Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Jam

Remember how I whined the other day about how crazy pants our summer has been so far?

Well, good news, we got gutsy and decided to just claim the weekend. Name it. Claim it. That was the beginning and end of our plan.

But first, we had a few things to attend to. Good things. Great things.

Friday night Haven graduated. I was so proud of her and so honored to be there on her big night while she walked on stage and accepted her diploma looking like a moviestar with complicated hair. It's been a long ride. And I'll just leave it at that. :) But we knew she could do it. I'm sure all kinds of regular high school graduations are special, but there's just something extra about graduations for alternative high schools. I kept getting a little verklempt. You know. It's just that these kids found the last train. It was do or die, and they did.

They talked about their journey toward God and I kept sinking my shoulders into the hunch that they might know him every bit as well as I do. Maybe better. They sauntered and swaggered and slinked across the stage. They want to be chefs, nurses, librarians, construction workers, computer programmers. They've seen enough to know that dreaming is allowed after all, and that they deserve a future. Tell me you wouldn't have cried, too.

Then we went to dinner. At 9pm. And all of my kids fell asleep at the table while I licked goat cheese off my fingers like it was 5 o'clock, easy.

Saturday we celebrated our nephew's birthday.
And then we had a sitter for the rest of the day. It was so freaking high time.

Here's the thing, though. Sometimes we wait just a day or two too long. It's not our fault. But we wait until we're over-extended. We wait until the thought of changing into something pretty makes me want to cry in a bad way. We wait until the only logical conclusion is to part ways and take naps in separate wings of the house. And by wings, I mean upstairs/downstairs.

Sometimes we do this and we forget to wake up.

Sometimes it rains and there are no good movies showing and the fancy restaurant intimidates us with its perkiness and we decide we're just going to stay in and watch a movie. Maybe go whole hog and get ice cream.

But sometimes we rally. Inexplicably.

It was one of those nights. I'd saved up for a month for our fancy dinner date, a combination birthday/new job sort of thing. Hallelujah, we were going, dangit. The night was our oyster and who gives a rip if I didn't look all that fancy? Not me, that's who.

So we dined. I took a picture of my salad to show you, but as it turns out, I can't share. Cory upgraded today from his Droid to a slide phone, eerily similar to mine. A dramatic budgetary shift will do that to a dude. Also, inmates are known for lots of things, but burning up your inbox isn't one of them.

All I can say is, we narrowly escaped the clutches of marital decimation early in our marriage, we brought three tiny babies into our world, we adopted a 19-year old felon, we cashed in a dream, we built a house in the hood, and we parent 4-7 kids together on a daily basis, but I daresay nothing has been or will ever be more unifying that the shared social isolation of a throw-back cell phone with technological advances only as far-reaching as the standard text. Solidarity, Babe. We got it.

But back to the salad, because I know you care: Bed of baby greens, sliced golden beets, sliced strawberries, whole raw almonds, goat cheese, sherry vinaigrette. Oh my cow. Or as my Grandpa would say, "Great day!"

Then word came in that Calvin had a fever of 100.8
No big thang, right?
Nope. Wrong.

Long story short, I spent last night and most of today in the hospital with Calvey. He's feeling fine, which might be what makes these experiences so defeating. Nothing like spending Father's day in the hospital with your not-sick kid. We had even risked potential eternal condemnation by passing on a family reunion because we just really needed a day - just one day. Together. With no plans. And then we end up held against our will. Prisoners, practically. (Robert might take exception with my analogy here, but whatevs.)

The best news is, of course, that he's mostly A-OK. Bored, but good-ish. He should be home later tonight.

The second best news is that I spent multiple hours reading The Lonely Polygamist (PG-13). It was slow going with this book initially, but now I can't possibly shake it. It's the kind of book that makes me think I should just leave it to the pros, you know? Maybe I'm meant to be a reader, not a writer. No shame in that. Homeboy makes mean business of character development. The story is fine and all, but in the end, that's never what sinks this ship. It's the writing. The soul-clutching, evocative, luscious, wit-laden stringing together of words. Paint me a picture and I'll hop right in. Paint me a picture like his and I'll probably take mental notes while I read.

Third best news? We enacted the changing of the guards and I got to come home to eat and shower and, you know, sleep.

Dear Hot & Sour Soup,
I have no idea what your flavors are.
You boast chunks of tofu and your texture teeters on gelatinous.
You're the underdog of the Chinese buffet soups and Cory loathes you.
But I'll always be a victim to your charms and I appreciate your nerve.

Fourth best/Absolute worst? The littlests were all farmed off for the night and the house is positively still. I contemplated the silence while making a batch of strawberry-peach freezer jam in my jammies.

There's an image of peach upside-down cake lodged in my psyche.

I'm officially obsessed with Desiree's season of The Bachelorette.

