It was 36 degrees when I rolled out of bed this morning. Not in the house, of course, but certainly floating around the windows of this fine October day. We apparently are in the season of those kind of temperature fluctuations, which means our high for the day will most likely make it into the mid-50s, which is right in the core of autumn temps. I guess it’s time, and most of the outside stuff is finished. Sure, there are still some blooms on the geraniums, and even the roses are popping out, but you can tell they are tired. It’s almost as if they are saying, “Well, ok -- here goes, but don’t expect too much!” And I guess we won’t, as we hardly even draw attention to the flowers, now that Fall is here. Oh, I know some folks have a great denial complex, and so about a month ago, they pulled out all of their summer blooms, and dropped in some mum plants to show off some color. The trouble with mums, in my book, is that up here in the Northland, after you have spent actually five months watering and trimming and keeping the spring/summer blooms alive, you now have, with mums, about 6 weeks before they croak. I’d rather invest that money on a good steak dinner than go through another cycle of plants dying before my eyes… and I refuse, in late October, to keep trying to cover plants outside from freezing up – it’s time, so take it like a plant, and get over it. Winter is screaming at us from the North Pole, so buy some iso-heet to put in the gas tank, and call it good.
There are a few nice things about sliding into fall/winter. This week, we probably will get out some Halloween decorations, and fix up the living room. When the boys were little, we would go all out in decorating the house, but for some reason, they don’t respond much anymore to pictures of little black kittens wearing witches hats, or goofy looking ghosts rising up from pumpkins. I guess we will have to wait for grandchildren to bring out those pieces again. They’d better live close to us, too, by the way – Cheri will not tolerate long-distance babies, that I can be completely sure of!
The other thing that a day like today offers, especially now that my curriculum writing is complete, is that I have time to make up a batch of chili for tonight’s meal. Actually, Adam came up with the idea, but Cheri completely endorsed it, as she is kind of a chili fiend, when all is said and done. However, as I have mentioned before, pure North Country chili is not really what you might dream of, if you lived in, say, Texas or anywhere south of Kansas City. Cheri’s version of chili is closer to southern spaghetti sauce, with some beans. I went through six different recipes for chili last night, knowing that I would need to go shopping for the ingredients, and it was almost comical to think that any of those is their original form would be acceptable to the Norwegian. Chili powder, cayenne, onions, jalapenos, or any other peppers were met with the rolling of the eyes. Cheri’s comment to all of those was, “Well, if people want to add to their own bowl, they certainly can spice it up for them…” Now, I’m not a world-class chef, but I do know that when you add spices during the course of cooking, it adds layers to the flavor, and deepens the taste. When, however, you wait until the chili is in your bowl to dump some chili powder, all you get is hot. Cheri’s response is, “Ok, that’s fine – I’ll just find something else to eat…” and so off we go to prepare the Mexican spaghetti sauce. Maybe we can slide in a green pepper, so long as it has absolutely no heat.
So that’s my gustatory assignment for today, along with whipping up some corn bread as a side. I can’t help myself, but when we were little, whenever corn bread showed its head, we told the same joke: “Daddy, Daddy! I learned me some math today! I learned that Pi R square!” “You dumb boy – you should just drop out of school! Any fools knows that Pi ain’t square – Pi r round – cornbread are square!” I know, I know, but it fits into the genre of our family’s jokes.
So, I’ll make sure to get some shredded cheese, and Cheri also called for the obligatory Fritos, which are laid in the bottom of the bowl to receive the chili liquid. At least we won’t have to spend the hour before 5pm trying to figure out what to cook, as the pandemic still seems to have a hold on our meal plans. Chili it is, and hopefully it will mean Cheri will sleep tonight with visions of ground beef dancing in her head.
Anyone have an idea for tomorrow’s supper?
Word for the day: inchoate. Pronounced in-KOH-ut. Kind of an ugly looking word, isn’t it? But now, it has nothing to do with chocolate. The word actually comes from Latin words, in, and cohum, which is a strap that ties the plow to the yoke of oxen. It comes to means, “something just being put together,” or “imperfect, unfinished, or not completely formed.” Inchoate thoughts or ideas are sometimes kind of shoe-horned into a final plan or proposal, but anyone listening to it will probably know it’s not well thought out. Kind of like tomorrow’s supper…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.