Friday, June 16, 2006

And that was Friday

This evening I felt so Fridayish I wanted to go out, not stay inside thinking about work one moment more. So we did, getting Caroline all dressed again after she had too quickly stripped to jump in the shower and pee. Yes, that’s right, pee in the bathtub, but on her potty, of course. Pretending to take a bath was apparently just the right combination for her to decide to use the potty (this time). Toddlers are a bit like people with Asperger’s syndrome, always on the look for the right combination, that magical feeling, before they accede control.

After she successfully peed on her potty and got dressed again, we walked to the park. The park a few blocks from the TV tower, the one with the beautiful view, one lone rocking horse and a pub surrounded by tented tables, with plenty of lawn to run about on. When we got to the park we said "Caroline run! You can run on the grass and not worry about cars!" And she did, though she had to worry about dogs - a big Afghan, a medium sized greyhound type and a terrior. "Daddy mommy and baby" she named them before she clamored for Will to pick her up out of dogs‘ way. When they ignored her she did run and Will ran with her too. It was a beautiful evening and everything smelled so green and fresh. The wind blew in from the north and the dogs leaped up like marionettes on a string, so happy to be out together. C triumphantly climbed into the v of a tiny tree, and said, "look Mommie, look at me, I’m climbing up and up and up." And then she jumped down an entire two inches, took our hands and we walked home.

Monday, June 12, 2006

0-3 Czechia!!!

It has of course jumped from 48F to 80 and everyone is now complaining about the heat. But at least it feels really like summer. I took a walk tonight, as usual grabbing my jacket before I walked out the door, and laughed at myself when I got outside. It was 10:00 and the air was warm enough to swim in, the sky that dark cobalt you see on summer nights when the humidity holds onto the light and mixes it up with evening blue. I tied the jacket around my waist and proceeded.

Anyway, thanks to the beautiful weather and the World Cup, many many people were off work today. Anyone who wasn’t left their offices at 5 to head out to watch the game (U.S. vs. Czechs). We won, 0-3. Caroline and I watched it at home, and I had to start censoring what I said because after the first few "oh no!!" and "poor guy"'s Caroline started clutching her head and moaning, "oh poor guy no" each time CT2 showed a close up of someone heading the ball. I tried to convince her that it was just a game and the players were really having a fun time out there, but then they carried someone else away on a stretcher so I pulled out a banana as distraction. She can now say she almost watched the Czechs beat the U.S. in the World Cup 2006.

It was a fun game to watch, even mostly by myself, because I knew that so many of my friends were watching it too - a weirdly communal experience enhanced by hearing every score celebrated on the street, and getting sms from several continents, nearly simultaneously, all saying, "goal!!!"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sun shone down sure enough

The sun shone today; grey parks leaped into green; old men smiled and met at tram stops to drink beer together. And this was in the city. If the sky stays clear like this the streets of Prague* will be empty Friday evening.

* Not including downtown and the Charles Bridge of course.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Discovered in a notebook while cleaning out my desk Friday, a poem from after our grandfather's funeral two years ago.

I did not cry when we followed him in,
   nor when we sang
Amazing Grace, his favorite hymn.
   But when Grandmama fiercely wavered
the last stanzas of the last hymn,
   when the boys stood sentinel
as we watched the flag fold by fold -
     Only then.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Recipes for my brother (Easy linguini)

Remember those college days when a dorm meal of ramen noodles, cottage cheese and salsa represented the height of your creative cooking? Then you graduated to an apartment and started making pasta in earnest, with real noodles, and sauce in a jar, maybe some slightly plasticky parmesan to sprinkle over everything.

I remember. I ate that meal at least three times a week for several years, interspersed with music recital food (honestly gained by attending the recitals) and dinner at fancy Nashville restaurants (courtesy of my dating circuit). I can’t stand spaghetti noodles any more, but we still eat pasta, and I keep finding new sauce recipes that are so tasty they must be tried again.

Here’s one from last night, modified from an epicurious recipe to match what I could find on the walk home from work yesterday. Modified also for my brother, who has just embarked on apartment living. Happy cooking Bro!

Linguini (it is so much tastier than spaghetti after all)
Red onions, chopped into bits (3), garlic works too (6 cloves)
Olive oil
Pancetta or English bacon or regular bacon (as you wish, but at least 4 slices)
Red pepper flakes (two good shakes)
Sun dried tomatoes in oil, cut into bits. (1/2 cup)
Cherry tomatoes halved or larger vine tomatoes, chopped (2 cups of cherry or 3 tomatoes)
Parmesan or Romano or Pecorino, grated (2 cups)
Salt to taste

Follow instructions on packet for linguini. Test when near done to keep that al dente taste. Don’t bother throwing pasta on the wall to test it, your teeth are much smarter than the wall. When done, pour into collander to drain water, then return drained pasta to pot.

Mix oil from sun dried tomatoes with olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the frying pan. Heat on medium until hot, but not smoking. If it smokes, carefully throw oil away and start again. Add onion bits. Cook for longer than you think, until they are soft and nearly translucent. Add pancetta or bacon, saute (stir but not incessantly) for 4 minutes or until starting to crisp.
Add tomatoes of both sorts, saute for 4 minutes.

Pour frying pan contents into drained linguini. Stir together. Add most of cheese to pot, stir to coat the linguini. Salt to taste. Serve, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Consider adding basil if you’ve got it growing on your patio.

If you don’t have the red pepper flakes or dried tomatoes, no worries, it works anyway.