Axe-Throwing, Rainbows, Ice Cream and Love Beyond Love
When Tossing Sharp Objects Surprisingly Dovetails with Dessert
This weekend. OH, SWEET BABY JESUS! THIS WEEKEND!
The set-up was six months in the making. I turned 60 this year, and Pam, my kids, and my brother-in-law were not gonna let that go gently into that good night. My birthday was back in August, but family couldn’t make it to Colorado in that time frame. Starting in March, Pam found a way to make the stars align for yesterday, September 9, to surprise me completely out of my skin, soul, and flats with a huge 5th-floor, rooftop party.
Not that, in the intervening six months, I didn’t unknowingly try to eff up all her planning. See, Saturday, September 9th was also the day of Loveland’s 13th-Annual Pastels on 5th Street, a ginormous gathering of artists and local sponsors to chalk-art downtown sidewalks in support of Alternatives to Violence, Loveland’s amazing non-profit that provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
I’ve pasteled for the event the last three years in a row. Of course I signed up to do it again this year and was sponsored by Rainbow Collective, Loveland’s grassroots LGBTQIA+ community organization. Pam had told me previously that she had a work-related rooftop event scheduled for us to attend that night at Desk Chair. “Babsie, are ya really sure that, after pasteling all day in 80° weather, you’ll be able to attend? Why not skip Pastels this year, sweetie?”
Her efforts were in vain. I confidently told her, “No problem. I’ll do both!”
What I didn’t know was that the rooftop event at Desk Chair was my 60th Birthday Celebration. I also underestimated what 60 years of age’ll do to a body. My work week had been eventfully exhausting. My brother-in-law, Darren, and his delightful girlfriend, Bridget, had rolled into town (again, unbeknownst to me that they were here for the big surprise). Friday night, Pam and I went out with them for a night on the town that concluded with a slightly inebriated visit to #1 Axehole. Chucking sharp metal objects at wooden targets was not something I’d previously done, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. After all, I had before me the tantalizing chance to wake early next morning and hunker down over a sidewalk.
Heh-heh. Turns out that a 60-year-old body has limits, people. Who knew? I finished my pastelling at 12:30pm-ish, then went back to the apartment to wash off a rainbow dump truck of pastel-dust, sunscreen, and sweat. Mind you, Pam got dragged around with me the entire morning, all the time surreptitiously coordinating the party and trying to make sure that I didn’t stumble into my son, Paul, daughter, Ces, and other visitors here for the party.
An hour after we returned to the apartment, Pam said she’d gotten a message that she had to go to Desk Chair, “to help set up the work event.” While she was gone, 60 years of age and 12 hours of activity better suited to a triathlete caught up with me. I sat in my chair and said, “Self, you really don’t wanna go to some work event, but ya promised Pam. And she faithfully hauled ass to support your pastels thingy. Time to suck it up and do what’s right, b*tch.”
So I sent her a text:
I’m gonna take a nap. When I wake up, if it’s close to 4pm, then I’ll just meet you at Desk Chair. I’ll let you know when I’m leaving. I love you!
Next thing I know, Pam is at bedside, waking me up at 3:45pm. I groggily gussied myself up and trotted out with her. This woman is amazing, people. Not only did she make sure I didn’t look up at the rooftop on our walk there, but she took me into the back door of Desk Chair, where I wouldn’t see the huge tele-banner proclaiming the rooftop event in honor of me.
It’s trite to say “Life is a miracle.” Then again, Pam is a day-in, day-out miracle. Life is damn well a magikal miracle, folks, I assure you.
The elevator opened to the 5th floor, where suddenly I saw Paul, Ces holding our grandbaby, Nicco, my Loveland loved ones, and out-of-town friends I hadn’t been with since before the pandemic. Reality dissolved for me. I was crying off and on most of the evening and hugging people, if only to reassure myself they were real. That this wasn’t a dream.
It was beyond magikally real. It was as real as my life has ever been. It undid me at the seams with joy, and I will blessedly never be the same for eternity.
