Tuesday, July 21 2020

mosquito bites, bank heists, and pancetta

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How do you feel today? Do you like Tuesdays?

It feels good to sitting here on time, right where I'm supposed to be. The bread starter is fed. The coffee pot is full. The dogs are lounging around the bedroom with empty bladders and full bellies. And Rodney is still sleeping.

This morning I'm catching up on all the Kanye drama of last night. Kanye fired off a series of cryptic tweets touching on all the usual stuff: fashion, God, new albums, Bill Cosby conspiracy theories. But there were also some tweets alluding to problems with his family and kids.

Kanye is a pretty inflammatory character. I feel for those who were feeling anxious about politics, and then learned that Kanye West is campaigning for president. After last night, I think it's clear that this is all just part of some very serious manic episode, and this morning my thoughts are with Kanye. I hope he can weather through this without endangering himself or his family. I hope he can get the help he needs.

Sip. When I got Rodney out of bed yesterday, the poor guy's face was swollen with bug bites. He had about a dozen bites planted across his face, forehead, neck, and ear lobes. Marissa and I deliberating in his room, assessing the damage.

"It looks bad, but he seems fine," I said. "Do you think it happened while he was outside?"

Marissa instinctively glanced around his bedroom. Her eyes were drawn up to the ceiling. "There," she said sharply, directing my attention to a black speck on the ceiling. A single fat mosquito hung motionless in the corner of his room. Standing up on the edge of Rodney's bed, I reached my arm to the ceiling and unceremoniously squashed it.

"Do you think all these bites were just from a single mosquito?" I asked, brushing my hands together.

"It's possible," said Marissa. "That must have been one happy mosquito."

"Oh, he was probably just having the time of his life!" I said, raising my voice. "All night, just having a field day on a helpless kid. Mosquitos suck."

"Mosquitos do suck," said Marissa. "And speaking of which, we need more bug spray. Can you think of anything else we need from Target?"

"Get a citronella candle too," I remarked. "And maybe..."

I paused from dramatic effect, and took a few steps back, acting like I was trying to visualize something.

"Do you think we could hang a bug zapper in here?" I asked, my serious face giving way to a smart ass grin.

"Oh sure," replied Marissa. "We can just dangle an extension chord out the window."

To help take Rodney's mind off his mosquito affliction, I offered to open up another LEGO set from his birthday haul. We scarfed his breakfast in record time and we proceeded to dump the pieces out on the table. We put on some music, and for the rest of the morning we assembled a new Spider-Man helicopter and a menacing robot piloted by the evil Mysterio.

We set the stage. The robot burst through the wall of the bank, smashing glass and metal with an easy swing of his giant mechanical car. The smooth glass dome popped free, and out climbed Mysterio, approaching the bank vault with unshakeable confidence. He dropped a stick of dynamite at the mighty metal vault door.

BOOM. The dynamite shook the bank, and the door of the vault swung free. "At last," cackles Mysterio. "I will be the richest man in all the world, and nothing can stop me."

Mysterio stopped, hearing the growing chop of helicopter blades. A familiar, vexing voice was heard from outside the bank. "HEY, BAD GUY! VRISH... VRISH... I'M SPIDER-MAN RODNEY," said the booming voice from a gleaming red and blue helicopter. The helicopter descended, wrapping its sharp talons around Mysterio's unmanned robot.

"THIS IS MY ROBOT NOW," said Spider-Man Rodney.

"HEY MYSTERIO," said a woman's voice. It was Gwen Stacy in full heroic garb. "Bad news, this vault is empty," snickered Gwen Stacy before peeling out of the bank on a skateboard. "Hey webhead," she yells. "Can I get a lift?"

"NO!" scolded Spider-Man. "MY NAME IS SPIDER-MAN RODNEY."

"Oh, sorry about that," replied Gwen Stacy. She addressed him more politely. "Spider-Man Rodney, may I please have a ride on your helicopter so I can escape?"

"NO," replied Spider-Man Rodney, still hovering over the city in his helicopter. "You have a skateboard. THIS IS MY HELICOPTER."


The Bank Heist: directed by Rodney Recker

I got up from the table to catch up on chores. Rodney spent the rest of the day finishing out our bank heist. Marissa joined me in the kitchen.

"He's been playing with those things all day," said Marissa. "But I get nervous about him losing pieces. He left one of the helicopter blades outside in the dirt."

I laughed. "Yeah, I think stepped on Gwen Stacy's mask. And if you lose any pieces, you either have to find them or just make due. It's stressful, isn't it?"

For dinner, I made pasta fazool. As far I can tell, it's basically just an Italian spin on chicken noodle soup. And going without the kale or swiss chard called out in the recipe, I just had to resort to picking leaves from our basil plant. I didn't have garlic or celery either.

fresh basil

Basil, onions, carrots, shallots, and a very Instagram worthy boquet of herbs

In the end, none of the substitutions mattered. At the foundation of the recipe was pancetta. Beautiful, fragrant, savory pancetta. I must have stood over my stove for ten minutes just taking in the smells and sounds of the tiny pieces of pork rendering out fat at the bottom of my Dutch oven.


Pancetta: smells the way you feel when you wake up from a long nap.

Thanks for stopping by today. If you get a chance, make some pasta fazool, or at least just fry some pancetta on the stove. Either way, I hope you have a wonderful day today.