Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a goodbye & a good day

It's not often I make friends. I mean really good friends. I just don't have that outgoing personality. It takes me a long time to build relationships. I've learned that about myself. I guess I just guard my feelings a little too closely. So the friends I have—they mean a lot to me.

It makes it really hard to see them go. But I'm resigned to the fact that Burlington is a transient town. People just don't stay here forever, do they? It's a half-way house or stepping stone on the way to somewhere-town-not-here. Wonder if we'll go away too at some point?

I had to see one of my closest and dearest friends leave yesterday. She moved away for a bigger and better life in Chicago. I didn't actually see her leave. I couldn't even say goodbye (I hate goodbyes!). But we texted for a bit on Sunday and I'm glad we were texting and not talking so she couldn't see or hear that I was sobbing the whole time. I was a wreck. Dripping salty tears into the potato salad I was making for dinner...

My world here is shrinking, but hers is just opening up. So, there she goes. I don't blame her.

That was on Sunday. It was Colin's birthday. He had flown in from the West Coast that morning and was taking a cat nap during the whole episode. I washed my face with a cold washcloth. Then I woke him up and suggested we get out of the house and go do some fun things for his birthday. Like go pick out an old-but-new-to-him bike for his birthday at Old Spokes Home. We found a super cool yellow and black one that I had actually eyed the day before when I was scoping out the options. He loved it and we took it home then and there.

Then we went to the Berry Farm in Charlotte. That place is magical. It was the tail end of strawbug season, but we still managed to pick 7 pounds worth. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th my mind was finally clear—and I was feeling better. After that we went over to the raspberry bushes and picked 3 pints there. I froze most of the berries at home. Blueberries are already ripe so we'll have to go back again soon, which is fine by me.

All weekend, I'd been planning and cooking for a special family night birthday dinner for Col—with all of his favorite foods. I got some grass-fed steaks from Laplatte Farm and marinated them in his favorite bourbon marinade. I grilled them to perfection if I don't say so myself. I made his favorite aforementioned creamy potato salad and Caesar salad with a homemade dressing. And that wasn't all! I made homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream from scratch. And it was dang good.

So all in all, after the goodbye, it was a good day. One friends goes (yet will stay in my heart!), and one friend returns to stay with me forever.

I'll miss you, my friend!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

fresh cherries

Check out the fresh Vermont cherries I found at the market tonight. So yummy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

my little ham

Lil Sapphie hamming it up these days for the camera...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

family weekend

Colin and I just got home from a weekend visiting his parents in Katonah, NY and the rest of the fam in Fairfield, CT. We try to get down there a few times a year, which never feels like enough. Because every time we go down, it feels like so long since we've all seen each other. And the kids are so much bigger than they were the last time.

Still, I always think that one benefit of those trips is that we get to see everyone all together in one weekend. It's like a big family reunion every time and feels so special.

And here is little Lily, our newest niece, who last we saw was just a little lump and is now a little person (mistaking one kind of bottle for another!)

I think I take for granted having my family so close. My sisters and I live in the same town, just streets away. Because I have my family nearby, I forget sometimes that Colin doesn't. It means so much to him to makes these trips to see his family, to show me the places he used to hang out with his friends. To invite me into his favorite childhood memories.

Leaving on Sunday is always difficult—and always comes too soon. So we try to pepper the journey with fun and interesting things. This time, Colin brought me to one of his favorite pizza places Portofino's to get a slice before the drive. I've never seen such a humongous pizza slice in my whole life. They were at least a foot long. This is just two slices but they had to cut them in half so we could eat them.

As we neared Burlington the sun was just about to set over the Adirondacks. A beautiful view to welcome us home.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

calm before & after

I just realized that I never posted these photos from a thunderstorm we had a couple of weeks ago. It was a lovely evening so Colin and I took a walk down to the waterfront for date night. But as soon as we arrived, we noticed some ominous clouds drifting in rather swiftly. Then thunder, then lightning, then crazy strong winds. We took shelter at the boat house and were literally stuck there till the storm passed. I tried to get pictures during the storm, but it was nearly impossible. The best I could do was the calm before and after...

After which we decided we needed a nice warm supper. So we went to Leunig's late-night.

cultivating spontaenity

That may seem like an oxymoron, for the very word "cultivating" assumes a certain level of premeditation. However, I have always been a planner and that's the way things go with me. Still, I am trying to welcome spontaneity these days, because, as my sister Hannah and I were discussing on Friday: spontaneity is the essence of real living.

And so it went: on Friday evening after work, I was stealing a few quiet moments on the front porch reading my book, having a drink, trying to decompress before the start of the weekend. Colin was somewhere with friends. Hannah and Isaac stopped by on their way to other things. We were chatting and such. When all of a sudden a very shiny Mercedes pulled in rather abruptly into the driveway of the apartment building across the street.

"Ooh," I said, "he's going to scrape bottom." (Every car that pulls into that drive scrapes bottom, as I've discovered sitting on this porch.) And sure enough, his shiny new car scraped bottom quite nicely. "Oh no! We all moaned." Soon after that another very nice shiny car pulled up to the drive, only this one was a mint-condition convertible from the 50s with pristine white-walled tires. He was about to pull in just as abruptly when we moaned, "No! Don't do it!" loud enough for him to hear. He slammed on the breaks and inched his way past the potholes relatively unscathed.

When the two men got out of their cars, they were looking over at us kind of funny. Questioning all the ruckus I suppose. "We just didn't want you to scrape bottom with that nice car," we explained from our perch on the porch. Turns out they were friends and the one in the antique car owns the apartment building there. So they were using the lot as free parking for a night out on the town. The older Mercedes gentleman pulled something from his pocket and started waving it towards us.

"I have two extra tickets to the Arturo Sandoval concert tonight at the Flynn and I'll sell them to you dirt cheap." (It was the opening night of the jazz festival and in my new not-plan-anything mode, we hadn't gotten tickets to any of the sure-to-be-amazing shows in town.) Hannah and I looked at each other, said, "Sorry Isaac," and then, "We'll take them!" to our new best friends across the street.

We quickly made the transaction in the middle of the street. Then ditched Isaac to run inside and freshen up. The show started in less than 30 minutes, but we were ready in 15. Hannah and I walked down to the Flynn giddy at the thought of our good luck. But getting to go to that show, we realized, was more than a spontaneous piece of luck . It was providence.

Even though I didn't know his name or music, I quickly discovered that Arturo Sandoval is a jazz trumpet icon from Cuba; he was a protege of Dizzy Gillespie way back when. This was going to be good!

As I watched and listened with awe to the width and breadth of his talent (he's also a renowned classical pianist) and the talent of his band members, I was thinking to myself, I don't think I've ever been in the presence of such greatness and so much talent and awesome movement. I was moved.

Sitting there in the dim lighting of the concert hall, I had the same sort of surreal feeling you get when you get off the airplane in another country, another language, another timeline. When a few hours before you were at home, drinking coffee, watching T.V. or whatever. It's exhilarating and unbelievably freeing.

An hour before I was on my porch waiting for the possibilities of the night to unfold. And that is how they unfolded: spontaneously and spectacularly.

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