SL 839

Lots on the plate of life right now. I’m mostly managing everything, but there are a lot of plates up in the air at this moment.

In the midst of all this, I am trying very hard to remain on a diet. I have never really been on a diet before. I mean I tried once or twice last year, but those first feeble attempts at a diet mostly involved cutting out French fries, while still drinking wine, eating cheese, and enjoying pizza. I never had to diet before, so I didn’t really understand how much I needed to change my ways. Well, I’ve been at it for two weeks on Noom and running. I’m doing something very similar to Pioneer Woman. Let’s see if my (our) plan works. I stopped drinking wine, for God’s sake. I better lose twenty pounds in two weeks.

Things are really cooking up in the war of the Sussexes v. Everyone Else. I mean things are about to get super ugly. Just some links now. Juicy commentary later this week.

Watching: Succession, In the Heights, Zoom Patrol, Loki. On deck: Lupin, Working Women

Drinking: Vodka and Soda. Very sad about it, too.

Shopping: Outside light fixtures for the house (contractor is coming next week) and outdoorsy clothes for Jonah at REI (on a flight to Alaska right now)

Working: Still responding to email from the Huff Post article, Getting a crash course on higher ed/computer classes for smart autistic kids, Transitioning to a summer of selling books and little writing

How do you prepare a meal for 20 (family in from out of town) in the middle of a work/school week? A baked potato station. Cook two bags of potatoes in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 425 degrees. People are used to eating microwaved potatoes, so they’ll think you’ve made them something miraculous. Then add bowls of cheese and chives and sour cream. And, of course, cook other things, too.

28 thoughts on “SL 839

  1. Hm, I like the baked potato station idea. I might try that in the future. We’re doing a family vacation (meaning, all sisters, BILs, cousins, mom, and mom’s dog) in the White Mountains in August, and meals for a crowd that are not burgers and hot dogs would be welcome.

    I drink one cocktail a week, unless there is additional socializing, which there rarely is. My husband makes them for us and we sip our drinks and talk about our day. It’s our weekly treat,

    I approve of your TV choices, though I don’t know Zoom Patrol (did you mean Doom Patrol?). Lupin is a lot of fun. We are watching Deutschland 89, which is now on Hulu. It’s a German spy show with 3 seasons: Deutschland 83, Deutschland 86 and Deutschland 89. D89 starts with the opening of the Berlin Wall and continues after. We just love this show.

    On my own, I am watching my first K-Drama after seeing it mentioned on a romance blog. Oh.My. God. I am watching Crash Landing On You and it is perfection. I’m only on Episode 6 of 16, but I have great faith in it (plus, I read spoilers). In this show, a South Korean heiress has a paragliding incident involving a freak tornado (go with it) and ends up in North Korea and falls in love with a North Korean soldier. So good.

    Wait, we never got an update on the kittens, or I missed it. Did they get un-fostered?


  2. I love your organic “something” bar ideas. I think you’ve naturally gravitated towards them for feeding hungry boys while maintaining choice and I appreciate it as a style of eating. It’s a standard in someways in some Asian cuisines (“family style” where no one has to eat everything, the thali in Indian cuisine).

    I think there’s some interest in accommodating food preferences rather than what I see as the oldstyle american version of plating peas/chicken/carb into a plate and making everyone eat it or the new style version of making everyone their own individual dish (short order cook moms, which we tend to gravitate towards). I saw an article a while ago with a famous chef trying to develop a bowl food truck saying he transforming from thinking that everyone should eat what he told them to eat.

    Maybe there’s an article there? or at least a post or links.


  3. Yay, Jonah! So deserved!

    We’re watching bits of Upstart Crow, the British Shakespeare sit-com. (Supporting characters include Anne Hathaway, a sulky teen daughter, and Kit Marlowe.) The plague/COVID-19 special is pretty good. There’s a new season of Brokenwood (the New Zealand cop show) out. Our teens have been asking for horror, as that’s something they’ve never watched before. We suddenly realized that they haven’t seen Jaws, The Birds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, etc. Lots to do!

    Our cafeteria has opened up for the summer and we’re going a lot. YAY!

    Our social life has started to hop (comparatively). Our two younger kids went to a NERF war last week and the youngest and I are going to a group water park trip this week. I’ve been freshening up my swimwear. My BFF and I are hatching plans to go to a home store soon and look at tile. SQUEE!

    This past weekend was both my birthday and Father’s Day. I got a couple of fancy cheeses, chocolate truffles, and Toblerone for my husband. He made a rose and dark chocolate version of the Hershey chocolate cake, with rose jam in between the layers. It’s insanely rich, but very good with vanilla bean ice cream. chocolate. My oldest is turning 19 next month and has already requested a green tea cake (green tea cake and green tea white chocolate icing).

