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Saturday

15

July 2017

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Sunday Afternoon

Written by , Posted in Dinner, Pasta, Short Stories, Thoughts

CarrotPasta-3

The smell of garlic burning brought her out of her daydream. She swore and clicked off the flame. She dumped the scorched garlic into the compost, wiped out the cast iron skillet and set it back on the stove. She minced a few more cloves, setting aside their papery skins to use in veggie stock. The carrots were in the oven already. They’d soon be browned at the edges and sweetened by honey, with a touch of salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of cayenne. The bread had come out just before the carrots had gone in. When she leaned in close she could hear it crackling as it cooled. She inhaled and closed her eyes.

Freshly baked bread took her back to childhood. Mom pulling out the fresh loaves of her signature bread, read to be slathered with butter (or margarine, it was the 90’s). It took her to early memories, hazy enough that they could have been a dream. Oma’s hands showing how to shape the Zwiebach buns, her little hands trying to mimic the motion. Praise from Oma, her gentle voice encouraging her young granddaughter as she learned a generations old recipe. Her eyes flitted over to the framed recipe on the wall. Written by Oma’s hand. She would make them again soon aided only by memories this time.

She turned the stove back on and added a bit more oil. She loved the way it rippled when it got hot. She added a big pat of butter and then another and watched as they sizzled and began to brown. She threw in the garlic and the smell wafted up to her nose. She breathed deeply. The garlic just needed thirty seconds. This time it wouldn’t burn. She added some white wine and turned the heat down to low. It would reduce into a simple sauce, perfect to coat the homemade pasta she’d spent the afternoon rolling and cutting. She didn’t mind. That kind of work was good for the soul.

She opened the screen door and the dog shot past her. Hopping and barking at the tree where he’d seen a squirrel earlier. Then running over to her husband at the barbecue. She smiled. She bent over her garden box to see what was growing. The beans had popped up, some squash plants were flowering, and the tomatoes were getting tall. She snipped off some garlic chives and plucked a big handful of basil leaves. The smell was intoxicating. No wonder the bees wouldn’t leave the basil flowers alone. She walked over to the barbecue. Her husband pulled her over and hugged her tight. He smelled like campfire. “Chicken’s almost ready” he said. She smiled and called the dog to come back inside and keep her company.

She washed and dried the herbs, chopping them with her sharpest knife. They’d be passed around the table for people to sprinkle on the pasta as they wished. The salted water was boiling. Huge rolling bubbles, sometimes jumping over the edge of the pot and making the flame sizzle. She added the pasta, stirring so it wouldn’t stick. It would only need a minute. She tasted the browned butter sauce. It had reduced nicely, but still needed to be seasoned. Just salt and pepper this time. She added a bit of the starchy pasta water to the sauce before draining the pasta, then added the pasta to the skillet. She stirred it gently then tasted it. She sighed. It was good. She took the carrots out of the oven. They needed a pinch more salt. The best way to bring out the flavors of a dish.

She pulled the parmesan cheese out of the fridge and scraped it along the grater, transparent curls falling and melting over the hot pasta. The dog ran over, eyes begging for a taste. She laughed and tossed a chunk of the rind that bounced off his nose and fell to the floor. Her smile widened as she shook her head. As she sliced the bread she heard children laughing outside. Not hers. Maybe someday. Her heart ached a little at the thought. For now, this was enough. She walked to the stove and took another taste of pasta. The cool breeze through the open window mingled with the smell of the sauce. They were like refreshment to her soul. She heard voices outside. These she recognized. Their family away from family. The doorbell rang. She took a breath and walked over to open the door.

Sunday

29

January 2017

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New Moccasins

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

Moccasins

I got some new moccasins. I love them. Or at least the idea of them. But, I don’t like them… yet.

They’re made from this beautiful, soft, moose leather. I tried them on when we were in Ontario in September. I’d been thinking about them ever since. I finally bought them at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market on New Years Eve.

