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Equal Parts Sugar & Sour Cream.
Enough vanilla
(optional) Caramel drizzle

Stir in first three ingredients, add fruit.
Use caramel to drizzle until you realize that you’ve covered sweet fruit with sugar syrup and then covered again with carmel (so, add caramel until you are 27 years old then get a damn grip already).
Bring wherever it needs to go.
Serve yourself first because once people get brave enough to taste it they will eat all of it.

One summer my Aunt Violet made grapes covered in this heavenly stuff. She served herself first (per directions) and it took me awhile to try it. I cannot remember how old I was but I know that my mom’s cooking was the vast majority of what I knew, and that mom was still my driver all the time.

Ever summer after that my mom and I would look at each other and decide it was time for Aunt Vi’s grapes. However they were made, with equal parts? Or was it 2:1? Sour cream (that doesn’t seem right) or cream cheese? We spun around in circles and wished that somebody would go ahead and develop the internet already because we needed grapes covered twice over in sugar!!!!!!!

We’d call Vi, she’s have to think about it. By the fourth year it was a joke but we still never remembered (there was no internet and apparently no paper or pens either). Finally, it started to sink in.

Jeff & I made two batches today, one for my grapes and one for his apples. We joked about how equal parts could be as much as a truck of each (so long as you had a pool to pour it into and you’d pre-planned a way to stir it). I thought of Vi and her daughter, and I wondered how her daughter is now that it has been months since Vi died. If I would tell her I wrote this with a heavy, wistful heart for those days where Vi’s cooking was a revolution for me.

The internet has taught me that Aunt Vi’s grapes are a pretty standard fruit dressing, but I’m here to set the record straight. I don’t know who made it first, I don’t know how your family got a hold of it, I’m sure it isn’t quite as good as Vi’s, and forever more when Jeff needs to know how to make it he can look on the internet for Aunt Vi’s Grapes.

May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

7:15 – Strawberry milkshakes and whipped cream as part of breakfast.
Why? It was a special day, and I wanted the ice cream out of the house.

8:00 – “Everybody off the screens!!!”
Why? We had a day that need the big camera, a monkey, and food for three. That day was going to start in 15 minutes and I was still in my bathrobe.

8:15 – Sandals
Why? Because it is mid-May in Georgia, and it might be snowing in Illinois but it was still reasonable to think sandals would be ok for being outside.

9:30 – Sitting on a curb with the big camera
Why? He was getting ready to sing “I Just Called to Say, I Love You” and it promised to be adorable.

9:32 – Slack jawed amazement
Why? 5 3/4 year-old girl NAILS a multi-measure solo with a microphone. Followed by a 5 year-old boy who also rocks it.

9:40 – Nausea
Why? He isn’t coming back to this school, but that isn’t what the teachers said.

10:00 – Uncomfortable milling about
Why? I told my son he could choose when we were done with the Closing Ceremony at school because it is the last time he’ll see most of these folks.

10:15 – Sitting on top of the rope & wooden thing
Why? Because I have wanted to for weeks.

12:00 – Heading home with kiddo
Why? Because his school year is over

12:02-5:14 – Mindless bickering & ignoring each other – also some laughter.
Why? Because we don’t know what to do after finishing the school year.

5:14 – Sad face
Why? It could have been an end-of-year PLUS birthday, but it didn’t work out like that. Maybe tomorrow.

5:15 – Off to restaurant
Why? Because even though he has lost interest in witnessing his last day I’ve been planning this as our Friday meal for a week now.

6:15 – The gift of a marble maze
Why? His “old school” had it, and he loved playing with it, and he won’t be going back there again.

6:45 – Tells him we’re moving to his summer time bedtime
Why? Because he’s moving into the world of numbered grades, he’s growing up, and a little bit because it is silly to pretend that he ever goes to sleep when he goes to bed.

These are yogis, but you remember how these games work

My son came home today enamored with the song:

Cinderella, dressed in yella
Went upstairs to kiss a fella
Made a mistake, kissed a snake
How many doctors did it take?

A couple of weeks ago he had come home with:

Bubblegum bubblegum in a dish
How many pieces do you wish?

The Cinderella one has been modified in the last 35 years to automatically be 10 doctors, but bubblegum is still up for grabs about whose hand or foot goes out. We talked as I drove and I mentioned about how the game had changed since I was a girl.

I mentioned that girls start excluding each other at an early age. Which, to be honest, slowed my brain down. I sat in circles in basements and on playgrounds all over northern Illinois, in a flash I could remember all the ways to count – so that I could get the girl, so I knew what number the girl would intentionally get me would say.

“Mommy, what is exclude?”

It was, at that moment, just a thing that naturally happens, that sometimes happens on purpose, that is an introduction to who you will be when your feelings are hurt, it is a part of life, and it starts early.

It was also something to skirt around a little bit because Female School Dynamics of the 1980s is of little interest to Twenty-First Centerury Elementary Boy, and Female School Dynamics was what was on my mind. So I answered quickly and started talking about other things.

I’m still mulling over the ways in which girls start randomly excluding each other early on.

Man, I will totally be ok with this week going better than last week did.

I love performance & the rehearsal that goes with it.

I love backstage, and greenrooms, and pitchers of water set up for “us” who are decidedly not “them”. I’m dressed inappropriately for the season, I carry the folder with the gold lettering. I am walking taller, and with a longer stride as part of the “us”. Dress rehearsal, where the seating is a mess and the sound is foreign and I actually, briefly, sing completely the wrong part – goes just the way it should.

Jeff has a tech rehearsal coming up, into a new theatre looking out onto different seats than he has seen before, with a new backstage. I saw a bit of it at the winter show, he gets taller too.

Call time makes me smile if it is for me or for Jeff. The special name for the time before performance, when you need to be there and getting into whatever element of zone you like. Get a drink, go to the bathroom, make sure they know you are there. Think through the plan. Get ready.

My mom asked me what it was like to sing in front of 1,000 people a night.

For me – it feels right as rain.

I took a week off from the gym to rest my foot, that was about six weeks ago. Damnit.

It was about that same time that I started sketching out the summer plans on calendars that span the distance of the huge map in my kitchen.

About that same time I got to some tough stuff on my personal project and I gently set them aside so the back of my brain could have a day or two to mull over the next step.

That six weeks or so have been busy, I’ve been present for a lot of people and doing the Next Right Thing over and over again. I had a dog for a week, but then he died. I watched my mom do a knock out job at a funeral, and then had a great visit with a few weeks later. I’ve received two standing ovations, three chucks on the shoulder, and a few written words of gratitude. I’ve met a new folks in two hospitals that I enjoyed the company of. I’ve started a new volunteer project.

Every bit of web space I own has gotten dusty. My automatic backup on the computer reminds me both that it has been ten days and what feels like a nudge that says, “but it doesn’t matter because your content has already been backed up, nothing new there”.

I’m going to see if I can post something everywhere today. I’ve submitted a bit video for a project someone else is working on, I’m thinking I should hear a thing about a project from somebody fairly soonish.