    We might be doing a powder room refresh soon/ish.


  4. “My BFF and I are hatching plans to go to a home store soon and look at tile. SQUEE! ”

    I wandered through a Daiso store with a friend recently. And spouse & I are planning to look at flatware. Our teaspoons & forks have steadily disappeared and the pattern is not available anymore.

    I can’t recommend anything I’m watching to anyone because I apparently I have the tolerance of a 7 year old to bad stuff on screens.


  5. Planning a small board game party…

    The mostly likely games will be Samurai Sword, Takenoko, and Dixit.


  6. The wee kitties did have to return to the shelter. Wah. We were very much just fostering, as they told us over and over. I think the kitties had found homes through the webiste before we even returned them. We still miss them.

    We have too much going on right now to be full time parents of new kitties, but we might do in the fall. Only if we install a kitties door that goes into the garage, so we can put the litter box in there. Man, those kitties sure poop a lot. They have such a fast metabolism. Steve had to change the box like three times a day.

    Yes, I meant Doom, not Zoom. COVID-brain.

    Just got word that the contractor is going to demo our house on Thursday. We have grandparents coming here on Friday for the weekend. They’re coming in from NC for Ian’s graduation dinner. Doing a fancy restaurant for him.

    I don’t think I’m going to get a quiet day until after July 4th.


    1. Laura wrote:

      “I don’t think I’m going to get a quiet day until after July 4th.”

      I just sent out an invite to Family A to do a game night at our house, with the idea that if they said yes, we’d invite Friend B also. Family A couldn’t do it, but the next thing I know, I have an email from Friend B’s mom, saying that Friend B wants to invite my 10th grader and two other friends over for a game night as his birthday party.

      Socially speaking, things are hopping! It’s kind of the 1-year human social equivalent of the 17-year cicada hatch-out, but fun and not disgusting!


  7. A producer for Netflix’s “Love on the Spectrum” reached out to see if Ian wanted to be on the show. We watched it last night. Interesting, but not for Ian.


    1. What did you think of the show? It has positive reviews. Worth watching? Might you watch again or recommend?

      I do not like reality shows. I’m very sensitive to created drama. But some of the efforts are close enough to documentaries that they could mean real learning. The closest example I have is a series of Dateline shows on bullying, with Rosalind Wiseman as the advisor. It wasn’t a reality show, but they filmed scenarios of bullying (actors playing the bully/victim) and bystanders (who were naive to the experiment) that were very illustrative of real world bullying and the reactions of bystanders and what they can do. I found the series very informative.


    1. Laura said, “There’s a fine line between informative/inspirational and exploitation.”


      There’s also a lot of “improving” on reality that I expect would be tough to explain to a super literal autistic kid.


    2. Yes, that’s the tough one.

      I’m honestly not a fan of “inspirational” either. I’m in favor of normalization and understanding, which requires exposure and inclusion.

      I watched the first episode (with subtitles, which hides some of the nuance) and felt it not terribly different from Big Day (the Indian wedding show, also on Netflix).

      The main question would be whether the participants in Love on the Spectrum made full and informed decisions on participation and it’s hard to tell from the outside. On the other hand, presuming competence seems a reasonable assumption.


  8. Laura tweeted:

    “Does anybody really enjoy graduation speeches? I mean, other than the parents of the student speakers. I had a drink before this, but I should have had two.”

    My kid was supposed to give a speech at graduation last year but got cold feet. A beloved principal who was leaving the school got her slot instead, and he gave a very good speech where he talked about every single member of the small graduating class. It was really good!


    1. Our graduation speeches were so lovely this year – the school year was virtual, so graduation was really the first time the kids had seen each other in over a year. They lost a classmate to covid and at our school many of the kids had to work nearly fully time to support their families. It was a very emotional ceremony.


    2. I got to watch my niece graduate because they livestreamed it. It was a very nice professional multi-camera production and I wish they would do it again for my younger nieces but I bet they won’t as it must have been expensive. Most of our relatives are over 70 so they would not have gone to sit in the hot sun so they really appreciated it.

      My circle of theater folks got an education as to how the COVID vaccine is intended to prevent a life threatening illness and not keep you from getting it at all when 2 fully vaccinated people got COVID. They both have flu-like symptoms and loss of taste and smell. I’m going to wear a mask at stores and crowded places.


      1. Marianne said, “I’m going to wear a mask at stores and crowded places.”

        So, for the next year or two or more?

        Globally, there’s no way for COVID to get mopped up faster than that, especially given that a number of developing countries have done their vaccination programs with 50% effective Chinese vaccines.


