standing order

The Fella often surprises me with a pint of ice cream. About as often, he picks one up at my specific request. (Somewhat less often, he picks one up even though I specifically asked him not to. Why would I ask him not to? Because I don’t always want it, but I will always eat it.)

Since the corner store rotates flavors randomly, there’s no point requesting a specific flavor. Still, The Fella knows what kind to get me: Chocolate with stuff in, or stuff with chocolate in.

Or pistachio.

We’ve had the “or pistachio!” conversation at least three times now, and here’s how that goes, more or less, every time:

Elsa: Or pistachio!
The Fella: [stops tying his shoes, looks up at me in disbelief] … really?
E: Yes.
E: It’s my favorite, but they almost never have it. If they ever have it, I get it. If they ever have it, get it. EVER.
TF: How did I not know this? It’s like I don’t even know you!*

*This last sentence only occurred in the first iteration of this conversation, which suggests to me that subconsciously he does recall it, or he would face the same vivid surprise and apparent horror each time.

This weekend, we had another round of the same conversation, at which time I altered the standing order. From now on, the standing order: chocolate with stuff in or stuff with chocolate in, or pistachio. Even if I have specifically requested “no ice cream,” if they have pistachio, get pistachio. “Pistachio rescinds all other orders.”

the invention of the lie

I was babysitting my young friend L., who was just on the brink of three years old*. Her parents wanted to spend a grown-up afternoon together, after which we would all gather for dinner. At the end of of the afternoon, L. suggested we get ice cream cones.

“Oh, we’ll have to do that next time, L.,” I said. “We don’t want to spoil our dinners!”

“I don’t mind,” she said, reasonably enough.

“Oh, but your mom** wouldn’t like it, would she?”

She said nothing for a moment, her little face pursed in wry understanding.

Then, suddenly… a light dawned on L.’s face. It was the light of revelation, of a world-altering discovery. It erased those wrinkles of displeasure, smoothing them over with wonder. In the spirit of innovators everywhere, L. had found a solution, a way to keep everyone happy. She bounced on her plump little legs, swept up in the delight and sheer novelty of the idea she was about to share.

Breathless and utterly guileless, she looked up at me and gasped:
“We could… not tell her!

*I think — this was several years ago, and L. is now in middle school.
** Not to reinforce the all-too-common trope that Mom = responsibility and green beans, Dad = ice cream, ill-advised wackiness, and skateboarding injuries, but in this family… well, yeah.

saucy wench!

There are a few foodstuffs that will always be better homemade than storebought. Usually, these are recipes that require a few simple ingredients and a modicum of care. Shortbread. Alfredo sauce. Ice cream. Pesto.

Butterscotch sauce. Holy cats, I made butterscotch sauce for my mother a few months ago (a riff on this recipe, incidentally) and made the mistake of tasting it before pouring it into a pretty jar to give her.

I very nearly kept it. It’s that good.

How good? Well… this week, when I asked Mom what she might like for Christmas, she perked up. “Oooh! Butterscotch sauce!”

Yeah. Simple and utterly delicious, with a dark, faintly bitter undertone that faced up to its sweetness.

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ice cream chocolate chip son-of-a-&!%*#wich

ice cream sandwich
curse-inspiring cookies
Once in a great while, you have a bite of food that so transports you, that so delights your tastebuds, that (not to put too fine a point on it) tastes so #^@%ing good you just have to swear. When faced with perfection, the imperfect human resorts instinctively to rage.

These cookies may trigger that atavistic urge to rage. They have no business tasting this good, and I’m both angered and thrilled that they do.

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orangshakesside.jpgYesterday, The Fella and I went on a (blessedly rare) trip to the land of Big Box Stores. Although our errand was fruitless, it did provide us with an excuse to spend ten and twenty minutes at a time in wastefully, profligately, despicably chilly air-conditioned blocks of concrete, only to goggle at each other in genuine shock when we stepped out again into the brain-cooking heat radiating off the blacktop lots.
The cold felt good, but returning to the brutal reality of the heat was almost worse than never leaving it.

Just as I started slumping bonelessly into the truck’s bench seat, The Fella surprised me with our last stop: an ice cream parlor. orangshakes.jpg He has a milkshake; I have a float. We both chose orange sherbet, recent determined by an independent panel of coolologists to be the coolingest of all the flavors.

The Fella is full of surprises, roughly five percent of them involving ice cream.

hundreds and thousands

Last week, after a long hot day of visiting extended family (his), with a long drive ahead of him and wanting more than anything to get off the road and into bed, D surprised me by pulling into a roadside ice cream stand. Earlier in the day I had idly mentioned that sometime this summer we should get ourselves a big ole drippy cone. I thought we deserved a treat, one of these days.
And he wanted to be sure I got my treat, even if it meant a longer drive home.
I got a big soft-serve cone, chocolate with jimmies? chocolate sprinkles? jim-jams! and a fit of giggles. He got a milkshake and a blizzard of giggling kisses.

Turkey in the straw

The song of the ice cream truck is the song of summer, tootling along the nearby streets as children up and down the block scrabble for change to trade for icy sweets.

Why did this same innocent music inspire such brain-chilling terror when it woke me up at 2:30 this morning?

Just do what the brain says and no one gets hurt

BlogFast 2004 is over! Am I done with finals? No. Have I finished my papers and study guides? No. Have I given up? Oh, hell, yes. Can I get an AMEN?

In the interests of full disclosure, I should add that BlogFast ended up being more like BlogRation, which doest have the same pithy sound, but which does conjure up images like WWII domestic propaganda posters, one of my favorite forms of graphic image. I think their main appeal for me is the acknowledgement, at long last, of the many roles that women play: we are shown as mothers, wives, homemakers, defense workers, and citizens. Also, look at all the pretty colors. Oooooh. Vivid.

Ahem. As I was saying, BlogFast would more properly be called BlogDramaticReduction, but that would be a mouthful. I did visit a few select blogs during the past week, but dramatically curtailed the surfing. Did it help? Hard to say — I found myself woefully behind schedule all week, and have only stopped now because my brain is threatening to leap out of my cranial vault if I brandish any more data at it.

Now that it is in recovery, my brain has evidently started a cleansing purge to remove all contaminating knowledge. I studied thoroughly, calmly, and meticulously for an anthropology exam on Tuesday, only to discover that the information vacated my brain Monday night and never did return. This is an experience I’ve not had before, and I didn’t much care for it.

So, it is midnight, I have an exam in the morning, and I have packed my books away and am celebrating my brain’s revolt with Ben & Jerry’s, because nothing says I give up quite like a brimming bowl of butterfat.