Tag Archives: Ice cream

Okay, So I Didn’t Lose the Weight

Image by Julita from Pixabay.

My summer dieting resolutions have proved as successful as last January’s, despite my good intentions.

Daylight saving time is more conducive to exercise, I said. I’d shed winter weight like a parka.

Summer gardens produce tons of fresh veggies. Fruit, a nutritious food that actually tastes good, abounds. Easier to eat skinny, right?

I implemented self-scare tactics: Beaches would sound a bloat-float warning upon my arrival.

Other aids would help my effort. Spending hours in endless construction zones would create a slow burn, turning calories to ashes.

Plus, the stars were in weight-loss alignment. Stars or satellites? Not sure. I’m not picky about astronomy.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

I did consume fresh veggies. Also, berries, cherries, peaches and watermelon. And, um, ice cream.

Come on, I live three blocks from Ivanhoe’s, a legendary drive-in touted by The Huffington Post as Indiana’s contribution to “The One Thing You Must Do in Every State.” True Hoosiers don’t live by broccoli alone.

Image by Loulou Nash from Pixabay.

To my credit, I exercised. Dragged along — er, encouraged — by Hubby, I hiked miles across rugged terrain. We paddled lakes, cycled bike paths and, despite bloat-float warnings, frequented beaches. We even swam in the water.

Given those “vacations,” would you choose half a bagel for breakfast?

Also, even the word “s’mores” forbids limiting me to one.

As for swimming — beach alarm aside — possessing a built-in inner tube isn’t a bad thing. When out-of-shape arms don’t keep one afloat, fat to the rescue!  Safety first, I always say.

Besides, the holidays are three months away. Cooler weather will encourage exercise. As temperatures fall, so will my ice cream intake. Really.

Also, plenty of road construction remains to burn off excess calories.

Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay.

Baggy sweaters will hide my summer-acquired inner tube, lessening motivation to diet. But fear not. I’ve created new scare tactics.

Shopping trips with dressing room mirrors always diminish my appetite.

Even better (worse?): the yearly checkup. I plan to share my innovative medical theory with my doctor. Doesn’t it make sense that we who carry more years should outweigh the young, who carry only a few? I’ll inform her the stars are in weight-loss alignment during autumn. She shouldn’t be picky about astronomy.

I’ll promise that now it’s fall, I’ll drop pounds like trees shed leaves.

Besides, there’s always January.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Is it harder to lose weight during hot or cold months?

Seized by Spring

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay.

Have spring longings germinated in you?

Delicate green tendrils, they remind us: “You’re still alive and kicking!”

One pops up, then another. Before we know it, we’re caught in their delightful grasp.

Perhaps for you, these comprise seed catalogs. Your spouse may hide them and block websites, but all in vain. You fill your basement/garage/bedroom with seedlings, hovering as if they bear your name. When you install old baby monitors, your spouse finally gives up.

Wayward gravel peppers our flower beds.

Spring has seized you. There is no cure.

Other victims are captured by home improvement. They not only remodel their houses, but also demolish walls in those of strangers.

Hubby’s big spring thing, however, is adding gravel to the driveway. When winds soften and buds swell, his wistful look sprouts. “Let’s call the gravel pit guy.”

“We have gravel,” I say. “Don’t you remember? During the last snowstorm, we shoveled it all into the flower beds.”

Image by Insa Osterhagen from Pixabay.

Others live for their lawns. Years ago, our neighbor, instead of renewing marriage vows, pledged eternal love to his John Deere riding mower.

Similar spring madness victimizes women with a compulsion to wash windows. If denied, they are found in alleys, foraging for empty Windex® bottles to sniff. If you are a lawn lover or Windex® sniffer, please come see us.

When spring debuts, I join Steve for exercise and sightseeing on our tandem bicycle.

Instead, my husband and I can’t wait to ride our bicycle built for two. Baseball gloves’ leathery smell sends fanatics, aged four through 84, to soggy backyards to play. Golf devotees, forbidden to swing clubs inside after window incidents, now drive with abandon matched only by platoons of skateboarding kids. College students dance amid showers of Frisbees while music thunders from open dorm windows.

Age doesn’t matter when spring’s call, potent as a tornado siren, issues from the nearest ice cream place or drive-in. Customers shiver through hot fudge sundaes and root beer floats. Or we fire up grills and torment neighborhoods with cravings for that first juicy burger.

Image by moerschy from Pixabay.

