Monday, June 4, 2012

Plants & Critters, Music, Another Failed Recipe, and a Broken Ice Cream Maker

Just a few things of note this weekend, which overall was pretty quiet.

Friday morning, as I walked through and watered the potted plants, I noticed several odd-looking mushrooms had sprouted in the pot containing the peppercorn plant, literally overnight.  Here's what they looked like.

You can see there's still a little dirt on top of them.  By 11:00 am, the tops were bent over, like they were wilting.  We left to see a movie with Amanda, and by the time we got home, the mushrooms were completely crumpled and wilted.  None of the other plants had these in them at the time.  I bought three plants from the same nursery, planted them in pots at the same time, using the same bag of soil, so this one seemed to be unique.

After the movie (MIB3 - a fun one), we came home to a kitchen horror.  A tiny drop of something had been left on the counter top, and that invited in a massive, and I mean MASSIVE, swarm of black ants.  I've never seen so many, and once they found that one spot they mobilized and went to every vulnerable spot in the room.  The cereal box - outside into the garbage.  Granola bars sealed in ziplocs, even.  Gone.  The garbage can.  Out.  These ants were the fastest I have ever seen.  They seemed to be on meth, or to have little jet propulsion packs strapped to their backs.  It took 24 hyper vigilant hours for them to be gone.

No, there are no photos of this disaster!

Saturday morning, I was surprised to see two mushrooms in the tea tree pot.  Again, they sprouted overnight and were gone by afternoon.  This plant is from the same group as the peppercorn, so I'm not sure if the spores came from the nursery or the soil.  Interestingly, the wild ginger plant seems to be immune to this, as nothing has shown up in that one at all.  They haven't came back in the other two plants, either.

Becca was treated to her first big concert by her sisters on Saturday.  It was called BFD and featured many of her favorite bands.  This was an opportunity for her to do something Major as a teen, and she was so excited the night before that she couldn't sleep.  I brought her to Jessi's house in the morning, and reiterated that she was to stick close to her sisters!!  I even offered to send the magician's handcuffs that Becca has with them, but they didn't want to do that.  With promises that they would check in regularly by text, I left for over 24 hours to myself.  A rarity.

I found a potential job listing and worked on the application packet for most of the morning.  It's such a different world these days, a far cry from when I used to submit a resume or fill out a single-page application.  The screening process is like a final exam, with the attendant attention to detail and focus on doing your very best.  You know that you won't get a "passing grade" unless you are able to get through this written exam and then pass the oral.  I took my time and got it all right, printing the packet for delivery on Monday.

It was HOT in the house by the time I finished, and I wanted ice cream.  There's nothing better than homemade ice cream on a hot day, so I decided that I'd use the electric mixer because it's smaller and I didn't have someone to help me crank the other.  We haven't used this since we acquired the antique hand crank a couple years ago, but I knew where it was and the canister was frozen, so I pulled it out and got it started.  About 20 minutes later, I noticed it had mysteriously stopped cranking.  I worried that it had frozen too quickly and had jammed, but it was still barely frozen.  I pulled it apart and checked, trying to get it started again.  The motor wasn't working, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it.  Well, I guess that means hand crank from here on out.  I put the canister and mixing blade into the freezer and set the timer so I'd check and stir it by hand every 10 minutes.  Eventually, I was able to finish the ice cream, and regretfully tossed the old mixer.

I felt guilty making ice cream without Becca, but know we'll have a chance to do more together.  She was having fun at the concert, so I didn't feel too bad.  I wondered if I should write about this in my blog, and decided to go ahead and do it, because she doesn't read my blog.

As the weather cooled, I decided to try a new cake recipe.  This one sounded good - Vanilla Blueberry Butter Cake!  I had fresh blueberries and wanted to give this a go.  Unfortunately, it turned out dense and flat, the best part being the blueberries.  Normally I'd tell you where I found the recipe, but I only do that if it's good.  Not only because I want you to have a good experience, but I don't want to trash-talk other bloggers.  It might have been a mistake in the recipe.  I noticed there was no salt or baking soda included in the ingredients, and that might be the problem.  In any event, I learned something from the experience.  I now know how to make my favorite pound cake with blueberries in it.  Now THAT is something to look forward to!  When I make it, I'll be sure to share the recipe.  We made pound cake for Becca's English class last year, and it was da bomb.

I had the house to myself.  I didn't have to go anywhere.  I could do anything I wanted to, and I decided to do something that I rarely allow time for.  Piano.  I have a beautiful Baldwin Hamilton that I love to pieces.  It as a story behind it that I may share at another time.  I think it'd been a year and a half since I played, and even then it was at the request of the kids at Christmas time, without having played for a long time before that.  I love the sound of this piano, and there's something special about the "real thing."  I just don't get along well with electronics.  I've often thought it would be nice to have a standard-looking piano that was digital, so that I could plug headphones in and play whenever I want to, but I just don't want to get rid of this one, and ... there's a connection to the instrument emotionally that you don't get with something that's plugged in.  I can't explain it, but perhaps if you play, you know how that feels.  I pulled out the music for some old favorites.  I looked hard at the music, familiarizing myself again with the sharps, flats, where the keys were.  I was surprised that it was more difficult this time.  I stumbled through the first page, and then felt my hands becoming more confident.  By the time I was finished with the song, I felt an incredible happiness as my muscle memory took over and I played as if I'd been doing it all along.  Each song was like that, but I went through them several times, and left the keyboard feeling as if I had accomplished something special, looking forward to the next time with my old friend.  (Then went straight to the computer to find a local piano tuner!)

The kids didn't get home from the concert until 2:00 am Sunday morning.  Becca spent the night at her sister's house in Windsor, and they both texted to let me know they were home safe.  They slept in and took their time Sunday morning, and Jessi brought Bex home that afternoon.  It was fun to hear their stories and their experience at the concert.  Becca had a blast, and is looking forward to doing this again with her sisters.

As we were moving the chicks into their box for the night, I asked Becca if we should try integrating the flock again the next day.  She said yes.  Then after a couple of moments, she said that she read my blog.  I asked which one, and she said the last one, about Memorial Day week. "You know, the one where you said I freaked out."  I was worried she'd be upset that I wrote about her, but she was fine with that.  She told me that reading that and my explanation about the chicks helped her understand the situation better, and that she was ready to help them make that transition.  Wow - what a great feeling!  I felt so connected with her, was so proud of her maturity and ability to communicate with me.  It seemed as if that, plus her experience going to the concert, had brought a new maturity to her, and we had a good evening together.  She's growing into a really incredible young woman.

You know what that means though, right?  I thought I could talk about the ice cream and broken appliance without her knowing about it.  She might read this blog post.  If she does, here's what I have to say.

Hi, Becca.  I'm sorry about the ice cream maker. Do you want to hand crank some with me?  I love you very much, and am so very proud of you!!

No comments:

Post a Comment