Good dinner, early bedtime, hilarious story

By the time I tucked the kids in bed and T got home last night, I was 90% catatonic. Nevertheless, I knew that take-out would bring me down more so I whipped up a quick and hearty dinner that was both beautiful and good: pan-seared steaks; caramelized fennel, leek and orange salad; and gratineed cipollini onions. We enjoyed some red wine, watched Homeland, and then T prescribed basement-sleeping for moi. I did not argue. Our meal really did make me feel better though; it is never the wrong thing to do to take care of yourself in the most basic of ways. Doing so can seem impossible at times -you try catching up on sleep when your child is sick, for ex- and so taking advantage of the times you can tend to you becomes even more critical and wise.

This salad is really divine. It just feels good: the bright flavors enliven you from inside out, the fruits and veggies help you easily and deliciously consume at least two of their suggested daily servings, and it pairs well with pretty much everything from steaks and fish to risotto or a cheese plate. Foodie friend C has been making this lately and agrees that it's marvelous. Try it soon!

And if you can bear to peel cipollinis, those darling flattened-orb alliums that you can find fresh in the market right now, do cook with them. They are sweet and mild onions that can be prepared in so many ways: confited; browned and added to a beef stew; fried (with Meyer lemon rings, please!); pickled (bet this is great)... Last night I asked dear hubs to peel them (poor guy didn't know what he agreed to), and then I placed them in a Pyrex bowl, whisked together some cream and crème fraîche, poured that over the onions, sprinkled things generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and then grated some fresh breadcrumbs on top. I covered the dish with foil, cooked for 15 minutes or so at 385 and then upped the oven to a hi broil to finish them off. Spectacular. Comfort food at its best! ~~~~ T scored even more points by keeping the boys and cat (this is truly a feat as he usually throws himself against the guest room door, caterwauling like a lovestruck loon until I give in and let him in!) from waking me up this morning. I rolled out of bed at 7:45, just in time to help them pack their veggies (each Wednesday the children at school bring a veggie; then a giant soup is made for a local shelter), kiss them goodbye and shut the door.

I made a coffee, sat down to catch up on the always-snowballing mound of emails and was reminded -by friend, E, whose tree keeled over the other day- of a ex-boyfriend from college. E had written to tell me that she thinks I am an excellent writer (I'm blushing as I type and am SO flattered) and did I remember the history class in college which said boyfriend and I took together. I was not the finest history student -SO much to aggregate in my mind at once!- and went to visit my TA after a disappointing result on an exam. From his briefcase, he drew a blue book and held it before me as the shining example of a successful exam. Lo and effing behold, this was my damn boyfriend's blue book. It wasn't a great moment. In any case, E was like, "where is that guy (the TA) now, huh?!" I don't know, but I appreciate her having my back after all these years. She always has.

I then asked her if she remembered that during this very same history class, the boyfriend got a Code Red sinus infection because he refused to blow his nose. Because of the backlog up there in the cavities, he ended up in the local hospital. His mother had to come out. I spent Valentine's Day in that damn hospital room and knew the whole time that this relationship was DONE. Finito. Irreparable. For several weeks, I'd known the end was nigh but we'd been together a long time, and I was vexed. Then he ends up in the hospital, and I couldn't very well break up with him while he was pale and wan in a flimsy gown. Then V-Day came, and I couldn't very well do it then either. And then he gave me a gift his mother had bought, and she was in the room, and I am still cringing to this day.

After he was released, we broke up. And that was in 1997. Funny how time flies. I'm in fuzzy socks, PJ pants, and a Turkey Trot shirt right now. My house looks like hoarders live here even though I just cleaned yesterday. Before the boys left, I helped each of them blow his nose, and then did my little roto-rooter trick with a twisted Kleenex just to make sure things were extra clear. Ain't life something!