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If nothing else, the last few weeks have taught me that the “stuff” I had to put into storage is not the only thing being kept away. There is an incredible defense system already built into our “how and I going to deal?” thought process. And just as my “stuff” was put away, so were my emotions. I am no where near the opening of that floodgate, but do know that it has to be sorted into the same piles as all of the other “stuff” – keep, throw out, giveaway and store.
“The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. The less you have, the more free you are.” ~ Mother Teresa
I moved out of the house in the country 77 days ago. Since then, it has felt like pulling off a Band-Aid connected to every piece of hair and skin under it.
Some would say that a slow process allows you to feel all of the emotions (sadness, confusion, anger, resentment, etc.) and others (all of the people who know me) know this has been incredibly hard for me. First, I emptied my room of all of my ‘things’ I needed to bring to Long Island. Then, I started to pack boxes of other less needed things. Then, there was the full day of packing and organizing the kitchen. And most recently, a three-day sorting, packing and selling everything else.
I am tired.
Two things made the three-day binge bearable. My amazing, ridiculous, fabulous, lovely and funny friends – especially two AHmazing ladies who loved me, fed me, sorted, priced, moved, schlepped and cleaned up the moving sale. And my roommate. In the midst of packing and sorting we did all of our normal roommate-like stuff. A tuna stack, sushi and a shared slice of pizza all in one night, just because we are grownups and we could. A trip to Walmart that allowed wandering around aimlessly. A trip to the bagel store, where we complained about the service and wished for our own place with bagels and good service and ice coffee under one roof. Sorting boxes side-by-side because company is always better when you are doing something you don’t want to. And a final Sunday night dinner with our closest friends. The very friends that had spent a lot of the last two years in that house, too. Fourth of July BBQs, birthday parties, dinners, breakfasts the next morning, laughing, dance parties, Passover for thirty-two seats, cooking, Halloween, cider and eggnog, football, cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches, hook-ups, break-ups, drinks on the patio, star-gazing in the middle of the night, fireworks and a masquerade ball all happened in that house with those very very special people.
I know the next trip up to the house in the country is the day I put all of my furniture and kitchen into storage. I don’t want to. I understand that I have to and it’s the next step for me in my mind, but the heart is speaking an entirely different language.
I never knew the most colorful walls I had ever seen in my whole entire life and “I found this house online that I want to look at, but I don’t have anyone to go see it with me,” would change everything and everyone.
“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~ Maya Angelou
I moved out of the “country” house five days ago. And for most of the days since, I have cried my self to sleep. It’s like a bad break up with out the hopes of really good make-up sex.
I knew I was attached to the house, in all of its colorful glory. I knew that I had fallen in love with “the country.” I especially knew how important my “country” friends had become. They are my family, even more so than some blood. We chose to be together.
A series of unfortunate events left me without a lot of choices. And at 30, one has to decide to put some things first. As an unattached babyless renter, your career tends to be the right choice. So I decided to pack up my things and move back to Long Island. For a reorg. A proper job search back in the city. And maybe even a recharge, refocus, regroup.
Dear friends in San Francisco insisted on a visit once the move was over. Smart move. I’ve been in the other coast for a few days now and I for the first time last night I didn’t shed a tear when my head hit the pillow. I was okay. Maybe the bedtime tears have run out. I know the talking about the roommate and the house tears have not. They are still strong and uninterrupted.
So, as the many many many decisions still need to be made as to what is next, there are a few things that are certain:
- My heart is fuller than it has ever been before.
- I am absolutely in love with the Hudson Valley.
- I will carefully look into all career moves with diligence and the emphasis on the right fit.
And I will absolutely continue to believe in my Nana’s words of wisdom, “Thea, you imagine it and then you make it happen.”
All I want to do is stay home and make soup. In sweatpants.
And then make sweets. Still in sweatpants.
