Growing Pains

The sun is out today after a couple weeks of it hiding, taking my energy with it. I’m forcing myself to sit outside, take in the fresh air, and eat something besides pancakes. Clove is here with me and seems to have forgotten what being outside is like, too distracted to notice I’m eating carrots.

The sounds are a blend of what I’ve become used to in the present, and a pang of nostalgia.: Construction, cars driving by, a dog barking from a neighbor’s yard. Someone appears in our shared back-bit of nature with a plastic bag, and the sweet call of a morning dove quiets. I’m annoyed until I see they are picking up trash. I feel both shame for my reaction and gratitude that people still exceed expectation in simple goodness.

Clove is munching on her arugula and I, my carrots. A slight breeze waves the top of the container and disperses the sparse amount of loose fluff on her. This is good for both of us.

Maybe Spring inside of us is just as messy as Spring outdoors. With all of it’s back and forth, between freezing and melting, sunshine and gloom, our hearts go through it too. When will my chest pains push flowers from my bones, will this digging and searching inside yield the treasure I buried to hide through winter? Things are stirring in my soil, unseen. I guess I’ll keep seeking sunshine for my Spring.

Last Month

Ordinary Peace

Getting last minute approval to leave your windowless office job early on a Friday feels oh so lovely, like you’re getting away with something as you step into the sun, removing your facemask.
I’m sitting on the slab of cement cherished as my patio. Partially shaded, but with the warmth soaking into my legs from the rock, covered by my skirt. A loud crunch/pop sound breaks the songs of crickets as I open a cold can of V8 juice. I’m trying to have more vegetables in my diet and I already treated myself to a creamy nitro cold brew, laced with salted caramel this morning. Normally I don’t spring for nitro but it truly had a different flavor, richer and darker than the regular.

It’s the perfect day as far as weather goes. A cool clear, morning growing from the low seventies to the low eighties with a breeze shushing through the leaves of the trees. Come to think of it, it’s probably frogs, not crickets I’ve been hearing, since it’s not yet evening. Either way, I’m not worried. Normally I would be, thinking about my never ending list of things to do and accomplish but I’m happy, at peace just existing for a change.

Whatever kind of week you’re coming out of, I hope that you’re able to experience peace in the ordinary beauty of life.

Thank you for reading, strangers and friends.

The Perfect Life

Hello friends and strangers,
I must apologize for my extended absence. Life has been complicated lately. I know, when is it not. Battling burnout at my job, taking a wonderful trip from which I had to return, exhaustion and getting sick, focusing on my immediate space instead of the cerebral, and quite frankly, lack of wonder and inspiration in my everyday life; these are the things I blame for my lack of posting.

My eating and sleeping have been most impacted. Vivid dreams leave me tired and confused when I wake up. Interest in food or the energy to make it are in short supply.

This morning though, staying home to stream church instead of exposing people to whatever my body is fighting, I found that pocket of contentment. Nothing is perfect. I dropped my beautiful cheese toast face down on the rabbit-fur-covered rug. My stomach is still upset, but I was able to enjoy sitting on the ground by the windows, soaking up the sun indoors, since the smoke from Canada has impacted air quality. The black berries and crisp pickle slices, that escaped the fall, were refreshing and Clove convinced me to hand over some of the fur-covered toast, allowing me to fit in a few smoothings of her velvety soft fluff. No, things are far from perfect but, life can still be good.

Toasted sourdough, dill havarti, prosciutto, with blackberries, dill pickle slices and coffee.

A bag of grapefruit

The weather is finally warming up here in my part of the Midwest. Longer hours of sunlight, no chill that makes your skin burn and your teeth hurt, it could almost be thought to be Spring. I wanted to solidify the feeling by bringing a refreshing zing of sunshine into a bake, while also using the grapefruit that has been occupying my lower fridge drawer for an uncertain amount of time. Thankfully, I already had all of the ingredients for this take on lemon bars, found while “in my feels” on Pinterest.

It’s a simple recipe, though a little labor intensive but the flavor is perfectly balanced between tart and sweet. Instead of pre-cooking the curd, it bakes in the oven on the crumbly, four-ingredient, shortbread crust.

While found on Pinterest, this is from a blog that did all the hard work of creating the recipe and taking beautiful photos of their bars. If you want to give them a try, see the recipe, or visit Amber’s blog where this credit is fully due, click here. She has far more than just dessert on her beautifully curated blog “Dessert Now Dinner Later”.

Citrus makes me think of summer and warmer weather but red grapefruit is in season October through April and other citrus starts as early as December! I think it’s great to have such a fresh, bright fruit be in season when it tends to be the coldest and darkest here in the Midwest. Thank you Texas, for growing the grapefruits I was able to use for these bars.

Do you have a dessert that makes you think of warmer weather or Spring? Is it warming up where you live?

Consider this our lovely internet picnic, strangers and friends.