Okay, I’ve had enough of this heat. Reminds me of my Arkansas days held captive inside sharing space with the dripping swamp cooler praying for the grid to hold until the sun went down. Thank heavens the 100 plus temps moved east before I marinated in my own juices. What did people do back in the day? Maybe it wasn’t as hot before we declared war on the ozone. Imagine crossing the country in covered wagons with no protection from the elements beyond a wide-brimmed gingham hat. Spending endless days travailing rough terrain shrouded in layers of heavy clothing and leather boots, with your life depending on the pH balance not being off at the next watering hole. Throw in a few bands of marauding Indians and a couple of incurable diseases, and you had the perfect storm. They were a strong backed bunch those early settlers. There were no “birthing centers” on the trail, no epidurals. Women delivered children alfresco or in the back of a dusty wagon. Hardships most of us can’t, nor choose to, imagine. Today we think we’re suffering when our cell phone reception goes dark.
Thank God for A/C. Our air conditioning is peculiar here. Downstairs you could safely hang a side of beef. Upstairs, warmer. I suppose because it has less insulation from the sun than the lower level. Fortunately, we have excellent ceiling fans. In the kitchen, cold air comes out from beneath the cupboards but there is no visible vent. Either they built the cabinets over the vent or we’re having tactile hallucinations. Hmmmm. On the news last week they showed someone frying eggs on the sidewalk in Death Valley. There were visitors there, some with the intention of doing a run of some type. Why would anyone choose to go there during a heat wave? Is there something lacking in the name itself not providing enough information on why to avoid the area any time of the year, but particularly when the heat soars? Run??? Are you kidding? I guess it takes a lot of different colored squares to make a quilt.
My mother plans to visit the end of this month. I adore the woman but it is always a little off-putting no matter your age when your mother comes to stay. To begin with, she has a fear of heights. Not a slight trepidation about being in high places, but a full on terror of it. Once as a teen while driving down the coast of California along the beautiful, but cliff hanging, expanse of California Highway known as Hwy. 1, Mother was reduced to a blubbering fetal mass on the floor of the car. She simultaneously keened and prayed while describing loudly and in great detail how she was going to end my step-father’s existence on this earth if he didn’t find a way off that road (preferably inland although I believe for a moment he was weighing the alternative). For a woman of such ladylike demeanor under normal circumstances, this definitely offered a character alternative none of us wished to see again. That incident served to fully cement my belief her fears were certainly real enough to her. Should the movie rights ever be obtained, we’re looking to Linda Blair for the part of my Mother. We are not planning a repeat trip to the coast during this visit, but ours is a mountain setting. The driveway is at such a down slant it should work nicely as a slalom run in the winter. At our other house, having only a slightly sloped driveway, she chose instead to walk down the stairs to our door, rather than remaining in the car on the way in. Here we may have to resort to either blindfolding her and airlifting her in or whipping up a batch of pre-cocktail hour Manhattans to coax her down.
Fear, whether imagined or real, seems acutely so to the person experiencing it. I have compassion for those suffering from phobias as I entertain a healthy fear of bees. One lone bee flying around me in a closed room will have me dancing Gangnam style in a matter of seconds. There was a huge wasp in the kitchen this morning. I used a half a can of hair spray to put it down. It took twenty minutes to clean the sticky off the window but that wasp is not returning to the nest any time soon. Sorry, it had to be done.
There are a number of unusual phobias which make my aversion to bees seem somewhat more tolerable. Ablutophobics, for example, have a fear of washing. These are not people you want to find yourself seated next to in a crowded stadium on a blistering day. Some phobics harbor a fear of coming home, while others, sitting on the opposite fence, fear going out. Sleep can be terrifying for somniphobics, associating it somehow with death or dying, while hair scares the hide off of hypertrichophobics. There is even a phobia for cell phone users who panic when their devices are of range. Odd what recipes our mind cooks up for us in its intricate inner kitchens.
Getting Mother here also poses another issue. It is a three and a half hour drive which she can no longer manage. There is train service to and from this area to San Jose, or light rail. Definitely a possible option. The downside being you can only bring carry on luggage and that with limitations. Mother dedicates one bag to shoes and another to handbags, so this may not be a viable solution. I have made the drive sooooo many times over the past few years it holds little interest for me these days. Too much traffic and not much to see but asphalt, cars and buildings. Other than that some of my family members and friends live in the area, and San Francisco is nearly my favorite city (of those I’ve visited, naturally), I might not drive there again. Ah well, this too will iron out but these are my less than pressing dilemmas for today.
I have been getting myself in my usual messes over the past couple of weeks, which I will relate in my next blog. We’ve been gone most days trying to fill out the holes in some of our rooms. Shopping, a frustrating experience for me on any given day, has been particularly frustrating on these trips. We have visited every furniture store within an hour’s drive and can’t seem to find two chairs that one could actually sit in for over three minutes without incurring permanent spinal injury. Have they stopped making easy chairs? They look pretty but when you sit down your spinal cord shoots up through your brain. Not good, not good at all. So for now we have couch, but are chairless. It isn’t pretty.
This pie is so good, I can’t think of adjectives to describe it. Ah yes, refreshing, oh, I already used that. Um, tart and creamy with delicious berries and beautiful on the plate. Give it a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. A form of this was handed down to me so cannot give credit to the originator, but they did a nice job. Have a great day!
Refreshing Lemonade Pie
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup finely crushed walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
7 Tbsp. melted butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, cold
1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate (keep frozen)
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl mix together graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie dish. Bake for 10 mins. until light golden brown. Cool completely.
Place medium mixing bowl in the refrigerator until cold.
Remove bowl from refrigerator. For the filling, whip cream on high in chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine condensed milk and frozen lemonade. Mix well. Fold gently into whipped cream. Pour into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Mix together raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hr. before serving.
Remove pie from freezer 15 mins. before getting ready to plate. Spoon berries over top.