Sunday, August 31, 2003

Okay, I'm back again...

Yes, I'm making a beef stock. From scratch. Well, really from cheap cuts of meat and beef bones browned in a pan, then onions, carrots and celery, browned in the same pan, all of the meat and vegetables dumped into a big sauce pot...then a slug of red wine tossed into the pan, heat on, stirring and scraping to deglaze the pan...then I poured that mixture in with the other stuff, added water up to about 2 inches from the top of the pot, and that's on the stove now, eventually to come to a boil, then I'll turn it down and simmer, simmer, simmer, reduce, reduce, reduce, until I have a nice stock.

I also made a tomato sauce that is incredibly yummy with tomatoes fresh from our garden. You can find the recipe here. I didn't measure anything, really, but I used the ingredients and the principle - it's great. As we get more tomatoes, I'll make a few more batches and freeze them.

Um...oh, and Bill made a green curry paste with hot little chili peppers from the garden. We've got that frozen in an ice cube tray to add to future recipes.

I've also got shrimp shells and fish trimmings and bones frozen, so I'll make a bunch of stock with that soon, and a chicken stock too. First, though, I need to clean out the freezer.

Speaking of freezers, another temporary casualty of the flood was the fridge we have in the bar downstairs. The flood killed the motor and one afternoon Bill discovered that everything in the freezer had thawed. I made linguine with white clam sauce with the two packages of quahogs we'd had in there. (They were still very cold - just not frozen solid any more, so we figured they were safe to eat. And here we are - alive and relatively healthy, several days later.) Fortunately the problem was easily fixed, and it took the appliance guy only about 20 minutes on Thursday.

That's is for the moment. I've got a few recipes to post, but Alex has put up with my neglect long enough, and if I don't stop typing now, he'll go back to tossing cookbooks down the basement stairs...

You're Right, Beth, It's Been Over a Week...

And I haven't written any updates on the state of our basement since I wrote about the flood. So, especially for Beth, who was asking, here goes...

We finally are rid of the industrial fans and dehumidifiers, which means that we can run the microwave for longer than a minute without blowing a fuse. It also means that the basement is a whole lot cooler, which makes the ugliness a bit easier to take.

The carpet is gone, and left behind, except in the kitchen/bar area, where the textured salmon-hued tiles seem to have survived, are squares of a hideous green and black cheap-o tile, some of them missing corners, most of them textured with some of the padding that had been under the carpet. Walking on this barefoot - as I tend to do - is a disgusting experience, with a residual sticky/powdery residue from the anti-bacterial stuff the clean-up crew sprayed on it, and the little fuzzy blobs of padding which for some reason stick better to my feet than to the floor now. The lower stairs have globs of this padding, which, velcro-like, sticks to the carpeting on the stairs and leaves my feet within a few steps.

Everything is either crammed over into the kitchen/bar area - all my husband's beer-brewing and fishing supplies - which had been stacked neatly in a close - or piled on top of the couch and the recliner. We ate downstairs (so I could watch Food TV - I'd been having withdrawal symptoms) a few nights ago for the first time...sitting in two straight-backed chairs from the basement kitchen table...with our dinner plates and glasses and whatever else we had crammed onto a little coffee table, and an overturned 5 gallon bucket for the shells (that's right, we had steamers). It was an uncomfortable experience which was tolerable only because the steamers were freshly dug and plentiful and the beer was cold.

We have a "ceiling guy" coming on Tuesday...we'll have to have the ceiling fixed first, then the paneling replaced or at least painted over...and then finally the floor. The flood itself was taken care of in a day - the "rebuilding" will drag on. And I'm not looking forward to it. But - oh well. It's only the basement. Could have been a hell of a lot worse by far.

Today has been a lovely day so far - and I'm not even finished with it yet! We went grocery shopping early - which is one of my favorite things to do. I have a friend, Pete, who is just as bad, if not worse. We've discussed what happens, and it's like we go into some kind of shopping trance and emerge from the store, into the fresh air and out of the artificial light, only to wake up with tons of stuff (food, mostly) that we don't remember buying and a 3 foot long receipt stuffed into one of the bags, its tail blowing in the wind behind us....His wife believes he has some sort of mental illness. Fortunately for me, Bill has the same mental illness. We figure if he, Pete, and I go shopping, Maura, Pete's wife, will have to come along to make sure that we don't have to take out second mortgages on our respective homes.

