Going to bed without supper

I’m going to send myself to bed without supper tonight. Not because I was a bad girl. But because I put well over 600 miles on my car in less than 24 hours and I’m beat. And nothing sounds good. Or healthy. And I had an unhealthy lunch. I will get hate mail for this, but aside from the lemonade, I fail to see what everyone else sees in Chick-fil-A. There. I said it.

In any case, I thought I was also too tired to remember any stories (because I meant to post photos of my St. George trip this weekend except I was driving most of the time and only took 3 pictures and not a single one of them turned out well) but then when I got to the part about going to bed without supper it made me think of how when I was a kid sometimes we really did go to bed without supper. Because (apparently) sometimes (but not always) I really was a bad girl. But what I remember most was those nights when what we had for supper was a slice of bread in a bowl of milk. Sometimes (but not always–I’ve generally had a hate-love–mostly hate relationship with jam most of my life) there would be a little spoonful of jam in the middle. But not often. At first I couldn’t imagine really enjoying eating bread and milk for dinner, because I remember at times the bread was cheap and the milk very well might have been powdered milk. And I have become a bit of a bread snob (Zack announced just tonight that our next joint venture will be artisan bread–I can’t wait!) and also a milk snob in my later years. But then I remember my mother often (not always) made homemade bread. And we had our own cows, so it very well could have been (sometimes–not always) not so bad.

I don’t remember. And maybe that’s a good thing.

So jam. When I think of jam I think of PBJs. And I cannot abide peanut butter with jam or jelly. CANNOT ABIDE. I do appreciate peanut butter. I prefer Jif (how this girl who was raised on Skippy actually came to prefer Jif I do not know, but it’s true). And only with honey. Come to think of it, I’m actually a honey snob, too. Local honey is truly the only way to go. One of Zack’s friends gave us some of their honey and it is a little taste of heaven on earth.

But back to jam. I never really cared for jam except for freezer jam made from fresh fruit. Even then I liked my toast simple. Just buttered (real butter). Looking back now, I have no idea why. Because let me tell you what I had access to, just in my back yard:

Blackberries/loganberries/marionberries–we never really knew for sure–grew wild along our back fence. They generally made it into our mouths or from-scratch pies before they could possibly have been made into jam.

Tart/Bing/Royal Anne Cherries – the pie cherries were also made into pies and the others were eaten fresh until they were canned. I remember as a kid I would climb to the very tops of our very tall cherry trees to pick all the cherries. And because I loved the heady rush that comes from climbing to the very tops of the trees. Now I am afraid of heights and can hardly bear to climb a ladder. But as a child, I was fearless when it came to climbing.

Raspberries – Pretty any that did not go into our mouths may have gone into ice cream. Except now that I think about it, it seems our preferred flavor of ice cream was vanilla. But I also remember my mother canning raspberries. My Aunt Jean still cans raspberries. They are divine. Such an incredible amount of work! Aunt Jean would always stock my grandmother’s shelves with bottled raspberries. Love in a jar, I kid you not. I watched it bring the both of them great pleasure. (Sometimes Aunt Jean would sneak me a bottle too, but don’t tell anyone. Love in a jar.).

Now I do not remember if the peaches and pears we canned were from our backyard or purchased (or given to us in trade), but there was plenty of those to go around as well.

In short, all the fruits were available right there in my back yard, but I didn’t truly love jam until a good friend of mine started giving me her absolutely fabulous raspberry freezer jam (along with a loaf of Great Harvest whole-grain bread–see, I told you, bread snob!). And I ate lingonberry jam every day for breakfast while I was in Finland. And I also discovered Bonne Maman’s Cherry Preserves. Which I will only buy when they’re marked at least dollars off. But which I love with all my heart.

I was once discussing my food snobbery with a couple of friends as I had realized yet another (rice. hello!).

“Dalene, you’re a snob about everything!” Rachel voiced out loud.

I had no response for that.

And then she added,

“Except people.”

Those may have been some of the kindest words anyone has every said about me.

Maybe there is something to be said for bread and milk or going to bed without supper.

That thing formerly known as NaBloPoMo

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know that while I am sort of hit and miss, there is one thing I do fairly consistently and that is flood you with daily blog posts every November. I used to call it NaBloPoBlahBlahBlah. From what I can tell, BlogHer has hijacked NaBloPoMo and, for some reason, like the FlyLady and e-Bay, has banished me (read, made it impossible for me to register/login). Since I’ve been relegated to rogue status, I’m going to start a bit early to get warmed up. Also, this year, I’ve decided to at least attempt a theme. I’d like to use November to turn some memories and stories into words before I forget. Disclaimer: Like those of my dear grandmother, some of my memories may or may not be true or entirely accurate. But they are real to me.