I guess that about wraps it up.

PS - Winner of the Olivia necklace is Tiffany! "You should know that there are people who read every post but never comment because commenting on a phone is a pain. Sorry about that. But we love your blog just the same!You should also know that the best way to pick a watermelon is to look for a dried shriveled stem. If the stem is still green, it's under ripe. If the stem is completely gone, it's over ripe. :-)" Email me, Sister!


  1. God Bless you, Girl. And never doubt you are a writer.

  2. WHAT a wonderful graduation! Congratulations to Haven!!!!!! phones are really not all that. I am toying with the idea of going back to a "dumb" phone so as to not be so connected!

    Hope you figure out what to do with your strawberries. Maybe put them in a blender and make strawberry juice? :-)

  3. Yay for her. She's a cutie. I almost didn't recognize the people in the photo with her. ;)
    I'm so glad Calvin is better. Sorry Father's Day was spent in the hospital.
    The a/c is out here and we're sweating it out to mid 80 degree temps in the house at night. We're melting! I really want a salad that isn't wilted right after I make it.

    1. Oh, and you need to use some of those strawberries to make Ree's Strawberry Chocolate Nutella Cake. (That's all mixed up, but those words are all in the name of the cake.) It's gooey, chocolaty, fudgy, whipped cream and strawberry heaven plus nutella. What could be better?

  4. I am so excited about Haven. You are right. That is a big accomplishment. I went to one of those also this weekend. And, just like you, I cried big tears. I hope these babies are able to find their wings and soar. I hope it with all that is in within me.

    I am sorry about Silas and the hospital. Gary's dad just got admitted to the hospital. Gary is so stressed and sad. I think I saw a tear slip out although he would never say that happened. I don't know what to do since it is 11:24 and there is really nothing I could do at the hospital.

  5. This made me a little sad.

    'Homeboy makes mean business of character development. The story is fine and all, but in the end, that's never what sinks this ship. It's the writing. The soul-clutching, evocative, luscious, wit-laden stringing together of words. Paint me a picture and I'll hop right in. Paint me a picture like his and I'll probably take mental notes while I read.'

    Girl, you need to know that I take mental notes when I read what YOU write! In fact I was bragging on you to my sister the other day and said that your writing makes me wish I was a writer! I will definitely be looking for this book but please remember this, there are many people out here in bloggy-land that feel the same exact way about the stories and pictures you share with us!

  6. You clearly have many gifts, and your writing brings many of them alive. Never doubt that you are a writer. Glad to hear that Calvin is on the mend. I can totally relate to making jam in the middle of it all.

  7. Oh dear Calvin. I am so sorry bud. Does this hospital not have an adequate child life specialist? They NEED one.

    I'm praying for you, man.

    Catch you later, farmgirl.


    Here are some "new" ideas to use up those strawberries before they go bad. Good luck!

  9. When I read the title of your post, I thought you were getting ready to share a list of your favorite songs;) Other favorites are good too, but hospitals are most definitely not. Hugs to you, writer friend.

  10. i have nothing to say.
    just that i miss you and sometimes blogs make that suckier because i can "hear" your voice and wish we were talking together instead of me reading your blog in my front room.
    the end.

  11. I just love how you write fan letters to your food.

  12. I'm glad you rallied and went out. Ya gotta do that while the littles are little, rally that is, or you'll never go on date night! Glad Calvin is A-OK, and hope you get some R&R soon.

  13. Strawberry-peach jam sounds delish! Do you have a recipe for it? And on a random side note, I have mentioned it before,but I love your blog! I love the blog that I can "hear" you talking as I am reading. Does that make any sense? Today is my last day of school and then it is summer vacation with my two girls! funny how the rest of the country has already been out of school for a month! :)

  14. A combination of my sister getting married and a 2 week vacation to Yellowstone meant I came back to like 20 posts of yours to read and I totally geeked out about it. Don't ever doubt your writing skills, I seriously was thinking as I'm reading through, I prefer reading your blog to most any book out there, I love when I get a big stack of posts to read back to back.

    Side note, did read and love on vacation: Tell the wolves I'm home.


  15. i am smiling at your thoughts for multiple reasons, some of which i cannot disclose here. if i remember whenever we get to talk, i shall happily spill, but we both know the condition of my brain these days. so yeah, probably not.

    also. the part about finding the last train? oh my. brings me back to the guy beside Jesus on gethsemane hill, and how very much he feels like me, and how this is worth fighting for.

  16. Can we chat about The Beard for a sec? It's quite impressive.

    Yay Haven!

    I'm (gasp!) so-so on Des' season so far. I think I just need time to get into it...

  17. ...... That a mama would be up at 3am reading, well 2:56 to be exact. Beautiful pictures painted here my friend or I wouldn't keep coming back to visit.