Sunday, August 23, 2009

Do Nothing Day

I’m taking a break from another sedentary pursuit; flipping through years of Taste of Home and Simple & Delicious magazines, looking for recipes ideas. I’m more of an America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated and Gourmet magazine girl but I need some quick-on-the-draw ideas in my arsenal. Fall’s coming and you know, most days don’t allow me hours in the kitchen. As I’ve sifted through these publications I’ve wondered who these skinny gals are in all the pictures, eating all that comfort food? Laughing heartily over a plate of cookies? I just read in Time magazine that exercise isn’t enough to make up for sinful eating. So what gives? I want to see what real people look like after eating this food. Or maybe I don't.

This morning the kids and Grandma and I played a game of Phase 10, or as I call it, The Never-Ending Game of Doom and Sadness. We always think Oh! Let’s play Phase 10! and then we get kids gloating when they phase, kids sulking when they’re skipped, kids freaking out when they’re left with a handful of Wilds and Skips to count. They’re full of Never Again! promises but they can’t seem to help themselves.

During the game I pulled out my phone and looked at Facebook. Ooh! A message with a video! I waited until the game was over to look at it. Oh my. There before my eyes was me. Me from 1970-something (I’m in the stripes not looking at the camera—and no; I have no idea what Lisa and I are doing). I had no clue that anything like this existed—my folks didn’t own a video camera. My mom was pretty surprised too but you know, the whole Facebook thing freaks her out, I think.

Which is fine by me. I’m one of those people who would drop Facebook in a microsecond (sure I would) if my parents joined. It’s not like I say things or post items I’d be embarrassed for them to see (sure I don’t). All I can say is Worlds Collide. I like things just the way they are. But like I said, it freaks Mom out. She used to be my source for information, limited and infrequent as it was, about family, extended family, old friends, older friends, all that. Now I tell her what’s going on. She always stops and stares (usually my territory). “How do you . . . nevermind.”

Last night at dinner Ellen and I were talking about different people we’re in touch with now and after one particular name Mom stopped, stared, and said, “How can you be friends with people you aren’t friends with?” Good grief! How would I know? I just do these things. I don’t actually think about them.

Not completely unrelated* (totally unrelated), down at the garden there were billions of beans to be picked, washed, topped, tailed, cut, blanched, and frozen. My vow to Do Nothing today didn’t go as planned, though honestly, watching Formula One while working on beans can’t really be considered Effort. Where I fell off the Do Nothing wagon was dealing with the kids. They have ten acres to roam (and hundreds more if they were anything like me as a kid—serious trespasser) but they must be in each other’s business at regular intervals and keeping up with their special requests. Can I play on your phone? Can I use your laptop? When I remind them we’re in the country, why not go outside? the requests turn to Can I shoot something? Can I drive the tractor? I would love it if at some point all five could just CHILL.

During this trip to the farm, Sierra has continually lobbied Grandpa to let her drive the riding lawnmower herself. He wasn’t so sure it was a great idea but gave in. Because that is Sierra’s Super Power. Before he handed over the keys, he had this to say:

“Do you know how to clutch it?”
“Have you got emergency flares? The number for AAA?”
“And no beer. I don’t want to see any long necks in the cup holder!”

She answered Yes, No, No, and rolled her eyes. She headed to the barn and so far she hasn’t run over anyone yet.

*Matthew Keith sent me the video. I remember beans growing up in front of his family’s porch and how we’d pull off leaves and stick them like Velcro to our clothes.
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