I first came to love a simple roast beef sandwich, 26 years ago whilst standing in the kitchen with future mother in law.
I’d had them before, but usually always with deli meat, never an actual piece of roasted meat. This just screamed comfort to me. Hominess. I was a girl who craved such things even as a young 19 year old.
I can remember Mum apologizing for serving me leftovers – I think I was over for lunch that day-and I thought she was so cute. Leftovers! Like having REAL left over roast beef in sandwiches was a bad thing. I don’t think there was ever a day in my own family where we’d ever had such a thing. Her left overs were my luxury!
We ate happily together and that sandwich has stayed with me ever since. It was so simple yet so good. Quality ingredients put together well.
In the years since, I’ve fine tuned my version of the sandwiches we ate that day. My meat is barely cooked – hers was WELL, well done- I add salt and pepper and slather on way more butter than Mum ever would. Sometimes, my meat is spiced, sometimes its plain. But its always basically the same- meat, white bread, and butter. Yum!
What’s your favourite way to enjoy a roast beef sandwich?
For the first time in a long ass time, the Hubs and I had everyone over for dinner. Just because. As of late our family has been fractured. Disconnected.
First there was ( and is ) my son’s drug addiction. Then there was The Great Marriage/Mental Health Fiasco of ’16. We’ve been struggling! Grasping at what was. Hurting with what is. Longing for what could be.
But fear not! A shift has occurred, as shifts do and somehow – I’m unable to pinpoint it all exactly – our family is coming back together, once again.
Dinner went well! There was food- mac n cheese, roasted sausages, mixed vegetables- there were laughs-lots of good natured “roasting” lots of chasing the kids around, lots of jokes and silliness, there were grandkids..
and there was pie!
When I was making said pie, I was triggered by a memory of a former life.
My very first job after having my son was in this crappy little bakery, tucked away in the back corner of a garden shop. I was a clerk. I sold treats, sliced bread, made sandwiches, washed dishes and sometimes got to bake cookies.
It would have been an alright job had it not been for one of my co-workers. A spoiled, rich asshole and son of the owners. A man prone to temper tantrums. Legit, tantrums. The kind a toddler would have.
So I’m working away up front, his mother is in the office and Dickhead is in the back doing baker things. I’ve got customers in the shop and we’re all distracted from our calm by the sound of metal clanging and things flying around , followed by the slamming of a door. What the…??? I know what’s going on but the customers don’t so they very quickly finish up and take their leave, visibly disturbed by the commotion. I don’t even remember what I said to them…probably nothing. I have no idea WHAT the problem was this time but from past experience, but I’m sure we’ll ALL hear about later.
Dickhead comes back in after a while – Shawn! His name was Shawn!- Anyway, Dickhead comes back in and the mystery of why is solved. I hear him talking to his mum about how his egg whites wont build because apparently I didn’t wash the bowl properly- grease in your meringue bowl impedes lift- and how I’m an idiot and this and that and on and on. He’s totally raging and trashing me, saying the vilest of things.
This is all said out loud with no regard for privacy. I can hear every word. Mommy is trying to calm him down and placate him and he eventually chills and tries to make it all again, saying nothing to me. Nobody says anything to me! Which makes the whole thing even more awkward.
I carry on with my job, tense as fuck, not knowing what I should do in any direction. I’m not the only one who does dishes in that place! Do I say something? What should I do? Ahhhh! I hate this! I have to walk past Dickhead much later and he is still simmering with rage. So much so that, as I pass him he spits out at me ” You stupid fucking cunt!”
Now, present day Lael would have stopped whatever she was doing, gathered up her belongings and walked out the front door, never to be seen again. No question.
Past Lael wasn’t as wise. Or as brave. What did I do? I ignored him. Which I guess is a defense in itself. But then I kept on working there until I eventually quit because Dickhead started sexually harassing me.
The thing of it is, I didn’t tell anyone about that first incident. Why? I felt ashamed. Like his asshole behavior was a reflection of me. Maybe I really did do a shitty job of washing the bowl…I was paralyzed with fear and doubt and …the ickiness that comes from being around adults who have temper tantrums and treat people like garbage. Of course, even if it was my fault, is a poorly washed bowl ANY justification for being so aggressive and awful to another human? Nope! Of course not! I wish I had said something to someone, I know now I would have gained wisdom and clarity. But live and learn!
Silence is NOT golden. Silence is isolating. I’m grateful for the lesson.
I’d love to go back in time to redo THAT experience. In a way now, every time I speak up, stand up and take myself out of a toxic situations, I am!
All this from pie 🙂
Which was delicious! I found the recipe online, here.
Have you ever been in a situation like that? Have you ever thought back and wondered WHY you put up with something so obviously toxic? What did you learn in hindsight?
