It’s too hot for football, but here we are watching College Game Day. Staring down a three day weekend, and thrilled about it. No doubt I’ll be billing a little time over the next three days, but I have an absolute mountain of work coming my way next week and so I’m going to do my best to rest and recharge. We aren’t going anywhere and don’t have any particular plans, and for this particular Labor Day weekend that’s just what we all need.
I had a great recent birthday this past week. The boys made me breakfast in bed (really the Prof and Liam, though the others took full credit). I went to work and took a facetime call from my 3 month old nephew and my sister – it was fun, he’s reaching the age where he’s really interactive and pudgy and adorable, and I enjoyed seeing him and his mama. I billed a couple of hours, and then my boss took me for a lunch of giant steaks and an eighty dollar bottle of red wine. We shared a medium rare THIRTY SIX OUNCE porterhouse – rest assured we did not eat it all, but it was one of the best steaks I have ever had. It comes out still mostly rare, but they serve it sliced on a cutting board, and you get a boiling hot plate covered in melted butter. You spoon a couple of slices onto your hot plate and it cooks it a tiny bit more, so it’s absolutely perfect. This boss has been a law firm partner a while and he knows how to live well, let me tell you. After this two hour marathon lunch, I went back to work and sleepily fielded a few more calls from siblings and parents, and then went home early to nap.
I managed to digest enough to be able to eat dinner out with the boys – an Italian place in mid-city that serves meatballs as big as your head. Jack, Craig and I split a thin crust pizza – about all I could handle – while the Prof and Liam shared spaghetti and meatballs. Then we walked three doors down to an old fashioned gelato place, where Craig bathed in his chocolate cone and Jack and Liam devoured strawberry and vanilla. (We should start buying Neapolitan ice cream, the boys can each eat a stripe of it).
The boys gave me a puppet show when we got home – a giant squid eating a swimmer, they are obsessed with giant squid right now – and then we put them to bed and watched tv in bed before falling asleep for ten hours. Awesome. I’m thirty nine now, and that’s just about the exact birthday celebration I want these days. Although next year – we’re partying hard. Bring on those forties with a bang.
This week’s meal planning will be abbreviated and lovely, since I made most of last week’s meals and we didn’t end up eating them! So they’re frozen and ready to re-heat this week. The boys have piano lessons one night a week now, and so that night was McD’s this week until we can figure out how to get them fed between school and piano (complicating this is that I also have choir rehearsal around the same time, so we’re all running in a million directions). And then my birthday night I didn’t cook. And then one other night I discovered an approximately four hundred pound bag of potatoes I’d bought at Costco and forgot about, so I made a million gallons of potato soup and we had some of that one night. We did have the gumbo (SO GOOD), kale and quinoa bake (essentially macaroni and cheese, but sub quinoa for macaroni and throw in some kale, it was tasty), and the homemade pizzas (yum). We also had friends over last minute on last Sunday, and so I grilled some salmon for them. All good stuff. So this week’s meals are mostly last week’s meals, plus a few extras:
- Green chile soup – already made, just gotta reheat
- Oven fried chicken cutlets and roasted broccoli – didn’t get to this one
- Liam’s spaghetti with sausage
- Black bean and potato enchiladas – I’ll make this up, but we have to do some serious potato eating to get through this giant bag, ya’ll
- Potato latkes, pork chops, and roasted brussels sprouts
- Leftovers, or some kinda somethin’ for that piano/choir night.
Last note – while it was a good week for us, it included one bonus day off school for the boys. We were on alert for the remnants of Hurricane Harvey to hit us, and while we got some wind and rain, there was no flooding here. But the pictures from Houston . . . they hit you in the gut. We aren’t Katrina survivors, but we know a lot of them, and they are all being essentially re-traumatized through Houston’s pain. The loss of human life will be much less in Houston, it seems clear, but the devastation to property is as bad (and the lives that rely on that infrastructure to function, it isn’t “just stuff” of course, it’s memories and refrigerators and schools and churches and groceries and baby books and instruments and wardrobes and family heirlooms and all the tools for living in a community, ruined for everyone at once, which complicates replacing everything as well). We do know how long it takes to come back, and I feel so keenly for Houstonians. We’ll help how we can, trusting that if it comes back here someday, we’ll get that help in return. It’s hard to watch and feel so helpless. We’ll do whatever we can, and we’re thinking of our Texas neighbors.