Growing Things

March 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s finally here. It has sprung. Spring has arrived! I’ve got the fever. I just want to relish in these cool days and pale lavender-periwinkle skies. The hues of green popping up everywhere make me giddy. The empty pots on my porch called out to me this week, and I just had to answer. Just a little bit of green growing things so far, but I’m sure I’ll add more. The deliciousness of the weather inspired me to run out on my lunch breaks to find something to nurture. To quote Jane Austen (of course) via her character Fanny Price in Mansfield Park: “to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.” It’s such a surprise and delight to watch the changes each new season brings. Slowly the yellow forsythia peeks out, tentatively the magnolia tree buds, and suddenly branches that were bare and gray bring forth newness and color. The ebb of winter into spring brings both into a starker contrast; the limbs of trees look more sculptural as their backdrop fills in its variety of spring hues. There is a gratitude for this reliability that I feel right now. To be comfortable out of doors again, to free my feet from their socked-in prisons, to enjoy the light each night a little bit longer, I am thankful for these small gifts.

Mint and basil

Mint and basil

Purple shamrocks

Purple shamrocks

Pineapple sage

Pineapple sage

My Brother

February 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

We celebrated Josh’s birthday last weekend, before the big snow of the past week hit north Alabama. It was actually a bit icy on the roads closer to Madison from an earlier freeze, so our trek was abruptly stopped about 30 miles from his house. Thankfully there was one hotel in the town of Arab (pronounced A-rab) where we could bed for the night. We finally made it to his door around lunchtime Saturday and made the most of the rest of the weekend. Josh had requested my mom’s coconut layer cake with lemon filling. This cake has been made in my family since my mom was a child. Pillowy, shiny meringue frosting hides soft almond-scented cake and thick, luscious lemon curd between its layers.
He opened presents, we stuffed ourselves at Bonefish Grill and visited my Grannie who lives nearby. We made chili in his crockpot for Sunday lunch and I tried to surprise him with shortbread cookies. Hard to do when you’re making them in the same kitchen. But they were quite the success! I found a recipe I’d copied from the Back in the Day Bakery cookbook years ago and finally tried it. Raspberry jam sandwiched between two buttery, slightly crisp cookies that shatter on your tongue is simply delicious. IMG_6367My brother and I have been through what most siblings have. We endured each others’ taunts and mild physical abuse growing up, and we ignored each other a bit through those junior high years. He went off to college first, and I, bereft, did not handle his absence well, I confess. I missed my first friend. As we have grown, I have been blessed that we have grown closer together. And, I love the times our family of four gets to share. There’s always lots of laughing, lots of debating, lots of eating and talking about when we’ll eat again. I am glad I have the big brother I do.

Love Cup: Full

February 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Not being a Parks and Recreation watcher, I didn’t know about Galentine’s Day, a sister if you will to Valentine’s Day. I’m glad I know now. Last week I enjoyed several times with good friends, some planned as Gal-entine’s events, others just because. A friend from work and I got dinner and caught up and then several coworker-friends hit Bottega Cafe on Thursday night (and I learned that I like Dark and Stormys). My friend Callie and I had planned to get breakfast and go to a V-Day pop up shop Saturday morning and that’s just what we did. Callie is such an encourager to my spirit, and I hope that I am to her as well. There were exquisite flowers being made into arrangements, which I would have been tempted to indulge in had I not already ordered a wreath from a friend. IMG_6313

Delicious macarons and baked goods from two ladies I had the pleasure of interviewing awhile back for a local magazine article were also on offer. I bought both macarons and a buttery-flaky strawberry pop-tart, of course. I’m trying valiantly to save those macarons to send to a friend!

IMG_6327To top it all off, my sweet mom and I had the whole day to hang out, a girly day as we used to call them. Saturday presented the first opportunity we’d made in awhile. First, we got pedicures, then we ate pasta, and shopped around the metropolis of Tuscaloosa, all the while using up our 25,000 words. That’s how many my dad says we can say between us. My mom is my sounding board, my best listener, and my builder-upper. We hadn’t caught up, just the two of us, like that in quite awhile. IMG_6329

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