Eating well and beautifully

I haven't the slightest idea what season it is or what season the season gods think it to be. Burning, cold, drenched, parched, hide the jackets, find them, confident blooms, meek ones. I desperately want to be able to count on temperatures north of 65. Want to be able to plant basil and tomatoes with assurances of growth. And yet.

There is, as a dear friend told me today, always room for practice. 

She told me that after I called her in tears, a tough morning having primed my ducts before she left a loving message that pulled the boy's thumb from the Netherlandish dike, and after I forced myself to pilates which was great minus the overly chatty women in the rear corner and the individual who farted stink bombs continuously throughout. 

Indeed. There is always room for practice.

For me at least, one balm for such trying times is a mealtime well spent. With friends or alone, cooking or dining out. I have told you many times that I hate wasting the opportunity granted in all of the three daily meals but especially lunch and dinner. Snacks are lovely, and I am a snacker, but a proper midday sup or after-a-long-day dine is sublime. It heals, sates, restores, and offers a new focus, even if for only a brief time.

Do you know of Molly Yeh? She writes My Name is Yeh and also has a recently-released cookbook, Molly On the Range. She has a megawatt smile, an affinity for backyard chickens, a loved one known as Egg Boy, and a real gift with marzipan. It is rare that I make her recipes and wish I hadn't doubled them. (Well, the funfetti cake was a bit much, but otherwise...).

Hers is one of the few blogs I subscribe to, and I recently received a missive about a carrot salad with feta, pistachios, and an orange blossom toss. OMG. That is so up my alley. Simultaneously, I rediscovered the recent New York Times Dining section in which David Tanis -with whom I have a real love-disappointment relationship- shared a gorgeous charred asparagus salad with chimichurri

In my opinion, both of those dishes plus some steamed new potatoes to dress in any leftover chimichurri seemed like a dreamy dinner. And so it was. 

Ribbons of freshly shaved, freshly plucked carrots. Just torn mint. Season's best asparagus. Chimichurri. Pistachios. Cardamom. I gasp at the memories (although I like my regular chimichurri recipe better). 

a beauty from my yard

a beauty from my yard

Some days

Some days feel overcast, even when the sun is shining bright. Some days feel lonely, even when you're surrounded by loved ones. Some days, parenting feels like nothing more than a shortcut to winning yet another failing asshat badge. Some days, marriage feels like a Sisyphean toil.

Some days you return home and find soggy mounds of cat puke dotting your kitchen. You find capellini-sized worms eating through the tight, pink-tipped buds studding the rose bush you've spent a solid year tending; you toss the worms to the ground angrily, wondering if your roses will bloom. You cut open a Meyer lemon proudly plucked straight from the tree you've nursed for as long as that rose and find it to be all pith, the very antithesis of a Meyer's goal. 

Some days, you ponder family that feel like strangers. You wonder what happened last November and if your country will ever heal. You wonder about the rage you sometimes feel, the rage you know others feel, the anger and mistrust seeping into the white space left gaping and sore by shock and concern. You wonder about good seeds and bad seeds and where and when neutral forebears diverged onto paths lit by light and shrouded by dark. You wonder how much light and how much dark you're comprised of. 

Some days you meet an old friend for lunch and shock yourself by sharing things from the depths. You realize that you needed to but that that need is an uncomfortable, suggestive one. You are grateful that even though you rarely see this friend, she was exactly who you needed to share a bowl of fries with.

Some days you curse the invasive clover around whose roots ants seem to like constructing villages, and the bamboo sneaking under the fence separating your yard from your neighbor's. But dealing with them offers an odd sense of peace and accomplishment: from slowly peeling up buckets of juicy white clover stem that seem like an endless highway system coursing between grass and soil, from unearthing and cleaving into so many pieces the deeply entrenched tap root of the bamboo, comes exhaustion and serenity, and I think that order is key. 

Some days you hunker down and inward, willing yourself to rest and notice the tiny bits of beauty that really do beckon from more corners than you can count. Some days you put on a dress and new sandals and mod earrings and immerse yourself in a sea of activity and interaction because sometimes, getting out of your own head is the best gift you can give yourself. Some days you challenge yourself to learn or do something new; maybe you make a mistake, maybe you don't. But you are brave and you notice you stand just a bit taller.

Some days are relentless and hard, and then your child cries and needs you to hold him as his tears wet your shoulders and your arms embrace his gangly body. And you are tired and there is nowhere you'd rather be, even if you feel impotent really, for you can't make him better at chess, you can't make him believe he really isn't "the worst one in the club." You can't, but you can hold him as he calms. And you can dry his eyes and kiss his cheeks and offer to make a sandwich and maybe do something so silly, anything, just to make him smile.

Some days you cook three dinners (for various reasons) and you forget to turn the sprinkler off and move the laundry over and wash the cat's injured foot. You're reading to your child and turn the book over to him even though it's a challenging one because your dinner is finally ready and you're hungry. And he flies with such ease and fluency, and you sit there with your mouth agape, beaming with pride at this child who has worked unceasingly and courageously and has gotten it. And you tell him that, and he believes you, and he blushes with the fire of belief and accomplishment, and you would not trade this for the world.

Some days you remember the night you arrived in New York, with one suitcase and no longer enough money to fairly tip the cab driver. He is kind and waits as you ring the bell of your new home. He is concerned when the people who are supposed to answer don't. He sees your concern. You wonder if he knows of your broken heart. He offers you his phone, and you take it with gratitude even though you cannot pay him enough. He waves his hand, "Don't worry."

Some days you go back to New York, the place you found yourself. Really found yourself. And it is still dirty and magnificent and throbbing with life and air conditioners drip from above and kindness and hardness surround you like a maelstrom but once again you find yourself and you return home grounded.

Some days your spouse rubs your shoulders and then unloads the dishwasher right when you need just those things.

Some days you dream big dreams and feel silly about it. Other days you dream big dreams and know you'll see them come true. Some day.

A week in photos

This was a long week but a good one that saw the rain finally give way to sun, time spent with friends and family and tending my Nutmeg, and some good food thrown into the wild mix. I'm now on the bus to New York to meet up with my parents and enjoy a thirty six hour getaway. 

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I've been wrapping Nut's cast so he can enjoy some outdoor time. 

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This earnest little fern in my yard makes me smile. 

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Jack and I enjoyed going to a mother-son dance.  

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Fava bean purée is the ultimate show of spring.  

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Can you even with Columbines? 

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Oliver's first section of The New Fart Times,   a section on fart inventions.