Watermelon, Watermelon, Watermelon Rind

Tonight for dinner we’re having hot dogs on the grill.  Here’s all I have to say about that: always buy bun length BEEF weenies, and find a cook like Coach who puts the perfect amount of burn on the dogs to give them that juicy, hot-off-the-grill flavor.

The other thing we’re having is watermelon.  One of life’s most wonderful, simple pleasures, watermelon makes me happy!!  It’s best eaten outside where the juice can drip and the seeds are spit.  Sometimes directly at siblings…

It belongs in summer, when my babies are home, and everyone is floating on Cloud 9 (because the atmosphere is so pure on Cloud 9 that neither classwork nor homework can sustain life there).  Furthermore, it must be really, really cold.  So cold, it stings your teeth to bite into it at first.  Any old backyard will do for consumption, but watermelon is best served at a picnic with lots of people to share in the eating so that nothing gets carted back home.

In fact, for SonShine’s birthday, we gathered up a bunch of family and headed to the lake, and I just happened to ice down a huge watermelon.  When Coach went to cut that thing, we all came running…abandoned the water, the boat, and the jet skis, and every single person went to town on a slice, or two, or maybe three.  The watermelon was wayyyyy more popular than even the birthday cake!  Here’s undebatable, scientific proof that watermelon causes happiness:






Every. Single. Night.

I saw this on Facebook or Pinterest or somewhere…and boy did it hit home!!!!!!!

I feel every ounce of this poor woman’s pain.  Every. Single. Night.

In light of that misery, I’m attempting my menu planning.  Again.

Here goes for the week ahead:

July 26 – August 1, 2012

  • ThursdayBaked Tacos (Saw this one on Pinterest and can’t wait to try!) with Aunt T’s Dorito Salad
  • Friday – Hot Dogs on the Grill, Pickles, Chips, and Watermelon
  • Saturday – Coach’s choice while Mom’s at PTA Conference!
  • Sunday – Chicken Noodle Soup with Grilled Cheese Paninis
  • MondayCrock Pot Layered Enchiladas, Tortilla Chips, and Texas Queso
  • Tuesday – Rice Krispie Chicken, Wild Rice, Frilly Fried Squash, and Cantaloupe
  • Wednesday – TBD…special dinner guests…this one needs more thought!
  • Dessert of the WeekSopapilla Cheesecake – my VERY favorite, and why I’ll never be truly thin again.

* I’m cooking these as the week progresses, so be patient with me for photos…I’ll post them each night after dinner is done.  I hate a recipe without color and art, so I promise to get pics up ASAP!!

Not so scholarly after all…

This evening, while indulging in my very favorite after-dinner pastime (sitting in a hot bath with a good book), I read a line that caused an “ah-ha” moment:

WHY is “a word for which scholars [have] an ineradicable fondness.”

Without sounding too snooty, I’ve always considered myself somewhat scholarly.  I chatted my way through grade school (all my report cards said, “Ashli is very bright, but talks too much in class…”), enjoyed success in GT and honor classes in high school, earned a degree in math (not everybody’s forte) because it simply makes sense to me, went back for a master’s degree just for the sake of having one, and (as you are likely tired of reading) I am a firm believer in lifelong learning.  That qualifies as “Scholarly,” right?

All of a sudden, I’m not so sure that is right.  If a voracious appetite for uncovering WHY is reflective of a scholar, I don’t think I do qualify anymore.  I used to be that way.  I used to argue ’til I was blue in the face and dig, dig, dig until I got to the bottom of the WHY.  But now?  Now I may have to give up my “Scholarly” hat.  You see, WHY matters less and less the more I think about it.  Instead of older and wiser, I’m pretty sure that the longer I go, I’m increasingly happy to coast somewhat mindlessly.  I don’t really need to know why I feel what I feel anymore.  I just know that what is, IS.  And worst of all (in the eyes of true scholars), that knowledge is really comfortable – even cozy in a warm and snuggly kind of way.

For example, the book in which I read my “ah-ha” was one of hundreds, maybe thousands, of less-than-classic-or-scholarly-romance novels that I devour like Coach downs sweet tea: In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster by Stephanie Laurens.  I read a variety of genres and authors, but a good book of trashy, cheesy romance always fits the bill! They’re a quick read, a fun escape, and a guaranteed good ending.  I ask you – what’s not to love about that??

Eliza Cynster
Also, I avoid the news, current events, and the already ridiculously negative presidential campaign commercials like they all three are each different strains of the plague!  The news is scary, current events are sad, and an election year is nothing short of depressing.  I’d rather not know a lot of what is going on out there in our world.  Ignorance truly is bliss at times!!

Finally, if living in a tiny cabin on a remote lake with just Coach and the kids, our very own Walden Pond, was an actual possibility, I just might say, “Sign me up!  NOW!!”  Being a part of the big picture, the rat race, and the WHY explorers is just not that appealing these days.  What I really want is more time with my family.  I love when we are together.  I love that we all four like to watch movies, eat popcorn, stay up too late, and then lazy away the next day.  I love afternoons at the lake, swimming, playing on the jet-skis, and loading up just as the sun drops below the waterline.

I love family dinners where I was home enough during the day to cook in my own kitchen, and we all sit down together to eat, and talk, and watch NCIS.

Who am I kidding, I just love my crew.  And I don’t need to know WHY, I just DO.

I guess that means I must give up my “Scholarly” label.  I am surely not nearly as smart as I hoped to be if ferreting out the WHY is no longer a deep obsession in every situation.  Oh well, I can still claim “Numbers’ Nerd” and enjoy a gentle peace that comes with accepting what IS.