A Corn Chowder that Won’t Make You Sick and Kill You and a Picture of a Possum

George has somehow come to the conclusion that he cannot sleep comfortably unless his head is pressed up against my head. Have you ever slept face-to-face with someone? It’s hot.  I would prefer to sleep flat on my stomach on the far end of the bed, not touching anybody, but when I try to roll away, George’s head finds me again. Last Monday, in the middle of the night, I was trying unsuccessfully to move away from him, when we both sat up to the sound of the most horrible screaming. My first thought was Henry, and I thought he must have been badly hurt somehow, but then I realized it was the chickens. I ran to the backdoor and fumbled with the lock before my brain realized I would need a light and some kind of weapon, so I ran to the garage door and fumbled with that lock, grabbed a broom and a flashlight, and ran out into the rain in my underwear, thinking “please don’t be a raccoon, please don’t be a raccoon.” It was a possum. When the beam of the flashlight hit it, it let go of the shrieking, ruffled chicken and scampered up a tree. I tried to corral the chicken, Bronze, into the coop but she was just running around like a maniac, so I had to use the broom to push her gently to the ground, and then I picked her up, put her back in the coop, and locked it up. It was my own fault it had happened- I didn’t lock the coop because it was rainy and I didn’t feel like it (Let’s be honest- I don’t feel like it even when it isn’t rainy), but I still felt like a chicken superhero for saving her.

I don’t have a lot to share with you this week. My parents were in town and we ate out a lot, and I didn’t take a lot of food pictures. Also, I went to the store without a list, so the dinners we did eat are mostly not remarkable. I will remark upon them anyway. Here’s what we ate this week.

Unrelated PSA: My friend (and cultural attaché) Jeffrey  informed me that season two of The Katering Show is now available in America! Go watch it! Episode 2, Yummy Mummies, is about eating your own placenta and being a new mother and is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.


Tea with Gangie! Henry is reading a book and ignoring us.


Telling Grandpa how he’s gonna shoot all the bad guys. George is obsessed with shooting bad guys! Where did this come from? He’s like a spokesperson for the NRA.


Love this one. Gonna have a food picture for you any minute now.


Oh this guy! Thanks for the Harry Potter costume, Auntie! She joked that the shirt must have been Dudley’s. We finished book six yesterday and we’re reading The Tales of Beedle the Bard before we go on to book seven. I’m going to be so sad when we’ve finished the series- we’ve been reading Harry Potter before bed every night, a chapter or two at a time, since May and it just feels like an established part of our day- after tooth brushing and before turning off the light, it’s Harry Potter. Do you know a wonderful series we should read next? Is The Lightning Thief good? The Golden Compass? Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? I’ve never read any of these and need to have something at the ready to fill the void.


This one kills me. I love kids in glasses. Especially my kids in glasses.


First food pic of the week and it’s reheated Indian food leftovers. We had a big take-out feast from Tarka the last night my parents were in town and we had enough left over to eat it all over again on Tuesday. I thought about injecting a point of interest into this paragraph by noting the correct pronunciation of tarka, but then realized that that would be of interest to no one, so let’s just move on instead.


Corn Chowder. This soup conjures up bad memories. The first and only other time I made it, we all loved it, and then a tupperware of leftovers sat in the fridge for a week or so. I would notice it from time to time and think that I should throw it out, but I didn’t. I tend to let a critical mass of expired food accumulate in the fridge before doing one sweeping cleaning, rather than getting rid of things piecemeal. I keep a mental inventory of what I can serve to people and what I can’t. It’s a flawed system. To wit, a week after I made this soup, I was mad at Andy for reasons I don’t entirely remember. It might have had something to do with him pausing a video game when I didn’t want him to, which is not an interesting or worthwhile story. I searched my blog for the last time I made corn chowder and found that bit, and also was reminded of the time I got hit in the face with a corn dog, which I had forgotten about. Andy didn’t do that though, and that has nothing to do with anything. Anyway, because I was mad at Andy, for reasons which may have been but probably were not legitimate, I told him he should figure out his own lunch. So he brought that week old chowder to work and got food poisoning. Anyway, when Henry asked for it this time, I wondered if I shouldn’t make it because maybe Andy wouldn’t want to eat it with the memory of all that this woebegone soup brought with it, but then I was in the store without a menu plan and the corn was right in front of me and I went for it. Andy liked it! And I froze the leftovers immediately so we can eat it again later (hopefully) without repercussions.


