Brownies. Mmmmmm. I've always been a chocoholic, so brownies were one of the first things I learned to make as a kid. Early on every batch of brownies had a bit of my knuckle skin in it from grating the chocolate by hand, but nobody noticed. These are fudgy, moist, and oh-so-bad-for-you. The recipe comes from Amy Vanderbilt's cookbook although I added the chocolate chips. You can frost them if you want to be obscenely decadent.
2/3 c shortening
4-1 oz squares unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
1-1/3 c sifted all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 c chopped nuts
2 t vanilla
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips (if desired)
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 9x13 pan.
Combine 1st 4 ingredients in saucepan. Place over low heat; stir occasionally until shortening and chocolate melt. Remove from heat, add eggs, and beat until well blended. Sift dry ingredients together. Beat into egg mixture. Stir in nuts and vanilla until smooth. Pour into pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center has crumbs on it. Set pan on rack to cool. Cut into squares or bars.
September 18, 2009
September 14, 2009
My husband has been trying for years to get me to go to a nude beach. Or a nudist resort. Or pretty much anywhere that will allow me to take my clothes off in public without getting arrested.
I am not and have never been a thin woman. Not even close. I'm a doni* like the picture, only now that I'm 47 my breasts aren't as full as hers. But otherwise we're pretty similar. The thought of exposing my vast quantity of flesh to other people didn't bother me for myself - I just didn't want to gross anybody out. I imagined people pointing and whispering "Oh my God look at that woman - ewwww!" or maybe even, God forbid, shouts of "Hey, you should put your clothes back on RIGHT NOW!"
But my husband is a persistent man. He showed me multitudes of nudist club sites on the net, saying, "Look, honey - they're all just regular people like us." Hmmm, I didn't see any donii in those pics although yes, some of the naked people were overweight. Mostly men, and everybody knows most men are willing to take their clothes off at the drop of a hat no matter what they look like.
And all those people in the pictures were tan. I mean, REALLY tan. I've never seen so many mahogany-colored Caucasians. Being in the sun is very bad for me. I'm a natural redhead with vampire-white skin who doesn't tan. I freckle if I'm lucky, but only after I've burnt myself to a rare-beef red. Plus I have a history of skin cancer so I really should stay out of the sun unless I just WANT to get cancer and die.
But again, hubby persisted. He found a "local" clothing-optional beach and talked me into going. He insisted that I could wear sunscreen. I finally said yes just to shut him the hell up. And in hopes that he'd quit looking at naked people on the internet. (Like that will happen.)
Last Saturday we packed for the beach and headed south to Oregon. We inadvertently took the long way, and I was ready to turn around and go home about half an hour before we even found the town where we make the turn to the Columbia river. But we finally found the place. It was a LOT more than 100 miles away (it turned out to be 187 miles one-way going the short way, not the way we went down). I was pissed.
But we arrived on a beautiful island in the Columbia River just outside of Portland. Found a parking spot and lugged our cooler, chairs, towels etc. to the beautiful sand beach. And there they were: a couple hundred mahogany-colored naked people and a few vampires like me. They were all shapes, ages and sizes. There were kids in diapers. (Well, they weren't wearing diapers - they were naked.) There were octogenarians. There were probably 30 boats and a seaplane all tied up just offshore. People were sunning, strolling and swimming. Naked.
I took all of this in during the first 10 seconds of arriving at the beach. It was gorgeous. It was shocking. It was all I could do not to turn around and run back to the car. I didn't see anybody who was as fat as I am.
But we had driven for FOUR HOURS to find the place, and I was damned if I wasn't going to participate. I set up our chairs, positioned the cooler just-so, and ran out of things to fiddle with. It was time to strip. I took a deep breath and peeled down.
Nobody pointed or yelled or threw up. Nobody even whispered, as far as I could tell. I was just another person on the beach. I had Jeff put sunscreen on my butt and I put it on my breasts and stomach, the most painful places to get burnt. I left my arms and legs to the Goddess. I put on my sun visor to protect my face, and plopped down in the chair to take it all in.
I think I quietly broke every rule of nudist etiquette that day. I've always been a people-watcher, so, I reasoned, why shouldn't I look? And I figured as long as I didn't stare, and I kept my comments for my husband's ears only, it was ok. So I looked at everybody, and said to Jeff everything from "Look at the guy jogging - doesn't he know how funny he looks with his Johnson flapping back and forth? hee hee..." to "Oh, he's a hunk, I'd do him in a heartbeat!"
Then came time for me to get out of my safe little chair and stroll along the beach. By then I had seen a couple of women my size (and one even bigger) so I was a tad more comfortable. But still not very. So I sucked in as much of my stomach as I could and off we went.
It turns out that people were, in fact, whispering, but according to Jeff they were talking about the huge dragon I have tattooed on my left shoulder blade. How he knew that I couldn't tell you, but I choose to believe that yeah, they were talking about my tattoo. Uh-huh.
After we'd been up & down the beach I felt more comfortable. We went swimming - I'd forgotten how much fun skinny dipping is, and how my husband's penis looks like it belongs to a 2-year-old when he swims in REALLY cold water. Hee hee. That stretch of the Columbia river is about 200 nautical miles from the Pacific, so it's freshwater. I could clearly see my feet while standing in it up to my chest.
Did I enjoy the day? You betcha. It's an amazing feeling of freedom to be naked in the outdoors, whether you're around other people or not. It somehow put me in touch with nature, with the earth that I came from and will someday return to. I felt wonderful. I was happy - for the first time in months.
Will I go back? You betcha. Unless we can find a nude beach closer to home, that is.
I left there with an incredible feeling of accomplishment: I overcame my fears and my embarrassment. I have just a touch of sunburn on my shoulders. My husband the nudist, however, refused sunscreen and looks like a boiled lobster. Hee hee!
* A "doni" is a Venus figure from the early Paleolithic era - about 25,000 years ago.