Quilt

It’s technically been two years in the making. Two years plus. But who’s counting? Certainly not one loudmouth eight year old who has reminded me very loudly that I have not finished her pink ocean quilt.  Two years since we sat down together and chose the fabric and the pattern. Two years since we special ordered yards and yards of dark and light pink fabrics with teeny octopuses and seahorses.

Maybe it was three years. If this post were a hashtag, it would be #badpromisebreakinglousytoochickentoquiltmom.

If I ever see another teeny pink triangle (Hey there, unintentional Weezer reference!) again I’ll barf. Swear.

I busted my rear to finish it by Christmas this year. Many, many nights were spent with a good drink by the sewing machine until the wee hours…or in a few ill-fated evenings, until the sun came back up.

After those all-nighters I took some naproxen and rested my sewing hand. Those shears HURT, people. And I’m not twenty-one anymore.

I also feel like I need to add an asterisk to my quilt. Maybe two asterisks, since 1) It’s not a quilt, technically it’s a duvet. I had this idea that it would be more washable and easier than a real quilt. The joke’s on me there. 2) I did not do any of this by hand. Not one blasted stitch. Is it still a quilt if you don’t sew it by hand with one of those wooden circle frames? Is it still a quilt if you shove the pieces through a Brother sewing machine as fast as they will go? And is it still a quilt if you’ve stuffed inside a JC Penney down comforter and have rechristened it a duvet?

Whatever. I’m calling it a quilt anyway.

But I did not finish it by Christmas. And it broke my heart. So I wrapped up the patchwork top in an old Amazon.com shipping box and defended myself very loudly when she opened it Christmas morning.

“I’MGOINGTOFINISHITFORNEWYEAR’S! IPROMISE!”

YOU’LLBESLEEPINGONITSOON! ISWEAR!”

ILOVEYOUSOMUCHANDIWORKEDSOHARDJUSTFORYOUDON’TYOULOVEIT??????”

She did not seem overjoyed, and I tried to be okay with that.

All of a sudden–after two years plus–this quilt suddenly became very important to me. It was important that I finish the promise, that I for once in my life complete something I started. And I did. A little late, but there it is. It’s on the bed, a little misshapen and with crooked stitches, but it’s there. Finished and fulfilled at 2:30 in the morning a week and a half after Christmas.

She better love the crap out of it.

This girl keeps me on my toes.

Or alternately, What Carolina does when I leave the room for a split second to take care of business (i.e. PEE BREAK).

Take off her pants and socks. Happily parade around the house full of spit and indecency.

Climb across the loveseat and over the sewing table to get the glass of Coke I carefully put out of her reach. Proceed to stick her arm inside the glass and turn it over in her lap.

Open up Pandora on the laptop and rock out to Florence + the Machine.

Troublemaker.

Score!

Guess what I found at the thrift store this week!

(Ignore the glare in the photo. We’ll just pretend it’s glitter. Richard is very big on glitter.)

Unopened. Mint condition. And I’ve been getting my Richard on ever since.

Who would donate a perfectly good Richard Simmons dance video to Savers without even opening it? Someone who doesn’t want to enjoy a “sassy, sultry” workout, that’s who. Loser.

I’m not ashamed to say that the first time I did this workout, it totally kicked my ass. And my shoulders. And my everything.

Let me know if you find the second video.

Today I took children to the doctor’s office the week before school starts and lived to to write haiku about it

went to the doctor

with a baby so cranky

sure didn’t feel good

*****

in the waiting room

carolina fell down hard

goose egg on her head

*****

waited two hours

geneva was good sport

until she wasn’t

*****

baby lost my keys

she put them in the basket

looked for a long time

*****

two poops too many

when we’re away from the house

when’s potty training

*****

going home relieved

i smile and think that i am

going to pull this car into a drive-through liquor store RIGHT NOW

so glad to go home

*****

Signature Dish

Each summer I find myself making the same meal over and over. Like maybe I’ll eat it five times a week for the duration of the summer. Always a different dish, each summer. Usually it’s a salad of some sort, since it’s dang near the only thing (save for central air conditioning and afternoon cocktails) that makes an Arkansas summer bearable. Some may call it a food rut, but I prefer to think of it as my Signature Dish. My Signature Dish this summer is one I plagiarized shamelessly from an old Bon Appetit magazine, only I left out all the gross stuff just casually whipped up on a hot day all by myself.

First, I’ve been a little obsessed with barley lately. Yes, I know–who isn’t? Such an underrated little grain. I’m so excited to find a good use for it, other than soups and stews.

Please be aware that you’ll see some uncharacteristic food snobbery ahead, but rest assured that I’m still the same old Eden. You’ll still have to pry the bag of Doritos and the Coca-cola out of my cold dead hands. I promise.

