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On the way to school this morning, I told the boys that I was looking forward to hearing a presentation, right after drop-off, about child development given by the principal and school nurse and psychologists. The kids know all these women but are especially enamored with the youngest one. They’ve not seen her for about six months and Oliver said, “I wonder what she looks like now?”

Jack replied, with a real WTF tone by the way, “Oliver, it’s not been that long. I think she probably looks the same.”

Oliver said, “Well, what if she got old and is now wearing a jacket with cheetah spots and using a cane?”

Swear to god y’all I almost drove off the road laughing. What a visual! What an imagination!

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Monday afternoon, I was at the market buying groceries and wine. I flashed my ID to the checker who laughed and said, “Oh, I don’t need that. We only ask for ID if people look younger than 30.”

I thought to myself, “Ok, I know I’m wiped out and just had a brief chair massage so probably have that lunatic imprint my face, but seriously dude.”

Flash forward to today when the FedEx guy delivers two bottles of wine (yes we like wine) and said, “Are you at least 30 years old?”

“Yes I am, and thank you for asking!” I said.

What a difference some sleep and a hair dryer can make!

Opening in two days at the National Geographic Museum, Food: Our Global Kitchen, looks like it’s going to be a fascinating exhibit. I’m definitely going to get a ticket and go. Check it out!
““

Not remotely related to that is a simple wish that my boys always remain as close and connected as they are now. I woke up this morning to the sound of Legos being swooshed around in hard plastic bins. As if they were sorting pebbles from dried beans, their little hands raked through the blocks and beams and tiles and bricks, searching for particular pieces that would enhance their newest creations.

I could just make out their conversation, sweet wisps of both teamwork and loving push-back when one’s plan didn’t totally mesh with the other’s.

“Here, Ollie, you can have this helmet.”
“Oh, fanks, Jack. That’s the one I wanted.”
“You’re welcome. Can we share what you make?”
“Sure, Jack.”
“Butt.”
“Hah.”

I snuck out of bed to peek in on them through Jack’s partially-open door. Jack was, as usual, just in his undies while Ol was in PJs, a cotton shorts set covered in stars. Their hair was mussed, and their rapport was so easy and supportive and happy. It is good I didn’t plan to go in because there was not a clean spare inch of space on the floor. Lego vomit pains the feet.

I am grateful for their relationship not only because it sucks to mediate sibling fighting but because I worried about this when I didn’t have daughters. My sister and I are so close, and I just didn’t have experience with boys and their brothers. Of those brothers I did know, not too many were super-close or even called or visited each other. T and his brother get along well but never talk. They call each other on their respective birthdays, and then we see them each summer at the beach. That seems to work well for them, but A) I would be crushed and feel like I was really missing out if I spoke to my sister that infrequently, and B) the complete opposite is what I hope Jack and Ol grow to do.

I see the comfort their connection provides them now. I see the way they look out for and stand up for each other, and it is very dear. This morning, Oliver said that we would need to hide his Wonder Woman costume when friends came over, and Jack said, “Oliver, why? No one will laugh or make fun of you. That would be stupid and mean.” Though I wish I could agree completely, and love that Jack so truly believes all that, it would be naive for me to teach them that society is past a point where some would laugh or belittle or judge. Ol is much more attuned to societal norms and nuance than is Jack who continues to be somewhat blissfully clueless and/or unaffected by external expectations. So, I need to help give him a tool kit for how to respond rather than to be completely blindsided. That’s a hard one and also not the point of this piece.

Back to their brothership. Of course they bicker and try to get each other’s goat. They yell and brawl and all that jazz. But at the end of the day, they mostly just want to hang out together, build with Legos, pee on a tree, dress up and engage in serious pretend play and have Mom keep them fed.

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Simple and delicious: puff pastry, a few cheeses, kale, sorrel, oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic.

 

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simple dinner tart

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It’s rainy and chilly today in DC. I find that my subconscious preferences for what to cook and consume map with the climes- the seasonal macros as well as the daily micros. Already, I’ve made some applesauce and roasted a head of garlic. No plan -yet- for the latter, but roasted garlic always seems to comfort and come in handy.

What are your favorite rainy- or chilly-day foods?

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Our dinner party last night was insanely fun, but as I’m getting old (and age + wine do not = good sleep), I slept poorly afterwards and paid for it dearly today. Though it was completely worth it in every respect, Tom left for work at 7:30am, returned briefly for J’s baseball game at 5p, then left again and I doubt I’ll be able to stay up until he returns home; solo-parenting on a Sunday on no sleep is not easy. And please remember that because of whatever reason we are still celebrating Columbus Day, there is no school tomorrow.

I’m having snow-day PTS redux.

I do not know how military wives and spouses of workaholics and single parents do it. I really don’t. My hat is off and my heart goes out to how hard that must be sometimes, or much more than that. I mean, surely some of them have help, and that is great and I hope so, but many others do not. I’m always stunned at how much has to be put on the back burner of the back forty when I’m alone with the boys for really long periods of time. I count twelve hours on a Sunday a really long period of time, and pretty much every day since I returned from NM has been some degree of today. I can feel things I’d wanted to do just slipping away as if I’m a boat leaving port, my plans stuck to the dock and the distance between us growing steadily greater.

