Gommie and Pop arrived here on Friday, just before the kids got home early from school. They were all so excited to see each other, as I had been a bit earlier.
As usual, there was some show-and-tell when my parents arrived, this time in the form of watching the school musical on DVD, pointing out the kids in each scene, commenting on the whole experience. Almost as good as being there in person!
Then we went out to dinner at a local place, with artichoke dip, fresh bread, steak, chicken, mussels, meatloaf, hamburgers, profiteroles, bread pudding, creme brulee. A nice feast!
I think they even squeezed in a couple of games of checkers, with Sis roundly beating Gommie a few times--Pop managed to win against her, finally.
Then we went out for ice cream! Not your usual ice cream but the popular new nitrogen-frozen one that's all the rage around here. Pop and I got the bourbon breakfast one, which is quite boozy.
For dinner, Mama made a delicious pork shoulder in her pressure cooker. Yes, hers. I am a bit wary of the steaming, squeaking thing. But the dinner, with sides of roasted sweet potatoes and also broccoli, was delicious--and the first homecooked meal Gommie and Pop had eaten in 2+ weeks!
Sunday was church, a discussion and celebration of "accounting" of Rosh Hashanah. I don't remember the exact context, but my favorite part was about those who yell loudly because they feel as if they aren't heard, literally and figuratively. How true is that! I see it here at home, in online discussions of local issues, on the national stage from both politicians and their supporters. It seems like we have a rash of many people trying to communicate without many feeling heard.
And then it was time for Applepalooza!! I was so excited that my folks could be here for our usually annual party for the first time. And also for the first time, none of my usual playgroup friends could come; they were missed. Still, we had our great neighbors and bus route friends, plus more from the community and church. It was a great group, with lots of good conversation and delicious food, as usual: apple rosettes, honey apple quiche, apple pie, caramel apples, old-fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting, cupcakes, doughnuts, mulled cider, and some fall beers. Plus Pop's spicy homemade salsa! The adults chatted around the fire pit, while the kids played--the younger ones in the dirt or on the swingset, the older ones running around playing zombie tag and climbing trees. It was all going so well, until, simultaneously, a child was smacked in the head by the seesaw and the low dogwood branch the kids were sitting on it the tree cracked. We confirmed the tree kids were fine while fetching an ice pack for the crying little one. Soon, all was right again, though Pop later cut the branch off the tree. The dogwood has some rot, so it's not surprising, but it was a lovely branch. Still, I'm so glad no one was hurt.
Sis rushed off to speed skating after the party, with Gommie and Pop watching her race around the ice in her impressive "skin suit," made of kevlar for her protection. She's still a beginner, of course, trying to learn the crossover and such, but she loves it and tried very hard. We had Italian for dinner, with Sis inhaling a whole entree after her three-hour workout.
Monday was a school holiday and our rest time, though Mama had to go to work. We sat at home, playing games like checkers and MarioKart. Pop tried his had a few times at it, finally mastering the controls so that he didn't come in last. Gommie and I tangled tiles. We watched "Speechless," which Gommie enjoyed. Pop cut down the branch. They all went swimming at the hotel. We even practiced flipping bottles, which apparently is the new craze; I didn't even know about it til I read a Boston Globe article, but the kids say it had already been banned at school. Gommie got down on the floor and was flipping water bottles with the best of them. Bud had piano and Sis had horseback riding; Pop and Gommie went to the horses, happy to see Sis riding Pooh, as well as grooming him and taking care of the tack. We nibbled on Applepalooza leftovers until we made our own pizzas for dinner. (And had some grumpiness with the kids, Mama, and me--if Gommie and Pop wanted a taste of our schedule--with all of our activities and such, they got it and a few of some of our breakdowns when we're tired.) It was also Gommie and Pop's 54th wedding anniversary! And as Gommie told the kids, without their marriage, the kids wouldn't be here. True enough. We cheered their long marriage.
Today, Mama is at work, the kids are at school, Gommie and Pop are headed to the Adirondacks or somewhere, and I am at home still fighting this cold. It wasn't goodbye--we'll see them in Vermont for another wonderful, long weekend.
King Arthur's Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting--it was fantastic!
- 2 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
- 1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans (we skipped these and added more apples)
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract