All the thoughts on a Friday, which has now turned into Saturday

My youngest darling was the burp contest champion at camp this week. He can do, what he calls, "constant burp," and it's pretty impressive if you appreciate that sort of thing. 

I came across and bought this manly tomato today, just after having a really wonderful, fulfilling lunch with a relatively new but total gem of a friend. 

Those two things are not remotely related except that she responded to this picture in this way: "Yes! I love it when I find lewd veggies! This is a fine specimen!" She's a keeper.

I really do feel so terribly rich with friends. Last weekend I was lucky to get to host my online writing group for our first in-person retreat. We've been writing together for a few months now, though several of us have done so before. Ah, the interwebs. But, not all of us had met each other in real life prior to everyone's arrival on Saturday. 

We needn't have worried. It was one of the easiest 48 hours ever and included spending enormous amounts of time in pajamas eating, watching Roger win Wimbledon, leaving the house after more than a day to eat a delicious meal at Ghibellina, and enjoying a last morning together at Politics and Prose (although the customer service in the cafe was staggeringly terrible. Ex: "I'd like that chocolate croissant." With a sneer she replied, "That's not chocolate." My friend: "May I ask what it is?" Reply: "Yes." WTF?!?!) It did not include any writing. Hah!

Champion of champions!

Champion of champions!

The boys returned to Calleva on Monday, and despite the horrific heat wave DC has been steaming in for the past week, they had, as always, a fabulous time. It's such a great camp. They are so filthy at pickup every single day that I send them directly to showers when we get home, no delays. You should see the seats of my car; they've been tinted by their bums this week, the aftermath of literally lolling about in nature, on shore and in the river.

We resumed our 2Amys Monday for pizza and meatballs and sitting in the front window tradition. We've been going there regularly, sometimes weekly, for eleven years, but 2Amys Monday is a Calleva-specific ritual. That's a long time to have a place in your life, and I love that. One of the managers, Darlene, has been there the whole time. She has seen the kids grow up, and we have watched with delight as her commitment to pink winds through hair, nails, outfits, and so on. 

The heat and humidity this week have been tough, even for me and my Louisiana blood. Temps have topped 100 most every day with not a cloud or drop of rain in sight. We have had thunder though; one clap broke a neighbor's glass patio table. And today, Saturday, I'm watching as dark gray clouds roll in like a storm surge from nowhere. The trees keep blowing to near horizontal positions before returning to an eerie stillness. 

Because of the oppressive sultriness, it has felt near impossible to cook. Everyone is basking in cold, raw opportunity: salad, chilled soup, crostini with lots of cheese. I managed to grill pizza one night, and inexplicably (beyond my desperate need to use up a ton of rhubarb) I made some jam. Today, because our tomatoes are going nuts, I passed the black krims through my food mill to make the base for gazpacho and then had the opportunity to use up all my bell peppers, green onion bulbs, and cucumbers.

pain de campagne, burrata, tomatoes, basil, and great olive oil

pain de campagne, burrata, tomatoes, basil, and great olive oil

Not pretty but very delicious gazpacho

Not pretty but very delicious gazpacho

A few days ago I went to Politics and Prose (again) to hear Angela J. Davis in conversation with three of the contributors, Roger Fairfax, Kristin Henning, and Renee McDonald Hutchins, to her new book of essays, Policing the Black Man. Each essay constitutes a different perspective on the racism pervading America's criminal justice system: how black boys and young men are stereotyped and treated by police; implicit bias; various legal viewpoints; the history, present, and possible future of our justice system; and so forth. It was a terrific event, and I look forward to reading the book.

Angela J. Davis and her newest book

Angela J. Davis and her newest book

In other book news, I'm about 2/3 of the way done with Quiet Until the Thaw, and I must say that while there are some beautiful phrases and passages full of wisdom, I am disappointed. I have zero idea why Fuller decided to fictionalize this story. It puts her, as a non-Native American, in the voice of one. I'm not surprised by the flak she's taking from native writers, not least because the style in which she's chosen to write often feels glib. It too frequently feels like a poorly rendered stereotypical description of Indians and reservations- names, headdresses, alcohol abuse... There is a better way to respectfully treat Native American traditions and people in literature although I sincerely believe she has a profound respect for them. Which is why this is disappointing. I wish she'd just written of the months she spent on the Lakota reservation, from her perspective. 

Ok, the rain has passed. God did we need it. Perhaps we'll actually be able to cook something for dinner. Dessert at least. 

Birthday Eve

I spent the bulk of today on a farm field trip with Oliver's kindergarten class. My charges could not have been better behaved, and we saw both a baby goat (darling) and donkey (even more darling), the latter born less than 24 hours before we laid eyes on it. We talked germination and composting, took a hay ride, ate lunch outside, and I was gaga by the bus ride home.

I was not the only one.

Is that not one of the best field trip aftermath picture you've ever seen? I mean, those kids are OUT. The little boy proceeded to flop over face-down onto the little girl, as if he'd fast-forwarded twelve years and this is post-prom. Oddly enough, as the bus stopped at the final red light before school, both of these kids sat up, hair mussed every which way, rubbed their eyes, and acted like nothing had ever happened. 

Hysterical. And then there's my child.

Oh, Oliver. How I love this unique little being!

My mother-in-law came over after school and took us out to dinner- my second birthday celebration so far as Oliver's pals sang to me during our picnic lunch today which was adorable. 

MIL took us to 2Amy's where we all chowed down, and then we returned home to share three lovely desserts she'd brought over. It was all wonderful, especially since T is out of town right now, and I feel grand.

I will say that despite my long-standing dislike of morel mushrooms, I ordered the Special Pizza 1: morels, garlic, tomato puree and grana.

that is a gorgeous pizza

that is a gorgeous pizza

Why? Because morels are one of those elusive, cultish, ephemeral ingredients that I feel I should like despite the fact that their shape reminds me of a urinary tract probe.

I concluded that, as I already knew, I do not like morels. They taste like soap infused with a soupçon of dirt, an element I never need to have on a pizza. Or anywhere else really. Sorry morels. This almost-39 year old has given up on you.

2Amy's fava bean crostini

It is another stunner out there today, so after putting up the jam, I headed out; an appointment here, some window-shopping there, and then the realization that I was damn hungry. I was about a mile from 2Amy's, home of the best pizza in DC by a mile and my beloved fava bean crostini, a seasonal item that I stalk when the time is right and which inspired my own version of it (posted in recipes; delish). A quick call to Darlene, she of the delightful pink-streaked hair for you DC-area folks who might recognize and/or know her too, and I found that today's special app #3 IS this fab treat of a dish. I ordered that for me and some meatballs for the boys' dinner (you've never seen kids gorge on meatballs until you see them with a plate of 2A's polpette. It is truly a sight to behold so my little guys will get to indulge tonight. I just took these crostini down in about 30 seconds. Awesome. 2Amy's fava bean crostini

Just look at those shavings of Parm, glistening with olive oil, speckled with Maldon. Feast your eyes on the fava bean purée, the grilled bread, the ridiculously good amalgam of flavors this dish is! Mamma mia.

I am about to scurry back out to pick up Ol but simply must share my complete belief in the power of looking in on your kids as they sleep as a way to alleviate any stress and/or irritation you may have acquired during the bath- and bedtime routine. I do this each night because the boys are so dear when they're beset with slumber. They don't talk or emit any foul noise. They are just perfect, and I always find that seeing them in such a sweet state helps refill my reservoir. Observe little O from last night.

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