Friday, August 30, 2013

Goats eat everything

We went to the zoo today. Saw animals. Scared the crap out of Paul. Typical day.

For anyone who is not aware, my kids love wallabies, especially the wallabies in the children's petting zoo. So, we went over and I meant to get them some food to make the wallabies less recalcitrant, but forgot. When we got in there was exactly one wallaby. Since that wallaby wasn't all that keen on my kids (who haven't yet mastered the art of walking slowly or speaking softly when excited) and there were like two dozen people coming through the gates, all holding bags of food, I convinced my little chilluns to come with me to get some food. Then I convinced them to go see the barnyard animals (goats, sheep, deer) instead of the wallaby.

Paul insisted on carrying the bag and I let him 'cause I'm thoughtful that way. There are two gates to go through (kind of an air-lock system to keep the animals from running away). The instant the second gate was open three goats pushed their way into the little entrance way, scaring Paul silly.

He, realizing instantly that his life was in danger, dropped the food bag and began scaling my leg.

The largest and most aggressive of the three goats grabbed the food bag, paper bag and all, and downed it.

Paul, crying and screaming, "scary! scary!" still wanted to touch the animals, just not the goats.

Go figure.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Today is the first day I wake up drenched in sweat
   And only one blanket
The first day I don't scurry on tiptoes across the tile
   But walk flat-footed
It is the first day my children throw down their jackets
   And I join them
The first day the wind brings warmth
   And the sun feels bright
   And the asphalt smells
The first day the air around the rain
   Feels like a doona,
       Thick and suffocating
It's the first day that speaks of charred hot dogs and peach juice
   Dripping down my arm
   Of watermelon so crisp it spits as you bite it
   Of mosquitoes and thunderstorms and the want of cool
Today is the first day I believe summer is near

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rainy days and libraries

Some days make you grateful to be alive. Some days make you glad your kids are alive. Some days I feel lucky all of us make it to the end of the day.

Yesterday we went to the library. It was supposed to rain (later it did) but I wanted to make sure the kids spent some time outside, doing something other than watching TV. We skuuted over, read books, and then, as I was putting away some of the huge stack Sylvia had accumulated, Paul ran around, playing with some of the toys in the library, or so I assumed.

While I wasn't watching Paul started opening the drawers of the newspaper cabinet. I'm not sure if the thing was particularly off balance that day, or if it's normally off balance and just  nobody's been unlucky with it yet, but after he pulled out a couple of the drawers the cabinet tipped over on top of Paul.

There's a heart-stopping moment after a crash when there's no noise, just a sucking in of breath as everyone imagines the worst, when, as a mom, you feel all eyes on you, wondering why you weren't there. Then, the crying starts, on one hand heart-wrenching; on the other comforting, for at least you know your child is alive.

Paul is perfectly okay. He was understandably scared and cried for about as long as I've ever heard him cry, but there seems to be no damage. We had to do a little paperwork and then we went home. All the tears and all the shaking I'd suppressed inside the library rolled out of me as I carried Paul home in the rain, holding him close the whole way.

We all took a long nap that afternoon, curled up together on the kid's bed.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bad Baklava

My kids love baklava. Actually, they call it bakabakaba, which I think sounds like it should be shaped like a chicken, but whatever. They love it no matter what they call it. I usually make it because it's really a pretty simple thing to make and if I don't make it in massive quantities I don't get any. Sure, it's time consuming (so it doesn't happen too often), but it also turns out even bad baklava is pretty good.

And I've been testing the limits of bad baklava lately. The last couple of iterations of baklava have been less than stellar, yet still decidedly edible. Still, someday I want to make the perfect baklava. Inspired by this post I'm going to take a moment to write down things I did right and what went wrong.

Good things about this baklava:
* Fresh phyllo dough (from the fridge section rather than the freezer section) worked better than defrosted phyllo dough.
* Buttering all layers lightly really isn't that bad and I like it better that way
* Applying just a couple of tablespoons of chopped nuts every two layers makes for good baklava

Bad things about this baklava:
* Really, it just needed more syrup. One cup isn't enough--do two next time. Oh, and while you can kind of add more syrup later (which is what happened--Derrick made a second cup of simple syrup and poured it over) the result is a little more sweet soggy cereal and less tasty, crunchy baklava.

Anyway, it was for Sylvia's birthday, and I don't think she cared overmuch about its inadequacies. She loves baklava too much to be put off by such trivialities.

Happy #5 kid.