"I carried a watermelon"

My movie night went well.

Nothing like a little 80’s beefcake and very, very cheesy (yet fun) film. Everyone brought lots of great Mexican food, beer, wine, etc.

In honor the Mexican potluck thing, I also made these (only very marginally are they “Mexican”):

Pumpkin Enchiladas

1 ~4 lb. sugar pumpkin
2 cups sour cream
3 cups shredded gouda (divided, 2 cups and 1 cup)
2 jalapenos, ribbed, seeded, and minced
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon masa harina flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans red enchilada sauce
20 corn tortillas
oil for frying

Preheat oven to 425. Wash pumpkin. Cut into large wedges, scrape out sides. Roast skin-sides down for about 40 minutes. Take out, allow to cool.

Meanwhile, saute garlic in butter. Add masa harina and stir until thickened. Add sour cream and 2 cups of gouda. Stir until all is melted. Set aside.

Take pumpkin and peel off skins, put flesh in food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix with salt and jalapenos, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Wet bottom of large baking pan with some sauce. Soften tortillas in oil (one at a time). Put about 2 tablespoons pumpkin mix and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese roux in each. Roll and place seam-side down. Pour sauce over and top with.

Bake 40 minutes, covered. Allow to set for 5 minutes; serve.

domestic interludes

Today I woke up in worse shape than I was two days ago. My throat, my sinuses – congested, scratchy, ill. Yuck. This morning at least I am blessed with plenty of sleep and no hangover. At 7:30 I slide out of bed (kids still sleeping) and head to the kitchen. Start coffee for my husband and I and some breakfast for my kids to warm in the oven (they wake up voraciously hungry and a proactive breakfast is something I can throw at them in self defense, like jars of peanut butter at voracious doberman shepherds from some movie I saw once).

About 8 o’clock after Ralph has left and I’ve caught up on email and am contemplating sitting down and resting (I’ve done the math and I believe I do this about every 2.6 days) when I hear whispers from the hallway – Sophie coaxing Nels about something. I open the door to their bedroom to see my children, tousle-haired, pj’d, asking for Mama. I know the drill. I take my coffee and put it on the coffee table; sit on the couch. Nels crawls up on my left side, Sophie furnishes the blanket and tucks herself on my right. The three of us sit there quietly for minutes. I stroke their backs and the length of their strong, sturdy little legs; their little hands pet me. The smell on the top of Nels’ head is something lovely and indefinable. It is part shampoo, part health, part sleep, part uniquely and wondrously my Son.

I realize as I sit there with them that I have some sort of precious commodity. I have a treasure that I did not altogether ask for, nor did I quite win like a lottery. It isn’t the only treasure in the world nor the most glamorous. I do not deserve it entirely, based on merit, but many others (more deserving?) do not have what I have. These creatures curled up on my lap depend on me, love me, and are forever connected to me. Nothing could break the programming within them that causes them to find my arms, my voice, my smell to be the most Home they could ever hope to find.

A couple hours later and I’m home doing dishes by myself. My daughter is at school; my son with Abbi who is watching him for me as I take a more restful morning than I would normally have. In this way too I am fortunate, benefiting from friends who are also raising their young children. Abbi and I are sometimes like dual wives; daily bringing food, clothing, children’s books and knitware back and forth to one another. Just a phone call away from help, commiseration.

Tonight for dinner: Beef-in-Guinness (courtesy of a lovely brisket from Sunny Farms*), potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. We are sharing our meal with a friend and her daughter. Home-cooking and loved ones all around.

* This website cheerily claims, “a row of registers along the front of the store helps keep customer wait time to a minimum” – what they don’t tell you is that there is no frakin’ room to wheel your cart, and that several of your fellow cart-using customers will glare at YOU as if this is your fault. It’s the weirdest vibe.

another blessing: grandparents

This morning my parents, the dog Tuck, Nels and I walk Sophie to school. My son is sedate and measured in his walk – unlike his usual spastic running. The sun shines through the apple tree at my neighbors and my dad fetches my son an apple which he holds but won’t eat yet. After we get home I do the breakfast dishes. My mom and I are planning to do some canning (with the tongs, rack, and pot my father so sweetly bought me) so I’m getting my kitchen ready while my mom makes up a grocery list for my father. I ask my dad to take Nels to the store with him; he flat-out refuses. “He’d love to go!” I suggest. “No,” my dad flatly shakes his head. I head back into the kitchen and mutter, “They say it takes a village…” and my mom finishes, “Yeah, a village of girls.”

Soon my mom and I are in the kitchen, canning tomatoes from her garden and listening to “The Best of The Ronettes” while Nels totally fakes it as if he is perennially the Perfect Child – blissfully petting the cat up on the attic bed, putting his boots off and on, holding make-believe with his toys calmly in the corner, putting my buttons back in their glass jar after sorting them (I can only surmise he is keeping his image up for Grandma). Soon there are five pints of tomatoes on my counter and it’s time to get my daughter from school. Out to the beach where we have sandwiches and pickles and my kids run on the beach with their grandfather walking behind.

We get home to naps and some sewing on Nels’ Halloween costumes. Tonight we’ll be barbecuing dinner out at the beach with my folks, then Ralph and I get to have a date together.