It’s amazing how much of life can be put on hold when the temperature gauge falls below double digits. Groceries. Gas. Walking the dogs. Aaaarffff….
Mix the cold with a dark night and it’s a safe bet you’ll find me snug under a blanket in my favorite living room chair.
The only thing that can break me loose from my comfortable shell is love for others. And the shameful truth it that even then, love for the warm comforts of my everyday life sometimes wins out.
Not so today. It was full speed ahead on the do-gooder ship lollipop — errands this morning, my niece’s concert this afternoon and a NBA basketball game this evening.
Had I been thinking of myself, I would have stayed home most of the day. It had been a rugged week after all. Had I been listening to my life, I would have known that the combination of fitful sleep, my dental surgery, my husband’s lasik eye surgery and then picking up the threads of everyday life were all telling me to slow down.
Rather than doing what needed to be done, I allowed love for others to carry the day. And the irony is that the outings so worthy of my presence didn’t really receive it. I wasn’t good company. My loved ones deserved a better me; and so did I.
The truth caught up with me while I was sitting in my seat at the Thunderdome. Watching a half-time show that wasn’t so entertaining, I realized I was ready to call it a night. I wanted to go home. I wanted to get my pajamas on. I wanted to write and unwind the day. But when I suggested we leave the game early, it was easy to see by one look at my husband’s sore eyes that he and I were not on the same wave-length. This time he won.
So I checked out mentally. I half-heartedly watched the game play out while unwinding my day amidst a screaming crowd and loud music and t-shirts flying all around me. It was no problem to be contemplative in smack of a crowded and noisy arena full of basketball fans. In the quiet space of mind and heart, I watched my day unfold to become happy for taking time to do two good somethings just for myself: Flowers and Chocolate.
I hadn’t planned to buy myself flowers; but tulips are hard to resist under the best of circumstances. It doesn”t matter whether they are cut tulips or potted tulips. Any color will do. And on this cold winter day, when I ran across a small pot for five dollars, I didn’t even try to resist — I’m glad there was no need to.
Chocolate wasn’t on today’s agenda either. But driving back home from the concert, with hunger pangs beginning to hit, all I could think about was the taste of warm home-made chocolate pudding on my tongue. So even though I was tight on time, I made a batch in the midst of pulling together our quick supper. And twenty minutes later I had 7 small servings of chocolate pudding.
It was a lovely day, all in all. Too much doing of course. But the flowers and chocolate were all about being….as in, being kind to myself.
But let me be kind to you too by sharing the recipe. Some day you might find yourself in need of a little kindness. From my life to yours.
Preparation time – 20 minutes 7 small servings2 egg yolks 3 1/2 cups milk 1/3 cup cornstarch 2/3 cup granulated sugar 3/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla 1 Tbsp butter
Mix eggs yolks and milk in a bowl and set aside. Melt chocolate in microwave — medium setting for 90 plus seconds, until creamy when stirred. In a large sauce pan, mix all dry ingredients with a whisk. Stir in milk and eggs. Mix well and heat on medium high heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken in 5 to 7 minutes. When thickened, add vanilla, butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. When completely mixed, pour into serving dishes.
You make the choc pudding sound so easy; it defeated me so soundly aged 12 that I never tried again.
But then I didn’t have a mixer then, and I do now, somewhere in a cupboard gathering dust.
When you’ve made something as often as I’ve made this chocolate pudding, it is easy.
I made my first batch in my early teens. I forgot the sugar. Your comment reminded me of my first sorry (but funny) attempt.
The cups are beautiful. Do I remember cobalt glass in your dining room windows? I have one of those cobalt Shirley Temple pitchers that was in my mom’s house when she was growing up – they used it sometimes to pour milk on pudding.
I’ve been trying to remember. I’m not sure I’ve ever made pudding from scratch. We never made the instant – it seemed as though you should at least cook it if you were going to make it from a box.
