This is where the party is
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. We had just come off that wave of merciless heat and I was doing some yard work I’d neglected in the 100+ degree days. Nothing challenging, and a lovely feeling to pull weeds and move rocks around without feeling I’m going to pass out. And with the show playing from the garage radio and a raspberry orange smoothie in a glass on the window ledge, I was feeling as if my back yard was Good Times Central. Bare feet and all.
It’s not always that way. Now and then the kids remind me of a feeling I used to have pretty frequently, and don’t so much anymore. If it doesn’t have a long German word for its name, it ought to: that feeling that everyone else in the world is having fun and you’re not included, or invited, or you simply aren’t where they are. The kids never actually say it that way; no one ever really says, “The party is out there, and I’m not.” But I think we all feel it. I know I’ve felt it, sometimes in the middle of the night, while I’ve been doing laundry while managing three toddlers, while I’m bagging my groceries, while I’m sitting on the porch.
Maybe it’s a way we feel sorry for ourselves when we’re lonely, or doing something we’d rather not do. Or perhaps it’s a story we tell ourselves to distract ourselves from responsibility for our own lives, or maybe we’re feeling sorry for ourselves. I like to think that we’re simply not paying attention. It’s about perspective, and attitude, and most of us don’t get a grip until we’ve had some experiences that make us appreciate who and where we are. Because, if you are like me, you’ve noticed that feeling shows up less and less as you grow older. More and more, there I am, folding laundry, baking a pie, walking back from the auto parts store with the kids on an “adventure” while my car is under repair and I’ll be without it for Lord knows how long. There I am in church, or eating pancakes at the café with a friend who just returned from Vancouver, or strolling around a lake holding hands with Mr. Sundberg on an afternoon when the sun feels warm but not hot and there’s a loon calling and I smell hotdogs and popcorn. Or I’m out pulling weeds and I think to myself, “This is where the party is.” I think it more and more, and don’t concern myself with the Big Party out there, because, if it does exist, I’ve always been there. Just maybe on the fringe at a table with a candle near a window or out in the parking lot looking at the moon. Now I’m on the Planning Committee. I’ve a say about the menu, I’m being asked about what activities might work well today, and the karaoke machine is in working order. Whether I sing or not is up to me, and I’m thinking I will, sometime this afternoon. The “Day-O” song. Or maybe, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Who knows. Gonna be a party is what I do know, and I’ve got a lifetime invitation.
I may not be a blackberry girl, but I love blueberries and raspberries, and this recipe features both, and even better with some fresh whipped cream.
Blueberry Raspberry Buckle
1/2 c. sugar
6 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 T butter, cold and cut into small pieces
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and, using your fingertips, work it into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Refrigerate.
11/2 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 T butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. whole milk
11/2 c. fresh raspberries
11/2 c. fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract with mixer on medium until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add milk and mix until fully incorporated. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; do not over mix. Gently fold in raspberries and blueberries.
Spread batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle streusel evenly over top. Bake until streusel is browned, about 40 minutes. Remove pan and cool; serve warm. Serves about 8.
Note: I’ll find whole-wheat pastry flour in the bulk section of most natural foods co-ops.