Sunday, September 28, 2003

Dinners without electricity:

Lamb kabobs, couscous, grilled vegetables, icecream

Grilled chicken, grilled peppers and onions, canned black beans, spinach, and cheese in tortilla wraps, salad, fruit

Grilled fish packets, salad, chopped veggie salad, fuit

Go out to eat

Cheeseburgers, grilled red onions and red peppers, salad, chocolates

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Dinners this week:

Monday - Grilled tandoori chicken, brown basmati rice, salad of spinach/avocado/grilled yellow and red pepper, leftover birthday cake for dessert

Tuesday - Shrimp tomato Alfredo, mixed green salad with sugar snap pea pieces, Belgian bittersweet chocolate coins

Wednesday - Marinated lamb kabobs, spinach salad with grilled peppers, tabouli, plums and grapes

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

When I was 7 and my sister Bea was five, we spent a lot of our time in our courtyard. We played in big steel drums, climbed the Jambula tree, peered over the walls into other courtyards, and ate fruit from the fig, guava, jambula, and pomegranate trees. It was the pomegranate tree that caused us the most trouble; it was not a climbable tree because the branches broke so easily but the lowest fruiting branches were higher than our reach.

One quiet day we spotted a prize pomegranate. It was large and fully red with a blush of purple and the skin was starting to thin. It was, of course, too high for me to reach, too high for Bea to reach even when I lifted her up, and too high when we stood on a bench we dragged over. I boosted Bea to the lower branches on the trunk but the beautiful pomegranate was towards the end of the branch.

We were focused, nothing could stop us from getting and eating that pomegranate! The bench was very heavy and we had only gotten the end of it to just under the prize. Bea and I started searching for items to place on the bench so that we could reach higher. We added a wooden chair, some books from the library, and then Bea brought over a cinderblock. She placed it on top of the books and the bench turned into a seesaw. It seemed like slow motion; all the items slid toward the end of the bench. Bea and I struggled to hold the bench and chair up. The cinderblock, the cinderblock slid down and fell about 2 feet onto Bea's big toe. Things weren't slow any more they were frantic. The drive to hospital with Bea screaming and blood sucking into our dresses and clotting in between our toes was a squealing whiplash ride. My Mother wanted to hold and comfort Bea but she was the only driver in the house.

Bea had a cast from toes to hip for 6 weeks. I was older and should have known better; I had to pull her in a little red wagon to nursery school every morning.

Monday, September 15, 2003

A: I wouldn't want him for my OB.

B: Why not? Because he goes to your church or because he is gay?

A: Because he mumbles.

Friday, September 12, 2003

I didn't realize, until last night, that "the night was like silk" speaks not only for the colour, and temperature, and a sense of warmth but also for the feel of a breeze lightly sliding *exactly* like a silk wrap, cool and barely present, over my arms.

That isn't a very good sentence.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Today at the co-op, the checker in the next aisle wished a male customer to "have a blessed Day". That's a little over the top for the co-op so I turned to watch. They usually just smile or say "Thanks" or "Have a great afternoon!" or "Can I take those to the car for you?" The customer looked surprised as well, his eyebrows were *up*. He smiled and replied that he hoped she'd "Have a happy and healthy day."

I thought that was a good deflection. It made a point in a gentle way. Happy and healthy certainly go with the organic nature of the co-op whereas "blessed" has nebulous religious baggage.

The checker didn't buy it. She argued with the customer! Is it argueing? Yes, I think so, her tone was combative. She claimed that without the blessing there is no real happy or healthy.

The customer caught my eye and I gave a little shrug. He stayed silent as she went on. I turned back to my cashier and turned down a helping hand with the groceries. I headed out with my healthy booty and as I elbowed the door open I heard the next customer in line muttering about weirdos. Was she talking about me. the blessing cashier, or the happy and healthy man?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

There is that moment. The time between day and night when the dome of the sky is coloured in a range from midnight blue straight above me to navy to purple to rose at the horizon. Every leaf and twig is distinctly etched in bas-relief of black and it seems as if the world has hesitated and every being and object is holding still until the dark drops suddenly down and shadows wrap around.
Does nobody else in this household EVER flush the toilet?

