Wednesday, December 9 2020

blippi world, lunchables, and paella



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. The coffee is hot. The sun is shining. Everything is pretty much perfect, except for the little nagging headache behind my eyes. To cultivate my own Christmas spirit, I've switched my evening drink to spiked eggnog. Perhaps the second one was a little too heavy on the cognac. By a technicality, I could have accidentally fixed myself a cognac spiked with eggnog instead. I'm a little tired, but it's nothing that a little bit of coffee and writing can't fix.

Sip. This morning I'm thinking about Rodney. Up until now, he's been so amused by what Marissa and I are doing that it's been difficult to get him to do his own thing. This week his imagination has exploded and he's swung in the opposite direction. These days, he's so deep in pretending that it's difficult to understand what he's talking about.

He walked into the kitchen yesterday. By the time I greeted him, he was in the middle of explaining something about a "ninja rescue", holding out a little k'nex action figure as a visual aid. "You have to call a ninja rescue," he explained.

"Oh, I get it," I replied, trying to be helpful. I set down the dishes in the sink and got into character.

"HELP NINJAS," I yelled. "I NEED A NINJA RESCUE..."

Rodney sharply cut me off. "No dada," he said in frustration. "There's no bad guys yet. Look, no bad guys are anywhere - you don't need the ninja rescue." Rodney smugly shrugged his shoulders, waiting for me to acknowledge my error, and that there was no danger in the kitchen.

"Oh sorry, dude," I said meekly.

But now that I'm here, let me take a minute to use this platform to give a more formal apology to the ninja rescue team. I'm sorry for the false alarm yesterday - I'm still learning the rules. I promise to only call a ninja rescue if there is real and present danger to warrant it. Even though I just learned about the ninja rescue concept, and I'm not yet entirely sure what it is, I'm honored and grateful to have them around.

Rodney's inner narrative runs all day. He's continually explaining things to us or to toys he's re animated with his imagination. And he's also eating like crazy. The other day while setting the table for dinner, we caught him casually sidling up to the pantry and casually taking a handful of granola out of a plastic bag, and it definitely looked like something he does a lot.

Rodney is in a funny time now. It's like he's on a different world, and in fact according to him that's exactly what's going on. Holding back laughter, Marissa guided me to the living room where Rodney was conducting some kind of toy ninja seminar.

"Rodney, can you tell dad about the different worlds?" she said. Rodney seemed agitated by the interruption, but he handled it graciously. He put down the toys that made up his ninja rescue team to humor her.

"There's LOTS of worlds," he said. "There's adventure bay world... trick shots world... monster trucks world... and blippi world."

Rodney went back to playing. Marissa and I snickered.

"So they're just the TV shows he watches?" I said.

"Yeah, basically," laughed Marissa.

Rodney thinks of the different TV shows he watches as different worlds. It certainly feels that way when he really gets into something. I for one think that's a spot-on metaphor - who doesn't feel transported by their favorite entertainment?

And just in case you needed something dreadful to think about in these dark winter nights, there's a blippi world. Just imagine a whole world dedicated to just you and blippi. It's been a long time since anyone has watched blippi in this house. Biding the time on his own planet, blippi must be getting bored.

The other worlds are quaint metaphors for Rodney's favorite TV shows, but I fear blippi world is a very real place. And it exists to torment the souls of the damned for all of eternity.

In other news, I got to try Lunchables for the first time. With Mondays order, Hy-Vee accidentally gave us a bag of somebody else's groceries. We came home with some weird cheese dip, a pack of cheddar brats, a chicken salad, and three turkey and cheese Lunchables. According to the principal of free food, it must be eaten.

2020 12 09 lunchables

"It's free lunch," I announced around the table yesterday. For some reason, I was still wearing my cooking apron. Rodney eagerly got to work tearing open one of the lunchables. Like a slingshot, the glued plastic covering slipped and sent Rodney's lunchable flying. I scrambled to keep Ziggy from eating the oreo while Marissa picked up the cheese and circular slices of turkey.

"I don't know what I expected," I said chewing my first Lunchable turkey and cheese sandwich. "It mostly tastes like water and salt. But at least it's the right amount of salt. And at least you get a free oreo."

We made paella for dinner. It's one of our favorite meals, but I think I'm finally ready to admit that it's a lot of work. There's no difficult technique to it and it only uses one pan, but just to give you an idea of how much prep time goes into it, I took a final shot of the mise en place.

2020 12 09 mise en place

Parsley, turkey stock, shrimp shells, a zested lemon, sauteed mushrooms, celery & carrot, sausage & chopped proscuitto, leeks, rice, garlic, a zested lemon, a sliced red pepper, and a few threads of saffron.

I started getting things together at 4:30 PM and I took this picture at 6:00 PM just before it went into the oven. It's not the kind of meal you make when you're short on time. But I got a lot done at work yesterday, and it felt good to shut my brain off and cook.

2020 12 09 paella

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a great Wednesday.