Sunday, January 06, 2008

Skating on the Thin Ice Between Failure and Success

My soup the other day, for the one Devoted Reader who insists on the recipe, it’s just this: Poach chicken breasts in chicken broth. Yes, I use breasts and not whole chickens because I can’t debone and I hate cutting raw chicken and I am so not ready to work with whole chickens. Once, my friend’s mother-in-law made me the most delicious chicken soup I’ve ever had, but it was made with chicken necks. Just knowing that makes me almost not want to eat it. But I did and it was delicious, neck and all.

If this hasn’t been established already, I should point out that I am a very picky eater.

Anyway, shred chicken with a fork, add carrots and celery and salt and peeper and Herbs de Provence (pretentious for a mix that includes rosemary, basil, marjoram, thyme, lavender and bay leaf). Cook up some tortellini and throw them in. Add grated fresh parmesan cheese. Eat several hunks of delicious fresh parmesan cheese. Viola, which is pretentious for “done.” It was easy and good. I am making more today to eat for lunch for the week.

We went ice skating yesterday with multiple nieces and nephews and believe me there is nothing quite as physically painful as stooping on the ice while trying to keep mini people upright. I was also dedicated to keeping all hands off the ice so the mini fingers weren’t sliced off by over zealous skaters. Despite the responsibilities, it was a lot of fun. The almost-three-year-old Skye was a natural: Her first time on skates and she was already walking on the ice and balancing just fine. Leif is still learning with infectious enthusiasm. I was holding his hand or hood or shoulder or waist or arm most of the time but he was so over it. Then we had this exchange:

Leif: Can you let go please? I want to skate by myself please!
Me: But you are going to fall!
Leif: But that’s ok if I fall.

First of all, he is the most polite five-year-old I have ever met. And second, it is as if he is channeling Dr. Phil. It’s okay to fall? What, you mean you aren’t an unmitigated failure should you stumble here or there? Even though we know we might fall it’s okay to try something? We can pick ourselves back up? The thing I love about children, anybody’s children, is they can, in their innocence and passion and tenacity and unadulterated enthusiasm, impart such clean and simple life lessons. So many things I feel like I won’t do because I don’t want to fail. That’s the all-or-nothing side of me. Leif, like most children, skates happily and clumsily in the middle, with no scorecard.

Speaking of failing, yesterday I bought a bikini for the summer. My last one, which I loved, I left hanging on the back door of a hotel. By the time I figured it out, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of having it returned. My second favorite, a pink and green striped one, never ever fit right. The top was too big and the bottom too small. Usually I have the opposite problem. This new one I bought without even trying on.

Pictured above, Mina and I skating with Skye. Next is Skye, perhaps the world’s cutest pig tail wearer. Following is Avery sticking her tongue out to Aunt Mina. And below that the sleeping Madeline and Avery, who in some sort of fit if twinness, decided to sleep the same way on Nicole’s lap, the three of them plus Older Niece all toasty warm in the hot chocolate tent.


K J and the kids said...

Great pics

Anonymous said...

That last pic is an absolute classic!