5 Here is the completed back of Cherry Bomb, disporting itself amid the roses.

Normally at this time of year said bushes would be covered with roses. However, we have only just entered the paradisical weather we usually get in May, so there are just a few tiny buds.

I hope this means that we will have amazing weather in June, too, and stave off the midsummer heat as long as possible, but I don’t know if it works that way.

I also don’t know if the back of Cherry Bomb is supposed to look like this at all, since the directions had that bizarre error, and there are no pictures of the back in the book. I guess we’ll find out.5

I went to church, did some housework, continued helping my husband with the various household catastrophes, read and knitted a bit, and then my husband decided to make lap.

I have also seen this spelled “larb,” presumably by British writers, because it does not sound like our word “lard,” but like “hop.”

I am going to tell you how to make it, but you may not want to do the special preparation of the secret ingredients. The first secret ingredient is burnt rice. You take some raw sticky rice and cook it carefully in a dry skillet till it is brown. Then you grind it to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

5The second secret ingredient is roasted peppers. I don’t know exactly how these are done, because my husband has to do it outside, or the rest of us have to leave the house. One or the other.

It ends up being like a very fresh and delicious version of ground cayenne pepper, so you could just buy that.

Today, my husband wanted to cook it inside, so the rest of us left. We took the dogs and went for a walk to out local lake.

The lake is in a cemetery, which partly explains the presence of the flowers. I am not sure that anything can fully explain it, but it is a local custom, putting plastic flowers in the cemetery.5

The dogs had a great time, though their fur coats were perhaps a little warm for the weather.

When we got home, we finished up dinner.

Lap is rather time-consuming, but perhaps it could be made in a food processor.

You bake a few chicken breasts and chop them very fine. You also chop the following things very fine: fresh mint, cilantro, and green onions. We use three cups of chicken and one cup of the herbs. Combine it all very well, and then add about 1 T of fish sauce and 1 t each of the secret ingredients if you plan to use them.

5You eat it with the rice in the baskets. This is sticky rice, so you can pick a bit up like bread. You take that in your fingers and also pick up a bit of the lap.

We added some cucumbers and carrots, and some fruit salad to go with the last slices of the lemon cake.

My husband said I should tell you that lap is served with soup and a large platter of raw vegetables, and that is true, but only in the way that it is true that spaghetti is served with antipasti and a nice veal dish — if you are just fixing a quick dinner, you can have whatever you like in it. I think it would be great in a pita, or baked in a crust of some kind — maybe in half-moons of cream cheese pastry for an appetizer.

While doing these various things, I had time to consider my current big decision.

I have a vacation coming up. I am working on Saturday, June 2, and then have a week off. The only other family member who also has this week off is #2 son, who is 15 and probably not going to want to go camping with me. What I would really like to do for this vacation is go to a large city and stay all alone in a hotel. I would go to the parks and museums and restaurants every day and read and knit in a silent hotel room with people bringing me cups of tea. This is not actually in my budget.

Camping would also be good, but I cannot actually go camping by myself because I cannot light a fire to save my life, and I obviously have to have tea, which requires boiling water.

Both my daughters have invited me and #2 son to visit them for the vacation. My husband thinks it would be a great time to clean the garage. He points out that staying home for the week and cleaning house would also save money.

I could enjoy staying home and sewing and knitting and reading and not having to do anything, but at-home vacations tend, for moms, to turn into marathon cooking and cleaning — oh, yeah, that was my husband’s idea.

For the past few years, I’ve divided my vacation into sections, having a long weekend in the city, a few days of relaxing at home, and a few days of wilderness adventure. That has been fun. Perhaps I’ll take #2 son with me to visit #2 daughter, and then do some hiking. One of the many beautiful trails in the county where I live is about 16 miles long, so people often hike out to the end of it, camp for the night, and then hike back the next day. I’ve never yet done that.

In between, I could clean the garage.