We had friends over for dinner this weekend. My husband suggested I make lemon lush for dessert. I usually make it during Christmas week.
It’s an old recipe that I discovered in the 1980s when I worked in public relations for the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament. When the tournament was over, we’d have potluck in our meeting room for staff and volunteers. One of the wealthy lady volunteers brought in lemon lush and it was a huge hit. I asked her for the recipe. So many people asked for it that she used the copy machine and handed them to us.
I kept that recipe in my old Betty Crocker cookbook until it faded. There are tons of versions online. The one posted below is closest to the recipe that faded beyond recognition. (Tip: you can use pecans instead of walnuts.)
Our friends loved lemon lush and asked for the recipe. I’m embarrassed to share it because it’s a Jello Pudding and Cool Whip recipe. But it tastes so delicious. When I’ve shared the recipe before, people look disappointed. It’s verging on embarrassment to share this with my new Arizona friends! But it tastes so good — I won’t stop making it. Maybe I should throw in some fresh ingredients like lemon zest or fresh lemon juice?
Yesterday we had plans to see the movie “Amsterdam” with our new friends who live around the corner. Yes, they are California transplants, too. It seems our neighborhood got filled with us during COVID.
Our neighbors bought the movie tickets and made reservations for dinner. I was looking forward to the movie because it stars Christian Bale and Margot Robbie. It’s directed by the same guy (David O. Russell) who did “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Also, we never go out on a weeknight, so this was unusually fun for us.
My husband got a text from our neighbor that his wife got sick and they wouldn’t be able to go. They were going to the doctor instead. So they emailed us the digital tickets. Then my husband had an appointment in Phoenix. I was going to meet him at the movies 30 minutes away. Then he texted me that he wouldn’t be able to get away in time to make it to the movie.
Oh well. Best laid plans. Exactly where did the saying “Best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray” come from?
I looked it up and this is what I found:
best-laid schemes/plans, the
The most careful plans sometimes do not succeed. It was probably already a cliché by the time Robert Burns used the phrase in “To a Mouse” (1786): “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley [go often astray].”
Our good friends, who live at the beach, returned from a trip to Italy right before our beach vacation.
I didn’t expect my friend to bring me something from Italy, but she did. She brought me hand soap that has a rich rose scent. I thought that was so thoughtful. I wouldn’t think to do that, especially trying to get gifts into my suitcase.
The soap has been sitting in it’s lovely wrapper for weeks on my bathroom counter.
I thought about putting it in the guest bathroom where guests could use it. My mom always had special soaps in our guest bathroom — carved little blue roses or scented soaps.
I thought to myself, wouldn’t my friend want me to enjoy it? My other thought was that it’s too nice to use at my own sink daily to wash my hands. It definitely belongs in the guest bath.
Also, I don’t have a soap dish to hold it. it’s a large block of soap.
A quick trip to Target solved that issue. Now I’m luxuriating in the wonderful feel and scent of rose soap imported from Italy and I think of my friend — every time I wash my hands.
Why do we have nice things for guests, but don’t feel like we should use them ourselves?
One of our highlights of visiting the beach in the summer is the Farmer’s Market. I discovered this year there are two –Thursdays in Caprinteria and Saturdays in Santa Barbara. That makes buying fruit and veggies more manageable. I don’t have to stock up only to have fruit get over ripe. I can buy just enough.
There is one stand with all sorts of peppers and tomatoes that we stop at. Farmer Fred is the owner. He’s friends with several of our Santa Barbara friends who gather at his stand to chat each weekend. It’s fun to join in and feel like a local.
By our house in Arizona, we have a tiny Farmer’s market. I call it a Farmer market because there is one veggie stand. There is local honey, jewelry, baked goods, chips and dip and trinkets.
It’s a joy to have an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies. We’re especially enjoying Flavor King plums, sweet corn and shishito peppers.
Do you have a farmer’s market near you? What are your favorite things about Farmer’s Markets? What do you like to buy?
We’ve had a busy weekend — post vacation. We picked up friends from the airport Thursday and they invited us over to their house for dinner the next day to repay us for our trouble. They lived a stone’s throw from us in Palm Springs and we both moved within a mile from each other in Arizona — without prior knowledge we were both doing that. Our kids went to school together from kindergarten through high school. Now our kids live near each other in the Bay Area.