Anyway - excuse me for a minute - I have a vat of beef stock on the stove and I have to check on it. I'll be back in a bit...

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Water, water everywhere...

Last Tuesday I came home at lunchtime - unplanned - and heard what sounded like a waterfall inside my house as I came up the back steps and into the kitchen.

To make a long, potentially dramatic story short (I have to get ready for work soon), little rubber gaskets on the pipes in our main floor bathroom, under the sink, blew out, and water was spraying and pouring from them all over the bathroom floor and, worse, through the floorboards under the sink and into the space between the main floor and the (once) finished ceiling of our (formerly) finished basement.

There were 4-5 inches of water down there...the carpeting was rising up in spots, the padding beneath it completely soaked.

I - very stupidly - walked around down there to investigate. Water poured through light fixtures and through the unfinished area right above the washer and dryer.

I got a plumber out to fix the leak (they were the ones who figured out what had happened - I just shut the water off in the bathroom so it wouldn't spray out any more), and we got a company out to pump the water out of the basement. Four men, three trucks, and about 4 hours of sucking up the water.

These guys were great - they put all our furniture up on little styrofoam blocks when they were done...they pulled up the carpet and removed all the soaked padding underneath...they had to poke a bunch of holes in the swirl-textured finished ceiling so that the water could finish pouring out...

So last week was kind of busy.

It was also pretty hot and humid, and I just didn't feel like typing.

But while I had a few minutes this morning, I figured I'd at least post an update.

We have industrial fans and dehumidifiers going in the basement now - they create heat, which is unpleasant, but necessary.

Gotta go now...I'll try to get back in the swing of writing soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2003


On Friday we refinanced our mortgage and that night, to celebrate that and our 3rd anniversary the month before, Bill and I went OUT TO EAT. Without Alex. He stayed home with Emily, who is Bill's nephew Joe's girlfriend. She's great with Alex, and I feel completely comfortable when he's with her. Joe came over too at some point, and assembled the big red wagon they had given Alex for his birthday, which was in June. We had left the whole thing in the box and were using the box to block Alex from the stairs leading up to the second floor. Now we just have the box there, which is easily moved, but most of the time Alex doesn't seem inclined to move it out of the way, though he knows the possibility exists. He's biding his time, I just know it.

Anyway, it's been quite some time since Bill and I went on a "date" like that. I was ridiculously excited all day. Okay, maybe "ridiculously" isn't the right word. Maybe "desperately" is better.

So I got home from work, handed Alex off to Bill so I could change into something more appropriate for a date, and while I was upstairs Emily arrived and hung out with Alex and Bill in the back yard, examining the enormous beans growing there.

I was ready pretty quickly - I don't have the patience to do much primping, plus the temperature was in the 90's and I'd already started to work up a sweat just applying eyeliner - and off we went.

Paragon is a relatively new restaurant that opened up on the Warwick/East Greenwich line. I've been there once, for lunch, but it seems more like a dinner place to me. We parked the truck about 8 miles from the restaurant (they have a big lot in the back) and race-walked back to the front door. We were both hungry. Especially me.

We were a bit early - ahead of the dinner rush - so we were seated right away. Linen tablecloths and napkins...flatware with some weight to it...brick and dark wood...warm, golden-glow lighting...cozy....

Our table was right near a little wood and glass wine cellar. Not close enough for me to read any labels, but it was nice to look at - this little closety kind of room just right there in the dining room.

Our waitor was intelligent, friendly but not overly so, efficient, and only there when we needed him.

I can't stand overly friendly waiters and waitresses. I don't mean that I want them to be cold and snotty - I just don't want them practically pulling up a chair and joining us for the meal. We had one waiter once (at another restaurant) who came over to the table after we'd been seated, crouched down so his head was level with the dinner plates, and addressed us as "Friends" throughout the entire meal. I wanted to crack him over the head with his pepper mill. He smiled too familiarly, he was ingratiating, he applauded our meal selections way too enthusiastically, and he also said "we" all the time, which really brings out the sarcasm in me. ("You're a pain in the ass, but we're managing to keep our food down anyway. Thanks for asking.")

