summer.

by Liz on 09.18

I’m just thrilled for fall. Thrilled, I said.

I’ve started bustling around, cleaning the house and cozy-ing it already. Strategically placing throw blankets here and pinecone-y autumn wreaths there and pumpkin scented candles over there. I know it’s early, but at the risk of sounding like every other damn blog you’re reading, fall is my favorite.  It’s loaded with cinnamon and smoke scented memories (Josh and I met in the fall, we married in the fall) (a different fall, to clarify). But also the new excitement that comes with fall-with-a-kid. Stitching together misshapen homemade costumes, and squirreling away candy and baking gross cupcakes that look like they’re bleeding.

But there is just one thing about summer that I’m reluctant to give up. And really it’s no surprise- the same thing that I always love about everything ever.

Food.

We’re going to spend these next few weeks relishing juicy red tomatoes (so many tomatoes) and handfuls of fragrant basil and sweet, soft peaches. We’re going to stuff our faces with summer before anyone else has the chance to offer me a pumpkin-spice-anything.

Some of our favorites this summer:

1. Heirloom Tomato Tart. I make it slightly different than this. (We had a tomato tart at a French restaurant four years ago and I’ve been trying to replicate it since.) Skip the pesto stuff and instead spread a thin, thin layer of dijon the bottom and drizzle a teeeny bit of honey on top of everything.

2. Corn Salad. We might maybe possibly eat this once a week. Maybe.

3. Grilled Veggies. I skewer them, no marinade or anything. Then we have a snack dinner of grilled veggies dipped in a dijon yogurt (1 part dijon, 1 part yogurt, maybe a bit of garlic).

4. Summer Succotash Gratin. It makes SO MUCH. Beware.

5. Tomato Corn Pie. And its close cousin:

6. Tomato Corn Galette.

7. Black Bean Salad. Really stinking fresh and cool, and easy to make if you get lazy and skip the tomato-roasting part.

8. Frozen Yogurt.

9. Blueberry Hand Pies. A little too fruit-y and not pie-y enough for me, so I simmer the blueberries in sugar and corn starch for a bit

 

Like 80% of those are some form of tomato pastry. Sorry.

What summery foods will you miss? Though I guess I’m jumping to conclusions here and assuming food is all anyone ever cares about. Is there other stuff (like, yawn, swimming or whatever) that you’ll miss about summer?

Or are you guys all just chugging pumpkin spice lattes as you read this? You are, aren’t you.

 

 

creature comforts.

by Liz on 09.10

Some of the nastiest candy in the world, but it reminds me of being a kid.

Adulthood just doesn’t let up. I keep thinking, “as soon as we finish this…” and inevitably, nothing is ever finished, and if it is, something else steps in line to take up my attention and time and energy. The more we hurry and bustle, the more I treasure downtime. But, I’ve been finding that internet and TV and Twitter don’t feel sufficiently “down” enough. I want to step away from hustle and demands and screens, and find stillness and quiet. I find myself craving really simple comforts- which is nice, when you can’t afford crazy luxuries.

Some of my quiet comforts are…

 

Clean sheets. Crisp and cool against my skin, still smelling of laundry soap.

Pot of tea. Not a cup. A pot. Which is then poured into a teacup, which rests on a saucer. Heavy on the milk and sugar. There’s something utilitarian about a cup of coffee in the morning. It has a function. It’s just a mode of dependency. But, a whole pot of tea is a matter of formality and ceremony that lends itself to feeling special and luxurious.

Cinnamon toast. Must be white bread, caked with a good quarter inch of crusty cinnamon sugar over melty butter. Like having dessert for breakfast, without any baking or buying.

Seventies soul. I know I didn’t grow up in the 70′s. You know I didn’t grow up in the 70′s. But something about it reminds me of my childhood.

Reading. Perhaps a no-brainer, but just any old reading won’t cut it. There’s a small handful of books that I consider my “comfort” reading, because of the serene, simple places they transport me. My favorite is Emily of New Moon.

