All the things: Olympics, summer, libraries, hilarity

Did y'all know that (apparently many years ago) the USPS officially decreed that they would no longer put a comma between city and state on address labels? I did not know this, and recently, when a friend and I were drafting invites for a bridal shower we're hosting, I said "Doesn't there need to be a comma between City and State?" and she said, "Honey, the USPS stopped doing that decades ago. Librarians know these things."

And I was and remain appalled because that's just not right-like visually, that's just NUTS. I mean, I adopted the damn Oxford comma, but NO COMMA between City and State? Ain't no way. And so T looked it up for me, and fortunately this nonsense is ONLY a USPS thing, not a worldwide grammar thing, and I am just so grateful I could weep.

I just wanted to share that.

Anyway, tomorrow marks Day 1 of no camp but seemingly infinite time before school resumes, and the boys are sleeping in another fort that uses all of our kitchen table chairs (6) plus two TV trays and 90% of the sheets in our home plus sleeping bags, light sabers, glass water glasses and more.

I would say that this arrangement doesn't bode well for a restful tomorrow, but then again, does it really matter?! We have little planned. At least they fell asleep before I did so that I could tuck a pillow under each of their heads and make sure they weren't suffocating in their sleeping bags. 

Summer is starting to feel long. We've been sweating for a lifetime, and I've set a new record of pizza for dinner in any given week: 4 times. The me of ten years ago is quivering with vexation and perceived failure. The me of today is holding up a gold trophy bestowed upon Self for including multiple fruits and veggies alongside each and every pie.

In my defense, the pizzas came from four different places, including two gold star joints. We are now totally certain about which pizza sucks and which pizza doesn't. A+ in pizza study.

The Olympics were, by and large, delightful, but I cheered the closing ceremony tonight because I simply cannot stay up through the 11pm - 12am hour for even a single additional night. I'm 40 people; that time has passed. 

I believe that other than Ryan D'bag Lochte and his misguided posse, our athletes comported themselves in lovely fashion. Really, the Olympics is such a grand coming together of talent and sportsmanship. I love the Games. Until next time!

Do y'all know that during the past two weeks, a dream of mine has come true? My darling husband agreed that we could turn our formal living room (never used for that purpose) into a library!! As the incredible construction has taken place, Jack and I have been nerding out to beat sixty. We ordered a one million pound Oxford dictionary and were literally chagrined when it was not delivered yesterday as promised.

UNTIL a kindly neighbor who had received said tome walked it over, and we cheered. 

Literally. Look at Jack's face!

"Jack, do you want to look up the first word?" I asked, hoping he'd say no.

"Oh yes, Mom. I will look up.....Indonesia." 

What the hell? Why? I mean, great but where did that come from?

Anyway, if you don't know, Indonesia is part of the Malay archipelago. And so marked our foray into the kazillion page book, a tiny, tidy J eternally ticked by Indonesia. We have all taken a pact to mark our initial, IN THE NEATEST HANDWRITING POSSIBLE, by each and every word we look up forevermore.

I'm so thrilled with and proud of this new room that we will all love but especially Jack and me. Oliver's primary response so far has been, "I don't love the knobs you chose. Why couldn't you have gotten neon green ones?"

OMG, I feel SO lucky. We weren't really supposed to put anything on the shelves until Tuesday, but for the love of patience, we waited five whole days and the paint has simply got to be hard enough by now. It's going to be so much fun to fill these.

OMG, I feel SO lucky. We weren't really supposed to put anything on the shelves until Tuesday, but for the love of patience, we waited five whole days and the paint has simply got to be hard enough by now. It's going to be so much fun to fill these.

I love these little family traditions. They're the glue, really, the threads we weave together over the years that make family durable over time, even when times are tough. Like possibly the coming weeks.

We have also resurrected Pi Guy and Roach and the games we play with them.

Pi Guy, in case you've forgotten, is a wire man clothed in a Pi jumper and trousers that Jack made in art a couple years ago during his preoccupation with Pi. Periodically, he'll put Pi Guy somewhere ridiculous, like suspended from my shower head or from a shirt in my closet, and I'll counter by seating Pi Guy on Jack's toilet or hanging precipitously from his headboard. 