The menu (at Paragon - we're going back to the happy place now) was not large. There were about 3-4 cold appetizers listed, 10-12 hot appetizers, 5 salads, half a dozen raw bar offerings, 4-5 kinds of pizza, about a half dozen pasta dishes, a dozen or more entrees, and 5 desserts. Bill was pleased with the selections of beer on tap, too.

And here's what we had:

First, a dozen oysters (we split them, though we could each have consumed the whole order alone easily), and one of their hot appetizers, which they called "Shrimp Athens 2004" - of course in reference to the upcoming Olympics. The dish consisted of some fresh shrimp, a fresh tomato sauce, capers, and feta cheese baked in a clay pot and finished off with some triangles of foccaccia on top. It was fabulous - the shrimp had the "pop" when we bit into it that only comes if the shrimp is either incredibly fresh or has been flash frozen either on or right off the boat. Lately we've only been buying the flash frozen shrimp because the stuff we get at the fish stores hasn't had that pop. Plus it's nice to have a whole bag of shrimp in the freezer - they thaw quickly and they cook quickly. And - as I said - they pop.

Oysters were nice, too, though the person who shucked them didn't slice through the muscle on the bottom shell, so we had to do that ourselves. Not a huge deal, but still, it's nice to be able to just slurp them right down....

Bill had a pint of Sierra Nevada and I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc that had a lot of grapefruit to it, but not objectionably so.

We had a nice break in between appetizers and entrees - no rush - we just sat there sipping our drinks and looking around and relaxing.

Bill had rack of lamb (medium rare) with a baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli. I had a taste (of course) - the lamb was cooked perfectly, and the rich, earthy flavors of roasted lamb and garlic mingling together almost made me cry. Lamb is a special occasion food in my family - roast leg of lamb with plenty of mom's birthday dinner sometimes...and Easter. That's about it. I can just about smell it in my mind, and there are few things as intoxicating and comforting and regal - all at the same time - to me.

And I had breast of duck with a port wine reduction with cranberries and a mound of watercress, and rice pilaf. YUM. What a truly delicious meal that was. I love to be amazed by what people do with food, and the syrupy sweetness of the port reduction combined with the tangy tart cranberries perfectly balanced the richness of the duck. If I were the melodramatic sort, that meal would have been a fine occasion for a good heartfelt swoon.

And I had a glass of Zinfandel, red and bold and able to hold its own with the duck, and Bill had Stella Artois - a just about perfect lager that goes skunky quickly, but this was freshly tapped and delicious.

For dessert Bill (who rarely orders dessert) had cheesecake (NY style) with a sauce of strawberries and blackberries flambeed with Grand Marnier. I had Tiramisu - I had seen another waiter carrying it past us earlier and it looked very nicely done - which was served on a plate drizzled with chocolate sauce and a banana sauce - interesting flavor addition, but it worked - and garnished with some fresh raspberries and a bit of whipped cream. I couldn't finish it. And I wanted to - it was one of the best I've ever had. But I was stuffed. Finally.

We didn't want to leave. Both of us wanted to just stay there and keep eating - the flavors were so good. The service was great - the waiter introduced himself at the end of the meal, and so did we.

I just can't explain how delightful the evening was - or, rather, I can't do it justice. Maybe it was because we haven't been out like that in a long time...maybe it was because the meal was perfect...the excellent service...the ambience - no, of course it was all of that. And the company.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Clam Worms and a Little Hammer

This evening, exactly 6 years ago, was the occasion of my first official date with Bill.

My brother-in-law, Jacques, had successfully played Cupid over the several months preceding this date, which is a story (a long one) for another day, but I will try to remember to write about it because it's pretty funny. At least to me.

Anyway, we decided to go out for sushi, which we both love. In fact, Jacques was probably the reason for the sushi date, too. A couple of weeks before this date, several of us were out at a local bar - me, my cousin Steve, my cousin Phil, his girlfriend Roseleen, Jacques, and Bill. Bill and I were having a lovely time discussing various raw seafoods we'd dined on, and grossing Jacques out at the same time. (Bill had me beat - baby octopus!)

