Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Meals al fresco (4-6)


MAY 20, 2017
The details of the meal escape me, though I'm assuming there was a salmon element. What I do remember, however, is that Chach, who can now activate the deck door without assistance, dragged a fourth chair to the small, round, stone bistro table I bought from Shopko in the mid-aughts. One of her favorite dolls, a baldie named Bentleyville who is permanently stripped to the equivalent of an old-fashioned swim costume, sat between us as we took our fourth al fresco meal of the summer.

MAY 25, 2017
This seemed like a terrible idea. It had been raining, then not raining all day long. We had a brief moment of sunshine just as I was finishing making dinner: polenta with vegan pesto (spinach-basil, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic). I make this at least once a week. It was Chach who suggested we eat outside and I started to say Nah until I realized that was insane, carpe diem, etc. So I dried off the chairs and we took our plates out. A few gnats swirled, like, "we're coming for you but not yet," and it was like one degree below optimal comfort. Ah, well.

MAY 28, 2017
The annual Memorial Day party at The Great Archivist and Geo Grl's. The latter asked for feng shui advice in placing the table, then opted for a spot less soggy. Chach played fetch with the dog -- only in this version she'd throw and they'd both chase the ball. We were part of the early swarm, Chuck had to work, and we filled plates with dogs, macaroni and cheese, chips and other picnic fare. I doubled back for an extra dog and the stranger next to me invited me to come to her house to learn how to brew my own kombucha -- because this is the kind of party where those kind of great connections are made. We left before the bocce.

Dammit, plural ...

Eager to swear, age 3. 

"What does 'Geez, Louise,' mean?" Chach asked me last night during dinner. First I explained the pure pleasure of a phrase that rhymes, then we discussed famous Louises in history (well, just Erdrich), then I tossed out some comparable exclamations -- 'ah, man,' 'oof!' 'holy moly' and 'shucks.'
I asked if she could think of anything similar. She got a coy look.
"Dammits," she said, quietly but confidently. With an S.

Is there anything cuter, any greater comedy, than a kid testing a swear. Answer: Absolutely not.

"Right," I said, keeping it light and airy. "Except that is an adult word. So maybe we would say 'darnit,' instead. Where did you learn that word, anyway?"
Her tiny little pointer finger inched toward me.
"And dad," she added.
Then: "Grandma and Grandpa never say it," she said. "Neither does (the Norwegian Wonder)."
I inserted a little monologue about how some people use only nice words and some people, like her parents apparently, use not-so nice words.

"When can I say that word?" she asked.
"What word?" I coaxed.
I just wanted to hear her say it one more time before it was banned.
She shook her head.
"When you're a grown-up," I told her. "Right around when you're 18."
She looked a bit dejected.
"Or when you're alone and no one is listening," I added. "Not at school, not in front of friends. Maybe just when you're alone in your room, playing with your toys and no one can hear you."
"But you can always hear me," she pointed out.
"That's right," I nodded. "I can always hear you."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Meals al fresco (1-3)

video


On April 22 we took two of our three meals in the open air. For the first, we raided the deli at the Co-op for two adult sandwiches to complement the daily homemade PB preferred by our Baby Chicken. We took this backpack load to Rock Knob at Hartley Nature Center -- which offers a trees-upon-trees vista.

Him: A hummus wrap.
Her: A turkey-cheese sandwich.
To be shared, but really eaten by her: a bag of salt-n-pepper crinkle chips.
I'm sure there was some fruit in there.

Later that night we used a cedar log acquired at Christmas to cook salmon and a grill basket also acquired at Christmas to roast up a mess of something that I've already forgotten about -- though there were avocados. We ate at the small, stone two-top table on our deck adding a bonus chair from the kitchen table. It's a tight squeeze for us three. I bought that table in the early 2000s so that I could turn an extra room of my apartment into skateboard park by day, bistro by night. Anyway, the place was totally gross and when we had that Asian beetle infestation, I probably ended up swallowing 200 of them in my sleep. I also didn't get my deposit back.  

