So, the moment of truth had arrived, you might say. What was Pickles' farm like?
When she stepped out and invited us, all of us, who hang out on a website for the housekeeping challenged, to come to her home, she admitted that she had as many difficulties as the rest of us. She invited us anyway. That speaks volumes to her courage. She also hoped to use it to inspire in herself the desire to get it into better condition, which she had done.
Pickles is an awe-inspiring individual, vulnerable, creative, strong as steel and gentle as anyone you could imagine. She had done a tremendous amount of work, and even if she had not, some fundamental teachings of our site are you are not your mess and that you are a worthy and worthwhile person no matter what level your mess is (yes, among ourselves we have a scale of sorts, so we will know what the other is talking about when someone says what he/she is dealing with level such and such). I knew going into this that her home was not something out of house beautiful, neither is mine, and planning to cook at her house was something I was willing to do no matter what I found.
It was perfect. No, not that kind of perfect, my kind. The depression level in my mind is the same as the level of clean, as we would define it on our site, in her home. It was just right for me. I could easily have moved in there. It was just what this mimi wanted to see. I pulled out the toilet paper I had brought because I didn't think it was right for us to have a gathering at her home without providing some of the paper goods, and I always think of the weird paper goods that will be needed. I pulled out the dish detergent and cleaning wipes. I set out to give the beautiful Pickles what I believed she deserved, which was a kitchen area worthy of her beauty, that she could use to make nourishing meals for herself.
It did not take long. I, too, have lived with a sink that didn't drain quite right and in which the sink disposal was broken. I took a break to go see the "world's smallest farm" as Pickles calls it, and found clean animals -- goats, chickens, geese, ducks, and those wonderful dogs she loves so much -- clean food for them, fresh hay, fresh water, a lovely working farm on a tiny plot, with plenty of room for the animals to graze out back and on the side. It is tremendously obvious that, though she raises her own meat, she takes pristine care of her critters, and they have wonderful lives. All of our "organically raised" farm animals should have such a loving, caring farmer to tend them.
Between myself and Grace, we gave Pickles an area on the inside of her house that matched the beauty of the woman and her farm. A clean kitchen area that I would have been proud to fix a meal in. An area that she could use to start taking care of herself as she so obviously deserved, worthwhile and loving person that she is. The only difficulty that we could see was that Pickles did all of her cooking on a portable, plug in type of burner stove. Jambalaya takes a very hot surface to bring the water to an initial boil. I was pretty sure this burner could do it, Grace was not so convinced.
Also, Eagle had come out to the farm while we were still at TJ's and left a message. So, we decided to go meet up with Eagle, let Lades, who was exhausted (she still had not figured out why she was so tired, and later remembered her thyroid meds) go back to her hotel and rest, and decamp to the hotel where Grace and I were staying. That way, I could cook the dinner I had promised Pickles (and anyone else who wanted it), we could actually meet Eagle, whose multitude of nefarious vehicle problems had precluded her from arriving any sooner, and Pickles could plan on spending the night at our hotel. Script, it later turned out, had both changed hotels for the better internet reception and retired for the evening, as her health is rightly a priority dnd she needed the rest.
Does all of this sound complicated enough yet?
It ended up with me, Grace, Eagle, and Pickles at our hotel, doing some Cajun cooking at around 8PM, while Lades and Script took the evening off, as their health dictated.
The four of us had a ball, or at least I did and they were polite enough to say they enjoyed the evening. :) It turned out that Eagle is also a vegetarian, and Pickles, who used to be vegan, until she decided to turn farmer and raise her own meat, was the only one who would be eating the cooked food. So, we made a huge salad for everyone, and Grace chopped lots of veggies, and mimi got to putter around the kitchen and cook, and we told jokes, and laughed, and the rest of them passed out candies and sweets (vegetarian did not equal not eating cake for them like it does for me, I'm the only true crazy among them). I put some dried fruit and seeds on the table, too, and left the fresh fruit where anyone could get some.
This is where I did learn that you have to be careful what you buy at Trader Joe's. Grace pulled out a couple of items she had bought that afternoon to realize, now that it was too late, that one item had mold growing on it, and another had passed its expiration date. If they ever do build one here, I will shop there, but I will also watch for these problems.
