Wonderful Weekends

What a weekend!!!!!!
Thursday my grandma came over for supper, and about the time she arrived a neighbor of ours also arrived; he happens to be a very, um, loud neighbor and I felt a little bad for her. My mom had sent over some food for our neighbor and he was coming over to compliment her and ask for "more, because that was SO good!" My dad gets off every other Friday so we were going to start our weekend on Friday, and therefore we spent the night at my grandma's house, which is something we do every-once-in-awhile. We bring old western movies (or anything we happen to be watching at the time, but usually ancient westerns) and stay up to late hours of the night and do random things like all sit around and read back issues of Readers' Digest. It's great fun.

We had to be back early on Friday morning because Mally and Daniel had to finish up swimming lessons that morning. The rest of the day was busy and interesting; I found out some new things about dispatcher school and when it begins, recorded part of a book on tape for dad, and that night we went to some friends, the Lewis', house for supper. Mally accidentally broke a glass of theirs but it ended up being fine; they understood and the only damage was the broken cup and Kool-Aid all over us. They started telling us about some new organic brand of meat being sold at SuperTarget and so we started talking about organic foods in general....and then somehow got onto the subject of tofu.....which none of us even remotely like. Jay and I were telling a story of our initial exposure to tofu; we had this friend named Sabrina, well, actually, she was a friend of my parents' and she had this infant son who she wanted the best of everything for. Unfortunately, that meant Jay and I were the guinea pigs for all of this stuff. One time she bought tons of varieties of milk that I didn't even know existed; regular, goat, powdered enriched, and probably camel for all I know. It was really disgusting (I don't like just drinking milk anyway so it was all the worse), but then she heated it up, not enough to be hot, but just....lukewarm. More room-temperature. Eckh!!!! She blindfolded Jay and I and had us drink these varieties of milk and then asked us to choose our favorites; Jay and I unanimously suggested one kind of milk which turned out to be regular store-bought cow's milk. She was curious and didn't believe that it actually tasted better but Jay and I did NOT offer to do a retest. Anyhow, this same friend decided to come over and impress us with her newest product: tofu. She didn't suspect that we would want to just eat it plain, so she said, "Guess what! I'm going to make you some Tofu Surprise!!!" It sounded extremely tempting....not. We watched as she threw in tons of mysterious ingredients, mostly consisting of milk (probably not normal; I think by this time she still strongly suspected that Jay and I had rigged the taste test), tofu, vanilla extract, tofu, tofu, tofu and milk. She poured these huge tumblers full of it and plopped a straw on top and grinned at us and said, "Go ahead!!! Are you surprised?" We were surprised, quite unpleasantly, and Jay suddenly came up with the brilliant idea of enjoying our Tofu outside. I think my mom went along with the proposition because she suspected what was ahead. While she engaged this lady in conversation, Jay and I went out to the sandbox and on the count of three took a big sip.......YUCK!!! It was....I don't even know how to describe the consistency. The word awful doesn't do it justice. Anyway, Jay spit his out immediately. We didn't want to waste it all and somehow in our minds it would be more sacrificial to sip it up and then spit it out, so we proceeded to do that with the entire glass. (Jay says no weeds have grown in the immediate vicinity since.)
Our second (and latest, thankfully) exposure to tofu was perhaps just as traumatic; my mom did bookkeeping for a lady who was older and who had four very strange children who lived in the four corners of the earth and sometimes dropped in for unknown reasons (well, actually, usually it was to get money from her). Anyway, on one occasion her son, Tom, came. Well, Tom wasn't just your typical Tom; he was into some sort of religion that transcends the bounds of my understanding and I think had a similar effect on him. Another reason why he wasn't your typical Tom is because he didn't go by the name Tom, which was apparently to mild for him. He went by Mega. Even his checkbook had, "Thomas (Mega)" on it. He believed that mowing the grass was an assault against the grass gods and other strange things that I usually tuned out when I heard him discussing them in-depth with my dad. In any event, Tom (aka Mega), a vegan of the highest order (I don't want to think how many plant gods he offended in his eating habits) decided to wow us all in the kitchen with his impressive culinary skills, making "chicken" which really wasn't chicken at all; it was tofu that he claimed tasted exactly like chicken (not that he would know what chicken tasted like). He cut up these huge....cubes....of tofu. Not just 1-inch-square cubes, but closer to the size of a chicken leg or something. He then proceeded to fry these pieces....in oil....and salt them lightly. The next step was eating them. Eugh. The texture was alarming. We cut up one piece and literally passed a fork around trying to mask our gag reflexes. I liked when I said it had been our last exposure to tofu, though, since I just remembered that Jay had one more unfortunate episode; a neighbor of ours who was also into the whole "organic" thing decided that she needed lots of synthetic meats and then decided that she hated them, so her thought process must have been something like, "Oh, I'll give it to those Hearns; they have a big family so their kids must eat anything."
Quite interestingly, it was true, but Jay mostly decided to eat the tofu "chicken" as a dare. He pulled it out of the box and it was completely....molded...into this really cheesy shape of a half-chicken. (About 2 inches thick, and molded with this little tiny bump for a chicken "leg" on top). The box advertised the quality and texture, even saying that the so-called "meat" had grain. He microwaved it until he felt it was sufficiently warmed and then took a bite...one bite....before deciding that there was no way he wanted to finish it. But his ego would have been wounded if he had wimped out, so he dumped TONS of barbecue sauce onto his plate, chopped off little pieces, drowned them in BBQ sauce, and downed them. He said it felt like a dare where he was eating a bowlful of rubber bands. These days, our only experiences with tofu and alternative meat options are usually when my uncle, who from time-to-time claims that based on some malady or another he can't have foods that sometimes include meat, brings these things called "Tofu Pups" as an alternative to hot dogs at the family parties. It's comical. Anyway, that wasn't really a recounting of Friday night, more of what we talked about Friday night, but, hey.

