2004-11-09 15:38:39 (UTC)

A Quiet Day

I am grateful for cell phones. John knows I worry when he's
late or traveling. He called me several times when he went
into Junction City and Eugene yesterday morning, not for any
specific reason, just to tell me some small thing or ask a
question he already knew the answer to, but I knew and he
knew it was to reassure me he was fine. Before he left for
class in the evening he told me he was going to gas up the
truck in Albany before coming home. He called at 7:30 p.m.
to tell me he was leaving town and would be home by eight.
And he was.

Jack is very, very lucky he was not an only child. I would
never have let him go off to college three thousand miles
away from home at the age of 16 if he hadn't had those three
little brothers. I was always like a mother hen, wanting to
gather my brood of children around me. I know I was
probably over-protective but if there hadn't been four of
them it would have been much worse.
I'm making my shopping list for later in the week and it's
obvious from the list that the holidays are coming.
Cinnamon. Peppermint extract. Slivered almonds. Boxes of
golden raisins. Candied cherries. Flaked coconut. Mincemeat.

One ambitious Christmas season, when the boys were all
ravenous teenagers, I made a thousand cookies. They and
their friends would swarm into the kitchen, one getting out
glasses from the cupboard, another the gallon jug of milk,
and the rest would get out the boxes of cookies. They'd
bring everything to the kitchen table and sit there,
chattering and laughing and dunking. They were good boys,
putting everything away when they were done, leaving only
quiet and a few crumbs on the table.

This year I'll probably bake just a few hundred cookies and
only our favorites. Little mincemeat turnovers. Snowballs.
Butter cookies with candied cherries. Macaroons. And I'll
make the two cakes I make every holiday season. A rich
chocolate sheet cake with peppermint flavored chocolate
frosting decorated with crushed peppermint candies for
Christmas Eve and a three-layer, lemon filled white cake
with seven minute icing, decorated with flaked coconut and
toasted slivered almonds for New Year's Eve. And then there
will be pies. The traditional pumpkin, pecan, mincemeat
custard and apple pies. I'll also make a few others--a
cherry, a blueberry, a sour cream raisin--just for a change
of pace. I'll make candies--chocolate covered cherries and
little chocolate covered peppermint patties and fudge. And,
finally, the fruitcakes. The light fruitcakes baked in tube
pans and the heavier, dark ones baked in loaf pans. These
goodies will be eaten at home, at community potlucks and at
family gatherings. They'll be handed out to friends and
carefully wrapped and mailed to relatives far away.
I made a fire in the fireplace this morning which made
everything more cheerful and warmer and then baked an
applesauce cake which made the house smell good. After
finishing the necessary housework and the laundry, I plan on
spending the rest of the day in my sewing room, quilting
and knitting and listening to music.
Sugar and Spice are quite elderly cats now. Sugar is twelve
and Spice is eleven. They both like to sleep in odd places
and every few days they find new ones. Lately Sugar has
been sleeping in the box of newspapers next to the fireplace
(he grumbles if we have to move him to get to the newspapers
to make a fire) and Spice has taken to sleeping under the
coffee table. Some of the places aren't convenient--in the
middle of the living room floor or in a doorway or in front
of the refrigerator, but they will not be denied. I've
moved them only to have them immediately get up and go back
to their favorite spot. I just have to be patient and wait
until they're ready to chose another place to sleep. I took
photographs of them last year and put them on my webshots
page ( if
you'd like to see them.
The garage door opener stopped working Saturday and after
examining it and determining it could not be repaired, John
bought a new one yesterday afternoon. He began installing
it but he had to go to class in the evening so he'll finish
it after work tonight. It's wonderful having a husband
who's handy at repairing and replacing things.
This is the recipe I used to make my applesauce cake. It's
from an old Fannie Farmer cookbook.

1 cup applesauce, sweetened or not
7/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted shortening or salad oil

Sift into a large bowl
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves

Add 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup nuts. Add the applesauce
mixture. Blend and spoon in a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake in a
preheated 350F degree oven for 35-40 minutes.