Anyone that comes in contact with me, my kitchen or my ordering habits knows I heart cheese. I love the texture, the smell, the styles, the history, the purity of it all. I like that the smooth just has much as the hard and the stinky just as much as the faint odors. On my list of things to do in the cheeseworthy category:
Visit Murray’s cheese caves
Make homemade mozzarella
And finally one I can cross off the list:
Make homemade ricotta
[Insert proud and large beaming smile here]
I came across a recipe from Smitten Kitchen on how to make homemade ricotta and thought it would be a nice intro to the cheese-making-world. I am still looking for the right citric acid for the mozzarella anyway, so I had some time for another challenge.
The ingredients were easy to collect…
I combined the milk, cream and salt into a saucepan, attached the thermometer and turned the heat on low. There is a warning about the bottom of the pot scorching. It’s funny how the first time you make something I follow directions and then by the third or fourth time around I tend to wing it. I carefully monitored the mixture, stirring it occasionally, until it reached 190 degrees F.
I then poured the curds and whey into the strainer lined with cheesecloth and let the curds strain away from the whey. Can we discuss how happy I am to really know what ‘curds and whey’ are? I mean all of these years of “eating her curds and whey” and now I know and can attest to what that actually is. It really is the little things. Who knew Little Miss Muffet had this going for her.
The original directions said to leave the mixture for at least an hour. At one hour it is supposed to be tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it is supposed to be spreadable but a bit firmer, like cream cheese.
I left my curds hanging out for about 3 hours, since the whey kept separating from the curd, I figured it was safe to leave it alone for longer. You can’t judge the texture based on this point anyway as the ricotta will firm up more when it is refrigerated.
Here is the finished product! The most amazing ricotta you have ever put in your face. I served it on a spoon to my mouth when it was just me and then on amazing garlic bread with salt, pepper and truffle oil to my dinner guests. One you go homemade, you’ll never go back.
“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” ~ Harriet Van Horne
Spring in NYC = flip flops to the subway to the office and then the heels, street meat lines are longer than usual, Central Park suddenly is the place to be despite that fact that it’s always been there, the Mon – Wed mani/pedi special is the where you go for lunch, tastiD loyalists are annoyed by the line suddenly formed at their favorite peanut butter flavored dispenser, college students finally bail from clutch studio apartments on the LES and you may actually sit on a bench. And breathe. Just for a minute.
Daffodils blooming on 54th Street and 8th.
Spring in the country = gorgeous morning rides, breathing in between rain showers, outdoor activity planning, planting grass seed, walking in the evening, RAMPS, sitting outside for as many meals as possible, cleaning out the garden, renewing the lease for another year in the house, trying to not make plans due to the booked ’till July 11th calendar, breathing in the lilacs and deciding which farm stand to go to first.
The lilacs at Sojourner Truth Park, Ulster Landing.
“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
1. I recently made this cake for a dear friend. It was 6 layers, one for every rainbow color, and was adorned with a rainbow lotus flower and rainbows with clouds.
In the next couple of weeks I have some confections on my plate and since the kitchen is the ONLY place where my month-long stress eye twitch goes away, I’m all for spending some time there. I am gearing up for an ice cream cake for my brother-from-another-mother, baby boy cupcakes for my absolute best friend’s little sister, a dear friend’s wedding shower cupcakes, a birthday cake for my mother, a graduation cake for my nearest and dearest massage therapist and nurse grads and something extravagant for my little sister’s graduation from NYU. OMG. WTF. When did my little sister become legal to drink, get a job and rule the world. I must have blinked.
2. I am desperately awaiting the arrival of ramps.
Perhaps what is more exciting than waiting for them to hit my local store is the 2011 Ramp Fest. The anticipation is unmanageable. Anyone else want to join me on the 30th from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. I will be the girl in all my ramp glory. Smiling and taking pictures and undoubtedly getting inspired by some amazing chefs in the Hudson Valley.
