Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Special Huggy Bear Recipe

Special huggy bear chef
When Bill was little, he would get out plastic bowls and spoons and concoct mixtures of odd things like water, gummy bears, food coloring, Cheez-its, milk, etc… whatever I would let him have. It always looked disgusting and I always only pretended to eat it… and he always called it his “Special Huggy Bear Recipe.”

Now that he’s 12, his “Special Huggy Bear Recipe” consists of a Klondike bar on a plate with caramel syrup and a spritz of whipped cream… A tad more sophisticated, and something I would definitely eat. I guess I’ve made it sound like he’s always in the kitchen mixing it up, but really he’s not. His usual method for acquiring victuals is lying around and saying, “Mom can you make me some…” 

And he actually likes my cooking – which is weird. I mean, if you’ve been reading my stuff long, you will have deduced that I am not a great cook. What with my previous food issues, my lack of time, the picky eaters who live in my house, and my unflagging apathy, … it’s just not in me to be a daring or precise cook. I mean, when it comes down to it, I’d much rather be watching a movie or reading a book. 
Thank you, God, for avocados.

That said, I am an adequate cook that sometimes follows recipes, sometimes improvises, sometimes just makes sh*t up. And since I’ve been home all summer on account of my academic job, I’ve been able to take a little time with my lunch, which I have gotten down to an science. And even though I am the LAST person who should be giving out self-devised recipes, and even though you probably don't need ME to tell you how to make this, I’m going to do it anyway because this is the best thing I’ve put in my mouth in a while — honestly the ingredients make it pretty fool proof. God sure did a good job with avocados, didn’t He? 

Poached egg version


2 slices whole wheat bread 
2 tsp. butter 
1/2 ripe avocado
1 boiled egg, sliced
lemon juice

crushed red pepper

Toast the bread on one side in a toaster oven. Turn it over, spread with butter and toast the other side.

While bread is toasting, mash up the avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of salt.

When bread is finished toasting, put it on a plate and spread the buttered sides with the mashed avocado. Top this with slices of boiled egg.

Sprinkle with salt, then with crushed red pepper. 

You can substitute the boiled egg with two poached eggs – one egg on each slice. You will not be hungry until dinner if you eat it this way. You could also use olive oil instead of butter if you wanted to, but butter is just so … buttery, am I right?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And Now, for Some Blatant Advertising (repost)

I'm reposting this because... well, you can probably figure out why...! :-P

This isn’t going to be one of those spiritual, thought-provoking posts that (in my mind) some of the others are... No, this is just a bit of housekeeping... revising an earlier misspeak, along with a bit of blatant advertising... 

Because of Nina – we're on, as the
Fleshtones say, "the right side 
of a good thing."
A month or so ago I wrote about our little episode with head lice... and, like so many things, I may have spoken a bit too soon. Yep, I thought we were in the clear, but.... noooooooo....! I kept feeling the itchies, despite repeated treatment and extensive nitpicking sessions. And no, it wasn’t, as I first suspected, “all in my head.”

And as with many problems we begin with trying to solve them ourselves only to find that we must in the end hire a professional. A season of melancholy turns to full blown depression and we stew in it – sometimes confiding in a friend, and finally we may seek professional help. Got poison ivy? Reach for the calamine lotion (rhymes with...), discuss home remedies with the Graedons... until you can’t stand it anymore and find yourself at your family doctor begging for a prescription unguent. 

And this is how we found ourselves after more than a month of homeopathic, over the counter and prescription lice solutions, calling a lice eradication service. Until this summer, I had no clue such a thing even existed! And then, I thought, “It’s probably reeeally expensive... just for rich people... people who have money to burn and are too lazy to do it themselves...” But now I know, this service is also the refuge of the desperate. I mean, I absolutely DON’T have any flammable money, and I had expended a LOT of effort trying to do it myself... I just didn’t have the psychic energy or training to solve the problem myself. Even with the help of my great friend Grace, it just proved too much... and I don't think I'm out of line when I say that Grace had reached the end of her rope as well!

I swear they aren’t paying me a cent to plug them... but I am totally going to do it. It's called Lice Happens and here’s how it works: You call and someone answers. You don’t have to leave a message or go through a bunch of “for English press 1” stuff... You set up an appointment – usually pretty soon after the call, and the “lice lady” shows up at your door with all the equipment needed to render you and yours LICE FREE. I am not kidding.

The “lice lady” who services this area is named Nina and she is super cool. Not only does she get the job done, but she has great taste in music and art and all. You see, you end up chewing the fat a bit while she does her thing, so I was able to size her up, both professionally and as a fellow human being.

