I watched the new Taylor Swift movie, Miss Americana, with my girl recently. I admittedly am not really a fan, but my girl is, so under the guise of quality time, I agreed to watch it with her. Not only did I walk away with a new-found respect for Miss Swift, I found some of what she had to say resonating with me, specifically, her perceived view that women in entertainment have to reinvent themselves regularly to stay relevant. As someone who has reinvented herself a few times over, I’d say that experience isn’t relegated to women in entertainment, I’d argue it’s something all of us as women either have or will go through at some point in our lives.Continue reading
With three (!) busy summer work schedules and a house under construction, an actual, proper vacation was shoved to the back burner this year. Having spent the better part of the last year working 6 & 7 day weeks, I
wanted needed a few days off. With school related activities starting just a few days after Edie came home from camp, I knew we needed to make the most of those last free days.
We are at that point of July where the Fourth is a pleasant memory and the lazy, long, hot days of summer roll together. The other day, the 5:00 p.m. parking lot at Barracks Road had more parking spaces than cars in it – a tell tale sign of exactly how things slow down around here this time of year.
Without the structure of school, our days feel looser –alarms aren’t always set so mornings are quiet and casual. No rush.
No matter how hot and muggy the day is, there is an outdoor happy hour in the front yard practically every afternoon/evening, while a steady stream of teenagers/friends/neighbors and their dogs pop through to say hello. Dinner involves some version of corn/squash/eggplant/tomatoes with herbs from the garden that we linger over while we watch Betsy beagle lay in wait for lightning bugs as dusk sets in.
Bathing suits and towels hang on the line in hopes of drying between afternoon thunderstorms to be worn to the water again tomorrow. Walking the dog after dark, you can feel the heat of the day still rising off the pavement. There are always popscicles and Klondike bars in the freezer, melons, berries and peaches in the fridge. Summertime and the eating is good.
The lazy, hazy days of summer seem to stretch on endlessly, when in reality, they are fleeting at best, their time cut short by the responsibilities of work and school.
But we soak them in while we can, squeezing in as many picnics, barbecues, baseball games, berry picking, road tripping excursions as possible, swimming every day. The magic of summer may be fleeting, but thank goodness it comes around every year.
Now that the farmers market is flush with fresh, local greens again, I find myself buying several varieties from various vendors weekly. Every meal has some sort of green worked into it, but towards the end of the week, I find I need to start getting creative with the slightly fading greens. Continue reading
My girl finished up her first sewing project over the weekend.
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?
My go-to summer breakfast is fruit with yogurt and granola. I typically buy my granola in the summer, not because it’s too hot to turn the oven on, but because I’ve fallen in love with a ginger granola that I’ve yet to be able to perfect at home and I find ginger granola to be the perfect complement to any fresh fruit combo I throw together. That changed last week however, when not only was I out of granola, it was so incredibly hot outside that just the thought of getting in my car to go get granola was out of the realm of possibility. I began to wonder if stovetop granola was a thing and if it wasn’t, then could I make it a thing? Continue reading
I spent three very delightful evenings this past week assisting down at the Charlottesville Cooking School with my friend Martha, who taught an Every Day Cooking Skills Series. It’s a three part class that is usually taught over the course of three weeks, but Martha decided to teach it over three consecutive evenings in one week as a trial summer run. The concept is sort of like a boot camp for cooking – it covers a variety of basic cooking techniques so that participants walk out with skills to throw together simple seasonal and delicious dinners regularly. Sounds too good to be true, I know, but Martha is an amazing instructor who can make this happen and I don’t just say that because she’s a friend. Martha is a trained chef, who has been teaching cooking classes longer than she wants to admit (which is also longer than I’ve been cooking).
Cucumbers are starting to come in and since I have a bit of reputation for pickling everything in sight, I’ve already started fielding requests for my favorite cucumber preserving recipes. I thought I’d go ahead and put all my favorites into one post, so from here on out, I can just send this link in response to “What are your favorite cucumber pickle recipes?”