Cement

Cement LeafSomethings are chiseled in stone. Other things are set in cement. Which is intended to mean that somethings never change. But sometimes they do. Like we’ve been going out for Mexican food most every Tuesday night for over twenty-five years. And although we’ve found a Mexican restaurant we like here in Cary, it isn’t our beloved La Cabaña in Santa Paula. So we’ve un-cemented ourselves from that tradition and are venturing a little further afield each Tuesday with our coupon book full of cuisine twofers.

This week took us to The Big Easy for some tasty creole choices, but what really fascinated me were the two long tables seemingly set up for a large party. People approached the green tableclothed tables, put drinks down, and then wandered away. Occasionally, someone would walk up to the guy at the end of the table engrossed with his computer, exchanging a few words. They would walk away after he handed them what looked suspiciously like poker chips from the way his hand was a cupped claw. Other guys were shuffling cards. My curiosity had gotten the best of me by the time our bill arrived. Inquiring what was going on “over there,” the waitress, thumbing that direction, effused, “Oh, every Tuesday night is poker night. These people are really serious!” Apparently people come for all over as this is one of the local spots in the player elimination process that leads to the World Poker Championship. Who knew… And the flash fried spinach was pretty darn good as well.

And of course, another tradition set in cement is my weekly blog posted on Wednesdays. This week I didn’t feel like it. Still on Thursday I didn’t feel like it. My ideas were formulating, but I just didn’t feel like hitting the self-imposed mark this week. Finishing another unit of a complicated, long-in-the-process wedding quilt for our granddaughter, I needed some instant gratification…a wee Lil’ Twister baby quilt full of sweet honey bees, a project that could be pieced in two days. There went Wednesday. There went Thursday.

Cement LeavesBut it was Monday that was all about cement. Cement leaves…an art form that heretofore has escaped my attention. But thanks to my new art buddy Anna, we were gathered around her kitchen table full of boxes of sand covered with plastic, assorted leaves from her winter garden, baskets of paints, and a bucket of dried concrete, courtesy of Home Depot, waiting to be mixed with water to the consistency of a brownie mix…a direction I’m not sure most guys would give to another guy. While the summer garden provides the more spectacular elephant ears and hostas for larger leaf bowls, our smaller magnolia leaves were a great first experiment. The leaves are pressed over the plastic-covered, mounded sand to provide a cup-shaped support. Wet cement is patted in place, the edges smoothed along the leaf edge, and set aside to thoroughly dry…for a few days to a week depending on the thickness of the cement. Acrylic paints were added at our pleasure and the whole leaf sprayed with concrete sealer. Voilá! Garden art. Something new to cement into my arsenal of art activities.

What are some of the cemented routines of your life? What, if anything, prompts you to un-cement yourself from these set-in-cement activities? If you were to step outside a chiseled in stone part of your life, what wet and wonderful thing, mixed to the consistency of a brownie mix, would you like to try?

4 comments to Cement

  • Dorothy

    I on the other hand keep trying to find traditions and more structure……it rarely last longer than three weeks. I can’t even go to bed or get up and the same time every day

  • I have been working long and hard to un-cement myself. While I have always liked adventures, I don’t like the mental plans I have worked out in my mind to be undone. Hard as I try not to plan ahead, I turn details over and over mentally until I practically don’t have to even do what I was thinking about to feel I have done it.
    I think breakfast is my biggest hard and fast rule. Same time, same thing (or close). If not, I actually get an upset stomach. Working hard to change all this and more.
    A friend and I used to go out to lunch once a month. The rule was we had to go to a resaurant that neither one of us had ever been to. It was a fun adventure. Now that I’m retired (and she is still working) we only make it out a couple times a year but we still hold to our rule.

  • Judy Siudara

    I would love to see a blog on “uncementing” as your 2 other responses so far have intimated. Creating a habit is easier than breaking one, I believe, and sometimes it takes dynamite to change! Your friend Anna is a true friend to be willing to set up that much work in HER kitchen for the sake of art. Keep her! J.

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