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I kinda love doing polls.  It combines the fun of forced feedback with the reassurance that there are actual people out there actually reading this, even if there are only twelve of them.  I mean, I know my footprint log shows lots of hits, some from exotic locales like England (well, the UK), France, Russia, South Korea (Hi, Young Queen!  Hi, Big Brother!), and New Brunswick (um, hi to you too!).  But for all I know those could be webcrawlers and search engines, and, you know, stuff.  So it’s nice to know that I have readers, real live readers, readers who take polls.

It seems that, according to my latest poll, my readers are kinda split between feeding the Football Seniors (and doesn’t that sound like a group of Grandpas hobbling around the field with their walkers?) either Pasta or Oven Fried Chicken, with multiple votes going to each of the other choices, except pizza.  Considering that I knew that one of the votes for Oven Fried Chicken was mine, I decided that pasta had won, and started to plan accordingly.  Spaghetti and Meatballs sounded boring, I can’t eat most kinds of cheese, so Lasagna or most other baked pastas were out.  I wanted the boys to get a healthy dose of protein with their carbs, and Boy-O had kept talking about chicken, which led me to Chicken Parmigiana.  I looked up some recipes online, and it seemed easy enough.  Pound chicken breasts, bread same, brown in skillet, bake with tomato sauce and cheese.  No problem.  And this is why, at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I was up to my elbows in 15 lbs of raw chicken, over a dozen beaten eggs, three canisters of bread crumbs (Italian Style), and various combinations of the three, not all of them entirely appetizing, plus two skillets sputtering away on the stove, and a kitchen table half covered with jars of spaghetti sauce.  It was, shall we say, exciting.  At one point I spattered hot oil on my arm, but didn’t have time to tend to it, and promptly forgot about it except when I accidentally touched the burn and pain reminded me.  (This morning at work I pushed up she sleeve of my sweater, and was startled to see blisters.  “Oh, yeah,”  I thought, “I did burn myself, didn’t I.”)

Somehow, about three hours later, all of this resolved itself, with the help of my Mom, Aunt S, and Johnsy, into a serene still life of food: two big pans of Chicken Parmigiana bubbling appetizingly under its covering of cheese, another pan of spaghetti, the big pot of extra sauce on the stove, the lovely salad on the kitchen table, and the huge basket of home baked bread (that I, um, stayed up most of the night Wednesday night to bake) beside a truly monumental bowl of Spreadable Crack.

And then the boys ate it.

Well, except for the salad.  They didn’t touch the salad.  Aunt S, who made it, was a little disappointed, I think.  But not me.  They might not like salad, but I do, and I’m happy to have it in my fridge.  There were lots of other leftovers too, including enough chicken to send some home with Boy-O and still have some to freeze for later, spaghetti and sauce, and such an abundance of Spreadable Crack that even Johnsy (who has been known to hide it in the fridge) will be satisfied.  We had brownies too, made by Johnsy, which the guys seemed to really like.  (Btw, a little love goes out to the people who chose “Football players don’t deserve dessert.” on the poll.  What can I say?  I’m a band geek at heart.)  On the whole the guys seemed to like everything.  It was a little hard to tell.  They were almost preternaturally polite.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been called Ma’am so many times in one evening.  It was awfully cute.  But then, I find that my instinctive reaction to teenage boys in general tends to be of the “Aw, look at the cute widdle teenager!  So cute!” variety.  I try hard to repress this, since I know it would most emphatically not be appreciated, but I’m afraid it tends to leak through on occasion.

All in all it was a good evening.  The boys left almost immediately after they were done eating (it was a school night and all).  It was kinda funny.  I happened to be standing at the kitchen counter sortof near the trash can when the mass exodus began.  It became almost like a receiving line.  They came into the kitchen with their disposable plates and silverware, deposited them in the trash can, and politely said good-night and thank you to me on their way out.  After we cleaned up I took Boy-O home (do you know how awesome it is to have a baby brother who volunteers to stay and help clean up?), then returned to watch part of Galaxy Quest and the new episode of The Mentalist with Ani.  And it was good.

Also, Ani says that our kitten Baby is most definitely a him.  So we don’t need to wonder about that anymore.  Whew.

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