Monday, September 29, 2008

860, on the nose

Sunday, ah. A day of rest. A day to spend in quiet reflection of the week's events, to pour (pore?) over the thick Sunday paper in quiet repose, a day to gather loved ones about to occupy a few serene hours in pleasant conversation.

Or, if "you" are me and the people who live in the Tiny House, you can instead choose to spend your Sunday breaking up a dozen fights between adolescent boys, digging out the front garden on a half a lark and a long-term goal of turning the whole front yard into a real 'garden,' making several trips out to local shopportunities for garden plants and birthday presents and mulch and milk, then going back out when the mums and mulch run out before the new garden bed does. You can spend it dousing yourself in mosquito repellant, sweating through two sets of gardening duds, breaking up a half-dozen more bickering sessions between two young men who really ought to be out looking for jobs or something, and putting in edging around the just-made new garden.

Later in the day, you might set those two young men out to chopping up kindling for firewood just to give them something to do to keep them from killing one another while you take yet another shower to wash off the last of the "Off" (and yes, I know they could have done bad things to each other with the loppers, but it was a risk that needed to be taken), after which you decide to make homemade vanilla pudding but see that you have no eggs left which is a momentary setback until the interwebs comes to your rescue with this:

(adapted from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball)

  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 C low-far vanilla yogurt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine dry ingredients in saucepan. Mix milk and yogurt together in medium bowl, add half to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add remaining liquid to saucepan and whick again until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. (Thing 1 asked "when will I know it's thickened?" and didn't believe me when I said "you'll know." He now knows that this is a perfectly accurate answer.)
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook until the mix starts to bubble, sitrring continuously.
  4. Cook 1 minute without stirring.
  5. Fold in vanilla and pur into individual serving dishes OR a medium bowl lined with banana slices. Chill for at least an hour.
(Note: original recipe calls for half and half instead of the milk and yogurt. Wow - that some rich-ass pudding, right there!)

So you make it and have Thing 2 chop up bananas for this nascent dessert while Thing 1 stirs and stirs so that the bottom of this milk-white delicacy doesn't burn, and something happens to the day that seemed fraught with too much "to do" and "he did it" - it settles. The boys start to look forward to 'having a burn' in the firepit and maybe cooking some weenies over the open flame. They're glad to help in the kitchen, they do what they're asked. The fighting stops.

Fire and food as tranquilizers for teens n' tweens. Years of summer camp should have taught me that lesson. Maybe it just takes a long and somewhat challenging day to fall back on what instinct would do a facepalm over as the obvious cure.


If you don't have a firepit, I would suggest you consider adding one to your backyard. The one at the TH is three courses of dry-fit architectural brick (those ones with rounded fronts on 'em that are designed to use in building retaining walls and such) that took one (admittedly very strong so therefore not me) person less than an hour to lay out and put together. It's maybe 4 feet across, and is wonderful to gather around when the sun's gone down but it's too early to go inside and veg out to teevee or whatever. Also? People look really neat in firelight.

The Things are learning the fine art of "fire poking," which isn't as easy as it sounds. Seriously! If you don't want to put the fire OUT, you have to know where to poke, otherwise the whole thing could collapse on itself, killing your source of entertainment, and nobody wants that, now do they?


Had yet another in what is developing to be a rather nice series of "Dinner At Judy's" on Saturday. The Things went swimming in the rapidly cooling off pool (it is almost October, after all) while the adults had cheese and crackers and wine on the back deck - how VERY cosmopolitan of us! Then it was dinner and conversation and dessert and more conversation. There is never a shortage of things to talk about with Kenju and Mr Kenju, and that? Is a wonderful thing. Such great hosts, and such enjoyable people. Thanks y'all!!


Hair update: Going swimmingly. No shampoo or brushing since Friday, and already I can see a difference. The bar of Indigo Wild almond soap and a wide-toothed comb are far more gentle on this old head of hair than the daily shampooing and manic brushing were, and so I'm being treated (by my own hair!) to loose ringlets in back and gentle waves in front. Plus which, the ends of the hair are SOFT, a thing that I thought wasn't possible. So, yay!

Might have to go back here (Honeywine, there's your link) now to find out how to STYLE this new hair. I'm thinking the "yank it back in a ponytail" thing I've been doing isn't the best way to showcase what's going on "up there."


That's a bit of what happened on my weekend (I left out the trip to Adventure Landing - but LASER tag is FUN!!!). More news as events warrant.

Tiff out.

No comments: