Yesterday was one of those days that you realize was really a good day when it ends.
I got out of bed at 8:00 when Mom called with a quick question and we had a lovely half hour conversation. It had to begin outside since I had two sleeping boys–a husband and a brother–in my tiny little apartment. Eventually I went back in and started breakfast. I had a new recipe I’d discovered that I wanted to try, and it worked beautifully. I found it in Betty Crocker and it’s called an oven pancake. So easy:
Melt 1/3 c. butter by putting it in a 9×13 baking dish and setting it in the oven as it preheats to 350F. Lightly beat 4 eggs and add in a cup of milk. Add in a cup of flour and 1/2 tsp of salt and beat it lightly, gently, and quickly just until you’ve gotten rid of the flour lumps. Take the melted butter out of the oven and make sure it’s coating the whole bottom of the dish. Pour in the egg mixture and set it back in the oven. (Don’t be like me–use a hot pad the FIRST time you touch the pan.) Bake for 25 minutes.
While it baked I cleaned the kitchen, cleaned and cut moldy strawberries that had been BOGO at the start of the week, and made strawberry syrup by heating them with about 1/4 c. sugar. The “pancake” comes out of the oven looking like a giant popover. The cookbook suggested to eat it with lemon juice and powdered sugar, which we used to supplement our strawberry syrup. It was very good.
Devotions and a sweet time of prayer among the three of us finished, we scrambled to take quick showers and pack our bags, then headed for a brief visit to St. Olaf for internet access (and practice for Mike). The day before I had researched parks and trails in Minneapolis, so yesterday I downloaded directions and then we were on our way. We got Mike’s mom’s car serviced in Bloomington where Josh & Bryonie met us and we shared hamburgers and a lot of fellowship and laughter at Fuddruckers while we waited for our car.
By 3:00 we were back on the road, stopping at Target for picnic supplies and a long-coveted picnic blanket and frisbee, for which we finally exhausted the fortune we received in Target gift cards on our wedding. We drove across Minnehaha Parkway to the Minnehaha State Park, which was everything I’d hoped for. We found a walking trail which paralleled an old historic trail. We didn’t realize we’d chosen the old historic (and partly washed out) trail until we’d committed ourselves to it.
After three hours of hiking, skipping rocks in the Mississippi, and climbing waterfalls for no reason, we emerged again and decided to walk the real trail. Then it was back in the car to find a grassy park, which we did, overlooking the Mississippi gorge. We stayed for a couple more hours, eating a simple dinner of grapes and cheese and bread and playing frisbee. Mike and Peter also enjoyed throwing grapes to each other, which they, of course, caught in their mouths.
It was not quite dark when we got home to start another game of poker and the last of three Oceans movies, which we’ve watched together this week. I baked bread for some new neighbors and hamburger buns for today’s lunch and owned Mike & Peter in poker. Well, I owned Peter. I barely beat Mike, and that’s only because I was ahead when we quit at 1:00 a.m. after the bread came out of the oven and we’d finished watching special features for the Bourne movies.
Mike & Peter were exhausted. I was, too, but still too tightly wound to fall asleep–too much hiking (pain in my feet and knees) and too much working (shopping lists and meal plans in my head). As I lay in bed, that old Latin phrase, “Carpe diem,” came to my head and I realized that what we’d just enjoyed was the kind of day worth living for. It’s easy to let inertia govern each day–to go through life always wishing for this or that opportunity. I want to climb a mountain. I want to kayak on a lake. I want to have a garden. I want my kids to consider picnics at the park and hikes in the woods a regular, normal occurrence. I want them to know they’ll never be as good as their dad when it comes to throwing a frisbee and I want them to try anyway.
More immediately, I want to learn to make good bread, and to that end I’ve been reading cookbooks this week. I want to get back in shape. (The diet begins on Monday.) And I want potted herbs on my balcony. So enough writing, I’m going to Menards.