In the past week or so, many of you have encouraged me to bloom where I’m planted. I don’t think any of you meant face first.
I blame it on the ghost in the machine, but some of you can write comments on the blog and others cannot, and so you send emails. Either way, I’m glad you are staying in touch. I just wish I could make it easier for you but I haven’t been able to figure out the details of blogdom.
When I moved to State College, I decided it was important for me to take the time to do something for ME … and my knee. Since my knee surgery in January, I’ve been a little stiff and arthritic. I decided bicycling would get me out and about, and stretch any of the kinks in my joints. And, we have wonderful bike paths around town.
The one closest to my mother’s house connects to Slab Cabin Creek Park where, during the winter, there is a tobogganing hill and marshmallow roasting fire pit. I started out with short excursions, early in the morning.  Unlike other summers when I would make elderberry or blackberry jelly at the farm, this summer I’m making jelly legs, thanks to all the hills on the bike path.
Then came Sunday. It was a glorious morning. I stashed a camera in my knapsack and was headed to my favorite bikeway bench with a stunning view of Mount Nittany. I coasted down the first hill and then noticed my watch was upside down. I reached over to fix it … and next I knew I dove into the asphalt, face first.
The only pain I felt was that of embarrassment. I didn’t want anyone to see me. So I stood up, retrieved my water bottle, lifted up my bike and pushed it home. I was bleeding, from my cheek to my knee, but my lips were the worst. In a matter of minutes, I looked like a poster child for Botox Gone Bad. My brain was working in slow-mo – “Ice pack,” it told me. So I held one to my mouth and drove to Mount Nittany ER.
For the first half hour, a couple dozen nurses and aids quizzed me on the details of my accident: I was riding a bike. Yes, I was wearing a helmet. I tried to adjust my watch and crashed.  Two hours later, X-rays showed a cracked cheekbone A follow-up the next day in the dentist’s office yielded good news – teeth and roots are OK, a little bruised, but OK. If this only happens once every 57 years, I can take it. Yes, I was wearing a helmet. On the ER pain scale of 1 to 10, I gave myself a 4. The only question that stirred a little concern came from a rotund RN who asked, “Were you riding a stationary bike?”
Too many years ago, a fellow told me he knew why I became a swimmer: “You’re the clumsiest thing on two feet.” Now I can add, “Two wheels,” but honest, what do you take me for? It was a regular mountain bike with spinning tires, annoying seat, the whole nine yards … not a stationary bike.
I am a novice bicyclist and still grind my way through the handlebar gears, but my problem was not bicycling; it was multi-tasking. So I’ve made a pact with myself: No more multi-tasking while biking. Sure, I can breathe, and think, and wipe the Neosporin-laced sweat off my chin, and occasionally break into song, but that’s it. When I’m biking, I’m biking. And, in the meantime, I’m healing. With a gentle pat on the arm, and somewhat gentle words: “Your face is really a mess, but it will be OK,” Mother Marie is taking care of me. Laurie Lynch
As Promised: Oh the shame! Called out in the Fleur-de-Lys blog! Argh! Sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner …
Garlic Ice Cream, Kutztown Style
2 cups of cream*
2 cups of whole milk
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup sugar
1 T honey
1 T vanilla
In a saucepan, mix together the cream, milk, and crushed garlic. Heat well, but do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Allow to cool. Add honey and vanilla. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Stir, freeze, and enjoy!
*We use cream from Jersey Hollow Farm in Kutztown — it’s so thick you can turn the jar upside down and the cream stays put! Also, the milk we use is the top of the raw milk, so it’s basically light cream. Call it what you like. Lisa
Slow Food, Soft Food:  Monday morning, battered face and all, I had commitments in Allentown. I went into the Master Gardener office wearing a surgical mask to hide my bruises and swelling but Dear Diane said the mask was scarier than my face, so I continued the day au naturel. I had a half dozen errands and ended up at dinner with two friends. They knew about my road burn accident and figured I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough for a veggie burrito and probably didn’t want to be seen in a restaurant. So, we “ate in” and they made an assortment of “soft food” – tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil salad, hummus, and something called “Skillet Squash Sandwiches” minus the sandwiches:
Saute one or two each sweet onion and summer squash/zucchini in olive oil. Add 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and chopped or dried tomatoes.  Saute until vegetables are the way you like them. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. In separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 cloves crushed garlic, amd 8-10 chopped basil leaves. Serve sautéed vegetables and place a dollop of mayo mixture with each healing helping.
Local Food, Famous Food: The other day nephew and culinary-nutrition graduate Wille took the bus from Providence RI into NYC to sample Watermelon Gazpacho and peruse menus of his favorite restaurants. Chef Thomas Keller (The French Laundry on the West Coast and Per Se on the East Coast) listed on his menu: “Salad of Eckerton Hill Farm Cherry Tomatoes” (Tim Stark’s place near Lenhartsville). Cool beans!
Written on Slate: “When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day’s sensations:  bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay’s call, ice melting and so on.  This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead.  I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.”  — Diane Ackerman


2 thoughts on “Fleur-de-Planted

  1. Dear Laurie,
    I have been enjoying your blog for so long and have never thanked you. I look forward to your writing!
    My circumstances have changed recently and I have been forced to look at different ways to make a living. I had been a writer for the Catholic newspaper in the area and I am now taking a fresh look at writing. Have you thought about it for yourself?
    Realizing you probably have, I thought I would end you some encouragement. You are a wonderful writer and I look forward to a treat every time I open your blog.
    Take care.

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