Sunday, July 27, 2014

Home

Thinking tonight: I've lived in this house longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life, and by a long shot, but I'm not sure if this area will ever be home for me.  If I'll ever be able to say I'm from here when people ask, and mean it.

Home was wherever my nuclear family lived when I was growing up, and we moved often. I have a very hard time wrapping my head around the concept of living in the town you grew up in as an adult, sending your kids to the same schools you attended and having them taught by some of the same teachers you had, although I know that's common.  Happens here all the time.  It's just completely alien to me, and I feel like it would be stifling to be so anchored to one spot.  Almost like the sense of belonging would become a shackle sooner or later.

Maybe it's just me, though--an artifact of my upbringing.  Bought corn down the road at a farm stand the other day and the kid selling the corn told me that she's part of the eighth generation of her family to work that particular piece of land.  That's 150-200 years, easy, and the life of a small farmer sure isn't an easy one.  Clearly her family has some strong ties keeping them near those fields and barns and stone houses.  Then Thing One asked me to go help him find a cache tonight, and it was located at the edge of a secluded tiny neighborhood cemetery at the end of a dirt track up a wooded hill...you'd never find it if you didn't know it was there.  The oldest graves I saw date back to the 1820s, but people with those surnames still live around here.  (And all the headstones of young women gave me the willies...let's hear it for modern medicine and obstetrical practices.)

Two of my three kids were born here and the third arrived as an infant, so this is the only home they've ever known.  Some days I envy them that simplicity!







Friday, July 25, 2014

Love That Boy

"Kid has an IQ of 500 but can't get out of a Porta-Potty!"  Memorable words from a former soccer coach of Thing One's.  Bless the kid, he is smart as hell but a serious space cadet.


I was reminded of that this morning.  Normally, feeding the dog is Thing One's job, but I came downstairs before him today and she was hungry.  I had to open a new bag of dog food and couldn't find the measuring cups we always keep in her food bag anywhere.  Finally, it occurred to me to go out to the trash can in the garage and look inside the old, empty bag of food.  Sure enough: there were the measuring cups.  *facepalm*





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Can You See Me Now?

Took Thing Two to the optometrist for his annual checkup today.  On the bright side, he cooperated admirably, but unfortunately, his prescription has deteriorated again (par for the course with farsightedness as kids grow, or so I am told--what the hell do I know?) and he needs new glasses.  He's the only one of our three kids who needs them *knock on wood* but this poor kid got every damn whammy in the collective genepool.  Learning disability?  Sure.  Aplasia cutis?  Bring it.  Kid doesn't have enough else going on??  Sure, let's make him wear glasses too.


We have no idea where the aplasia cutis came from; might have been a spontaneous mutation thing although one of our nephews (Himself's side) has a similar sort of spot in a different location.  The language processing problem came from me, no doubt.  Clearly his case is much worse than mine (considering that I got through high school, college and grad school without formally realizing that I can't remember shit unless I write it down as soon as I hear it, and I don't have the expressive language issues that he does) which does NOT make me feel any better about being the conduit.  His vision issues, thankfully, I can't blame myself for: those are 100% from my blind-as-a-bat-before Lasik husband.  Whatever you can say about brown eyes (and don't get me started about how all the songs except Van Morrison's are about blue-eyed girls), my brown ones work.

In the grand scheme of things, a prescription for new glasses shouldn't be the end of the world, and it isn't.  I just feel bad for the kid, since the glasses are just that last bit of insult heaped onto a shitload of genetic injury and I'm reminded of it every time he needs new ones.  Dammit all to hell.







 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Milestone


Since July 9, 2013 I have found 1000 caches (1004, actually)...picked up #1000 on a bike ride yesterday afternoon.  My first time on a bike in a good 15 years, I might add, and boy, is my derriere having an opinion about that today.  Yikes.  Gives me a whole new level of appreciation for the Tour de France athletes!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Banged Up

Check out this beauty of a bruise!  One punch to a target with my fist aligned not-quite-right, and ouchouchouchouch.  Luckily I just broke a blood vessel, not my hand.  But doesn't this make me look like a badass??  Especially with the entirely incongruous girly red nails.


