We have our house listed, and because of that, need to keep it somewhat clean. Which makes me wonder: how clean is too clean, or clean enough? Because my husband and I have vastly different answers. I’m of the mindset that the cleaner the house is, […]
Month: July 2014
When I exercise, I strap on an armband, pop my phone into it and choose between several different music service playlists. Songza, Spotify, Pandora and now Amazon Prime Music – they all have their own unique blends of playlists; I like a lot of variety, hence, all of them.
The other day I was listening to a running playlist on Spotify and “Run This Town, ” by Rihanna and Jay Z came on. Let me just say, I don’t particularly care for Rihanna, and I’m not a Jay Z fan. At all. But then again, I am 51 years old and living in the Bible Belt.
I probably would never buy music by either artist, but when I’m trying to maintain a cardio pace, certain playlists offer a rhythmic beat that keeps me going. I don’t usually hear the lyrics; I just hear the beat. Every once in a while though, something catches my ear, causing me to pay attention to what’s being said. In this case, it was because some extra coarse language was being sung/rapped and I was trying to get my phone out of the case so I could skip the song. But I still heard plenty of the lyrics before I could manage to extricate my phone. Here’s a portion of what I heard – and I’m leaving out the bad language!:
…We got a banquette full the broads
They got a table full of fellas… (?)
And they ain’t spending no cake
They should throw they hand in
‘Cause they ain’t got no spades…
My whole team got dough
So my banquette is lookin’ like Millionaire’s Row
Life’s a game but it’s not fair
I break the rules so I don’t care
So I keep doin’ my own thing
Walkin’ tall against the rain
Victory’s within the mile
Almost there, don’t give up now
Only thing that’s on my mind
Is who’s gonna run this town tonight
(Is who’s gonna run this town tonight)
…I bought my whole family whips, no Volvos
Next time I’m in church, please no photos
This the life that everybody ask for
This a fast life…
So, besides the bad language, what caught my attention was the line
This the life that everybody ask for
This a fast life…
and I started to wonder “Is that life – an extraordinary life of wealth, travel, privilege, fame, notoriety, paparazzi, etc… – really what everybody asks for?”
I mean, People, Us, Entertainment Weekly and The National Enquirer magazines are probably some of the few print magazines that actually still sell well. TMZ, The Smoking Gun, DailyMail, Perez Hilton and Celebitchy websites are flourishing. So it would seem as a culture that we just can’t get enough celebrity news. Maybe just reading about what Emma Stone or Bradley Cooper are wearing/doing/seeing makes us feel like we’re actually part of that life.
I don’t know. I’m not immune from reading that kind of stuff. I try to read other more meaningful things, but personally, I love to see all the fashion that celebrities wear to the Oscars and the like. When the news that George Clooney got engaged, I knew about it. When celebrities make news, it’s not just celebrity news anymore, it’s news. For instance, when Justin Bieber was arrested in MIami, it wasn’t just on “gossip” sites, it was also all over CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Drudge and the like, so it’s difficult to actually not hear those kinds of stories.
But just because I know about those things, or even pay attention to them, does it truly mean that I WANT that kind of life?
Sure, sometimes, it sounds nice. Travel without thinking my money could be better spent? Sweet. Pay for things beyond my bills without worrying? That would be good. Help out my family with their finances? Extra nice. Give money to all the charities that I would like to support? Icing on the cake! So yeah, that aspect would make celebrity life worth it.
Or would it?
Even with all the money, would I really want the paparazzi following me? And does having all the money and fame mean people would like me for me, or would they want to be around me because of what I could give them?
I’m hardly the first to say this, but does money, and more specifically, fame, really make you happier? Or can we live an ordinary extraordinary life?
I’m in a sort of unique position in that the niece of one of my oldest friends is famous. Suffice it to say, you’ve probably heard a song she’s sung or watched a movie that she’s been in. At the very least, you’ve likely heard her name. She’s not often in the tabloids, but, and this is big BUT, her life and the life of her family, once she attained fame, was, to put it mildly, wrecked. I haven’t seen her since right before she became famous in her teens, and while she wouldn’t pick me out of a crowd, if I told her who I was, how I knew her mother & aunt, and the house where I grew up, she’d know me. But her family’s life went all haywire after the fame and fortune thing. Before, they attended church each week, traveled the country together and were a tight-knit family, happy in their ordinary-ness Now… not so much. Divorce, estrangement, bitter feelings toward one another… And that’s just famous girl’s parents and siblings; the extended family is not really in touch either. It’s very sad, and I wonder if it was really worth it.
