Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Breaking Rules and Making Memories. With blink-182. And My Son.

Yes.  Today is Wednesday, which means last night was a school night. 

And yes, my 14-year-old (Snarky Son) does indeed currently hold a somewhat lower GPA than he -- or rather, we -- would like.  And yes, I knew that when I took him to the blink-182 concert last night.  Which was 40 minutes away.  On a school night.

Don’t judge me. 

blink-182 is SS’s very favorite band.  (Yes, it's a struggle for me to type blink-182 all lowercase.  But with a name like Cheri, who am I to cast stones?)  He knows all their songs.  Half of them he can play on his guitar.  Plus, blink hasn’t toured in years.  This was a reunion tour, so there’s no telling whether they’ll ever tour again.  Plus, a bunch of other kids he knows were going to the concert, too.

Whoa.  Now I sound like the 14-year-old.  But am I wrong to see his point?

Rules are rules, and there are plenty of ‘em Chez Wiles. We’ve got rules for saving money, for donating money and for spending money.  We’ve got rules for putting away laundry (gratefully), for loading your own dishes (immediately) and for playing the guitar after 10 p.m. (quietly).  There are homework rules, dinner table rules and no-girls-in-the-bedroom rules.  (Except, of course, for Darling Daughter, who, when the occasion arises, will have to abide by the no-boys-in-the-bedroom rule.)

But c’mon.  It was blink-182, dude.  And it was SS’s first concert.

Who doesn’t remember his or her own first concert?  OK.  A few staggering teenagers who were escorted out by loyal friends last night -- before blink even took the stage -- may not have total recall.  I only hope their churning liquid demons were liberated before – not during – the car ride home. 

I remember my own first concert -- The Commodores, 1978.  (Of course I blogged about it.  Click here.)  On Facebook, I recently mentioned that I’d been to an Earth, Wind & Fire concert in Columbia, SC in 1979.  Sure enough, a Facebook friend, who I didn't know then was at the same concert.  And it turns out that Cougar Bait (one of the knights-in-shining-armor when my car was broken into last week, click here for the whole unsettling story) and I were at the same Doobie Brothers concert in 1980.  I know, right?  Serendipitous.

I love knowing that SS and DD are, at this very minute, constructing their own music history.  As she does her required reading, DD is listening to The Killers, Are We Human.  SS, natch, has blink-182 on a non-stop loop.  I love knowing that DD associates Journey’s, Don’t Stop Believing, with her first middle school dance.  (I think I do, too.)

And I love knowing that SS’s first concert was with me.

It occurs to me that, if I were still married, I may not have been the parent of choice at last night’s concert.  I might have been designated to stay home with DD.  I might have chosen warmth and a good night’s sleep over crowds and ringing eardrums.  I might not have ended up being one of so few 47-year-old moms in attendance that we all could’ve fit in the bathroom at one time.  In a single stall.

Instead, I got to be with SS, ridiculing the warm-up band, singing All The Small Things with 15,000 other blink-182 fans, teasing SS about the existence – and his eventual purchase – of blink underwear.  (Honestly, the boy wears boxers.  What made him think those "emo" – his word, not mine – underpants were a good idea?  And why did he choose the T-shirt with the cartoon character, instead of the one with the tour info?)

OK.  I didn’t actually get to sit with SS.  He hooked up with his buddies before we were even patted down at the gate.  But he checked in with me throughout the concert, advising me not to listen to the warm-up act.  (Quote:  He's terribad.  Don’t listen to him.  I’m not listening to a stupid white guy pretending to be black.)  And best of all, I got to be with him on the ride home, hoarse from singing, exhausted from dancing and buzzing from adrenaline.

So we broke a few rules.  I was there.  Lucky me.  And since I’ve been to a concert or two in my day, I’d planned ahead, nutrition-wise.  Early in the day, I’d made a good-sized batch of granola.  That way, I could break a few cholesterol-, carbohydrate- and calorie-rules at the concert.  And make a memory with my son.

Blueberry Pecan Granola

I’ve pored over a lot of granola recipes recently, before coming up with this one, which incorporates my favorite nuts (pecans) and dried fruit (blueberries).  I like it right out of the bag, but it’s also good with yogurt or in a bowl with milk.  Note that it's essential that the various ingredients be toasted, carefully and separately, before combining.

5 cups rolled oats, toasted in a 350 degree oven
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, lightly toasted in a 350 degree oven
1/2 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 cup sweetened coconut shreds, toasted (carefully)
1 cup dried blueberries
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix oats, pecans, sesame seeds, coconut and blueberries in a large bowl.  Combine oil, honey and cinnamon in a glass measuring cup, and microwave 45 seconds.  Pour over oat mixture and stir gently.  Spread in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in airtight containers or zipper bags.
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