Now mind you this is late at night, there are big rigs hauling past us, she’s tired and just wants to get home, and I want to find that roadside sign because I thought it would somehow make up for the fact that I hadn’t gotten to go to the Grand Canyon or White Sands National Monument.  I hop out of the car, trying to get a photo, and Caitlin yells “Mom, get back in the car!  I have a bad feeling and you told me to listen to those bad feelings so get back in the car NOW!! Who am I to argue with my daughter about listening to her gut?  So I get a lousy photo and I arrive in Encinitas at about 3 am.  Fast forward 2 more years.
It’s today, November 15th and I’m driving to Texas to drop my baby off to be with the man she loves. . .A new life that doesn’t include Mom making poached eggs or asking about her day.  We get closer to Yuma, she had googled where the sign would be on the road and has me keep my eyes posted.  We get closer.  I tell her if we listen to some Jerry Garcia, maybe that will help... We drive though Yuma, no sign, and I decide it’s OK, it’s just a sign.  I put different music on the ipod, I look up and at the same time, we see it.  IT’S THE SIGN!!!!  “Caitlin, pull over!!!!  We can run back!!!!!”  She keeps driving, I know she’s thinking.  She keeps driving.  “Mom, do you want me to pull a U Turn?  Do you really want to go back to that sign?”  I’m uncertain if I said yeah, let’s do it, or no, don’t worry about it, but then, out of nowhere, Caitlin pulls a UTURN!!!!  I thought Lady, (Caitlin’s Car) was gonna slide out on the gravel, but my race car channeling daughter pulls it off, we figure out where to turn around again safely, we pull over and she’s taking my photo and I’m just overwhelmed by what my girl just did, and then we see a truck slowing down and pulling over.  “Hey, do you want us to take your picture?”  It’s a nice clean cut looking couple.  “Yeah, and then we’ll take yours.”  We’re just a couple of people, hanging out on the highway, taking pics with a sign and loving life.  And I’m thinking this trip’s gonna be OK.

After the photo incident, we’re driving along.  My heart’s overflowing with what just happened.  I put on some Grateful Dead.  The song Willing comes on, Caitlin likes it so much, she wants to hear it again.  She asks about the lyrics and I explain.  Yeah, this is a great road trip and I’ll just say thank you.

I’ll leave you with another favorite quote from The Grateful Dead.  “Sometimes the light’s all shining on me, other times I can barely see.  Lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”  I’m sad that I’m going to be an empty nester, but I also know that Robert and I grew a couple of really awesome kids.  Kids that are nice to people, that love whole heartedly, are kind, smart, know how to read maps, and love a good road trip.  I’m excited to see tomorrows delights.  Maybe I’ll relive them and share them with you.  Regardless,  I hope this finds you having a good day/night.

In Health and Love,