No, I don't have money to 
burn... I'm just desperate!
Anyway, she checks the entire family... then all she does is wet your hair and spray some foamy stuff on it – which, she told us, is completely natural and non-toxic. It loosens up the lice and egs and then she has this amazing comb that is like.... velcro... or sandpaper... or something. Whatever it’s like, it really scrapes the pestilence out of your hair. Anyway, with this super lice-catcher comb, she combs your hair over and over and over and over until no lice at any stage of development come out on that super-sticky comb. 

For kids, she’s got a little DVD player so they can watch a movie while she works... because it can be a tedious process. But absolutely NOT as tedious as sitting there while your clueless mom tries to pick each individual nit out of your hair. And when she’s done, she gives you instructions to carry on with the treatment for the next couple of weeks. And again, the stuff you have to do is NOT like picking over an entire head of hair every day. It’s more of a quick comb-through while you’re washing your hair.

And yes, it DOES cost a bit. But you know what? I had already spent a ton of money on special combs, over-the-counter remedies, prescription remedies, doctor visits... I am now wishing I had just called Nina to begin with! Because, as I stated before, sometimes you just have to eat your pride and call in a professional. Not only do I feel UN-lousy for the first time in a long time, but I made a very cool friend.

So, just for Nina, here's a song by the Fleshtones that I think she'd like.

Friday, July 8, 2016

I'm planning to be here.

Because one of my main clients is a university, I am having the novel experience of working at half mast this summer. As the summer approached, I began to develop ambitious plans of what I would accomplish with my impending free time, most of which involved cleaning and organizing. 

And what is it that James says about the arrogance of making plans?
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4)
James warns us about the
perils of making plans.
(I’ve always thought that last line seems sort of out of place, and now I’m wondering if it actually means something like: "What if you make a plan to do something good – but don’t follow through? That’s going to mess with your conscience!" Doesn't that make more sense?)

Anyway, despite my elaborate (and apparently sinful) planning, I’ve pretty much accomplished very little… besides just relaxing and hanging out with my awesome son Bill.

Besides my resolve to clean and organize, I really wanted to write some good, meaty blog posts but… so far, I’ve managed a grand total of ONE. Why is it that when I’m busy as crap, I get blog-worthy thoughts just piling up in my stressed out brain but have no time to make them readable for you? Conversely, I’m sitting here with time on my hands but absolutely no deep thoughts whatsoever. 

Could it be the five twelve-year-old boys chattering away in the background? Could it be that empty life = empty mind? Or that with all this fun I’m having, I’m not thinking about God? (Which brings to mind what kindergarten Bill said before he got out of the car for his first Field Day: “Mommy, I’m worried that I will be having so much fun at field day that I’ll forget to think about you.” It’s a real danger, isn’t it?!)

Okay, let’s go back to the five 12-year-old boys that are sitting in my living room playing Minecraft and just talking talking talking… “Iron golems don’t give out roses out for no reason” and “I think we should each have vaults of our private stuff” and “Who has black dye? black wool? an ink sack? anybody?” And this is all very well and good because they’re still behaving in a fairly innocuous un-post-puberty way… because, and here’s my point… I’M NOT READY TO HAVE A TEENAGE BOY.

I'm here for you, Bill!
In some ways we’re already there… the gallons of milk that I’m constantly buying, the size 10 shoes that I’m always tripping over in the hall, the middle school dances I chaperoned, the way he occasionally washes his own sheets… But in other ways, he’s still just a kid. I mean, he’s playing Minecraft, dang it! He’s obsessed with Batman, he covers his eyes when people kiss on TV, and his fascination with LEGOs is far from over. 

I’m trying to keep an open mind about this… I mean, I’m sure teenage boys have their good points… right? They sleep late so they’re lower maintenance... and already I’m making use of Bill’s increased height to reach things on high shelves! But again, I’m NOT ready for this. How will I handle it? I have no tools in my skill bag to handle what’s coming. Dating, driving, identity crises, bad hair days… and all the sheer adolescent angst that accompanies this alarming phase.

I recently had the pleasure of holding a friend’s 4-week-old baby and it was so wonderful… that sweetie went right to sleep. His mom said, “He just likes to be up next to a warm body.” And seriously, that’s what I’m good at. Being the nice soft warm body that lulls the child to sleep. I wonder how I can translate it into being a good mom to a teenager? Hopefully just being present counts for something… because sometimes that’s the best I can do… and this summer, I AM present!