Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bits 'n' Pieces

When my mom felt too busy to cook or hadn't been shopping in a while, she'd serve my sister and me "bits 'n' pieces," which consisted of whatever food - usually uncooked - that we had in the fridge and cupboards. A typical bits 'n' pieces meal might consist of apple slices, triscuits, cheddar cheese, apples, and maybe a couple of Vienna sausages. We always loved bits 'n' pieces meals.

So this is a bits 'n' pieces blog post. I haven't had time or energy to conjure up a warm, freshly cooked post, and in fact I can't even offer bits 'n' pieces on a single theme (as I managed a few days ago). Hopefully you'll be patient with this mismatched quickie meal, and even enjoy its picnic-y style, knowing that a hot, nourishing dinner will come your way soon.

I've been thinking a lot about the audiobooks my sister and I used to listen to back in the early 70s. They were very abridged (just one or two cassette tapes each) versions of Queenie Peavy, Caddie Woodlawn, Strawberry Girl, Thimble Summer, A Wrinkle in Time, Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang, and more. Some had a single narrator but most had a cast that included children. I think they were published by Viking Recorded Books. And man, they were GREAT!!! Do any of you 40-somethings remember these?

My sister and I would listen to a tape every night, and we must have listened to each book dozens and dozens of times. I still remember the exact intonation of many lines - "There IS such a thing as a tesseract."
"Oh Caddie - You spilled the milk all over the floor!"
"I'd like two pounds of firm red tomahtoes. I'd like two pounds of firm red tomahtoes."
It would be wonderful to hear these tapes again; too bad they're long gone. I found the 1972 audiobook version of Queenie Peavy on Amazon for $20 - pretty tempting.

Speaking of audiobooks... disc 2 of my library copy of Numbers by Rachel Ward (narrated with verve by Sarah Coomes) is defective and won't play in my car disc player. ARGH! Now I have to wait until I can get another copy. Darn it. Good thing I've got Lord Sunday by Garth Nix to listen to in the meantime.

And leaping to an entirely different subject (hence the bits 'n' pieces motif)...
I visited two families with babies this past Friday, one of them a round-headed and joyful 10-month-old girl and the other a tiny-featured 3-week-old boy with a toddler big sister whose greatest pleasure currently is to water the lawn, the plants, and most of all herself. I got to hold both babies - ah, the bliss!

And then the next day I saw the movie Babies, featuring 4 babies in very different cultures. I had heard that the San Francisco couple, white older parents, come off badly (the scary "the earth is our mother" baby yoga session being mentioned a lot) but they just seemed as loving and affectionate in their West Coast way as all the other parents were (well, the dads of the African and Mongolian babies were absent, being off doing their manly duties, one assumes). And though a baby storytime might look mighty artificial when compared to a baby boy sitting naked on a metal pail and contemplating the vast gorgeous steppes in front of him, empty but for a bunch of cows and sheep, that baby storytime is important in our own culture.

I have to say, though, that those Namibian moms, who spent a lot of time chatting in the shade of a tree nursing or doing each other's hair and chatting away while babies, kids, and dogs tumbled over each other, looked to have a pretty great life. Certainly, they seemed to stress over the whole baby thing a LOT less than I did as a new young mother!

And that's all the bits 'n' pieces I've got today. Perhaps I'll serve a steaming hot casserole tomorrow...

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