“So where are you staying?” the woman on the other side of the Avis counter asked as she processed our car rental. My husband and I had just arrived in Portland, Maine after a red-eye from San Diego followed by a botched connecting flight in Philadelphia. We were more than ready for our vacation to begin.
Last year about this time when my husband and I were preparing for our trip to Europe, I busied myself with finding recipes that might be typical of the region we would be in so I could try them at home. I was able to share a few of these before we left, but neglected to share the Cream of White Asparagus Soup I made.
I hope this finds you well, and enjoying the spring weather everyone has longed for. I know many who live in other areas of the country and understand this past winter was relentless. For us, it meant only that winter never arrived at all. My Iceberg roses in the patio planters, pruned in November, were blooming by January. I believe there were only one or two weeks we closed all the windows in the house, and the heater turned turned on perhaps twice just to take the chill off the family room downstairs in the evening while we talked about our respective days. I made peace with Mother Nature over this warmer than usual and alarmingly dry winter, promising not to complain too loudly, wanting and hoping for the rain we so desperately need. Instead I’ve patiently looked forward to our annual dose of May Grey and June Gloom, when skies are endlessly covered with a thick marine layer and the air chilly enough to require sweaters. Unfortunately, we’ve had more heat. A few weeks ago temperatures rose to nearly 100 and after a bit of a break for a week, I braced for heat again. Sadly, our Santa Ana winds accompanied the heat wave and fires burned thousands of acres of the parched brush taking many homes in the process.
We need rain.
My days are relatively quiet and slow moving, at least until I realize it’s 3:30 and I’ve accomplished next to nothing. Wanda keeps me company while I continue to write — my novel a work in progress for a year and a half now. Clearly, I’m not in a hurry even though my mother routinely reminds me that seeing it published is on her bucket list. I’ve adjusted to a new writing corner downstairs and vacillate over whether I want the blinds down so I can concentrate, or up, so I’m able to admire my potted plants and the hummingbird that visits daily, hovering just on the other side of my big window as if to ask why I’m inside instead of pottering about on the patio. At this point in my writing, I feel I’m up and about more than sitting in front of my Mac, each lull an excuse to stretch my legs and do something productive while I’m thinking. Often, I’ll get my camera to take a few shots of something that catches my eye — something I’ll use as and excuse later to procrastinate about moving forward with my story. Thank goodness for photography and gardening. Housekeeping? Not so much.
My husband has finished yet another busy season; I’ve lost count of how many there have been. But now that he’s home much earlier, the daylight is with us longer and weekends free, we’ve been down to the beach to walk, or buy sandwiches at a local deli to take with us and enjoy the sunset on a grassy spot above the bluffs. It’s especially pleasant on a week night when there are fewer people milling about and with the sea fairly flat the last time we were there, quiet. We could see otters bobbing in the kelp, their flippers breaking the surface of the ocean as they lay on their backs, relaxing. It’s a nice break in the day when we decide to take advantage of it and each time we do, we promise we won’t wait so long before we go again, chiding ourselves over it all. It takes less than 10 minutes to get in the car and drive down the hill, so we’re never sure why this isn’t an every day routine at this point in our lives.
We thought we might be celebrating a graduation this month — that of our youngest who is close to finishing college. Alas, another semester is needed which means I will enjoy his company most of the summer again. He’s an easy to be around soul and because he’ll be 22 this summer, I indulge myself every bit of time I can spend with him, looking forward to the work he has most recently completed and brings home to share with us. I’ll confess I’m relieved not to have had to organize a family entourage to San Francisco for his graduation. That gives me a year to tackle it at this point. And please know, fingers are crossed that he find employment. That would be excellent.
Have I cooked?
To some extent, yes, but very little of what I’ve prepared has been made from any particular recipe and even less has been photographed; omelets, stir fry, salads and soup have been our standbys. Perhaps a braise now and again. Only occasionally something baked. I think I miss that the most, but my midsection cannot deal with more than a taste, and I refuse to bake something and then toss it. That’s what bakeries are for — indulgences minus the waste.
