Sunday, June 25, 2006

...or the day after that

I awoke yesterday not with a hangover, like I'd expected, but with a full-blown cold, complete with stuffed sinuses, sore throat and whanging headache. It was as if the red wine had opened up the front door of my immune system and invited my slight sniffle to come inside and party hard. And it's been partying hard ever since.

Anyhoo, that drinky session was sparked by my exasperation at the fact that everyone I know is either pregnant or just sprogged or expecting me to get pregnant.* I decided that I am going to stop thinking of myself as TRYING. I'm not trying anymore. I'm just going to have unsafe sex with my partner like we've been doing quite happily for the last few years and I'm going to resume thinking of it as a naughty, titillating thing rather than a bloody duty. And I’m going to have the occasional drink because it's fun. Heh.

In other news, I had AP over to my house for lunch today. She hasn't visited for years, because I've managed to avoid it for years, mainly because of the cleaning such a visit entails. It's like the Queen coming to visit. I've been channelling Annie** for 2 days now, between coughs and sneezes.

I can’t buy AP presents; she's got everything she needs, and part of my work with her is whittling down her possessions in preparation for her death (she wants to die organized). We’ve been doing this for nearly ten years now, and I can tell you, in that respect she's ready. Still, I decided along the way that the best present I can give her is a really scrumptious meal. She doesn't cook much, and lives mostly off frozen meals reheated in the microwave. So for birthdays and Christmas, I usually get her to invite a friend over, and I come over and cook her a dinner party.

However, I’ve had lots of changes to my life since she last visited, including getting married and renovating bits of the house, and she just had her birthday, so I thought that this time I'd have her as a guest and she could inspect the changes for herself.

Of course, she loved being here, and admired our kitchen and art and books and was politely gobsmacked suitably impressed by Bumblebee's presentation of every gruesome transforming toy he owns (watching him explain to this genteel 86-y/o woman how Wolverine transforms from ugly human to vicious wolf with razor-sharp knifie things coming out of his paws will be one of the stories I will tell his kids).

She also admired (as I do, constantly) BB's housewifely domestic skills, hanging out the washing, doing the ironing (he did this later in the afternoon, when all the eating was over and I was demonstrating the wonders of teh internet*** to her) and starting a batch of mandarin marmalade. Gordon Bennett!

I cooked a delicious lemon chicken risotto: leeks and organic chicken breast pieces cooked in butter and olive oil, stir in the rice, add hot spoonfuls of chicken stock simmering with fresh garlic & rosemary, add quartered button muchrooms after the first batch of stock, then stir through parmesan, butter, and the juice and zest of one lemon at the end. It was superb, served with crusty bread rolls and a light salad. Followed by fresh coffee and a slice of Stephanie Alexander’s lemon slice (made yesterday by BB and Bumblebee). A lot of lemon, I know, but we have two buckets of them sitting in the kitchen! And they can’t be bad with a cold like mine.

I was a bit nervous about having AP over while I feel so diseased, but I know that if I cancelled it wouldn’t happen again for ages. So I was very careful about my germs! No kisses, lots of handwashing.

And the cats behaved themselves beautifully. They’d calmed down from their morning crazyness. Here’s a taste of their kitty love kerfuffles (bearing in mind that this is a very contained example. Usually they do this in full flight all over the house, knocking down chairs and anything else in their way!). Padge is in the red corner, Pooter is in the blue, and the bit of leek is just in the kitchen corner, waiting to be picked up:

* Mindy, this is not a dig at you. That Maybe Baby thingie scares me, but it was a lovely gesture, and I still peek at it when I feel brave enough :)

** I mentioned this a few posts ago: it’s a family term for a cleaning frenzy, named after my obsessively clean grandmother (I once hopped out of my bed at 6am for a pee when staying with her, and came back to a made bed).

*** AP was a bit disturbed that when we googled her name, the second thing we found was an essay on her writing up for sale. This then sparked a discussion on university education very similar to the conversations we've been having over at Sarsaparilla. She had never experienced the internet before. It was a bit of a shock. It's all science fiction to her, and I think she found it a bit scary.


Galaxy said...

Can there ever be too much lemon in a meal? Hmmm... No, it's not possible. You can get so many shades of taste from the humble lemon. I do like the sound of two buckets of them. You should get BB onto making preserved lemons, which is basically quartering (with the ends still attached) packing them in jars with lots of salt, making sure to squish them down as much as possible to release the juices, and making sure they're covered with juice. Leave them for a couple of months then it's Moroccan cooking all 'round!

Naomi said...

Relaxation is always the best policy.

Must admit, feeling much the same about these issues. Shall we wine on in Canberra?

Ampersand Duck said...

In both senses of the word, we shall, N.

Galaxy -- we did some preserved lemons last year, and they were great. A few go a long way! But it's a good idea, and may be the thing to make for Xmas presents.

chosha said...

The cats are so cute! I love it how they will "fight" and then suddenly stop and lick the other cat's head. :)