I have a flower for you, too. On Christmas Day, Weather Underground asked for every photo uploaded to bear the caption “Peace on Earth”. My white Christmas cactus that had become sickly and had to be cut back nearly to the ground grew back with a vengeance and is just beautiful. It had put on two blossoms by Christmas. I photographed one: http://www.varnishgal.com/cactuscard.jpg
Ah. Peace on Earth. My daily bread right now, and sometimes words whispered in the middle of a sleepless night. I do like your Christmas card. Very nice.
Oh, I’ve cobalt blue glass all over my house, most every window. Most of it, including a nice collection of Shirley Temple pitchers, bowls and cups were gifts from Mom. My great-aunt Blanche told Mom that these were giveaways, from the insides of oatmeal boxes. I’ve never tested auntie’s memory against the internet, but maybe your Mom might remember.
The pudding is such a comfort — but maybe not so healthy? — yet perfect for one who is still recovering from dental surgery!
Your great-aunt was on target – the pieces were made by Hazel Atlas glass and were premiums in boxes of Wheaties and Bisquick. They were made in the 30s and 40s.
Of course pudding’s healthy. It’s made from nature’s most nearly perfect food, right? And everyone knows we NEED chocolate to be happy 😉
I’m glad you did something wonderful for yourself. Beautiful dishes, and I love the tulips. I buy quite a few of those in February when I really need the pick me up. Blessings,~~Dee
You are such a jewel. Why did it take your comment to send me to the internet myself to learn more about this small collection of vintage treasures that I have?
That they were stuffed in boxes of Wheaties makes my Shirley Temple glassware even better since my grandmother always had a box of Wheaties sitting on top of her fridge.
And on that pudding — I’m taking your comment and running with it. Nature’s most perfect ingredients….. lovely. If tongue-in-cheek, I’m going to be fat and happy in my deaf and blindness.
Thanks for your insights.
As I was writing this post, I thought to myself — I bet Dee forces her own bulbs to satisfy her need for living flowers rather than resorting to the aisles of her nearest Homeland Grocers!
I thought last fall about forcing a few bulbs — but the thought never gave birth to reality.
But whether ‘home-grown’ or ‘store-bought’, the solace brought in keeping company with flowers is cause for celebration and the inspiration of creativity
As the good book says, “Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Hi, Aunt Janell
I finally read your blog today. You really have a gift for the written word and I am impressed. I was reading upon a few of the posts and I came across the recipe for chocolate pudding, which reminded me of a memory of my own. We were staying at Grandma Carol’s house one wintery morning around a fireplace, and you came across a picture of a chocolate parfait that was in a magazine. I saw it and said,”Man, that looks good.” That evening for dinner, guess what we had for dessert? The exact parfait in the picture, layer for layer. You may or may not remember that, but I do, and it was one of those memories that I will not forget
Thank you for sharing your unforgettable memory with me. I remember that day too — but it took you to open the door on that particular day of our shared past to help me recall it.
The parfait had M&Ms sprinkled through it — yes? And maybe some whip cream in addition to chocolate pudding. I’m so glad we took time to make this lovely memory for you.
I re-read a quote — one I’ve used before in the blog — about the lovely nature of memories. See what you think about these words that come from the book, “The Brothers Karamazov.”
“You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory.”
A good memory is like your favorite glass of cold milk — both wholesome and good for life. I’m glad I played a role in one of yours.
Thank you also, for your compliment on my writing. I cherish your words. I llike to say that my writing is a shared undertaking with God — when my writing is at its best, it’s less me and more God.
I repay the compliment: You too have a gift for writing in addition to music. You remind me of Kyle. If you have the time and interest, there is no time like the present to explore your writing gift.
Buy yourself an inexpensive journal — the cheaper the better — and write a little every night before you go to bed. Write what you want to remember. No more. No less.
I am grateful you are a part of my life. And Annie and your mom and dad too — of course.
Thanks for stopping in. I love you. Forever and ever.