no long-winded stories, really, just a handful of thoughts about the things going on:
on their last visit, Justin & Vi remarked that the holly bushes aligning my front walkway were getting a little out of control. which was true, i just hadn’t gotten around to doing anything about them. then Chris mentioned last week that a branch of the same had tried to attack him on the way in. clearly, time to fix something. so i’m outside with an ancient pair of grass shears (read: big scissors for trimming leaves, not so much any woody-stemmed bits) doing pretty well at shaping those wayward explosions into teardrops when the joint of said shears finally gives up the ghost. this necessitates a trip to home depot, which leads to other errand-running, and by the time i come back with a nifty new heavy-duty pair of hedge trimmers (bigger! longer! wavy-bladed for catching & nipping branches!), it’s raining quite nicely. well, i’m ever so stubborn, and once i start a project with a mind toward finishing it, it’s getting done. it occurs to me later, as i’m standing atop an 8′ aluminum ladder holding a long metal-tipped trimming object in the rain, that this is not one of my more clever moments. but the hedges look nice now.
meanwhile, when i came home from the trip of errands, there were a *lot* of cars in the vicinity of my house. filling up the visitor spaces, draped along the curbs that aren’t marked as parking spaces, there’s a lot of people flowing in to my next door neighbors’ place. and every time that door opens up (in the rain, me atop the ladder, hedge shears blazing), a club-volume blast of latino tunes flares out into the front yard. it took me a couple of door-openings to realize that this was no mere radio at volume, no, it was karaoke en español. WOW. let me just tell you, there’s no holding back with my latin-american (peruvian, actually) neighbors and their party-time singing. no false modesty, none of the “well, i can’t actually try to sing well, then i’m open to ridicule if it doesn’t fly.” every single one of these guys over there belted out some tunes at full-on recording-studio volume. if there had been rap or country music at that level next door, i would have said something. but as it was, i was highly amused, no reason to bust up any of that.
also, meanwhile, i’d left the dog running around outside while i ran off to do errands. so when i came home to the summer-Texan-style rains, they were happening in the back yard as well, leaving the dog already soaking. time for a bath. if i remember straight, this was only her 3rd bath this year. as in, i hate doing this to her so much, and she hates me quite a bit for it, that instead of getting an every-2-weeks dunk, she gets one every other month.
Chris & i went shopping for random errand-driven stuff all day today. i’m still so mentally trained by the exes of yesteryear to NOT take any length of time in a store that i can’t help asking every 5 minutes or so if he’s ok with continuing the shopping expedition. he tells me to calm down, sometimes i actually do. but usually, it’s far more likely for me to be unconsciously repeating those “just checking” queries on schedule, “are you ready to leave now?” don’t want to upset him, i guess, given the volatile irritation of the vast majority of my previous long-term partners. and yet, he just rolls his eyes and is fine with things.
speaking of interesting things this man does, the cooking, it’s permanently awesome. pizza is the non-burger stereotype of greasy fast food…until you make it fresh at home, with fresh dough and fresh buffala mozarella, and pesto and smoked oysters (!) or roasted veggies. amazing. but basic techniques are new to me too. i got the stove all figured out, and i know the oven is for creating previously-frozen pizzas or box-mix muffins, but the broiler is a strange and foreign country to me. he’s charred some broccoli florets in there before, drizzled with balsamic vinegar & sea salt, that ended up all kinds of wonderful. you’d think that would have been enough to get me to make friends with the bottom 1/5 of the oven, but no, it’s still a random drawer most often used to store seldom-used pans. tonight, to go with the leg of lamb roasting in garlic & spices, we were having yellow squash & salad. the squashes were quartered long-ways and dashed with olive oil, sea salt, and french provincial herbs, and were sitting on the counter ready to go to the grill. Chris asked why i felt the need to heat up the whole grill, etc, instead of broiler-ing them. OH. YEAH. THAT THING. under the lil’ roaster flames, they turned out far more tender & flavorful than on the grill, with all the spices still stuck on top instead of falling to the flames. i am really going to have to keep this oven locale in mind in the future…