Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Real Story of Cincinnati Chili, Part 5

To brush up after our extremely long break, here is the link for Part 4

Hannistina had just had her culinary dreams squelched by the beastly Georgio Ghiradelli.  Oh what will she do?

Also, for some reason I decided that this was the beginning of Chapter 2.  No, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever, but I really like the title I picked out, so we'll leave it in!

Chapter 2:  A Banged Up BonMuffin

Hannistina felt the cold wind prick her skin as she marched down the sidewalk.  Her eyes were focused on her destination, not wavering from the Post Office doors which came into view.  Her arms tightly gripped the packages she carried as her mind still reeled from the wild ride of the evening before.  She wanted to banish all thoughts of the night from her mind, but little memories pelted her, repeatedly bruising her already sore psyche.  She struggled to keep her mind from the disastrous evening.  Her hopes had been so high for the future, her dreams of a bon-bon business, the man of her dreams...oh, Georgio Ghiradelli was not the man of her dreams!  He was arrogant!  His words were horrific and his tact was deficient.  How was it that all the men in her life turned out to be such duds?

Hannistina reached for the Post Office door just as it came flying open.  She felt the blow from the body that had torn through the now open doorway.  The shock had sent her body flying down to the hard, cold concrete.

"Oh, Miss Hershey, are you okay?  I am so, so sorry..."  The words from the assailant rang through her ears.  She knew that voice, but the world was spinning too quickly.  She tried to focus and noticed instead that a crowd was gathering.  She tried to intensify the face above her, but the sun in her eyes blocked her view.  

"May I help you up?  Please, Miss Hershey, are you wounded?".  The sun put a halo around her assailant and his features glowed with concern as he reached his hand down to help her up.  Her heart fluttered at the thought of this unknown man becoming her knight in shining armor.  Her dreams of this day often filled her mind.  Her mind raced with anticipation as she accepted his hand and tried to recover what little of her dignity she could.  As her body righted, her breath escaped along with the few remaining dignity shreds.  

"Dudley!" was the only word that she could manage.  He gently held her hand as she stood up, looking deeply into her eyes.  Was it only a dream?  Had she hit her head harder than she thought?  Suddenly this man she had known since second grade seemed all new to her.  The events of last night were all forgotten, as he bent to gather her belongings.  The sun again glinted off his head, and she realized that it wasn't a halo, but  the shine off his balding head causing the glow.  Hannistina furrowed her brow.  Perhaps she was just too dreamy lately.  There was no reason to go overboard.  It was only Dudley.  She calmed her overwhelmed, fantasy-wracked brain and adjusted her thoughts back to normal, yet still found herself agreeing to lunch in his shop after her business with the USPS.  His presence was comforting, and it was good to know he would understand her disappointment.

As he maneuvered his stocky frame around the table to the kitchen area of the shop, she was amazed by her urge to pour out the events of the previous night.  He brought out his new Thanksgiving dinner wrap, a creation of turkey, stuffing and cranberry.  Hannistina gazed skeptically at the concoction, then took a bite.  She was immediately reminded of her last Thanksgiving with her Dad and his staff.  She had been excited to be working in Italy until Thanksgiving rolled around.  The meal had seemed so cold and unfamiliar there.  Her thoughts wandered as she demolished more and more of Dudley's specialty.

"Listen, Hannistina, I think you were in the right.  After all, what is food without love?  I think the best food brings back memories and feelings of family.  I know how to make many gourmet items, but you know what?  I find that it is things like this ridiculous wrap that people keep coming back for over and over.  They feel a connection with the food because it is comforting, and there is nothing wrong with that.  It's the backbone of my business, in fact. "  Dudley noticed her gaze focus on him and immediately reddened.  Hannistina, stunned by such plain common sense, had locked eyes with him for a moment.  Perhaps here right in front of her, lay the answer --Dudley could give her his opinion of the chili.  He would know what would sell for sure; his shop had always been extremely popular.     That was her answer--she would ask him--besides, she had to return his dishes anyway.  

"Dudley, would you consider coming to my rescue one more time?"  Hannistina requested as she batted her eyes demurely.  Dudley flushed once again and his features glowed with pleasure.  He jumped up from the table, jarring it soundly in his haste.  He did not even notice the drinks on the table sloshing as he grandly bowed and waved his arms with flourish.  Hannistina choked back the urge to snort with laughter.  She managed restraint for a change, and showed only a calm smile.

"Mr. Dudley BonMuffin, would you accompany me to my home to taste my homespun concoction that Mr. Georgio Ghiradelli cruelly pronounced as food fit only for those lacking in taste and refinement?" she asked.

In answer, Dudley hurried to get their coats and assist her in every possible way...

Oh, what will he think?  And how does he become banged up himself?  You'll just have to wait until the next installment!

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Little Pumpkin

I got my weekly email yesterday.  You know, the one from Babycenter.com that marks your pregnancy week by week.  In fact, even for those of you who are slightly detached from the pregnancy process, you probably are friends with someone on Facebook who posts hers with regularity for the world to see.  I'm now officially two months from my due date.

