Monday, December 4, 2023

More Holiday Slog

I really should have worked harder at making photos yesterday. . . but I didn't, so I'll just post another piece of the C.S. Advent Calendar for you.  I'm just kinda stuck with it at this point.  I have images in my camera that I haven't downloaded yet, but I haven't any time to work on them now as I have an early morning therapy session.  So you get Creepy Elf Delivering the Goods.  

I wanted to get out early with my cameras yesterday, but I wasn't feeling very well.  It was one of those mornings where the earth is tilted wrong so that your feet aren't quite sure what is level and what is not.  My body vibrated and buzzed and I thought that this was it. . . I was surely done for.  But not being a quitter (yet), I eventually made my camera and lens decision and headed out the door.  I drove.  It was gray.  There was no good light to be found.  That is, they say, going to be what winter is like here in the sunny south.  That is bad for me.  My psyche is weather dependent.  But I drove on through a seemingly peopleless world on a Sunday morning.  I drove under a mass of interstate and toll road crossings high above, and decided to park in a far off field and walk back to take some abstracts.  The world was still tilted, my body still buzzed.  I made the photos and my way back to the car.  I decided to drive through downtown Gotham.  There was no light.  The streets were dead.  Even the farmer's market on the lake was barren.  I decided I needed to exercise.  I also needed a grocery store run.  I was making seafood stew for my dear old mom and me as our Sunday dinner.  

After the grocers, I chopped up--o.k., you can try this at home--1.5 russet potatoes, eight smallish carrots, one yellow onion, and most of a small stalk of celery.  I put this in a two gallon pot and added salt and pepper, then poured in a Swanson's container of chicken broth.  To that I added a bottle of cheap Chablis.  I sat the pot on the stove and brought it to a boil while I got dressed for going to the half mile exercise course.  You don't have to do that part, though.  I turned down the heat on the pot so that it would stay hot but not boil.  

I walked the half mile course four times doing push ups, sit ups, squats, and rows along with some of my therapy exercises.  I even walked backwards and sidestep.  The world axis began to shift back into place.  My body was buzzing, but with exertion, not with uncertain death.  Two miles later, I was done and feeling my normal self. . . whatever.  

Back home, I turned the heat back up on the vegetables and added a 32 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and a small can of tomato sauce.  Then I added an 8 oz bottle of clam juice.  I took a soak in the tub and then a shower.  I had called my mother before I went to the exercise course, both on her home phone and on her cell, but I got no answer.  I called again.  Same thing.  It was three.  At three thirty I called her again.  Nothing.  I had written her an email in the morning but she did not write back as she usually does.  I was getting worried.  I made a Campari and sat on the deck.  I called again.  Nothing.  I was getting the fear.  I thought about all the horrible things that might have happened.  I played through many scenarios in my head.  I decided I had better go to her house and check.  Still. . . I cut up 1.5 pounds of cod and put it in the pot.  I added half a pound of peeled shrimp and half a pound of scallops.  I topped this with Old Bay Seasoning.  

I let this boil for just a few seconds, then I cut the flame. In a bit, I wrapped the pot in a towel and took it to the car.  Crusty bread and a bottle of wine.  

When I started the car, the phone rang.  It was my mother.  

"Where have you been?  I've been calling you since noon."

"I've just been sitting outside.  I didn't have my phone."

It was a quick transition from sad to pissed.  But she was O.K. and I had a gallon and a half of seafood stew ready to eat.  

And brothers and sisters, I am here to testify--that meal was wonderful.  You try it, too.  But it is important to remember, DO NOT ADD WATER!  Just use broth and wine.  The entire bottle.  The alcohol will burn off, of course.  Not as much as I thought, but it will.  And you won't believe the flavor.  However, my gallon and a half of stew cost $74.66.  You'd really have to charge a lot per bowl for that.  

After dinner, my mother and I sat outside.  The neighbor with whom we had Thanksgiving dinner came over.  

"I was just talking to my daughter.  She's going to come for Christmas and she is inviting a bunch of her friends over.  I don't know what is wrong with her, but she invited her father, too.  She said she wants you to come for dinner.'

"Your daughter said she wants ME to come to dinner?"

"Yes, she wants you and your mom."

"Weird.  I've only met her once."

"She likes the way you talk."


"Would you like to try my seafood stew?  My mother and I just finished dinner and there is plenty left."

"Sure I would."

I gave her a big bowl, enough for her and her husband, to take home.  

"Is this the daughter from Tennessee or Florida?"


"She's the one with the little hiker guy?"

He's a rich guy who thinks he's something and likes to tell you about it.  

She laughed, "Yea."

Both of her daughters are married to wealthy, pompous guys who like to talk.  Both of her daughters are pretty, and I think both of her daughters liked me.  I mean in an intriguing way.  I can't help it, you know.  I'm just a devil that way.  

I told my mother that I might take my camera out to the Boulevard.  There would be no one there on a Sunday night.  That was my thought then, but driving home, I knew I wouldn't.  I was just lazy now and wouldn't want to leave the house.

I've a full day today.  I take my mother back to the DMV this afternoon.  Another trip to the interior of America.  But I will be free after that, and maybe I'll go out and make new pictures.  That would be something given what I have spent.  Yes, maybe I should try to justify that expense.  

Another cloudy day, dreary overcast.  The entire week, they say.  And so. . . I slog on through the holiday season, among the throng but not of the throng.  


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