Last night I had one of those not-really nightmares, more like a nuisance-dream, where I couldn’t get the neighbor boy and his brother to leave my house. This dream was not likely that important or relevant but I think there are some anxieties I’ve been feeling about the care of this neighborhood child. The older brother hardly ever steps into my house except to order the younger one home; but the younger one is at my house nearly every minute his parents are gone and/or he is not required to be with family or in school.

So today when he came at his customary time I told him I wasn’t ready for company in the home. To my surprise I later realized he was merely sitting in my backyard (after having asked permission to be there) and waiting, preferring this over his television and many video games at home.  He did not as in days before knock on my door every five minutes (I am not kidding about this frequency). I like to think he has listened to my petition that he please not do this – and hopefully he trusts me I relay to my children immediately upon their waking that he wants to play with them (which I do). Today Phoenix played in and outside and while she was in this neighbor boy merely waited patiently for her to re-emerge. His loneliness and desire for meaningful connection is palpable.

It was a big day for Choppy – yes, you heard – CHOPPY, the (very horrid) grasshopper Phoenix had been trying to rehab. Choppy is/was quite large and my daughter requested I pet him/her goodbye. Look at the maniacal, angry eyes:

Incredibly, Phoenix knew this was a locust – a bit more specific than the descriptor grasshopper. I’m thinking (after doing a bit of research in Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard) Choppy is of species dissosteira carolinus aka Road Duster or the mourning cloak grasshopper.

Ralph had a long day in conference up in Tacoma. We went to pick him up and when he got in the car to the tearful hugs of our son (who was crying because he’d mispronounced the word “office” repeatedly while leaving Ralph’s work phone a voicemail) I asked if we could try one of the few new restaurants in the area. Downtown Aberdeen was hosting a Clint Black concert at the D&R Theater so our original choice restaurant had a rather large waiting list. In lieu of this Phoenix asked for Teri’s Steakhouse, a repurposed building that used to be a rather unappealing bar. And I could tell our daughter was worried we’d say No since we are not super steak-y.

So... I Don't Get It

Here’s something I love about me, or something I did today I’m happy about. They had modestly-priced Kid Menu items, just a couple. But Phoenix loves steak and was disappointed this wasn’t in the “kid” options like Nels’ choice of chicken nuggets. Our daughter thought this meant she couldn’t have steak. I told her of course she could, just to order off the adult menu (she looked for the smallest-size steak, ever mindful of Appropriateness). And of course she could have chocolate milk. And would she like soup or salad?  Ralph and I split a cheaper entree rather instinctively because hey, steak dinner, expensive right? And I knew I’d have so much pleasure in watching her eat exactly what she wanted. She was quite serious about critiquing the soup – a navy bean and ham. “Spicy, but quite good!” she said  – and ate every bit.

Navy Bean & Ham Pt. 1

Navy Bean & Ham Pt. 2

Navy Bean & Ham Pt. 3

Ralph and I were hungry and we’d ordered short-shrift so after demolishing our little salad we tried to control our still-ravenous appetites and act polite. When Phoenix was finished with her food we poked around and ate tomato slices and bits of New York steak and fries. It was rather efficiently done. The restaurant gave us complimentary cake at the end. A cream cheese frosting drizzled with caramel. Rather lovely, all of it.

Photography by Phoenix:

Ralph & Nels, Photography By Phoenix

Teri's Steak House, Photography By Phoenix

You know, I don’t mind living here much, maybe because the little stuff like trying some new restaurant out and watching how happy it makes the kids, and it’s lovely outside and all.

(Edited to add re: Choppy):

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