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The last time I moved out of one house into another was fifteen years ago, but with moving kids to college and into and out of apartments over the past six years, my moving muscles are fairly supple. There was a stretch of my adult life where I moved every year or two. I’m sorely tempted to revert back to my super-efficient cleaning routine from those years–vacuum upon arrival; vacuum upon departure.  Life was so simple then–gross–but simple.

Now it’s frenetic and gross. I’d think about getting a vacuum robot, but I’d fear for its life. Those aren’t dust bunnies under that bed–they are dust Grizzly bears or dust King Kongs–or at the very least clues to the sort of creatures who live here.

Got the word over the weekend that somebody I’ve known and loved since I was five years old, Helen Ruff, died after a quick decline last week.  At the end of 2007 while in her 80’s she’d had a stroke and couldn’t live on her own anymore, so my family took over responsibility for her care, as she had wanted.

She’d worked for my parents for 40 years and became a part of our family just like the cliche says, only truer and deeper, even while there was so much about each other we never knew. I tried to do a little explaining last year in my RHome column–but trust me–there’s much more to the story:

housekeeping rhome

Helen loved sweet potatoes, so I brought her LaFourche whenever I showed up. Here’s the recipe:

Heat oven to 250 degrees.

1 28 oz. can of sweet potatoes, drained and mashed

1 14 oz. can of pumpkin

1/4 cup brown sugar

many dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg

Golden raisins

Don’t forget Craisins!

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1 Tbsp!! vanila extract

Mix all together and put in an 8  by 8 pan or an ovenproof bowl and then into the oven for an hour. Delicious warm or cold.  Easy to double the recipe for a crowd. Works as a side, as breakfast, as dessert.  I think I’ll make some today in Helen’s honor.

I’m back!