Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving drama

Today was a depressing stinker of a day.  It actually started yesterday when I looked outside around mid-afternoon to see poofs of feathers in the yard. Something had been killing my chickens again, the ones small enough and dumb enough to hop over the fence and go roaming in the yard.  About half an hour later the guilty party came back: a big brown and white hound dog I'd never seen before. But here it was, running through our yard with a chicken in its mouth. Damn it. I like dogs well enough, in theory.  But when it comes down to it I really can't stand 90% of them. And it's not the dogs fault. It's the owners fault. But, whatever.  We used to have a dog and I understand that occasionally they slip a collar or run off, ok fine. Until I looked out the kitchen window at 8 a.m. this morning. and it was in our yard again.  It ran off when I tried to catch it.  I had figured out who the owner was, texted politely when they didn't answer my phone call. When they didn't respond to that either I doubled down with a blistering message about setting up cameras and calling the dog warden every single time their animal was on our property.  They live down the street and we've never met them but I was absolutely livid and boy was it apparent.  So this is how the day started. Yes, I wish I had handled that differently.  I also wish they had kept their dog on their own property. 

I did some baking.  Made tiny versions of the family rum cake and delivered them to a couple of houses.  It was nice. 

Rum cake delivery!

I miss friends. I miss people. 

We tried to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is something to normally look forward to. But this year, between the empty New York City streets and trying to explain to the oldest what the parade would usually look like: thousands of spectators, the noise and the crowds, it had me tearing up. 

This week the oldest had talked about the parade at school, they even made little parade balloons. His was The Grinch.  I told him that it had always been a dream of mine to be a balloon handler in the Macy's Parade. He told me that he would let me hold his balloon. 

Thanksgiving was small, just us at my in-laws. I made this Allrecipes sweet potato dish with onions, bacon and a maple glaze. It was ok but not great. We did have a wonderful,  delicious  dinner where we all ate too much. Afterwards we had a zoom party with my husband's brothers and their families. 

The big deal of the day? When I called to wish my dad a Happy Thanksgiving I was told some Big Family News. My dad proposed to his lady friend and is engaged.  I am a grown middle aged woman who has spent most of her life not having to tease out the nuances of "my mother" versus "my father's partner" . And while I am very happy for him I still hung up the phone and got weepy. In front of my mother in law.

So Thanksgiving 2020 has been memorable. Like, currently drinking rum out of a wine glass memorable.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Cooking with volcanoes & other Postcrossing adventures

Here are the 105 postcards we've received since joining Postcrossing when the pandemic started. They have been a welcome window into the world during a time when we haven't even left our own county for nearly a year. It's been very touching to me to read the messages of total strangers. Most tell stories of their lives and the places the live. Some send extra cards for the kids, paper goods from their hometown (playbills, menus, small calendars). Some have asked for prayers for sick family. Many, from around the world, have encouraged us to vote in the election. We have been congratulated on our new baby. Almost all have wished us good health during the pandemic. 

In this picture we have a hand drawn card from the Netherlands (Miffy the bunny), an Ikea ad card from Taiwan (red with kitchen tools) the home of Beatrix Potter, cards from the Olympic Peninsula and Our Lady of Aparecida (the Patron Saint of Brazil). The card of the lady rowing a boat in rough waters was from a woman who just recently became a U.S. citizen after 42 years in America. The Winnie the Pooh card came from a woman who lives near forest that was "home" to Christopher Robin. The armadillo card came from lady in Texas who told a story about a man who accidentally shot himself while shooting at an armadillo (they both were fine). 

Here we have some pandemic cards, a couple of fabulous "maxi cards" (cards with matching stamps on the fronts) and a card written by a dog. There is a card in the top row from the Aland Islands celebrating World Postcard Day.  The card with the rainbow is from Altotting, Germany, a religious pilgrimage site.  The card above it is from the Netherlands and yes, sorry, the sausages picture makes me giggle. 

Here is a lamppost from Hershey, PA. The bicycle card comes from a doctor in Russia who has 6 cats "all were homeless".  The homemade fabric card came from a quilter in Germany.

Here are 2 more maxi cards and a tiger from the Frankfurt zoo. The shark teeth card came today and was very exciting as Mr. H and I were looking at our sharks teeth last week, now we can identify them. 

