The First 90-Degree Day, My Mother, & Chocolate Chip Bars

IMG_2653 my bike on trail

Wrong season, but this is the trail.

It is the first summer day.  It won’t stay like this, of course, but it’s 90 degrees.

It doesn’t feel that hot at first.

I’m on my bike.  I just had it fixed.  I glide down the long, curving hill, then pedal on the more or less flat bike trail, and, though I do have to ride up another long hill, it’s so lovely to be outdoors that I enjoy that, too.

Embrace the hills.

Then the chain clicks and snaps.  The chain falls off the sprocket.  I stop in front of a Dairy Queen to put the chain back on.  I have to fix my bike in front of a crowd of people eating ice cream.

The good news?  I got the chain back on.

The bad news? A truck blocked the driveway so I had to ride through the DQ parking lot around it to continue my path.  This is not rural America.  This is a city.  What’s with the stupid f—–g big truck blocking the sidewalk?  The driver is so high up he can see over the tallest building in the suburb, and he definitely can see me.  He doesn’t back up.   I guarantee he doesn’t need that truck in the city and there is nothing in the truck bed.

I rode on and the gears would barely change but I made it up the hills.

Why does my bike always break down when my husband’s out of town?  Women should be able to fix their bikes, right?   But the truth is I’ve never been good at fixing things.  My manual dexterity is nil.   The one time I changed a tire, it took me 12 hours.  After that I took it to the shop.

“Everything’s fine,”  I lied to my husband on the phone.  If he knew there was something wrong with my bike, he would probably drive home 1,000 miles to fix it.  Bikes are important at our house.

The bike is my main means of transportation.

Now he’s home and the bike will be fixed.

 Mom and I reading Baby Farm Animals.

Mom and I reading Baby Farm Animals.

MY MOTHER.  I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother lately.  The last time I saw her, I was clutching my bike helmet.  There I was at the nursing home, white hair flying wildly from my bike ride, unprepared for the sight of my tiny, dehydrated, dying mother.

“You look good,” she said, admiringly.  Those were the last clear words she spoke.  Her overfed children were always beautiful to her.   It was as if she wanted to give us strength for what lies ahead.  Strength, for a woman, lies in confidence about physical appearance, or so one would think by the number of times it is mentioned in our family, society, and at this blog.

I have been missing her wildly.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS.  As a treat for my husband, I made chocolate chip bars from the Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® site.  They call it the Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie.

Prep:10 minsCooking:20 minsCooling:0 minYields:48 bars (4 dozen)
This Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie is more like a brownie..

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.*

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared pan.

BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

These are good but super-rich!

*Note:  I don’t have a jelly-roll pan, so I used a slightly smaller rectangular cake pan.  It worked fine.