Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I've been vacationing with my family in my home town this week, and I've been a bit of a glutton. In addition to laying around by the pool eating homemade pecan toffee (my culinary brother and his wife brought from Ithaca) and homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies (my Aunt Sue - she's got some mad culinary skills herself) we've been introducing my brother and his wife to our favorite local cuisine.

My mom made her stellar spaghetti and meatballs on Saturday night - there's spinach and whole garlic cloves in the sauce. My mother proudly watched my brother-in-law Chris clear three platefuls - and I was amazed that he ate another full plate by the pool for lunch the next day in 100 degree weather (he had been on a forty mile bike ride that morning with a pal he met on the internet - he is a cancer survivor and a friend who is also a cancer survivor drove down from Fayetteville to ride with him). I largely skipped the pasta so I could eat extra meatballs and italian sausage - mom makes these great meatballs with a mixture of pork, burger, and lamb and I soaked up the sauce and garlic cloves with french bread.

Sunday night I treated dad and the family to Sushi Cafe - wok-fired edamame and volcano rolls among many others - everyone picked off the menu and no one was disappointed. I made sure there was - ahem, store bought key lime pie for dessert - Dad's favorite. Then my sister Sara and I stayed at my house with all the kids and had a good old-fashioned sleepover. Kids kept us all up until almost midnight with excitement, but it was worth it. We did cinnamon rolls for breakfast while the kids did spin art on the back porch, jumped on the trampoline, and caught tadpoles from our pond.

Last night was my sister and her husband's last night here - they had to get back to work in Atlanta and drove home today. So we got a sitter and had an early dinner at Ashley's, which, by the way, is where I had those smoked bacon and cheese grits I described a week or so back - I mistakenly said The Peabody. I always get all those fancy downtown hotels mixed up in my head. Also got chastised by my sis for calling my watch Chanel instead of Cartier. Ack. I'm turning into my mother. I could describe everyone's dinner - duck breast, prime rib - but I was pretty happy with my own. We all got the three course prix fix - I started with foie gras and had shrimp, soft shell crab, and maque choux for the main meal. I had never had maque choux (and I hope I'm spelling it right) - the waiter said it was a Native American dish - a creamy spicy chowder with corn and beans. Dessert was incredible - blueberry corn cakes with elderflower sorbet - I also asked for an extra scoop of salted caramel ice cream since bro promised that was the culinary dessert rage right now. After Sara and Chris got their kids and headed back to mom and dad's for bed Mike, Effie and I went to The Afterthought to listen to my partner's jazz trio and chat - it was fun listening to them talk about their courtship, which I never really had time to do before with kids always in tow at weddings, holidays, and vacations.

Tonight we headed to The Pizza Joint to watch Caitlin make pizzas - I skipped my standard Speakeasy and got The Casino - sort of a parallel of U.S. Pizza's Chloroplast Blast - at least in capsaicin quantity. It had grilled chicken, squash, anaheim peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and it was topped with marinated spicy tomatoes. I made the mistake of drenching the first piece in red crushed peppers and although I made it to the end of that piece, I drizzled the next one lightly with leftover ranch dressing from my salad to cool it down a bit.

Now my sinuses are nice and patent. And I'm home without the kids - mom is bravely hosting her own sleepover complete with a tent in her bedroom and Christmas lights strung around the bed, despite my begging for one of them to come home with me and bribing them with going to sleep in my bed and eating popcorn, mom won. I need to get up early and swim so I can prepare for more gluttony for the second leg of the week - My littlest brother and his girlfriend are coming in from Atlanta on Thursday and we've got more plans. All revolving around food. We might slip in a pedicure (the girls). Maybe Toy Story III. Vacation away from the ocean isn't so bad. It's been nice finally enjoying this heat wave I hear everyone talk about while I am huddled next to my space heater shivering in my lab office. As long as you are right by the pool, enjoying the breeze from the Arkansas River, the heat isn't so bad. I hear there is a cold front moving in July 1 - the high will be 90.

I finally got a trial date today - September 21st (didn't he say end of summer? I guess he meant end of Indian summer). Lawyer called me this afternoon for the first time in a month - I've been bugging him incessantly (every other day. Squeaky wheel. Bee in his bonnet). There was a period of time a couple of weeks ago where he didn't return my phone calls for almost two weeks and I got frantic. I am NOT high maintenance - had only called him once a month since I hired him in March. But I started to feel that way, when I said things to his secretary like, "Is he dead, or in the hospital?" and left messages on his answering machine saying, "I'm starting to feel like a jilted teenager!" All in fun, of course. I'm glad I amused him. He's highly respected, works hard, and does all of his own work. I'm lucky to have him. But now I can sit back, cause the wheels are set in motion. It's the lawyer's turn to do the work, to try to bring a settlement by that date. 90 days seems like a long way off, but hopefully it will go quickly so we can all settle down and get our lives on a more even track.

Here's a toast. To vacation, gluttony, and dates.


rlbates said...

Happy to hear you're enjoying your week of vacation and family!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

It's been a great week! Who needs the ocean?

up on my toes said...

Ahhh! You are making me hungry! Glad you are having a good time on vacation!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

Thanks! I am having a blast. Sad it is almost the weekend. Had another wonderful dinner tonight at Ferneau (after a run). Fried calamari. Caprese. Hot string beans with cashews, garlic, onions, peppers, and chili vinaigrette. Shrimp and grits. Bananas foster. Yum!!

I need to get back to work so I don't blow up:)

Kyla said...

This week sounds DELISH. So much yummy food, not to mention good company. You can't do much better than that!

About your comment on my blog, that is exactly what I'm thinking! Where did my relaxing summer go? Alas, such is life.

Gizabeth Shyder said...

Back to work tomorrow - I'll be running around like crazy again - right there with ya. Sometimes, with all the running around of the kids my summer nanny does - I wonder whose day is crazier! I kept them home all week - no camps or day care - no running. It was awesome.