Archive for April, 2010

Korean Sushi: My Neighbor’s Kitchen

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I have the great, good fortune of living next door to a family that loves to cook and eat as much as I do. They’ve introduced me to Korean cooking. Most recently, I walked into their kitchen to see kimbap (also spelled kimbop and gimbap) under construction from a pot of cooked, seasoned rice, sheets of nori, and long-thin slices of English cucumber, chicken sausage, imitation crab, and fermented daikon radish.

With daughter Hailey nearby prepping the ingredients, the mom, Mary, smoothed the sheet of seaweed, nori, on a bamboo rolling mat.  Then she added a helping of rice seasoned with sesame oil, green onion, and rice vinegar.

 

I took small bites of the kimbap slice. “You must eat it all in one bite,” came the instruction: Mary, Hailey, Dolan, and Jada demonstrated. I did the same with my cheeks bulging, chewing all the way.  Delicious!

Garden-in-Progress-1

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

My sixth garden is underway. The first two yielded not much, each lasting a season. By the third, I had years to make a garden that satisfied me and pleased visitors. The first year of Garden #3, I gardened with a friend who had big dreams for a vegetable garden. For the next seven years, I planted and tended mostly flowers, both perennials and annuals, and had a few tomato and pepper plants. I hauled barrels full of free processed cattle manure from the nearby ag university to my very dense, clay soil. I left that enriched, created garden reluctantly. For the fourth garden, I was confined to a small townhouse plot,

my request to expand voted down by the townhouse committee, many of whom voted for more rock landscaping at every opportunity and a minimum of green plants. This I remedied by moving to a small house with gorgeous chocolate-cake-like soil about five blocks from the Missouri River.

After another seven seasons I left this well-developed garden, again reluctantly. Too bad such things are impossible to transport, even if you take a few cuttings along with the move.

I think of the current garden, Garden #6 in a longer time frame. My gardens mark not quite all the major moves of my adult life. I’d like to stay put now, relieved that my footloose ways are calmed and my hummingbird heart has found a perch.

My mom’s good friend from childhood gardens this year, knowing that she’ll have hip-replacement surgery in the fall. In her early 80s, she doesn’t want to miss a summer of gardening. I understand. Neither do I!

“Whew!”

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

One of my goals with this blog is to examine how we age and how we might age better. My life is a useful laboratory for this pursuit. I’ve begun to notice most of my peers have graying hair, as well as aches and pains. My mom has a birthday this week, her 83rd. She lives near me in her own comfortable apartment in a senior complex. She’s moved from her home, from her community, had to stop driving, and has several non-life threatening but limiting health concerns. It takes some adjustment for this independent, strong-minded, creative woman to adjust to life on a different scale.

She comes to stay at my house a couple times a month for a day or two. On Sunday evening, we returned to her complex about 8:30 pm, after celebrating Easter. There was a steady stream of cars to both entrances at the complex. I commented, almost to myself, “Everybody is bringing Grandma home after Easter.”

Mom riffed without missing a beat and sighed, “Whew!” We laughed together, I ruefully. I often leave her feeling both relieved and wary of what comes next. She remembers her own leave-taking of her aging father, her great aunts, and elder friends.

I pulled up in front of her building, moving ahead a little because a minivan was closing in behind me. An impatient voice called out from the vehicle for me to move ahead. I asked her to wait just a minute while I got the walker and Mom got out of the car and in the clear. Pulling ahead would have taken me to the curb and made Mom’s steps with the walker more difficult.

After I parked the car, the minivan family was unloading their elder.  Mom turned around and waved at the elder woman, a friend of hers who is confined to a wheel chair. May have been a challenging day for that family.

Sometimes we laugh.  Sometimes we snap.