Skip to main content

Grillin' and chillin'

September 5th was Labor Day, which is kind of the official end to summer in America.  Right on cue, the temperatures dropped out of the triple digits and it got almost - gasp - chilly overnight.  Starved for fresh air after three months stuck inside breathing air-conditioning, we spent as much of the weekend outside as we could.

Saturday morning we went for a walk over at Parr Park in Grapevine.  It has a great-looking playground; unfortunately Toby's still a bit small for anything but the swings, and gets easily overwhelmed by big play spaces.  Still, it's OK if you're hanging on to Mum.


In the afternoon he was grouchy.  He has recently developed a scream which has roughly the same effect as a pneumatic drill boring into your brain, and deploys it to good effect.  After a few hours of this Graham and I were about ready to donate him to the nearest adoption agency and flee the country.  Finally he slept, and we collapsed onto the couch and tried not to snap at each other.  As the next best thing to fleeing the country, we packed up a picnic and drove to the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington for one of their open-air concerts.  As we spread out our beautiful wedding quilt on the grass and dug into some pasta salad, the tension began to dissipate.

Boogieing to the music
Melissa Lawson was playing, who, apart from writing some very listenable music, manages to mother five boys under the age of twelve.  She certainly knows what hard days are about.  Hearing a few of her stories and songs kind of put ours back in perspective, and made us glad to be a family again.  Of course, it helped that Toby had stopped screaming.

Always on the move
Monday evening we did what all good Americans do on Labor Day - grill.  We never did get around to buying our own barbeque, but all the parks around here are equipped with picnic tables and grills, so we hung out at Bear Creek Park and cooked veggie kebabs, corn on the cob and bacon, with a few toasted marshmallows for afters.


Tofu kebabs
1 red or green bell pepper, cubed
12 mushrooms, halved
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 zucchini/courgettes, cut into chunks
450g / 1 lb firm tofu, cubed
125 ml / 1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Thread the vegetables and tofu onto skewers, and place in a large non-metallic dish.  Mix up remaining ingredients and pour over.  Leave to marinade for 30 min or so, turning a few times if you remember.  Grill over charcoal, basting with the marinade, until cooked.  The tofu picks up a lovely smoky flavour.  Serve with couscous.

Isn't this fun?
Aside from the constant vigilance required to stop Toby stuffing his mouth full of dirt and wood chips (clearly he didn't appreciate my culinary genius), it was another pleasant evening.

Exploring the great outdoors - aka hitting it as hard as possible

Son-set

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hell is still hot?

  Sometimes it's good when people say things we disagree with. Not always; it can be irritating, frustrating, or wounding. But sometimes it arouses our curiosity, causes us to examine our assumptions, and sets us off on a trail of new discoveries. So it was when somebody posted this image on Facebook.   It says, in emphatic block capitals: We need preachers who preach that hell is still hot, that heaven is still real, that sin is still wrong, that the Bible is God's word, and that Jesus is the only way of salvation. After my initial reaction of, "We certainly do not! " the curiosity kicked in. What was it about this particular formulation of the Christian faith that I didn't like? If I wouldn't preach that, what would I preach? Given that hell is not a major topic of the Bible, how on earth did we get Christians who think it merits headline billing in the gospel? What's wrong with it? Picking something apart is always the easy bit. I partly object to what

National Forest Way: Final Thoughts

As you may have gathered from my blog posts, I've really enjoyed walking the National Forest Way. I found myself eagerly anticipating each walk, and happily inking the route on the map when I'd done it. The National Forest Way is an ideal starter long-distance walk. There are no enormous mountains or exposed cliff edges. The route is never too far from a village, a car park, or a cafe. But there are some lovely views over sunny fields, some beautiful patches of woodland, and some industrial history along the way. I very rarely found it boring.   An advantage that I didn't appreciate when I started is that the Way forms a giant zigzag. This means it fits 75 miles of path into a relatively compact space, making it easy to reach all of it. From my home in south Derbyshire, every section was within a 40 minute drive. The distance between Beacon Hill and the National Memorial Arboretum is only about 25 miles. The countryside is lovely, and generally overlooked in favour of the P

Interior Castle: Spiritual Formation Book 11

"We cannot enter by any efforts of our own; His Majesty must put us right into the centre of our soul, and must enter there Himself."   St Teresa of Avila reluctantly began to write Interior Castle (or The Mansions ) in 1577, complaining that "this writing under obedience tires me and makes my head worse". She set herself to the task of explaining her vision of the soul being like "a castle made of a single diamond... in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions".  Her writing is engaging but dense; I found it difficult to read more than about ten pages at a time. She also has a habit of introducing terms like favours or intellectual visions and talking about them for a while, before finally defining what they mean several chapters later. This gets confusing. On the other hand, St Teresa is good at thinking of illustrations to explain what she means. She frequently exclaims that these visions are impossible to describe to any