Summer conjures images of lazy days, hammocks, beaches, bare feet, lemonade…all that good stuff. Let’s pretend for a moment that that’s why I’ve been so absent here.
That was nice.
The real reason is that I’m in a season of lots of work, work travel, and more wedding weekends than a person should be able to attend and still come out sane on the other side (we’ve had to turn the experience into a Bingo-style game to survive). Combine this with the fact that I coordinate our summer farm market, a few black bear incidents, the death of one friend, the birth of another friend’s baby…I’m a little spent.
There are two kinds of people in the world. In the face of the uncomfortable, some look hopefully to the sunny side or to the next thing, summon their courage, and soldier on. Others stop, examine the wound, and try to get to the bottom of it. I’m the latter. Pick the scab open: that’s how I function. Busy times throw me into mild existential crises. I scribble a lot in notebooks about what “balance” really means. I probably complain a lot (sorry, B).
Summer emphasizes the differences between swampy, grey-brown, concrete DC and the Virginia countryside, which practically vibrates with humidity and insect noise and berries busting out. Once someone told me that my life sounded “liminal”, and I dwell too much on that phrase (picking at the scab again). It’s still cool in the mornings when Ben drops me off at the train. The ducks are just starting their sleepy morning chatter. I carry a bag that usually has a laptop, a change of shoes, makeup, sometimes a few dozen eggs (I’ve been running a pretty good egg racket at the office). Scenery changes from green-green-cows-river to suburbia to monuments and motorcades. By the time I step off the train, I’ve smudged on some eye makeup, made my hair presentable, and put on real shoes. The pavement’s already steaming when I let myself into the office. The guy at the Dupont Circle metro plays jazz trumpet. There are a lot of people with Starbucks cups. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that my home is a real place. Some days this thrills me, others it depresses. (Pick pick pick.)
Here’s a litany of the good things that have poked through the cracks in the midst of the madness, just to remind me:
It’s tomato time again, which thrills me to no end, so pretty much any spare time I have is spent 1) wishing mine would actually ripen 2) buying them from other people 3) making tomato sandwiches. I took about 20 pounds of “seconds” off my friend Kevin’s hands and put up 9 quarts of crushed tomatoes the other day. If you’re a canner, I tried two new things which might be of interest: first, I froze them all ahead of time because I couldn’t use them right away. When you thaw the tomatoes, the skins slip right off—amazing, and no need for boiling/cold water bath. Second, I tried out Tattler lids (BPA free, resuable, they didn’t pay me to say this!) and really liked them. No problems whatsoever, easy to use, solid seals. Of course, if you’d rather eat your tomatoes now, there’s this tomato recipe booklet I put together last year, too.
Whether it’s the sunshine-and-lemonade or humid-concrete-jungle variety, I hope you’re enjoying the fruits of the season, too.