Anyway, the date was planned.

And I was such a giddy school-girl about it all.... What to wear? What to wear???

Wednesday night arrived...and I was all ready to go...I was wearing a black short-sleeved top, some funky necklace and earrings that matched or at least went well with it...and a maroon crepe skirt that was comfortable and looked good. (Oh, yeah, does this make me look fat???)

Anyway, I'm all ready to go...waiting...peeking out the bedroom window of my third floor apartment. Then I saw his car pull in...I tiptoed (really - but why?? Not like he could have heard me...) over to the window and peeked out quickly.

He was wearing jeans! (And a grey plaid shirt, and boat shoes.) Jeans!

So I ripped the skirt off and flung it into the bottom of my closet and dragged on a pair of jeans, buzzed him in, and was buckling the belt when he knocked on the door. Phew!

(And now, as I write about this, I'm thinking - why did I care if I had on a skirt instead of jeans? Somehow one of my many insecurities had something to do with it...don't want to be overdressed...but I'm the girl - that's my privilege! Oh well...)

In the car, he asked if I was sure that I wanted to have sushi. No coward, I! Of course, I said. So that's what we did.

We ordered the sushi and sashimi combination plate for two. And water. Bill told me that he liked to drink water with sushi.

What I didn't know was that Bill had been feeling horribly ill for days. He was in no mood for sushi that night and when he asked if I was sure that's what I wanted, he was hoping I'd pick something else. No dice.

He had water because he couldn't stomach anything else.

We had our miso soup. Our little seaweed salads with sesame seed and rice vinegar dressing.

And then the waitress brought our giant platter of sushi and sashimi. It was beautiful. I was tense, he was sick, we only ate half of the platter. (And in subsequent dates, when we were relaxed and healthy, we have certainly been able to polish off an entire combination platter, so it's not like we have tiny appetites...)

We split the leftovers between us, and while we were waiting for the bill, we decided to make up a story to tell Jacques. A gross-out story. Because we knew we'd be quizzed individually.

So we told Jacques that the restaurant was having a local special - live clam worms on a platter, served with little hammers so you could whack the things on the head and at least stun them before eating them.

Hee hee hee. If I remember right, he believed it for a little while.

Clam worms, by the way, if you've never encountered them, are ugly, creepy long worms that you find in beach sand when you're digging clams. They have little mouths and they bite. They're also used for bait, and it helps to cut the heads off before you try to put them on the hook, otherwise you run the risk of being bitten by the wriggling worm or stabbed by the hook as you try to rush the job.

Anyway, that was 6 years ago tonight.

I have, of course, omitted a lot of the rest of the story. That part's mine. ;)

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Random Notes

Alex could run for mayor. And win, if he spoke a bit more clearly. We went shopping today, twice, to several different stores each time, and everywhere we went he was friendly and smiling and babbled interestedly at the cashiers and the people behind us in line. He did everything but shake hands. Well, he didn't kiss any babies, either, but he was pretty much the youngest person we encountered today anyway.

Alex says "thank you." It sounds like "da-doo," emphasis on the "doo" part. He hands me a frying pan, I say "thank you." He extends his hand so I'll give it back, and he says "da-doo" with sincerity. I say "you're welcome." I think he's been attempting that occasionally, but he still hasn't sorted it all out yet.

At daycare the other day, when I was picking him up, the woman in charge of his room told me how expressive he is. (yes, that's MY son.) She went on to mimic several of the things Alex says, and included his "MMMmmm" at the end.

Then she said she was trying to teach him to rub his tummy when he says that.

Grrr. I hope he refuses.

It's not that tummy-rubbing isn't cute. HOWEVER, he has been saying "MMMmmm" successfully for quite some time now, and he doesn't need to rub his tummy. Everyone understands what he's talking about. It's cute all by itself. No tummy-rubbing needed.

She told me she's taught a bunch of the other children who have been in her class to say "mmmmm" and rub their tummies at the same time.

She also said she tries to teach them to do "nice eyes" or "pretty eyes"...I can't remember the exact thing she calls it. Selective amnesia, I think. And when she told me this, she cocked her head at a 45 degree angle to her left, sort of rolled her eyes back in her head, and fluttered her eyelids. Apparently that's nice, or pretty, in her world.

