Part of the Deep Freeze series, this post was originally published on June 27, 2010.
Watermelon is without question one of my favorite foods. I have loved it since I was a child, and I used to eat it, quite literally, down to the white rind. In addition to its low-calorie/high flavor appeal, watermelon reminds me of girlhood visits on my grandparents’ shady back porch, where my cousins and I would spit seeds into the dusky night while lightning bugs flickered around the white hydrangea blossoms. A game of freeze tag almost always followed.
From the deep freeze summer re-run series. originally posted TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010
I was thinking about this yesterday while sitting by our pool, watching young mothers with toddlers bobbing around in water, trying to have a conversation with one another.
Meanwhile, Little was practicing her diving from the blocks and coolly assessing some older middle school girls. And I wondered when the last time was that I hadto get in the pool. It’s been a few years, but for a while now I’ve been able to lounge and sun and read, getting in only when I wanted to cool off. Admittedly, I have enjoyed sitting poolside leafing through magazines and glancing up only to count heads or to acknowledge a Momwatchthis moment. Sure, occasionally I had to referee a disagreement over goggles or some such, but for the most part it was a blissful respite from the demands of the day.The Mister and I took Little to the pool late Sunday afternoon. He, of course, jumped right in and swam and played and admired all her handstands, dives, and splashes. I read. When he came over to dry off and stretch out for a bit, he said, “She’s going to want you to come in.” And I said, “Oh, I don’t think so, she hasn’t said anything,” and I began to think of reasons that I didn’t want to get all wet, namely that I needed to stop at the grocery on the way home. And then, she didn’t swim over to ask me to get in with her. For a long time. She was just fine. Without me. Finally, she glided over and said teasingly, “Why don’t you come in, Mommy? Are you afraid to get your hair wet?” I know, sadly, from experience, that I could have begged off and she would’ve shrugged and swam away, but I think I knew that if I didn’t go in this time, it might be the last time she invited me.
So, I walked to the edge of the deep end and jumped.
I’ve had enough lasts for a while.
Writing a blog is a lot like making supper.
It’s easier, healthier, and tastier when I have a meal plan and a grocery list, when the pantry is full and the fridge is stocked. Sure, every once in a while I can pull a rabbit out of my hat and make something delicious with an onion, an egg, some pasta, and a frozen vegetable, but generally speaking, I like a plan. And, lately, although I’ve been feeding my family, I haven’t been feeding my blog. It’s possible that working full-time, helping out at the store, and, last but not least, wife-ing and mothering, are using most of my creative resources.
Truth is, I’m not willing to give up this little blogging endeavor just yet, but I’ve got to re-stock the inspiration pantry, so to speak. So in the meantime, while I get my blogging meal plan together, I’ve thawed out some dinners from the deep freeze. That’s right, for the next week or so, I’m serving leftovers. I’ll understand if you’d rather go out, but I will be back with some real home-cookin’!
And now, straight from the deep freeze . . .
Simple Summer Pleasures
It seems there are a few foods that are made for summertime. I’m not talking about juicy watermelon or ripe tomatoes or even fresh corn, although my family enjoys those throughout the season. I’m thinking more of foods that--although available year round--we set aside for summer—sort of like eggnog is only served from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. After all, the ingredients in eggnog are always available. It’s the same with one of the T&C household’s favorite treats— homemade frozen bananas. We started making these a few years ago after Little picked up a recipe for them in the grocery store. I like to think they’re a bit healthier than ice cream bars, and they taste amazing even if you’re not crazy for banana-flavored treats.
Start with a bunch of not-too-ripe bananas. They shouldn’t be green, but they should not be fully yellow either. And definitely no speckles!
Find a cookie sheet or baking pan that will fit easily in your freezer and line it with waxed paper.
Cut the bananas in half and insert food-grade wooden popsicle sticks. (If you are only going to be serving these to adults, you can use wooden skewers if you have them on hand.) Place on the wax paper-lined baking pan and pop them into the freezer for half an hour or so. (Leaving them in longer is fine, too, but you might want to cover them.)
While the bananas are chilling, melt one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave oven or in a double boiler. Microwave temperatures vary, so start with 30 seconds. Chocolate that has been melted in a microwave holds its shape, so be careful not to burn it. I microwave my chocolate for one minute, then add a teaspoon of cooking oil (even a light olive oil will work in a pinch) and stir until the chocolate is smooth and the oil is incorporated.
Remove the bananas from the freezer and quickly dunk them in the warm chocolate, which will harden immediately. Store covered in the freezer. A paper muffin liner slipped over the stick makes the perfect drip catcher. For young children, be sure to add sprinkles!
The Mister and I finally got around to seeing Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris last night. Although it was supposed to be a date night, we took Middle along, too, as he has been an only child all week. Middle has already seen The Green Lantern and Transformers this summer, and he made a few noises about seeing Zookeeper, the new Kevin James vehicle, but thankfully the Mister held firm with “this is what your mother and I want to see, and you are invited to join us.”
I knew I would like it—Paris, the 1920s, writers, artists, Owen Wilson, playing a writer. I knew the Mister would like it—the 1920s, Rachel McAdams, and sweetly, the fact that I would like it. Surprisingly, Middle liked it, too. I doubt he will tell anyone he liked it , but he did. I liked it so much, I might take Little to see it. I would definitely see it again!
Have you seen Midnight in Paris? What did you think?
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve gone back to work. Full-time. In a real office. Doing something I like. There are many pluses—obviously a paycheck is nice. I have my own office, and apart from the usefulness of having a place to do work, it also affords a place to decorate and make welcoming for volunteers. And, of course, I’ve been able to add to my wardrobe a bit, too.
So far, the negatives are traveling in a rental car for four days of training in a rather unattractive location led by a rather uninspired presenter. And, as one might expect, there’s been a little bit of office drama for the new “girl.” I think I mentioned that I hadn’t worked full-time for 17 years, and to be honest, I’d forgotten how women sometimes treat other women in the workplace. It pains me to say that—it really does. But being almost (gulp) 50 makes it all a bit easier to swallow.
You see, this little anecdote sums up well the perils of messing with “an old dog.” Regrettably, I could not find any attribution for this tale, although it has been published multiple times.
The old Collie notices some bones on the ground close by, and she immediately settles down to chew on the bones with her back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the old Collie exclaims loudly, ‘Wow, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?’
‘Whew!’ says the panther, ‘That was close! That old dog nearly had me!’
The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.
The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, ‘Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that canine!
Now, the old Collie sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, ‘What am I going to do now?’, but instead of running, the dog sits down with her back to her attackers, pretending she hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old Collie says…
‘Where’s that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!
Let’s just say I’ve identified the panther and the squirrel, and wisdom, skill, and kindness will prevail.
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12
Have you ever encountered workplace drama?
Reflections on the Declaration of Independence
In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions.
Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man—these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions of our forefathers. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish.
We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.
No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.
Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress.
--Calvin Coolidge, July 1926
video by Steelehead Productions