Houston has been having a cool front. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, this means that instead of 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit, it was 60-90 degrees, with a pleasant little breeze. We took a drive with the windows down and the sunroof wide open.
This is the first fall in twenty years that I have not seen a child off to school with the anticipation of filling out forms at the end of the day. Our youngest is halfway across the continent, savoring the independence of his freshman year at college. We had a brief Skype call, last night, and he looks well and happy.
My father in law would have been 92, Saturday. I feel fortunate that he lived with us for many years, and as I said to my husband, when we visited the grave, he and my mother in law gave me the best present ever – their eldest son (my husband), a sister, and two brothers. When we married, there was no “giving the bride away” – our minister wouldn’t hear of it. More progressive, even, than I, he refused those rituals that dated back to when women were “really chattel, to be bartered or given away by their male relatives.” As an only child, I was equally adamant he not do away with my father’s “part” in the wedding. He proposed a lovely compromise, and instead, both fathers stood and accepted the other’s child into their family. That was thirty years ago, this past June.
Everyone wonders how we’re coping with our “empty nest.” So far, so good. Back when my generation moved out, we still didn’t have email, cell phones, or Skype. VOIP and video chat were still hovering between reality and science fiction – out of the grasp of mere mortals. Long distance, which might be as close as the next town over, cost money and the bill was calculated in minutes. (I won’t lie – I never had to walk more than a block to school, and the terrain was pretty flat. There was a little snow, now and then, but it was always a joy – not a hardship – and we prayed it would fall faster so we’d have a “snow day.” So things aren’t all that different…) Anyway, a little video call eases the separation, and I’m not exactly devastated at the thought of having my husband all to myself for the first time in 26 years. We’ll make do.
I made torshi, Saturday afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve made it without minions to help peel the pearl onions. My husband warned me ahead of time that he would not be rooked into it. My father in law had a trick for it, but that never worked for me. The others just made for good company and helped the time to pass more quickly as we shared the job of prepping all the veggies. Washing, peeling, chopping, dicing, jabbering – I missed the minions. But at the end of the day, I had more than just aching hips and feet and a couple of nicked fingers – I had more than a dozen jars of the most awesome veggie pickles put up, to keep and to give away.
Sunday, I was a little lazy. I only crocheted one block for the throw I’m making, and I indulged my craving for cinnamon rolls with the collective approval of Facebook friends. I binge-watched “The Honorable Woman,” which is one of those intriguing dramas that would make no sense if you missed an episode or three. “The Mysteries of Laura” is shaping up to be my favorite in the new fall line-up, though – Laura is my secret alter-ego. Or maybe the show’s writers are.
Finally, arachnophobic as I am, I pleaded for clemency for this little guy – who I later found out is female:
Not that anyone was going to kill her, but she has spun a web that bisects one side of our back yard, and would have the burliest of men doing the crazy dance if they heedlessly walked face-first into it. It’s an impressive thing, but my husband – who sometimes has an interesting spin on psychology – thought that if he kept demolishing the web, she might be discouraged and seek other digs.
I’m not so sure spiders’ brains work like ours. Given this is probably her fifth such artistic endeavor, I doubt she’s ever heeded Einstein or worried about her sanity. Pretty sure she just wants breakfast.
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