We had neighbors over for appetizers, wine and games. We played my favorite card games, Demon and Texas Hold ‘Em. Our friends brought over a game they thought we’d enjoy. My husband and I laughed when we found out it was Catchphrase. That’s a game our kids played endlessly at swim meets with their teammates under the pop-up tent. We’d be at meets for at least four hours and they’d swim a few minutes. Downtime was spent playing cards or Catchphrase.
It’s been years since I’ve played games and it was a hoot. We laughed and had fun. it was a perfect thing to do with people we’ve only known for a few months.
For appetizers I made deviled eggs, stuffed shishitos with honey goat cheese and sweet Italian sausage chunks on toothpicks with honeycrisp apples. Also a veggie platter that was barely touched.
What card games do you like to play? Did you play lots of games growing up? Do you think kids today play games or is everything on screens now?
Should the close friend, who overheard this garbage, have shared it with my daughter? Maybe it would have been better for my daughter to not hear it.
Or, is it better for her to know the truth? Even if it hurts?
Were her friends being kind by telling her? Or were they just as mean as the one that originally said it?
Should the friend have kept her mouth shut?
And about those people who talk trash about others… If you’re tweeting, posting or saying something mean and unkind, it’s bullying. Knock it off. Find something useful to do. Remember the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
What are your thoughts?
(FYI, I found this in my drafts folder from years ago. I still don’t have the answers to my questions.)
One of my closest friends from childhood passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. I woke up realizing that today is her birthday. The pain of losing her has lessened over time. But I still miss her.
I learned via Facebook that my dear friend Rebecca had passed away.
She had a huge personality, was fearless, beautiful and brilliant. I received private messages from her on Facebook constantly, and I noticed I didn’t reply to the last one which I received on a Saturday afternoon—the day she died.
I wonder if she knew she was leaving us? I had no idea that she was ill, but I’ve since learned that she had diabetes and died from DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis).
The first time I met Rebecca was at my own house. Her older brother Paul had been hanging out with our family for a few weeks that summer before seventh grade. One day, Rebecca decided to come over to our house with him because she wanted to meet me. We went to different elementary schools but for junior high the town’s elementary school students would all attend the same school. I was shy and wouldn’t leave my bedroom to meet her. Finally, my mom coaxed me out to meet Rebecca Coombs and our friendship of a lifetime began.
She was the opposite of me in so many ways. She was bold, outgoing and not afraid of anyone or anything. Her long straight black hair hung past her waist and she had a huge smile. Some of my fondest memories were her introducing me to Taco Bell—which I still love today. I got a burrito supreme today in her honor. Also, because of Rebecca, our entire high school won the local radio station KJR’s competition for a free concert—which was the first rock concert I ever attended, “WAR.” I went with her to see Natalie Cole at the Paramount in downtown Seattle, too. She introduced me to so much music and laughter. I remember always laughing with Rebecca and her sister Mary. Mary became as close of a friend to me as Rebecca.
Rebecca was one of a few students from our high school that went to the University of Washington with me. I remember spending the first night in the dorm, with Rebecca in a sleeping bag on my floor.
My sophomore year Thanksgiving weekend, I was home and I went with Rebecca and Mary to a concert at a local Grange. I was going to ask a family friend who was there to a Tolo (a dance where the girls ask the boys for the date). We were crossing the street on the Bothell Highway when I panicked at the oncoming lights of cars. I froze in the middle of the street. I grabbed onto Rebecca’s parka hood and she wasn’t able to escape the oncoming pick-up truck either. I shattered my pelvis and Rebecca lost a kidney. We became connected by that one experience forever.
Later on, she married the family friend who I was going to ask to the dance. The marriage didn’t last that long and she did find someone she said was the love of her life, who sadly died a few years ago. Also, her brother Paul died years ago as well as Mary’s husband. Her life had so much tragedy, yet she stayed positive and filled with joy. Near the end, she moved to Hawaii to be close to her son Jake, who she was so proud of. She posted pictures of her new life and her grandchildren whom she called “the grands.”
I will admit she was much better at reaching out and staying connected. Throughout our lives, she’d call me and during the last few months send me private messages on an almost daily basis. One funny story I remember about Rebecca was she called me up and asked who Bill Gates was. She had attended the Microsoft Christmas Party with a friend who worked there and met Bill Gates. She had no clue who he was. It was well known in Seattle that Bill was looking for a wife. He had asked her to Sunday Brunch and she said no. She told me that he was kind of a geek and she was felt awkward and made up an excuse why she couldn’t go.
I miss my dear friend and how full of life she was. God bless you and RIP, Rebecca.