If she teaches that to Alex I will have to remove him from that daycare facility.

It's not something I want my son to do. In fact, it's not something I'd want my daughter to do, either, if I had one. It looks stupid, actually. And if my children ever look stupid, at least let it be original. Not the same stupid fluttery eyes the other children are doing.

So now I am trying to figure out what Alex needs to learn so he can get OUT of that room and move up to "middle toddlers" as soon as possible. She is a scary woman. And loud. All the fun artwork they do, and water play days, and singing songs, and playing on the slides and the wooden train outside - all of these things are fine. Just don't teach my kid to be a carbon copy of your other kids. Especially if they're doing stupid fluttery eyes.

What else...

Well, it's still muggy and hot and sticky here, in case anyone was wondering. We have not had a break. Thank goodness it's rained just about every night this week - at least the gardens are happy and thriving. I pulled 3 full-sized cucumbers off the vines this evening - hadn't even realized they were growing back there...pretty cool.

And the soybeans look almost ready to pick...I'll wait til Monday so Bill can have the thrill of it too...and our little hot peppers are looking good...and the japanese eggplant...and there are TONS of tomatoes out there...nothing ready to pick yet, but when they are ready we'll be inundated.

Made a quick pesto for lunch today, on pasta wheels. Alex liked it. "MMMmmm!"

Had fish for dinner, and spinach. He liked that too. Gave him a peach for dessert. He's asleep now. I've got the dishwasher running...have to empty the dehumidifier tonight...was going to do laundry but I think I'll leave that for tomorrow.

Gee, this is a thrill and a half, isn't it?

Bill flies home tomorrow. He'll arrive some time tomorrow evening. Which reminds me, I need to dig out the copy I made of his return ticket, so I know which flights he's on. He's had fun out there. But he says he's looking forward to coming home, so that's nice. I'm looking forward to him coming home too.

I had all these plans to accomplish all sorts of little projects while he was away. Haven't really done anything other than the necessary daily and weekly stuff that always needs doing.

And I'm hungry, and I have a fridge full of food...and I don't feel like eating any of it. I feel kind of adrift. I have books to read...things I could do...but the mugginess is dragging me into sluggishness...and I think I just want my husband back home.

That's all it is. Silly. I lived for years by myself, and was fine. And this week, while I'm not really by myself, since there's Alex, I'm still the only adult here. And I'm out of practice with that. Yes, it's been kind of fun and self-indulgent to dive into a couple of good books and read as late as I want to...but. Something's definitely missing.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for single parents...and spouses of the military...I've only been on my own with Alex for a week, and it's been a huge adjustment. I managed to get into a workable routine by Wednesday...but it's a lot of work when it's just you and the baby.

And that's it for the moment. There is not even a hint of a breeze coming into this room, I'm hot, sticky, drippy, and probably smelly. And still hungry. So I think I'll go and do something about at least one of those discomforts.

Talk to you later.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


It's only Tuesday. It feels like it should be further along in the week than that.

In addition to it being horribly muggy here, and Bill being in Seattle, Alex is getting some more teeth in...and as a result, he has not been his happiest, nor has he slept straight through any of the past several nights.

Bill went salmon fishing Sunday morning and I received an emailed picture of him grinning delightedly and holding the 10-lb salmon he reeled in.

I don't know which was more blinding - the silvery fish or Bill's teeth.

I had the picture set as wallpaper on my computer at work...for about half of Monday...and then I had to switch back to the picture of Alex that preceded it. I just couldn't take the big happy grin any longer.

Fine. I'm small and petty and shallow. But that doesn't negate the fact that he is out there in Seattle, for over a week, playing. He is having endless fun, eating Thai one day, fresh salmon the next, and all-you-can-eat sushi tonight. And I'm not.

And it's in the low to mid 70s in Seattle...and no humidity...and no mosquitos...and he's probably sleeping straight through the night...and I'm not....

But now the guilt is nudging, yes, of course, I love my child and I am not UNhappy that I'm with him or that he's with me. Of course not. I just would like to sleep for several hours in a row at some point this week. That's all I'm asking.


There have been bright spots.

