Mother’s Day Prepping

Late night prepping for a Mother’s Day picnic (rain or shine) and bike ride (shine only—otherwise maybe Scrabble or whatever she wants to do). With a packed weekend, it was cook now or it wouldn’t be much of a picnic…

The picnic / doing something outside (bike riding, hiking, kayaking, etc.) is something of a Mother’s Day tradition now, and something we all—me, my mom and step-dad—enjoy. If it’s raining and not too biting cold we’ll just go to a place with covered pavilions and eat there listening to the soundtrack of nature on the roof and breathing in the scents of spring. Perhaps later also don our raincoats and take a walk.

So now all is finally set rain or shine. What people probably do not know is that me throwing out Scrabble as an option is pretty weird. I know that she and my step-dad like the game, (they have a regular “Scrabble Night” with one of their friends about once a month that I keep declining to attend). I just have something of an aversion to the game. However, it would not be a sacrifice to end up on Sunday rained in with a Scrabble board, (although I do have a lot of other games in the basement I would throw out to as options).

The aversion I think comes from playing Scrabble with my dad. He is a very thoughtful and strategic person which I respect, but as a young boy it was agonizing to wait for him to make a move. Now, I do not know how long he actually thought about things before putting down his tiles as these are foggy memories seen through the lens of a kid, but when my mom and step-mom both independently make very similar jokes about my dad taking an hour to make a Scrabble move and then using all his tiles I think that there is some truth to my recollection of it “taking a long time” and that he found ways to maybe not use all his tiles as the stories go, but really rack up the points.

Whatever really happened I have grown up to dislike Scrabble. I mean, I have played it with my kids and had fun even though they have all these tricks up their sleeves now with weird things like short words with a Z or Q they use to snag a triple letter score or something. It’s neat to see and they have a larger vocabulary because of it, so I’m all in favor of it.

I guess what I’m pondering now is how to take your experience to help others to excel. In my view it’s a discussion. I’m not out to crush anyone in a game, but it would be disrespect in my view to dumb things down. Yet I do not want to water self-doubt.

A good example I think of balance is the other night. My son wanted to play a video game with me and picked out Call of Duty. In that game we prefer to play on the same side and ratchet up the opposing AIs numbers and “experience” over time. The last time we played this we finally set on the AI as “Regular” with 3v2 to finally get a win. When Liam wanted to do 4v2 with the AI set on “Regular” I suggested that we might want to set them on “Recruit”.

We did and it was not a challenge.

Then it was to 4v2 on with the AI on “Regular” and after three rounds and a couple of maps we were undefeated.

Who is pushing who? Because after every round my son had a better kill/death ratio in all regards. That sounds bad, but this is a video game!

Then we decided to play Rocket League. The first game we were just trying to remember what to do and how to handle the controls. We had a couple of AI bots helping (or hurting) in the first game that skewed things. So we switched to 1v1 and went at it.

I totally crushed him in best of three with the last game being something like 7-2.

But that’s not the point. Because in CoD and Rocket League we were connected in the game and talking, (sometimes pretty loudly even though a few feet apart)—sharing good moments, mistakes and strategy. Adjusting and learning and enjoying.

OK, I went off on a tangent. Now for the menu: spinach hummus (balanced protein without meat that would probably spoil if we can make a day of it), pea and avocado soup, (carbs with a low glycemic index as my step-dad is diabetic), gluten-free granola as my mom has an allergy, (this is only the second time I’ve tried to make granola and still have a lot of tweaking to do—at least it doesn’t have too strong a burnt flavor like the last batch and this time I like to think that it can almost be taken as an intentional flavor like when you brown butter), crème fraiche for the soup, (which I actually started a few days ago—while it takes a minute to make it takes a while to cure), fruits and veggies. I think and hope a balanced meal to fuel some outdoor activities. I also have some store-bought Greek yogurt to go with the fruit and granola. I am pretty sure at one point one of my parents made their own yogurt. From the fragmented memories I have I recall it being a bit of a process and I just don’t have the time to research and experiment.

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