I think this down time between not being in school and not yet having a job has given me a new lease on life. Sunday morning I awoke at around 7 a.m. (30 minutes before my alarm sounded) and went outside to greet the day. The song "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" filled my mind as I tended my "mother's day flowers," pulled up weeds and planted my pepper plant in the ground. The morning was absolutely glorious-cool, but not too much so, with a hint of the rising sun. All too soon, I had to abandon my leisure activity to hustle kids out of bed and prepare for church.
Yesterday, I stood at the sliding glass door leading outside and marveled at all of the wildlife right in my own backyard. There was my friend the small green lizard perched on the meter pole just above the ground cover for a quick get-away if needed. A huge bullfrog squatted on a damp spot beside the pool (which is his home for the time being-until one of us captures him and his friends and relocates them to the pond at the park down the street--you know the same one where our little ducklings now reside--and dumps a bunch of chlorine in the pool to turn it from Lake Arlington green back to Caribbean breeze blue). From under my brother-in-law's shell of a "fixer upper race-car" that lives in my backyard, a rodent scampered back and forth, probably collecting grass seed to feed her friends and family who apparently live in the car or wheel wells or somewhere. A mourning dove walked across my neighbor's roof. I felt like I was in the midst of a National Geographic moment, and it was awesome.
The Gunn Junior High Band had their concert at Levitt Pavillion (outdoor concert venue in downtown Arlington) Monday evening. The weather was just perfect! The bands sounded good, too. I wanted to have a picnic on the lawn and fully enjoy the moment, but alas, I didn't plan too well. About an hour before we were supposed to be at the Pavillion, I decided to do hot dogs and chips (Mike had requested burgers, but who had time to pat out hamburger patties let alone slice onion, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes?). I realized I had no hot dog buns and didn't have time to make another trip to the grocery store, even if it is just minutes from my house, so regular bread would have to do. I thew the hot dogs on my George Foreman and set out ripping off sheets of foil and wax paper. I found some little round sticker dots in my office the other day and thought they'd be perfect for labeling which hot dogs had which condiments: red dot-ketchup, yellow-mustard, green-pickle relish, and blue-onion. I squeezed ketchup and/or mustard on some and added onion and/or pickle relish to others. I had no idea who might show up or who wanted what on their dogs. Hopefully, with a variety to choose from everyone would be happy in the end. I wrapped the warm hot dogs in the squares of foil or wax paper, stuck on the appropriate dots and stored them in my insulated lunch bag which kept them surprisingly warm. I grabbed as many water bottles as would fit in my little cooler (and one mint iced tea for Mike), the bag of jalapeno cheddar Cheetos and an old comforter to spread on the ground. Those were the best hot dogs ever! I guess the heat from the hot dogs kind of steamed the bread and made it nice and soft but not too soggy (kind of like the "Weinerschnitzel" dogs we used to get for a quarter on Wednesday nights).
Yesterday, Mike and I paid his mother, Jessie, a visit at her nursing home. She has Alzheimer's disease, and it is quite a dreary place. I've always contended that the only thing worse than old people in nursing homes is young people in nursing homes. Jessie was having a good day. She called Mike by name at one point. We took her outdoors on the patio and enjoyed the nice breeze and rowdy birds flying overhead and in the trees.
Reinforced with "meal replacement" smoothies (which were mighty good, I might add) from Arlington Nutrition we returned home to tackle Alisa's room. It was a slow process, but by 10 p.m. we had the old dresser out, the floor vacuumed, the new dresser/mirror and bed in and set up. I dug around in the linen closet for full sized sheets and found a set that Mike & I had used before we moved up to a queen sized bed. I went to shake them out and put them on Alisa's bed and we could all hear the elastic just give completely out. It sounded kind of like a zipper as it "stretched" never to return to its "fitted" state again. Guess I'll have to be on the look out for sales on full sized sheets!
In between all of the cleaning and rearranging of furniture, and in keeping with our Tex-Mex Tuesday theme, I prepared "Layered Mexican Party Salad" for dinner. You can find the recipe at www.bettycrocker.com. Everyone loved it. I used regular corkscrew pasta with a made-up combination of picante sauce, ranch dressing, freshly chopped cilantro, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and a touch of Creole seasoning in lieu of the Suddenly Salad the recipe calls for. I also added cubed chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken (a meal is not a meal without meat, in Mike's opinion). We finshed our meal with Edward's key lime pie, compliments of Tia who is trying to "be good" where sweets are concerned (even if the rest of us are steady gaining weight!) and so sent it our way.
Today has not been too eventful. I wrote out a few thank you notes for graduation gifts I've received (and prepared miscellaneous mailings that have been on my things to do list for some time). Barrett stopped by with some good news about which I will share in a subsequent entry once more informatin is known. I can't believe it's already after 2 o'clock. In another hour it will be time to pick up kids from school and begin the evening routine of figuring out what's for dinner, preparing it, tending to homework and so on. I would love to lie down and take a nap, but I know the doctor's office will call back as soon as I do. Mike is home from work today thinking he may have a hernia (probably overdid it yesterday moving furniture and what not). Oh well. What can I say? In spite of it all, mine is a wonderful life.