This is a photo of the upper part of my Grandpa’s ranch. To be more accurate, it is my Grandpa and Grandma Rex’s ranch. Or it was. The part from which most of my childhood memories come has been sold. But the sagebrush is the same pale green/grey and the sky the same clear blue, almost as deep as my grandfather’s eyes when he looked straight up into yours on the rare occasion when he spoke to you, and the dirt. Well, know you know from whence comes my love for red dirt.

I wish I had a picture of my Grandpa. But think of an old (so therefore now), nearly silent Harrison Ford, wearing a plaid polyester cotton western shirt, a broken-in offbrand pair of work jeans, worn and dusty cowboy boots, which he could rightfully wear, and a straw Stetson.

In my mind Grandpa’s truck was the color of ranch road dust. But it must have been tan or yellowish or maybe not. I just remember the red-dirt dust. I remember the first time Grandpa told me to drive it back up to the ranch house to get something or other. I have no idea how old I was. Only that I had never driven a car or a truck before. That my little sister was with me. And that neither one of us could hardly reach the clutch with our feet and see out the dusty front window with our eyes at the same time. I can’t tell you how many times we killed it. Or how we possibly got it from wherever we were back to the ranch house. Maybe we didn’t. I just know that even now, at 50 years old, I can still feel that stone cold panic one feels when someone one doesn’t dare disappoint requires the unknown and impossible.

Another memory that comes to mind when I think of Grandpa’s truck is of riding in the back of the truck. This was, of course, back in the day when riding in the back of a pickup truck was just as accepted as riding in the front without a seatbelt. In other words, we did it all the time.

I have no idea how old I was. When on the ranch, we were as ageless as the ranch was timeless. But I remember being in the back of Grandpa’s truck with at least two of my siblings. I was sitting on the passenger-side edge of the truckbed. As one did, even though common sense dictates that sitting on the top edge of a truckbed while bouncing down an unpaved, wheel-rutted old ranch road is well, either stupid or crazy or a little of both.

Grandpa went around a turn and one of the rusty old 55-gallon drums that for some unknown reason were also in the back of Grandpa’s truck came rolling straight at me. So, clearly valuing limb over life, I lifted both my legs straight up and let the barrel run right under them. Harmlessly, or so I thought. Until the barrel stopped and the rest of me preceded the trajectory of my legs and flipped right over the side of Grandpa’s truck.

Of course Grandpa wasn’t driving very fast (driving fast on a ranch road is darn near impossible, but that’s not to say there are some, mainly the young, who haven’t tried it). He must have watched me go right over, because he stopped the truck. I’m pretty sure I hit my head on the cold hard ground. Because I don’t remember anything from the moment I started to fall back–like a trust fall only with no one there to trust–and the moment I remember waking up and looking a long way up into my Grandpa’s face.

Now how my head likes to the tell the story, there was a rattlesnake right near where I fell and my grandpa killed it with his two bare hands so as to save my life. My grown-up self now (only just now, in the past couple of years) questions my ageless child-self about these details. In fact, the entire memory reeks of an asynchronous Louis L’Amour novel/Hallmark movie mashup. Or something.

But that’s what the little girl in me remembers when she thinks about red-dirt dusted pick-ups, old metal drums, red-ranch dirt, pale green-grey sagebrush, bumps on the head, or the warning rattle of a western rattlesnake.

Snow Day

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we saw a lot more rain than snow. In fact, we just saw a good deal of rain, period. We were those towns at which Utahns like to poke fun because just a skiff of snow is cause for a Snow Day. Which was the source of two family traditions:

First, it was customary for my mother, who was always up first, to announce the snow with Christmas carols playing loudly through the house. Now that I think about it, it seems odd that it never started snowing during the day. I just remember waking up to Christmas carols on the rare morning of a Snow Day. I wanted to carry on that tradition, and I have. But it’s gotten a bit tricky in recent years. It seems (at least until this year) that snow was later and later or rarer and rarer and sometimes it was so close to Christmas I just had to start playing the Christmas music without the snow. I’ll tell you this, though: ┬áthere is no better mood setter for Christmas music than the backdrop of a winter wonderland

Second, and with great anticipation, we set about trying to ascertain whether or not the schools would close, thus making it a true Snow Day. I grew up in before we had texting, cell phones, email, Internet or local morning news on TV. We relied on the local radio stations to announce which districts would be closing for that day. We lived a good 6 miles out of town which was another good 20 miles out of the city that housed the local station (in other words, we were down at the bottom of the totem pole and couldn’t always even be sure they would bother mentioning our district). So we had all the radios on the house on and would listen unabashedly hopefully for the name of our district.

Of course now I live in Utah we can get inches and actual feet and my kids have no concept of a Snow Day.

It’s a good thing today was Saturday, so I could call the Snow Day myself!

Friday it rained, it slushed, it hailed. And then it began to snow

(Still Friday) My excitement built as the snow finally started sticking on the ground!

A hush fell on the neighborhood as the snow started to accumulate. It was a cold and quiet night, but the brightness of the snow kept the dark away. We woke up to this today!

I hearby declare it Snow Day!