A Good Day

I had a good day today... after a relatively rough night last night... just thinking too much about some stuff... and I had to be up at 7 to go with my boys to Lucille's our local cajun/creole breakfast/lunch restaurant for breakfast. I did what I could do when faced with a request for help, and then the three of us went to Monsters Versus Aliens and all enjoyed it a lot. I made a very satisfying dinner, and Jet and I got to do Lego Batman before he went to sleep.

Saturday was Happy Hour for the local mothers, as John served up margaritas for the neighborhood, and we roasted a chicken and fed half a dozen kids that played all through the house. And I've ended up with nearly a 1000 beads on my next ball of yarn. Shawl-ho!

Saturday was much sunnier and warmer than the forecasts had said it would be, and the kids that came over were able to run around the back yard and do water gun fights, water balloons, and even asked for the water cannon on Jet's climbing set. We didn't do that, but they did ride bikes, go to the park to play for a while. A bunch of them ended up in the hot tub, treating it like a small swimming pool. *laughs* But Jet had a blast all day, as he basically asked to get the first friend around 9:30 am and got to keep them until nearly bed time.

We'd roasted a chicken for our dinner, but all the kids said that they liked chicken, and one kid said, "Oh, and I love your biscuits!" And the other said, "Oh! With gravy and mashed potatoes?" *laughs* So I made biscuits with the very last of my White Lily flour, and then used the drippings in the pan to make a gravy, the odd thing was that we'd done beer can chicken out on the grill in the backyard, but John used a pie plate to catch all the drippings so that they wouldn't catch on fire and flare up. So we had a whole pan of drippings.

And the gravy turned out really, really good. I am pretty good at turkey gravy, but for some reason chicken gravy has never tasted as good, and I suspect that some of it is the shorter roasting time or something... but I think having that pie pan over a fire really concentrated the drippings more thoroughly than any oven roasting would have done or something... *laughs*

It was good. John steamed whole artichokes as well, and when three of the moms and a dad came over as well, he served them margaritas and artichokes and offered chicken. The kids ate all the biscuits, but the two that John and I snagged at the beginning of the meal. I need to make biscuits more often.

This morning was wonderful, even though we were up so early. But the really good thing is that because we arrived at Lucille's fifteen minutes before they opened, we were able to get in as soon as they opened the door. By the times we got our coffee and orange juice, the restaurant had completely filled up and the waiting room was packed as well. Wow. It was good to see them have such great business! And they had a crabcake special, with a crabcake on asparagus, two poached eggs on top and Hollandaise on top. The grits were served on the side, but I almost wished they'd just made a moat of it all the way round. It was very, very good, especially with beignets that were so hot we couldn't quite eat them when they were served to our table... wow. Those were so good.

The first good deed was finding that while the first pots of coffee had been made, no one was following up on it. So I made the next four, partially for the morning classes and parents bringing kids for Sunday school, and the rest for the coffee hour after. Someone else picked up the slack of actually keeping things going during the coffee hour, and I was glad to set that aside.

It was a good thing, too, as during coffee hour someone came to me with a problem. One of the mental health clients at Soft Voices had received a package in the mail from her sister. And in her eagerness to open the package, she cut a big chunk out of a scarf her sister had hand knit for her. She was distraught about it, and one of the ladies that worked there was going to to just stitch the cut edges with some floss to keep it from unraveling more. The volunteer's husband said, "Why not get Liralen to look at it, she'll probably know what to do."

So they brought it. The poor thing had a ragged bite out of the side of it, and I thought about it and said, "Well, I could just fix it instead, if that's okay?"

The lady blinked at me, and said, "Well, it's Mother's Day, you didn't need a project today, did you?"

"Oh, it'll just take me a few minutes... here..."

I bring my whole knitting bag with me every Sunday, and in it I have extra needles, darning needles, and cutters. And with a couple of sock needles I unraveled one row in the midst of the chewed up section, pulled that out, and then unraveled the broken parts going up and down. Since it was a relatively large gauge scarf, it was only something like five rows all together that had been affected. When I had clean stitches both coming and going, I just grafted the two edges together, darned in the ends and handed it over.