Can’t my life be extraordinary – isn’t my life extraordinary – by virtue of who I am in Christ?
When I’m folding laundry, cleaning up dog poo, scrubbing gunk out of my fridge, fighting with my teenage daughter about her clothes, paying bills, weeding the flower beds, donating household goods to the local Habitat for Humanity, laughing with my husband, helping a friend, isn’t that extraordinary?
I’m sure celebrities do those things too, and God sees their value in that, as well as their fame. Because, after all, even with all their talent and hard work, He was the one who gave them those gifts.
But the fame – isn’t that where the rest of the world sees their worth?
And is that what I would really want?
I just looked at the title of this blog post and for a second, thought perhaps it had to do with a summer romance. Like almost all females having experienced their teens in the late 70’s, Sandy and Danny Zuko come to mind, and right now I’m singing “Summer lovin’ had me a bla-aast, summer lovin’ happened so fa-aast…” And now unfortunately, you’ll be singing it too. Sorry.
But this post isn’t about that. It’s about a fruit-filled trifle that has become one of the tastes of summer for me and my family. You know, like watermelon says summer. Corn-on-the-cob says summer. Hamburgers on the grill say summer. Like that.
When I met my husband, and knew he was the one for me, I wanted to get to know his family too, because after all, they were going to also be my family. While my own mom is a great cook, I learned a lot from his mom. After her kids were all in elementary school, she went back to school to become a dental hygienist, and during her studies, took several courses on nutrition. That made an impact on the way she shopped, ate and cooked; she became a vegetarian. So fruit was the primary ingredient in her desserts, and this trifle is an offshoot of one that she made when my husband was little. I’m pretty sure hers is healthier than mine, and would still be delicious, but this is one of those recipes that if I changed it, everybody in the house would let me know with every bite just how cruel I am.
We have a tradition each 4th of July to picnic with another family on a little peninsula on the Tennessee River. We leave the house in the late afternoon, take a few blankets, some games, and spend the evening with our friends in anticipation of the fireworks show after dark. Our friends bring vegetables from their garden and an old-fashioned ice cream churn to make vanilla ice cream. I bring a grilled chicken salad served in croissants. And this trifle.
Normally, I make a HUGE bowl because
we just might eat this for breakfast it’s so good and everyone wants multiple servings. This year, several of our families’ kids weren’t in attendance, so I made a “normal” amount. In reality, I just halved the recipe, but I understand that most people don’t want a bowl the size of Texas in their fridge for a week. However, if you want to make this for a summer shindig, by all means, double the amounts I’ve given you!
1 prepared pound cake
1 box vanilla pudding
2 ½ C milk (for pudding)
1 container Cool Whip, thawed
1 lb. strawberries
2 pints raspberries
2 pints blueberries
2 pints blackberries
½ lb. cherries, pitted
5 – 6 peaches, depending on size
sprig of mint for garnish
Prepare cake in 9 x 4 ½” loaf pan. Cool.
Prepare pudding while cake is cooking.
Set aside a few tablespoons of Cool Whip for garnish later. Set aside a handful of berries to garnish on top as well.
Mix pudding with the remainder of the Cool Whip and refrigerate.
Prepare fruit: Wash the berries. Slice and de-stem the strawberries, peel and slice kiwis, pit and de-stem the cherries, peel, and slice the peaches. (I slice the bananas as I layer the fruit in because it’s easier.)
Slice cake in 1″ slices.
In a trifle bowl, layer cake, then a mix of the fruit to cover cake, and finally the pudding mix. Repeat layering as many times as necessary, ending with the pudding mixture. Garnish with remaining Cool Whip, fresh berries, and mint, if desired.
*Some notes on preparation:
-This is SO much better if it’s prepared a day ahead. The fruit juices soak into the cake and the flavors have time to marry.
-As I mentioned earlier, this could be healthier. I have made it with angel food cake before and it’s still good.
-I usually make the pound cake from scratch, but if I’ve been pressed for time, I have used a box mix or even bought one from the grocery bakery; it’ll still taste great no matter how much prep you put into it. Just in case, here’s my go-to pound cake recipe:
2 C all-purpose flour
1 ½ C sugar
1 C butter, softened
6 T milk
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°. Place flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla (in that order) in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Beat at low speed 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.
Pour and Bake. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan, and smooth the top. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
*If doubled, prepare in a tube or bundt pan.