This wee Monster Baby woke me up at 6am Sunday morning.
But how could I resist such a sweet boy? I just don’t think its possible.
Besides, fuck that! I spent years as a Mum, resisting my children’s charms because I was so concerned with doing it “right”, with making sure I had positive power, authority and influence over them. Ignoring the truth that I knew damn well that I have no natural authority, ha. And I was faking my confidence and knowledge the whole time. It was all smoke and mirrors, Baby! I spent the whole time my kids were under my care being terrified of making a mistake and living in fear that I and I alone could mess them up so badly if I did. So fuck ALLLL of that 🙂
I found out, the hard way, that you can do all the right things and your kids will still mess up. You can do all the wrong things and they won’t. Life is funny like that.
Being a grandparent is a pretty sweet gig. None of that parenting nonsense.
Now, because I know different, I do things with my heart. It seems to be working out better for all.
We had our girl over the other weekend. This kid is getting huge! Yet she is but a wee four year old. How can that all be ? 🙂
Growth mystery aside, we had fun with her. We went and saw a movie- Smallfoot.- where that kid ate her weight in popcorn, I swear. We hung around the house and played with some toys – Grammy and Grumpus ate A LOT of plasticine food on tiny Ikea plates.- We even made real food! Blueberry muffins, using my mother in law’s recipe.
We had some silly fun and ended up with a delicious treat. (I may or may not have added in some white chocolate chips )
Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins
2.5 cups flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1.5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen. Whatevs.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Make a well and add buttermilk,eggs and melted butter. Mix well, and fold in blueberries. Will well greased tins with batter and bake at 400 F for 20-25 min. Enjoy.
Sophia said the muffins tasted like ” rotten garbage” Ha Ha Ha! Little shit. They did not, I assure you. I think maybe they just weren’t cupcakes which is what she really wanted to make.
I learned a thing or two from this experience and as I am a child care professional – no really!- here are my tips for cooking with your grandbabies
Make the things they want to make. Soph wanted cupcakes, I didn’t have the ingredients for those so we made muffins. She was happy to do something with me, but cupcakes would have been a bigger hit. Give the kids the power of choice here.
Make sure your grandchild is old enough to help you in the kitchen and make sure the thing you’re making and the tasks you give them are age appropriate. It saves on frustration all around AND ensures their safety. Are they stable enough to stand on a stool? Is the stool stable? How are their listening skills? Can they follow direction? What about their fine motor skills?
Speaking of safety, don’t freak out too, too much about this. I let Soph lick the butter knife, she ate some batter (like I could stop her, ha) I’ve let her cut things up. With attentive supervision all things are possible. Use your judgement, talk them through it and take a few reasonable risks.
Tidy up the place a bit. Have all your ducks -ingredients- in a row. My kitchen was a train wreck and it made things a bit more challenging. But I’d already invited her in to help and she was eager to do so and didn’t want to wait for Grammy. Next time, I’ll make sure I keep my mouth shut til its clean and I’m organized.
Have fun! You can still teach good hygiene and proper measuring techniques as you go but the real goal here is to spend time with your love, engaged and connected. Don’t worry too much about the mechanics of the thing. Enjoy your time together!
We’re having the younger one this weekend.
OV is eight months old now and army crawling all over the place! Time to baby proof Grammy’s place. He’s going to be a helluva lot of work for the next little bit but boy is he ever cute. I suspect I’ll survive 😉
My first Heart-Child turns four today. The days are long but the years are short. I don’t know how this kid got to be four, but here she is.
I adore being a Grammy. It’s the best role I’ve found myself in yet. A million times better than being a parent. I’d even go so far as to say, grandparenting is the only reason one should have children. Ha.
All the love and none of the angst. What a marvellous thing. 10/10 would recommend.
This little girl, besides being a gift, gave me a gift.
The gift of my own mortality.
When we first met, I was instantly struck by these thoughts:
Here is someone who is going to miss me when I die. She’s going to know my death and its going to be a loss. I am going to die, in her lifetime.
I never ever thought about this with my own kids because I was too damn terrified of their deaths, never mind my own. I spent 18 years of their lives doing my best to keep them alive. (And I did it, go me!)
I think being released from that job, symbolically with the birth of my girl allowed me to wake up to my own death. And that’s pretty fucking cool. Because when we acknowledge we’re going to die every day, the days that we live get that much better. We’re free to filter out the nonsense and focus on the things that really matter to us. Enabling us to live a full, rich life. While we still have one!
I don’t want my life to be like my Summers. Lollygagging around as if its going to last forever and then get to the end and have regrets.
So endless thanks to my favourite four-year old!
What are your thoughts on death? Are you afraid of it? Curious about it? Tell me in the comments.