Just the four of us once more; and Pear, ginger and black pepper preserves

By and large, January felt like a cold extension of Christmas break. My crew, parents, sister and brother-in-law were in Louisiana for the actual holiday, we then joined much of my father's extended family in New Orleans for a wedding, my foursome returned home and then just after New Year's my sister arrived in DC to visit us for a few days. A couple of weeks later, time that whizzed by in a chilly blur, Mom arrived on the heels of the polar vortex and its snowfall. Today, the first of February, she left, and now we are just four again. A small quartet in a slowly warming city. Though I love to see my sister, mom and dad, I do, upon their always-sad departures, realize what a creature of habit I innately am. Ease in my daily life is reliant on various schedules -mine and the kids' most prominently- which I put aside as best I can when family is here. Perhaps they don't expect that of me, but it seems the only way to truly take advantage of these relatively short times together. After a certain point though, I find myself anxious to get back to it. Not to say goodbye, but simply to rebalance, to return to my normal stasis of life and living it.

This afternoon has been blissful, and for that I am grateful. I am thankful for the solitude I've had for the past two hours, made possible by the presence of a babysitter who's here for just a bit longer. I was nearly starting to tic with having been away from writing for so long and so I have ensconced myself in the basement bedroom, a quiet, windowless room that abuts our "HVAC" niche. Because of the continual whir of the various heating and cooling machines next door, I am lulled into a peaceful zen-state each and every time I'm in this room for long. Mom long ago nicknamed it the "tomb room" because sleeping in here is the ultimate in restorative slumber. No slumber today, just tap, tap, tapping away at my keyboard. Heaven!

After Ol and I dropped Mom at the airport, I brought him home for lunch and quiet time with T and J and then went grocery shopping for Superbowl supplies. Do not even ask me why I'm so excited about tomorrow's game - go Seahawks- because I haven't a clue. I am not remotely gifted athletically, have never watched much football,  and would not even consider ever letting my boys play. But, the playoff games were pretty damn exciting at times, and I found myself enjoying the somewhat barbarous back-and-forth despite myself. So my boys and I are having a little fete tomorrow and I'm making Chili Verde (best-ever chili, seriously!), Lemony Green Beans, Coriander and Cilantro Flatbread, and Brownies (one request from each person). It'll be fun.

Have to tell you about these wonderful preserves I started yesterday and finished up this morning: Pear, ginger, lemon, honey and black pepper. Mamma mia! So pretty, so delicious...I think they'll make a wonderful topping for Brie and warm baguette! If you make them, let me know if you get anywhere close to seven half-pints because I did not. Three and a quarter was my yield, but I'll take 'em!