(I love this and I don’t care who knows it)
To say that it has been too long since I’ve been here would be the understatement of the year (or, two, actually, depending how you count). I certainly have been drafting posts in my mind, carrying my camera everywhere and the food… oh the food I have consumed in the past four months – all with the excuse of sharing it with you. Yet, that is what I’ve come to accept. I do not need an excuse. Not for that 9 course pop-up restaurant in DC (oh, yes, that happened), not for cheese-tastic feasts and, importantly, not for my most recent in a long line of blog recesses… Life got in the way. I do the best I can. I look back and wish I had prioritized differently and I forge ahead hoping that I will have learned from the experience. So, let’s move on, shall we?
(an embarrassment of
cheeses riches cheeses)
Inspired by Jenna (who does not know me, but is now my most recent favorite person for unknowingly providing me with the above photo – and post idea), I figured a list is the best way to shake off the old and bring in the new. Who doesn’t love a list of random factoids? I know I do!
1. Yoga is good for me. This is my nod to Mr. Gosling above, and will be my only ‘self-improvement’ entry on this list. Last summer I got into the habit of doing 20 minutes of yoga each morning. It was a slow, conscious way of starting each day and I felt the benefits almost immediately. My posture improved, as did my patience, and I was proud of committing to a small, daily practice for just me (those 15-20 minutes of yoga were certainly a much better use of that time than the ‘snooze’ button). All was good (and balanced) until the weather cooled, skies darkened and winter set in. I fell off of the interconnectedness wagon. The warmth of my bed cocoon was too tempting. I now feel ready to get back to it, but have not found the get-up-and-go each morning (‘snooze’ has reconquered my world) to make it happen. So, I’m saying it here – and hoping that accountability to blog friends and strangers will push me farther than I have been able to push myself.
(that’s my face!)
2. I had both of my jaws realigned in 2005. Due to an overbite and resultantly wacky teeth , I had both of my jaws realigned while in graduate school. This involved getting braces for the second time and several weeks consuming only liquids. In preparation for the best diet ever (joking – sort of), I took the opportunity to be a complete glutton, which had its moments. I joke that perhaps they will unearth my skull and think that I am the missing link between man and machine. Besides rapid onset ice cream headaches (all the metal in my face cools down way faster than tissue and bone do in cold weather), the only perk is to freak people out by having them touch the one screw you can feel, at the top of my nose… Truly one of the best party tricks ever.
3. I create a family of friends wherever I land. I have been very lucky in life’s endeavors so far, even if they continue to take me further and further afield from the place I consider ‘home’ (most anywhere on the CA coastline). Although I try to focus on the positive and be enthusiastic about the opportunities I am given, there are some days when this is just downright difficult. Enter my ‘family’. I have, in most cases, blindly stumbled upon the most amazing people in each city that I have inhabited. Intelligent, generous, hilarious people who have welcomed me into their lives, opened their hearts and shared in the ups and downs of daily life, so much so that I feel at ‘home’ when I am with them. I could not imagine better friends – here, in Boston (now moved almost entirely en masse in DC) or, waiting for me to return, some day, to CA. Talk about lucky…
(my *first* niece, Sophia Rose)
4. In this year, I will become an aunt 4 times over. Speaking of family. Mine has been gettin’ busy! Ours is a modern (re: fragmented, eccentric, wonderful) family that has spent a lot of time apart, each of us finding our own way. Yet, in the past year, things have been, uhm, coming together (?) and two sisters and two brothers will (or have) both bring (brought) bundles of joy into this world for me to love, hug, squeeze and call George (or, Sophia, whatever). Seeing this happen, being part of the inner circle, and frantically knitting baby blankets has made me realize that, for all of my world traveling and far flung soul searching, there is nothing like family. No matter how dysfunctional. Kidding, I swear!
(make. this. now.)
5. I have conquered apple exhaustion and now cannot get enough. There have been stories of apple excess in years past. It is like the Groundhog Day of the panier set; more apples? Yes. OK, at least a few more weeks of winter to go. This year the apples were somewhat offset by an overwhelming quantity of kiwi, a winter fruit I now dread more than the apple (at least you can make something with apples). However, despite the kiwi distraction, I still find myself in early April with more apples than I can fit in my tiny, Parisan kitchen. This weekend I was done. I had had enough. No more crumbly pies, or last minute tarts. It all had to go. Now.
Applesauce was clearly the answer. Rather than my go-to recipe, I chose to follow Luisa’s instincts (note to self – never hesitate to follow Luisa’s instincts from here on out). Please, for all that is holy, go make this now. Buy apples (if you have to) and then loosely follow the recipe. Maybe you substitute brown for white sugar and, if you are so lucky as to get vanilla-infused butter from your friends as gifts (I told you so), drop a few dollops of that in. Bake until extra browned and mash away. Yes, you must taste as you go, but do not forget to let it cool, or you won’t be able to feel that center-front spot on your tongue for the next few days – believe me. Even better, add a dollop of crème fraiche and slowly savor each sweet, caramel-y bite – like the most perfectly bruléed tarte tatin, without all that crust nonsense to get in the way. I am seriously considering picking up some more apples at the store on the way home tomorrow. Just sayin’.
So, there we go. Not nearly caught up (that will come), but at least reconnected, which, for now, is a big step in the right direction. Bonne Nuit!