All three of the grandchildren who’ve been here came with
interesting reading habits. They read fantasy. I picked up a couple or three to
read, and was not impressed by thin plots and limited vocabularies. Emily joined book club, realized thought
provoking literature was available, at the library, no less, and moved on.
A year ago this past summer I mentioned to Laura that some
book she was reading seemed based on Grimms. I unearthed Grimms from the
basement library, and she read the little green volume from my childhood. Then
I handed over Andersen, and suggested she read at least up to the nightingale
story, or the little mermaid.
For their first Christmas here I flooded the children with
classics, hoping to influence their reading habits for the better. The Andersen
volume went to Emily, with some others, and languished on the bottom shelf of
her bookcase. Laura was the reader of it, though, and I see it now lives on the
bottom shelf of her bookcase.
And so on to this year. Over the summer I took her to see the
professional production of a play. This year she’s joined drama club. She spent
all of junior high being too timid to join. Over the summer we went to a
production of You Can’t Take It With You,
and the ending was surprisingly well done. I was impressed by the set and
the costumes, and pointed out to Laura all the work that goes into a production
by the folks who put it on. She’s joined drama club “to work on sets or
costumes.” One doesn’t ask.
Those are pleasant parts of the world through young eyes. My
unpleasant part is band, band shows and football games. Joe, my car pooler, has
a license and a car, so I have Laura’s round trip. Retrieval from band practice
at nine o’clock plus Wednesday nights is not too far outside the pale. But,
Friday night football and the occasional Saturday band show are!
The young, tailgating parents are, frankly, insane. But, at
least they are already at the event, and can retrieve Susie and Johnny and get
on home. For me, when pigs fly. I have found a school website that posts the
big plays each quarter, and the score. I look at it occasionally, and about mid
fourth quarter head off to the school. We’re talking late for grandmas, but I
flip on the local public radio station for Los Angeles Theater productions.
Laura generally has an unfavorable remark or two, before she
falls asleep on the way home. Last weekend she suddenly listened to the
production of Pride and Prejudice,
and asked me to fill her in on characters and what she missed. At home, we sat
in the drive, at midnight, listening to the end.
“Emily has this,” Laura announced. “She left it here! I’m
going to read that.”
I looked. Complete
Works of Jane Austen lives in another bedroom now.
Except for the ten years I was married, I never learned how
to cook. When there was no one to cook for me, I winged it with a bag of
noodles, a stick of butter and a can each of lima beans, corn, and tomatoes.
Fresh tomatoes, in season.
Fortunately, people around me could cook. My daughters, my
sister, eventually my granddaughters. No one went hungry, especially me.
Emily and Laura were defacto cooks last July, when we moved.
Emily cooked like Aunt Janice, and pretty much elbowed Laura away from the
stove during the several weeks before she went off to college. Big sister
syndrome. Though Emily had little hope for Laura, the little sister was merely
biding her time.
Laura was born to make lists, which is the last name of
shopping list or menu list. She was very expansive in the beginning, and I had
to rein in the amount of produce she wanted to load into our refrigerator. I
learned in a day or less not to interfere. I don’t buy ingredients she isn’t
interested in using, for instance.
In the beginning we ate a lot of wraps. I’ve become an
excellent wrap wrapper. Kale goes into the pan first, some green pepper, some broccoli—whatever
is in the fridge. Some spices. Some protein. This goes on a wrap, on a little
plate, which is bigger than the wrap, when the wrap is wrapped. Always good,
After the breaking in period, I made a couple of attempts to
steer nutrition. A vegetable with the mac and cheese, for instance. She does
not bake mac and cheese (“the macaroni sucks up all the cheese! Yuck.”) Most dishes seem to be served in a bowl. Even
spaghetti. Convenience, I suppose. I generally find vegetables incorporated in
the dish being served in a bowl. Kale in the mac and cheese, for example.
Laura is a solitary cooker. I don’t mince fine enough or
chop well enough to be welcome, so I stay out, rather than be sent out.
Consequently, I can read the list and know what’s for dinner, but don’t see it
happening. The other night, before she called me, I heard something new. “I
should plate this.” Someone apparently watches cooking shows, too.