06 August 2006

happy birthday mom

she would have been 62 today.

been a weird day, and now i'd like to talk... but my husband is sacked out on the crouton (what we call the futon in our office, don't ask) behind me. he's the world's worst snorer. is that a word?

anyhow, the poor dear.. he left me the biggest pain in my ass piece of cookware we own: the mario batali super deep lasagna pan. the cook's illustrated that arrived on friday says the thing weighs eleven pounds EMPTY. i think my biceps have a nice pump on them at the moment.

i made macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight. best i've ever made i think. anyhoo, w/o further ado, here's the recipe:

5 T unsalted butter
5 T all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t freshly ground nutmeg
¼-½ t cayenne pepper
2 T dry white wine
1 qt half and half (you could use milk... make it whole milk tho)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb pasta (we used fusilli tonight, but anything corkscrewesque or even the old standby, elbows, would work), cooked slightly less than al dente
½ c bread crumbs
2 T butter, cut into small pats

preheat oven to 375°.

in a 4-5 qt deep sauce-type pan or dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. add the garlic, cayenne, and nutmeg and when fragrant, add the flour. stir frequently and allow to cook 2-3 mins. if it starts getting too brown, back off slightly on the heat. you're cooking out the raw taste of the flour. add the wine and whisk. next, add about 1-2 cups of the half and half, and whisk vigorously till incorporated. add the rest of the half and half and whisk well.

raise the heat a skosh, still whisking frequently, till your brand-new bechamel sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. kill the heat and in about 4 batches, add the cheese, whisking to incorporate each batch before adding another.

butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 or so casserole and pour the pasta into it. add the sauce and stir to combine. scatter the bread crumbs over the top and add the small pieces of butter. bake on the middle rack of your oven for 30-35 mins. if the top isn't brown enough for your liking, turn on the broiler and give it a couple of minutes.

remove from oven and allow to sit 15 min or so before serving.

we had that and a dark green salad for dinner. it was quite lovely.


01 August 2006

almost two weeks

since my last post.

i am w/o a doubt the worst blogger ever.

the funeral was last wednesday. mom wanted all the catholic rituals. the rosary the night before the funeral, and the mass and such. i gave the eulogy. we had barely gotten underway and the priest, a *father doug*, called me to the altar. i got about halfway through and choked up like a little bitch. i sucked it up and finished though, and afterward everyone was telling me what a good job i'd done.

i had an amazing mom. having plenty of great shit to say about her made writing the thing easy, but actually getting it out of my mouth was hella hard.

the thing that's got me weirded out the most is that i haven't totally lost my shit yet. i was at the doc (for something totally unrelated) last friday and we talked about what happened. she said sometimes there's a delayed reaction to a death when one has been an active caretaker. that it makes you a little hard, because you have to get a little hard to do what i'd been doing. i shouldn't beat myself up about not dissolving into a puddle of tears so soon afterwards. she wants to see me again in three months, both for the unrelated back problems and to check up on my state of mind. we talked for a good 45 mins.

i heart my doc. our insurance coverage is changing today. different company. first thing wen'l did when he heard about this change (a change due to escalating costs with the original company, something about a 30% increase in premiums, and don't even get me started about THAT shit) was see if we could still have the same doc. luckily for us, she accepts pretty much everything. i would hate to have to start all over with another doc, one who wouldn't give me an hour of uninterrupted time if i needed it.

i'm glad all my mom's family have gone home and are pretty much leaving me alone now. i love em all, but they are so oppressively religious that being around them lately has been a chore i didn't want or need. they were all losing their minds, the ones who think mom's in a better place, and wondering why i wasn't psychotic with grief because i'm an atheist (and they all know it now). i don't think she's in a better place. i think if she could have been healthier, there's no doubt she'd rather still be here. she wasn't in any big hurry to die till she found out she was going to, you know?

anyhow, life is trying to get back to normal. the kitchen floor still needs mopping. the feral cat who calls my backyard home has given birth to a new litter, probably the morning of the funeral. the heatwave has moved eastward. the sun still shines, and i still see my mom in it.