3. The sun.
I know it is hiding out there somewhere and it teases me just enough to let me know it’s coming. The grey needs to go away. And the sun needs to stay longer than a day. I have faith, it will stick around eventually.
4. Over the next couple of months our lives have been and continue to be filled with music… “everyone deserves music, sweet music.” ~ Michael Franti
We recently checked out Rachel Yamagata at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock, the Wood Brothers at Club Helsinki in Hudson, Bob Marley Tribute at the Bearsville Theatre and Badfish at The Chance in Poughkeepsie.
And on our plates is Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain, Mendelson Men Choir at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, Shemekia Copeland at Club Helsinki, Festival for Humanity in Vernon, and the Dave Matthews Caravan in Atlantic City.
5. It’s hard to imagine BBQs and patio time when it is so grey out, but I am sure we will get there soon. Right?
Awake, thou wintry earth
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~ Thomas Blackburn from “An Easter Hymn”
In the country there are those who stay in when the roads are craptastic. That would be me. And then there are those who go out anyway. That would be my roommate.
Despite the craptastic roads and snow and sleet and ice and slush, the roommate and I went to see The Dilemma. I thought it was slow, but funny. He thought it was crap. There was a few moments of humor, but overall it had a drawn out plotline. The movie spurred a number of “What would you do?” conversations, a coming to the same place on what infidelity is and what if anything makes cheating okay. To say the least it is a very diplomatic woman who holds in the “it’s always a man’s fault in cases like that.”
While conversating about infidelity, there was a trip to the local super center. We were in need of rocksalt. It had been all used up. Because it looks like this outside:
And everywhere there is this:
And even more of this:
And plenty of this:
In the search for the “best” type and deal on rocksalt, with the most desirable bag and ingredients and price, there were other household items discussed. There was some wondering in the toiletry aisles, particularly the toothpaste aisle. In our most usually and predictable fashion, we “discussed” the best toothpaste for our bathrooms. It’s a good time to point out there are two bathrooms in the house, one is upstairs and most frequented and the other is the “hair bathroom” where hair is done and you go one someone else is in the upstairs bathroom. So mid “debate,” a striking young lad approaches and says, “Hi.” It might also be a good time to point out this lad is also the same guy who there is a [huge massive crush] liking of. You avoid throwing yourself at him because your work husband tells you it’s a really bad idea. Thanks work husband.
Back in the toothpaste aisle, there is an awkward conversation of toothpaste, mouth wash and bathroom cleaner. The chosen ‘run to the movies in a snowstorm’ outfit is top of mind. As is hair under hat. And sweatpants tucked into rubber boots. The conversation is quick and awkward, but good material for a joke at a later point in time. Hopefully.
Just goes to show you where a snow ridden night can lead you, despite your greatest efforts of appearing normal in the local super center.
A very special thank you to Nicole of Creekside Adornings, she has truly captured how snow filled things are here in the Hudson Valley. And also makes the most amazing jewelry in all the land.
Snow day in NYC = slush, possible delayed opening, white blanket on your patio, no bus or subway schedule that works in your favor, if at all possible pjs until the streets are clear enough and then sushi and wine with whoever is in a three block radius of your apartment.
Snow day in the country = lots and lots of white fluffy stuff everywhere, road closures, work closures, snow tires, shovelling, skiing, snow boarding, sledding, plows, aranged snow removal, pjs in bed all day, planned crockpot cooking, some life catch up.
“As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.” ~ William Shakespeare
Winter is here! And baby, it’s cold outside.
The holidays tend to bring some level of randomness, excitement and dysfunction. This post will probably follow suit, as I have a few things to share.
Love love love Pacing The Panic Room’s post of the lunar eclipse.
I’ve been wanting to finish the popcorn cranberry garland for our tree. And much like le sauce, I am not that far along in the project.
My sister continues to be a rockstar.
Tonight is going to be a special Kundalini yoga class at Sacred Space.
I wish a smooth holiday season a happy New Year for us all.
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.” ~ Love Actually, 2003