Friday, June 18, 2010

Family Dinner

Starting early this morning things were a little off. Ulrich von Dog has taken to waking up at 2am desperate to be let out, and then refusing to come back in.

In the middle of the night, while he's closed up in his crate Ulrich swears up and down that he really really needs to use the little boys yard. He whines and sighs and all but crosses his legs to prove that seriously he needs to be let out. The longer I ignore him the more desperate he gets until I'm sure he's for real and just about to pop.

At this point, I usually roll over mumbling something like"shutup Ulrich" and P gets up to let him out.

Have I mentioned that P is my hero? He also kills spiders. Amazing, I know.

I'm one seriously lucky girl.

However, this morning, I let P sleep and let the dog out myself. He made a beeline for the door, tore off into the dark and never came back. And by "never came back" I mean I fell asleep at the kitchen table facing the glass door and when I woke up 20 minutes later he still wasn't there. But I heard barking.

Since when does a doggy potty break require 20minutes and a barking session?

I grow suspiciouser and suspiciouser.

This is the fourth night in a row this has happened.

I think perhaps we have a herd of deer living in the woods that need an antelucan reprimand. At least, I'm hoping it's deer. There was a distinct whiff of skunk lingering in the air when I finally ventured out yesterday morning to poke at the garden, but I'm choosing not think about that.

I ended up just going back to bed dogless, leaving him to snooze on the porch when he finished the night shift.

Waking up groggy, various irritating meetings and a few disappointing service appointments later, I wanted to curl up and call it a day. At 5:30 in the afternoon. Forget laundry! Who cares that it's still light outside! We don't need no stinking dinner!

But let's be real - at seven months pregnant I'm ready to fall off the Cliff of Productivity into the Sea of Naptime at any given moment. So it's not like this is terribly unusual.

Even so, I was powering down.

A hungry husband and a cut of need-to-be-cooked-tonight-or-I'll-get-iffy meat in the fridge gave me a little push toward dinner. Saying I was motivated is overstating it a bit, but I was functional, and sometimes that all one can hope for. Inspiration was low.

It was a london broil that was in need of attention, so I lazily rubbed it with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and let is come to room temperature while I boiled some potatoes for mashing. Luckily, the beef I bought last fall from the local farm is so delicious and tender that I don't have to worry about it being tough or flavorless. Laziness is still tasty.

With a kitchen basket in hand I made it out to my vegetable garden and starting poking around. A small number of sugar snap peas were ripe, and I pinched off a good amount of lettuce. On my way back inside I ripped off a handful of my extremely enthusiastic chives and threw them in the mix.

This was officially the first full family dinner I've ever made with an entire dish out of my garden. Granted, it was awfully simple -- a handful of lettuce and two snap peas each -- but I feel like it was a milestone anyway. The chives I chopped up in the mashed potatoes.

Such a simple meal - sliced grilled beef, mashed potatoes and plain salad - but everyone loved it. Honestly, I got more compliments from this meal than I've gotten in ages, and I make some pretty complicated things when I'm inspired. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Maybe we're a just a meat-and-potatoes kind of family. I like to think, though, that it's all the little inspirations along the the way that contributed to my uninspired meal that made is special. The inspiration to buy local, grass fed beef. The inspiration (and perspiration...and exasperation...) that has gone into the vegetable patch. The inspiration that brings our family together at the table, and helps us entertain each other with pleasant conversation.

Ultimately, the wonderful time I spent with the family, that time that I was so tempted to discard, turned my day around. Now that's what I call a good meal.

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