I’ve determined that I am a beach bum. The beach is my happy place be it the height of summer or the dead of winter. There is something calming about the sound of the waves and sand between my toes. It is a place where I can “hear myself think”. Given the Zombie Apocalypse of 2020, I’m finding it to be my remote work refuge. A place to contemplate and work and, better yet, the view is amazing!
With the upcoming holiday, I am setting the week aside as vacation. It’s time for some pleasure reading, beach walking, and general out of office time. I’m packing the beach bag with goldfish for a snack, my kindle loaded with beach reads, my iPod with audiobooks and a playlist and I’ve ordered a case of sunscreen from Amazon.
2020 beach reading list (no reviews as I’m just set to start my reading binge)
- Feels Like Falling, Kristy Woodson Harvey
- Hello Summer, Mary Kay Andrews
- Chanel’s Rivera,Anne de Courcey
- Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan
- Drawing Home, Jamie Brenner
2020 audiobook playlist (no reviews as I’ve just started listening and walking)
- The Summer House, James Patterson
- The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel
- Firing Point, Tom Clancy
- Resistance Women, Jennifer Chiaverini
- All the Ways We Said Goodbye, Beatriz Williams
- True Evil, Greg Iles
Packing list for the beach bag
- Sunscreen – 30 and 50. My go to is Coola but I couldn’t find the unscented this year so I’m opting for Supergoop.
- Beach towel – I’m still using monogrammed bath sheets I ordered from Neiman’s years ago but I keep eyeing the ones from Weezie. I love their makeup towels.
- Tech – iPod, kindle and AirPod Pro (the pro are amazing at noise reduction. I highly recommend)
- Cooler with drinks and a spray bottle of Evian to cool you down
Growing up summer at the beach included egg salad sandwiches for lunch. I have fond memories of Mom boiling eggs and turning them into deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. She knew they were a favorite we shared. Egg salad, chips and a coke and lunch was served. I have so many fond memories of those lunches. White sandy beaches, heat, heat, humidity and fun.
Although I never thought about it, the egg salad seemed to be seasonal. The sandwiches would start appearing after Easter and end sometime after Labor Day. These days I look forward to my egg salad at the Masters. There is something about their version of the egg salad sandwich that takes me back to Mom’s. I’ve been trying to decode their recipe for years now. Today as I mixed my egg salad for sandwiches on the beach, I finally came close!
One dozen eggs – hard boiled and dumped into an ice bath to make pealing easy.
Peel eggs, slice and mash
Add salt and pepper to taste
Mix in 1/4 of mayo to start, add additional as needed. I used lite mayo,
Add a tablespoon of mustard. I used Frenches
Spread on bread of your choice and enjoy!
Last weekend I happened across one of those tv shows on organization. I was intrigued. I am always looking for tips to better organize my life; so I thought, why not? I confess this particular show merely stressed me out. In fairness there were good tips but I couldn’t get past the basic disaster of the house. More than anything it made me think of my Mom. I know there is the old saying that as you grow up you become your parent. In this case, I think I’m proud of that. My Mom had a beautiful home always perfectly maintained, her own business that she impeccably ran, as well as filling the role of mother and wife of fifty plus years. In the days where women are supposed to have it all and do it all, she did and made it seem effortless. It’s made me ask the question of how did she do it all? It’s not like she was exhausted or gave up her own life. She did do it all. So how? I think the secret is in the rules she imposed as I grew up. So Mom’s rules –
- Make your bed when you get out of it in the morning. It only takes a second and it is done for the day.
- Where is the item’s home? It is easier to put [name whatever it is – laundry, dishes, books, paper] it in its proper place the first time rather than moving it multiple times. Another variation on this rule is where does it live? Everything should have its proper place and be put in it before you go to bed at night.
- Hang up your towels.
- Dirty laundry in the hamper.
- Hang up your clothes when you take them off.
- Fold the laundry as you take it out of the dryer. It has less wrinkles that way. For those things that you only partially dry, alter this rule to fold the laundry when dry.
- Leave the room straight when you are finished for the day. That means everything back where it came from with dishes in the dishwasher, blankets folded and put away, remotes in their proper place.
- Deal with mail when you take it out of the mailbox.
- Have a clean sink when you go up to bed or no dirty dishes in the sink.
- If it does not fit or you never wear it, donate it to someone who can use it.
These are the rules Mom imposed on our daily life. It worked for her and it seems to work for me. Are there rules that you live by that permit you to organize your life?
I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day a lot over the past few days. I’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with my Mom. She is fantastic. She’s also not doing so well theses days. On some days she knows me and other days, well, I try not to focus on those visits. As I’ve been contemplating this Mother’s Day, I’ve reflected on all the gifts she’s bestowed on me.
Education, a keen sense of right and wrong, confidence in her own voice, the ability to love deeply, cherish family and friends, and a deep and abiding faith are those gifts. I am also aware of those things that I hold special about her that she would wave away. Her ability to laugh and enjoy the moment. Her sense of fashion. When I look at pictures of her I see a beautiful and accomplished woman. In today’s Me too environment, I am struck by the rich life she gave me by surrounding me with strong, independent women. Women who navigated the challenges of their time with panache. These women passed along stories of successes and failure with chins held high and occasionally a few tears but always a sense of self. While equality should be the standard in the work place, much work remains to be done. This is something all women should remember. Pay it forward and have the courage to reject that which should be rejected.
From my Mom and these women I’ve had the courage to try and fail, pick myself up and try again. So tonight I raise a glass of wine and toast my Mom, Godmother, Grandmothers, Cousins, mentors, and friends and say thank you! Thank you for bestowing upon me the ability to reach for the stars and pick myself up when my reach is not long enough.
As Thanksgiving approaches I have food on the mind. Food, friends, family and memories all neatly come together for me recalling wonderful times in the kitchen and around the table. The other night I was thinking about comfort food. That favorite dish that you love no matter the calorie count. I noticed that my comfort foods all seem to be cheese related. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a side of chips were a classic Mother/Daughter lunch growing up. I don’t think I will ever forget watching Perry Mason re-runs on the tv with Mom while eating a grilled cheese. To this day I love Perry Mason and tend to flash back on those wonderful lunches with her. Her vegetable soup and homemade chili are on the list and tended to have grilled cheese sandwiches served with the soup. To my list I’d also add mac-N-cheese, deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, the potato chip, Granddad’s cheese straws and, last but not least a cheese soufflé.
My grandmother made this wonderful cheddar cheese soufflé for “ladies lunch”. Where my Mom related comfort food is soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, with Grandmom, it is a cheese soufflé. At my request, she dutifully passed along the recipe. As a novice cook in my first year of law school, I attempted to prepare my first soufflé. It was a disaster. I needed to back up and learn some cooking basics, like making a white sauce. My next attempt was slightly more successful thanks to coaching by Mom on some of the finer points of cooking. Over the years I’ve mastered my soufflé recipe and even branched out to include variations on the original recipe. I can now do a Roquefort cheese variation that is to die for.
Yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a cheese soufflé that was on the menu at Cognac in the City. Wow, it was beautiful as well as delicious. I think the bar has been set again. Their soufflé was poofy and airy and delicious. Taller than any I’ve ever coaxed out of the oven. I’m not certain what the secret is but I’m going back to the kitchen and I may see if I can find a re-run of Perry to keep me company. Grandmom has been gone since I graduated from law school but there are moments I feel her around and she may even decide to pop in to keep me company. Back to that food, family, and friends theme!