Let’s hear it for Tuesday?

We did go to the farmers market this morning. Dear Friend M joined us as she’d not been in years and has, recently, been very keen on upping her cooking skills ante. The boys gobbled their regular pizza from the Red Zebra, and then M and I each downed a market taco trio from Chaia before the four of us ventured into the depths of the FM.

Mark Bittman was signing copies of his newest book, Bonaparte didn’t yet have any eclairs although today’s chilly weather would have made it the perfect day to roll them out (humidity + eclair pastry don’t mix!), we bought lots of apples, some cider and some veggies and then decided to buy a slew of radishes and have a tasting back at home.

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counterclockwise from far left: China Rose, Daikon, China Rose 2, Luobo, CR3, Watermelon, Black

Ol loves radishes in general, as do I, and we thought it’d be so much fun to slice all these up, sample and compare notes. Jack was enthused too. In fact, I’ve found that this kind of “game” more often than not ensures much greater taste participation by both kids. Food for thought.

We got home, I made a pretty display for us, we each grabbed a round and took our first bites.

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China Rose, Watermelon, Black, Luobo

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straight wasabit masquerading as radishes?

Within seconds, Jack gasped, Oliver started fanning his tongue with a crazed look in his eyes and I thought for sure a fiery sandstorm was flying from each of my nostrils. I jumped up so quickly that my chair flew backward and raced to fill three glasses with icy water. We had to douse the flames engulfing our tongues. After recovering, we each tentatively took a bite of what should have been the less spicy ones; no go. Eyes watering, we immediately emptied what remained in our cups and called it a day.

These were not only the hottest radishes I’ve ever had but also the most unpleasant in nearly every other way: fibrous, vaguely dessicated, no evidence of the sweet, watery crunch I love in a good radish. The kids and I looked at each other and said, “Well, that’s not what we expected.”

Nothing about today really was. Adieu!

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Yesterday

Boy was I bitchtastic yesterday! There is a reason sleep-deprivation and noise are methods of torture. Throw rain and five days straight of wildly chatty kids + no babysitters into the mix, and I was ready to commit myself. I went to bed at 8:30 last night, stayed in bed until 8:30 this morning and feel loads better. Good thing too because we are having long-lost friends over for dinner tonight, and I have really been looking forward to it.

On tap are: a cheese and olive board; a leek confit and Bûcheron tart; the farro salad with beets, candied pecans, feta and chive-sage oil dressing; and a pumpkin cheesecake. It’s a vegetarian feast of epic proportion- y’all should have seen T’s face when I informed him of this fact. I nearly snorted, so hysterical was my response. I couldn’t help it. T was an Atkins disciple before he knew what that was.

SNOB

Because I’m No-nonsense Dawg today, it is time to tell you about two folks who really stood out last week during my regular plane-mate observations. You know I simply adore studying those who are flying with me, a small yet fascinating cross-section of the world at a specific point in time.

I spent the entirety of my flight from DC to Dallas snoozing and half the leg from Dallas to Santa Fe gabbing non-stop with Lili, the Louisiana gal in my writing group. The ground we covered in 45 minutes was truly remarkable. In fact, once in NM with Laura, all Lili and I had shared became evident on a regular basis, and I dare say Laura was repeatedly stunned by the degree and depth. It just served to remind me that if you put two Southerners together in a somewhat-enclosed space, they will know everything about each other seemingly moments later. This fact always knocks the pants of Tom too: “HOW!? did you find all that out in three minutes? And why?”

All of that is a long way to say that I have zero observations from others until my return flights five days later.

Lili and I were on the same plane back to Dallas, and as it was delayed, we had ample time to study our flightmates. Only one really stood out, and this was for many, many reasons.

1. He was “smoking” an unlit cigar like he was some sort of high Prince of Land Puffery. Who does this in an airport? Why?

2. He wore a blazer (nice) with a popped collar sticking up rakishly but in an all-too-purposeful manner. Like, you know he spent a good ten in front of the mirror styling that puppy just so.

3. His glasses, quite possibly prescription-less, were clear red plastic. Chic if they were the only accessory but the cigar and collar in concert with said spectacles made the sum garishly less than its parts.

4. The pièce de résistance, though, were his shoes: black velvet smoking slippers monogrammed in gold. When I first glanced, I could only see one foot and saw SN written in shimmering thread. “Hmm, is his name Sam? That is such a nice name.” Just moments later, when I spied the other shoe, I knew I had been sorely mistaken in considering the letters initials: the second shoe was emblazoned with OB.

SNOB, peeps. And not for him to read, but for all of us.

Once on the plane, Lili and I found we didn’t have seats next to each other. We asked a sweet woman if she’d be willing to switch, but she said, “No, I’ve been here since 5am, and my first flight was canceled, and I don’t want to sit in the rear of the plane.” I understood completely. So, we wished her well and moved back. Not ten minutes later, she moved back to the seat in front of mine.Why? Because SNOB had the seat next to her original one and had subjected her to such pompous pontification in just fifteen minutes that she knew she couldn’t stomach the whole ride.

She turned back towards us, smiled with exasperation and disbelief, and said, “Did you see his shoes?”

HAH!

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