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So far it seems like the main thing I’ve done with my summer vacation has been housework.  Well, and mow the lawn, but that’s housework too.  Of course, there’s been a lot to catch up on.  Finals, plus trip right before finals, plus friends staying over and using the washer the weekend after finals equals a lot of dirty laundry piled up.  And then, it had been far too long since I baked bread.  I had a new bread recipe to try: Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, garnered from the seductive archives of the always-alluring Smitten Kitchen.  It looked too easy to be true.  Just mix three ingredients (four if you count water) together, let it sit for a while, flop it over on itself, let it rise again, and then bake? No way.  But, oh, dear Lord.  That bread is good.  I’ve made it two times this week, and already Johnsy’s bugging me to make it again.  I like the bread, but she’s becoming obsessive.  I mean, usually she eats some of the bread I make.  It’s darn good bread.  But she’s not much of a bread-eater, so I account for most of it.  Not this bread.  I swear I’m going to have to start hiding it from her in order to get any of it at all.  Now if I could just figure out a way to keep it from sticking to the covering towel on the second rise…

I haven’t gotten out into the garden nearly as much as I’d wish.  I did make it last Sunday, and spent a few lovely hours pottering about with my trowel neatening the edges of my flower beds, weeding the vegetable garden and planting the restrained three zucchini plants that Johnsy and I compromised on.  I did a little work clearing out the weeds in the rose bed along the side of the front porch where I intend to plant the Pascali rose I picked up at Wal-Mart a while ago.  The poor thing really needs to get into the ground, and soon.  On Wednesday I spent part of the morning mowing the grass for the second time this year.  It was so jungle-licious I barely got the back yard done in the time I had available, and didn’t get to the front yard at all.  That definitely has to get done this weekend, so guess what I’m doing tomorrow morning.  Sigh.

The very cool thing is that the books I ordered from Barnes & Noble have been slowly coming in.  My Swing Club kids surprised me at the last meeting with a lovely card with an even lovelier gift card inside!  I had so much fun deciding what I was going to get with it, trolling the Barnes & Noble website for bargains.  In the end I decided on two CDs: Laverne Baker and the Hairspray Soundtrack, and three books by two of my favorite sci-fi authors.  I had always borrowed my sister’s copies of The Blue Sword and Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley, so I got those.  And then I remembered that I had used to have a matched set of Judith Merkle-Riley’s Margaret of Ashbury trilogy.  Then I lent the middle book to my Former Roommate, and failed to get it back before she died.  All her belongings have been disposed of, and the house is empty and waiting to be sold, so I think there’s no way I’m getting it back now.  So I replaced that too.  Yesterday the nice UPS man brought be one of the books and the two CDs, and today one of the other books was waiting for me in the mail.  Still, as lovely as the books and music are, they’re no replacement for my kids!  Thank goodness we can buy and sell each other on facebook Friends For Sale while we’re apart!