Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jersey fresh produce is almost at its height right now. Last night I made us BLT sandwiches with the most delectable tomatoes I can recall eating. Paired with a hot ear of Silver Queen corn dripping with butter, it was an explosion of taste.

I am not sure what I am making today, but it'll certainly feature some good local vegetables!
We are staying at my sister's house for a few days taking care of Chip and the dogs and it's no bad thing because they have a beautiful yard with a gorgeous in ground pool. Last night we sat outside listening to the Phillies on the radio and drinking a beer. It was a very familiar feeling since it's the house and yard in which I grew up. I still feel at home there.

Our big dog Rooney is scaring the life out of Gina's smaller Dachsund, Penny for no reason other than his mere presence. Roon's as sweet as can be and means no harm whatsoever. Funnily enough, Gina's larger Dachshund, Harry, has Roon intimidated, if you can believe that! Henry would never have backed down from any dog let alone a wimpy tiny Dachshund. We've got a sissy on our hands! But a wonderful sissy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday night finds us headed on foot to Lynne's for dinner on her terrace with her and George. It's cooler and a bit more breezy - extremely comfortable for sitting outdoors. I've made my signature peach cobbler which is still in the oven and we're bringing a nice bottle of Cava from Spain.

My nerves were jumping earlier this afternoon so I thought it might be good to find a project to divert my worries. I went downstairs and started to clean our basement and made some serious headway. The problem is that there are at least fifteen boxes which went into storage when I left Potter Street for Germany. I've been steadily progressing through them and trashing a lot of things. I did end up stopping a bit to look at pictures and read letters and cards, but that was pure pleasure. Some stuff I found: My eighth grade report card which was all A's - but marred by teacher's comments about my lousy conduct (guess I started the rabble rousing early) a photo of my sister Lisa and me on the edge of the Grand Canyon, a love letter from long ago written by someone I never thought I'd get over (I did), cards made Lily for almost every occasion - in general really nice stuff which changed the blue mood that had been threatening to overtake me.

My other new friend Lynn has been really wonderful and helping me to keep on an even keel. She's full of passion, compassion, love and laughter - strange how people come into your life and do so much good in a small amount of time. I love the easy intimacy I have with people - I feel lucky to be able to share my feelings easily and to have people in my life who truly react with empathy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Today is my father's birthday and though he's been gone for nearly fifteen years, I'm feeling terribly about it this year. I miss him.

I'm anxious and depressed about some things but I am working on getting myself out of the mire before I sink even deeper.

I did receive some happy news today from a friend which has helped.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just back from a good long dog walk. It's warm but a bit overcast which makes things a bit more bearable.

Saturday night was a hoot. Lots of good food and some laughs as well. Yesterday was spent hanging in enjoying our air conbditioning and reading the Sunday papers.

I'm busy like mad all week. Out for a beer with Melissa tonight, doing some cooking event with Lynne and the other hens tomorrow and have our book club on Wednesday night.

Lynn M., my colleague at Buckingham and I went out for lunch today. She's just back from Italy with her college friends so we had lots to chat about. Have I mentioned that I absolutely love her witha capital L???

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It's Saturday afternoon and we just got back froma walk round the Haddonfield Arts & Crafts Festival, which is a nice way to while away a few hours, especially when one of your friends (Suzanne) owns a store and is plying you with margaritas in the mid-day sun. Yikes, I'm half looped....

We're headed to see my brother-inlaw's band Cranky for a couple of hours today and then are going to Lisa and Mike's for a night of eating, drinking and hopefully lots of laughter. I made a pasta sauce with grilled eggplant, radicchio, fresh Jersey tomatoes, fresh thyme, fresh basil, white wine, sauteed onion and garlic and goat cheese. Looks sublime! Will let you know!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Strolling down the street just the other day, I began to think of some of the great years I’ve had.

1969 – ten years old, late one July night, at our family’s shore home watching Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the moon and running to our back porch with my little sister to see if we could spot the flag placed on the moon by the two astronauts. Being a child of the sixties, when our class was ushered into the library to watch every single rocket blasting into space, I was totally captivated by the race for the moon. I honestly think those nights that hot summer were the last time I felt bursting pride in being an American.

1972 – thirteen years old, daughter of two liberals with an increasingly loud voice of my own, I stood up in my eighth grade class and campaigned for George McGovern in a blue collar town that was voting for Nixon. My mother was filling my head with the horrors of Vietnam and was sure, three years before the rest of the country, that Nixon would be brought to his knees by Watergate. It’s the first time I really felt the power of my own voice, even though no one, except for the kooky, World War II Veteran history teacher, seemed to agree with me. I learned to be outspoken and not much has been the same since.

1975 – sixteen years old, and making the best friendship of most of my life with Kathy C. Sharing secrets, pain, joy in all night conspiratorial chats and learning the power of friendship between women, it was a year which shaped me greatly. I was a woman’s woman then and I still am.

