Friday, August 31, 2007

No Tie Dye For You!

Last Friday, Boot had football practice until 6, so his dad brought him late. We just had a quiet evening in. I had a horrible time cooking, just wasn't at all on my game. The weird thing is that I made 2 beautiful loaves of Cuban bread and a gorgeous quartet of chocolate espresso soufflés with no problem whatsoever. But, when it came to the no-brainer things, foods I either make all the time or should be able to make with ease, it was a complete disaster! Thank goodness I bought pre-seasoned Cuban-style black beans from Trader Joe's because I probably would have screwed those up, too. I make them all the time, but I know I would have blown it. The dinner I attempted to make was bistec empanizado (but I bought the steak too thick and couldn't pound it as thin as it needed to be...we ended up with this mutant breaded sirloin that was revoltingly chewy), black beans (yay for cans), rice (which I never, ever screw up but I managed to space out & put equal parts rice and water the first time and burned it all to shit, then made it all soupy and half-done the second time...yuck!) and maduros (the plantains weren't as ripe as I like them, so I skipped that).

Saturday morning, J had to get up & go to work. When she got home around noon, we headed out for a tie dye party, our first outing with the couples' group we've joined. We drove up & down the street 4 times & never found the correct address, so we scrapped that plan and took Boot to the mall instead. It was new to us & we had a good time exploring all the stores, especially guy stores like Hollister and FootLocker. I ended up getting a new pair of running shoes for $30. They're nice and light and easy to slip into. They're also really pretty, light blue with yellow-green accents. We'd stopped on the way for lunch at Longhorn. I made the mistake of trying to order soup in a steak joint. J & Boot were very happy with their choices, boneless wings for him, steak salad (with watermelon in it!) for her. My salad was terrific, but the chili I was really looking forward to turned out to be super sweet, almost a dessert chili. Gross! So, I tried the loaded baked potato soup, which tasted of flour through and through. No way would I eat it. So, I was happy to stop at Johnny Rockets in the mall for malts. Boot chose a strawberry shake and an orange soda with lemon flavoring added, J had a peanut butter shake and I had a hot fudge malt. Not as good as Dick & Tom's, whose passing I still mourn, and not as good as Foy's Grill in Fairborn, but a damn sight better than Steak & Shake or McDonald's. After our shopping trip was complete, we went home and Boot & J watched t.v. for awhile while I read. Then, we had tacos and Pie actually emerged from his room. He'd slept the day away and then immersed himself in X-Box, sucking the last few days of summer for all they were worth. I remember when I was a little kid, summer meant long days at the pool followed by chasing fireflies, playing tunnel tag and hanging out downtown with my friends. To my kids, summer means the freedom to sleep and watch t.v. or play video games for hours. It makes me really sad.

Sunday morning, J gamely got up & went to church with me, even though I know she wanted some extra sleep since it was her first full day off since the 12th. I was really sorry, then, when they made the announcement that the ONA committee (which is supposed to be educating people on what declaring themselves an "Open and Affirming" church would mean...publicly declaring that the church is welcoming of people of all sexual orientations into the full life & ministry of the church) will be hosting a speaker on mental illness & the church. Now, I know that the ONA committee has been under pressure from people in the congregation to broaden the scope of its inquiry. That's the reason they chose to do this. They will also be hosting speakers on alcoholism and Alzheimer's. Perhaps you see the problem? I can only assume that they didn't. J was infuriated and her feelings were hurt badly. If you look carefully, you will see that one of these things is not like the others. Generally speaking, people suffering from mental illness would choose not to, if they could. It is largely considered a medical issue. Again generally speaking, people suffering from alcoholism would choose not to, if they could. It is largely considered a medical issue. Further, people suffering from Alzheimer's would choose not to, given the choice. It is definitely regarded as a medical issue. Treatments are prescribed for all three issues, we hope to find cures. Now, take homosexuality. Would I choose to be in love with a man, if I could? Well, no. Being in love with J was brought me more joy than any other love relationship I've been in, with men or women. Being gay does not cause suffering in my life, although prejudice against it certainly has. For someone suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or Alzheimer's, the condition itself causes suffering. It is not the prejudice in society (although that certainly doesn't help at all) that makes mental illness, alcoholism or Alzheimer's painful. Putting homosexuality in the same category as these is a major problem and the ONA committee just cannot see it. So, I am going to be forced to write a letter. Ugh.

After church, J was in a very down mood. We took Boot to Crocker Park and had coneys for lunch, then shopped around with him some more. I tell you, I will be thrilled when the day comes when I never have to step foot into any kind of sports store again. At least Dick's has kayaks and tents and other cool stuff like that to look at. Still, it gets tiresome to stand around in athletic shoe stores and jersey stores while Boot ogles every shoe and shirt for at least 10 minutes. I am not cut out for parenting a jock enthusiastically. I love him dearly, I want him to be who he is and I am waiting anxiously for the day that he no longer wants us to shop with him! J says it ain't gonna happen. Ai yi yi. After our long shopping trip, I was ready for a nap. I tried valiantly to watch t.v. with them, but ended up having to grab a nap. When I woke up, Boot had gone back to his dad's and it was time to go to the grocery. While we were there, we decided Marie Callender's pot pies sounded better than the ham & cheese stuffed French toast I had planned, so that's what we had.

