banana fana fo fana

28 10 2009


Have you noticed that when you want to buy a certain kind of car suddenly all you see on the road is that particular model?  It is like our eyes are suddenly opened to something that was there all along but we weren’t noticing.  Thus, the burning bush.

Either this is a spectacularly good year for burning bushes or I am just seeing them for the first time in my life.  Because our front yard is still a mud pit begging for landscaping and I want at least one of those puppies planted in a certain spot, it seems every neighbor has them.  Last week we finally got the concrete work done on the front walk (city) along with the stairs that lead to our porch.  That had to happen before any of the landscaping could go in but I think we’re in trouble with timing now before the white stuff starts to fly. Then there is the little issue of money to pay for said beautification. I’m thinking that snow tires for my Fast would be a better investment given my weekly road trips to the Mrs.’ place.

Noticing all the burning bushes this fall got me thinking about the real burning bush where Moshe asked, “What kind of a God are you?” and got the answer, “I will be what I will be”.  Right…like THAT makes sense?!?  God introduces himself to Moshe with a verb…”to be”.  He is to be defined by what He does, how He acts, how He reacts, what actions He causes…not solely by what He’s called or what people imagine him to be.  His character lines up with his name.

It isn’t too often in English that we are aware of what people’s names actually mean.  Over the years I have made a point to remind my two spawn that their names have meanings that can and should bear some significance in their lives.  There should be some connect.

In our dining room there is a little plaque that reads It is what it is. I consider that the name for my house.  No pretense.  A place that I have noticed over the years people describe NOT in terms of its decor, color scheme or great furniture (seriously lacking on all counts)…but a place where that they instantly know it’s ok to curl their feet up on the couch and cover themselves with one of the many ratty old missionary closet quilts we have around.  I’d rather it be a place of refuge than refinement.

So exactly WHERE am I going with all of this?  I know Donny Diva’s real name.  He is NOT going to conform in any way, shape or form to our plans for what or when we think his birthday should be.

Therefore, on the 8th day past the second (and now obviously the correct) due date, the plans are as follows.  At 10:30 a.m. Shop Girl will be sitting at a salon getting her bangs cut.  At 2 p.m. I will take her YET AGAIN to the midwife’s office for another non-stress test and other fun I won’t mention here but now you know what I mean.  As soon as we can get out of there, we are going to meet up with some friends from LA that are on tour and will be in town playing a show.

At 8 p.m. one very preggers Shop Girl, Book Boy and myself will be blasting our eardrums out at a concert where back stage she will certainly set a different vibe than usual in the green room with her rocker friends. Some of these tour dogs backed her up when she played shows in LA.  They were her LA family.  Freshly made Spanish tortillas will be their post-show snack as they head to the next stop in PA…a tasty, homemade treat.

Donny Diva’s little ears first started hearing while Shop Girl was in the studio working on her album in June.  The kid digs sound boards, musicians, loud drums and studio monitors that could blast him into outer space.  Tomorrow night – we will comply and do our dead level best to give him an ambiance that he feels comfortable in.  “Can I get more dBs on the bass through the subwoofer please?”

If that doesn’t work – the weather man predicts thunderstorms late.  What more can we do?


21 06 2009


It started all quite innocently…Shop Girl had come to Indiana with me for a visit with the Mrs.  On our way out of town she wanted to find a little “something something” to celebrate School Boy’s first unofficial Father’s Day.


Since we are all about shopping local – we headed to the downtown’s quaint re-purposed storefronts.  Funny, this one sits just a door or two away from where the 1893 City Directory lists LeClair & McNiece had their grocery store at 8 South Washington.  Obviously, Shop Girl has it coursing through her veins.


Peering down the street to where the Premier Theater used to stand and over my shoulder into the recesses of my memory,  I was transported to a Saturday matinee  in 1971 – having imbibed some magical candy – friends and I entered the fantastical world of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Now on this unseasonably hot day, almost 4 decades later I step inside this virtual Turkish Delight.


Much wiser now, I realize that eye-candy is just as rich if not richer than the stuff I could be melting on my tongue.  We tried to take it all in…perusing and pressing close to the glass cases in search of that special something.


It was the kind of place that had every kind of penny candy – reminding me that I used to tight-fist some of the change Billy would give me for the Sunday School offering…surreptitiously stealing down the alley to a corner store, I could be licking my lips and standing at the car looking innocent enough by the time the rest of the family got there.

Protestant Guilt would have me wondering why I never choked to death on that candy purchased with monies intended for the hand of  missionary Edith Witherspoon somewhere deep in the Congo.  I stole from the Lord’s work.  Karma came ’round as I dug my way through missionary closets and spent countless Sunday mornings with the Children’s Church set.


Shop Girl carefully examined each nook and cranny in search of the perfect token.  None was to be found that would express what she was trying to convey.  But, alas, she realized that “we” (she and baby? she and I?? all three of us perhaps???) needed a “little goodie” for ourselves.


Nothing but the warmed lava cake would do.  Taken back to the fact that I wasn’t shopping for Father’s Day…I missed Billy something awful.

He never was much of a cake or cookie eater.  When he DID eat chocolate cake – it was first sprinkled with salt.  Apple pie wasn’t complete without cheese.  He liked his vanilla ice cream plain and simple – like spoonful by spoonful right out of the freezer.  One of the biggest surprises in hospice was when he asked for chocolate ice cream – a sure sign there was a major shift in the universe happening.

If I had been looking to buy him something in this sweet shoppe – I would have had to ask for the jar of anise candies.  On their first visit to Spain back in 1986 or ’87, he found a hard candy that tickled his fancy.  I remember him taking all the black jelly beans when we were kids.  He loved liquorice.  Did he really  – or was it just that he learned to take what everyone else turned their noses up at?  Liquorice and anise aren’t the same thing – but they fall in that family of distinctive tastes.

In tiny corner stores all over Spain, anise candies come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  He found one he really got enthusiastic about and for the dozen or so years that followed, I would never head Stateside for a visit without a kilo or more in tow – just for him.  He kept a secret stash all these years and every time my kids would walk into his house – they would be presented with a few pieces to put in their pockets before we left.

A few weeks ago, before Shop Girl and I left for LA, some friends were over for a tapas feast.  As I reached my hand in the antique Spanish alacena (breakfront / hutch) to retreive a half a dozen espresso cups, I found where I had been stashing away some of the candies Billy would give me on my weekly visits in the last few years.  I had entirely forgotten that they were there – and it was if an invisible arm extended from behind the glass door had grabbed me by my throat and started strangling me.  I quickly recovered so as not to ruin the evening with my personal drama and set the cup aside.  I decided to leave the candy out where I could see it during the following days – and to eat one every time I felt like it.  I ate the last one the other day.

Life goes on…even when I momentarily choke on the memories.  Billy never made a big deal about days like Father’s Day.  He was hard, in my opinion, to buy for.  So there were more Father’s Days than NOT, that a card was all he got from me.  I want to wallow a bit today.  I don’t want to move on.  There have been lots of days in the last month – with my voice strong and clear – I’ve chirped out, “My Dad passed away last August and I…” without missing a beat.

The sweet side of yesterday’s bitterness was being able to hug my best friend’s dad and to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.  Seeing her – visiting for an hour with her folks and her husband – made Father’s Day for me.  I miss my Daddy.

p.s. Thanks Designer Desserts…it was a trip!dd8

BTW check this place out if you are looking for a place that does the kind of thing you see on Ace of Cakes but for a fraction of the price.

Go Valpo!