Saturday we stayed busy although I really can't remember much of what we did. Dad was packing for his trip this week, and we did various things that claimed our time until it was about time to leave for some other friends' house for supper. They told us to come "at fourish". I detest the word "ish" when it comes to time; that's one of my pet peeves; I can't stand it when people aren't punctual, and I REALLY can't stand it when I'm not punctual. Therefore, I like very exact times: Be here at five. Go there at 3:30. Expect a call at 2. But, "Be here at 4ish" is not up my alley. I always ask myself---what time is "fourish"? 3:50? 4:10? We got there at 4:05, in case you're wondering. We had a really fun supper; spaghetti and grated Parmesan that we couldn't figure out how to grate properly and meatballs that were still a little frozen and other really comical and enjoyable things. I like meals where you can all laugh and have fun. We had a GREAT conversation about everything from DHP Films to pinball machines and had a great time. Plus, we had cheesecake for dessert so that made the evening really good. :)

On Sunday morning our long-departed laptop started working for a few seconds, and I just about had a conniption; there was a computer file I'd started on there that I really wanted back and so I went scrambling for a flash drive and other transfer mediums, and about that time the computer crashed again. Whoops. We left to go feed my grandparents' chickens (they're out of town; my grandparents, that, is, not the chickens.) On the way I saw this blue monstrosity of a car that was probably roaming California back when horses and buggies were common; I started this joke by telling my family that it was my dream car since I've been looking around at cars recently. Jay was like, "If that's your dream car, I think you're having a nightmare." It was funny. We went to church and then had a potluck afterwards; I'm not used to these church potlucks where there are so many options its ridiculous. I just took what my plate could hold and figured that the rest of the food could wait until the next potluck. Once we went home, our grandparents called and told us that they were back in town and wanted to bring over strawberries to have together, and that they'd be there after they called in about an hour. No big deal. Mom was napping and so were the little kids, I was writing and Jay was reading and dad was doing dishes a little while later when they suddenly just....pulled up....we were like, whoa, quick, wake everybody up! It was funny.

I got a call from the pastor's wife near suppertime asking if I could play piano for church that night as there had been some mild fiasco and she had to stay home with one of her boys completing an assignment for school (which started this morning for him). I said yes although I was a very nervous; I hate playing in front of people period. But I did it, thankfully, and with the exception of one song that had strange minor chords that I just could NOT get right, it went fine.

This morning we got up about 20 minutes early at four-something to get dad ready to go to his Accela conference through work; it will last through Thursday afternoon/evening I guess. We had a nice walk; it was a little chilly, which loved; I never like walking during the summer when you're hot by the time you get back. After dad left there was some consternation as all of the kids somehow decided that with dad gone it was National Cry About Everything day; since mom and Jay were gone getting Jay registered for this semester at college, I was trying to calm them down; at the moment I hear relative silence around me which could either be a very good sign or a very bad sign. :)

It was a great weekend!!!!