Posted tagged ‘blueberries’

“I love watermelon! Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!”

June 24, 2016

Miss Fern had a follow-up visit at the vet’s today. It was hopeful. Her x-rays showed less water around her heart, her breathing is regular, and he thought she looked alert. The back  leg she was dragging is now just about 100%. She ate this morning and drank a lot of water. The vet will call later about her blood test.

Today is also beautiful but hotter than it has been. I still have a great breeze so I haven’t used the air conditioning. Today is errand day. I need animal food and groceries. I have no bread, nothing for dinner and I’m craving a Snickers bar. Yesterday I had cereal for lunch, Sugar Pops. I can’t remember the last time I ate Sugar Pops. It’s funny the associates we keep in our memory drawers. Sugar Pops reminded of watching The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok. His sponsor was Sugar Pops and the show opened with the cereal and Wild Bill. I haven’t eaten that cereal for years, but it didn’t matter. A slew of memories filled my mind’s eye, and I saw Wild Bill and Jingles.

With schools out, oil down and the weather perfect, I expect the Cape to start being inundated this weekend so I will start hunkering down. My frazzled nerves won’t tolerate traffic. I’d be arrested for public profanity.

I was never bored summers when I was kid. Every day was filled. We had the most wonderful places to explore. I remember the wild blueberries near the water tower. They were sweet and delicious. We always ate our fill. The town has blueberry patches where you can pick the fruit. They remind me of those blueberries near the water fountain.

I like cherries. I also liked when we had who can spit the pit the furthest contests. I never won. It seems I haven’t been blessed with the skill necessary to spit pits.

Watermelon in the summer is always the best. I used eat them with so much relish the juice ran down my arms. It was red and made lines as it ran. Now when I eat watermelon I cut it off the rind and eat it in pieces. I guess that’s a sign of adulthood.





“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”

April 9, 2016

The doctor says no surgery. It won’t change a thing happening with my back. He is, instead, referring me to the pain clinic hoping they’ll find solutions which are quick acting and will allow me to walk longer distances.

I think the news buoyed my spirits. Tonight I’m having friends over for dinner, and usually on the day of the dinner, I start to regret the invitation purely because of my back. Today I am raring to go.

I have a list. I always have a list. I also have a flow chart, and I am already behind my time. Talking to my sister did that. She wasn’t on any list.

Dinner will be Indian Chicken and Cashew Rice and a side of green beans for color. I don’t want to get your taste buds aroused but appetizers are blueberry, feta and honey-caramelized onion naan pizza and honey prosciutto with gouda on flatbread. For dessert I’ve already made my dark chocolate cream pie.

When I was a kid, I would have laughed if you had told me I’d be eating Indian food. Now it is among my favorites. Traveling has opened up my mind but even better it has extended my palate. I have eaten the oddest foods I would have cringed just looking at when I was young. Buying a live chicken for dinner would have grossed me out. Chicken comes in packages from the supermarket. Killing and plucking are not necessary. In South American I ate what in the United States are pets: Guinea pigs. They were tasty. In Finland I have no idea what I ate. The second language is Swedish. I just ordered what looked good.

I didn’t even know foods like hummus and falafel existed. I ate Wonder Bread not pita bread or lavash. The most exotic bread I ate back then was Italian scali bread.

On my first trip back to Ghana, I couldn’t wait until I had fufu for dinner and kelewele for a snack. They were my Ghanaian comfort foods.

Morocco was my last trip before the two and soon to be my third trip back to Ghana. Though the country is in North Africa I wasn’t eating African food. I was eating tasty, varied and delicious Moroccan food. Some of it I knew as I could translate the French names but others I chose by appearance. I never made a bad choice.

Part of the adventure of going somewhere different, somewhere new, is eating unfamiliar and maybe even unrecognizable food. That it is sometimes in a foreign language helps.

When I get to Ghana, I want kelewele and those round donuts the small girls sell. I love that in a far different country than my own I have favorite foods which don’t come from stores but from aunties, as older women are sometimes called, who cook and sell the food along the roadsides.

Stop the car!! It’s dinner time.

“Don’t try to make me grow up before my time…”

July 26, 2015

Today is overcast and dark and the air has a damp chill. It feels as if rain is pending. I hope so. It has been too long since the last rain fell.

Last night was perfect for movie night. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. Goldilocks would have found it just right. The crowd liked Breaking Away and they clapped when the Cutters won.

I lived in a project from the time I was five until I was sixteen. It was in my small town and back then the word project had no stigma attached. We never thought twice about calling it the project when we talked about where we lived. Even now, when my sisters and I remember growing up, we start our memories with, “In the project…” The houses were all duplexes made of wood. The front yards had lawns, bushes and flower gardens. We lived in a corner duplex so we had a huge front yard with a small hill leading to the sidewalk and the street. All the backyards had clotheslines, and each side of the duplex had two of those clotheslines. In the middle of the backyards, between the sets of duplexes and behind the clotheslines, was a grass-covered hill, perfect for little kids to sled on in winter and to slip ‘n slide on in summer. The project was loaded with kids of all ages. My best friend lived up above from where I lived, and she even lived in the same duplex where we had first lived. Everyone in the project was a neighbor. One of our favorite neighbors lived in the house next door and another favorite lived right beside us in the same duplex. Their side was a mirror image of ours. A few neighbors were not so friendly, but only a few.