Signature Dish version 2001

1 cup hulled barley (I buy hulled barley in bulk at Whole Foods. Don’t get the .89 bag of pearled barley from Kroger. Just don’t. Buy it in bulk at Whole Foods and keep it in the fridge in glass mason jars. Hulled barley is more nutritious, plus that way, whenever you look in the fridge, you’ll smile at the sight of your shiny mason jars lined up so neatly and feel that all is right with the world. Or maybe that’s just me.)

Three or four or five ears of sweet corn (Or maybe more if you really like corn. I happen to really like corn.)

A tomato or two (Go to a farmer’s market for your corn and tomatoes, or get them from a garden. They’re in season now, and there’s nothing like a fresh tomato.)

Cilantro and a teensy bit of lime juice

Cook the barley in boiling water until chewy-tender. You can soak it ahead of time if you wish; I usually forget about this step. Drain and cool. Sometimes I cook it and stick it in the fridge until I’m ready to throw it all together.

Shuck the corn and cook on a charcoal grill for 20 minutes or so. If it’s really fresh corn, it may not even need that long. Let the corn cool and decob it into a bowl.

I don’t know if decob is really a word. If not, I think it should be. What I really mean is slice the corn off the cob with a sharp knife.

Dice the tomato into chunks.

Chop the cilantro leaves into teensy pieces. Put in as much as you like.

Toss the cooled barley, corn, and tomato in a large-ish bowl with the cilantro and a teeny bit of lime juice.

Just before serving, toss with some sliced avocado.

I’ve also on different occasions added diced jalapeno and chopped roasted red pepper to this dish with good results, but I really like it with only the barley, corn, tomato, and cilantro. It’s a good side for grilled chicken, and it makes great leftovers.

Enjoy!

To-do list

I can’t believe I’m making a to-do list on the first day of summer. There is something just so wrong about it. I hope this isn’t an indicator of the summer.

1. Call insurance company. Again. Report my latest car accident. No, not this one. Good things come in pairs for me lately!

2. Make meal plans and grocery lists. Then go shopping. Hopefully without the children.

3. Find a new place to put the library books. Like on a high shelf where the baby can’t find them. Why, you ask? Because the baby took a liking to one of the library books, and many ripped pages later, I found myself writing a large check and wishing my one year old would start earning her keep.

4. Clean. Do laundry. Figure out a way to decrease amount of time spent on cleaning and laundry this summer.

5. Check sales on swimsuits. Maybe I’ll put this off until last.

6. Find a pair of baby shoes that will last all summer and won’t break the bank. How can tiny shoes be so expensive?

7. Start planning for vacation to Florida in July. I’m sure there will be a learning curve for road tripping with two kids. Advice welcome!

Fun times

My child is so fashionable.

Me, thinking out loud: “You know I really should make matching outfits for you and Carolina soon. Like for this summer.”

Geneva, with the kind of excitement usually reserved for musicals and Ramona books: “Like matching chicken costumes?!

Responses from my kids in class upon opening their time capsules from the beginning of the school year:

“Wow, I’m a lot less dorky than I was at the first of the year. And I mean a lot.”

“I was handsome at the first of the school year, and I’m still handsome now. But I don’t think I’m going to let my mom give me that haircut again.”

Geneva is very blunt, yet still well-mannered.

“Even though this [and by “this,” she means the dinner over which I slaved] doesn’t have much flavor, it’s still pretty good.”

My recorded statement to the insurance agent who is investigating my claim for the stupidest car accident ever, in which I answer many, many questions with the. same. answer. every. time. Clearly I need to work on my communication skills.

Agent: “Were any injuries sustained as a result of this accident?”

Me: “No. Both parties were in the grocery store. No one was driving.

Agent: “So no ambulance was called?”

Me: Sigh. “No.”

Agent: “What was the weather like that day? Was it a factor in the accident?”

Me: Really? “No. He left his car out of gear and it rolled down a hill.”

Agent: “Oh, so no one was driving?”

Business cards

Today I received two business cards!

One came from a very sweet former student. She’s moving out of state, and today she handed me a card with her new contact information. It had pretty flowers and her name in fancy letters. This was a good business card.

The other came from Officer Lance Mayfield with the Maumelle Police Department. It has my brand new police report number written on it in black ink so that I may file an insurance claim. A police report number that was generated because some jackass with Texas license plates didn’t put his Wrangler in gear at the grocery store. This was a bad business card.

Did I mention that the jackass parked on a hill? And that his Wrangler rolled backwards into my Civic and that his stupid trailer hitch punctured my tail light? And that my humble Civic is now scratched and bruised in several spots?

Who does that, anyway? Who drives a stick shift, parks on a gentle slope, and leaves it out of gear?

I may have obnoxiously mentioned to the other driver that I also drive a stick shift, and I always put my parking break on, even if I’m not parking on a hill. Then I gave him a dirty look and reminded him that my ice cream was melting in my car because of his stupidity.

I’m sure he appreciated my help.