To say I enjoyed the evening would be an understatement. The stove was hotter than I was used to, mine is a crotchety old thing with only 3 burners that work, and one of them takes coaxing. (Thus my willingness to cook on any surface.) This was one of those ceramic top jobs, and so I let it boil a bit longer than I should have.
We talked, laughed, Grace told "Ole and Lena" jokes, I talked about how to pronounce "mawmaw" and "boudin", and as it got later, I realized that these women are even more amazing in person than they are on the website. I am tremendously blessed to be able to know them, and only wish more of the people who wanted to come could have been there.
My other thought is what in the world is this dumpy little middle aged not too bright mimi doing in the midst of these tremendous people.
I tried not to dwell on that too much, and just absorb what I could from their wit and wisdom.
When it was finally time to call it an evening, I agreed that Grace needed to get some rest, and she agreed that she could trust me to take her car without her. Amazing, considering that I had only just learned to drive a hybrid that weekend. It is not difficult, but pushing buttons, lack of a key, knobs instead of shifting, and listening to the engine shut down at intersections without wondering what is going on takes a bit of getting used to. Apparently, I passed the test, and set
out to both take Eagle back to her hotel in the nearby small town where Pickles farm was located, and buy freezer bags for all the leftover food that I would be sending back with her. Pickles rode along.
It turned out that the on ramp from the street that ran near the hotel was now closed for construction, so I followed the detour signs and was confirmed in my belief that, in most places, if you follow the interstate on a side street long enough, you come back to another street with an on ramp. Eagle's hotel was almost directly across the street from the small town's Wal-Mart. I know the 24-hour Wal-Mart. I use one myself. So, as Pickles slept in the back seat with a soda in her hand, which she held upright the whole time she napped, I went in, got freezer bags at 12:45 AM, and drove back to the hotel. Yes, I can say I shopped in a small town in New Mexico in the middle of the night. Yet another for the books.
We arrived back at the hotel, and Pickles went in to take a shower. Of course, at that moment, the difference in diet and weird hours caught up with me, and I felt the call of nature. I went down to the lobby restroom with stomach cramps. when I came back up, I decided that if I needed to use the facilities again I would not disturb the other two with the shenanigans of my inner workings, so I slept on the couch with just a pillow and draped a couple of jackets over me for warmth. That way, I was dressed to leave the room at any moment. I got to sleep around 2AM.
Cookbook Launch Day
Dia de la Raza, Latin America
Discoverer's Day, Hawai'i
Family Harvest Festival, Nigeria
Farmer's Day, Florida (Sometimes called Old Farmer's Day)
Fortuna Redux -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of successful journeys & safe returns)
Free Thought Day
Global Scream Day (30 second scream at 1200 hours GMT) a/k/a Moment of Frustration Day a/k/a International Moment of Frustration Scream Day (No matter what you call it, we all get a free yell at the universe for life's little frustrations.)
Hispanity Day, Spain
Independence Day, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia
International Newspaper Carrier Day
Last Pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal
National Bookkeeper's Day
National Kick Butt Day
National Saleperson Day
Native American's Day
Thanksgiving Day, Canada
Kirk Cameron, 1970
Hugh Jackman, 1968
Carlos Bernard, 1962
susan Anton, 1950
Chris Wallace, 1947
Luciano Pavarotti, 1935
Dick Gregory, 1932
Today in History:
The army of Cyrus the Great of Persia takes Babylon, BC539
Nichiren, Japanes Buddhist monk who founded Nichiren Buddhism, incribes the Dai-Gohonzon, 1279
Christopher Columbus' expdition makes landfall in the Bahamas, 1492
Massachusetts Bay discontinues all witch trials, 1692
America's first asylum for "Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds" opens in Virginia, 1773
Bavarian royalty invites the citizens of Munich to join the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen; this celebration becomes the founding of the first Oktoberfest, 1810
Charles Macintosh of Scotland begins selling Macs (raincoats), 1823
The Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, the first medical school for women, opens, 1850
First recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, 1892
Theodore Roosevelt renames the "Executive Mansion" as "The White House", 1901
Boston's Children's Hospital becomes the first to use an iron lung, 1918