a garden party menu

Today I am throwing a little garden party and so far it seems like the weather will cooperate! I cunningly planned it for the same weekend as my friend's birthday knowing well the weather deities frequently smile down on her.

Hopefully we'll all be able to loll around in the garden enjoying both the food and the falls. Barring disasters here is the menu, which may be a sneak preview for some of you. My goal was to try to incorporate a lot of produce from the garden right now.

Deviled Eggs
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Cucumber Sandwiches

Vanilla or Orange Currant Scones with clotted cream and jam

Thumbprints with a ganache-like chocolate filling
Pecan Tassies
Flourless chocolate cupcakes with mint cream

Beverages are weather dependent...

We'll see how it turns out. It's fun to be cooking for a party again.

negative beside positve, plus ultra positive

I must have mowed over a patch of poison ivy last weekend and inhaled, because now the poison ivy rash is attacking me in odd places.

I know I didn't brush up against any since I had on long pants, long-sleeved shirt with shoes and socks, I was well covered. As well as taking a shower shortly after I finished mowing...

What this means is for the second time in 2011 I have a fine collection of spots and I am dreamy from the benadryl. For a few minutes on Wednesday I panicked that I was somehow getting chicken pox all over again. Chicken pox flashbacks. But no, it's just a rash, almost certainly poison ivy.

It peaks my curiosity that my pleasure in mowing is joined with something not very pleasurable, they exist together yet so far apart. This juxtaposition happens more frequently than I notice it.
I would like to see it more.

Some things though are purely positive right now. My dear friend's birthday is today. As usual she has glorious weather and I delivered the first of my presents, a whole batch of artichoke dip.

Many happy healthy returns my friend! *Mwahh*

some in-laws

We spent the weekend up at the cottage with my wife's parents. There was wonderful weather with cool nights. There was energy to do lots of mowing. There was lovely food and a railroad museum. There was a new domino set and a lot of fun playing team dominoes.

There were mosquitoes, so many.

Today I am feeling exhausted because entertaining guests always tires me and I especially wanted my mil and fil to have a good rest so I did not. I am also realizing again how incredibly wonderful this life is.

My in-laws are normal humans, far from perfect like the rest of us. But such lovely people. Kindhearted, caring, welcoming. A little goofy.

I hear horrible stories of gay couples being ignored as a couple by families and then I feel so rooted when I think of our families. [my brother excepted] Rooted and fortunate. Today I talked to my niece, spoke to a loved friend, found out we have imperial moths at the cottage and I remembered everything that is beyond the tiredness.

Even though plans are constantly changing and there is new stress at work...
It may be a cliche but it's true, life is precious and wondrous.

Even with mercury retrograde for a few more days.

love [or crush] at first sight

So my best friend and I went out antique shopping Saturday. It had been years since I have done this and it was just as overwhelming as I remembered it. The last time was years ago when my wife and I were looking for engagement rings.

I like to have a purpose for shopping. If I just look at 'everything' then I get overwhelmed very quickly but if I have a goal or limits they can help me focus and keep stress manageable.

Of course I can't actually control anything no matter what limits I try to set. That's ok, I want to live the life that is, not my plans, although it can be hard or wonderfully surprising usually both.

I was looking for serving ideas and dessert plates for an upcoming party. I was looking for deals, only things I loved. It was casual fun looking. No commitments were being sought.

There it was on the shelf. Plum and copper and teal and pale pink, chrysanthemum and peony? or lotus?, a hand-painted Katuni tea set. 24 matching pieces.

I fell in love immediately. My heart was enchanted with beauty. My brain belatedly turned on, "What? no, no. You do not need this and I am sure it's too expensive anyway."

I stretched out my hand gently and looked at the tag and squinted. I got out my reading glasses and looked at the tag again. Less than $50 for the entire set.

My brain was silent, flabbergasted I think. Part of me panicked. I called my friend over. "I need help." My friend will save me from this rabbit hole...that's what friends do. She'll tell me to not be silly or to slowly put the teapot down.

She came, looked at the beauty, looked at the tag, looked at me.
"You have to buy it."

So now I have a tea set.

no meat Mondays

Recently I read about the meat free Monday idea, which I though a delightful notion, and then I saw there was a pledge. It was a movement. Which for some nonsensical reason gave me heebie jeebies..,
I also thought combining no meat with no dairy or egg overly ambitious and kind of diluted the punch for me.

