Ramble: I Miss You Mom

I haven’t posted for a while because my Mom was in and out of the hospital in the last month, and on January 16 she peacefully passed away. Free at last from the many years of struggle with her health. 

It is strange how we create a routine out of the obligations of life. A pattern is shaped from necessity and reluctantly overlaid. Eight years ago my father died, and my mom asked me to come see her more often. At first it was every other week. Somewhere in there it became a weekly visit. Usually on a Saturday, I’d be up by 6am and on my way. The 2-hour drive a quiet pleasant meditation through lovely Ontario country-side. A stop for a coffee. Sometimes a pause for walk on a trail.
I’d stop at the grocery store along the way and get what was needed, And arrive at my Mom’s usually before 9AM. We would have breakfast, discuss what was new and news, make a to-do list of what needed doing, Check the sump-pump, change the filters, light-bulbs, garden, lawn…whatever. Somewhere in there the PSW would arrive and help my mom with her personal care.
Then my mom and I would have lunch, and we’d cook something extra for the fridge and freezer. Sometimes we would bake – tea biscuits, cake, cookies – so my mom would have goodies to offer her many guests through the week. Her local church/community was simply amazing for how they took turns visiting her each evening.
Sometimes I’d stay for dinner, but usually by 4 pm I’d be heading back on the trek back the other way to my own home. Back to my own to-do list that was waiting for me.
Yes there were times I would feel trapped by the pattern of obligation. Times I just felt too tired, too overwhelmed…
And still I would go – maybe shifting the visit to a Monday…
I am not writing this to grumble and brag. I did what I did because I was available and I could. It was my choice. I am writing this because it became such a part of my life that today, this morning, In this here and now of quiet reflection, I realize and I feel the empty space that is here and now. It feels odd not planning a shopping list, gathering the tools to bring, creating a menu, finding a recipe…
I am writing not to say what I did, but to say how much it is missed. 

Poem: Desire

Want and desire are two different things;
Want is the fire that makes my heart sing.
Wanton desire is the hunger inside,
Waning and waxing but never denied.

You are the diamond bright catching my eye;
You are hard sunlight sparking my rise.
I would impale you between my cold sheets,
Making my bed burn crescendo complete.

How long can this last here in this moment?
Two bodies co-mingling naked enjoyment.
There is no time for any deep thinking
Just acting and being and deeply doing.

I never asked and you never said yes;
Yet here we both are completely undressed.
Skin calling out to be touched in sweet sin;
Too late to say no – I’m already in.

There’s no denying the size of our want.
Open up, let your soul meet want with want.
There now feel the tangled quivering shiver;
We are one, we are joined, we are forever.

Want and desire are two different things;
Want is the fire that makes our heart sing.
Wanton desire is the hunger inside,
Waning and waxing but never denied.

Poem: Be

I wrote this nearly two years ago – and you know what it is one of the more awesome things I have ever written! So here for an encore read is the Poem: Be

I
be
me

leaf
be
leaf
be
life
belief

be lithe
be light
be right
be wrong

be all
day long
be along
and still
belong

be one
be two
be free
be you
be us

belay
be lead
bleed
bled

don’t let it get
inside your head

be up
be down
be square
be round

bee
be a
bee
buzz
away

life is lived
until we’re dead
be alive
be unafraid
be whatever
you want today

just be
and be
and be
some more
then be away
so happily
on your way
to being free.

Source: Poem: Be

Garden: Herbs – Chives

Allium schoenoprasum in NH 01.jpg
Allium schoenoprasum in NH 01” by Captain-tucker – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

When to Use:
Chives are best used fresh in recipes. Dried Chives may also be used will have a weaker flavour and less pleasing texture.

Best Compliments: eggs, fish, potatoes, salads, shellfish, sole, soups

Chives are normally snipped and sprinkled on food just before serving for seasoning.

Fresh chives may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. Chives freeze well, cut chives with scissors rinse in cool water and dry before placing in freezer bags.

Substitutions: 1 teaspoon chopped green onion tops = 1 tablespoon chopped chives

When to Plant
In early spring as soon as ground is workable. Chives are perennials so once planted will normally come back on their own in the spring.

How to Grow
Chives grow best in full sun or semi-shade. A reasonably fertile soil is required. Chives do fairly well indoors in pots or planters in bright windows. Plant seeds 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart and 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep. Thin when seedlings are 3 inches (8 cm) high to be about 12 inches (30 cm) apart. Chives will spread into clumps if allowed to grow over the years. Chives transplant well.

Harvesting
Chives are perennials and can be harvested as soon as stems appear.

Home and Garden Tips
If you allow chives to go to flower (large purple flowers) the plant will seed itself quite happily! To prevent over-spreading pick off the flowers before they go to seed. The flowers can be eaten in same way as the green stems – and have a similar flavour. You can also rinse the chive flowers in a cool water bath (to remove bugs and dirt!) then shake dry and stuff into a jar. Heat white vinegar until bathwater warm (but not hot – we don’t want to scald the flowers) and pour the vinegar over the flowers. Place plastic wrap over the jar mouth before sealing with the lid. Now place the jar in cool dark spot for 2 weeks or so and forget about it! When you remember the jar strain the vinegar into a clean glass jar. The vinegar should have a lovely light chive flavour, and a delicate purplish tinge. Use in place of ordinary vinegar when making salads.

Garden: Herbs – Basil

“Basil-Basilico-Ocimum basilicum-albahaca” by Castielli – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basil-Basilico-Ocimum_basilicum-albahaca.jpg#/media/File:Basil-Basilico-Ocimum_basilicum-albahaca.jpg

When to Use:
Basil is best used fresh in recipes. Dried Basil may be used but it does have a weaker flavour.

Best Compliments: cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, lamb, liver, olive oil, onions, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, salads, shellfish, soups, sweet peppers, tomatoes, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini, tomato sauce

In general, it should be added at the last moment, as cooking will destroy the flavour.

The fresh basil can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer. To store in the freezer blanch the herb quickly in boiling water, remove excess water by gently shaking and patting with a clean dish towel.

Substitutions: 1 teaspoon dried basil = 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil = 1 tablespoon chopped fresh summer savory;
1 teaspoon dried basil = replace with 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, oregano, thyme or tarragon (adding more if necessary)

When to Plant
After all danger of frost. Generally mid-May to early June

How to Grow
Basil grows in full sun or semi-shade. A moderately fertile soil is all that is required. Basil does well in pots or planters and so can be started indoors before being moved outside. Plant seeds 1/2 inch (12 mm) apart and 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep. After seedlings emerge and get first leaves, thin to about 6-8 inches apart (15-20 cm).

Harvesting
Basil can be harvested as soon as leaves appear – start with the young plants from thinning, then pinch leaves as required. Basil does well at new growth on plants.

Home and Garden Tips
To dry basil (or other herbs). When blossoms begin to open, take cuttings during the early morning. Rinse leaves under cool water and discard any damaged leaves. Tie the cuttings with string and hang upside down in the kitchen (or another indoor spot) in an area that is cool and dry and out of sunlight. If you have the room you can also create a drying screen and place in a well-ventilated cool, dry and dark area of your home.
Once dry remove the thicker stems and store the leaves in airtight bottles for later use.