17 May, 2006

better, I think

Doesn't he look happy to you? Of course at the time he and his sisters were completely maxed out on catnip, Avery's gift from the vet as a reward for his good behavior. She also discovered yesterday that while you can't hide a kitty Prozac in tuna, or smoked salmon, or cream cheese, you CAN hide it in broad daylight crushed in the palm of her hand mixed with catnip. Honestly, after all our subterfuge and John's attempt at brute force (he has the bloody scratches to prove it), Avery simply held the stuff out to him and he ate it. What cheek. We can but hope now that he calms down. I've been like the medieval plague masters, running around spraying every surface I can think of with happy-making pheremones, like sinister incense at an exorcism. I feel an utter fool, but there you go: the things we do for our children.

I was so impressed at Avery's skating lesson yesterday! Her instructor Zoia has taught her all sorts of tricks, with names like "lemons" and "uppy uppy uppy." She ended up staying a really long time, watching Coco's and Angelica's private lessons, and then when they were over, the three girls acted as if they'd been let out of prison and just went around and around (being enjoined several times by the "rink minders" to go only "anti-clockwise," not randomly running into people), holding hands and generally acting as a sort of benign menace to the rest of the skaters. I hung out with Angelica's babysitter Fati and Coco's mum Allison, and we traded stories about our completely remarkable children. When we all emerged, it was pouring down rain and Avery and I ran to the skate store to get a skate bag, to find it inexplicably closed. What sort of vacation day is Tuesday? Disconsolately onto a bus and home, wet and cranky, but a nice cosy evening at home with butter tomato pasta sauce and a baguette. We've been watching a really entertaining television show called "The Great British Menu," where pairs of chefs from the various corners of Great Britain get together and compete in front of judges with an appetiser, a fish course, a main course and a pudding. So you end up with a Welsh winner, an Northern Ireland winner, and so on. Then they will compete to discover who is awarded the chance to cook the Queen's "official" birthday lunch in June. Yes, just like famous dead people who need their birthdays to fall on a Monday to create a long weekend, the Queen has a real birthday and an official one. The menus are unbelievably complex, intending to reflect local ingredients and traditions. Last night's involved one chef's crouching over a rainy, nasty beach somewhere in North Wales, picking slimy seaweed to cook down and mix with oats and parsley and deep fry. Eeew. The poor Queen! Anyway, watch it if you get a chance. When the judges are forced to down portions of cockles in a raspberry broth accompanied by lamb carpaccio in a lime and liver sauce on a bed of seaweed, you'll be grateful for your plate of pasta.

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