To add insult to injury, a couple of days before this incident, I jammed the heck out of the thumb on the other hand while sparring...I was moving toward my opponent for a strike just as he lunged in as well and he caught the end of my thumb straight on.  You don't think about how important it is to have two fully-functional hands until you don't!  My husband was kind enough to point out that this is a purely voluntary activity of mine and that injury is part of the package with martial arts, both of which are true, if not particularly helpful or sympathetic...we'll just see what this ninja mama has to say when he bellyaches about being sore after his next marathon.  :)





Friday, July 18, 2014

Forty-one


Happy birthday to me,
Camp and playdates times three,
Mama needs a vacation, 
or a glass of Chablis.



I'm not a big Chablis fan, but Sauvignon Blanc didn't rhyme....luckily, Himself only put five candles on my birthday cake, or the smoke alarm would have gone off for sure.

The kids attended the town's recreational camp this morning, as they have all week.  Since the afternoon schedule was open (a rare event), we had playdates as well, birthdays be darned...Thing One was invited to a friend's house and the other two had friends over to our house.  I left the camp with five children aged 11 and under in my car, took them to a local burger joint for lunch and ice cream, and then brought them back to the house.  Thing One's friend's mom picked him up, and the four smaller ones spent the afternoon playing games and swimming.

Not necessarily the way I would choose to spend my birthday, but it ended up working out fine.  I've found that when you are the one who makes celebrations happen in your house, it's a bit awkward being the one having the occasion, so to speak.  Not all that excited about getting older, either, but I guess it beats the alternative, and I did get to go to taekwondo this morning, where I creditably represented for the old ladies of the world.  (And let me tell you about craziness...I went to class even knowing that sparring was the theme of the week and that the [Muslim] Friday instructor was going to be both low on blood sugar and caffeine-deprived because of Ramadan!)

Happily, the kids all played well together.  In keeping with my recent post about Thing Two, I noted today how much easier it is on everyone involved for him to have a playdate these days...they used to be *tremendously* stressful because he had no idea how to interact appropriately with peers and needed constant supervision and guidance.  Today, while I still had to keep an eye on him (personal space is the biggest issue), he and his friend played Wii, had a great time in the pool, and even successfully played some sort of imaginative game with Thing Two's Angry Birds Jenga set.   And I didn't feel a dire need to start drinking as soon as the friend left.  Win!  As a birthday gift, that's a whopper...happy birthday to me, indeed.


 




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Home Cooking Thursday

From the home I grew up in, anyway.  Simple fare, and these two recipes all or mostly vegetarian.  Boy, does it smell good in my house right now!

First: zucchini and tomatoes.  Fresh zucchini, cooked in crushed tomatoes with finely minced basil from my garden, eaten piping hot with a shower of Parmesan.  Yum!

Next up: pasta e fagioli, Mama D-style.  My Italian grandmother made this soup often; when I asked my aunt for the recipe, she sent me both Grandma's and another version cut out of her hometown newspaper.  Sad to say, mine is based on the newspaper's version!  Onions, garlic and celery sautéed till soft; add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, ditalini pasta, and small white beans; top with rosemary, parsley and sage fresh from the garden; add salt and pepper to taste, simmer till the pasta is done, and Bob's your uncle.  Piece of cake...serve with garlic bread and enjoy the raves of your children.  (Go figure: all three of my persnickety little eaters AND my mostly carnivorous husband actually ask me to make this!)  Don't inquire about a specific recipe: I don't actually have one.  (I can hear my mother laughing from here...after all the years I spent giving her grief about cooking by feel and taste, I've finally started doing it myself for some things.)

A few things I will say:

1) I deliberately make mine thicker than most: more pasta and beans and veggies than broth.  It started as a way to keep the mess down when I had three little ones trying to eat something red with spoons (it was easier for them to eat something with a more pasta-like consistency than a thin soup), and it makes for a more filling meal that way anyway.

2) If you don't have one of these fabulous multi-bladed contraptions, you need one.  Really.


Makes short work of mincing the herbs.  (Have YOU ever successfully convinced a two year-old to eat a large chunk of rosemary or sage?  Me either.)

3) Fresh herbs really make the difference: I rarely make this soup in cold months because dried herbs just don't taste the same.  I grow a pretty fair selection of herbs myself, but in a pinch buy them at the supermarket before using that dried sawdusty stuff.

Mangiar bene, stare bene, my friends.