It’s a Dog’s Life

The Dog has been a wreck!  The pack has been entirely unruly – coming and going, missing members, separate houses.  Poor Dog can’t keep track, tried to chew his way through a door to follow Daughter 1.0 one evening.  I can totally relate!
For five weeks our house was full.  My Little Sister arrived from Baltimore on January 4 and stayed with us until her house (our other house, the one down the street that we are calling the Beach House) was ready for her to move into (tenants out, painting done, kitchen and bathrooms scrubbed clean of chicken grease and nicotine).  While she stayed with us she roomed with Daughter 2.0, sleeping on a twin blowup mattress.  This suited the Dog just fine; he loves my Little Sister, and Daughter 2.0’s room.  He could rest easy.
And then Daughter 2.0 went to Laos.  Yes, Laos, to the tiny village of Ban NongKhuay (don’t try to find it on GoogleMaps, it’s not there – close to Luang Prabang) to work on building an eco-bungalow.  The Dog has a special place in his heart for Daughter 2.0.  She lets him sleep on her bed.  He always sinks into a bit of mourning when she is away.  Good thing for him he doesn’t understand the concept of distance.  It is disconcerting to send your not quite 16 year old daughter half way round the world.  To take that little piece of yourself that is her and watch it walk through security at the international terminal.  As I write this she is on her way home, hurtling through the thin air high above the vast Pacific (don’t think about it too much).
I had one communication from her when she was “in country.”  I woke to a text message Wednesday when they were back in urban Luang Prabang saying that she thought she had strep.  The teacher chaperone had looked and seen the telltale white patches on her throat.  7500 miles away and my baby is sick.  After a quick internet search and a text exchange with our friend the doctor, I texted back that she should take the Azithromycin that she had with her.  It would kill whatever was ailing her.  So will being home, which she will be, in about 8 hours (who’s counting?).
So Daughter 2.0 disappeared on the Dog, followed soon after by my Little Sister packing up and moving a block away.  To the Dog, one block and 7500 miles are the same.  Gone is gone, and he doesn’t like it.  He should be grateful his English is limited because talk in the house is shifting to where Daughter 1.0 will end up in the Fall.  She heard from her top choice school yesterday that she was accepted!  Now I knew that she was going away to college.  I knew because she did not apply to any colleges within 500 miles.  And she had already gotten into a few schools, one as far away as Miami, Florida (the moon!), but somehow getting into her top choice college makes it all the more real.  She is going away to college!  The pack is splitting up, my pack, the one my Husband and I made.  I’m as anxious and distracted as the Dog, trying to keep track of them, knowing I can’t.
You think this time in your life will be so long, this time when you are a mother and your kids are at home.  People will tell you it goes by fast, older people, people with adult children, and you nod and agree but somehow you don’t quite believe it, until they are going and gone, and suddenly you can’t breathe because you’ve misplaced the baby and toddler, the ones with the lisp and giggle and drool on the chin.
The pack will be back intact tonight and will stay that way, more or less, for the next 6 months.  I don’t think there is anyway to prepare the Dog for the next transition.  Poor Dog!

Grilled Swordfish with Red Peppers and Onions

Four swordfish steaks
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon olive oil
Smoked paprika
4 small red bell peppers, cored and sliced
One white onion, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Piment d’Espelette

Rub the swordfish with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Preheat the grill to medium high.
Put a generous amount of olive oil into a large sauté pan and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize a little, about 10 minutes.  Add the vinegar to the pan and allow to boil almost all the way away, stirring and scrapping the brown bits on the pan.  Add Piment d’Espelette to taste.
Grill the swordfish about 3 – 4 minutes per side.  Sprinkle the cooked fish with the paprika and drizzle with the lemon olive oil and serve topped with the peppers and onions.

We served this with good crusty bread and sautéed broccoli rabe.

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