Teenagers, Parents and Peach Jam

To all parents who look at their teenagers — those strange alien creatures who know everything and about everything and believe you know nothing about anything — and cannot imagine them as coherent and responsible adults, I promise there’s hope. For instance, let’s say you have a teenage daughter who sports purple hair and multiple piercings (when she can get away with it) and has the annoying habit of seeing how far she can stretch your patience parental boundaries. I just happened to randomly pick this example, by the way. Nothing to do with any real person at all. Not at all. Anyway, if you’re in this situation, do not despair. It will seem as if one day your teenager incurs multiple weekends of enforced home time due to multiple infractions of parental rules (“No. 3. Being home by curfew means all parts of your body are inside the house and the door is closed. It does not mean you’re in the same general zip code.”)  and the next day she’s a wife and a mom and a Martha Stewart devotee who gets her whole family involved in making batches of lovely and delicious peach jam. Promise.

Press Releases and Peaches

Have I told y’all that I’ve got a new job? Well, I use the term “job” loosely because it’s really just fun that I get paid for. And I’m using the phrase “get paid for” loosely, too. I’m the new marketing director for a local arts association that oversees an art museum and a renovated historic theatre. It’s part-time — only a few hours a week — and of course  it’s non-profit, so you can see that this is not the path to great personal wealth and riches. Of the money kind, at least. Because in terms of great personal satisfaction, this job rocks. The staff offices are in the museum, so we’re surrounded by creativity, talent and general wonderfulness every day. And the folks on the staff are exactly the type of people you want to work with: Dedicated, enthusiastic, generous and fun. Plus, I get to do what I love doing: Write. My prime responsibility is writing press releases and public service announcements and getting the word out about our exhibits, theatrical productions, concerts, workshops, tours, openings, etc. I’ve been building a media-contact list, talking to artists and newspaper and magazine folks and generally learning my way around the art world — which, by the way, is a fascinating place. Fascinating. One thing I’ve been thrilled to discover is that my work clothes from two years ago when I “retired” from fulltime newspaper-newsroom room still fit — but only because all those low-waisted skirts I borrowed from my daughters now sort of hang out around my waist since there seems to be some sort of impediment in my middle zone. But it’s OK, since I now have some spare cash I can put toward a new wardrobe the electric bill. (Oh, hi, Dear Husband! I didn’t see you reading here.) Read more about tackling a new job in my latest newspaper column.  And Younger Daughter sent me off to my new job in style the other morning with broiled fresh peaches served with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Oh, yum.

Eat Peaches!

Run, don’t walk, to Jack-O-Lantern Market, on the TVA reservation in Muscle Shoals, on Thursday (4-7 p.m.and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays) to buy some of the most delicious peaches ever. No telling how long these peaches will be available, so do not delay.

Charity Belle Peaches from Jack-O-Lantern Farms

Charity Belle Peaches from Jack-O-Lantern Farms

Steve and Connie Carpenter grow hydroponic vegetables in the former TVA greenhouses there and sell their veggies along with incredibly fresh produce from other local growers. Saturday, I bought some Charity Belle white peaches there — the best peaches I’ve ever eaten. They are big, juicy and sweet with a delicate peachy flavor that will remind you of summer evenings on front porches sipping tall glasses of sweet tea with fresh mint you just picked from the back yard. The Carpents also had Indian and O’Henry peaches on Saturday morning. Not sure what they’ll have this week, but go find out. And while you’re there, pick up some cheese from the most upscale inventory in the Shoals. You’ll find creamy and tangy goat cheese, fresh mozzarella and my new favorite, nutty Flagship from Beecher’s in Seattle. Check the Web site, http://www.jackolanternfarm.com/, for the complete list of what’s in stock every week. Why do we need a Fresh Market when we’ve got the Carpenters here???? (Well, OK, I still want a Fresh Market — or at least a Publix — but nothing can beat buying local food from local folks.) And here’s complete disclosure: The Carpenters are great friends of mine and even gave me a free orange Jack-O-Lantern Farms T-shirt, but that in no way influences my unbiased recommendations. I cannot be bought, although a free sample taste of cheese every once in awhile doesn’t hurt!

I spent most of last week babysitting grandson Nolan and helping daughter Liz in Huntsville while she recovered from a nasty case of mastitis — made her feel as if she had the flu. The sacrifices grandmothers make!

"I can almost reach it ... almost got it ... can't wait to eat a giant fuzzy carrot ..."

"I can almost reach it ... almost got it ... can't wait to eat a giant fuzzy carrot ..."

At 4 1/2 months, Nolan’s rolling over, reaching for what he wants (glasses, hair, etc.) and putting everything in his mouth (glasses, hair, etc.). As always, I remain amazed at what caring and skilled parents Liz and Jason are. I so wish I’d had a fraction of their confidence when I was a new mom.