–at home, currently reading “Someone: A Novel”, by Alice McDermott
Just as we settle into one way of living, opportunity knocks…and my better half is off to the (rat) races again. That rat.
Which means that we’re taking a month-long hiatus from retirement … with me living home alone in the core of a busy city… and he, at some faraway solitary hotel surrounded by sand dunes and the Persian Gulf. Early reports inform that there is nothing to do there. Nothing around for miles…except for a few shops. Alas, a shopper he is not.
To my way of thinking, it seems my darling husband has drawn the short straw this time around, no matter which way the straw is sliced… whether in comparison to other business destinations he’s traveled to… or whether the other slice consists of staying home with me. What will be interesting to learn… is whether or not said short straw is the last straw… that is, whether this straw is enough to break the camel’s back of all future business travel. I can only confess that I’m glad I’m here… rather than there… even though it means that we will be apart for thirty-one days, by the time our scotched retiring days resume.
It amazes me, in a way, to think that it wasn’t that long ago that my husband always had some business trip up his starched sleeve. Why it wasn’t unusual for him to be away one week out of every month. While I can’t say I ever liked his being away, I was always content to remain home rather than accompany him. Even when he visited the likes of Thailand and Beijing and Hong Kong, I was glad to stay behind.
In former days, there were good reasons to remain home. There were children to raise. Then there was my taxing career … those heavy reading and writing and arithmetic riddled days of international tax consulting. In later days, there were a host of time-consuming volunteer activities. And later still, the flimsier excuses of my gardening and home remodeling projects.
In other words, I had no true interest in joining him on his business travels. I knew that I’d be on my own much of the time — since he’d be tied up with business during the days… and many evenings, too. And since my past experiences with traveling solo proved to be more exciting in theory than in practice… it was easy to stay home.
Travel disorients me. So much so that I once disembarked a Swiss train at the wrong place and time… and ended up admonishing myself for almost an hour, while lugging heavy bags and walking the tracks to the next station in hopes of getting back on track. Then there was the time I was persuaded to take a “private” taxi cab out of La Guardia one cold wintry night, realizing too late I was not traveling in a licensed cab at all. Even now, I can recall that feeling of tremendous relief when I arrived at my hotel alive and all in one piece… even with my sense of peace shattered in pieces.
I could go on…. but why humiliate myself? Suffice it to say that Rick Steves would never hire me. And that without my husband beside me as tour guide and companion, I’m fairly certain that I’d never have dared to traveled to most of the places he and I’ve been privileged to experience together. Italy. Ireland. Australia. New Zealand. Alaska. England. Paris, more than once. Greece… later this year.
But as I write these thoughts, I see that maybe there is no long straw to be had… this time around. There is only short… and shorter. Because home feels less like home without my husband’s presence. And, though wonderfully busy by day, life at home these last few evenings makes me feel as if I, too, am off living in a foreign land.
Enough with writing (or is it whining?) about short straws and solo travels in foreign places….and time to offer a bit of redeeming space for a recipe for my husband’s favorite butterscotch cream pie. No short straws with this lovely pie … no matter how it’s sliced.
Butterscotch Cream Pie3 cups milk 2 egg yolks 1/3 cup cornstarch, scant a tsp. 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 tsp salt 2/3 cup butterscotch chips, softened in microwave* 1/2 tsp vanilla 2 Tbsp butter 9 inch baked pastry shell
Mix eggs yolks and milk in a bowl and set aside. Soften chips in microwave — medium setting for 70 plus seconds, until creamy when stirred. In a large sauce pan, mix all dry ingredients with a whisk. Stir in milk and eggs. Mix well and heat on medium high heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken in 5 to 7 minutes. When thickened, add vanilla, butter and softened butterscotch, stirring constantly. When completely mixed, pour into baked pie shell. Serve with whipped cream. Keep leftovers refrigerated.
*Note: I use Guittard Butterscotch Chips
Good to read your words, I always enjoy the way you tell a story. Maybe during your month alone we (Christi, Jane, you and I) could have lunch together. I miss our lunches, miss seeing and visiting with you. I have An Affair of the Heart Feb. 7-9, maybe the week following my show would work.
The pie looks delicious.
I enjoy reading your words as well, Judy. It sounds as if we regard each other’s posts as we once enjoyed that occasional personal correspondence buried in magazines and bills in our mailboxes.
Lunch always sounds good. Sis may drive up on her birthday… if weather plays nice… so I look forward to the possibility of her company. With Jane in the classroom everyday, I think the next time she’s available for weekday lunch is President’s Day. Maybe the three of you can put your heads and calendars together at Bunko…. I’ll give Sis mine when I see her.
And by the way…. this pie is delicious. Following in his father’s footsteps, Bryan announced last Friday night that he thought butterscotch pie was his favorite of all that I make!
