Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Don't Bother Reading This, It's Pretty Boring

I'm still here, just a tad overwhelmed with returning (grown) children and cooking and unrelenting heat, is all.  Theo and Brian both returned from the Mideast yesterday, bearing gifts and tales of foreign travel. It's been utterly delightful to have most of the kids under one roof. Anna does have to return to her internship in Israel this Friday, but Theo is hanging around a bit more before he jets off again.

Having a hard time keeping track? Me, too.

Theo cooked this Tunisian dish for us tonight, which met with accolades all around (unlike when I prepare a new recipe, but I'll try to get past that); and he offered to prep and grill these ground-beef kebabs tomorrow or Thursday. Essentially, we're hosting a self-taught Mediterranean chef and I don't mind one bit.

He also drove Rachel's friend home this afternoon, while I took a short nap. People, after 26 years of child rearing, I've earned this. In fact, I'm reveling in it. Anna's been helping with some of the driving, also, and I just don't know what I'll do when they both leave again. Maintaining the house and cooking (because, yes, I've been cooking, too, you know) is so much easier when I'm not constantly running out to pick someone up or drop someone off.

Do you see the happy face? Things must be just peachy!

There's been a lot of peach activity around here lately, as evidenced by the above photo, taken by Susie. I'll leave you with a picture of the peach cobbler (made by myself and Anna and Rachel - team effort), because I happen to have that handy and I'm too lazy to get up and take a picture of the peach jam I made on Saturday. Or Sunday. I don't know - it's all a peach-y blur, at this point.

Good-night, all!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Sloth And Industry - All In One Post!

I spent the first part of this week doing my best Florence Nightingale imitation for poor ailing Larry. But now he's on the mend (even went to work today!), so I can go back to my life of indolence and blogging.

Good thing, too - I never was too skilled with the nursing care.

We did literally nothing for the Fourth. We didn't even try. Larry was still napping, and Rachel spent the day with her Civil Air Patrol unit helping to park cars at some all-day event, and I'm not a big fan of fireworks anyway. I mean, I don't mind fireworks; but the humidity yesterday evening was somewhere around 2000%, so the idea of sitting outside in the buggy grass for 2 hours, swatting at mosquitoes and trying to breathe, was somewhat less than appealing.

Okay, maybe I do mind fireworks. Whatever.

So I met up with knitting friends in the morning, and then I came home and sat around and ate lemon bars that Anna had baked for a BBQ she was going to.

Anna's home, remember? And we're thrilled to see her, as she's been overseas since September. But she overheard me saying to Larry yesterday, "Maybe I'll make the chicken shwarma on Tuesday, when the boys come home" and she said, "Oh, are those the children you cook for?"

Touché. What with Larry being sick and it being 95,000 degrees out and hey, there's watermelon in the house...What with all that, not much cooking is happening around here. Like, none. Aside from Anna's lemon bars, of course.

Have I mentioned the humidity? Yes? Okay, then.

Anyway, today was no longer a holiday, so I washed sheets and vacuumed the floors and cleaned up the kitchen. I mean, REALLY cleaned up the kitchen, because it was gross. I Magic Eraser-ed the heck out of that place. And then, because I was on a roll, I scrubbed the toaster. Once every 9 years, whether it needs it or not...

This is the same toaster that spoiled my children, by the way.

Don't worry, I still had plenty of time to goof off and knit. For some reason, I decided lace weight yarn is a great thing to work with in hot weather and I started in on this shawl. But I was ignoring what I already knew, deep in my sensible knitter's heart: lace weight yarn is NEVER a great thing to work with. Not unless you want to go blind trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

I am knitting with THREAD

Yet, I persevere. At least until next week, when Theo and Brian return from the Middle East and I really do have to start cooking. (Sorry, Anna.)

Sunday, July 01, 2018


What did I tell you? I knew what I was doing when I made sure not to kiss Larry hello when he returned from his trip on Thursday. I KNEW. Not 12 hours later that man was lying sick in bed. He spent all day lying down Saturday, too, drinking fluids and pretending he was going to be fine. This morning, noticing that he couldn't take a full breath in, I took him to Urgent Care.

In 27 years, I've never had to do that. Mostly because Larry's a guy, and what guy needs a doctor when there's duct tape and Motrin available? So, yeah, you can imagine how alarmed I felt when he willingly went along with my Urgent Care plan.

The doctor said Larry had a lower respiratory infection, but that his lungs sounded fine. (Right, that made no sense to me, either.) She gave him antibiotics in case it was bacterial and sent us on our merry way. He once again spent the day propped up in a living room chair, dozing and drinking fluids. Needless to say, I've been sleeping in Brian's room since Friday. Good thing that kid is still gallivanting around the Middle East, right?

Anna flew home from Israel on Friday, however, for a two-week visit. Luckily, she's ensconced in the basement guest room, far away from whatever foreign germs Larry is generously spreading throughout our house.

Bought three of these today...

To add to the excitement, Rachel returned from her week of Civil Air Patrol Encampment today. She left her voice somewhere 3 hours south of here, apparently. According to her, she had a great time making other Civil Air Patrol cadets march around in 90-degree heat every day. If you're as puzzled by this as we are, it pays to remember that she's always been a little odd. Loveable, of course, but, uh, different....

