Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dinner Chez Moi

I've got the potato chip crusted salmon in the oven for my spouse, hamburgers on the grill for the kids and I was just thinking about my journey as a cook for my family.

Lately, I've been using E-mealz to help me plan and prepare my meals . . it's been GREAT!

Anyway - it works for me, easy and usually has a variety with pork, beef, chicken and fish.

So - serving up these fairly easy meals, my mom has been lately raving about how WELL I cook, "Just like a restaurant!" and RAVING.

I admit it's been nice on the ego, and at the same time it bother's me a tad that she's so *amazed* when I do produce something palatable.

Today mother is not here - and with dinner almost done, and my wondering if I should use frozen vegs with rice or just skip the rice . . . I thought how she would once again be raving, were she here.

But in all honesty - these are not extravagant meals.  My mother would be awed at the put together meal at Dennys.  She would!  It's just not at all what we *ever* had at home.  *Ever* . . .

SO - any cooked meat with some colorful vegetables on the side and a starch of some sort is kinda amazing to her.

In my childhood, I can not remember a single put together meal from her.  Not. a. one.

I do remember some mixed up something in an electrical pan . . . but not regularly.  I remember getting the free lunch offered at the park.  I remember passing Burger King and wondering  hedging a bet that I could probably find food in the dumpster behind there, if I dared to look.  I remember longing for peoples scraps at public places.  I was about 7 or 8 at the time.  I remember being hungry.

We used to receive government help too - the government issue cheese, government issue powdered milk- *heh* I don't remember what else, but I know one of the things we got were the powdered eggs.

My brother tells a story about this hunger, he was about 9 or 10 years old at the time.  He too was hungry and looked for something, but there was nothing edible except this bag of powdered eggs.  So - what's a boy to do?  He added water, cooked them up and ate them all down.  It made a lot.  But he ate them all.

He tells me they vaguely tasted like eggs.

Soon after he ate them he started to feel sick.  He is traumatized by the experience to this day.  And it took him, he says, about 2 years before he could eat real scrambled eggs at all.

The crazy thing is that if my mother could have budgeted, we would have been fine.  Something that even as a child I released.  I knew, young as I was, that the reason we didn't have anything to eat is because mother would spend what little we did get from social security on junk.  Like coloring books and doll clothes.  Stuff she wouldn't let us use because they were for "gifts" or stuff that we didn't want, definitely didn't need.


So, I didn't grow up knowing how to cook, but I can follow a recipe.  And my spouse LOVED the potato crusted salmon today.  Even if the kid didn't.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Talked to death

I love the quiet. I don’t like talking to people. I don’t like when people talk to me. I often wear head-phones just so people will think I am listening to my IPod when in reality it’s not on. I have caught myself pretending to be deaf just so people will stop talking to me. Crazy isn’t it. Well, it runs in the family.

I remember my mother’s incessant talking. How someone can be speaking at all times is beyond me, yet my mother seemed to always be talking, flooding my head with unending words and words and words. Often biter reviles of people she was upset with or erroneous accusations of having been wronged by someone or something. And when I would chime in to correct or disagree I would find myself the target of her diatribe. Hours on-end of non-stop talking, at times, in stretches of 5 hours or more and chained together throughout the day as long as there was someone within earshot.

What was amazing to me was the absence of any kind of a break in the unending stream. I recall the odious feeling I would have of listening as she would try to produce words while she was inhaling. Body language, hints of disinterest and even pleas of “Stop Talking!” would pass as white noise to her. I would leave the room only to be followed into the next, immediately turning around to try and leave again only to be followed once more. On and on, day after day, year after year; I remember feeling trapped, suffocated.

There seemed to be no escape. No escape from the mess, and the shame that came with it, no escape from the animals, the stench or the irrational hoarding, no escape from the incessant talking.
When I was around 14 I decided I would rather be dead and decided to kill myself. An overdose would do nicely and became my plan. Not to ruin the story but I didn’t kill myself. I did, however, end up in the mental health ward of our county hospital having attempted suicide by overdose. I was literally trying to kill myself to escape.

I didn’t know then what I know now… things change. (Just ask my beautiful, considerate with her words, wife).

Having written this; I think I will go home, clean my house and take a nice long quiet bubble bath.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Memories that hit you in the gut.

I was in my late twenties when a memory suddenly came back - so fast and so strong that it felt like getting knocked in the gut.  Took my breath away.

I was small, maybe 8 or 9 or so . . . and we lived in an old house that had vents in the floor for heat?  I'm guessing.  They were rectangular, maybe a foot wide, 2 foot long . . .

I was little, so I'm just going off what it seemed like to me.  Anyway - the memory was me, sitting on top of that vent to keep it down, since a bunch of kitty faces where trying to push their way out.

Why those kitty's were in the heating vents?  Why so many that I had to SIT on the vent to keep them down - I'm talking about 15 or 20 cats - because my mom loves animals.

It's an unhealthy, hoarding, love.  Take, keep, and hold so close that it suffocates 'em.

This house had a basement, and that's where she kept the cats.  She thought kittens were wonderful and that it was cruel (not to mention would cost money) to fix em, so she didn't.  And the cats were allowed to multiply in the basement.

The basement already was at hoarder state, you didn't walk around the floor . . . you walked over stuff - but after a while, with all the cats, we didn't even go down there.  Mom didn't keep a litter box.  Every now and again she would send one of us kids down with dirt in a box down there for them.  We never removed the other ones.

The smell was so bad that you could taste it on the way down.  That had to be pretty extreme because, the house where we did our daily living already smelled super bad!  So, the basement smelled stronger than our  already bad smelling house that I was used to as a child.

And to feed them we'd buy a large bag of cat food, open it and just throw it down there.  I don't remember anything about water.

But there had to be water, because there were all those cats alive, and trying to push their way out through the vents.

And it hurt me so much to be sitting on those vents to hold them down, but that's what I had to do.

To this day I HATE it when I hear she has an animal with her.  My heart breaks for the animal, and I often felt relieved when I heard that one died - so the torture would be over.

And I've always been bothered by birds in cages, fishes in small bowls, etc.  They make me uncomfortable and sad.

And yet I never remembered this until my late 20's.  There is a lot I don't remember of my childhood.

Scary - isn't it.