I didn’t hate 2016. It had its highs and lows like any year will. At the end it got comfortable, like anything does. I got used to writing 2016. Now we’re in a new year. I have to get used to writing a 7 instead of a 6. That’s the least of my concerns though.

I don’t like my moccasins because they’re a size too small. Done on purpose because their maker told me to. As I wear them the leather will stretch. It will conform to my feet. I will get used to them, and they me. But, right now it’s uncomfortable. My toes are a bit pinched. I want to wear my old slippers. The ones that are so stretched out that my feet fall out if I don’t wear thick socks. The bottoms so worn they no longer retain any warmth. Yet, I long for their comfort and familiarity. I’d rather wear them than the too tight moccasins. They’re easier. But, instead, I’m wearing the moccasins. And with every hour worn they pinch less. My toes stretching the leather gently. Little by little they are becoming mine.

Moccasins2The new year turns the page on a lot of things for us. We’re getting ready to step out of some old slippers, into uncomfortable tight new ones. It would be easier to just make do with the old ones (in this case, Burbank and its ridiculous cost of living). It’s comfortable, our community is here, and we like it. But, it’s not supporting us anymore. Its soles retain no heat. The new year closed the door on our trip too. We’d been gone for so long that life on the road began to feel normal. Ending the trip meant saying goodbye to a season of adventure and wandering. We knew it couldn’t go on forever.

So we came home. We’re packing up, ready to move on. We will cherish the memories of our time in Burbank and our four month adventure, and take on the new uncomfortable road ahead.

Tuesday

17

January 2017

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Breaking Up With Burbank

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

We have decided to move. We could have come back home, gotten jobs, and made Burbank work. But, it feels a bit like when you’re in a decent relationship, but there’s no long-term potential. You love them, but don’t want to marry them. We love Burbank. But, we want more. We want more than living ten feet from our neighbors, no matter how wonderful they are (and if you know our neighbors, you know what it means to say this). We want land and a hobby farm and chickens. We want more than a nine to five that brings in the big bucks. We want meaning and purpose and intentionality.

We have lived in Burbank for six years. Our community is here. We’re going to be leaving behind an enormous piece of our heart. But, it is something we need to do. We can’t get ahead in Burbank. For our lifestyle, it’s too expensive. We will never be able to save money for our hobby farm and used bookstore dreams if we’re spending ninety percent of our income on rent. Someone has to put their foot down and say they’ve had enough. We’ve had enough. We won’t rent for years only to never be able to afford to buy a home. For us, that wouldn’t make sense. It won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. The housing market won’t realize that we’re on to something, that the cost of living here is in fact ridiculous. No one will notice. But, it will matter to us. We will be putting our collective foot down. We’ve had enough. We will give you, our dear community, up, because we feel like we have no other choice.

If you’ve met us, we’ve probably bragged about these people. These dear friends of ours. They’ve become family away from family. They’ve walked alongside us, holding us up through job struggles, infertility, and life’s ups and downs. We’ve eaten countless In-n-Out burgers, shared dinners and laughter on our lawn, and pondered life, faith, books and movies for hours on end. Wherever we end up, there are some big shoes to fill.

Anyone want to come with us? It would make it so much easier… I’m not sure we can leave you behind.

Wednesday

30

November 2016

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Independence is Overrated

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

trmtsthelens
We are fiercely independent. This trip has forced us to ask for help. We’ve needed money, places to stay, words of wisdom and prayers for our future. So far it’s all been provided for. Babies have slept in their parents’ room so we could sleep in theirs. People have kept dinner warm, offered us snacks for the road, and treasures from their pantries. Country dogs who aren’t allowed in the house have watched as Brando is. People who are allergic to him have taken allergy meds without complaint. Cats have hidden in terror while Brando lounged on their floor. It’s humbling, in the best way. We’re getting better at accepting help.

It’s a part of living in community. We have the best community at home. But, we’re realizing that our community extends way beyond LA. People are bending over backwards to help us out and make us feel at home. We’re so thankful.

