Thursday, December 29, 2011

The grab bag approach continues

Here's a phrase that surfaces sometimes when I'm thinking about doing things I don't want to do or trying to move gracefully through the world: complete the gesture. If I washed a load of clothes and dried them and pulled them out on the floor in front of the drier -- I should probably fold them and put them away. I'll be happier when it's done and my floor is clear. Complete the gesture; get to the end of my original intention. I'll acknowledge that grace is not always achievable in this life and that sometimes the fucking laundry (thanks Weet) can just stay on the floor while I attend to other urgent matters. But my default setting is way-laid-back when it comes to housework and arranging my immediate surroundings. I need fortification when it comes to getting things shipshape.

We've kept the house fairly picked up for Christmas and my mother-in-law's stay. It could use another session of all four of us picking up everything we see on the floor in the living room. Maybe tonight! What can I use for bribes? Vacuuming hasn't become commonplace but there's hope for more often than quarterly.

Elaine was an enthusiastic guest as usual. She washed many dishes and listened to the kids explain lots of things. She gave me the book I'd asked for (Yay! Hats for cats!) and money and gave Nod an extravagantly expensive Columbia coat that he asked for. It's red and black and he looks just one red cross patch away from ski patrol when he puts it on. We ventured out to Cabela's the day after Christmas to find a hat for his extra large head. They had a few brimmed wool hats left and a few of those were extra large. He ended up with a good looking Pendleton crushable in black. I favor brown or olive but after all, the black goes with his new coat. Everyone and his dog was at Cabela's -- lots of returners and whole families wandering, some crying babies and toddlers. We peered at the giant catfish, looked briefly at the gun library (love that name), the girls fed the other kind of fish (sorry, I didn't inquire) and we got the hell out of there. It was the mall experience I didn't have before xmas. And that'll do thanks.

Coming into the airport parking garage somehow Elaine and I got to talking about past Republican presidents and the comparative speaking abilities of GBs I and II. We agreed that we didn't appreciate GB I's ability to string together coherent sentences until we met the next one. She suggested that the elder's honorable military service also made a refreshing contrast to every other president after him. I felt that that was leading us down a path we couldn't agree on and made a vague noise. Katy asked whether Reagan was a good president and I said It depends on who you ask, then I wondered if that would offend. I think Elaine said something about him having done good things for the country. And that was enough of that.

We had a fab turkey on xmas day. 11# is small for a turkey. I dry brined it (see the LATimes for instr) in two days and it cooked fairly quickly and was great. I'm going to try and remember to stick with small. We are still working on it but have made much progress. I asked Nod this morning if I could chop and freeze the remainder of the meat but he stayed my hand. Maybe turkey enchiladas...? I made the gravy later in the day after the feast. Nod doesn't care about gravy so there was no pressure from him. I love it but I find it a time consuming process that demands much attention and drives me bonkers if I try to do it after getting everything else ready. Now finished, it is delicious. Once it went into the fridge it geled because of all the gelatin from the roasted bird. I love to lather it onto the bread for my turkey sandwiches.

But actually I am now in the mood for lasagne and have decided to double my recipe and do two at a time, one meat and one veggie only. That way everyone in the fam is happy and there will be enough to freeze for later. And it's enough of a production that I'll be happy to get twice the finished product.

We sent a birthday card signed by lots of neighbors to Maria, the girl from Brazil who lived here for almost two years with her parents. She and Katy have been emailing a lot lately. One day she and Katy were online at the same time and so got to send short msgs back and forth for instant replies. K cried this morning when I was shooing her off the computer. Maybe you don't know what it's like to have a best friend who lives all the way in Brazil! she wailed. I guess not, at least not exactly. I decided to hold my tongue and be sympathetic. K is having some more pangs that look like adolescence lately.

Katy is also bored at school and I don't know what the best approach is. Language seems like a good target. She and some friends have been learning some ASL at Boys & Girls Club (college student teacher and deaf classmate are helping). Favorite sign: bacon. We're also going to check into some French classes that a schoomate is doing. We looked at one of my old elem. French textbooks but it doesn't look like the place to start.

On our drive back from the airport Katy said that she heard that several girls in her grade started their period this year and two started last year during third grade. I said that it could happen any time after 8 (! god that seems unlucky to have to deal with that mess from the age of 8) but that probably it would happen when they're around 12 since that's the age that I and their maternal grandmother started. I also said that I didn't know when Elaine had started her periods and I didn't really want to ask her. I think it's been a couple of years since I did the last session of body maturation/sex facts talk. Lexi had forgotten what a period was so we reviewed. She asked about the sex ed book I'd checked out from the library so we'll get that one again. Good to refresh and see what new questions come up.

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