*Edited to add pictures!*
The Prof is at graduation, shaking hands and shepherding graduates. Craig is napping upstairs. Liam is at a friend’s and has been for about 24 hours – not sure when we’ll see him again. Jack is flailing around the house whining about being bored and kind of destroying my otherwise quiet afternoon, and frankly I wish he’d just buzz off. His friend came over for a while, and quickly pegged Jack as being in a foul mood, so he went back home. Jack did have a friend spend the night but they went to bed at a reasonable hour so I don’t know what his deal is, but I am ready for him to take a nap.
Meanwhile, I am drinking a La Croix and enjoying my gorgeous flowers on my back deck, which we finally purchased and potted this past weekend. They have gotten used to their new pots and perked up, especially after Friday’s dumping rains.
I got a Norfolk pine,
some herbs and peppers and strawberries,
and all colors of vinca and marigolds and snapdragons and dusty miller,
and one lonely little hosta, tucked in a shady spot.
Jack insisted we purchase a palm growing out of a coconut, as well as a particularly ugly succulent (cactus-adjacent, but spine-free). So those are out there too. He said “no one else is going to want to buy this” and I was like “I KNOW, RIGHT, WE HAVE TO SAVE IT,” so don’t ever let us go to an animal shelter together.
In front, we have several succulents – some echeveria and sedum and aloe, since the sun out front is punishing and anything else we put out there dies.
We have a somewhat OTT collection of containers for our very tiny back deck, so it feels quite lush and tropical out there right now with flowers at your elbow no matter where you sit. By July it will probably start to look tired and a little leggy, as even now it’s hotter than it should be out there, but it looks so lovely and springlike now.
One of the things I most love about Craig right now is how earnestly he gives me complicated lists of instructions that I have no intention of following, and I think he knows on some level that I won’t, but nevertheless he presses on. Sometimes this is a stall tactic (i.e. the hoops he expects me to jump through right when it’s naptime are pretty laughable), and sometimes it is a ritual (every morning he asks me for “new batman shoes and a milkshake and some batman cookies” or some similar list when I drop him off at daycare, and I say “absolutely bud, will do, after school,” and of course we never do). Sometimes he’s just trying to communicate in his four year old way, and my eyes sort of glaze over as I wonder when this lengthy nonsensical spoken checklist will cease, but also I find it so interesting to imagine what’s going on in his little four year old mind. I have almost zilcho memories of being four – I mean there’s one or two in there, but it’s mostly gone – and what a mystery, those tiny brains are! How silly and not-quite-right, but also figuring-things-out, sprinkled with surprise I-can’t-believe-you-remember-that. Today he apparently notice the giant sprawling red birthmark on his leg for the first time, which is surprising as it covers his whole calf, but he asked me what it was? And ‘maybe it’s from Wyoming [our neighbor] took us on a picnic, and I stooded on a ant hill, and the ants crawl on me?’ No love, it’s a birthmark you’ve had your whole life, but also wow! That picnic was months ago, and you remember it, and bring it up. He still talks about ‘that time we took a bike ride and waited under a bridge,’ and I believe that was not long after Mother’s Day last year.
Anyway, today I pushed him a mile in the stroller to the library – just him and me. For some reason he thought the library had cookies, and he kept charming the circulation desk by asking politely where the cookies were please. So we got him a library card and checked out some books and signed up for summer reading, and then I promised we would get cookies after we got home.
Only due to other children shenanigans we didn’t manage it before naptime, and I promised him daddy would bring some home after nap, and out came his fingers – “first [pointing to index finger], they need to have cream. Next [points to middle finger], they also need to look like fingers. And some need to look like hats, and then the big cookie is on the 12 and the little cookie is on the 8. And that’s what daddy needs to get. And we put them in a bowl so it’s full but they don’t spill out. Make sure it’s the right size.”
Yes darling. OK. Finger-hat-cream-clock cookies, in a properly-sized bowl, coming up. Now go take a nap.
Years ago the Angry Redhead – a woman who no longer blogs, and was she angry? Or some other emotion? I no longer recall – wrote about the concept of lilypads – those special events through the year that punctuate the humdrum everyday. I’ve got quite a few coming up, and I thought I’d share them here.
- Texas Hill Country: in just a few short weeks, we’re taking a short jaunt over to Texas. First we’ll visit my sister in San Antonio, and then head over to a resort in hill country for a couple of days swimming and relaxing – a good kick-off to the summer. We plan to spend a day at Krause Springs (I think – the Prof planned this and he told me the name and this sounds right?) and we also have to go to Luckenbach Texas so he can get a t-shirt to replace the t-shirt the last time he went to Luckenbach. If you’re unfamiliar with the inspiration for this visit, please click here and feel just a tiny measure of my lifelong pain. This is a long weekend – I take Friday, Monday and Tuesday off, and then on Wednesday I fly to Atlanta to take a deposition.
- The Prof’s Hometown: in early July, we are going to spend a full week in the Prof’s hometown. I don’t normally go on this trip because of work, but since I work remotely from all of my partners anyway (they’re in CA or NY, generally), I just said ‘what the heck’ and agreed to go. I’ve told everyone, and it seems fine. I’ll take the week as it comes – I definitely will need to work, but can also take some afternoon/mornings or perhaps even a full day off here or there.
- My Parents’ House: in early August, my parents get a turn. I’m going on this one, too. My firm technically gives me four full weeks of vacation and you cannot carry them over or cash them out, so Imma use it, sort of, while paranoidly checking email constantly and probably let’s face it working quite a lot.
- My Birthday: I turn forty in early September, and I’ve decided I want to spend it in some giant beautiful place, where I am insignificant. This place will either be Big Bend or the Guadalupe Mountains, just me and the Prof, camping and hiking and kayaking and sleeping in a tent. This is what I want. After three days or so of this, we will head back to hill country and float a river, spend a night in a fancy resort and get some spa treatments on our likely achy forty year old bones, and then go home. Perfect.
- Thanksgiving will be with my in-laws, Christmas with my parents, though beyond this rough idea we have no firm plans.
There we are. A lovely list of things to enjoy. How I’m going to bill 2000 hours in there, I can’t tell you, but I’ve already got well over 1000 so . . . (our year goes November 1 – October 31, so April was halfway through, and I’m on target. So at least not going in on these back half in a deficit!)
Meals last week were really excellent. I made the Romano chicken with skin-on, bone-in thighs, which I tried to butterfly – it definitely would work better with a breast, but still the breading was divine. The kids were not feeling the lemon pasta, and next time I’ll put Parmesan in it as well. The fritters were A++ – super easy, held together well, very good. Next time I’ll spice them up a little more – they were a tiny bit bland, though the kids enjoyed them that way. The green chile and chicken lasagna is a great idea but needs work – it was just a LOT of really salty cheese. I need to adjust the cheese – type and amount – and I may throw corn in it next time for some sweetness. Worth working on, though, because it was so good, even though could be improved. And last, for the salmon I just sprinkled some lemon pepper on it and broiled it, and roasted some potatoes tossed with Cajun spice, and then roasted broccoli. Really simple, really good. This week, I have a lot of potatoes and a lot of squash and a lot of sausage, so that somewhat informs my choices. I’ve made all of these before (and loved them) except the last thing, so we’ll see how that goes. On with the week!
Pan roasted chicken thighs with garlic roasted potatoes and squash.