For this is eternity.
I stuffed myself with incredible food, made by my friends (Allie’s pulled pork, a staple of her amazing restaurant, Sandos, brisket by the irreducibly incredible Steve V., and an amazing chocolate birthday cake roughly the size of an ocean liner). Toast after toast roasted me, boasted me, and boosted me higher into the stratosphere than five floors! Drinks, hugs, laughter, embraces, stories—all of it rejuvenated me such that, when the party concluded (and, really, it’s still a warm glow in my soul and always will be), Pam and I, Darren, Bridget, and steadfast, loving Trey, our Loveland friend of friends, all went to Black and Blues Music & Brews to hear the amazing Wrangler Jim and His Personal Demons. If that wasn’t enough, dontcha know Bridget found that Black and Blues shares a back hallway set of restrooms with #1 Axehole. So, of course we re-commenced hurling sharp objects at innocent slabs of wood.
All of this is a way to say that, after many years struggling to love myself, know myself, just freakin’ tolerate myself, I still need to remind myself that this life is good. Better than I deserve.
And deserve’s got nuthin’ to do with it.
It’s people. And ice cream.
Enjoy that recipe^^ and this one below.
Butter-Rum n' Chocolate Freckles Ice Cream
Prep Time: 1hr (plus curing—8-24hrs—& freezing—at least 6hrs—time) Cook Time: 10min for Base, 20min for Butter-Rum Sauce, & 10min for Chocolate Freckling Mixture Total Time: 14-25hrs Difficulty: Medium Servings: 1-1.5L
Sm mixing bowl
Airtight Container, for Curing
Ice cream churn (I use a KitchenAid churn attachment)
Sm Pyrex bowl
Vessel w/ pouring spout
Another airtight container for storing ice cream
2oz (55g) dark chocolate of preference, broken into pieces or bought as chips
1t vegetable oil
pinch sea salt crystals
ICE CREAM BASE
1. Follow B*tch-Base Ice Cream recipe.
BUTTER RUM SAUCE
2. Follow B*tch Butter Rum Sauce recipe, and cool sauce to room temp.
START OF CHURN
3. Remove base from fridge after 8-24 hrs curing. Whisk base before adding to ice cream maker.
4. Pour base into churn basin and run at med speed (KitchenAid 5). Set timer for 10 min.
5a. After start of ice cream churn, pour 1in hot tap water into small saucepan and place on sm burner at med-low heat.
5b. Place sm Pyrex bowl into saucepan, making sure bottom of bowl doesn't reach/touch water, to make a bain marie.
5c. Into bain marie, pour chocolate pieces/chips, oil, and sea salt. Occasionally stir with spatula till chocolate is completely melted.
5d. Remove bain marie from heat and transfer melted chocolate into vessel with pouring spout. Set aside to cool without solidifying chocolate. (You want the chocolate to be pourable in a fine trickle.)
BUTTER RUM SAUCE ADDITION
6a. After 10-min of churning, base will thicken. Turn churn speed to low (KitchenAid 3), and gradually pour Butter Rum Sauce into churn while machine still running.
6b. After sauce is emptied into churn basin, return machine to med speed (KitchenAid 5) and churn another 5-8 min, till ice cream is soft-serve texture. (You'll notice churn motor laboring a little more than when the churn started.)
7a. Turn churn speed to low (KitchenAid 3).
7b. With machine still running, pour chocolate in a very thin and steady stream. The trickling chocolate will scatter and harden when it hits the cold ice cream, creating freckles.
7c. Churn another 2-5 min.
FINISH & STORAGE
8a. Transfer ice cream to air-tight container.
8b. Cover with parchment paper, pressing to surface of ice cream so it adheres.
9. Cover with lid. (It's okay if the parchment paper flows over container rim; just make sure the lid is tight and burped of excess air.)
10. Store in coldest part of freezer at least six hours (or serve right away as gelato!).