7 Let’s Stay Home Takes

7 Let’s Stay Home Takes October 18, 2019


Look! It’s Friday!
One
My children have developed a pretty fabulous game where they either make up fake quotes, or adopt well known ones, or even the occasional platitude, and put them in the mouths of the wrong people. Here are some of my favorites. You always have to start with “As so and so said…”

As George Washington said, “Sure is cold this winter.”
As Odysseus said, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”
As Saint Peter said, “It’s not as easy as it looks.”
As our Lord Jesus said, “You only die once.”
As Hitler said, “These communists are all cowards.”
As Achilles said, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
As our Lord Jesus said, “Better to be without sense than misapply it as you do.”
As Henry the VIII said, “Men of sense, whatever you may chose to say, do not want silly wives.”

Two
I’ve been intrigued by all the people posting pictures of their favorite books. Here’s one of mine.

Three
Besides fake quotes, we’ve been philosophizing a lot at lunchtimes. Here are two pieces of deep fifteen year old wisdom:
“A jean jacket is only as good as its wearer.”
“I’m ready to retire.”

Four
The intense birthday season is drawing to a close. One more to go. The problem with birthdays is that the person in question gets to chose whatever she wants for luncheon. So this week that was Pho, which isn’t that hard, really, but takes some forethought. It went so well that I have to do it again for the last birthday. It will be the month of Pho.

The trick, as I see it, is not to worry about being exactly right about the broth. If you feel like you need to do Pho correctly, you’ll never actually find the time. My strategy is to take everything I have in my pantry that will intensify the flavor and go with it. This time it was almost half a bottle of fish sauce, dashi, and some dubious extra packets of stock. I had no soup bones at all because I thought I had some but didn’t and didn’t have time to run out, so that was too bad. But then I discovered I had some old dead shitaki mushrooms that actually revived pretty well. Also didn’t have the right kind of noodles so had to break in and steal the noodles out of a bunch of ramen packets. But everyone likes ramen noodles so it was fine.

Five
I also owed Matt peanut sauce so that was a whole thing. If you’ve never made peanut sauce you really should. It won’t be exactly right on this side of the ocean, but it won’t be bad either if you major on the peanut butter and ginger—onion, garlic, ginger, stock, some kind of tomato (a tin of paste or crushed tomato or even fresh if you want), a jar of unsweetened peanut butter, and then I always add cabbage and chicken but you could do whatever you liked. I’ve taken to baking the chicken and adding it to the sauce towards the end. I like the texture better that way.

While I was musing over my sauce, Matt took the cat to the vet and learned that she isn’t dying, thank heaven, it’s just that no food agrees with her, so we will just carry on trying to tempt her with anything—she loves cake.

Six
I’m reading Mrs. Miniver outloud to the children sometimes when we have time. Not really a book I’d ever thought to read to them, or aloud at all. It’s actually completely brilliant and transfixing.

Our evenings are kind of a literary jumble. Matt is reading out Trollop’s Barchester books, I’m reading a Swallows and Amazons, a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Mrs. Miniver. Something for everyone.

Seven
The hardest shift, so far, from having younger children to older ones, is to remember that young people have energy. I am a dried husk of a person, limping around my life saying no to everything. Leave my house? no. Go out in the weather? no. Do that unusual thing? no. Sign up for something else? no. Whereas, young people are bursting with life and want to say yes. It’s rather like my habit if putting a heavy coat on a baby when I feel cold. So anyway, I’m learning that they can say yes and sort out their lives without my interference. They can say yes or no and get on with it. Sometimes I can take them, but more often they can figure it out, whatever it is. Their youth and enthusiasm is a bit much, but as it is extending farther and farther a field, and I am basically allowed to sit quietly in my chair with my dogs as the children careen around the world, it’s fine.

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