Alex and I were outside after dinner last night...touring the grounds...checking out the vegetable garden...and he gave a long, serious lecture about a tomato leaf. I have no idea what he was telling me, but it was lengthy and important to him. Something about that leaf...he touched it lightly a couple of times with one small finger...and spoke softly but urgently...and he made it very, very clear that I must listen.

I was going to write his little lecture phonetically, but it just looked like babbling when I typed it, and of course it was way more intelligent-sounding the way he said it. You'll just have to trust me.

He is very generous. He hands me things now. All the time. Pots and pans...his sippy cup...a cheerio from his mouth...dirt...a bottle of baby lotion...(clean) underwear from a laundry basket....and when I say "thank you!" and then hand something to him, he takes it and says "da-doo!" right back. (Hee hee hee!!)

On the flip side of that - he is learning "no" in a big way. In a couple of big ways....

He shakes his little blond head vehemently from side to side if he doesn't want something.

"No, do not want that bottle."

"No, do not want that piece of potato. (I know I liked potatoes yesterday, but I'm starting my terrible twos early, and so today, at just under 14 months, I don't want that piece of potato. But give it to me for lunch tomorrow - I'll probably eat it at daycare.)"

"No, do not want a piece of banana. In fact, I SO do not want any banana, even though other times I LOVE bananas, that I will CRY LOUDLY to reiterate the fact that right now, I DO NOT WANT a piece of banana."

And the other learning-of-NO that is happening is not so much "learning" as it is "thumbing one's cute little button nose at" what the word "NO" means (when Mommy says it).

And Mommy really doesn't overuse the word, either. Just for the serious stuff. NO means don't yank on the oven door. NO means don't stand on the chair (oh, yeah, he can climb up onto chairs and couches now, have I mentioned that yet?) and grin like that and fling yourself backwards because SOME DAY you're going to be facing the wrong way when you fling.

And then if I take him off the chair to emphasize that all fun will cease if he ignores "NO" - he wails. (Naturally. All fun has just ceased.) Passersby stare in horror at my house as the cries of anguish pour from every door and window. This is a house oftorture! I'm Big Mean Mommy and I don't let my kid have ANY fun! EVER!

And then a minutes later he climbs back onto the chair (triumphantly, I swear) all smiles and joy again. After all, it's quite an achievement to scale Everest...even if your mommy won't let you stand at the summit. Yet.

Okay. I'm done venting. And it's not even venting, really. Because with the exception of the waking-up-a-lot-in-the-middle-of-the-night part, it's not a terrible thing to be hanging out with Alex like this. He is truly fascinating. And beautiful. And he's learning to kiss me on the cheek without biting, which is a refreshing change. I'm savoring this time of his little life when he will willingly kiss me. I know it won't last, though it will return again, eventually. And there is nothing that lifts me up more after a day at a job that I don't love than going into the Early Toddler room and seeing Alex see me and smile and run across the room laughing. To me.

I do miss Bill.

But he missed the tomato leaf lecture.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

If You Can't Stand the Heat...

...turn the oven on and bake things.

It's muggy and hot and not at all encouraging of movement today. The best thing would be to lie still somewhere, with a fan moving the molecules of hot water and air back and forth above me, while I read the paper and drink something with a lot of ice in it.

Instead, I'm going to turn the oven on and, yes, bake things. Why not? It needs to be done - I want to prep things so I have food already made this week...I've already been to the grocery store with Alex, and so if anything's going to get done, I have to do it today.

So. I will just pretend, as I sweat gallons onto the kitchen floor, that today is one long workout (which I could use) and feel good about how hot and smelly I become....

And by the end of the day, I will have a fridge full of meals for Alex and myself, and everything will be done - dishes, kitchen floor, ironing for the week (I am ambitious today) - and I can relax, after Alex is in bed, and FINALLY read the paper.

If I read it while he's taking a nap, there is a definite danger that I won't get up and get moving again, so the goal today is not to sit (except as I type this) until everything that needs to get done IS done.

So - that's it for now. Must go and start cooking now. I need iced coffee, too. LOTS of it.

Oh - and Bill called me last night - he and his brother brewed up a batch of beer yesterday, and he's going salmon fishing today.

