This weekend, Christian and Jasmine learned a new trick. She is now his co-pilot.
He had wanted badly to let her run along beside him while he pedaled. So be it, I said. And, they did. It’s something. Jasmine actually pays attention to his every move, as if to say, “See? I told you I could do it!”
Kona, on the other hand, is quite perplexed. “Stay within our sight!” I yell as they ride and run off. Kona tugs on the leash, begins to wimper, moving into full whine. And, then high pitched barks. “Wait,” I scold her, “only Jasmine may do that!” Not to worry, Kona gets her chance, every once and a while. But, poor thing, she doesn’t seem to get the anticipate-the-bike and slow down parts.
Christian is happy. I am happy and predict many adventures with his co-pilot.
Ken pointed out this morning that we have yet another way to refer to Jasmine and Kona, in addition to coffee and tea: We can call them J and K, after Agents J and K in Men in Black.
Somehow, I think our dogs’ repertoire as secret agents would be more like the aliens manning the coffee station in the break room of INS Division 6 headquarters.
This week, Ken’s cooking has gone wild.
Let me be very clear: We are not hunters. Well, Ken and Christian did witness a gator’s demise, but neither pulled the trigger.
Freshly processed bounty from friends who hunt? We’re game. Really.
So, what to do with one and a half pounds of ground venison? We considered making it into patties and grilling them but thought the meat may be too lean. What then? Johnny Marzzetti courtesy of allrecipes.com. Et voila! Lunch and dinner for the week. Tip: It’s okay to substitute brown rice for the pasta.
Two pounds of alligator filets? Trim them into bite size pieces, lightly dredge in flour, and sauté in grape seed oil. Add some homemade, tastes-just-like Raising Cane’s dipping sauce. Not bad.
I was squeamish at first bite. But, both are really quite good. And, it is a bit like living off the land: Sitting down to dinner…in our house…on a suburban cul-de-sac knowing our food was procured not too far away, in the wild.
NOT said gator. This one is safe and sound at Brookgreen Gardens.
I wish I were a poet.
That way, I could bury my emotions behind a piece of art, of prose. Instead of focusing on me, people would focus on the art, trying to interpret it instead of me.
When facing fear, I fall behind a smile, a laugh…”It’s okay, really.” Afraid to expose my feelings, wanting to scream, “DON’T MAKE ME SHARE!”
I wish I were a poet.
To share or not to share. How much as a parent am I really supposed to discuss with and expose to our twelve-year-old son? Ken is better at sharing than I am. He’s not squeamish. He’s matter-of-fact and lays it out for the taking. Which, I think in the long run, is good and healthy.
I’m still working on it. Sometimes, topics come up at the dinner table that make me want to crawl out of my skin and go hide under a blanket. But, that’s okay. Maybe I’m growing up, too. As I reflect, I appreciate that we can discuss taboo subjects as a family in a mature, unemotional, and nonjudgmental way.
Don’t overreact. My mom’s cousin offers this: Don’t appear shell-shocked when your kid tells you something you may not want to hear. Poker face it all the way, baby. Or, at least until you have had time (and, maybe a drink) to consider your options. Older children are guaranteed to clam up the moment they think you don’t get it, or don’t ever want to get it.
Adults want teens to share their private thoughts. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Ann Lukits reports that teens who share their secrets are better adjusted.
Perhaps as parents, we can open our minds and share a bit more, too.
Two wood storks made an appearance on the pond this week. Pretty neat since they are classified as an endangered species in the U.S.
Every once in a while, a solo wood stork shows up. But Ken was quite impressed when he discovered this couple sunning themselves. Well, rather, Jasmine and Kona…well, really Jasmine…
announced their arrival.
Of course, Ken longed to take a closer look and get the perfect photo. But, better to leave such creatures in peace and enjoy their mere presence as they did not stay for long.
Oh, the girls? They were rewarded for their discovery with lounging on the sofa for the remainder of the afternoon.
5:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Today. I dragged myself out of bed and took the girls for a long overdue early morning walk.
Yes, getting up at the crack of dawn is one of my favorite things. But today was hard. After weeks of Christmas, flu, New Years, sinusitis, and the boys’ birthdays, it was time.
And, it was all for naught. After five days on Pacific Standard Time (another favorite thing, by the way) and one red eye flight, I will face this hurdle all too soon again.
Christian really wanted a dock for Christmas. For his kayak. On the
retention pond in our backyard.
Ken decided it was to be. So on Christmas Eve, off to Lowe’s he went to purchase a pickup load of treated lumber. Said lumber then was hauled up the front steps into our living room and was carefully placed under the tree. I was concerned. Concerned that there it would sit for more than just a week. For months. But, out it went on New Year’s Day, onto the back porch then down the steps to the prep area.
This past Sunday, my two men worked in unison, father teaching son new skills. Patience, measure twice, cut once. All day long.
Then, in they came at dark. Instead of retreating to the comfort of his recliner, Ken proceeded to cook a gourmet dinner. Did I feel inadequate? A bit. But, I was sick. Really.
On the menu: Green salad with a mustard vinaigrette, creamy cauliflower soup (see recipe below), and broiled cod. Simple, right? Maybe, but I was impressed.
By the way, it’s Ken’s birthday today.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup (courtesy of Sunset)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced (we recommend using only one)
- About 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 large head cauliflower (2 lbs.), chopped
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and salt, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and wine. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost completely evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in cauliflower and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
- In 3 batches, whirl soup in a blender until very smooth, at least 3 minutes per batch (or, if you’d like a few florets in your soup, blend 2 batches and leave the last chunky). Stir together and season to taste with white pepper and salt.
- In a small bowl, combine olive oil, chives, and parsley. Ladle soup into bowls and decoratively drizzle herb oil on top.
Do I like to travel? I LOVE to travel.
Why? I spent my first Christmas flying to Australia. And so it begun, a childhood chock full of exotic layovers (Ever been to Tashkent? In the 1970′s?). I was hooked.
One of my habits? Constantly perusing the Web for our next goto destination. Thank you, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Those who have no desire to discover new places, learn new cultures, eat different food? I DON’T GET YOU.
Invest in house improvements or travel? That’s easy.
My Christmas wish? To remove from our lives those things which sit in boxes or hang in closets and never see the light of day. We keep them as reminders. But why? The best mementos are those that creep into our head as we are doing the most mundane of things…they are the best at making us smile, cringe, and even tear up. No storage required.
My if-I-could-have-anything dream? To one day literally claim where my suitcase is open, that’s home. To live as this couple does. Ken is slowly coming around. I think.