It's not an exciting story; it was a quick, quiet visit. I drove down to my parents' home on Jekyll Island on Saturday, about 5 1/2 hours. When I arrived, I unpacked the cooler, first handing Mom the adorable little bouquet Miss Chef cut for her before I left. I made sure to give her full credit; she got major Mom Points for that one!
We had dinner--leftover lamb Mom made for the neighbors the night before--and just hung out for the rest of the night, chatting, reading and drowsing off in front of the tv. I was pretty tired from my week and the drive, and headed to bed early.
Sunday morning we went to church--my first gift to Mom was dressing appropriately and not grumbling. :) Nah, I'm not that bad. Mom left early, because she's in the choir; Dad and I stopped at Winn-Dixie on the way in to pick up a few last-minute ingredients for dinner. At church, Dad introduced me all around, and without exception each friend of theirs turned to me and said something like "Oh, you poor thing!" See?? It's not just my imagination; my parents are a handful!
After church, we went home and each figured out lunch for ourselves--typical Sunday afternoon for us. Then Mom & Dad started napping, while I started on dessert. I made a pound cake, and I was glad I started early, 'cause it needed an hour and 15 minutes to bake! Phew! I did manage to work a short nap in there, myself. No Rosie nudging me in the nose; Charlie is 14 years old and just as happy to nap as to play.
Soon after everyone came to life, I started on dinner. My biggest problem with these kinds of meals--other than forgetting to include a veggie dish--is timing. I try really hard to get everything done at the same time, but then it all gets done at the same time and I don't know which way to turn. However, I did figure the mashed 'taters should be done first, as they could sit in the oven for a few minutes. As it was, I had to call Dad in to finish them up; he was an able assistant, and made a few helpful adjustments on those taters.
So here's the menu Miss Chef helped me come up with: filets mignon cut from a tenderloin Mom already had; mashed potatoes with herbs from our garden; fresh asparagus from the farmers' market (also sprinkled with some of the herbs); and a salad Mom offered to toss together--spinach with cottage cheese and roasted walnuts. She honestly did a very good job staying out of the kitchen, which is an admirable accomplishment for her.
For dessert, I topped slices of homemade pound cake with some of the strawberries in syrup we had canned the week before. When I wished aloud for whipped cream to go with it, Mom mentioned the ice cream in their freezer. Problem solved!
Mom said everything was delicious---which of course she would, but I think she meant it anyway. I didn't think about taking pictures until halfway through dinner, at which point...well, I didn't think you'd be interested.
After dinner, we abandoned the dishes--and the dog--and drove to the oceanside beach for a short sunset stroll. I did manage to remember the camera for that!
Dad pointed out this impressive thundercloud. It was probably over Alix's house. Hey, Alix! (waves)
(Oh, and the picture at the top is the pavilion there on the beach.)
Then we drove home, woke the dog up, and spent the rest of the night chatting, reading and watching tv. I truly enjoyed my access to the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and so on. Dad even let me handle the remote for a while!
So that's it; I got up the next morning, packed and left. Mom sent me home with a couple of uncooked filets and a "volunteer" crepe myrtle that they'd been wondering what to do with. She certainly appreciated her Mother's Day gift. Now Dad's gonna be jealous if I don't come down next month!
In the meantime--back at the ranch--Miss Chef was working her little tuchus off. She worked 10 hours on Saturday, making the mistake of stopping in to eat lunch at the restaurant before her shift started. They were unexpectedly busy, and she ended up seating people, waiting tables, and working in the kitchen in her shorts and t-shirt! She never did get a chance to eat the lunch she'd ordered.
Sunday she worked 13 hours, from prep for brunch through cleaning up after dinner service. So Monday, which she had off, she sat on her butt while I drove home. She did pull herself together enough to go out to dinner at O'Charley's (yeah, we do hit those chain restaurants sometimes) and make a Wal-Mart run. Then we went home and shared a slice of pound cake with drunken strawberries (macerated in sugar and BOOZE.) Night night, sweet dreams!
Oh, but before I leave you, I have to update you on Herb! He has become an It...sometime on Saturday he pupated.
Sorry the picture's not the best, but I'll probably have another week to try again; pupation takes 9 to 11 days, according to this website. I knew it was coming, as Herb emptied his digestive tract on Thursday and stopped eating. It was great timing, since Miss Chef had asked me before I left, "Do I have to feed the caterpillar, too?"
UPDATE: Here's another shot I took Thursday night...one of about 10 that I took; I'm often frustrated with my camera's inability to do close-ups. But you can definitely see Herb has undergone a notable change, and you can see the white stringy "sling" that's holding the pupa to the stick. The jagged yellow "fins" down the bottom remind me of the classic old Godzilla movies. :)
Bonus Baby: This morning, when I was getting ready to leave for work, Miss Chef was awake, lying in bed and grumbling about the stupid bird in the bush outside. I'd been keeping an eye on a pair of mockingbirds building a nest in there, and when I peeked outside, this is what I saw:
UPDATE #2! I saw this same fledgling--I think--in the backyard this afternoon. Mommy and/or Daddy hang around at a distance, chirping encouragement for baby to fly, I guess. Haven't seen him fly yet, but I need to keep an eye on Rosie for the next few days, as she's already shown an interest in this moving, fluffy toy. We had to rescue a baby robin from her maw a couple of years ago, so she's already got a record of flagrant feathered felonies.