Usually, summer is my favorite time of year to cook. I get deliriously hungry just walking through the grocery store: plump, juicy cherries beckon. Ears of sweet corn whisper from the farmstand…eat me. Tomatoes–the ultimate winter bummer–are now worth eating. Berries taste like heaven and my garden is busting with fragrant plumes of basil, Thai basil, rosemary, mint, chives. High summer is the zenith of the good stuff. This is the time when I dog-ear a million recipes I cannot wait to try.

Usually.

This summer, I barely want to cook at all and even firing up the engine to head to the grocery store or farmer’s market seems like an impossible chore.

I hate it.

I hate my unmotivated, slack-arse attitude and this lingering cloud over my head and heart but. But.

I have to sit with it.

I know I do.

If I don’t sit with it, I just hide it and lie about it and avoid it until all the blood is sucked out.

 

It sucks feeling like roadkill in full summer.

This is how grim things are over here; last week, I had amazingly plush, misshapen Heirloom tomatoes and I could not even muster up the appetite to make myself The Perfect Tomato Sandwich. Not even with bacon. Not even with a ripe avocado and some butter lettuce. I almost called the paramedics because clearly, I am jacked up. This girl never, ever turns down a summer tomato sandwich. Especially when a good friend sends you some bootleg Duke’s mayonnaise, which is the only mayonnaise worth eating.

 

I am going to do better. I have to. Because if I let a summer go by without having any appetite for the things I wait all dang year for, what will I do in the winter? Squandering gifts is criminal. Even I, at my sulkiest, know that.

So today I hauled my older daughter–back from the Louisiana bayou (!!!) to Whole Foods and we spent over an hour in there. We talked about what we want to eat this week (lots of salads, after rich New Orleans food; ripe and sugary watermelon; portabello mushrooms grilled with buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto). We poked and prodded and sniffed the produce. We spent too much money, but we always do. The fact that she’s been away for several weeks and wanting to get back to the freshest, healthiest, home-cooked food makes me feel a little less grim. She’s my adventurous and curious eater, and she’s back. And she’s hungry.

She ate Indian aloo gobi (a cauliflower and potato curry) while she was away and loved it. She asked if I could re-create it and yes, I can. She also fell in love with Vietnamese food (can I get a howl and a YASSS) and I told her we could make that, too. If I get my mojo back. Maybe even half-mojo.

For now, it’s enough to assemble a caprese salad with farmstand tomatoes, basil from the garden, tart balsamic vinegar and lots of creamy, local cheese. It’s enough to scarf it down with our favorite Kalamata boule from WF and sop up the juices with every little crumb.

That simple lunch, eaten next to someone I love, made me feel better. I ate with an appetite I haven’t had in months. It felt good to be hungry. I know that a tomato sandwich-loving person is still inside me somewhere, even if she’s needed to hide for a while. Not everything in there’s dead and dry and husk-like.

For now, it’s enough.

 

 

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Who’s Your Daddy?

June 16, 2019

 

Being SuperDad to a bunch of squirrely girls is not for the faint of heart. Very grateful for my two stand-up dudes. You brown-eyed rascals are my favorite.

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I am honest about my shit. I’m finding it tempting to lie, even now, when it’s too late.

My proverbial and never ending garbage makes me feel dirty; it always has. But I feel even filthier trying to hide.

My shit belongs to me, and when I admit it, admit to every neurotic, anxiety-filled moment–I’m marked. Some people call that bravery. Some people call that “Don’t give a Fuck-ery.” Some people call that “Don’t pick up my kid from school because you are nutjob unstable.” It happens.

I have to be okay with that.

If you expose the clackity bones–the tar underneath the feathers–you asked for it. Didn’t you?

You didn’t need to go there. You clean up pretty good. You could have swept it all away, no one the wiser.

You didn’t though, and here comes the sting. Even though I understand it, it bites.

You think the truth will set you free but you’ll be surprised. Opening your life for all to see does NOT come easily and it does not come without regret.

 

You should hear the things they say.

There are plenty of other things said–lovely and supportive things–but underneath everything there is a rumble and you are not sure if it’s you or if it’s them or if it’s everyone. You know it is there. A fast subway underneath your feet.

Rattle.

 

So I guess, if you aren’t sure where on Earth to go, you tag along with your daughters and your husband and you drive, drive, drive. Through forests and over bridges, through rain and unexpected blinding sunshine. You watch as your daughter sticks close to you at the beginning of the college tour. You watch at the end of it, when she’s forged ahead on her own.

You worry. Not about her future but about the legacy she’s been given, because she is old enough to understand things now. She knows why sometimes you are gone for weeks and then asks, “Does this mean M. and I are going to get this, too?”

How do you answer? In this, I am never tempted to lie. The answer is: I don’t know. It’s a truth that I almost choke on, but it’s mine.

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Used to Be Mine

April 25, 2019

Humpty Dumpty

April 8, 2019

Riding the Train

March 27, 2019

The Summer She Saved Me

March 14, 2019

The Un-Birthday

February 24, 2019