A Gift From My Mother

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After visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts recently, I realized how enthusiastic I get when I see certain pieces. The one above by Odilon Redon called “Evocation of Butterflies” painted about 1910 is one of the ones I like. It reminds me so much of some of the colors and design elements used in the 1960s. When you see it in person, there are some absolutely brilliant dabs of color that are almost iridescent.

While I was growing up, I’m sure my mother took me to the available art museum and galleries several times a year. When we traveled or went on vacation, we always went to the art museums. I can remember all the talk around me about art. When we walked through a gallery or a museum, she talked about the paintings and the artists.

She also painted as a hobby. There was almost always a painting in progress or some other art project in the house.

I only have one of her paintings (pictured below) and it was not her favorite. When I look at it though, I remember all the time she spent with me looking at art. Taking each piece in, letting my eye wander over the piece and enjoying it so much.

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Bacon Fascination

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My fascination with bacon all started about six months ago when a new butcher opened shop near my credit union. I stopped in because I needed some meat.

While I was getting the meat I decided to do a little more shopping since the prices seemed good. I did my shopping and for the first time in my life, I bought bacon that was not pre wrapped in a plastic package. I bought their standard bacon. It was so much better than what I had been buying all my life. I had a bacon experience.

The next time went to the shop, I looked at all the varieties of bacon. They had pecan smoked, cherrywood smoked and apple smoked. They cost a little more. I picked the applewood smoked since it was the smallest price jump. It was wonderful. It had the saltiness of bacon with a slight sweet flavor of apples. The world of bacon beckoned me. The next time I went, I bought the pecan smoked bacon. This was not as good for me. When I opened the package, I could smell the smoke and not the pecan. It tasted like eating a chimney.

Then, I looked at the cherrywood smoked bacon with the extra thick slices. It was more expensive again but I thought I could eat one piece at a time and it the expense would not be so great. I rationed myself to one piece at a time. I savored each and every delicious, salty sweet bite and wondered why I had not discovered the world of bacon before now.

Last week. I went in to buy my cherrywood smoked bacon and the shop was out of it. The shop had added a new bacon and in the spirit of adventure, I gave it a try. The new bacon was Duroc apple smoked bacon. It was far leaner than any bacon on the shelf. I learned that a Duroc is a type of pig. I only bought a few slices intending to go back in a few days to get my cherry smoked bacon.

When I cooked the Duroc applewood smoked bacon, the fat rendered out so well. I was left with a perfectly crisp piece of salty, apple sweet wonderful bacon. While I was eating the bacon, I envisioned the pigs being raised on a farm where they provided pigs with a daily massage along with the mud baths. It was so satisfying and tasty it could only have been the product of very happy pigs. So, right now I’m sticking with the Duroc applewood smoked bacon until the butcher introduces me to yet another new and more wonderful bacon.

Shopping Weird

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Sometime the talk at work goes to shopping especially since our summer office is located in the first enclosed mall in the Detroit area. Most people I work with go the to very large one stop shopping stores. I am weird.

I have tried those stores. And yes, I can get everything on my list in those stores. And with the price of gas, I can see the benefit of one stop shopping. I do have my own routine in shopping and the way I do it means that is get the food I want.

Since I have been retired and only working part time, I have found that taking the time to cook well for myself is a joy. One of the unexpected outcomes has been a change in in how I taste the food. I was also pushed along this path by my daughter and son-in-law taking me to some critically acclaimed restaurants in the Los Angeles, CA area. I have also found I can eat in good places for lunch on my own in Detroit.

So , now I go to a butcher shop. They have the most wonderful fresh, wild salmon. The fishmonger there has taught me so much. It has opened a new world for me. The quality of the meat section is just as good. I am now a fan of cherrywood smoked thick bacon. And the butchers are also great teachers.

Last night I had my favorite of Salmon with lemon caper sauce, spinach and baby carrots sprinkled with a little curry powder. I am now growing herbs and for the lemon caper sauce, I add fresh dill.

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My next stop is the bakery. In general, the bread in supermarkets is usually bland and very soft.

I do go to a supermarket for most of my produce. The one I go to is in a multi- ethnic area and has an incredibly wide variety in the produce section. I can walk through the section and not be familiar with some of the selections. The store does provide the name and with my handy smartphone, I check it out and see if I can try something new. And i do go to the local farmers markets. Some of our local produce stores do not have the variety. And some that specialize in cheap have produce at the end of its life. I have wondered if the produce guys go dumpster diving outside of restaurants to get the produce.

So when we talk at work, I don’t get the cheapest. I don’t get much that is frozen. I do have good food with very little waste. And the folks at work still think I have no idea how to shop properly.

The Hair Salon Ritual

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About once a month I go and get my hair cut. It used to be quite short and I’m growing it out but still feel the need to add a little shape and style to my hair. I’ve found that by getting it cut, it is easier and less time each day. And I have found someone who does a really good job.

We live in very different worlds. She is in a far suburb of Detroit. She lives in a hose that some refer to as a McMansion. It is similar to the homes pictured above. It is not really a McMansion. It is a development of houses all built at the same time with little variety. He house is decorated with many shades of beige.

She is in a traditional marriage. She has told me that her husband manages all the finances and she has not idea of what he earns of how they spend their money. I knew I could not live like that. In Detroit, we have an excellent art museum, historical museums, science museums and more. Her teenage girls have never been. She talks about how well rounded her kids are. I think it is because they take so many different kinds of sports lessons. I wonder.

She once told me once that she could not understand how the people who got caught in the hurricane Katrina could not take care of themselves. She told me she was smart enough so that her family would not have had to face any hardship in the same situation.

I have learned not to venture an opinion here. I have dared to disagree with her in the past. She does not like it. She is happy with her life.

I like the way she does my hair. I can feel though that I have reached the point where I’ll be looking for a new hairdresser.