My baby is the weight of four large navel oranges.  That's real progress.

In the last month, we've moved up in the world from a head of cauliflower, to some type of squash or other, to the multiple oranges.

My question is this...why all the produce references?  Is it suppose to inspire me to eat more healthfully despite the constant cravings for potato chips and fudge?  Are the publishers condescending enough to assume that a food reference will always magically click?  Are they possibly struggling with covert cannibalism?

My beef is this (ha, ha)...if you're going to constantly weigh your baby with food references, why not hit on things pregnant women want to think about and can really relate to?

"Congratulations!  You are 12 weeks along.  Your baby is the size of a Hershey's kiss..."

"Your baby has now achieved the weight of a single serving bag of M and M's..."

"This week baby is the length of a King size Reese's..."

"Hooray for you!  Baby is growing rapidly and will soon be as large as a Family size bag of Late Night Tacos at Midnight Doritos..."

Now THAT would make for some interesting Facebook reading.  Besides, it would be a more realistic representation of what pregnant women are really feeling.  If we have to force ourselves to eat spinach when we really want Extreme Moosetracks, do you have to constantly rub it in?

And just so you know, according to my personal measuring methods, my baby is now roughly the size of one Russell Stover Assorted sampler box plus two small Whitman's sampler tins.  <<sigh>>  Leave me alone to dream now, just for a moment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Continuing on the Reading Theme...

I found this painting quite some time ago.  In fact, I think it was before we even knew we were having baby #4.  This struck a chord with me, of course, because I love to read aloud with my kids.

This painting is "Jungle Tales" by James Jebusa Shannon.  You can just see how thrilled they are...and look...no pictures...small print!  I've seen this look on my children's faces on occasion during read aloud time.    Forget the millions of lesson plans for 'listening skills'.  This is how learning to listen is truly accomplished...turning off the television and reading aloud on a regular basis.  

As always, my reviews have pretty much nothing to do with the actual skill of the artwork.  I just find art I like or art that makes me feel something.  I figure, if it makes me think or remember or laugh, it's a medium worthy of attention.  Doesn't this make you think of things you do with your children to build camaraderie and have fun in a calm and quiet way?

PS...this post has also been a good exercise for me.  Apparently I've forgotten how to spell 'camaraderie' correctly.  Thank you, dictionary.com!  Must be time to start up with the word of the week again...

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Reading Update

We've been enjoying our time off school the last couple months.  The older babies have been reading here and there for their library reading program, as well as our usual Bible and reading aloud time just after lunch. I'm very pleased to announce that we've begun to read an abridged version of Swiss Family Robinson together after lunch.  It's been a big hit--full of animals and imagination and excitement.  In fact, I have to say, it was one of my personal favorites growing up.

As for me, I'm continuing through Agatha Christie's autobiography, a really intriguing read.  She has a light style, but I've actually learned quite a lot about the culture of her time and class.  I'd highly recommend it, and I'm only halfway through.  In fact, Hercule Poirot has just begun to develop.  There are so many adventures to come!  It's also full of all sorts of quirky observations, such as her assertion that when in love, a woman has her beauty heightened; she glows.  A man looks uglier because he's feeling so smitten and worthless.  Hmmm...I have seen this on occasion, but I'm not so sure it's a hard and fast rule.  At any rate, it's a very interesting thought!

I also recently bought and finished a book of a more practical nature.  It's called Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.  I plan to review it soon (well, as soon as I get around to it anyway), and I've already begun to implement some of her suggestions with success.  It has been great food for thought for me personally, as well as an encouragement.

I'm very excited about what the school year has to hold for Scott and Cara.  I'm really looking forward to the day when they can sit down and read a chapter book on their own, and they'll be quite a bit closer after this year's worth of learning.

I don't know about you, but there are some books I associate with certain events in my life.  I remember what I was reading when we were house hunting, during visits to family growing up, during my early married years (ie...before kids when I had time to read on a regular basis).   What a joy to look back at this summer and remember what we were all reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Children's Hour

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations, 
That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen 
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

This reminds me so much of Daddy coming home!  What a sweet picture of fatherhood!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Quote by Coco, not about Cocoa Products, for a change...

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."

--Coco Chanel

Hmmm...I think I've got that 'different' thing down to a science!  Good to know no one could take my place.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remember This?

Cara told me something really funny this morning.  Apparently one of the neighbor girls taught her the following...

"Girls go to college to get more knowledge; boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider..." (giggle, giggle, snort).

Ah, yes, the classics.  I'd forgotten about that.  I promptly taught her the "Girls go to Mars to get more candy bars..." bit.  (This could be construed as a part of my ongoing plan to indoctrinate my children into chocolate obsession--maybe that's where this all started!).

I have to say it brought back some cute little girl school memories for me.  Amazing how these playground rhymes stand the test of time.

...just a little scared for the day when the kids learn the diarrhea song!