Time to Move On…

…and I’m already a little behind. (Cue the wisecracks from my kids.)

I’m supposed to flip to the next half-decade on the 14th of the month.
But, hey–my rules, so I can break them again. Before I move on to the next five-year stretch, when things get really interesting, I need to get a few more licks in here.

I haven’t considered including recipes before, but I thought since it’s summertime and all, I might as well get people in a holiday mood and include the famous original Tom and Jerry recipe that we drink on Christmas Eve.
So, bottoms up and Happy Holidays!


Dad’s Tom and Jerry recipe

4 eggs, separated
2 c. powdered sugar

For each drink:

1 1/4 T. batter
1/2 jigger whiskey
1/2 jigger dark rum
Hot milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1 c. of the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat yolks well and mix into the white mixture, beating well. Add remaining sugar and beat until smooth.
Place the batter, whiskey, and rum in a mug and fill with hot milk. Stir well and sprinkle with nutmeg.
(Note: in this preparation, the egg whites have not been cooked to 160 to 165 degrees. If you’re concerned about the presence of salmonella, you can use pasteurized whole shell eggs.)

OK. Cheers and enjoy! There are lots of other ways to make these, but try this recipe once and you’ll understand why we look forward to Christmas Eve 364 days a year.

But back to the overview:

To be honest, much of those years, from 31-35 are kind of a blur. I was going to grad school, chasing after two kids and taking care of a baby.  One day pretty much looked like another: laundry, homework, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, going to the park, changing diapers, tripping over toys…who remembers anything?

Hooray for the red white and blue!

Well, OK, we made a big deal out of celebrating holidays, like the 4th of July.

We went on family vacations: the old favorite, Donner Lake, and then a big one–the Big Island of Hawaii.

Everybody onstage for the Hawaiian number!!

And we built an amazing tree house in our backyard.

The awesome tree house

Baby on board: Valentine’s Day “run”

But I had a baby on my back a lot of the time. It soon became clear that I couldn’t get my thesis written with all the tasks competing for my attention. And I really wanted to finish that sucker and graduate before James started kindergarten in another five years. He was already eight months old, and the clock was ticking. We decided to hire a part-time babysitter so I could hunker down away from the house and get to work on it.

Hippie Mama and pipe cleaner angel

We put an ad in the local paper (where was Craig’s list when we needed it?) and scheduled interviews with a number of women who wanted to babysit for us. There was a slight hitch in the process: just as we were getting ready to start the interviews, James contracted a very scary infection in his eye. We shuttled back and forth to the hospital, got neighbors to watch the big kids after school, and still managed to interview babysitters in the evenings. James’s hospitalization lasted just a few days, but the poor little guy got put through the wringer, with IVs and a not-fun spinal tap. Luckily, he recovered quickly and had no lasting after-effects.

So we conducted the interviews and checked the references carefully, and you can’t imagine what people told us about some of our candidates! Money problems, drinking problems, eating the client out of house and home–and these were the good references! We were getting discouraged.

We finally found Joyce, a woman who grew up in South Africa and then moved to Israel. She was visiting her daughter and granddaughter here in the Bay Area for an extended period of time, and her schedule allowed her to spend a couple of days a week taking care of James.She had good experience and we liked her right away. She believed that children should be outdoors as much as possible and she had a loving nature. Once we got James home and settled in, we hired Joyce. On her first day, she asked us if James had a nickname. We said yes, and told her what it was. Let’s just say it was mildly scatological.

She said, “I’ll call him Jamie.” We said that would be fine.

First birthday: James and Joyce

Joyce was a treasure. She sang to James, took him on long walks, taught him rhymes, and read to him. She bounced him on her knees and knitted sweaters for him. Boy, did we get lucky with her. He ate everything she gave him, and I asked her once what her secret was. He was kind of fussy with food around us.
“Oh, I just put applesauce in everything!’ she said. Well, OK. No real harm there.

With Joyce’s help, and everyone’s cooperation, I was able to finally get through my two year program in just about five years. But that comes next…

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