And - one more little thing and then I'm back on my feet and in motion - while I was at the grocery store, waiting for a pound of sea scallops, a tall gentleman in his 70's (I'm guessing) tapped me on the arm and told me that if I ever decided to sell Alex, I should call him. He smiled at Alex and patted him on the head, and Alex smiled back. I saw this same gentleman later in another aisle, with his wife. He pointed out Alex, and she laughed and said they'd had two just like him - 55 years ago. It was sweet. They looked happy. Like my parents, they are a peek at where I hope to be years from shopping with Bill, smiling at little babies, remembering how it was only yesterday that Alex was that small.

Gotta go - this house just isn't hot and sticky ENOUGH!!!

Saturday, August 02, 2003

"So Kiss Me and Smile For Me...

...tell me that you'll wait for me, hold me like you'll never let me go..."

Bill flew to Seattle yesterday to visit his brother, Ray, for about a week. I dropped him off at the airport yesterday on my way to bring Alex to daycare and myself to work. It felt almost like an adult paper route - slow down, toss a bit of cargo out the window, and move on.

Only sad.

I am fine - I lived alone for a number of years before Bill was brought into my life, so it's not that. And I'm not alone anyway - I have Alex here, and the cat, and all the fish....(yes, I promise I will feed them daily!)

He arrived safely. His flight into Chicago was delayed, but he caught the connection and arrived in Seattle only about 30 minutes later than scheduled. And he called me as he was boarding that flight, just to say hi, I'm here, I'm on my way.

I spent a good part of my time at work tracking his flights.

I am not an enthusiastic flier. I have flown a number of times. First time was alone, too.

But after September 11th, I have not come remotely close to wanting to get on a plane going anywhere. And, by extension, I haven't been nuts about anyone I care about getting on a plane either.

But he needed to go.

He needed to go see that part of his family. He needed to visit Seattle again. He needed to get out of here for a bit.

He needed all of this about a month and a half ago, when the flight was booked.

He doesn't need it as much now, but he will still have a great time, and it will be good for him.

Last night, for instance, he and his brother were headed out to dinner at a Thai restaurant and then to a Mariners game.

I don't know what else is planned, other than a salmon fishing trip that Ray has arranged.

I've been salmon fishing out there. Once. About 5 1/2 years ago or so. My first year with Bill - and I went with him to Seattle for Christmas. I must have liked him an AWFUL lot, even that early on, to give up my traditional Christmas with my own family. I'm a homebody, I'm immersed in tradition and family - and so this was a huge thing for me.

Anyway, while we were out there, we went salmon fishing. A little charter trip. The captain, first mate, about 4 other men, Bill, and me. The girl.

It was a drizzley, damp, gray trip, and we caught very little. I caught a small flounder. Someone else caught something. That was it. About 8 hours out on this boat, damp, swaying, rocking, uneventful, and cold.

I made it a point not to put a hat on until one of the men did.

I made it a point not to eat my peanutbutter sandwich until one of the men ate lunch.

I made it a point not to go into the cabin and get out of the drizzle and wind and sit down until one of the one of the men did.

I was hard core.

I am woman. ROAR!

And I was also happy to get back to the dock and eventually get into warm, dry clothes and have something hot to eat and drink.

It would have been nice, though, if someone had caught something worth catching.

Oh well.

Anyway, so Bill is out there on the west coast, and here I am. And it's hot and muggy, and despite my great determination (yesterday) to get a lot DONE while Bill is away, I spent this morning reading and playing with Alex (he's taking a nap now), and haven't done a whole heck of a lot else.

After Alex wakes up we're going down to my parents' house for an early dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs with them and my sister and her kids. My brother-in-law works on the weekends, so it's just mom, dad, the girls, and their kids.

Tonight...I don't know. Should do laundry. Should wash the floors. Should vacuum. Should clear off the pile of bills and junk mail on the diningroom table. should should should.

But I'll see. Might also just lie in bed and read again. I haven't done that in ages....Just disappear into a novel....then that kind of groggy, coming up for air feeling after I close the book. Where am I? Oh. Yeah. Okay.

Anyway, that's where I am at the moment. I expect I'll write more than usual this week. Unless I get really motivated and overhaul the house....

We'll see.