Friday, September 26, 2014

The Lottery

Temperatures reached eighty degrees at home on Wednesday evening, forcing us into party clothes and back out for this month’s mixer.  A smaller group and a “no host” bar meant endless wine for me and plenty of food to take home.  Belle found a children’s area full of electronic learning toys and quickly cooled off.  I made a few connections, including the sister of an old friend.  We came home after dark, but still full of energy.  Belle asked to play in the community park and had fun sliding by street lamp. 

I woke up dehydrated at one AM Thursday morning from drinking too much Zinfandel at the mixer.  I ate chilled red grapes and drank cold water to hydrate myself.  Then I let Krishna back inside (Polly stayed out in the rain.) along with some cool, fresh air.  I stayed up listening to KQED and playing computer solitaire.  Belle woke up just after four AM, in time to see the cards slide down the monitor after I won my first game.  We just stayed up, listening to public radio and the light rain until we left for our usual Thursday food run.

We went the shorter route to McDonald’s so I could grab a coffee.  I didn’t buy Belle a yogurt tube because I’d filled her food tray with leftover grapes.  I trusted my senses to get us to our destination via a shortcut I had only imagined.  I felt accomplished, caffeinated and good when we arrived.  I soon realized others in the crowd weren’t nearly as happy.  We walked right into a fight, in fact, between the director and a client.  Someone ushered me into an unruly line to get a number for our grocery order.  I suddenly held number one and would be first in line for groceries.

Women in the crowd objected to me being called first.  I handed over my ticket, clearly marked with a number one, to the lovely and patient woman at check in.  Another mom, left disabled from being injured while giving birth, threw an adult tantrum in front of her preteen daughter about me being first.  I narrowly escaped being first in line for free groceries with my life, and yet I still hold compassion for this disabled woman.  Other “friends” who couldn’t believe I’d been called first called me dirty names to my face. 

We got apples, baked goods, bananas, celery, cheese, golden flesh sweet potatoes, hummus, naan, nectarines, onion, oranges, pears, potatoes, rainbow trout and zucchini.  Someone made a big show of handing Belle a juice and a couple of yogurt pouches.  Unfortunately, no one noticed those yogurt pouches had expired in July.  Belle took a couple sips before handing it back to me.  We had already gone back home by then and couldn’t do anything to change it.  We didn’t need to be any closer to that angry, ugly crowd.  I guess the weak weather system only fueled the fire.

I made orange juice (I had over twenty oranges saved up.) and buckwheat pasta inspired by something one of the moms brought to Tuesday’s potluck.  I simmered buckwheat pasta with the frozen zucchini slices and drained off the water.  I softened onion and peppers in a fry pan and browned ground chicken in the same pan.  I drained off the oil and added a can of tomato sauce and seasonings.  I poured the meat sauce over the cooked pasta and zucchini and stirred in mascarpone cheese.  It came out nice!

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