Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Peas picked and okra planted and a few rows of stuff weeded and sweat ran off me in torrents and I remember my grandfather, pulling his handkerchief out of his pockets and wiping his face, his head, his neck as he worked outside in the coastal Florida heat and suddenly I wonder- am I just trying to please him, finally, by working like he did?
I do not know.
Maybe it's just his genes in me, not the example he set. Maybe it's not the old southern lady yardworking gene I have at all, but the Pennsylvania farmer's gene.
I do not use a handkerchief to wipe my sweat away. I use a well-worn cloth napkin I keep stuffed in my pocket.

I went to town and we had lunch with Lily and the boys and she told them they could not go to Big Lots and I didn't really hear her. I had promised them on Monday that if we went to Japanica this week, I would take them to Big Lots and buy them swimming rings to play in the pool with and so after lunch I headed there, "Come on boys!" and after we left the store, I realized I had upset my daughter and I feel so bad.
I would never in this lifetime presume to go against what one of my children told their children. I would no more do that than say anything to consciously upset them. It is not in my bones and I feel so bad and I apologized but I was wrong. Nothing makes me feel worse than roiling the waters of the love between us.

Jessie and I went to the hippie store and she bought a new Indian print bedspread to put on her couch and then we went to the little farmers market happening outside the coffee shop on the lake and then we went into the coffee shop and it was filled with young mothers and hipsters and there were so many people and I time-tripped into many dimensions and finally, I had to leave. Too much to take in and why the hell is my mind so raw and open to everything all the time and why can't I just be what I feel which is invisible and not feel as if I have to take everything in, all at once, everywhere?

Is this why I love being home where there is nothing I have to take in but that which is so familiar, so mine? Where I can be invisible because there is no one here to see me except the chickens, the ducks, the cat who looks at me through sleepy-lidded eyes?

I don't know.

I'm going to make eggrolls. Chop up some of those peas and stir fry them with onions and carrots from the garden and broccoli slaw and sprouts and mushrooms and tofu. Wrap them lovingly like vegetables in a diaper, bake them in the oven.

One of my husband's favorite meals.

Yes. I planted the okra and I did some weeding and the sprinkler's on again and the tomatoes look good and the potatoes really need digging up and the peas just keep giving and the beans are blooming and the cucumbers are climbing and the peppers and eggplant are...still alive.
If I get okra I will pickle it. I hate growing okra. It is prickly and makes me break out when I pick it and ants love it and sting the crap out of me, too.

To live is to suffer. To suffer is to live.

Not really. I don't believe that. I believe we suffer enough with what life brings us but pickled okra can be worth the suffering.

Sweet and sour. Like the sauce I serve with the eggrolls.


I try.


  1. Do you use wonton papers to make your eggrolls?

    And I'm sorry about your "thing" with Lily. Sometimes grandmothers do the wrong thing, and that's just life.

  2. Elizabeth- I use what is called actual eggroll wrappers in Publix to make them. Wonton wrappers are too small.
    And I really don't want to do the wrong thing. Ever. But I do. Sometimes.

  3. Have you tried Clemson spineless okra? It's all I've ever grown and there's no prickly at all (and I'm hypersensitive to plants).

  4. I want to find some Velvet okra seeds. They are scarce I gather. I like fried okra and pickled okra if they are baby finger size. I like it in gumbo. I want to grow potatoes. Part of being a grandmother, the fun part, in being able to indulge your grandkids. Can't always do it when the mama or daddy is around. But, no, you would never have purposely usurped her authority and she must know that.

  5. You made a mistake, you apologized, Lily got to stand for herself. Beautiful.

    You are a tender hearted woman, my god the world needs you!

    Now, do you remember several posts ago, I think just before you left for your trip, that you were talking about what you were cooking and I said....I would kill for pictures of the things you cooked? That dinner sounds so good - I would still kill...that's a hint.

  6. It is hard on the heart when we wound innocently. But you know, children also have to learn that adults can make honest errors and be forgiven for them. It is all part of life.

    I have never had okra. I have never served okra. My son who lives on his own decided to make jumbalaya for his first cooking experience (beyond cooking frozen stuff, that is). He put okra in it and he liked it!

  7. Want. Eggrolls.
    Have I ever had pickled okra? Don't think so.
    Have I wounded my children unintentionally? No doubt. Ugh. It's not good. Wishing you peace and amends.

  8. I'm sure Lily forgives you. Honest mistakes happen. Your days are glorious to hear about. You have a way with words. Understatement.

  9. Not a fan of okra, mostly because I had to help my Mama clean it when I was a kid. She fried it, and I couldn't bring myself to eat but a couple bites. I have the same problem with frying then eating fried chicken. When I see that blood seeping up through the flour.... Ugggghhh! And eating broccoli after I had to wash all those bugs out? Not gonna happen!

  10. That solves it. I'm having okra for lunch. I'm envious of your garden. Just yeseterday I was thinking of my own gardening grandfather and his walled inner city space where he coaxed magic out of the ground. I miss him. I miss cherry tomatoes on the vine and zuccinis by the bushel. I think we all try to please our grandparents -- their distance after death only heightens who they were and how their presence made us who we are. All I know is, is that you're beautiful and I love the way you write your life.

    I pick everything up around me, too. If someone is hurting nearby, I catch it like a cold. Instaed of being a good person and helping them feel better, I retreat into a shell and cover my ears.

  11. ^^It's Chrissy, not Christine BTW. I'm signed in with my fancy gmail.

  12. Holy shitballs, I'm in the same headspace! I'm trying to catch up on the reading. I'm so far behind, springtime yard work has me down. Hugs to you.

  13. I know that feeling...but between you is nothing but love and forgiveness. A beautiful thing.
    I know that other feeling too. Too much to take in,like there are no filters.
    One (of the many)things I don't know. Okra.
    How do you cook it?

  14. Hmm. Lily should try living with my mother in law looking after her kids. 'What are grannies for? TO GIVE TREATS.' Or on one memorable occasion to tell us our three year old was a spoiled little bitch. Or to give the biscuits and sweets and chocolate and crisps and fizzy drinks every time she sees them? Or to tell me my three month old 'isn't YOUR baby, she's OUR baby.' Or or or or... you're doing such a perfect job of grandmothering. We all make little mistakes. We fuck up gigantically too, in fairness. It's all part of it.

  15. NOLA- I believe I have. The ants still loved it.

    Ellen Abbott- Oh, she did know it. And she was just tired and at her wit's end. As we all understand. I should have been paying better attention.

    Liv- I keep thinking about that. Maybe I should just post more pictures here? I don't know. It just feels like food to me.
    But thank you so much.

    jenny_o- Okra can be tricky if it's not cooked correctly. Your son is brave!

    Denise- All is well. Pickled okra is delicious. Absolutely. If I pickle any this year, I'll send you a jar. Promise.

    Joanne- I think I'm just in a low spot. I really do.

    Catrina- My broccoli always has bugs in it too. I don't even plant it anymore. I don't fry chicken, either. But I sure will eat fried okra.

    Chrissy- Thank you for those sweet, loving words. You've made me cry a little. I hope you ate okra and that it was good.

    heartinhand- At this moment I am contemplating going back to bed. I swear.

    Yobobe- I usually just cook it cut up with stewed tomatoes and onions. Some soy sauce. I like it like that. I love to eat fried okra but it's not good for me. But god, it's delicious. Pickled is probably the very best.

    Jo- No. Lily was absolutely in the right here. And just very tired. She works long hours and then has to get up with those boys.

  16. It's part of the eternal circle for children to occasionally get frustrated with their mothers! I'm glad you're both OK again. :)


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