John Lennon long insisted that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was not about LSD but was inspired by a painting his three-year-old son Julian made of Lucy O’Donnell, his classmate at Heath House nursery school. As Lennon said in a 1970s Rolling Stone interview, “My son Julian came in one day with a picture he painted about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
2020 is dwindling down. Daylight savings is back (Or is it gone? I’m never quite sure.), the shades are down before 5:00, the shortest day is just around the corner. The brilliant wildflowers have become bird food, the ferns are brown and brittle, we seldom see the squirrel and the chipmunk. Nature seems to have closed up shop, but beauty is still out there—albeit more subtle and stark.
The pool is closed again, so walks are back in my morning routine. When I told Ginny that as an under-praised child of the 50s I needed the encouragement and praise of a Fitbit, she said, “Just use your iPhone’s Health app—it counts steps.” Who knew? Sure enough, the app had already been counting my steps—not that there were many to count. So I’ve lengthened my walks and will keep trying to reach the vaunted goal of 10,000 steps a day—so far, I’m only up to 6000 on a good day. Now if Siri would say, “Well done!,” I’d be satisfied.
David Sedaris wrote an article for the New Yorker about a Fitbit obsession that eventually had him picking up trash along the side roads of rural England in order to add steps to his daily total. I am not expecting to have that problem.
While seeing birds, plants, and mushroom on my daily walk is engaging, the snippets of conversation I hear as fellow walkers pass by are intriguing.
- One sixty-something woman, wearing Lululemon, to her walking companion, “Whatever you do, don’t invite Dwight—there’ll be nothing but drama!”
- The male member of a power-walking couple to his partner, “I’ve told you a million times, she didn’t mean what she said!”
- An eight-or-so year old on his bike to a friend, “I put it in his bowl and then he got sick all over the floor. Mom was so mad!”
- A woman to her dog, “Come on, already. Who’s walking who?”
On a sad note, our family lost one of its animal members Thanksgiving week: Lucy, the white poodle, died in my daughter-in-law’s arms late one night and we’re all sad. Lucy loved Lara—her favorite place was wherever my daughter-in-law was. Lucy kept up with Lara’s busy day or, if she wasn’t invited along, she waited by the kitchen window for her to return. Lucy’s calm personality didn’t always match the stereotypical image of a toy poodle; she was quiet and graceful with dark, intelligent eyes and the temperment of a trusty Lab. She will be missed.
Cabbage patch stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 15- ounce can beans (usually kidney), not drained
- 1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cabbage
- 3 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 15- ounce can stewed tomatoes, not drained
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil and butter until butter has melted. Sauté chili powder, cumin, and coriander briefly. Add onions, celery, garlic, and ground beef. Break up the ground beef to mix into vegetables.
Cook the onion, celery and beef mixture over medium heat until the beef just starts to cook on the outside. Stir in beans, cabbage, broth, stewed tomatoes, sugar, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer at least 30 minutes but up to 1 hour, until the cabbage has soft and the broth has thickened. Serve with dollop of sour cream and parsley or chives.