Not The Target Market

Yankee Surprise

This is a story of a true Yankee by the name of Jean.  And by that I mean the story of a kind, loving, generous, talented, and gracious women, who was a wonderful cook (especially when it came to baked beans and cream puffs), and who while embodying the old Yankee creed of “never complain; never explain” also never walked away from a promise, or a single person who needed help.  Even in the last week of her life, when she was bed-ridden, she tried valiantly to figure out how she could make her famous baked beans which had been promised months ago for a fundraiser. (more…)

The Grammy Chronicles and Deep Philosophical Questions

The Moose turns three. And for all that I am somewhat wild-eyed in this story, I am delighted to be his “Grammy.”

Child watching is supposed to keep us grandmothers young.  If this is true, and I suspect it is really a Big Fat Lie, then why is it that all my bones ever want to do at the end of the day is pile up in a heap in some quiet corner?  And why, at noon, do I crave a gin? Every day.

And why is it that I don’t rise sylph like from the floor after a session of playing cars or trains or whatever.  Instead, this rising gets uglier and uglier, and needs more and more leverage. If I actually succumbed to the gin, I could understand this difficulty with rising, but I have restraint. (more…)

It’s Time to Hear from the Nobodies

I am absolutely nobody. I am a grandma, not a politician, super athlete or celebrity. I have no following on Social Media. I am barely on Social Media. No one cares two cents for my opinion. That doesn’t stop me from giving it.

Over the past several weeks it seemed to me that commentators were snarkier and snippier than usual. This happened across the spectrum, on every topic under the sun, by people who wouldn’t know civility if they tripped over it, and by people who should know better. (more…)

A Never-ending Bounty

Since the beginning of last week, I have added considerably to the pickle supply. We are now approaching 30 jars on the shelf in the cellar. That shelf will probably collapse before the season is over.

I am beginning to peak around the corner before entering the kitchen, especially if The Farmer has been out tending his crops. More often than not there is a pile of freshly harvested cucumbers waiting for my attention. And then last Thursday our CSA distributions began and what was in the first bag? Cucumbers and zucchini, of course.

Besides the ever-increasing mound of cukes in the refrigerator, I also have 2½ monster zucchini and numerous “normal” ones I’m trying to figure out how to use. For all he grows them, The Farmer will only put up with so much zucchini (or cucumber) in his meals, no matter how tastily prepared. And the reason for only half a monster squash is that while it was well on its way to monster-hood, The Farmer found it before it actually turned into a baseball bat like its brothers.

I know this is business as usual for most gardeners this time of year, but it’s is the first year we’ve had a “real” vegetable garden and it is a bit of a shock to the system.

This afternoon on two separate occasions, as I passed through the kitchen, I found a pile of cucumbers waiting for me. When The Farmer came in from the garden yet again, this time blessedly only with tomatoes in hand, he found me making a gin and tonic.

Me: See what you’re driving me to!

The Farmer: I’m not taking responsibility for that – you’ve been talking about a G&T since breakfast…

Which perhaps overstates the case, but with these Sisyphean cucumbers taking over my life, surely a little restorative on a Sunday afternoon is in order.

Eleventy-Six Cucumbers

The embarrassment of wealth…

We picked cucumbers from the garden on July 3. There were two and they ended up on the holiday vegetable tray, alongside radishes (also from the garden) and sugar snap peas (native, but not our own.)

On the 12th of July I came home from grocery shopping to find eleventy six cucumbers on the kitchen counter. In my absence, the Hunter, in his summer persona of The Farmer, had been busy harvesting. And on July 13th I decided I had better do something with this embarrassment of cukes as they were threatening to take over all the space in the refrigerator, so I made pickles. (more…)

Smart Tags to the Rescue!

Last night, once again, I was hit over the head by how uncool and hopeless I am. How lacking in vision, how 20th century, how mismatched for modern life.

Paging through a travel magazine I read about a “must have” travel accessory: a package containing a Bluetooth enabled smart tag that you put on your carryon and three smaller “taglets” that you attach to the essentials you want in that bag. Wallet, keys and phone were the suggested essentials. And then once you download the app and pair the tag with the taglets, you can check and see if everything (or at least your three tagleted items) are aboard by pushing the smart tag on your tote. (more…)

Honey for the Ears

Every day I check the news and every day ads pass before my eyes or over my ears and I think “Boy, I am just about the most Not The Target Market that anyone could be,” and then the next day comes with its news and ads and I find am even morer not the target. And it’s always louder than the day before.  I don’t know if this is to make everyone feel included (you know how you always shout at people who don’t speak your language) or if it’s just to bludgeon us all to death so we stop protesting.  I am reminded here of the Dorothy Sayers novel The Nine Tailors in which the villain is (accidently) murdered (spoiler alert) by being locked into a bell tower while a peal is being rung.  He is overwhelmed by the sound and dies with face contorted in horror. (more…)

De-Dogging the House

Helvetica after a busy day herding her family

My guest dog has mastered the art of sproinging her hair into the air so that her black hairs embed themselves in my white sweater, and her white hairs cling for dear life to my black trousers.  Even now, two days after she has been repatriated home, I am still picking off dog hair. (more…)

In Search of some Christmas Goose (Fat)

Roasted potatoes better than Elena’s simply don’t exist.  Elena is The Daughter’s British mother-in-law.  Her potatoes are the gold standard.  This year, since we would not be in England and lucky enough to eat hers, I thought I would try to re-produce them for the Stateside family Christmas dinner. 


Bittersweet: A Parable

Our woods are small and began the year terribly overgrown with brush, pokeweed, bittersweet, raspberries and a number of dead trees. The little ones called it “The Forest” in a wide-eyed way, as if expecting to meet Red Riding Hood’s wolf behind one of the larger trees along the path. And really, who could blame them? When even I started to peer cautiously around the pokeweed and in back of the brush before heading down the path to dump a barrow of clippings on the compost pile, it was apparent we needed to start on a tidying-up project. We began it in the late winter and while The Hunter took care of the dead trees, I attacked the bittersweet. Seven months later, this appears to be a project that will last out my lifetime. (more…)