Tag Archives: summer

Finding Summer, Finding Neverland

25 Jun

Every spring and summer, I work at a greenhouse owned by friends of mine.  On my way to work today, I realized it was really, really summer.  I could smell someone grilling.  A few puffy clouds floated in a light blue sky. Kids walked along a sidewalk, laughing and wearing shorts and tank tops. I heard sprinklers and lawn mowers, along with the smell of freshly mowed grass.  Trees are fully leafed out, flowers blooming.

lightning bug

This sensory input triggered summer memories from my childhood: lightning bugs, s’mores, camping, making little dolls from hollyhock blooms.  Lemonade, the chlorine smell of a pool, birthday parties at “The Lagoon;” complete with the creosote smell of the timbers used to create a Robinson Crusoe camp on the river island connected by a footbridge to The Lagoon.  Neighborhood moms in capris, sleeveless blouses and cat-eye sunglasses.  Playing outside until dark and sleeping covered only in crisp, cool sheets and short seersucker jammies while crickets sang.

I love how the brain stores information.  How the sound of a sprinkler and the smell of freshly cut lawns can transport me back in time and bring my childish, sunburned face back into clear focus.  A Neverland of sorts.  The place in my head where I’m still the carefree little person who laid in the grass and decided what animals the clouds looked like.

At a time in my life where I often feel the need to write things down, lest I forget to do something, it’s lovely to have memories vivid enough to bring a smile and a contented sigh.  As I write them now, even more images are pushing at the corners of my mind, each sending a connection to another and another.  Neverland indeed.  First star to the right and straight on til morning.

image credit

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Immersion

7 Jun

Right now I’m sitting on my front porch with my laptop…and Mr. 15–who chose to be out here with me–I’m a lucky mom!  It’s a lovely evening.  The triple-digit heat of today has been swallowed by the evening.  A thunderstorm and its lightning lurks just north of here.  Mr. 15 is flicking bugs attracted to the light of my screen so I can see what I’m doing.  Crickets and night birds are singing in one ear, and Pendulum’s new album: Immersion is playing in my other ear.  Mr. 15 and I are sharing his iPod.  He has immersed me in a fabulous variety of music I would never think to listen to, and has a great feel for what I’ll like.  I love this connection with him.  His iPod holds thrash metal, ska, pop, concert and marching band selections, and more–some of which he doesn’t share because he knows I won’t like it.  We have an entire summer stretching out in front of us for more evenings on the porch and ice cream on hot afternoons, and granola for breakfast.  Ahhhhh…immersed in summer!

Breakfast with Grandma

3 Jun

Yesterday, I made the first batch of granola for the summer.  I absolutely love a bowl of cold cereal on warm summer mornings.  No fuss, easy to fix, completely portable for dining al fresco. 

It’s funny how simple things like a bowl of cereal can bring up old memories, huh?  When I was a little girl, I lived on Dawson Street in a town in Iowa, and my grandparents lived right across the street.  In the summers, I’d walk across the street to have breakfast with Grandma in the breakfast nook of her kitchen.  It was always a bowl of Corn Flakes with milk, and sometimes sliced bananas.  I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember her smile and flowered aprons trimmed in rick-rack. 

The granola recipe was a gift from an MGMS parent a few years ago, I’ve been making it ever since.  I shop a natural foods store for the ingredients:

3 1/2 cups rolled oats (NOT quick-cook)

1/2 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/4 cup each: flax seeds and sesame seeds

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup shelled, roasted and salted sunflower seeds

1 cup large-flake coconut

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix that all together; then in a small pan, bring 1 cup honey and 4 tablespoons coconut oil to a boil.  (Once it starts boiling, it can boil over very quickly–beware!)  Remove from heat and add 1/4 teaspoons each: vanilla, orange extract, almond extract.  Pour over the oats and nuts mixture  and stir to coat.  Spread in a roasting pan and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, stiring every 10 minutes.  Remove from oven to cool.  Continue to stir every so often as it cools to prevent sticking.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

I’ve altered the spices–adding ginger and nutmeg.  You can add a cup of dried fruit.  You can leave out nuts you don’t like or add something you’d prefer.  It’s so good, Mr. 15 prefers it over store-bought cereal!  It’s great with milk, it’s fabulous with almond milk.  (My new favorite substitute for milk in cereal or coffee–nom!)  It’s also quite lovely with yogurt and fresh fruit: parfait-style.

I enjoyed my bowl with almond milk on my front porch today, and thought about Grandma.