Friday, September 05, 2003

My kids noticed that the pigs were gone. They've got an eye (or three) for details. Several times a week we drive through an agricultural area, lots of cornfields and cows and the occasional tractor. They (whoever they are) keep pigs. There is a little compound of two-doored huts with fences around the houses and a larger fence around the whole area. They start out smallish in the Spring; they looked about the size of a standard poodle. By late August they were big. Not Volkswagon Bug big but I've seen smaller cars. Every time we drove by there were sightings, naming and disputation of names, and consideration of changes in their sizes.

Today, they noticed.

There are weeds growing in the compound and two of the gates had been left open.
I walk in power through the night

Streetlights dim at my passing
Whirls of wind move trash and leaves through the gutters
Birds and insects fall still
Conversations stop

Thursday, September 04, 2003

There should be some sort of tax rebate for families whose children are "a joy to teach".
Dinner tonight will be grilled chicken breasts served on a bed of soba noodles and steamed spinach with garlic and topped with a peanut and ginger sauce. This is one of the most satisfying meals I have ever had! The original recipe called for tofu and almond butter (and it is delicious that way!) but I've morphed it to suit my whole family.

When I first got "Feeding the Whole Family" I gave it to my daughter and suggested she pick out a few recipes that she thought would be nice in her lunchbox. In less than an hour she had marked 30 recipes. I was a little surprised but I started making them one at a time for her lunches. On the third day she said, "I made a mistake. I thought tofu was that Indian sweet, you know? Barfi?" That cut down the recipes she had chosen to four or five.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

My house is just before the huge McMansions. If you go under the railroadtrack->bike path you've gone too far.

There is a buffer of trees around the perimeter of our property. Tulip Poplars, oaks, mostly hardwoods with some dogwoods thrown in. We have holly, boxwoods, and azaleas. Blackberries and raspberries loiter on the edges of the woods. The little driveway goes up a hill to a paved parking area.

There is a large garage to the right which DH is turning into his nest for making beer and (when he get a table) playing pool. It has air conditioning, heat, and phone lines!! Practically a separate house; something to keep in mind when we have teenagers.

To the left, built into the side of the hill is our home. The landscaping is quite nice but I look forward to putting my preferences in. The bulk of the clear (no trees/underbrush) land is behind the house but there is little "lawn". There are wavering strips of land interspersed with grasses and naturalized flower beds. There are daffodils all around the house right now! I cut into the underbrush every time I mow, reclaiming more yard. I've been informed that this is yard NOT lawn because we don't only have grass but we encourage dandelions and ground cover.

The house is white, with white painted wood siding on the above ground level (the lower level is cement painted greys).

There are three doors into the house. The back door into the kitchen, the formal front door (up the sidewalk and steps), and our welcoming door right at the parking level.

The welcoming door opens into a foyer space presently dominated by an upright piano that I want to get rid of . To the left is the door to our large coat closet/mud room (larger than some bedrooms I've had). Right now all our framed art is stacked against the wall in this closet waiting to be hung. We keep our bicycles, rollerskates, bookbags, and all kids shoes and mittens here. To the right of the foyer is the laundry/utility room.

Come further in! This rosy brown carpeted room with a ceiling fan is the family room. The walls are almond coloured. Our tv is here and our loveseat, a box of legos, a shelf or two of movies,and our computer which is waiting for the office to be finished.

Past the family room is DH's & my bedroom. I painted it green (Olympic slate green). We fnally bought a bed frame! WooHoo! It's the first non-futon frame I've ever bought. Was it only 11 years ago that we slept on a futon on the floor and believed frames were for sissies? DH and I each have a dresser (old, dark wood, his is Empire). The carpet is a lovely light-medium green. We have our own bathroom! It has a large closet with shelving, linoleum flooring, a large shower, sink, and toilet. Plenty of towel racks.