I'm very good at grafting after having done countless sock toes. *laughs* The lady looked like she'd just been given a miracle, and half a dozen other people, one of whom was a knitter, were all looking at me the same way. I flapped my hands and said, "Really, it's an easy thing to do!" The odd thing was that after I'd taken those rows out, the scarf, which had been half chartreuse and half purple, was now *even*. The chartreuse half was now exactly the same length as the purple half. I noted that to the lady, and she said, "Oh, but she won't care."

The interesting was that I did... that by chance and what I'd done, the little scarf was now more regular than before I had messed with it was remarkable for me. *laughs*

It was really, really nice to be able to do something that really made a lot of people happier after an accident. To make one of the broken things in the world a little more whole.

I was reading xxxHolic today and there was a small blurb in it: "The world my be trembling with sadness, the future may be brimming with tragedies seen and unforeseen, but Watanuki has accomplished that which was within his power to do!" What he'd done was make rice balls. Such a simple task, but it really resonated with me and how I felt about that scarf. A simple task, to simply do what I could do.

I skipped lunch, after that Lucille's breakfast I certainly didn't need it.

We had a great time at the movie. It's plot light, but most kids' movies are. I went from disliking the protagonist to really actually liking her a lot. All the supporting chars had great personalities and we all liked all of them, especially the giant caterpillar who could only make Mothra sounds. There were lot of little tidbits of puns and jokes that adults would know, along with the kids stuff. There were small bits of humor that were a little off for me, but Jet really liked it and he doesn't really like very many movies.

The really funny thing is that he's spent the entire afternoon and evening tearing apart all the parts of it that "don't really make much sense to me!" Long dissertations on the lack of logic behind certain actions and behaviors and words. *laughs* But he really enjoyed it and we've had a lot of good laughs after.

Then Jet surprised me, as we got home. John had to run off to get a few things from the store, and we heard a message from one of the neighbor boys, and Jet suddenly said, "Mom, if you want a little time alone, I could go play with him!"


He really knows me. So he ran off to play, and I got to really pay attention to dinner. I made a shepherd's pie with onions, carrots, a bit of celery and basic seasoning (salt, pepper, dried thyme) for a base, and then added the chicken pieces and gravy from yesterday. Then frozen peas, and I heated that mass until was hot while I boiled two russets. The potatoes got a dab of melted butter, milk, and two spoons of sour cream and a heaping handful of chopped chives, and then got mashed rough with a handheld masher. I then spooned that on top of the chicken and gravy and then topped it with grated cheddar. It went into the oven until it was bubbling around the edges, and I finished calling my mother and wishing my father a belated birthday. Then I turned on the broiler and got the top crust good and brown and smelling like toasted cheddar.

*happy sigh*

It came out very nicely.

There's even leftovers for tomorrow. *grins*

Jet and I then had a blast with Lego Batman and some Plain Chocolate Digestives I'd found at the World Market. He was willing to play with me and let me lead in my game for the cookies. *laughs* And he was very gracious about a lot of small things I did.

So it's definitely been a very happy Mother's Day.
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Wow you sound like you had a busy day. That is really neat about the scarf, too. I would've been all amazed like the others, I think. And shepherds pie always tastes better the next day.

Gotta say though, I've never heard of a shepherds pie like that. I'm used to the French Canadian one (my mom being French Canadian). Those are really simple. Brown ground beef. Drain fat. Add whatever spices you like/find appropriate. Mash a shit load of potatoes (7 or 8 good sized ones). Add grated sharp cheddar to the potatoes (and an egg if you feel like it) and stir well. Add creamed corn to the ground beef mixture and stir well. In a large dish, put down half of the mashed potatoes to cover the bottom. Spread the ground beef/creamed corn mix over that and top with remaining mashed potatoes. Put in the oven at 325 for 45 and call it done.
OOooo... I like your shepherds pie a lot, too...

