Long day, cozy evening


It’s cozy in the cottage—the Christmas tree and its lights are at last gone, but my electric candles burn bravely on the coffee table, my tiny fake fireplace offers an orange glow. The bulb in the one lamp that burns night and day was once harsh white, but I have replaced it with one with a soft, rosy glow. With the overhead lights off, the feeling is one of coziness, as though I’m snug in my comfort place.

The family is out for the night. Jacob doing whatever sixteen-year-old boys do when they’re not doing homework—I don’t ask anymore—and his parents gone to the rodeo for Bulls Night Out. When my children were little and then later when the grands were little, going to the rodeo was a family annual big event. We’d tour the barns in the day and then go to the carnival grounds for the kids to ride the rides. I can still see Jacob bravely coming down a huge slide all alone, while the others had a parent with them. Dinner at the sort of mess hall place that Coulter’s Catering always offered, and then the rodeo. And late at night we’d take home sleepy children.

I loved those days, but somewhere along the way I lost my taste for rodeo. First it was the bull riding. I heard one too many stories about young men killed or permanently disabled by riding a bull, and I just flat did not want to see it. With the rest of the family happily in their bleacher seats, I’d slip out and wait in the concourse. But that aversion to bull riding gradually spread and became an aversion to all the rodeo contests, while I decided the inter-act entertainment wasn’t really that entertaining. By then, the family schedules were too busy for them to come to Fort Worth for the weekend, and the tradition sort of fell apart.

But not for Christian and Jordan—Christian often entertains clients at the rodeo, and Jordan goes with him some of the time.

For me, it’s been a long day of intense work on my Helen Corbitt manuscript. I am re-reading, chapter by chapter, looking for errors and places to expand. I’m actually enjoying the process a great deal, and I hope the enthusiasm continues. Last night, working late into the night, I uncovered the names, birth and death dates of her parents, and death date and lifetime residence of her only brother. The State of New York has an odd way of classifying communities according to the governmental body that administers social services—so they have hamlets, villages, towns, etc. I discovered that some of the places the Corbitt family lived were unincorporated hamlets within villages or towns, so that accounts for confusing information about that town they were in. I am now up to a chapter that moves temporarily away from Helen to the food trends of the fifties and sixties—material I find fascinating, because I still like to cook those dishes.

I’ve also been collecting trivia as I go through the day. This morning, a banner on the TV screen alerted me that the TODAY show was featuring dinners with five simple ingredients. I was all prepared to be excited, but the first meal began with a ribeye steak. Well, shoot! I could cook five-ingredient gourmet meals every night of the week if my budget allowed for ribeye steaks for four. As it is, I ordered cube steak for four today and was blown away by the price. Hesitated, but finally purchased it. Central Market disappointed however by sending me phyllo for puff pastry—I do not want to mess with buttering layers of phyllo dough—and a huge Napa cabbage instead of bok choy. I’ll split the cabbage with a friend.

When I wrote a few days ago about the Missouri Legislature passing a bill requiring women to wear long sleeves and blazers or cardigans or some other kind of second layers, a friend in Missouri wrote that he was quite sure it wouldn’t pass. His senator was, he said, doing a good job of controlling the extreme right. Oops! They passed it buried in their rules bill. It’s an affront to women and an early step toward the kind of authoritarian control of women that is being so bravely confronted in Iran.

For cozy mystery readers, another outrageous note: I saw a mystery with an intriguing title: Of Mushrooms and Matrimony, featuring sleuth Tish Tarragon. Okay, the sleuth’s name is a bit too clever, but I thought I’d order sample pages—until I saw that the Kindle version of the book is $25.00. What is that author thinking?

Finally, my favorite online columnist wrote last night that it was a quiet day and she was going to sign off without a column in order to gather strength for whatever is coming. That was the way I felt last night too and also tonight, so I’m signing off. These dedicated workdays don’t provide a lot to chat about. Know that when I don’t post, I miss talking to you.

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