Directly to left of it is this card:

Which on the surface looks like a typical US clambake or camp fire meal.

But read the back!

 They are cooking with volcanic heat! Volcanoes, people. You can read about the meal they are making HERE It's a delicious sounding stew. But let's be serious, who cares what it tastes like when it has that kind of "wow!" factor.  I can't even figure out the convection setting on our oven.

Postcrossing is an anonymous correspondence and I won't ever know more about the writer's lives then they share on the cards but it has made the world seem larger and smaller at the same time.

Also it is nice to find something else in the mailbox besides bills and junk mail. And can't we all use a bit of that.


Monday, November 16, 2020

100th card, seeds, baby bill

Here is my 100th card sent through Postcrossing! This one is going to a woman in Albany, New York who likes book recommendations and homemade cards. These titles are all my favorites, snuck 2 cookbooks in there. It was a lot of fun to make and relaxing. Took photos so I can have it printed into actual postcards to send to more people, many people ask to hear about a favorite book on the card they receive.  I also received my 100th card today! It came from a librarian in Ohio. I want to take a big photo collage of the cards we have gotten to share here.

I've ordered some alpine strawberry seeds through Baker Creek. It is just November and they are out of stock for probably 1/3 of their inventory.  It's unsettling.  I think there are many people who feel very nervous about our food supply. I will get my major seed order in soon and will try a smaller company. We don't need much.

Speaking of food, it took every ounce of self control not to stop and put this in the car today. The state is releasing phesants, farm raised phesants,  and they are notoriously dumb having no experience in the wild. This guy is hunkered by the side of a very busy road frozen in fear. I badly want to cook one, you can't buy them. I'm sure I could have just picked him up.  Probably someone else did.

The bill for baby P came in the mail today. For those not in the U.S., yes that is what it costs to give birth here. This isn't even the whole pregnancy  just the 48 hours in the hospital.  The $45 fee is because that is all we had remaining to pay on our sky high deductible plan. However, we are lucky to have insurance obviously. 

And lucky to have a friend that has made a gorgeous silk quilt for every baby in this house. Handsewn, even.

Going to attempt a quick nap and then into the kitchen.  Made some fun things lately so hopefully the next post will be about food.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Goodbye Alex

 Saturday was a wonderful day for our country and now this happens. Couldn't America have just one good weekend?

Friday, November 6, 2020

Here we are

Part 1: 
It's about 60 degrees out today, beautiful.  The baby and I are sitting on the school playground while the oldest burns off some energy before going home. I'm forcing myself to take a break from compulsively checking election results every 5 minutes. It took a good half hour before any children on the playground noticed a baby but once they did they all crowded around asking questions and gently touching his face with Mr. H proudly telling everyone " this is my new baby brother!" I am wearing a tee shirt and it is warm in the sun which is a big contrast from this day we had recently:


I think a Leghorn hen went out for a stroll.

It didn't last long and had melted by the next morning. I'm getting diddly squat done besides laundry, cooking and keeping kids alive and happy. It's enough. It would be nice to have the energy to do anything besides sleep after 9 p.m. though.

Part 2:
Hours later after gathering up Mr. A. and visiting with my dad, getting dinner into everyone,  doing dishes, doing puzzles with Mr. A., nursing Mr. P. and watching The Grinch. 

I took this picture of a sleeping Mr.
 A's beautiful baby locks yesterday before he got his first ever professional hair cut. I was expecting to have to restrain a screaming 2 year old but turns out he LOVED IT. He loved the ladies, the big mirror, the spray bottle of water and was all sorts of proud getting his hair cut. He looks adorable. 

We did take the kids trick or treating. Here is Baby P's costume. I was going for "leaf pile" but it turned out more like "archery season in Pennsylvania ". 

Here is Mr. A Trick or Treating. He was really dramatically put out about the whole thing. 

And here are the two oldest and a good friend checking out their loot.

Here is Mr. A doing his morning chores of feeding the cats.

And here he is using Bee as a racetrack for a monster truck.

Here is Baby P's tiny hand in mine.

Part 3, two hours later:
 When I look back at the pictures from the last two weeks it is mostly pictures of babies and children.  Life is a cycle of wash, feed, dress, love & nurture little souls, sleep, repeat. It's exausting and rewarding and too short.