Yeah, most shepherds pies I've had have been lamb or beef, usually some kind of gravy and carrots and peas under the mash. I love the idea of cheddar in the mash rather than on. I'd never seen corn before... that sounds really good. I'll have to try that sometime!

It was a good day... *laughs* But... but... you're a knitter, too! *laughs* But I think I'm getting the idea that I'm at a point where I've messed enough stuff up that I have a far better idea of how to fix things most people find irretrievable. Or maybe it's just the darned engineering brain at work. *laughs*
I like the cheese in the potatoes as it doesn't get all crunchy if it's just on top (although sometimes that's good too).

While I am a knitter as well, I couldn't have fixed it as I don't understand stitch placement anymore due to the issues I now have with spatial reasoning. Frustrating, but at least I still know how to knit.
OOooohhh.. yeah, that would be frustrating...

But I'm glad you still knit. *grins*

Yeah. I like the crunchy on top... but I like just the taste of a good sharp cheddar in mash, too. So... different ways for different moods, I guess. *thoughtfuls*
I think the spatial reasoning issues is part of why I don't try any large lace patterns. If I were to make a mistake, I'd know I'd made one and possibly even where, but I wouldn't know what stitches to do in order to fix it.
I do. When I knit, I stick to fairly straight forward open-work patterns. Something like that shawl you're doing.... It's not something I'm able to do now even though I'm fairly certain that I'd know how to do the stitches involved. Even when I do a feather & fan pattern, I need to rigidly count my stitches or I'll make an error and likely not realize it on first pass. That's also why I write down all my patterns before I knit something and cross each row off as I do it.
*nodnods* That makes sense. So you count instead of relative stuff, it's absolute and linear.

Thank you for the detailed explanation!
What a fun day! I got yard/house work out of my guys, which was much appreciated. :)

That shawl is going to be so epic! I can't wait to see pics!
Yay for your boys!!

The shawl is, indeed, becoming pretty bemusing... and I'm starting to get the hang of how to move several hundred beads along the yarn. *laughs* There's a far different rhythm to it, but it's now doable rather than daunting.
Sounded like a great day! And yum for the grilled drippings gravy!
Eat 'em up yum...

Yeah, the boys went through nearly a pint of the gravy. I was... amazed, especially since there weren't any potatoes to go along with it.

It's *amazing* now that Jet and his friends are all capable of just amusing themselves without killing themselves... *laughs*
Whee, I'm so glad you had a nice day. :)

Monsters vs Aliens was cute and fun, good popcorn entertainment. :)

Your shepherd's pie sounds delicious, omg. *_* Mine is pretty straightforward: ground beef (and sometimes pork), carrots, peas, corn, onions, sauteed mushrooms for my portion, all topped with garlic mashed potatoes and random cheeses, and served with lots of beef gravy. :)

It's lovely that you were able to fix that person's shawl. Can I put you in my pocket and take you out to fix all my knitting mistakes? *laugh*
It was great popcorn entertainment. Hee. Just like Wolverine was, but with a bit more adult eye candy. *laughs*

I like yours, too!! Wow...

*grins* I think the whole church thinks of me as Ms. Knitting Fix-it, now, which is kind of fun in a lot of ways, so I'm not discouraging it at all. I rather *like* new problems.
We loved Monsters vs. Aliens, all of us. We even took Ranger to his very first theater flick and though he wouldn't leave the glasses on for the 3D affect, he loved the movie and didn't even get antsy until about the last 15 minutes. I was so impressed.

You always sound so incredibly busy, but so very happy and fulfilled. And you have the most adorable son.

I am so excited to see the end product of your shawl. I bet its just awesome.

And now you're the local knitting doctor too. *laughs*
That is very impressive!! *dances about* We enjoyed it very much.

*laughs* I'm so NOT fulfilled, but that's my own problem. I keep trying, though! Maybe that's the whole point...

*giggles* Yes. I seem to now be the local knitting doctor, and it's kind of fun doing surgery that can actually fix the patient... *laughs*