Thursday, July 20, 2017

Travels and Travails

Back home yesterday afternoon after a lovely week with my parents in Maine! It was a very nice visit -- my sister and her husband even drove over from Portland one afternoon, and I haven't seen them in ages.


My mom can't talk anymore, but she still enjoys being read to, and the nice woman who comes in to keep her company for a few hours most weeks had said she didn't enjoy reading James (Jan) Morris's "Farewell the Trumpets," which my mom proffered, so I read that. We didn't get it finished, but I made good progress!

While I was off reading about the decline of the British Empire with my mom and baking bialys with my dad, Ed and the kids had rather a rough week back home. The worst thing was that our good old cat, Harry, died.

He went off his feed, and the day after I left Ed and Katie took him to the vet's. The vet and his crew worked valiantly on him for two days, but they couldn't set him right. He was my first cat, and, aside from his unfortunate habits which ultimately led to his becoming a backyard cat, he was really a lovely cat. Affectionate, tolerant, and wonderfully laid back. He was Katie's special pet, but we'll all miss him.

Along with caring for my mom, my dad does an absolutely amazing job maintaining their extensive gardens and grounds. I wish I was better at remembering the names of all the flowers, shrubs, and herbs, but they are beautiful!

(the cherries are sweet and delicious!)

 (I failed to get a good picture, but there are pink and dark pink water lilies that are really beautiful and that the ducks have not yet munched up!)

One of my little missions during the visit was to find some items which have gone missing, and in the course of my rummaging I came across my mom's old 1987-88 high school (teacher) i.d. I thought the photo was so pretty that I took a picture of it.

And, while I was up in the attic retrieving the coffee grinder to make almond flour to make almond horn cookies (to use up a package of almond paste that it seemed just wicked to allow to go to waste -- my mom's cooking, and particularly her baking, were legendary, and her kitchen is still mind-bogglingly well stocked), I came across the Emperor Zurg (of Toy Story fame)! My dad borrowed him many, many years ago, in the hope that he would deter the deer (he is motion activated, and utters dire threats, warnings, and laser blasts when anything triggers his sensor). I think Travis was three or four -- just tiny -- when he became entranced by Zurg at the Toyr-R-Us, and, since my dad has since discovered more effective ways to disconcert the deer (motion sensor water sprayers that, charmingly, resemble daleks!) I thought it was high time Zurg came back home!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

"Oh yes we know the Biscuit Man!"

"who lives in Drury Lane!"

I wanted to title this "The Biscuitnator," but a quick search showed that the title is already taken. Travis suggested "Biscuit-Slave," but I thought that sounded a little... negative. Katie tried "Biscuit-serf," but that's really not much better. At any rate, today Travis made biscuits from six in the morning until three in the afternoon, so I'm sure he's a biscuit artist, however he's titled. I got a kick out his floury cap -- obviously he puts great oomph into his biscuitry!

 And, demonstrating our amazing self-control, those of us Not laboring at Bojangles today waited to open the enticing box that the postman brought from my wonderful friends Darcy and Paul, whose summer trip this year was through England,Scotland, and Wales!

As soon as he got home, though...

The kids are both delighted with their t-shirts from Loch Ness, and Katie was bowled over at also receiving a special shirt offered to raise money for the victims of the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert, which took place while my friends were in nearby Chester (Katie has long been a fan of the singer).

Livy had her yearly check up yesterday, and she got an excellent report except that she is a wee bit on the tubby side. She is now on reduced rations, poor lamb.

Ed, not generally a big boozer, really likes that whisky fudge. Awesome stuff!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


My baby turns nineteen today. That sounds... well, not so much a baby. I know that last year, eighteen, he officially became an adult, but we still had his senior year of high school to go (which he did entirely at the community college), so I could still pretend. But now ... well, he's a really wonderful young man, and I'm so incredibly proud of him and thankful for the years we've had and excited for all the possibilities in front of him.

 He's decided to do his freshman year at the community college, with the plan of transferring to a state university once he has a clearer notion of what sort of degree will best suit him. Seems sensible to me, and I'm selfishly pleased to have him "at home" for another year.

Here are some "birthday" pictures...

Katie and I made the cake together. I did the writing (her handwriting is still a work-in-progress), but all the rest of the artsy-ness is hers.

Nineteen candles create a nice blaze!

And also this spring/summer...

(Harry is doing very well but looking a little ragged because, after shamefully neglecting to keep his fur brushed, Ed and I decided that the only solution for his awful mats was a haircut. And our pet-grooming skills are not ever going to be in high demand outside the family, I'm afraid. But rest assured that he is doing fine and enjoying his shorter summer coat!)

And Katie has had a busy summer so far, starting with having her wisdom teeth out. I have a picture, but... Anyway, that's out of the way! Last week she was away at camp, where, she says, she had the Best Time EVER.
(The drop-off and pick-up pictures, as per tradition!)


 And my favorite part of camp, which is the bit where we stop mid-way (Camp is a three hour drive. Each direction.) and get frozen yogurts!

In other news, I'm flying up to Maine next week to spend a week with my parents. I'm really looking forward to seeing them, and to giving my dad a break with the cooking and so on, but Ed and Finny are going to miss me. Still, they'll love me more than ever when I get home, so that's something. Travis has started a job at Bojangles, learning how things work in the fast food service industry. So far he's learned to cook chicken, which is, of course, a good skill to have! Katie has put in a couple job applications, but so far no one's bitten. That's okay too, as it's really nice to have her around the place after all her busyness with school and friends during the school year.