Sabrina. I know I said no screens, but if Emily of New Moon is my comfort book, Sabrina is my comfort movie. The music drifting through a Parisian window. The short haircut and fancy dress. The sort of fairytale-ness of it all.

Mid-day break. Though I’m home all day, I’m usually working and busy the same hours a normal person would. I work, work, work, then take a break in the evening. But there are some days when instead, I stop mid-day and take my break, and then pick up working again when Josh comes home. Usually it’s born of necessity (when I need to wait for him to wrap up some project), but it feels so luxurious and even wrong to lay in bed with a book while the hot afternoon sun is still coming through the windows.

The hum of a fan. I don’t know what it is about it. I’ve heard that white noise is soothing, but there’s something specific to that whir of a box fan in the window that’s different- it’s summery and calming and cool.

Bubble bath. Obviously. But it has to be so very hot, that when I climb out, my skin is alarmingly red. So hot that the steam fills the bathroom.

Coffee after dinner. Coffee after dinner isn’t a necessity, like that utilitarian morning cup I mentioned. It means that dinner is over, but the night isn’t. That curfews and bedtimes and wake-up calls have been forgotten for a minute, in favor of staying up to savor what the rest of the night has to offer.  It even tastes different than morning coffee.

 

Those are mine. Give me an afternoon in bed with fresh sheets and a box fan, tea and a book, and I’m in heaven. How bout you?

 

 

twenty-eight.

by Liz on 08.26

 

“Monday’s coming fast!” my mom chirped, handing me a coffee.

And I honest-to-God had no idea what she meant.

“YOUR BIIIRTHDAYYY!”

Ohhhh. That.

 

I’m  a celebration kind of person. I relish any and all reasons to have a party, to wear a dress, to eat a fancy dinner.

But I’m also a losing-track-of-time sort of person and no matter how much I love to eat or shower, I sometimes last all day before I remember to do those things, so what’s missing a little old birthday in a great big old year, hm?

It’s not even just the date that somehow slipped my mind. Lately, I’ve been finding I don’t remember how old I am. “Twentyyyyy…..?” I’ll ask Josh when I’m filling out official paperwork or pause in conversation to do the math… 13 minus 85 is… carry the one…

I don’t know when things started speeding by this way, or when I stopped caring about the markers of time (big and small). But suddenly I’m 28, when I could’ve sworn I was still maybe 23ish. Old enough to drink, young enough to still recognize songs on the Top40 station- that sounds about right. In my head, I’m still fresh out of college. But some of my friends are in their 40′s, which is nuts, because my parents are in their 50′s, which means my friends are almost as old as my parents and when did I cross over into this realm where decades are so close together that friends and parents are just a quick skip apart?

Part of it is that I’m now at that age where we less determine age in years, and more in milestones. I’m not 28. I’m almost-thirty. That sort of jumping ahead only aids in blurring all of the rest together.

But 30 is admittedly big. And it’s nearby- though how nearby I may or may not know at any given point. Today, at least, I’m aware it’s two years away, and somehow it feels like I should set some sort of goals for myself to accomplish within those two years. But, what, I don’t know. I have an old bucket list from high school that I recently uncovered in a cleaning frenzy, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of those goals I’d met without really trying. I’d forgotten where I’d even put the list altogether. It seems very much contrary to the point (why have a list of goals if you’re not going to try for them?), but is also sort of encouraging to know that I’ve continued to live the kind of life my teenaged self had imagined. And all without having boxes to check.

The large stuff doesn’t check out, that’s for sure. Where we live, where I work, the fact that I’m parent all is not as I’d planned. But, jeez, there’s comfort that the big things didn’t stand in the way of the small.

It makes me feel very settled, in the good sorts of ways. Content to just see what unfolds with the things I already have. Satisfied to roll with the punches rather than fight against the current, trying to achieve an arbitrary list of assignments. I probably will write that “By-30″ list, just because that’s the kind of listy, achievement-focused person that I am. But, I’m happy to find that even if I forget the date, lose track of the year, I still can manage to end up sort of where I’d hoped to be, if in a roundabout way.