Saturday, July 24, 2010

The case of the Sundays

My mothers’ favorite day was Sunday.  Not only was she an entirely faithful woman who attended liturgy nearly every Sunday but she also loved the endless possibilities of the day. You can go to church, you can sleep in, you can enjoy midday cocktails or you can curl up in front of the fire with a hot cocoa.  You can treat Sunday like a Monday, like a Friday or like a Wednesday.  I believe that there is no proper or improper way to enjoy a Sunday. My mother mostly loved Sundays because it was our day.  And this is the reason I love them too. 

Like I mentioned there is no right or wrong way to go about a Sunday but lately I feel as if it is improper to do a Sunday without my mother.  Sundays are still my favorite day, now along with being my favorite they have become some of my hardest days. 
This is the reason I have decided to write to you all every Sunday and have you share this day with me like my mother once did. We’ll make it our little tradition.  Whether I’m at the ranch,  and you’re in San Diego, or I’m in Greece and you’re in Chicago, we will have the case of the Sundays… together.
 So what are you doing today, enjoying cocktails or running on the beach, taking picture or wandering around the farmers market?

White wine, Cheez-its and a white porch


It is another night of chilled white wine, salty crisp Cheez-its and my favorite white porch.  This is how I wrap up every night here on the ranch.  Whether it is a day filled with checking cattle on the mountain or cleaning and sweeping, at mid-evening on any given summer night you will find me here with these three pleasures.  The wine is for relaxation, the cheez-its are for satisfaction and the white front porch is for exploration.  

The open spaces that lie beyond the white porch allow me to clear my often troubled mind and write freely as if no one will ever read the words I compose.  It lets me surrender to the desires to write about random things like white wine, cheez-its and a white porch. You should try it sometime.  All of it... writing as if no one will ever read your words and my three summer night pleasures, they all compliment each other charmingly.  And just enjoy... freely.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Beautiful Mess

All the couches were taken and blankets were strewn throughout the house.
It reminded me of a middle school slumber party except everyone was much taller this time. Country music faintly played in the background from the previous night’s kitchen dancing episode, and little whispers trickled throughout our three-level house as the sun started to rise.
When I participated in slumber parties in middle school, I learned fast that you never wanted to be the first one up or the last one up — you hoped that when you opened your eyes, you were somewhere in between.
I was sure this rule still applied.
One by one, each guest woke up from their slumbers, then came the aroma of roasted coffee beans, the popping sound of crisp bacon on the stove, and a string of continuous jokes that led to endless laughter.
The guests were all wearing a combination of each member of our family’s closets and it seemed as if all of us together were one big happy family, or maybe more a fraternity.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting My Feet Wet

The waves crashed in one by one, and each made a unique noise and had a different presence. As each wave crashed on the shoreline, I found myself taking a step closer for a look at this foreign piece of Mother Nature.
This was the first time I had seen the ocean and the first family vacation that I can remember.
I was 12, and couldn’t wait to get my feet wet, both literally and figuratively.
If I could just get one chance to explore, and mom and dad to turn their backs and shop in that store, I thought, I’ll jump in.
Every spring break from kindergarten until senior year of high school, I would beg my parents to take our family on vacation. Instead, I found myself turning a mud pit into a pretend concrete manufacturing plant with my younger brother, or starting my own taxicab service throughout the land of our ranch, with imaginary friends from all over the world.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Table for Two Please

I'm home alone.  The laundry is done.  The dishes are done.  Every room in the house is neat and tidy.  The mail is organized.  What about the fridge did I clean that out after my vacation?  Yes, that is done too.  And dinner has been served, an oregano seasoned salmon paired with roasted tomatoes, onions and garnished with feta.  Everything is done and the house is still.  The only sounds that filter throughout it are that of the olive oil popping in the frying pan, the lightening of a summer storm in the distance and a faint whisper telling me to pick up the onion I dropped on the floor.  I'm home alone and I miss her.  Usually I love the freedom and quietness of a night with the house to myself.  I used to urge my roommates to go run errands and leave me behind in the house alone.  If it were for 15 minutes or for the entire evening I didn't mind, there was just something about having the walls and the happenings of one house all to myself that I adored.  It is a moment to breath, it is a moment to walk throughout the halls aimlessly, a moment to turn up whatever music you please, but most important it is a moment to listen.  Whether you listen to your own thoughts, the meaningful lyrics of a song or someone's voice in your head, the motionless ambiance of an empty house makes you listen.

 "Missy, I saw you drop that onion behind the counter, " she whispers in my head, and I see her twirl her hand in a circular motion to pinpoint the exact area where it landed.

"Don't cry my love, and please get some rest, everything will be better in the morning," she comforts me as I shuffle through her closet to put away her dry cleaning as if she had work on Monday.

She is here, she is everywhere and I listen.

Yet still, the house whether it is empty or full is not a home without her.  I used to like being home alone.  That was before she left.  That was before she left her home to me.  And all those times before I wished for one moment that I would have the house to myself, so I could bake cookies, spread flour everywhere and leave the dishes for tomorrow...if I wanted to.  Or take a bath for an hour, sit on the patio for another hour and well maybe lay in the grass for another... if I wanted to.  All those times that I wished to be home alone to wander around carelessly, and yet I don't lay in grass or leave the dishes in the sink.  No, instead I do exactly what she did when she was home alone, I prepare the house for everyone to come home.  With beds freshly made, aromas of a perfectly marinated steak on the grill, the fire lit in the winter and the windows open in summer.  Not because she did it or because I feel like I have to.  I do it because this is when I feel closet to her.  This is when I hear her wisdom, this is when I feel her flawless hands resting on my shoulder.  This is when I can really be alone with her and just listen.  So I guess when I am home alone, I never really am.

Tonight I made too much food, probably because I am used to cooking for five boys, my dad, my brothers and of course their posse.  While most of the time I slap at their hands when they try to pick at the salad or the cookie dough, I miss the craziness of the kitchen when they are gone, even if it's just for a night.  So on nights like this, when I am home alone, I cook for two. My mother and I.