I spent Monday shopping for back to school clothes and supplies for Pie. He started Tuesday and really likes it so far. It helps that his homework load is still light, which means plenty of play time. When the homework gets hot & heavy, I imagine his outlook may change. He seems to be doing really well without his meds, which just thrills me. I think he is still fidgety, but not to the extent that he can't function. Hurrah! May it continue. He likes all but one of his teachers, a long-term sub who is apparently very strict. Smart survival technique on her part! His other teachers, especially Mr. S, his Social Studies teacher, he says are funny. This is very good. Usually when Pie really likes someone, he tries to do well for them. I was impressed with the longitude and latitude homework he brought home yesterday. It is so much neater and more complete than his work last year. Not only that, but it was already done when he got home! I peeked at his spelling sentences, too. For "haughty," he had 2 sentences. One was something about the haughty kid who beat him on XBox Live. The second one was so cool. "The haughty chef stormed into the dining room to talk to the customer who complained about his world-famous Coquilles St. Jacques," he wrote. How the heck does my 12 year old know about Coquilles St. Jacques? In this sentence, he has really captured the essence of haughty. I love it!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chaotic and Lazy

Our weekend turned out to be quite odd. We took Pie to his father's for a weekend visit. He was sweet and petty (not only wanting to be petted, but petting J, too) all the way. After we dropped him off, we made the huge mistake of stopping in Geneva-on-the-Lake for dinner. We both found it to be über-creepy and will never, ever return. I don't even plan to get off at the exit ever again. I don't want to go into detail ever. Suffice it to say that we felt the need to leave town before the sun set and we had a salt and lavender scrub when we got home. Sounds crazy, but it was very, very bad. After we'd showered, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and had comfort food (shepherd's pie for her, sautéed pork chops with mac & cheese for me) for dinner, having stopped after appetizers before. I don't know why I ate in that town. They always say not to eat or drink in places like that. I know this sounds all superstitious and weird, but I was really sorry I ate there & not just because the food sucked.

Then, Saturday morning about 3:30, J got a call from the security company saying there was a fire in the plant. She threw on some clothes & met the fire department there. The fire was miniscule, but it damaged the coolers and J consequently spent 12 hours dealing with the aftermath. I read and slept, mostly, but also took her glasses to her about 4:30 a.m. and lunch about 1. When she got home, we spent the afternoon in bed. I read and talked to my mom on the phone, she mostly slept. About 9:30, I ventured out for dinner from Max & Erma's (lemon herb halibut for her, ribs for me, banana cream pie to split) and we ate it in bed.

In the morning, she had to go in to the plant early. Since she wasn't back yet when I went to church, I went alone. There was lovely violin music and the announcement that I have completed the first step toward ordination. I haven't gotten the official word yet, but am told that the entire committee thought I did a great job at my interview. Woohoo! Once home, I snugged back into bed with J for about 45 minutes. Then, we went back to the plant, checking to make sure the coolers were still cooling. They were. J worked for a few more hours, while I read and did a writing exercise. We had some ice cream (silly with as chilly as all the rain has made it) at the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop, then went back to our bedroom haven again. We spent the afternoon immersed in our books. When Pie came home, he had eyes only for his 360, so we let him play after he'd eaten and again had our dinner in bed. I made pimiento cheese sandwiches (homemade p. cheese from Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar) and added chips and pickles to our plates. J went to sleep around 9:30 while I didn't hit the hay until 2 this morning. I was reading and filling in my new planner. Now, I must take her some lunch, then clean house. We have a cleaning lady coming tomorrow, so I have to make sure it's clean enough for her to clean. LOL! This really just entails doing some laundry and tidying our vanity, so it shouldn't take long. If not, I will hit the grocery, too.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Birthday Revelry

Since J had to work on my birthday, I was on my own until evening. As she was leaving for work, J pulled the big black Audrey Hepburn hat I'd been ogling at Steinmart from the back of her car, my first gift for my 37th birthday. Before 8:30, I had gotten calls from the Miami Contingent, my uncle calling first, then my dad. I called my mom, too. So, it was off to a good start right away. Thinking I really deserved to have good fruit and cheese I love for my birthday breakfast, I took a detour by the lake to get to the grocery. As I walked into the grocery, I smelled heavenly fresh-baked bread. I realized that plain old English muffins would not do for the birthday girl and headed for the bakery. They had some beautiful mini ciabattas and I bought those, along with a gorgeous peach and some dill havarti. Ensconced in bed with a book, I enjoyed my breakfast of toasted ciabatta with plenty of butter, that perfect peach and several slices of cheese.