I drive with windows open wide, The Beach Boys harmonizing approval on the radio. Passing college dormitories, students’ Top 40 echo back. Zooming near wetlands, I hear hundreds of spring peepers spout crazy love songs.

Spring seizes us all. And we’re loving it.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What tells you it’s really spring?

Trends: Losers and Winners

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
Image by Olya Lolé from Pixabay.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “trend” as “a general movement” or “a current style or preference.”

Sounds simple. Yet, anyone who’s studied human behavior for five minutes knows better.

Take, for example, the current fad of torn jeans, some composed of more air than cloth. Designer rip-offs boast price tags approaching a thousand dollars.

Others on my what-are-we-thinking list:

  • Bacon ice cream. Like pleasant people from different planets who should never marry, these two yummy foods should never share a carton.
Image by David Karich from Pixabay.
  • Cyclists wearing earbuds. Don’t these people want to live long enough to know how the song ends?
  • Man buns. Somebody, hide the bobby pins and hairspray. Please.
  • Sleep trackers. Rumpelstiltskin never wore a Fitbit, and he slept so well nobody could wake him for 20 years.
  • Shoes minus socks. During a Midwest winter? Though we could start a new, exciting trend of blue feet as chic accessories. …
  • Gambling TV ads. At least, the IRS is forthright about taking our money.
Image by Milesl from Pixabay.
  • Finally, antler chandeliers. Neither Bambi nor I like this trend. Especially when they cost up to $3,000.

By now, you assume this GOL (Grumpy Old Lady) disses current culture as a favorite hobby.

It’s fun. Below, however, I do list trends that hopefully will endure:

  • Mom jeans haven’t yet topped the torn-jeans fad. Still, I’ve informed my daughters their mother is a fashionista.
  • Excellence in women’s sports. No girls’ team was formed at my huge high school until I was a senior. Now, I watch young women compete with joy (and secret gladness I never worked that hard).
  • The coffee craze. May Mr. Coffee, Mr. Keurig and Mr. Starbucks continue forever.
  • Plentiful public restrooms. During shopping trips when my children were small, we raced madly to the library restroom, our only refuge. Thank God, some businesses got wise. Decades later, my races have resumed, and I can’t always make it to the library.
Image by Natalija Tschelej-Krebich from Pixabay.
  • A “my pleasure” response to a customer’s thank-you instead of “no problem.”
  • Delivery service and free shipping.
  • Church services streamed for those who can’t attend.
  • Tunic tops and ponchos. They cover a multitude of sins.
  • Excellent male fashion insight. Most men reject rompers as possible summer wear. Thanks, guys!

Now, don’t you feel better already?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What trends should go away? Which should stay?

Summer Questions

On sultry summer days, do you sit on the porch — more likely, bask in air-conditioning — and ponder profound issues?

Me, too.

Skeptics might claim we’re procrastinating. We don’t want to mow or weed the garden for the 500th time. Or battle Japanese beetles that may as well own deeds to our rose beds.

No, I truly look for answers to my questions, including:

  • Unlike highway medians, why can’t our yards and gardens be declared prairie preservation areas?
  • Why would anyone invent platform flip-flops? A friend asks this question daily, as falling off her fashionable footwear put her in a walking boot.
  • My question: why would anyone buy them?
  • When temperatures sizzle, are you tempted to splat and zoom on a Slip ’N Slide®? (Me, neither.)
  • Do others feel embarrassed — and relieved — that their campers include air conditioners?
  • Why do summer mornings smell better every year?
  • Why do beach lovers strip down to strings — some wore pandemic masks bigger than their bathing suits — yet other bathers don more clothing than in January?
  • Why would anybody believe romaine should be grilled?
  • What summer food sometimes outranks (gasp!) ice cream? Though a lifetime addict, I believe on the hottest days, a chilled watermelon slice tastes even better. Besides, I can spit seeds at my spouse.
  • Why does my three-year-old grandson’s face, smeared with blueberries, appear adorable when my own toddlers’ gooey, blue kisses sent me running for my life — and a washcloth?
  • Tarry blacktop conjures teeth-gritting images of road construction. Endless balky traffic. Detours to Timbuktu. But does its fragrance generate positive memories for anyone else? Sweaty bike rides on country roads to a mom-and-pop store to buy icy, 10-cent bottles of cream soda? Or yakety cycling with teen friends to a bookmobile?
  • People are named June and August, but who’s named July?
  • Why do some summer outdoor wedding guests look ready for a Hollywood photo shoot, whereas other perspiring attendees — not me, you understand — look like they spent the afternoon in a dunk tank?
  • Which is best: lightning bugs, glowworms, or fireflies?
  • Why does the ice maker malfunction only when temperatures rise above 90?
  • Ditto for air conditioners. And freezers.
  • Which songs are hummed most during summer: Beach Boys’ hits? The ’50s classic, “A Summer Place”? Or “Summer Nights” from the musical, Grease?
  • While riding in the back of a pickup at 65 mph doesn’t carry its former appeal, do we children of yesteryear miss those wild, warm, nighttime breezes, the lavish, starry show above?
  • Thankfully, we don’t miss out on summer evening scents. Don’t they smell better every year?