Oh, and Uncle Matt and his girlfriend drove down to visit us today. They were smart enough not to enter the house and took me and the 3 girls out for dinner instead. While Larry slept. It's his new hobby.

It's been sort of hectic, is what I'm trying to say here. All this activity is rather a shock after the halcyon days of last week. Those days already seem like a long ago dream. But I still managed to duck out for an hour of social knitting today (I do have my priorities, you know); I just had to promise to bring my ailing spouse a milkshake upon my return.

I drank a little of it first, though. Carrying charges...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Staycation For The Win!

In case you were wondering, the rest of my week went just as it started: everyone gone but Susie, few obligations, hardly any driving, unscheduled bliss. Oh, there was a meal to make for another family on Monday (great timing, since I didn't have to worry about cooking for my own that night), and I did drive to pick blueberries with friends on Tuesday (but that was voluntary).

The blueberry farm also featured (freshly shorn) alpacas

 Susie and I messed around in the kitchen minimally the rest of the week: She made some curry vegetable/tofu stir fry, and I set to work using up the blueberries we brought home, because there was nobody there to eat them.

Lemon blueberry bread

I had to give away one of these loaves, because - again - there was nobody home to eat all this. And yes, I could have simply baked one loaf, as the recipe called for. But, really, why go to all that effort for just one loaf? I cannot abide inefficient cooking.

That was about the extent of our culinary experiments, though. We indulged in a couple more pizzas (hey, we walked to get them), ate eggs and grilled cheese and cucumbers (not all at once). It was heaven. No, really, HEAVEN.

I took a short nap each afternoon without feeling guilty. Heaven.

I sat around and read one of the books I got for my birthday. Heaven.

I finally planted the flowers I bought at a local garden shop. Not quite heaven (because, hey, worms and bugs and such), but it felt good to get it done.

In short, I did stuff without feeling (as I usually do) that there were a zillion other things I needed to be doing at the exact same time. For this one blessed week, I could focus solely on what I was doing at the moment.


So Larry got back late last night, bearing gifts and probably new viruses from overseas (we hugged but didn't kiss, because I've learned my lesson). Among other things, he brought me this shirt:

Note to knitter friends: No, you may not have it.

I have no idea why it says "I am famous" on it. But, hey, it's a sheep, and that's good enough. We're into sheep around here. The stuffed kind, anyway. The real kind are probably too smelly, I would think...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Left Behind

Oh, last week was busy! What with my all-adult-things-I-hate day, followed by my birthday, and then helping Rachel get ready for Civil Air Patrol Encampment (she left Saturday), things were a bit crazy around here. So much so that, when I tripped over some suitcases in the living room Thursday evening, I said, "What are THOSE doing there?" and Larry said, "Those are mine." And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Remember? I'm going on a business trip Saturday morning."

Oh. Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.

So! Larry's gone, Rachel's gone, David's still in Texas, the 2 oldest plus Brian are in Israel, so that leaves...(turns slowly around, counts)...one child in the house with me. ONE.

This has never happened before. I mean, not since Theo was a baby and Anna wasn't born yet. Let's see, that was, hmmm, 25 years ago. A quarter of a century, to put it another way. Almost half my life.

People, this feels WEIRD. "There's no one here," Susie keeps saying.

We eat what we want. We do what we want. No one else's schedule to consider, no one else's food preferences to take into account. I feel as though I'm on vacation. For dinner last night, we walked (exercise!) to a local grocery store and picked up a (darn good) pizza for 10 dollars. It lasted for two nights. ONE PIZZA. Susie made a cute little salad for the two of us this evening. Is this how normal people live? Normal, meaning people who DON'T decide to have 6 kids?

Our adorable 2-person salad

Today I invited my knitting friends over for the afternoon. No one else to consult, and house was already clean because there's no one here. Is this why normal people find it so easy to entertain?

Oh, there are drawbacks to being the only ones here. Last night I had to chase down a daddy longlegs spider with the vacuum hose, while Susie shouted encouragement and I tried not to scream; some appliance in the house is giving out a periodic warning beep and neither of us can figure out what it is; and there aren't enough people here for me to use the 2 beautiful cooking pots Larry (somewhat trepidatiously but with Susie's approval) bought me for my birthday.


Really, I wanted them. Up to now, any time I cooked something too big for the 6-quart pot, I had to use a huge 16-quart one, which is too tall and too heavy for me to handle safely. So Larry bought me a nice 12-quart number with a colander insert (Hooray! no more risk of scalding myself while draining spaghetti!). He replaced the old 6-qt one, too - the one I bought 14 years ago that has a broken handle that keeps coming loose.

So that's 55 years for you - a couple of stainless steel pots makes a good birthday. There was some chocolate, too, of course, and a book or two. But mostly there was enjoyment of a day free of dental appointments, funerals, and board meetings. I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in a while - she treated me to gelato and we took a walk. I tried on clothes at Chico's (motto: Where All The Apple-Shaped Ladies Shop) but didn't buy anything. I let Larry take me out to dinner at Nando's. Best of all, I received a video call from my 3 overseas kids, all sitting on a porch swing thousands of miles away, laughing and talking and making this mom's heart sing.

Because, hey - it's my birthday, and I'll kvell if I want to. You would kvell, too...