Citrus Week Day Two: Lemon Bars!

lemons!

Good thing I’m the boss here at Lemon Week SAJ because anybody else would be FIRED! So it’s day two…sort of. I didn’t say I’d do all the days in a row! Whatever, right? Just write something already.

lemonade

So far we’ve made lemon scones, lemonade, a vodka drink for me (that I called SAJ-quil because I was fighting an irritating cold that I am now over) and Lemon Bars!

I love LOVE lemon bars. It’s really bad. I inherited this love of lemon and sugar and butter from my mom and now just like my mom, I find myself battling extra pounds on my body that make me less lithe than I’d like to be. Dumb genetics! I shouldn’t have made the lemon bars because it is next to impossible for me to walk by the refrigerator door without hearing those little bars screaming for me.

Shut up! Lemon bars, shut up!!!!! (I can hear them all the way from my seat at the table.) I am so taking them to a friend’s house and leaving them there. Ack.

Weight schmeight. (My attitude becomes me, I know.) In my book, you can’t have a lemon week without lemon bars so here I am introducing them to Bug just like my mom introduced them to me. Hopefully, Bug takes after her dad and doesn’t inherit my thunder thighs or my incredible lack of willpower.

mixer girl waiting for the crust to be ready

Bug loves to cook with me in the kitchen, the poor kid. She also has to put up with my harebrained method of recipe-reading that involves frantic number-checking and re-checking and then weeping and wailing because I cannot read a recipe from top to bottom in order without skimming or leaving out major parts.

I’ve always thought I was retarded because I cannot keep numbers in my head longer than a butterfly sneeze. I’ll read 1 1/2 cups and then by the time I walk from the cookbook back to my mixing bowl, I’ve forgotten whether it was 1/2 or 1 1/2. I know most of you will laugh at me but this is a serious problem for me when it comes to baking. In fact, this is why I don’t bake usually. It’s way too much work for me. You should see me racing back and forth across my kitchen trying to put together a list of three ingredients. It’s insane. And then sometimes I mix up teaspoons with tablespoons and you can see why things don’t always come out right.

I’ve self-diagnosed myself with dyscalculia, which is sort of like dyslexia but with numbers instead of letters. I’ve always hated math ever since I was forced to play “math baseball” in second grade. I remember I practically peed myself in fear as I stood at the blackboard staring at the squiggles while the class shouted at me to add or subtract. I’ve managed through the years, figuring out ways of counting on my fingers secretly or making up complicated dot patterns. But recently with motherhood it’s gotten worse. Sometimes when I’m at the bank, I have to write my account number three times before I get it right. It can be pretty embarrassing.

Anyway, this is not a moan-fest about how much I hate math. I just wanted to include that so you can see why baking is extra fun for me. I can design notecards and web banners and even packaging while using a ruler and fractions and picas just fine but for some reason when I’m in the kitchen, I get struck with major anxiety about reading numbers or just plain reading. It’s weird.

shortbread crust! sugaring the top

I mostly wrote all those words about math anxiety and dyscalculia so that you don’t laugh when I tell you that I misread the lemon bar recipe (thanks Calee for the link!) and somehow couldn’t figure out how to make the shortbread crust that goes under the lemon bars. I thought it wasn’t included in the recipe so I found another recipe online and used that. But it wasn’t enough so I had to make two batches. Amazingly, it all turned out fine. I don’t know how but it did. I guess shortbread crusts are indestructible.

But because of my crazy-making recipe reading, Bug had to wait quite a bit between the crust-making and the lemon-bar-mix—making which is fine. Patience is a virtue right?

lemon bar!

The lemon bars were divine.

me and my chins love lemon bars

Me and my many chins enjoyed them mightily.

Update on my brother

an anniversary portrait

Hi, all. This is just a quick update on my brother. I don’t know if many of you have been following the news on my twitter feed but my brother suffered from some heart pain and pain in his left arm the other day. He spent several hours in the emergency room getting tested. All the tests came back inconclusive but it looks like he has congestive heart failure, an enlarged heart and lung. He seems to be okay now though. He is on his way back home from Oregon (he is a long-distance trucker) and will get more tests when he gets home to figure out what is going on. He can’t drive right now (obviously) so one of my cousins is driving up to get him in Oregon and will bring him down to Red Bluff and from there CC will drive him home.

We’ve all known this could happen. My brother pretty much looks like a walking heart attack, not to mention it runs in our family. My grandfather had six heart attacks before he turned 40 (I could have my facts wrong but it was something like that). Shawn has been cutting back on his food intake for years and has been off red meat for a long time. Making life changes is of course a big issue here, but when I talked to him on the phone yesterday he seemed even more worried his job and family.

After many many years of failed careers it seemed as if he’d finally found something he enjoyed, was good at and actually came with a decent paycheck. It was a big leap for him to become a trucking teacher because he is surprisingly shy but he turned out to be really good at it. We’ve all been so overjoyed by this latest success.

BUT now that he is at risk of heart attack, he will probably lose his job which is exponentially damaging to him and his family. As you know they’ve barely eked by for years. If you are the praying type maybe you could add Shawn and his family (and especially CC who shoulders most of the stress) to your list.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I might try and put together some kind of fundraiser for them…so if there is any kind of art, coloring sheet etc. that you’d like me to sell for maybe a $1 a download or something, let me know in the comments. I’ll try to get on that ASAP. Also I’m donating all profits from my etsy shop to them too.

(photo taken at their 10-year anniversary in 2007)