Especially when neighbors mow grass. And nurture beautiful flowers.

All while I ponder these profound questions of summer.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What weighty quandaries fill your mind during summer?

A Tempting Spring Walk; or Why Did I Move Near an Ice Cream Mecca?

My husband and I walk after supper for good reasons. First, burgeoning trees and flowers replenish the famine of beauty we suffered during the gloom of early spring. I love the scent of cut grass — if someone else mows.

Second, walks grow relationships, including Hubby’s and mine. Our eyes and fingers are not glued to screens. Instead, we grow attached to us.

Third, we also greet neighbors, people who eat, sleep, work, play and worship within a stone’s throw. Yet, we rarely see them during winter. God created spring to lure us from it’s-all-about-me caves.

If we must mention exercise (sigh), walking qualifies. I’d rather walk than jog, run or sumo wrestle.

We take walks for good reasons, you understand.

Not to buy ice cream.

Temptation lurks in every springlike Eden. In our town, no conniving snake persuades us to stray from the straight and narrow. Instead, a legendary drive-in presents a menu of 100 ice cream sundaes, including my nemesis, the Moose Tracks.

Its name, which evokes somewhat unpleasant images, should ruin appetites.

Not mine.

The sundae’s frozen yogurt initially hooked me. Yogurt is healthy, I rationalized. Surely, it sucks the calories and cholesterol from the accompanying chopped Reese’s Cups, warm spoonfuls of peanut butter and globs of hot fudge.

I have successfully battled such enticements elsewhere.

But this drive-in is located a few blocks from my house.

When Hubby suggests we walk north, not east, I breathe a sigh of relief. We head north to homes and parks graced with newly planted petunias and geraniums. North past the grade school, where homework escapees flip on monkey bars. Past baseball diamonds where miniature players sport mitts bigger than they. North away from the drive-in.

The sunset throws a feast of sherbet colors in the west … did I say “feast”? And “sherbet”?

At town’s edge, Hubby halts. “Where to now?”

He should know better than to ask. Because I always tell the truth. At least, part of it. “Let’s take Main Street. I’ll bet the flowers are gorgeous.”

A few blocks from our home, friendly Garfield and delicious ice cream always greet my grandkids at Ivanhoe’s.

They don’t disappoint. Fragrant honeysuckle intoxicates us. Fluffy peonies beckon, and brilliant blue, purple and yellow pansies pour from flowerpots. Somebody tilled his garden, a field of moist chocolate fudge … did I say “chocolate”? Whipped cream clouds swirl in the golden peanut-butter sky. …

We find ourselves at the drive-in.

Imagine that.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite ice cream treat — er, walk?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Lots to Celebrate!

Oh, Lord, thank You for the energy and focus to finish book number 24. Couldn’t go out to celebrate, though. What to do? Instead, Steve and I watched the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory and snarfed take-out sundaes from Ivanhoe’s. OMG, thank You that despite the current crisis, we have a gazillion reasons to celebrate!

Soda Fountain Magic

Entering Zaharakos Soda Fountain as a preschooler, I knew magic was for real.

I spotted curlicue iron tables and chairs my size. Glass cases held hundreds of chocolates, hard candies and jelly beans. Had I reached heaven early? The adult friend who brought me confirmed this with ice cream I didn’t have to share.

Tired of the rock-hard chair, I pattered across the gleaming black-and-white floor to the counter’s red stools. They turned round and round! My friend’s objection didn’t surprise me. Even if a stool was designed to twirl, grown-ups always said you shouldn’t.

An enormous 1908 orchestrion — a self-playing pipe organ with drums, cymbals and triangles — fascinated me. Did jolly ghosts fill the high-ceilinged room with music?

Occasionally, Mama took us to Zaharakos. How I longed to dig into that pile of roasted cashews! But even a small packet cost too much.