I do occasionally post something to Instagram if you’re interested in following. I’d love to see you there. It’s an easy, creative way to see what others are up to, and I find it relaxing. I also still upload photos to flickr and enjoy getting a burst of creative inspiration from the talented photographers I find there. More than anything, they leave me with wanderlust, and this month, especially so.
A year ago, my husband and I were preparing for a trip to Europe to enjoy Paris and Bavaria. How quickly times passes, doesn’t it? As I sift through my photo library, I see a number of recipes I made with that trip in mind and wonder why I never mustered the energy to share them. Perhaps the let down of returning from such a trip and being left with recipes reminiscent, but only photos to remind me I was actually there. Ah well. I’m so glad I’ve been once.
This year, we’re headed to Maine. We’ve rented a house and I plan to do quite a bit of kayaking and working on a small farm that grows produce for a local restaurant. There will be some boating as well, perhaps hiking, a visit to the Farnsworth so I can finally oogle Winslow Homer’s mesmerizing work I’ve loved for so long. A lobster bake is on the agenda to be sure. Of course, there will be photos.
In the meantime, I believe you can count on my being here once a week — perhaps twice. Who knows what I’ll bring to the table — because recipes are a challenge these days — but I’ll be here, trying to make sense in this space I’ve kept for seven years now.
In the dog years of the web, that’s a very long time.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon, schedule in hand.
Wednesdays and Saturdays. Set your clocks.
It’s about 7:30 pm west coast time and my youngest son, husband, and I are together in our family room doing not much of anything but enjoying a relaxing evening. Another son will come at a promised 8 pm with his sweetheart and we’ll indulge ourselves in food that hasn’t been planned for or prepared carefully. That would make it appropriate for us in celebrating the dawn of a new year.
We’re all about crackers and spreadable cheese on this particular night, and the boys swear it’s not a party unless Lit’l Smokies smothered in barbeque sauce are on the menu. I think I’ve always gone along with it because by this time, I’m more than tired of cooking and cleaning up, and so welcome my husband’s offer to go to the store with a list of what to purchase. Tonight’s fare includes a loaf of French bread (the fluffy kind from the grocery store) which will be split in half lengthwise, then slathered in pizza sauce, sprinkled with cheese, and finished with pepperoni slices.
Let’s review: processed everything. It’s an only once every often proclivity. I promise.
Earlier this evening I asked my husband how often we’ve gone all out to celebrate the new year and decided it was once every five years or so. That’s quite enough. And when we consider that last year we were in Las Vegas to celebrate just to say we were, well, we’re due for “back to our regularly scheduled programming” this year.
I spent some time today going through my iPhone photos choosing many I had taken throughout this past year to make a collage. As always, I can never choose a few because so many memories are attached to each. But I did notice that very few were of food. When I consider that the whole point of this site’s existence is to share stories and photos of food, clearly something has changed. I’ve sort of fallen out of love with food.
I thought about writing one of those melodramatic goodbyes months ago. Deleting everything posted here crossed my mind more than once. But time does work its wonders and because of that, I’m thinking I might be able to find a place for writing here occasionally. No schedule. No plans. Enough to make anyone who thrives on organization and a solid routine to run crazed for the hills. At this point in my life, I know more than anything that I have to do what I want when I want to do it if creating something is involved. You may shake your head in disappointment and think, “How self-indulgent,” and I would agree. But I’ve learned when my heart isn’t involved in an effort, then I’ll be reminded each time I look at the end product.
I like that when I sit to put words in a space, I can just write. I also like to share my photos, but I also realize that forcing myself to only shoot photos of food is incredibly limiting and that writing about food keeps me from writing about other things. You know what is said about moderation. I guess that’s what I’ve been attempting to do with time and distance to help me succeed.
So here I am, apologizing for disappearing, yet thinking of how to move forward.
No plan, no organization. Simply a will to create.
I’d say that’s a step in the correct direction.
Happy New Year to you and yours. May the next year present wonderful opportunities for you to relax and enjoy the tiny things in life that go unnoticed when we’re running around like chickens with our heads off.
The past two days, I’ve spent quite a bit of time remembering much of what I enjoyed most about blogging — the community, the camaraderie. I know it’s been three months since I’ve written here, but often, things change. Sadly, sometimes they change forever.