Monday, April 20, 2015

Mexican night at the Alters

Years ago--twelve or more to be exact--when Jordan was still single and living at home, we used to have Mexican night on the front porch (no deck then). Jordan invited all her friends, and sometimes we ended up with as many as thirty people on the porch. It was strictly BYOB and pot-luck, and we had some amazing dishes. A few of her friends were married, most single, all childless--I remember well the first couple that arrived with a baby. We all thought the idea of any of them being parents was amazing.
Last night we had a mini-version of Mexican night. Seven adults and Jacob, who arrived late having been to a birthday party. Sat on the deck, and appetizers were queso and giant nachos that the girls made. For a main dish I made an enchilada casserole, new to me. It amounts to layering a chicken/tomato/black bean/cream cheese mixture with large tortillas and grated cheese in a pie plate. The recipe makes two "pies" (three tortillas each) but my challenge was that one of our guests is vegetarian and Jacob doesn't much like meat, never has. I cooked frozen corn and substituted it for the chicken in one plate--the vegetarian really liked it, though I never did hear much from Jacob (except for a few things, he's rarely enthusiastic about food though he's always starving). The recipe called for a tub of Philadelphia Santa Fe Blend Cream Cheese cooking crème. I have never seen such a product. I bought chive-flavored cream cheese spread, augmented it with a little plain cream cheese, and about a tablespoon of homemade taco seasoning (I always make my own these days--never sure about preservatives, etc. in the prepackaged kind). Beat it with a mixer until smooth.
It was a lovely evening, though it began to grow chilly just before we came in. To my embarrassment, two of the guests, both newcomers to my home, cleaned the kitchen, leaving me relatively little to do. So I read cooking magazines--a real indulgence on my part--and still didn't go to bed early.
Today was an off day. Woke up out of sorts and kept telling myself dreams don't have any relation to reality, which of course is not true--I firmly believe they come from our deepest thoughts. The rash that appeared on one side of my neck now covered both sides, in spite of my treatment with an OTC steroid cream and Jordan's with lavender drops. I'd dreamt heavily but my sleep was interrupted by a tapping noise that puzzled me. Figured out it came from my antique bed and this morning found the headboard and side rails were about to part company.  The night before we'd had a couple of episodes of the toilets running over, and even though they behaved all right this morning--if used sparingly--I called the plumber. He worked a long time, so long that I snuck off to nap before getting Jacob, and realized dimly that I didn't hear him any more. Too late I discovered the note that said not to use the toilets in the main house tonight; he'd be back in the morning. He could clear the main line, although he did show me some roots he'd pulled out.
So here I am, in a house without toilets--no, I will not go out to the guest house in the dark of the night--with a rash on my neck and a bed that makes noises of its own, even when I lie still.
To add to my woes, the publisher from the press I wrote in Chicago has not responded to my query; the next publisher on my list is not open to queries right now and promises that after you query, if there is a request for the next three chapters there is a subsequent six-month wait before they decide if they want the entire manuscript. I don't have that much time in my career, let alone my life. At that rate, I'll be in my eighties before if and when they publish. Self-publishing looks better and better.
Tomorrow, I'm convinced, will be a better day. I'm having lunch with a good friend who always cheers me. She loves turquoise--jewelry but also the color. I have a new brown and turquoise top, and I'm going to wear is on the theory I'm happier when I think I look good. And she'll be so jealous.

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