That rat….sounds like an excuse for another “retirement party”. 🙂
You know, Wynona,… that retirement party on the high seas was wonderful. To think, it was only a year ago, next week, that the wheels of planning began to turn. Litha’s birthday card…. remember?
I’ll always regard that celebration good enough to repeat any time or place… but as I said at the time… I thought it so good… that we need never repeat it since it was goodness to last a lifetime.
Speaking of planning… I can imagine wedding festivity plans are in full force with you in the center of them.
And speaking of birthdays…. forgive me for forgetting yours.
Wish you were just down the block. I really need to begin walking….
All those pies, you know?
Nice to see you! Of all the places I wouldn’t want to be, for a variety of reasons, your beloved hubby is in one that’s near the top of the list. Tell him the next job he takes needs to be in a place with lovely scenery, good shopping, nice bookstores and great bistros. Provence, maybe.
One thing you should do if you haven’t is see “August: Osage County”. Arti’s just reviewed it, and she’s not as enthusiastic as I am. I’ve seen it, and intend to go back this weekend and see it again. It’s a terrific film, and while the critics nitpick about this or that, I experienced is as both realistic and ultimately hopeful – and the play/screenplay’s terrific.
I’m at home this morning myself, and probably for the whole day. Ice is the issue. Most elevated surfaces in Houston ( which is to say, most of our freeway system ) has iced over. It’s still raining and icing and sitting at about 30 degrees, so it’s going to take a few hours for this mess to clear out. We should be dry by tonight, with the roads clear.
It’s so cold now that there’s sea smoke over the lake. It’s a nice consolation prize for not getting the snow that fell only two hours north. Our window for real winter weather is closing – at least we got this.
Not only does that pie sound good, that crust looks fabulous. If that’s yours, I’ll have a second piece, just for the crust.
You’re right, Linda. The south of France would be a lovely place to visit… and I found August:Osage Country laugh-out-loud hilarious…like you, I appreciated it more than the critics…though I found Arti’s review more than fair.
My husband passed through IAH on his journey east on Monday. Texted me how spring had arrived in Houston, since it had welcomed him with mid-seventies. But with your report of ice, I guess Monday’s weather was a preview of good weather to come. Spring was always my favorite season on the Gulf Coast…
I am off to the movie theater, soon…. I’m thinking of seeing “Her”…or
“Wolf of Wall Street” or “Dallas Buyers Club.” All are on my list… just a matter of timing of which I see first.
Loved your description .. “sea smoke over the lake.” Sounds like a good title for a collection of short stories.
You can be so productive staying at home like this, baking, blogging, book reviewing. I’m glad that now you can have some time on your own to do whatever you like, eat junk food (that’s what i do when mine is away:) ) Also, I’d like to let you know the ripple effect of your blog posts. You once shared about the book The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. Now I’m listening to it. What a thought-provoking work. I haven’t finished but it reminds me of Camus’ The Outside.
Just got back from seeing Spike Jonze’s her. One word: Amazing. As I was leaving the theater, I thought, ‘I must see if Arti has seen this film.” And here you are…
There are so few films or novels that I feel the desire to experience more than once… And today, I’ve had that “rewind, rewind” feeling twice. First with Alice McDermott’s Someone: A Novel… and second with the film her. Odd that both are titled with pronouns.
Of course, The Moviegoer fell into that rare “once-is-not-enough” category also. I’m hoping it’s a southern voice reading the novel… If the experience doesn’t culminate in a review, I’d be interested in hearing what you think after you’ve reached the end.
Truly… the best art leaves me speechless.
I’ve seen Her but haven’t written up a review yet. I’m thinking that I might want to see it again before I write. I’ve seen almost all the Oscar nominees except Wolf on Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club. I just might pass on them.
I’ll look forward to your review, then. I’m still thinking about her. It’s difficult to convey why I walked out of the theater thinking it the best film I’d seen in quite some time.
I also have a few nominated films left to see between now and the Oscars. Hoping to catch 12 Years a Slave on Sunday… if winter weather allows… … and Philomena and Nebraska later on in the month… rather than drive twenty minutes to see them, I”m hoping they’ll screen on a theater closer to me. I’m lucky to have two nice theaters within minutes of my home. The films have all been so different. But good. Worthy of nomination. But her is the only one I would like to see again. Too bad we can’t go together. You know, I was the only one sitting in that theater yesterday.
I know you’d probably like to see the movies before reading a review. But just to let you have the links to mine whenever you feel like reading them, your thoughts are much appreciated, as always. Here are my posts on 12 Years A Slave and Nebraska. Both I gave 4/4 Ripples.
Yes… You’re right. I’ll drop by soon. Good to see your 4 ripple ratings on both.