Dia de los Muertos, who would you celebrate and what would you cook for them?

The next couple of days, the Mexican culture will celebrate Dia de los Muertos . During the Day of the Dead, Mexican families set up altars in their houses and decorate them with photos, candles, and various objects of their deceased loved ones. Family members come and connect in a spiritual way with their departed family members and offer them gifts. The Marigold flower (Cempazuchitl) is a popular flower that families place on the altars and on the gravesites at this time. Also, food items are placed as ofrendas for the deceased to come back for one night to eat their favorite foods again.
I love this tradition, that it is a celebration, not mournful or sorrowful. If I were Mexican, if my family were gathering with painted faces to cook the favorite foods of some of our dead, and bring them to the altar with photos laced with marigolds, this is who I would celebrate and cook for.
1. Nanoo, my maternal grandmother, would be served biscuits and coffee on a dainty saucer and cup.
2. Matt Miller, a dear friend, who died our senior year, would be served a Krystal hamburger and fries.
3. Daddy, fried corn, corn scrapped from the cob, sautéed in butter and salt and pepper.
4. Tayloe, my high school, college sweetheart, a city club sandwich from Ole Tyme Delicatessen, oh and his mama’s devil’s food cake.
5. Amedee, the elder gentleman I had the honor of living with and caring for, there would be many dishes to choose from as what we were going to eat for our next meal was a main topic. I’d serve him food from House of India. That was his request in his parting words to me just before he died. Then for desert, I’d serve him Kozy Shack rice pudding.
6. Mama, a steak and baked potato.
7. Woosie, Elizabeth, the black woman who raised me, I’d be cooking for days. I’d want to serve her every good meal she cooked for me and my family. For desert, The Joy of Cooking, floating island.
8. Elaine, lifelong friend, we shared many joys and dramas. I’d make her a big jug of sweet tea.

Word of the day, writing rants

Word of the day from dictionary.com: Ambivert – one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert. That resonates. I used to be much more of an extrovert but time and circumstances have made me much more of an introvert. Quarantine has been a gift to my introvert side.
My writing group that started during quarantine is about to begin it’s fourth session of six week sessions. Deb, who facilitates, started our group with the idea of writing in lists. She is compiling a book for her children, they will learn a lot about her and other ancestors in this format. For myself and some others the list have served as prompts. It is remarkable what comes from it. This group of eight women has been the biggest gift of quarantine. We share authentically and deeply. Two women have adult children with severe mental challenges that present dangerous behaviors at times, another is from India and was cast out of her family when she married an American man and had half-caste children, and another women just lost her son to suicide at the beginning of this year.
Sometimes when one of us complains then apologizes, “D” from India encourages our complaints. In her culture and others, it is encouraged as a way to get it out. I like that, and everything in moderation right? This week I suggested we write a list of rants. Inspired by Lola’s Get Down With Your Sweet Self improv class. Maybe you want to give it a try.
Rant on and thanks for reading.

Writing in lists

Getting ready to meet virtually with my writing group. We are writing lists. Each week has a series of lists to complete. I’ve been so surprised by this process. Our group has really gotten close because we have learned so much about each other from our lists. Some lists have served as prompts for essay writing. As we say, “anyone can make a list”.

A couple of lists for this week:

Things you’d tell your 21 year old self:
1. Don’t get married, at least not for many years. Make sure he is a good man.
2. Don’t drink.
3. Study, follow your interest, your passions.
4. Learn the craft of writing.
5. Recognize what you and Tayloe (high school, college sweetheart) had was remarkable. Pregnancy and abortion were too painful for our young hearts.
6. Don’t try so hard to fit into the family, find your own way.

Things that scare you less as you get older:
1. Dying
2. Speaking up
3. Driving alone to Baja, having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
4. Problems
5. Mice, just a little less scared of them.
6. Anger
7. Emotions
8. What others think of me.

You get the idea.

Thanks for reading.