      2. Kiddo might do this — not just to avoid COVID, necessarily, but to avoid all the other coronavirus, and rhinovirus, and influenza, . . . . A lot depends on how annoying you find a mask. Also know some people who have found wearing a mask helps them with smoke/car exhaust and allergies and just to keep warm.

        We’re anticipating with great trepidation a heat wave (with no air conditioning), a shocking one, but masks are also not as annoying when it is not hot.


      3. bj said, “We’re anticipating with great trepidation a heat wave (with no air conditioning), a shocking one.”

        I was checking in with WA family to make sure they had a cooling plan. It sounds like the older relatives are sorted out. Port Angeles looks a lot cooler than Seattle on Monday. Neah Bay and Clallam Bay look great. Ditto Ocean Shores.


      4. I don’t find masks overly annoying and as a shy person who finds eye contact difficult I like the way masks create a boundary with strangers. Also after living in San Francisco for 25 years I’m used to seeing people from Asia in masks on public transit and in crowded places. So for me it’s not a big deal. Plus I loved not having a cold for 14 months.

        One of the vaccinated people in our theater group ended up with emboli in his lungs and will be on blood thinners for 6 months. He’s only 38. So not something to fool around with.


    1. Wow, 18 million dollars for Spotify (I think it was $ and not pounds). Weird that they can make so much, but makes giving up the “allowances” they’ve been cut off from (as of summer, apparently) and forging their own way pretty lucrative.

      We’ve been listening to Rhys Bowen’s “Her royal spyness” series. In it, a theme is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie’s (her royal spyness — she is occasionally put to tasks by George V’s wife) attempts to earn a living under the constraints of being a minor royal (whose official work must be approved by the Royals). She moonlights as a incognito housekeeper to make the ends meet.


  9. In an example of how 11D knows the real world better than the national newspapers (I know, that shouldn’t be shocking), I noted the food suggestions we get here, compared to this article at the Wash Post on how to cook for a crowd:

    The last dish is a Malabar Chicken Biryani with two hours of raisin prep. And then, who in a family crowd would eat that? My family of 4 might all eat it, but in the my larger family crowd, there are six vegetarians, a few who don’t eat spices, a couple with various food intolerance, and, biryani is not a meal. It’s a side dish.

    I was hoping for a description of a the baked potato bar.


    1. Ha. Thanks. I’m not sure what to write. I baked some potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Then I put some fun things in small bowls, next to the large bowl — grated cheddar, butter, sour cream, chopped chives. You could do small bowls of chopped ham, finely diced scallions, strips of spinach, chopped broccoli. Maybe some ground beef flavored with taco seasoning. Yum.


      1. Laura said, “Maybe some ground beef flavored with taco seasoning. Yum.”

        That sounds fantastic.

        There’s a beloved local BBQ restaurant that does a baked potato topped with the following: butter, cheese, sour cream, brisket, beans, pickles, onions and jalapeno peppers. You can have that either on a normal potato or a sweet potato.

        I’d leave off a few of those items, but the list does provide some inspiration! I’ve had the baked potato with BBQ brisket before, and it’s really good.


    2. Just read that article in the Wash Post. OMG, that’s an intern/first job reporter piece. Eyeroll. Newspapers really need to hire and retain older writers. Or at least people over the age of 30.

      For me, a crowd isn’t 6-8 people as the author said. For me, a crowd is 20 people with varying tolerances for spice, vegetables, gluten, and carbs. That’s why the baked potato station works for so many people.


    3. Yes, exactly. But does that person actually get paid to write that article? Is it a five minute article (doing a search of the recipe data base)? My daughter was reviewing an article about what to cook when it was hot, and making a similar complaint about the shallowness of the article (which ignored the fact that when it is 100 degrees in your kitchen, you neither want to turn on the stove or oven or to spend two hours prepping your meal).

      I think the answer about what you write (and, I don’t think you want to become a lifestyle cooking writer) is that you write what you actually do in detail. It is actually useful for those who really don’t cook, like me. You think no instructions are required, but, I think, imagine explaining to someone like Jonah or my nephew or me.


    4. I actually clicked on that article with hope (I’m that much of a non-cook) and I subscribe. It seems like a bit more content should be directed at me and I wholeheartedly agree that they should have more 50+ mothers who have actually made meals for a crowd writing articles for them.


      1. bj said, “I actually clicked on that article with hope (I’m that much of a non-cook) and I subscribe. It seems like a bit more content should be directed at me and I wholeheartedly agree that they should have more 50+ mothers who have actually made meals for a crowd writing articles for them.”

        I once bought a salad cookbook, full of hope that it would have a bunch of fast, yummy salads.

        What it turned out to contain was a bunch of 15-ingredient recipes, with many of the ingredients being pretty obscure. Even as a 20-something, I didn’t have time for that.


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