Posted by: Kate | April 13, 2008


Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

The drive home from my mother’s was fantastically uneventful. Took about 6:45, which is well within reason, with three short stops and no major incidents. This is in stark contrast to the drive there, which took eight hours, involved at least six stops, required driving with the windows open because Jacob’s inner workings decided to declare civil war, and was generally as stressful and long as any drive in recent memory. But peace has been restored to the little monarchy within the boy, and all is right with the world.

We had an unequivocally fantastic weekend. To be painfully, sadly honest, I’m in a better mental space now than I was after the long weekend in Jamaica. That was an amazing trip, but also stressful and challenging. This was an easy weekend at my mother’s.

Saturday morning, I popped up out of bed of my own accord before 7:00. This was not to be taken for granted seeing as how (a) I was up until 2:00, (b) the kids were still asleep, and (c) I am Not A Morning Person. But I had plans to host a brunch that morning. Not just any brunch, mind you: I was hosting an unofficial Gay Pride Brunch, featuring Jeff, his invited-though-absent partner Mark, Bird and his partner Alistair.

I’ve known Jeff since the first grade. He and I were, and I say this with proper humility and wryness because it did not equal popularity or social success, the smartest two kids in our elementary school grade level. We were in separate weekly activities outside of the class, Project SPARK (no idea what it stands for) and then Odyssey of the Mind, and it was literally only us for a few years. Then either everyone else got much smarter overnight or the rules changed, because in sixth grade the Project SPARK population went from two to about twenty. With time, we weren’t as freakish, and lost that just-us-two competition and mutual distrust, but that history is there.

We went on to the same college, though he didn’t escape a year early. By then, he had come out and seemed comparatively comfortable as a very-minority in a close-minded and uptight, conservative group (engineers aren’t internationally celebrated for their liberal tendencies), and was the only openly gay man in our circle of friends. He came over to my apartment most Sundays to listen to Sunday Night Sex with Sue, a radio show out of Ottawa, and somewhere I have a tape of him reading an excerpt of my roommate’s cheesy romance novel on the air. Good times.

We graduated, he moved to Oregon, and we’ve been in intermittent contact over the years. But he came back to the Northeast for a wedding, so last week he and his partner stopped by my house for a quick visit, and on Saturday I had brunch at my mother’s so we could spend a few hours hanging out.

Meanwhile, Bird is another high school acquaintance, a fellow band geek who wore his depression like a cloak. You know how the Snuffleupagus would mope around on Sesame Street and say, low and slow, “Hi, Bird?” That’s precisely how he sounded, and my favorite-nickname-ever was created. We’d lost touch for a while, but somehow reconnected a year or so ago, and he remembered Jeff, too, so he brunched, as well.

It was a good morning. The food was good – I served a blueberry bread pudding and a vegan apple cake, both recipes courtesy of the lovely B&B-owning Annie. Assuming she’ll let me, I’ll post the recipes here, soon – both decidedly worth a try. The company was fun, and everyone got along like, well, like grown-ups with a shared history. The children behaved well… it was just good. Very much whetted my appetite for owning my own B&B. Soon.


That afternoon, my mother hosted a family gathering to celebrate Mary’s and Emily’s birthdays. There was a lot of conversation and laughter. No structured activities, just reconnecting. My kids’ godparents were there, and they re-reminded me of just how obvious it can be when someone has a heart as big as all outside and a contented soul. Both of them are just precious, and it would be a challenge to find a better pair of role models. My mother’s parents came, also, and are so simply good-hearted and earnest that I want to be a better person, just to feel like I’m earning their pride a little better.

Emily and her aunt Sarah

The neighbor across the street runs a little radio station out of his house – I think my mother said the range is about a square mile – and is close with my mom and sisters, so Mary provided him with a playlist and he DJ’ed, remotely, for the day. Hence the Macarena in the front yard. And a tour of it all – best tour ever, and those free vodka cranberries for those above 21 have nothing to do with that opinion – afterward.


After the majority of the guests, including Mary’s fellow-teenager-types, escaped to their various homes, nine of us – my home-family, my mom and sisters, my mother’s boyfriend and the DJ-neighbor – went to Nick’s for dinner. Nick’s has spoiled me for all other restaurants, ever, because since childhood it has been a place I could go for an amazing plate of spaghetti for under $10. Turns out, a reliably casual place like that is pretty much impossible to find, at least in New Hampshire. We overate, and happily so.

We thought about going out again in the evening, but the post-brunch post-party post-pasta coma set in and we all were asleep by 11:00. It’s tough getting old.


This morning, we packed up and were ready to head out, and my sister Mary was sitting at the kitchen table looking a bit forlorn. Sarah had to return to college today, and we were all about to leave, and she has the whole week off from school. “Well,” I said, “why don’t you come out with us for the week?” So she’s spending her Spring Break in the world-famous tourist mecca of New Hampshire. I dare say we’ll find a way to enjoy ourselves, even if we don’t get any more exciting than a beach walk and the occasional bit of knitting.

All of which is a very long-winded way of saying, it was a really nice weekend. There was some tension, of course, because my mother-in-law came out for the birthday party, but that gets its own post.


  1. Feel free to post the recipes; if they life them, perhaps they’ll come…

    I’m glad you had such a great weekend, although (selfishly) I’ve missed you!! The photos are wonderful. I’m just wondering where on earth the green(ish) grass came from?? Sigh. Still a few weeks away here…

    Happy birthday girls!!

  2. I’d always rather live closer, but wait till next month when I’m *supposed* to be there and can’t be. Responsibility (and money) bite.

    The green grass in in upstate NY. There’s none here yet. We still have lots of snow on the lawn, though now it’s at the edges and the bare patches are bigger than the covered ones. The end is in sight.

  3. Woohoo, macarena on the front lawn!

  4. It’s in my head….. it’s in my head, Ehhhh, Macarena, blah blu blee bluh blue blah blah, Ehhhh, Macarena…… (glad you had a magnificient weekend and happy B-day to the ladies) Thank you also for making a relatively boring evening at work a more bizarro evening, I just got some pressmen to do the Macarena. Blue Collar, sweat stained, smelling of BO/feet/cornchips/ and engine grease, macarena-ing pressmen. If their Harley buiddies only knew!? Have a great week gorgeous.

  5. Yes, I too am singing the Macarena now. Thanks. But I’m glad you had fun — it sounds like a thoroughly great weekend. And that photo of Emily and Sarah is wonderful!

  6. Wow. That sounds like a superbly heavenly weekend. Made me think of good times I’ve had. Thanks for reminding me.

  7. What a great weekend! If you have to travel, that’s the type of weekend to make up for it. I hope you and your sis have a great week together.

  8. I love those sorts of jam-packed, shits and giggles weekends with family. Sounds a bit like our Christmas when all the prodigals return to the fold. And I hate you for putting that song in my head! Love that photo of Emily and Sarah it speaks volumes about family ties.

  9. I can’t wait to see and try the recipes, they sound delicious!

    I am glad that you had a great weekend, even with the MIL in attendance. 😉

    I hope you and Mary have a wonderful week, and both of the girls have/had good birthdays!

  10. Sounds so sweet. Lovely to have your family within driving distance, even if one way was longer than the other.

    open a B&B and eventually I’ll get there.

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