Buttermilk Pancakes, Frozen Sausages. We are not going back to school, because we are unschoolers, but I still feel the tug of buying new clothes and school supplies at this time of year, so on Thursday we went clothes shopping to a real kids clothing store- the boys had never been in one! Almost every article of clothing they own has been gifted or handed down to us, and the remaining items have been thrust hastily into the cart during a trip to Target. The kids walked in and were surprised that there were clothing stores that were so small (compared to the giant Target warehouse, I guess). They played in the racks, hiding in the middle of those circular ones just like I remember doing when my mom bought us clothes, and I bought them shorts that fit and do not have holes in the butt. My only criteria. And then we bought a bunch of books at Half Price Books. Henry recently discovered the collection of leveled beginning reading books we got from (former teacher) Grandma Mary, and thrilled at reading through level one, then two, then three, books. He saw that there was a level four series from the back covers and so we went to the bookstore and bought some. They’re mostly garbage. One particularly shitty one is about a guinea pig named Fluffy meeting a groundhog on groundhog day. Riveting. There was a decent one, a guide to what kids can do to save the earth, as outlined by the Lorax. As we were eating our pancakes, Henry suddenly and mysteriously climbed on the table and turned off the light. Andy and I were like, don’t climb on the table while we’re eating! Don’t turn off the light! What are we, animals? And Henry said that the light from the windows was enough. So it was a Lorax thing and we decided we would eat in the dark.


A second possum sighting this week. I went out to close the chicken coop, like a responsible chicken owner, and found this guy on the roof of the coop. We regarded each other silently for minute, then I took his picture and he walked away.


Parmesan Chicken, Buttered Noodles, Roasted Broccoli. We spent the whole damn day at IKEA. I had a list of six things I wanted to get, and still. We got there at 10:30 and didn’t leave until 3:15. There were highlights, like the horse meatballs that I really do enjoy, but lots of lows too, like the rest of it. Loading up huge boxes on those carts that roll away from you the instant you try to slide a box onto them, and then negotiating said cart through the hordes of people wandering aimlessly near the checkout while also dragging a cart full of angry kids and cheap pillows. Helen took over pulling the two cart fulls of kids while I pushed the big cart full of boxes, and then mercifully sat with the kids while they ate a second lunch of cheap pizza and ice cream while I stood in the home delivery line for another half hour. Anyway, we did it. We listened to Jewish folk songs and ate IKEA raspberry cream cookies on the way home.


I tried again and again to get a decent picture of these kids on this butterfly chair but the images got progressively more disturbing- George leering at me aggressively with the fake smile he employs for photos and Henry looking despondent in spite of his delicious hibiscus mint popsicle.


Turkey and Bacon Sandwiches. We spent most of Sunday assembling all that IKEA furniture, and then I left the house for five hours to take a hand sewing basics class with two of my friends. They said you were allowed to bring food and we brought a veritable smörgåsbord, as my IKEA friends would say. We learned how to tie knots and ate sushi and truffles and ginger cookies and it was pretty fantastic. Also, one of the other two people taking the class was Kate Payne, and I have her book and I saw her teach a crowd how to fold a fitted sheet at the Literary Death Match at the Texas Book Festival a couple of years ago, and that was neat too!

And that was the week! To sum up: possums will try to tear the head off a chicken if they’re hungry enough, I would like any and all of your geeky YA book series suggestions, and you should stop what you’re doing right now and go watch these two ladies cut apart a placenta. Happy Back-to-School or Not-Back-to-School Week, however you choose to celebrate!


7 thoughts on “A Corn Chowder that Won’t Make You Sick and Kill You and a Picture of a Possum

  1. Gangie August 23, 2016 / 5:07 am

    I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children it was good but no way as compelling as Harry Potter. I don’t know about the other books. Your sewing class sounded fun. I can’t wait for Aunt Carol to read this weeks post about placenta eating.

  2. Abbie August 23, 2016 / 11:54 am

    I love the Miss Peregrines books, in fact I just got the last one in hardback – I think it’s the old photos that get me. Read how Ransom Riggs builds the stories before you read them. Have you read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane? I just googled this too … I am a 52 yr old fan of YA 🙂

    I read a book in college (kid lit class) callled At The Back Of The North Wind that was amazing.
    I will keep thinking!

    • Abbie August 23, 2016 / 11:56 am

      Oh and The Graveyard Book! And Coralinee!

  3. joecab August 23, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    I love that you know your kids so well you can even call them out on how they smile. 😉

    Wait, don’t you lock up the coop every night to keep out critters?

    You’re a tummy sleeper too, huh? I’m sure you know how bad that’s supposed to be for your back. (Plus I read it smooshes your face enough to give you more creases and wrinkles than you’s have otherwise.) I’ve slept the same way ever since college when I was warned of back-sleepers going to bed drunk and choking to death on their own vomit. WHY did you tell me that, you stupid kid?

    Your “cultural attaché” got me hooked on the Katering Show too. He’s a useful lad.

  4. paulamarchese August 23, 2016 / 4:28 pm

    Hi Arielle, great blog this week, as always! For children’s/YA books, I recommend the Kenneth Opel Silverwing trilogy about a silverwing bat — they have lots of adventure and suspense. Have you all read the Roald Dahl books, especially Matilda? The Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall is also very good. We are currently on an EB White tear with my daughter and are (re)reading childhood favorites: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan. Another author that is very beloved around here are the Kate DiCamillo stand-alone books: Lucy’s all-time favorite novel is The Miraculous Adventures of Edward Tulane. We also loved The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I think that I see a thread here . . . lots of animal stories on this list! I’ll keep thinking.

  5. Joanna September 1, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    I just had a chance to read this and laughed out loud to myself likes crazy person. Keep em coming! Where’s this weeks?

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