Beyond this, people are letting us into their lives. It’s usually just a quick peek – a day here, two there. But, it’s pretty amazing.

It’s an interesting study in human nature to be around different people and their various customs. Some eat all meals together at the table, others enjoy meals on the couch. Some couples work together and are together all the time. Others have separate work and home lives. There are city families, living in the heart of a community. Others live in the forest, in remote cabins nestled amongst the trees. There are home bodies, introverts, people who eat out a lot, home cooked comfort foods, big houses, small spaces… it’s all so diverse. I love it!!

Wherever we end up, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what we want it to look like. It’s a bit like a polaroid coming into focus. We’re taking bits and pieces from all of these places and sorting and shaking them to see how they fit with us. Some, we’re discovering, fit nicely.

Friday

25

November 2016

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Gilmore Girls

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel, TV

gilmoregirls2I had big plans for today. Gilmore Girls Day. I’ve been waiting for this for a year. I’ve felt frustration about season seven of Gilmore Girls since the first time I watched it. I wanted some answers and some closure. I needed an excuse to eat junk and had food planned for each episode.

Episode 1 – coffee in our Luke’s mugs, donuts, and Poptarts

Episode 2 – chili fries

Episode 3 – pizza and Founders Day Punch

Episode 4 – ice cream

gilmoregirls1

Left off the menu was Chinese food, burgers, deviled eggs, tacos, pickles, Mallomars, blueberry shortcake, and burritos. But, I’ll pencil those in for the next time that I watch the revival… cough… tomorrow… cough. We had plans to start early and watch all the way through. We had the fire going, blankets for coziness, snacks ready and waiting. It was a good plan. But, things don’t always go the way we want them to, do they?

We watched it all. I cried. A lot. We ate some of the snacks we’d bought. I’m glad we hadn’t decided to do both pizza, burgers, and Chinese food like I’d originally hoped. We didn’t even make the chili fries or get to the Poptarts, and the Founders Day Punch became hard cider. We ate so many donuts that I lost count. I wasn’t hungry for the pizza that I ate. But, I ate it anyways, because it’s wasteful to throw out perfectly good pizza. I flip flopped from Team Logan to Team Jess (and back and forth again). I had great expectations for this show. It didn’t really disappoint. The day, as a whole, was acceptable. But, no matter what, the ending of a show this epic will always result in some sort of a letdown.

I know. It’s just a show, right? Big picture, it’s not that important. But the thing is, to me, it kinda is. Tim and I have been watching this show together (what up Gilmore Guys!) for ten years. I remember watching this show with him at each home we’ve lived in (I think we’re at around seven if we count the month we housesat and the three weeks in Paris). Before we moved, after we moved, boxes everywhere. During critical and life changing events. It was a small comfort during those times when I couldn’t stop crying because once again I wasn’t pregnant. It’s been my background while I planned menus and folded laundry. It’s just a show. Life is fine without it. But, life is better with it. It just is.

Today’s episodes hit home a little more than usual. I generally can’t relate to single mom stuff, life as a diner owner, or Rory in college. But, (MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Rory is 32 now. She’s struggling with figuring out her life’s direction. Hello! We’re on a four month soul searching road trip. She feels lost and like a failure. Ugh. Did she read my second last post?! (SPOILERS ENDED) AND THESE (whoa! didn’t mean to start that in all caps) characters feel like friends. Am I lame for feeling that way? Don’t answer that. I care about them (don’t judge). I feel with them (Richard dying – he’s dead in real life – their tears probably weren’t faked). I feel like I’ve known them for years.

Judge if you want. I’ll be here drinking boxed wine out of a water bottle, eating cold Poptarts, and searching the land and farm website for the umpteenth time. So I don’t really care. Could Lorelai hire me to be her chef at the Dragonfly Inn? Oh wait, that’s not a real place. Crap.

I miss them already.