Just at the junction of our bedroom and the family room is the office. It has connecting doors to the bathroom and family room. Our stereo is here with all the CD's, records, and tapes. There is a nice small closet filled with craft items and cloth. A counter goes around 3/4s of the room. The same linoleum in here (tile look with light greens and red sandy colour). Too bad that the toilet persists in overflowing and water pours through the cieling and pools in the light fixture.

Oh, the upstairs is lovely! The steps are just at the edge of the linoleum foyer. The light from the kitchen door streams down and makes me happy. The kitchen is small with linoleum flooring. A light bright yellow (not as dark as daffodils) cheers the walls and there is a white chair rail. Fridge, sink, dishwasher, electric stove (WAAAH!)fold down counter of wood and our pot rack.

Through the door into the dining room and living room. I love these rooms! Hardwood floors. The dining area is to the left, a long narrow area topped by a window overlooking the parking and trees. The wall between the dining and kitchen holds my plate rack with our lovely wedding pottery (cobalt blue with iron slip textured edging) plates, pasta bowls, cups and mugs, and on top the serving pieces. The opposite wall has built in cabinets below and glassed in shelves above. The rest of our dishes are displayed here (tupperware below) along with some sculptural pieces and vases. Our dining table was a wedding present made by our friend Jose. It has an oak top, beautifully pieced, and is long and narrow like the space.

The living room is our emptiest room so far. It has a large picture window with side panels looking through the trees, over the street, and onto the fields beyond. Narrow built-in bookcases flank the window. There is a little entrance cubby with a coat closet on the left for the formal front door. This is a nice space with a high ceiling (but not really high). There is a fireplace across from the window. I took the curtains down from the window. I love to sit and look out at the trees day and night! Groundhogs wander by and rabbits frolic around the lilac. Last month a doe and two fawns wandered through. During storms the trees whip against the sky and I shiver. There are no streetlights on our section of the road; at night the stars and moon light up the rooms so that we can walk through that sharp silver light with its accompanying shadows.

The right inside corner of the living area leads to the other 3 rooms and a bathroom. The largest room is the playroom. The children's computer and vcr are here. Against the walls are the toy containment (buckets that slide into upright columns). One column is art and craft materials. There is a lego table and one whole wall is books. There is a large closet where their craft kits are kept and all costumes are hung on hangers (or the tie rack for capes). The center of the floor is clear; my daughter and I are making a braided rug for it but it is slow going. There is a table for projects and the doll house. A daybed next to the bookcases was supposed to be for reading but usually hosts a field of action figures engaged in the epic battle between good and evil.

The medium room is the bedroom. It is a cheery yellow and has wonderful windows looking onto the yard. The children sleep on two twin beds bungee corded together at the frames. Please note the cheesy little bonneted maid that is the light switch plate and the goose and flower wallpaper trim - they came with the house.

Bathroom. Tile floor. Bathtub with shower. Dark green bath mat. The kids clean it themselves!

The last room is the library and guest room (when we put the futon in it). It has dark blue curtains, an odd little closet, and two windows looking onto the back yard and the playset. The sun streams in here in the afternoon making it a lovely place to read whilst the children are playing outside or dinner is simmering. The kitchen also gets afternoon light. The two 8 foot bookcases I made 14 years ago are against one wall. The one next to the windows contains (haha) general books I love and books I'm waiting to read. The second holds my science fiction and fantasy books by author. It is almost full and I already boogied my books. There is a smaller bookcase on the inside wall where I have my child and adolescent books (some of which are scifi/fantasy). Kolbe may read those without asking.

In the little space bwteen all the rooms there are two small linen closets and the pull-down stairs to the attic. The attic is wonderful. Broad boards all nailed down, very clean, nice light. The air conditioning is in the attic.

That's my lovely house. Shall we sit at the dining table and have a cup of tea and some cookies while we chat?