When I talk about my childhood with someone, I usually have to explain the project, defend it somehow, as most people tend to think of projects as block after block of brick high-risers in the poorest part of any city. They never think of them as I do: a place filled with kids, ready playmates, with a grassy field of grasshoppers which jumped in front of you when you walked, an old tree for climbing, blueberries for picking, woods for exploring and a swamp perfect for catching pollywogs in spring and for ice skating on in winter. It was the best place in which to grow up. My sisters and I agree on that.

“When we lose these woods, we lose our soul. Not simply as individuals, but as a people.”

July 29, 2014

The humidity is gone and has left behind a wonderful summer day. I have no plans for today except to do a few things around the house. The errand or two I have I’ll save for tomorrow. I love these quiet mornings when all I can hear are the sweet songs of birds.

When I was a kid, I noticed bugs more than I noticed birds. Grasshoppers were one of my favorites. I loved watching them leap into the air as I walked through the field. In my mind’s eye I can still see it all. The houses were clustered around a small roundabout in a cul-de-sac. A path led from the street behind the houses to the field which stretched across from one group of trees to another. On one side of the field the trees were beside the road while on the other side the trees were thicker and we thought of them as the woods. The boundary of the field was an old tree trunk with one branch still attached and lying on the ground like an extended arm. We never went around the branch. We always climbed over though there was a path which went right around the old tree. Beyond the tree were a few other paths. One led up a grassy hill with blueberry bushes all along the side. The hill led to the water tower at the top. Another path from the tree went straight ahead to the swamp and continued to a street where the path ended. I always thought of that path as a shortcut to my friend who lived on that street. We played in the woods, hunted grasshoppers in the field, watch polliwogs grow into frogs at the swamp and ate our fill of blueberries. We’d race each other up the hill to the water tower. The winner was king of the hill, at least for that day. We could be gone the whole day and still be close to home.

When the town decided to build elderly housing, they took down all the trees and bulldozed the field. Even the swamp was gone. We were devastated.

“Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwi fruit, and I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead.”

June 19, 2014

The day was just beginning when I woke up this morning. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t so I came downstairs. The papers weren’t even here yet so I checked the TV news then went on the deck. The sky is cloudy and the morning has a damp chill. People have yet to stir. Across the street my neighbors still have their shades drawn. I can hear four different bird songs. It has been a long time since I last woke so early.

My mother never bought peaches. I didn’t like them and I don’t think my sisters did either. I always thought peach skins looked hairy, and I could never get beyond that. When I was little, my mother used to peel my apples for me. She’d also cut the oranges into pieces, sometimes four, sometimes eight. I was on my own with bananas. My mother only bought tangerines at Thanksgiving. They were easy to peel and eat in segments. I just didn’t like the seeds. There were always so many. Pears were best when they were yellow. I learned that when I used to take green pears from the neighbor’s tree. They were hard to bite and tasteless. Another neighbor had grapes and never minded when we picked them. They were big and purple. Watermelon was summer and I remember juice rolling down my hand and on my cheeks. Cherries were best because you got to spit the seeds. We always had a contest. I didn’t usually win.

Exotic fruits were of the future. I could never imagine a kiwi, a pomegranate or a carambola. I ate my first mangos and paw paws, papayas, in Ghana. I thought the mango tasted like furniture polish, but I loved the paw paw and eventually even came to love the mango. Cut fresh pineapple and sweet green oranges sold by the aunties on the sides of the road were my favorites. For lunch every day I had a bowl of cut fruit.

I buy bananas, and I love strawberries. Only if I have a recipe in mind do I buy blueberries. They are not for eating out of hand unless you’re picking them. I love watermelon. Cold watermelon on a hot day is like manna from heaven. It still drips down my hand.

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

March 24, 2013

What a bright, sunny day it is with the bluest of skies. Though still a bit chilly, only in the high 30’s, the sun makes it feel much warmer. The breeze is slight and only gently rocks the branches. The snow is just about gone. Today must be an apology of sorts from Mother Nature for the grayness of the past week.

This morning I watched a spawn of Satan be thwarted by my bird feeders. It tried all three sunflower feeders but got nothing except frustration. Its paw jabbed and jabbed inside the wires and still came back empty. Take that, you spawn of Satan!

I have high hopes. My back is getting better, my outlook on life is rosier, Easter is next week and baseball starts April 1st. Life is good.

When I was a little kid, small things gave me joy. Blowing puffy dandelions into the wind, catching fireflies, picking and eating blueberries or watching pollywogs at the swamp were the best ways to spend part of a summer day. Getting dirty while doing it was a bonus. I’d lie on my stomach and look into the water at the edge of the swamp because that’s where the pollywogs first appeared. We’d go and see them every couple of days and watch them grow. They were the tiniest black specks at first darting so quickly I could almost miss them but then came the arms and legs, and they were easy to see. When they were full-grown, they just disappeared, moved on to somewhere else in the swamp, probably in the back among the trees and bushes where we seldom went.

That swamp was my favorite of all places when I was young. It had a wide open area in the front where we watched the pollywogs in spring and where we’d ice skate in the winter. Small channels on both sides led away from the wide front. In the summer these channels were bordered by overgrown bushes and trees growing on what we thought of as islands. Exploring into the swamp meant jumping from island to island, getting scratched by the briers and getting wet feet if you weren’t careful, but at least once every summer we’d explore as far as we could. In the winter it was easy. The channels froze and the trees and bushes were bare. We walk and follow the channels as far as they went holding on to limps to keep from slipping and falling. We’d get on our hands and knees to look into the ice. It was like looking at a tiny world. The ice was so clear we could see all the dead leaves, the vines and the limbs of trees which had dipped into the water and been frozen. I can still see it all in my mind’s eye. I thought it was beautiful.

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