My mother’s generation had frequented the place during their teens, so we cool adolescents of the 1960s avoided the fountain as if it radiated fallout. Still, celebrating my first job, I treated my little sister at Zaharakos.

I said grandly, “Order whatever you want.”

We ate huge sundaes. I played the orchestrion and bought cashews, toasty and delicious beyond belief.

Later, newly engaged, I chose fabulous Zaharakos candies for my future in-laws’ Christmas gift.

Fast-forward a few years to a visit by my mother. Adulting had drained away my coolness, so we visited Zaharakos. The mirrors gleamed, but the near-empty soda fountain’s stained counter, dull woodwork and damaged tin-patterned ceiling didn’t brighten our day.

“Everyone came here after school. ‘Meet you at the Greek’s!’ we’d say.” Mom gazed at the broken orchestrion. “The fountain’s dated now. I guess I am, too.”

Decades later, I shared a similar feeling when visiting the area. I stopped for a treat, but Zaharakos, a landmark since 1900, had closed. The orchestrion? Sold to a California collector.

Not long ago, though, as I traveled past my childhood hometown, something sent me off the interstate.

Miracles do happen.

Inside Zaharakos, red stools flanked gleaming, marble counters, and mirrors glimmered amid rich woodwork. Pint-sized curlicue tables and chairs again held little diners. The original orchestrion played, grand as ever.

I sent yummy birthday chocolates to my mother.

She no longer remembered events of five minutes ago, but she recalled Zaharakos.

The soda fountain had worked its sweet magic once again.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite soda fountain treat?

Want to travel back in time? Visit Zaharakos on the Web or plan a trip to experience the magic of their old-fashioned soda fountain: http://www.zaharakos.com/

 

A Noble Quest for Ice Cream

I know exactly where to find ice cream in my hometown. So do thousands of academics, farmers, ball teams, Bible study ladies and motorcycle gangs.

Ivanhoe’s has served area ice cream addicts for decades.

But we were in Indianapolis helping my grandson’s family move on his birthday.

So that evening I forced myself to leave Hubby and the others — hoisting a piano above their heads — to seek a grocery.

Consulting his phone, Hubby gave me directions, then bowed his head and prayed. “At least, we’ll see each other in heaven.”

Okay, so I needed 13 tries to navigate endless roundabouts. By time I found the address, I had viewed the outskirts of Louisville, Chicago and Japan.

I finally found Hubby’s designated grocery store.

It had not yet opened for business.

Sitting in the store’s soon-to-be-blacktopped parking lot, I realized my family could have moved the White House’s contents since I left.

I reached for my cell phone … that I’d left at home.

I peered through murky twilight. Should I case the area for a pay phone? But who knew how many evil roundabouts lurked in the gathering gloom …?

A vision of my grandson, stuck-out lip quivering with disappointment, gave me courage to try again.

I would accomplish my mission the old-fashioned way, like my father before me.

His method? Pick a direction and trust God to lead to a store/motel/gas station/restrooms.

I found auto repair shops, upscale tattoo parlors, and … marinas. In Indianapolis?

Like Dad, I tried one more road … that led to a health food store.

“Seriously, God?”

Desperate, I entered and found ice cream!

Soy cranberry and papaya bark.

In despair, I sank to the floor.

Then spotted it on the bottom shelf:

Not carob. Not tofu. Not even yogurt.

Chocolate chip. Ice cream.

I bought it and arrived as the last piece of furniture was moved into place. Not even Hubby possessed the energy to roll his eyes.

Smiles that reigned as our grandson blew out candles morphed into frowns as I plopped ice cream on pieces of cake.

“It’s not healthy,” I promised. “Honest.”

“Yes, it is.” My other grandson pointed to the label. “It says this ice cream came from healthy cows.”

“Taste it,” I pleaded. “Real chocolate chips, see?”

My family is nothing, if not broadminded — especially when starved.

Smiles returned. Birthday Boy ate two big helpings.

Everyone needs character-building tests, challenges that demand their all.

But I’m glad my usual ice cream quest requires only a three-block walk to Ivanhoe’s — without a single roundabout — to choose from 100 sundaes.

Now, there’s a challenge. …

 

Where does your favorite ice cream quest lead you?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer

sundaeOh, my God, I love writing books. Thank You for helping me these last crazy weeks. Please give me courage to hit the “send” button today, my deadline. OMG, thank You for Your Spirit to revive me. (And for the sleep, hair appointment and Moose Tracks sundae that might help a little, too).