I took myself to the movies later. I'd hoped to go see "Shrek 3" or, preferably, the third "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. My cousin Leah went to see that on her 18th birthday & it sounded like the perfect celebratory movie. But, no, our local cinema won't keep movies around long enough to actually see them (phooey on Regal!) so I ended up settling for "Ratatouille," which was cute, but nothing spectacular. Still, just being at the movies was a wonderful time. After the movie, I went out into the sunlight, blinking and astonished not to be in an animated version of Paris. I picked up lunch at Bob Evans, chicken salad for me and a pot roast sandwich for J. We ate in her office, then I headed out to get my brows waxed. A facial would have been better, I suppose, but I wasn't in the mood to be at Aveda that long.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my life list, a list of things I want to do at some point in my life. It ranges from the large (build our dream house) to the small (color in coloring books), the adventurous (go kayaking) to the fairly mundane (make pie crust from scratch). I try to update it every year on my birthday. When J got home, she had a large Hello Kitty bag full of gifts for me. There were fun hair scrunchies that looked Tinkerbell-ish, a CD walkman & audio book called "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" (I have the idea that if I have books I can only listen to when I'm walking, I will get out and do it more...except it's been hellishly hot here lately...I did get one great walk by the lake in, so far, though), a SARK book, a book of kiss coupons, a book of love quotes and a stack of my favorite magazines. It was a delightful surprise, as I had assumed the hat was my only gift. It would have done just fine, too. I also got a sandalwood mala from my mom & Graham. I've been wanting one for a long time, but have never broken down and gotten one for myself.

We changed clothes and headed out to dinner at The Melting Pot. I'd had a terrific birthday dinner at the one in Nashville a few years before and I had every reason to expect the same this time. I wasn't disappointed. Well, maybe a teensy bit because there was no candle on the cheesecake slice, but I got birthday cards from them, so that was nice. I feel a little birthday cake deprived, though...or wish-deprived, perhaps. Our waiter wasn't that great. Luckily, the manager was mostly the one who waited on us and he was fabulous. We tried a slightly different cheese fondue for our first course, one with an Asian flavor imparted by sake in place of kirsch. It was delicious. Then, we had Asian-themed salads with Mandarin oranges and almonds. For our main course, we chose the coq au vin broth. J added a lobster tail and we were both very happy. My favorite part of the main course was chicken with a curry dipping sauce. Dessert was dark chocolate fondue with a little Chambord added for a raspberry splash. We were fat as piggies when we left, with big grins on our faces. It was a delightful day to turn 37!

Indians of All Sorts

Haven't been very good about keeping up, so I'll go back to the weekend before my birthday, July 13-15. J's plant decided that, for their summer picnic, they'd like to go see the Cleveland Indians play. We all got tickets to the game and also for a BBQ chicken and hot dog dinner beforehand. It was fun to attend the game, even for non-sports fans like me. I was very excited about the fireworks afterward, but then realized I needed to register for a church event before midnight! So, we watched the fireworks over the top of the stadium as we walked toward the Rapid. We'd chosen to ride public transportation in rather than hassling with parking and traffic after the game. I think it was a smart idea, but it really stressed J out, so we probably won't be doing that again. We made it home with 13 minutes to spare, thank goodness!

We lazed in bed quite late Saturday, watching movies, reading, dozing. When we finally roused ourselves, we made our way across town to Whole Foods, our first visit to an Ohio location. Why, oh, why can't it be on our side of town? We had a blast. As we began to head for home, we saw a bunch of Orthodox Jews walking to temple, a group of young African-American women hanging out together, a WASP-y older guy on his bike. It was really nice to see such diversity. We don't see nearly enough of it, although there are a lot of Indian and Muslim folks on our side of town, which is nice diversity, too.

We stopped in Lakewood on the way home, hoping to finally have some good Indian food. It wasn't as good as Ajanta India, but it was very good and the atmosphere was pleasant. It was also crawling with folks from the LGBT community, a group of lesbian feminists discussing politics, a group of gay men discussing real estate. It was fun.

In the morning, we went to church and then had a wonderful brunch on the patio at the Cheesecake Factory. After brunch, I went with J to the plant so she could do a little extra work. I took paper and pen and began to work on a novel. I've never thought I would write a novel, but this trio of sisters started rattling around in my head a couple of years ago, along with the bed & breakfast 2 of them run. So, I decided to let them out to play, not really trying to write a novel, just writing little vignettes. I've been having a grand time getting to know them & their town. After J was finished with her work, we went to a big juried craft show. It was really great! I ran into some blacksmiths who know my mom and bought a gorgeous silver clay pendant that says "Play" on it & has a picture of trees. I've worn it nearly every day since. Once home, we grilled our dinner, a couple of espresso-rubbed steaks (that weren't very good), at the pool.