Now that summer is here and we've opened our doors and windows, we're once again treated to the sounds of the neighborhood kids playing downstairs in the evenings. As I've said before, I'm glad they're playing outside and they're not holed up with video games -- but good grief, they're loud. One little girl in particular has an ear-piercing high-pitched scream, and another constantly calls for someone named RJ. "Ar-jay! Ar-jay?! AR-JAY!!"
Occasionally they leave one of their balls outside, and Olga demolishes it when she finds it on her walk the next morning. Just today I had to sneak a bright pink kickball into the trash can after Olga attacked and deflated it.
We've had a busy few days around here! I'm still procrastinating on packing. I don't want to tear apart the apartment before we have to.
We went to Gordon and Donna's house on Sunday for a dinner party featuring some special Côtes du Rhône wine. Gordon made beef and Dave prepared a foie gras appetizer with cherry sauce, using a (sealed!) package of foie gras we got from one of his coworkers a few months ago. I know -- what happened to my vegetarian aspirations? But my longstanding rule is to eat what's prepared for me, particularly in a dinner-party setting, so I rolled with it -- and the foie gras in particular was really good. Dave and I reasoned that it was the perfect "last meal" before kicking off our weeklong vegetarian experiment!
Speaking of which, last night's menu was mushroom ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce. Tonight there are plans afoot for homemade falafel.
Yesterday I took Olga back to Wormwood Scrubs and wore her out. The walk did us both some good. I feel like I am dealing with lots of negative emotions at the moment -- easily triggered annoyance and frustration, and a deep-seated feeling of dread, almost. I'm sure it primarily has to do with the move. It's surprising how much more stressful it is to move within the UK, where we have less experience with leases, arranging utilities, hiring movers and that kind of thing. Dave has suggested I get a massage -- and I will at some point, when I feel more comfortable spending that money. Meanwhile, I try to remind myself that I don't have to control everything. Keeping myself recreationally busy and challenged helps. I'm reading a book about the history of Israel, which I know embarrassingly little about, and maybe I'll get to a museum one day this week. (While I'm avoiding packing!)
If you're interested in seeing some intriguing art made from unlikely found objects, check out this New York Times article about a guy who searches parks for discarded bottle caps, shoes, straws and other plastic stuff that he uses in precisely arranged, color coordinated and photographed collages.
(Photos: One of the neighborhood kids, with dramatic evening shadows.)