Ups: our first trip to the beach this trip. The kids had all but forgotten about it until our beachside visit to Four Seasons for lunch on Sunday, but since then having been begging for more. The beach I chose -- near the house of our gardener, to whom we gave a lift on the way -- isn't one of the best ones, not a lot of sand above the high tide mark and no shells for gathering, but nice and private and surrounded by a coral reef which makes for some excitement. The kids had a wonderful time digging canals ("just like in Holland" called out Laura, remembering some of our SOTW3 reading), and then she started collecting coconut husks "for a palisade," she told the boys. Then the boys realized that instead of shells, they could collect bits of coral, some of them quite large, all broken off by the waves from the reef offshore.
I reminded the kids that the ocean, even on the considerably calmer Caribbean side (the Atlantic side is so rough few dare to go in), isn't as safe as the pool and to be careful. When I mentioned the tide and the undertow, five-year-old Davy looked around rather panicked, and then I realized he thought I was talking some animal-like being that might grab him. So I had to explain that I was talking about the force of the water, and he relaxed, but not too much (which is good).
When the tide finally claimed the last bit of beach, and the kids were thorougly breaded with sand like little Wiener schnitzels, we headed home, where the kids showered all together and my wonderful husband made pina coladas, virgin and rum-laden, for each of us.
Downs: the pina coladas were followed by our French fairy godfather cooking French sausages -- andouilles -- for about the fifth night in a row. Even Daniel, who's quite fond of sausages, stood by Tom at the barbecue tonight and whispered, "Sausages? Again? Why can't we just have steak?" And the particular sausages tonight were particularly unappealing, essentially sausage casing around sliced tripe, which was just too much for my mother, who has been known to eat and like tripe. Not quite "Fear Factor" territory, though I did think of that scene in "Alien" when, rather disconcerted, I had cut into my sausage only to have the contents spill out in innardlike fashion. To their credit, the kids have been doing a dandy job of dealing with the gourmet concoctions, even without the reward tonight of fancy chocolates at the end; though to be on the safe side tonight, I set a tiny little metal condiment dish full of ketchup next to each of their plates.
Tomorrow is his birthday, for which he's cooking duck breast, accompanied by what he called "my recipe" of sauteed cabbage, which I apparently made last year. I can't recall either the occasion or the recipe, but I found it in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Just heat some olive oil (or sesame oil) and garlic, and cook cabbage, and had some hot chili pepper to taste. I hope that's what he's expecting. And my parents and I are hoping that the duck breasts, which he brought with him a week ago and refused to store in the freezer, a) won't be past their "best by" date and b) won't be served rare, just in case.
Another up: we're concerned enough about food poisoning and the possible surprise of yet more sausages that we're not even going to bother with the State of the Union address. Hey, are there any more pina coladas?