So I did what any long time Al-anon member would do; I took what I liked and left the rest... my wife and I started eating meat free on Mondays last week. The current plan is to continue until sometime in October, anywhere from 8-13 weeks. I may just do 13 weeks because I think most prime numbers are pretty.

Although I don't think of myself as much of a carnivore it's still been an adjustment, just the remembering of it for one thing. I have also been surprised by fond memories of India when I could never keep track of who was eating veg on any given day. It always impressed me how people just flipped back and forth with what looked like ease.

It certainly is no hardship so far, with veggies from the garden and CSA in abundance. Especially the cucumbers, we have tons from everywhere and I love them so. I am delighted that I finally managed to find a place where they would grow well this year. Although perhaps the extreme weather we have had is the reason for their success? Cool crunchiness.

So there is one of my current stretchy challenges. There may be wheat free or dairy free days in my future. We'll have to see. What new stuff are you trying?

the all capri summer

Now a post for those who like the chatty, non-spiritual musing side of me.

What happened to summer pants this summer? My favorite pair of brown linen pants died horribly so I went out, prime summer sale time, to find some summer pants for work a few weeks ago. There was nothing. Seriously, I am not exaggerating.

I wanted something really lightweight, probably woven. Have I mentioned how hot it's been here and how I needed something lightweight?

I don't pay much attention to fashion trends so I didn't realize that capris [and shorts] were all that were out there this summer. At least that was all I could find.

Not only am I not fond of capris, since I am short, let's just say they are not my best style. I know this so I don't really like them at all.

I broke my cardinal shopping rule and bought a pair. They were everything I wanted in color, material and style except that they were capris, but I bow to the reality that is this summer. I hope for a different trend next summer.

And while I am wishing and I perhaps have the ear of the fashion gods, how about some swimsuits that are not padded on top? Really. If you are D cup, you really don't need more padding up there, at least I don't. I'll try to wear my capris lightly tonight as an offering.

an awareness after heat

Once the heat broke I could see things clearly again. I had no idea just how stuck I was in a narrow viewpoint of 'It's hot' + 'I don't like it' + 'constant managing of my discomfort from the heat/humidity'.

I had no idea, I was asleep from the heat. Note I am not beating myself about this just saying wow. Noticing after the fact.

I'm curious as to whether I can bring an open mind to extreme heat and humidity in the future, stay in my body when it's that uncomfortable. I can remember to stay when I have a headache or even when I had chicken pox, but that heat. I turned off and put myself in a box of 'dealing with heat' without realizing it. What did I miss while I was turned away and lost in thought?

Our minds are amazing, unruly and poorly trained. Or at least mine is poorly trained, you know, like a cat.

making space

Since the weather heated up I stopped meditating in my herb garden. It was just too hot.

By the way have I mentioned how much I love that garden and my seat/arbor? I am thinking about throwing a little garden party just to have more people enjoy it.

Anyway, then I wrestled for weeks about where I wanted to meditate and I realized that what I really wanted to do was to change/clean/rearrange and fix up my office* so that I had a designated meditation space.

Granted it took me awhile to realize that even so it's been several weeks and it feels like the project is moving super slowly. I'm not sure why. Some possibilities are:

-it's a bigger job than I realized.
-I'm running into things that need to move on and I am having 'issues' with that
-I'm just tired and I need a break/vacation before.

It's about space. I frequently feel like there is too little of it, feel cramped, crowded...
and that leads right to feeling defended. sometimes anyway.

And I realize that being outdoors is a way of combating this that I do all the time.
Except not recently, I been feeling hateful about the weather which got in the way of spacious enjoyment. It's a big circle really because meditation supports my love of outside space.

so to summarize...it may just be all PMS.

*office is the name I give the room that is my personal space

stopped waiting

It was silly but apparently I was waiting for the heat to break so that I could feel better. With my brain on molasses mode it took days [and days] for me to realize:

a] not exercising was making me feel really crappy [and crabby]
b] perhaps it would be useful to figure out a way to exercise in spite of the heat thus feeling better sooner

It took awhile but finally I gave up on the expectation 'summer = exercising outside' and headed indoors to the Y and started running there.

Much better. It makes me giggle to think of my slowness.