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Three Good Things for Tuesday, March 5th

Working from home with two sick kids is tough when the kids aren't really that sick, but are definitely contagious. Coxsackievurus has an objectively hilarious name, and Hand Foot and Mouth Disease sounds like a livestock ailment, but it does produce truly uncomfortable sores. All this is to say that it was a minor miracle that I proceeded through my day without any major zoom meeting disruptions. A little strategically deployed Minecraft time didn't hurt either. Work life balance aside, three good things for the day:

1. Tortellini with sauteed shiitakes in a shallot and white wine reduction over a bed of arugula.

A truly righteous plate of pasta and greens.

It's fun and gratifying to know enough to whip a dish like this up. And especially nice to be changing up some of my weekday routine dishes. I confess that, as the primary chef of the household, I have been in a little bit of a rut; but between this and yesterday's broiled salmon there are new possibilities opening up.

2. "He Was in Heaven Before He Died," by John Prine.

I used to sing to the kids every night, and most of the songs I sang were John Prine numbers. Lucas, age 9, has recently been asking for a song each night, and I've been trying not to experience his requests as an exceptionally well-deployed stalling gambit. Sometimes it's hard at the end of the day to be patient and gracious, and I'm trying to remind myself of a few things: it's just an extra four minutes, max; there will much-too-swiftly come a day when I do not get to sing to my kids at all; and it is a delight to have an excuse to sing John Prine songs.

Tonight's request was for a repeat performance of, "He Was in Heaven Before He Died," which is stuck in a fifteen-way tie for my favorite John Prine song. I can't help but hear echoes of Prine's friendship with Steve Goodman in it, even though it was written I think a decade-plus before Goodman's death. The lyrics are nonsense, but the kind of nonsense that is the rippling of something big and powerful moving just below perception.

And I smiled on the Wabash the last time I passed it/
Yes I gave her a wink from the passenger side/
And my foot fell asleep as I swallowed my candy/
Knowing he was in heaven before he died.

3. Jack.

Lucas gets a little snuggle time with the hungriest kitty.

Jack has been with us for two weeks, and we've helped him put on an entire pound. His ribs and hip bones are much less prominent, and he's starting to respond to Leo's invitations to play.

Leo, a fluffy orange tabby, bats up at Jack, a dark grayish brown tabby from where he is lying on his back on the floor; Jack got successfully provoked moments after this photo was taken.

Now all we need is a magic wand to cure him of his trauma-born food neuroses. Holy moley is he weird about food. I thought we were done with baby-proofing, but he got into the carbs cabinet the other day and got popcorn kernels everywhere. He's also starting to try to steal food from the table when nobody's looking. We've got his initial vet appointment next Monday, and hopefully they can give us some ideas about how to chill him the dang out.


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