Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

An Evening Out

Though not, perhaps, in the usual sense. We spent the evening in the local park, which has a big, red barn, lots of picnic tables, and plent of things to play on. But the best thing is a creek that runs along one side. A bunch of families showed up and all the kids ran around in packs and there were always two adults by the creek as... well... kids... water... you know.

So the boys, today went and bought Jet a new bike off Creig's List for about half the price the bike would have been new. It's much bigger than Jet's old bike, so big that we have his seat on the lowest ever notch and he just barely fits on it. It's a seven speed, with clicking gear shift, so he knows how far to go. He's gotten the knack of the handlebar brakes really well, but we remind him right before really busy intersections.

He's really proud of it, but hates the fact that it's purple. He wants to spray paint it blue or green or something. *grins* But the greatest blessing is that when he rides now, he does so at reasonable speeds, and I don't have to keep from running into him all the time.

So we took everything on our bikes, John carrying the food and ice cream equipment in the carrier, and we arrived fifteen minutes early as we brought all the makings for homemade ice cream, and we had to have some time to get it good and frozen. Rather than be like Tom Sawyer and the white washed fence, we actually promised any kid that worked on the cranking that they would be able to have some of the ice cream if they worked (and didn't quite mention that everyone would probably get some of the stuff). As usual, it started pretty easy and gradually got harder and harder.

All the little kids got their turns in early, and then the bigger kids and the bigger kids, and finally John and I did the fast finishing, to get it good and churned at the end I was leaning pretty much all my weight on the bucket to keep John from lifting it off the ground. Yeah, we like our ice cream good and stiff before we harden it. It was funny having a couple of adults wander by going, "Wow, that looks like a lot of work."

BUT IT'S WORTH IT!! Ahem. And the mix froze to fill the cannister pretty much to the top and we got the dasher out and packed it up in ice and salt to wait until everyone had eaten their dinners. It was "just" vanilla ice cream, but with real vanilla beans and two quarts of half and half (as the darned dairy truck didn't have straight cream) and a quart of milk and some sugar and enough eggs to thicken it nicely. What was really cool was that it ended up being about six quarts of ice cream, and every single bit of it got eaten. One of the kids started dipping his peanut butter and jelly sandwich in it and I was like why didn't I think of that before?

Dinner was good, too. My run to the grocery store was for plain sandwich stuff, including just bread as we've been eating at home a lot. But I got some mildly more special stuff, like sliced roast beef for the sandwich meat, Stilton to go on it, and vine ripe tomatoes as they are now cheap as the local ones get good and ripe. Jet decided to have a almond butter and pepperoni sandwich. Yeah. I know. My child.

After dinner I had like five different desserts, as the real potluck part of it was the desserts. Frog cookies, fruit tarts, custards, the ice cream, nectarines, cakes, and all other kinds of goodies. I had the nectarines with the ice cream and that was very good. Then I had some tart. And then the cute little froggie cookies started calling my name. Eat me... eat me!! *laughs* I started with the legs. It seemed appropriate.

I got to talk, face-to-face with adults, and it was good. A birder told me that sparrows actually look very plump in the early spring because they fluff their feathers up to stay warm, and when the weather gets hot they sleek down and look thinner again. Someone else told me that last week, at the YMCA day camp, Jet and two other kids were the only ones to make it to the top of the climbing wall. And I was like... woah. Jet only said that he hadn't made it all the way up to the top until his second try... not that it had been anything special. The mom said that, of all the kids, it seemed like Jet had no fear compared to anyone else, and that Mr. G, their PE teacher at Blue Mountain, had been really impressed.

Then we all just relaxed and enjoyed the park. The kids played on the equipment. They caught a big bucket of crawdads. They ran around screaming and trying to kill each other. There was a beaver in the creek that came out in the twilight. It seemed utterly unconcerned about the kids screaming, "BEAVER! There's a beaver!!" and just swam about in the stream and went in and out of its house in the bank of the creek.

The sunset was utterly spectacular, behind nine layers of mountains to the West, under the last traces of the thunderstorm clouds that had, indeed, blown in, dropped the water that cooled things down from 90 to 80, and then blew through.

We rode home in the dark, on the sidewalk, and Jet chatted about his climbing experience because I asked him about it. And it was much more exciting to hear him talk about it. He was also really amused that both the other girls said that they were shaking when they got to the top and he hadn't been at all.

I think, maybe, we should get him into a climbing program, even if it's just the walls around here. There are so many climbing walls here, because it's so close to the mountains there's lots of competitive folks that train here, too. Just like the bicyclists.

He'd like it and I'll never forget the time when he was five, and he went up a wall, good and strapped in, and at the top, when he saw the last handhold just barely out of his reach, he just jumped for the hold. He was a good 25 feet in the air and every adult on the ground just yelped or gasped when they saw him do it. He had the harness and everything on him, so he was entirely safe, but he got the attention of the guy doing the belaying for him. "Now that's a kid without fear."

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