The unexpected grace

heat waveThere was a heat wave last weekend that sent us diving under waves and standing for long cool minutes in the blue-green water of Monterrey Bay. No wet suits required, the sand hot enough to burn toes. We pulled the big picnic basket down from the attic and packed it with cold chicken sandwiches, and watermelon, and chocolate babka. There were two cold bottles of Pliny shared around, and dolphins surfing the waves close enough to splash. Sonia held hands with me and Kate and went out past the break line to float with us and the harbor seals, flipping in the deeper water. Later I carried Lucas out and he kept his arms around my neck and laughed, laughed, as each swell lifted us and set us back down.

It was wonderful, in the way that salt water and sand are wonderful when it’s too hot for anything else.  Continue reading

Shoring up

FullSizeRender 6Last night, Lucas picked The Butter Battle Book from his shelf and we lay down together on the big bottom bunk. Seuss’s words were rhythmic and insistent, Lucas snuggled his four foot long stuffed snake, I tried to think of the right questions to ask. “Do you think they needed to fight about the butter side of the bread?” “No! They just needed to TALK about it!” This is rote for our big four year old.

Ah, yes. Four years old. Much has happened while I’ve been away.  Continue reading

Summer’s remnants

tomatoes in the gardenOur summer garden limped along this year, started late and plagued by under-watering (I couldn’t stem my drought fears, not even for veggies, and as we drift into fall our tomato plants are as dry and golden as our once-green lawn). Our exposure on the veggie boxes is not ideal, and our small gardeners prefer digging and whacking over, say, weeding and pruning. We managed to harvest red and gold and the occasional green tomato, chiles galore, huge handfuls of basil and thyme and cilantro, even a solitary yellow squash. Nothing like the careless, constant overproduction of our garden-from-before, but still something. We got our hands dirty, we watched things grow, we understood first-hand the crumbly, deep dryness of the droughtContinue reading

Too fast to fold

JRunsBlurOfColorJRunsBlurOfColor2

If you look closely at the two pictures, you can see our sweet boy. In the first, there is a foot – barely – under the chair on the right. In the second, a flash of blonde and his airplane-blue pajamas, over near the window. Our walls are still covered in forgotten train schedules, Lego people rest abandoned on bookshelves, and he remains “a blur of color!”,  as he shouted triumphantly all summer long, on each race through the house. But now he is racing through mornings at kindergarten, because as Catherine Newman beautifully put it, they leave us in incrementsContinue reading

In ever-widening circles

fig saladOh, August. Already. And how?

Three years in on canning and jam, we have officially declared a tradition: Ann started a file. Now we will look back and remember, year over year. What we processed, what our yields were. Remember, too, the people and the stories that swirl around and through the steam in the canning kitchen. Continue reading

As hazy as the horizon

the path to the beachWe made a beach trip with some of our best buddies. We brought brownies, they brought their new $5 boogie boards. Hours passed in a moment and then, when we were sand-covered and the ocean had laced salt onto our limbs and we had piled into our hot car that still smelled of chocolate and turned north to head home, J said, “Can we get boogie boards?” Continue reading