Mar 17 2016
Easter weekend is always a busy one. Either we're getting ready to head back to Pennsylvania to spend the day with one or both families, cleaning, cooking, or getting ready to have people over for dinner. As it turned out, we accomplished most of the tasks on that list, as well as a couple that weren't, all in preparation for Grant and his girlfriend to come over on Sunday afternoon for dinner.
The task began on Friday night with a couple of loads of laundry and cleaning up around the apartment, followed by driving over most of creation on Saturday morning to get groceries and sundries to make Easter dinner.
Driving in northern Virginia is harrowing at best, but when a holiday deadline is ticking down, finding parking is damned near impossible. More than once, I wound up dropping Lyssa off in front of the store, only to drive around the parking lot for ten to fifteen minutes searching for someplace to park. It seems like most every asshat in this part of the country was out, also, because they took it upon themselves to stalk soon-to-be-vacated parking spaces... while stopping their land leviathans such that the cars attempting to pull out were unable to. Suffice it to say that my limited grasp of American sign language was put to good use that morning. I always could count on my fingers in binary more readily, anyhow...
Trying to find a decently-sized ham can be a challenge in what is technically the south, because they have a different idea of what a ham should be. Mostly, they sell city hams down here, hams that have been brined and sealed in plastic (spiral cut optional), which tend to range between five and thirteen pounds. A ten-pound ham is just about right for four people, if you plan to have leftovers for a couple of days.
Post-shopping madness Saturday was spent cleaning up the kitchen and doing laundry, including giving the floor a good mopping (which never lasts, as parents can attest to), followed by sitting on our asses and relaxing for the first time in a long while. Lyssa and I ordered pizza from Ledo's and had Jason over while Lyssa got a jump on cooking by making the stuffing early and refrigerating it. Rather than sitting around watching television, which was our original plan, we wound up shooting the bull about this, that, and the other thing while lounging on our brand-new couch. We wound up talking until early in the morning, at which time Lyssa and I had to go to bed because we had last-minute shopping to take care of on Sunday, Easter morning.
Getting up was the easy part. Finding exactly what we needed was a bit more difficult due to everyone and their backup stocking up at the last minute (you'd think that we were back in Pittsburgh and it was going to snow, or something) but because we timed it so that we'd get to the store while everyone was still in church, we had a slightly better than fighting chance. We didn't get much in the way of candy, though: I can't eat it, due to the dental work done in the past two weeks that's still healing, and we're trying to cut down on it anyway. We did get a couple of chocolate bars from Whole Paycheque, such as ginger in dark chocolate and a cherry, chili, and chocolate bar that we didn't realise had chili peppers in it until we got it home (though it is quite tasty, I think).
The rest of the day was spent cleaning, cooking, and trying to keep the kitchen neat while we finished the ham, fried the sweet potatoes, assembled a green bean casserole, and suchlike. We discovered that, while making the coating for the ham, that we could readily screw the spray bottle's nozzle directly onto the bottle of bourbon and mist the ham that way without having to decant any into the plastic spray bottle. This then gave me the idea of dialing the spray down to a thin stream and starting a squirtgun battle... but that would probably count as alcohol abuse (to say nothing of the cost of a bottle of Maker's Mark).
By the bye, I'll post the recipe Lyssa used for the ham next.
Grant and Katie arrived around 1330 EST5EDT on Sunday, and we sat around enjoying the new couch until dinner was ready, at which time we finished setting the table and started an early dinner. All in all, things went quite well. The only real problem we ran into was a bottle of salad dressing falling to the floor and spraying champagne vinegrette all over the place, but a roll of paper towels and a bottle of 4-0-9 fixed that right up.
After dinner was packed up and the dishes put into the dishwasher, we sat down and watched The Prestige, which I'd picked up on DVD when it came out but hadn't yet had a chance to open. We spent the afternoon relaxing and watching an excellent movie, glad that everything had gone off without a hitch, and more importantly that everything was finally over. Grant and Katie left around 1800 EST5EDT, and Lyssa and I took the evening for ourselves, the first real rest we'd gotten all weekend. This was the first weekend that we didn't have anyone over on Sunday night to watch The Dresden Files with us - after all of the time and work we put in this weekend, we decided to take some time for ourselves to rest and go to bed early, or at least earlier than we have been lately.
Looking back, if I may digress for a bit, my writing's gone to hell since I migrated my site to a real weblogging system. For many years I'd been used to using a plain old text editor to write flat HTML for all of my entries. It's fast, it's subtle, and you can work on it in addition to everything else you've got going on wherever you happen to be. A text editor slips right into the pattern of desktop, work, desktop, work, desktop, work... it's just part of the cycle.
Using a web browser to write entries feels very alien to me. I don't have to really think about HTML unless I'm going to throw up a link or two. The management system does most of it for me. I guess what it boils down to is that it feels like I'm using the wrong tool for the job. Parts of my brain are hardwired to treat a web browser as just that: A tool to browse the Web. I don't write with a 'browser, I read with one. I use a text editor or a word processor to write... handling the cognitive dissonance chews up a lot of the compute cycles that I used to use for coming up with words and sentences, serializing ideas in the hope that someone would come by and read them.
I feel like I've become the kind of person that I hate reading - the kind with nothing to say, but writing anyway.
Another part of it, I think, is that I've been spending more mental processing time living life and less observing life, which is to say I don't process and store my experiences for later transcription and archival the way I used to. I stopped passively recording and started actively doing, if that makes any sense. Maybe that's a bad sign.. it leaves me fewer details to write about later, which makes for less interesting posts, to say the least. Or maybe it's a good sign, and a positive change in life, as many seem to be. It's good to actually get out and do things - to make a change of some kind in the world, even if it's a teeny, tiny one.
Or maybe I'm burned out after all these years, and I should move on and do something else. I've got a couple of books in the works, and I teach a little now, so perhaps those are the directions I should be moving in.