1976 – seventeen years old and in love for the first time with sweet, sensitive, brainy Jim Murphy who would write me beautiful poems and love letters and make little wooden carvings of animals. I haven’t seen him in thirty years, but my heart can still break a little at the thought of him or the mention of his name. Nothing beats your first love, when you feel as though you’ve invented it.

1987 – twenty eight years old and living alone for the first time in my life. Making next to no money, I still managed to live in a charming old apartment with beautiful old woodwork, creaky floors, and hissing radiators. That place was home to me and I lived there for nine years.

1993 – thirty four years old, recovering from the death of my father I knew I had to start really living so I took my first overseas trip to England with my sister Gina and her husband John. Dozens and dozens of trips later, I still remember that one as eye opening and totally whetting my appetite to learn about the world beyond the end of my own nose.

2004 – forty five years old and madly in love with Chris, the man who was to become my husband, I moved to Germany to be with him. I had an amazing time filled with travel and fun and the joy of finding someone I could really share my life with.

2005 – forty six years old and back in the USA, buying the house of our dreams in Haddonfield in which later that year we would marry one another with only our families and our dog in attendance. At the time, I thought I had it all, and despite life knocking me around a little, I still feel that way.

They were all good years, filled with new experiences and people, but I’d still have to vote for 2003 as the best year of my life.

2003 – forty four years old and the constant dining companion of Jason Wilson who had the job of reviewing food for Unnamed Magazine. Oh to have that year and all those meals back. Pontificating drunkenly on the merits of al dente pasta, I was amazed at my great fortune to be Jason’s friend in the year his wife had a small toddler and was positively sick of being his guinea pig. I think Jason chose me because I was single and could be ready for almost anything within fifteen minutes of a phone call. Frankly, I didn’t care why he chose me as long as he did.

My favorite words ever uttered from his mouth were “Order whatever wine you’d like, it’s on the magazine.” At least ten years older than Jason, he and I were fast friends from the start. I’d heard of his legend from others and absolutely bright green with envy, was prepared to despise him. With a great job as a food and travel writer, and a sterling professional resume, this aging legal secretary thought he’d be some pompous ass wearing a monocle and looking down on “the little people”. Years and many drunken nights in the gutter later, I’m here to report that I was wrong. We got on blazingly and brilliantly well, shared many interests, and had a blast firing bon mots in each other’s directions, most of which were barbed and disparaging. At times, he’s been like a little brother to me.

The kind of little brother who takes you on an all night pub crawl on the quest for the regions’ best hamburger, feeling like Bluto Blutarsky after an all night drinking and eating orgy.

The kind of little brother who orders five entrees for three people and urges you to “eat up” almost menacingly and means it.

But also the kind of charming and nice little brother who helps you order the perfect aperitif and a wonderful meal accompanied by the appropriate wine.

I thought I would die when his gig came to an end. It was the close of one my life’s best chapters and I really mourned its passing. So you can imagine my absolute unfettered joy at hearing these words spoken to me this week “I’m reviewing again for Unnamed Magazine. Wanna go to lunch at Fuji?”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yesterday a big storm blew through and now it has cooled off a bit. Also, my nerves are certainly less jangled so I’m thankful for both of those things.

This morning started off really nicely with a great workout at the gym. Later I had coffee outside with the gang and it was all laughs today which really helps kick off the day as far as I am concerned. The banter was extra funny because it was all women and everyone was bawdier than normal.

I am peeling like crazy from sun worshipping at the beach these past few weekends. I have to really watch it because I tend to burn and unlike in my twenties when I was an unrepentant tanning goddess, now I'm afraid of skin cancer and premature aging!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I have been feeling stressed out beyond all belief because of something happening in the life of one of my nearest and dearest. I’ve discussed this ad nauseum with Joanna and Chris and both have been counseling me not to make this into my event. I am working hard to follow their wise advice, but it is not easy. When someone I love is experiencing pain, bewilderment and fear it’s extremely hard not to take it on board myself. I have to battle myself not to do so. I hate to be so cagey about this – and those of you very close to me know what is going on – but I don’t want to invade someone’s privacy by going into the details. The details don’t matter any way. What matters is that the situation will get better – of that I am positive! It’s just the nasty bit in the middle ---

Catherine came over last night and we polished off some wine and set the world to rights. Was good and therapeutic.

Chris is in San Francisco this week and I miss him an awful lot.

I am also missing Jen. I know it’s not in the picture soon and they probably feel differently, but I wish they were back with us – grilling, drinking and making merry in our backyard.

We’ve been enjoying our summer with beach trips and lots of grilling. We’ve been going back and forth between our house and Lisa and Mike’s and having lots of good eats. Lisa is another doll – a sweet gift to me who always wants to make people feel good. When Chris is gone, she makes sure I eat with them at least once. She is kind, gentle hearted and an awesome cook. We’re opposites in many ways, but our connection is real and it works.