Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Can Never Have Too Much Chocolate

Fudge Chocolate Cake Hershey Bar Hot Fudge Sauce Aztec Fudge Cake German Chocolate Cake Beate’s Killer Cake Chocolate Sheet Cake Hot Chocolate Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Soda


“You can never have too much chocolate.” Derrick’s words come repeated back to me as we walk out of DeBrands, stuffed to the gills. Barb and Derrick had taken me there after my birthday dinner. Needless to say, we were already full from that. (My birthday, but Derrick picked his favorite place to take me, Takaoka, the Japanese restaurant he loved to go to on his birthday.) I thought we’d go home after dinner, but Barb L and Derrick conspired to take me for a chocolate delight. Nowhere but DeBrands would do! What a treat! Too many choices on the menu, but I finally pick a chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge sauce. Derrick was probably about 10 at the time. I remember enjoying the chocolate, but when I think about it now, what I really remember is the camaraderie of the evening, sharing conversation, laughing with each other, talking together, just being. Chocolate does that for me, helps focus in on the best of memories.

One of my favorite chocolate memories is actually tactile. Grandma made fudge. Truly a delight for all the senses! The sight of a freshly made batch, shinny in the pan before it has been cut. The sound of her beating the fudge by hand. What an upper arm workout! The smell of the chocolate concoction simmering on the stove. Don't stir yet or it will be ruined! Absolutely nothing compares to the taste of her fudge. She's gone now, but her tradition continues. My Aunt Nita makes it for birthdays and family gatherings. I make it for other family gatherings. I've even taught my college age niece to make it, assuring the tradition will go on well into the future. But the best part of thinking of the fudge brings me right to Grandma’s Love itself. She tests the fudge to cooked perfection, not with a candy thermometer as I do, but by dropping just a bit from a spoon into a cup of cold water. She pinches the small sample into a perfect, soft round ball. Then, on the tip of her middle finger, she asks if I would like to sample it. Every cell of my being can still feel the fudge and her finger on my tongue as the chocolate melts into my very soul. She’s already tested the chocolate to determine if it is ready to beat, rolled it between her fingers to feel if it’s cooked enough. Even that is a loving motion, followed through by my rolling the small fudge ball on my tongue, savoring it as long as possible.

When Derrick was born I was very particular about introducing food to him. Guess it was one way to show love and care to him. Protection even. I always knew what he had to eat and was certain the choices were the best. He didn’t nap a lot. So when he did take a nap, sometime in March of his first year, I was determined to make the best of it. I reached into the cupboard for my secret stash of Ghirardelli dark chocolate stir sticks. Left over from my Christmas stocking. Of course I couldn’t eat them in front of Derrick’s dad. But I knew where they were! I cozied into my chair with a book and ate a few of the chocolate pieces. Too soon I hear Derrick and up I go to return to mothering. Sometime later, I’m in the kitchen, keeping an eye on him in the family room, peeking through the fireplace so I know what he’s up to. He’s just started his cruising around furniture. I go into him and he turns around to face me from the footstool. I’m horrified to see his face, covered in dark goo. Has he gotten into a forbidden diapee? But then I notice the look of ecstasy and realize he’s discovered the joy of chocolate! The joy I felt then is immeasurable. Derrick takes after me! He likes chocolate! Later he would tell me not I want chocolate but I NEED chocolate.

Chocolate, streaming in and out of my life. Poured amongst the cracks and crevices of memories. Flavoring my life with richness, fullness, trust and love.


Fudge Chocolate Cake Hershey Bar Hot Fudge Sauce Aztec Fudge Cake German Chocolate Cake Beate’s Killer Cake Chocolate Sheet Cake Hot Chocolate Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Soda

Simply must view this site!  http://www.debrand.com/

Monday, November 14, 2011

Joyful Things . . .

In no particular order . . .

1. Good health.

2. Extra time with Derrick, before he starts Basic Training as a Marine.

3. Being inside, warm and toasty dry, while a thunder storm rages outside. Who would guess in mid-November?

4. Finding friends in the area that make me feel I’m at home here.

5. Going to art shows two Saturdays in a row with my friends!

6. Time spent at the Lake this summer in the cottage. Lori and Dom are dear to share such a special place with me.

7. My Artist’s Way group that meets every Wednesday. I feel grounded after spending time with them.

8. Sunday meditations with Vince. Totally revives my soul and being.

9. Book study group discussions.

10. Yoga classes. I can never get enough.

11. Walking whenever I want. Another thing I never get enough of!

12. Chocolate covered almonds, brought by Demetrius. He said I deserve them!

13. Having a family that loves and accepts me.

14. The cats. Purring, playing, snuggling, asking for food. They never cease to bring a smile to my face.

15. Being the mom that Derrick and his friends enjoy sharing time and space with.

16. The trip to Arizona in October. Beauty, meeting a new friend, spending time with Lori, walking, old friends.

17. Henri the dove. Still working on the lesson(s) about that! No doubt in my mind Henri picked me of all people he saw when he was lost to live with. He has such a gentle coo to welcome me.

18. Mixed media.

19. My art instructor.

20. The women in the art group.

21. Engaged students.

22. A load of firewood to prepare for winter. 

23. Free coupon to watch Puss ‘N Boots. Plans for the weekend!

24. Students that say good morning to me before I have a chance to greet them. They’re learning!

25. Looking forward to seeing the entire family at Thanksgiving next week. Not to mention all the good food!

26. Recognizing myself as an artist.

27. Understanding that even if I'm not in a relationship, I know I don't want to be in the wrong one. Maybe, just maybe, there is the right relationship waiting for me somewhere.

28. Pulling a pair of stockings from the drawer that doesn’t have a hole in the toe.

29. Finding friends through the world of blogging. Even having a chance to meet one of them in person! (More about this to come soon.)

30. Fixing a wonderful meal and sharing it with friends.

31. Kayaking at the Lake.

32. Hanging out at the sand bar with friends with the waves making me feel a bit bouncy in the water.

33. Finding a book to read that I simply can’t put down.

34. Having someone open a jar of olives for me.

35. Realizing having a clean house makes it easier to keep the house clean. Also helps when Derrick goes away for the weekend!

36. Shelves and containers to keep my art supplies organized.

37. Having an espresso maker at home to enjoy a morning cup.

38. Knowing that nothing calms me quite like a cup of chai.

39. Chocolate. The darker the better.

40. Having faith to take the leap into the unknown. So much better than the push from behind.

41. Laughing with a friend.

42. Believing in love come true by watching Eric and Susan. Anything is possible.

43. Even if I would like someone to share my bed with, I know it’s special to have a room of my own.

44. Realizing one day, not that long ago, that most of the art I have hanging in my home is my art. What a surprise!

45. Getting my hair done and actually thinking I look good.

46. A new eye pencil.

47. Enjoying a dinner out with Derrick and the resulting conversation. What a joy to have raised such a fine young man.

48. Meaningful conversations.

49. Taking the time to write in the mornings.

50. The surprise of sunshine when I’m not expecting it.

51. Going to bed early enough to feel rested and able to dream good dreams.

52. Getting the laundry done and all put away.

53. Just when I was feeling down last week I was told by someone special that “You are loved. You bring us all such joy.” How could I feel anything but joyous after hearing that!