Chartreuse

August 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

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A few pics from Amsterdam. I don’t know how I feel about the color chartreuse. I like it a little bit and I despise it a little bit, and apparently those two are not mutually exclusive because I feel both and have no conclusion. Back in January I read Lynne Tillman’s “Someday This Will Be Funny” and was quietly changed forever. Her story Chartreuse is still a favorite piece of literature.

How was I changed you’re probably wondering? After reading her I realized writing could be more like how we think – scattered and seemingly random. And that short stories can be immense. 

I like this write up about her: “…everything she writes is like a neatly packed suitcase full of ideas for the reader to take with them on a short trip.”

Slow and Fast Sunday

August 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

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This past Sunday’s slow morning transitioned into whizzing pavement, trees, shrubs and cornfields. Around noon Mike proposed the idea of biking near Port Washington. By 2 we were all packed up and on the road. We rode from Port Washington to Belgium and then over to Harrington Beach State Park. The sun was starting to make its way below the tree line by the time we got there, which scattered light on the sand and water. The lake was churning and we stopped, closed our eyes and listened to it.

We rode back to Port Washington and ate dinner at a restaurant just off the water. The food was ok but the Moon Man’s, Dave Matthews Band (hello 1994!) on the speakers, and fresh lake air made up for any culinary shortcomings.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, might I suggest biking 25 miles and drinking two Moon Man’s? It’ll tucker you right out.

(Or if you don’t have a bike, just listening to Remember When (Side A) by The Black Keys and drinking two Moon Man’s is suggested as well.)

Transformation

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

 

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Yeast, water, flour and salt. The transformation those four humble ingredients undergo to make bread is downright inspiring. I know it’s science but little unscientific me prefers to think of it in more metaphorical terms. 

I used this recipe to make the baguettes. It works! They’re delicious! They played a role in all the food this weekend – my favorite being a buttered sponge to soak up the yolk of over-easy eggs and the juices of the most decadent tomatoes I picked up at the farmer’s market Saturday morning.

 

 

Processing…

August 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Another week has gone by which means it’s been two weeks since we returned from our Europe trip. I feel like a computer with an annoying pop up that alerts the user for endless amounts of minutes that it’s processing…

Slowly, though, we’ve gotten back into a routine. Meals are being cooked at home, regular bed times are, for the most part, being followed, and jobs are being attended. This last bit of summer is being enjoyed and the yearning for more travel is a lovely accompaniment to warm, sticky nights drinking beer with friends.

Here are three pics from Budapest. I think I’ll keep sharing short sets of pictures from the trip. 

Also wanted to share a couple of things I loved this week:

– This interview with writer Paulo Coehlo. “You have to accept your contradictions, and you have to learn to live with your contradictions. Otherwise, you become a block of stone that never changes.”

– This interview with photographer David duChemin. “I have a lot of ‘aha’ moments. My friends say one of my biggest talents is my ability to reinvent myself. I think it’s the ability to wake up one morning and realize that I’m becoming a different person and the labels that have been applied for one part of my life no longer apply.”

This blog post by photographer Brian Ferry. “Put away your precious spoons and mason jars and other props, and stop purposefully styling the food to look artfully messed-up.” Also, all the pictures on his blog.

This photo set by Viviane Sassen. I can’t stop thinking about it.

This sourdough starter I just got in the mail. Stay tuned on that…

Happy weekending!

 

 

Almost Summer

August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Summer has sort of sputtered like an old junker around these parts. Tiny fits of heat released and then stall. A couple more tiny fits of heat released and then stall. I’m thankful for the almost hot days that have recently turned into almost fall days. It’s coming. It always does. But for now, on these last few days of this almost summer, I’m enjoying my favorite summer smoothie.

I have drank a few iterations of this smoothie and all have tasted delicious. Recently, I didn’t have tahini on hand and instead used almond butter. I also added in a few sprigs of mint and a dollop of honey. I’ve been known to add cinnamon or ginger when I don’t have mint on hand. 

Mango-Butter Smoothie, adapted from Whole Living

1 cup slightly thawed frozen mango

1 TB almond butter (or tahini)

1 TB lime juice (about half a lime)

1/2 cup water

3-4 sprigs of mint

1 tsp of honey

Blend all the ingredients in the blender. If you don’t have mint, add a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. If you don’t have cinnamon or mint, add a 1/2 tsp of chopped ginger. If you don’t have any of those, don’t fret! The base of the smoothie is delicious on its own.

Two Weeks In Europe

August 15, 2014 § 1 Comment

And just like that I’m back here recounting my two weeks in Europe. The familiarity of this chair, this computer, plays tricks on my mind. As if the little eternities and suspended spaces of time didn’t happen. Two weeks: it sounds so parochial. So not encompassing of what that time actually was to me.

I suppose it would make sense for me to write about this trip because, most days, I consider myself a writer. But what do I write about? The restaurants? Oh yes, I ate all very good things and saw some beautiful restaurants.

But if I wrote about the restaurants then I couldn’t write about everything else.

I couldn’t tell you how I’m still processing what it meant to visit the neighborhood where my mother grew up in the thick of communism. I couldn’t tell you about sitting in mass at the church where my parents got married. I couldn’t tell you about seeing my Hungarian family without my grandmother and trying to grasp the enormity of what it meant for my mother to move across the ocean and start a new life. A new life that was told through pictures and sporadic telephone calls and even more sporadic trips home.

I also couldn’t tell you about the first time I heard my niece and nephew say my name and recognize my face. And what it meant to see them smile at me every morning in Budapest.

I couldn’t tell you about the physicality of Amsterdam. How its seemingly endless amount of 4-story buildings hug you and invite you into their cafes. How traffic is dense but it’s found on two wheels and sounds like the ding of a bell. How it’s the most alive city I’ve ever seen.

I couldn’t tell you about how I witnessed one of the biggest gay pride festivals ON EARTH. And how I cried tears of joy and sadness simultaneously. Joy for those who felt free and sadness for the fact that I still live in a world that continues to hate/shun/criminalize/demoralize human beings.

I couldn’t tell you how as we were on one of our daily walks in Amsterdam Mike turned to me and told me “you don’t have to process everything.” And then I told him that I was scared if I didn’t process everything it won’t be real.

But my fear has come true. There are missing pieces, blurry memories, frozen words out of context, and emotions that drift through – seemingly not anchored to anything.

Maybe it’s better this way. Because any amount and combination of words I throw up here will drip and sanitize – like a splash of soapy water – the emotions and experiences of this trip, however scattered and surreal some of them are. Maybe it’s best to just put up some images I took and suspend the craving to tell you everything – to tell myself everything – and trust that it all happened and is still happening in its own way.

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