Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Okay, I tried a spiffy-looking recipe from the Internet that claimed it was easy and tasted great, and guess what? IT WORKED.

This turned into something amazing.

I'm shocked. I mean, considering all my failures over the years (the Crockpot Orange Chicken Fiasco leaps to mind), I really didn't expect this to work out. But now that it has, I feel as though a whole new life's begun for me. Fancy food! One pot! Everyone happy!

Oh, and icing on the cake - I left right after dinner to take Rachel to Civil Air Patrol. I drove all the way there and all the way back, and then I marched myself into the kitchen, thinking: Okay, just do the dishes right away and then you can play with your yarn this evening.

Reader, are you sitting down? THE SINK WAS EMPTY.

I know! It's as though I walked into the wrong house. Turns out Theo (of the mad grill skillz) was the perpetrator of this good deed. Oldest children, you know - so darn responsible. Now if only it would rub off on the younger ones...

Sunday, July 15, 2018

In Which I Get The Short End Of The Stick

Can you take it? Can you take one more post where I kvell over having my grown kids home for a bit? I sound like a broken record, I know.

I don't think any of my kids would understand the phrase "broken record," actually.

Oh, nothing, just the Middle Eastern dinner Theo cooked for us last week...

More peach cobbler happened this week (hey, peaches were 69 cents a pound at Harris Teeter, you know) and there was a neighborhood BBQ today which I was somehow in charge of. Usually this isn't too bad a job, because Larry mans the grill and buys the beer and sets up the tables and generally does all the heavy lifting.

EXCEPT Larry had to take Brian to his college orientation day today.

So, yeah, that was bad timing. Luckily, Larry was here long enough to buy beer and ice and dig the folding tables out of our mess of a laundry room. Then he and Brian hit the open road and left me holding the bag, as it were.

No, no, I'm not bitter - why do you ask?

Happily, Theo stepped in for grill duty and lugging coolers full of ice and such things. He also chatted with neighbors about his adventures overseas like an honest-to-God grownup, because that is what he is now and have I mentioned how proud I am of him? Oh, yes, yes I am.

In the meantime, Susie and Rachel sliced watermelon, taped tablecloths to the outside tables, AND helped me clean up our house because the whole time it looked as if it were going to rain and hey, guess whose house was the back-up indoor location, eh?

In related news, I can't even sleep in my own bed tonight, because we put so many things on there in our effort to make the main floor presentable. It's the townhouse method for getting the house ready for company, you know - just throw everything upstairs somewhere.

Well, it's the townhouse method for slobs, anyway. Hey, I'll admit it. I'm not proud.

It rained lightly, but not enough to make people take refuge inside. So, for the price of a few hours in the humid, bug-laden outdoors, I have a somewhat clean house (aside from my bedroom), a ton of leftover grilled chicken (thanks, Theo!), some great coleslaw that people apparently didn't appreciate, and enough soda to drink my way to diabetes.

I guess I'll call that a win. But I still didn't appreciate Larry texting, "We're here!" and sending a photo of him and Brian in their spiffy on-campus hotel room this evening. It looked very air-conditioned and clean and as though it didn't stink at all of bug spray and lighter fluid.

Must be nice.

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...