Monday, February 17, 2020

the quotidian (2.17.20)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace

Supper (and breakfast) for the homeless shelter.

For my cold-fighting tea.

And then, even though it'd been obvious, much joyful shrieking ensued. 

For the sprout: cookbook boosters.

Time out.

"EMU opened my mind," edited.

This same time, years previous: collard greens, kitchen sink cookies, thursday thoughts, chasing fog, the quotidian (2.16.15), chocolate pudding, how we do things, chicken pot pie, just stuff, foods I've never told you about.

Monday, February 10, 2020

the quotidian (2.10.20)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace

Celebrating 17.

Physics with Grandaddy: a mousetrap car.

Braids for big girls, braids for little girls.

The giving circle.

From the trickster older brother: a locked briefcase with a complicated puzzle.

What listening (or sleepiness?) looks like.
photo credit: Mia

Hey, let's play Zap The Host!

Shadow slashers.

And now, an ultimate mini-series:

ultimate photo credits: my older son

This same time, years previous: snake cake, crispy baked hash browns, a horse of her own, the quotidian (2.9.15), and then I turned into a blob, seven, gourmet chocolate bark, addictive and relaxing.

Friday, February 7, 2020

stack-of-books birthday cake

For his fourteenth, my younger son wanted to make his own birthday cake.

I know, I know, it sounds nice, the kid offering to do the work himself and all (and it was sweet of him!), but I knew better than to believe that it would simplify my life if he made his own cake. I’d still have to observe and teach, orchestrate and facilitate, and, perhaps hardest of all, sit on my hands and bite my tongue, ouch. Plus, we had a million people in the house and there was no room in the fridge for multiple chilling cakes and, on top of everything, he’d requested timpano for his birthday supper.

I didn’t know how much more I could handle.

A few days before his birthday, he made two chocolate cakes and stuck them in the freezer. I did a little research and we discussed decorating ideas. The day before, I made the Italian meringue buttercream — I wasn’t about to let him tackle that finicky recipe on his own — but we didn’t get around to really working on the cake until the day of.

The day went, more or less, as I thought it would. There were drifts of confectioner’s sugar, tears, hours of making and creating, fights, and multiple floor washings-up.

Mid-afternoon, exhausted from being on my feet all day, I threw up my hands and told him he was on his own, at which point he cheerfully made the finishing touches on the cakes and then turned his attention to helping me with the timpano, and then, without being asked, washed all the pre-supper dishes by himself.

For the cakes, we were loosely — very loosely — following Yolanda's design. However, my son wanted the fondant super thin, and, since he chose a more tender cake recipe rather than the sturdier one, the books ended up looking rather soft, more like paperbacks.

Some of his favorite titles. Can anyone guess the top book? 

In spite of all my kvetching, they turned out pretty nice. I actually kind of liked the battered, worn look. In our house, that’s what books usually end up looking like anyway.

This same time, years previous: good morning, lovies, the quotidian (2.6.17), loss, cheesy bacon toast, chocolate mint chip cookies, in which we enroll our children in school, seven, travel tips, the perfect classic cheesecake recipe.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

the least we can do

After the big earthquake on January 7, I messaged friends in Puerto Rico to tell them our home was open. If you need a place to get away, I said, come. And they took me up on it! Last Wednesday, a friend came with her three kids, and Chiro and Lery’s youngest son Dereck came, too. He’s moving here, planning to stay indefinitely.

The situation in Puerto Rico hasn’t been easy. Some people are coping okay, but others, their emotional reserves already depleted from Hurricane Maria and all the political turmoil, are having a much more difficult go of it. The tremors keep coming (yesterday there was another 5.0), which makes it hard to relax. Many schools are still closed and people feel trapped in a constant state of waiting, unable to return to a sense of normalcy. Living in an elevated state of tension, worry, fear, and panic takes a tremendous toll.

This month, our friend Leryann, the one who is living here, is moving our of her communal living situation to a house that she's rented so she can receive family members, the first of which is her brother Dereck. There’s a good chance more family will be coming soon, though how many, and when, is still unknown.

In the meantime, I cook (like, a lot). My husband and I show them how our washing machine and coffee pot works, tell them which stores have what they’re looking for, edit email correspondence, problem solve, and make phone calls and connections on their behalf. Mostly, though, we just try to stay available.

It’s the least we can do.

P.S. For more about the current situation, here's an article that a friend posted on Facebook this morning. Also, here's the earthquake tracker (that I refresh daily) and a good article that explains the emotional toll of earthquakes.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (2.4.19), chicken and sausage gumbo, twelve, baked brie with cranberries and walnuts, object of terror, a Wednesday list, itchy in my skin, how we got our house, taco seasoning mix, wheat berry salad.