Sometime last week, while Chuck was home vacationing: We grilled brats that had been cooked in Bent Paddle. I was awarded the final two sips from the can, which was enough to make it mega festive.

This is just a snack taken al fresco, which does not count toward our summer Meals Al Fresco tally

Monday, May 15, 2017

Um, It's Mother's Day ...

video
I'm sitting on the couch listening to songs by The National or that people who like The National might like (think Iron & Wine, The War on Drugs, Bon Iver, The National). I'm also sipping an Old Fashioned and the one that follows this one will be made with ill-gained whiskey.

We were deadlocked at who would cross the bridge to Wisconsin for provisions. It was after 11 p.m. -- not to mention a Sunday night. It was my idea, the whiskey, but he was the one still wearing adult pants with special drying instructions rather than yogurt-stained (1) Abercrombie sweats (2).

Anyway, right before we broke into Rock-Scissors-Paper I just ended it, clear-cut:
"It's still Mother's Day."
This was the second time today I'd flashed this badge and expected to skate past security. The first time it failed. The scene:  a 3 1/2 year old, belly button deep in bubble bath, who dared respond:
"Nuh uh. It's Kids' Day."
I flipped on her in the way that moms of the past, present and future have all/will all respond(ed):
"EVERY DAY IS KIDS' DAY. ALL OF THEM. FOREVER. EXCEPT RIGHT THIS SECOND. THIS SECOND IS MINE. SO YOU WILL LET ME WASH YOUR HAIR WITHOUT FREAKING OUT JUST BECAUSE WATER MIGHT GO IN YOUR EAR. YOU WILL LET ME WASH YOUR HAIR BECAUSE IT IS MOTHER'S DAY."

And that's when I changed my mailing address to Panel Four, 55807 of a For Better or For Worse comic strip.

Anyway, Chuck went for the whiskey -- round trip like 12 minutes max (3). Earlier in the day, I was also gifted a pair of classic checkerboard Vans -- which I've wanted since I was 10 (4). In fact, I wanted them badly enough in 1985-ish to draw a checkerboard pattern on my Keds with Magic Marker. But I was also self-aware enough to know not to wear those knock-offs in public.

It is Day 3 of vacation. Chach and I went to a parade, but it was too cold/windy in Duluth, Minn., to even consider standing next to The Largest Freshwater Urinal in the World. Even though there were people dressed like Famous Smelt from History, a ceremony for Smelt Royalty, stilt walkers (5) and music by the Brass Messengers, we ducked into a Caribou Coffee where I had a London Fog and she ate this weird veggie-fruit-vegan-GF-potentially raw bar (made at a place that processes tree nuts and soy) that clung to her lone front tooth in a disconcerting way (6). Then we went to Target to buy a new Magic Bullet since I wore out the motor on our current Magic Bullet trying to pulp ice cubes.

On Day 2 of vacation we went to a wrestling match at an art museum and on Day 1 of vacation we went from one gorgeous corner of Minnesota to another gorgeous pocket of Minnesota to climb, dangle from, and otherwise parkour over acre-upon-acre of larger-than-life sculptures -- only two shaped like pieces of human anatomy.

FOOTNOTES
1. I don't even eat yogurt.
2. I'm super into A&F again.
3. This is an old stat. We now use a different Superior liquor store, plus there was construction. This round trip was closer to 16 minutes.
4. I always thought this was another "My parents wouldn't let me ..." story. A thing like "wouldn't let me eat sugar cereal" and "wouldn't let me watch MTV" or "The Dukes of Hazard." My mom clarified tonight that she probably just couldn't afford Vans, which makes the story just kind of fizzle into not-a-"I wasn't allowed to" story. Zzzzz.
4. Chach called them "Kilt Walkers." "No, it's 'stilt walkers'," I corrected her. She gave a single snort. "I call them 'kilt-walkers,'" she said.
5. I bought a box at Target. They're like Fruit Rollups. And eventually the glob came off her tooth.