So, wow. That happened, huh?

I likened the whole thing to a friend Wednesday morning to “Thelma and Louise” – that we’ve driven off a cliff. And a week later, I still use that analogy, only point out that we’re still in free fall and we won’t know exactly how this is going to shake out for some time to come. I’m trying to stay optimistic, trying to hope for the best, but admittedly, I can’t wrap my head around this and certainly can’t wrap my head around this for the next four years. I just can’t plan that far ahead right now. Not that I ever really have thought that far ahead to be honest with you.

I’m not a sit and moan type of person, I’m more of a “let’s go fix this” type. I’m a doer. So as we were out and about at various parties this weekend, I tried taking the high road, tried saying we all need to do better. We need to figure out exactly why so many of our fellow countrymen chose this option. We need to pull our heads out of our asses, turn off our selective tailored news and really try to listen to others that are different from us. I’m the first to admit I live in a bubble, but I’ve always sort of thought my bubble was more about being able to walk down the street in my pj’s, wearing an apron with no one thinking twice about it. Okay, so I know it’s more than that, but you catch my drift.

In the effort to you know, actually start putting my words into action, I found myself hugging a woman I haven’t had a nice thing to say about in over a decade, simply because she asked. PEOPLE! What has the world come to when I find myself burying hatchets I had absolutely no intent to bury, EVER? Either end times are truly upon us or there are bigger fish to fry, but let me tell you, in no way shape or form am I going to be capable of carrying out this bigger, better person scenario for the next four years. It’s just not in me.  So let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that. Let’s hope for the best. Sure, there are so many things that could go wrong and things aren’t looking up, that’s for sure. It would appear even our president elect didn’t entirely think this through. But nobody ever said the road to progress was smooth or straight or even in one direction. I truly believe that at the end of the day, most of us want the same things, we just have different ways of getting there.

I told a friend the day after the election, the most important thing we can do is to love each other. We need to surround each other with love and treat everyone around us with love, even those we had no intention of ever speaking cordially with ever again, let alone hugging them. That’s how we begin to move forward. We need to listen, empathize and get over it. All of us, on both sides. If I can do it, so can you.

I realize that I say all this with privilege – I’m a straight, white, married female who is has a job working for two men who treat me with respect, who let me be flexible with my time, so long as the work gets done. My husband has a job that he loves, in which he tries to save the world on a daily basis and at the very minimum, tries to ensure that everyone in his area and downstream of us has clean drinking water. My kid goes to a good, if not great, public school. We own our home, which has significantly increased in value since we bought it close to 20 years ago.  Sure it needs work, but one of these days, we’ll get around to that. Our neighborhood is the sort where everyone knows each other and I’m hard pressed to walk the dog around the block without stopping and chatting someone up. When I make time to volunteer at school or anywhere else, I don’t expect head pats, I do it because someone has to, because it makes the world a better place. I know that not everyone has the advantages I do – and some days, I don’t feel that advantaged, but I know there are those who are worse off. Life is not always easy nor is it kind and we need to remember that, not just because it will come back around, but because not everyone is in a good place when we are. I believe we are all in this together, that we have to work together, despite our differences, because we all have something to offer and we do have things in common, we just have to find them. I may live in self-described happy little dream world, but is is asking too much for everyone to have one? I don’t think it is. It’s going to take some work, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities, is it? We just seem to have taken a bit of a wrong turn in getting there, but I’m confident we’ll get ourselves straightened out. What other choice do we have?

In which we shoot.

Edie learned to shoot a rifle at summer camp. Not only is it one of her favorite camp activities, she has been commended on it in the closing ceremonies several times.  The girls don’t shoot skeet like the boys camp does though – only stationary targets. Of course, this made her very interested in shooting skeet, because as we all know, anything boys can do, girls can do better.

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Something new.

New Roots Farm has a semi-regular stand at the city market that sells produce grown at the community garden sponsored by the International Resource Committee here in Charlottesville. The garden sprung out of wanting to help refugees feel at home as many of them have a farming background, while also giving refugees access to fresh food, particularly some harder to find items from their home. By selling some of the excess produce, refugees learn new skills and earn some income.  (Here’s a nice article that ran on them this past July) When I see their stand at market, I like to check out what they have to offer because it’s a good opportunity to try something new while also supporting a wonderful project. On a recent visit, this caught my eye:

squash

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Going native.

pawpaw1Pat came across some pawpaws on a recent fishing trip and brought them home for me to experiment with. For the uninitiated, pawpaws are a native fruit not typically found in the grocery store or even at farmer’s markets.  They tend to fall off the tree when they are fully ripe, which happens to coincide with them being incredibly delicate. This delicateness is a large part as to why they aren’t well known – they don’t travel well and need to be eaten almost immediately while giving off an aroma that permeates the surrounding area. They smell like they taste, tropical and yeasty – think a slightly fermented mango-banana mix.  They aren’t much to look at – shades of green and black. Peel the skin off to find pulpy, soft flesh littered with large seeds, that require some work to get to the fruit. A 3″ pawpaw produces a surprisingly small amount of pulp. It takes a number of fruits to be able to make something with them, so if you come across some, grab more than you think you’ll need. They can be eaten raw, but they bake well too, especially when paired with dairy. Continue reading

Quick Cherry Tomatoes and Pasta.

A gardening friend gave me two Sweet 100 cherry tomato plants that have had us swimming in the teeniest, tinest tomatoes this summer.  I’ve been harvesting a few pints of them weekly and in order to keep up with them, I had to get creative.  I was slightly inspired by a recipe my friend Martha used in her cooking class last month, but because these tomatoes are so tiny that cutting them would be a complete pain (and waste of time), I decided to just throw them in the pan whole.

(They also have a slightly annoying habit of splitting upon being picked.)

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