This is an utterly delightful game.

In true Oliver fashion, he plays this game with an entirely too realistic rubber roach that my aunt Renee sent him. She knew exactly how much Oliver would adore this roach, and adore it he does. I awoke recently to find said roach sitting on top of the water glass on my nightstand. I put roach on Ol's bathroom faucet. He tossed it onto my rug. 

revolting and, mercifully, fake

revolting and, mercifully, fake

Tonight I made the boys dinner and then T made us dinner, and then he and I watched two episodes of The Americans (we are slightly obsessed), and now we're going to bed, and all is well. 

I cannot tell y'all how much I love okra. And shrimp. 

Slow Sunday, haircuts, deliciousness all around

Although I was delighted to be up until 2am and then sleep with J in the basement for some inexplicable reason, I paid for it today y'all. Just call me space cadet Em. I fell asleep in the middle of Oliver telling me a story and later, at the market, forgot one of my bags at the checkout counter. It is with immense relief that bedtime is nigh. How cute is Mr. O at the barber? Usually Tom cuts the boys' hair, but it just wasn't happening, so... Doesn't he look like a blanket mountain with a head?!

J had a stomach ache all day, and was asleep by 6:20 tonight; he turned down the jelly doughnut I brought him -unprecedented- and we only read one chapter of 20,000 Leagues before he said, "That's good for today, Mom." It is such a great book so far! I hope J's not sick but simply in need of a great night of sleep. Poor kid has been calling out, loudly!, from bed for the past two hours. He's out like a light but dreaming? hurting? Fingers crossed for a healthful Monday.

This evening I made the Brussels sprouts, shallot and speck pasta again because I wanted to write up a recipe for it. It was delicious again and the recipe is posted now, in Pastas.

You're welcome! ;)

Other fab food from the past week...

Such a splendid Sunday

The gramps picked Jack and Ol up at 10 this morning and headed off to the Nationals' last home game of regular season. The boys were dressed in the "official Nats uniforms" they got at Nats camp this past summer and the plan was to go early in the hopes of getting an autograph voucher. They missed that but romped delightedly on the stadium playground for hours and ate a wide array of ballpark food. So much in fact that pretty much as soon as Jack stepped in tonight, just after 6p, he threw up everywhere. Horrid, stinky piles of what looked like upchucked chili. Maternal adrenaline is a good thing because that was disgusting. After the first hurl -on our bedroom floor- he managed to get his pants off. Then, rolling around the carpeted hall, moaning about how he would NEVER eat junk food again unless it was a holiday, he booted for the second time. Between that one and finally taking his shirt off and making it to the toilet, he asserted that birthdays do not count as holidays, a declaration I found baffling.

Poor kid. I drew him a hot bath and got him some seltzer and a couple Tums. When I asked him what he'd eaten he replied, "two hot dogs, Dippin Dots, cotton candy, Orange Crush..." It was revolting, but I dare say he's learned his lesson. He actually learned it once before, during his 100th-day-of-school celebration when he was three. He ate about 400 chocolate chips. When I picked him he said he felt awful and furious and would never overeat dessert again. He hasn't even come close, until today, which I think was really just way too much crap in way too short a time. Like I said, I think he's learned.

In the meantime, I went to the farmers market and then spent several hours cooking and having a solo dance party/concert as T had to work. It was great. I made a double batch of spiced rhubarb-apple butter and some roasted tomato jam, froze a bunch of fresh raspberries and shelled a ton of borlotti beans. I can never get over just how pretty they are.

Peach cobbler has been calling my name, and since I had to use up a half-dozen from last week's market, I decided to get right to it. That'd make a fine dessert for dinner. We had some King salmon I needed to use, and I'd bought some gorgeous okra and arugula this morning too. An embarrassment of riches, really. And the foundation for quite a fine meal.

I love grilled okra, especially when you've got a steel bin full of good wood chips adding a bit of smokey flavor to the chopped pods. I'd tossed these with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and salt, and then later, T made a drizzling oil spiked with chili powder and champagne vinegar that was awfully nice.

I oven-roasted the salmon but first spread some fresh rhubarb-apple butter on top as salmon and apples go so very well together. Sa.tis.fying!