Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chutes, Ladders, And The Steps To College


So that’s that. Julia’s winter exams are officially over. “World Religions” marked another senior year “last.”

With that exam, she takes another step toward college. I’d rather not think that it’s another step away from me.

You might thing the path is predictable, but it’s not. It’s more like the Chutes and Ladders game we played when she was little.  There’s the Candy Cane Forest of college applications and the Gum Drop Mountain of exams. Julia moves forward a couple of steps, I get mired in the Molasses Swamp, and then, with a big fat college acceptance in the mail, she ascends a ladder. She moves forward a couple of steps, I move forward a couple of steps, she wonders about dorm life without her cat, Lionel, and before you know it, she tumbles down a chute.

Mostly though, Julia moves onward, onward, inevitably onward. And not just onward, but happily onward, too.

But not tonight. Tonight we’ll spend the evening watching old episodes of Parenthood and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.  Again. And before you know it, I’ll be blinking back tears. Again.

But despite what you think, I’m happy about all these steps toward college. I really am.

Because when she’s gone, Lionel is mine. All mine.

Broccoli Soup
In my usual effort to pack in extra nutrients during exams, this "broccoli" soup also includes carrots and celery and onions and garlic.
1/2 stick butter
1 onion, chopped
16-20 baby carrots, chopped
1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
6 cups broccoli florets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup cream
blue cheese crumbles (optional)

In a large, deep skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onions, sauté until soft. Stir in carrots, celery, potato and garlic. Sauté until soft and slightly browned. Stir in broccoli and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are very soft. Use an immersion blender to smooth to an even consistency (I like mine somewhat chunky). Stir in cream. Season well. Serve hot -- with blue cheese crumbles on top, if desired.

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