August 20, 2013 § 2 Comments
Last Saturday I celebrated my 24th birthday.
There was a moment, as we waited for my sister to emerge from the kitchen with a cake ablaze, that I paused to gaze at the faces of the friends who crowded around our table, singing Happy Birthday to my sister and me. How blessed I am, I thought, to enter a new chapter in a chorus of love.
I didn’t expect to be home for my birthday. This year had its surprises for me — some of them sobering enough that I’m amazed and humbled to have tumbled through them to find myself in summertime, in summery spirits, surrounded by the people and pursuits that fill me up with gratitude. Good food and dear friends. May the year continue in this way.
I’m taking this milestone as an opportunity to begin a new project, to help me expand my repertoire of recipes and move me along in my dream of becoming an exceptional cook and savvy hostess.
The goal is very simple: to prepare 24 meals over the next 12 months. Each meal should include a drink, a salad, an entree, and a dessert. I will try to host a dinner party each month to put my culinary matchmaking skills to the test.
24 years, 24 meals. This is going to be a good year.
Coconut Tres Leches Cake
To begin, here’s the remarkable cake my sister made for me. The recipe comes courtesy of Regan Burns at CHOW.
August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Join the caravan of those who have turned their faces to the light.
I had a bit of a revelation yesterday when I was walking past City Hall with dear L.
Government Center is uglier than not on its worst days, with its cement overhang and the drab, geometric rim of its office towers. But the sun has a way of dignifying things — even brutalist concrete building faces.
These days have been surpassingly lovely. I scroll through my iPhone gallery and it’s all lens-flare and dusky diffused light. Yesterday, as we shared lunch on the Esplanade, a fog descended over the river and there was a gale of dewdrops and sunlight. It turned the riverbank into a prism and the picnic blanket (thrown around our shoulders to shield us) into cape-like wings. I read somewhere recently that sunshower is a word somewhat unique to our region.
On our way back to our cars, the sun shone bright again, painting the rooftops and steeples and making the sidewalks glimmer. Even Government Center became a beautiful arena filled with gold and warm shadows. I grabbed L’s arm and cried a bit, right there on Cambridge Street, because it was too beautiful and it came upon me in a wave that we only have so many moments here in the sunlight. Our time here is finite. If I were prescient, I could count the hours left to me.
With that thought, I was overcome with a profound gratitude for my time and place in the sun – for the warmth and glow and hush and perfume and abundance of it. So thankful for the kindred spirit beside me, for those who make me revel in the moments we are given together.
I wonder how I can ever overlook these graces. They are the pulse of life. They move our caravan along.
April 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
For a venturing soul I love very dearly,
and all the others who journey alongside.
If each day is a step within
a journey, long and true:
Then, as you go,
I wish these things for you:
A wishing well at every stop,
at every stall and stay,
to hold your cheer,
to stave despair
and parchedness away.
A precipice to venture up;
a trail to test your mettle;
a thousand thorns
to make you strong
and flowers to make you gentle.
A vision of your noblest self
to haunt your dreamer’s heart,
that you might strive,
against the throng,
to set yourself apart.
And outlooks grand to ground you –
that, from a bright plateau,
how far you’ve come,
how far you yet can go.
May birdsong bless your wanderings
through desert, fjord, and vale;
may every path
to welcome and a tale.
May Earth on her round table spread,
in her abundant manner,
all vibrant, rare
and wholesome fare:
nectar, spice, and manna.
I hope each day above your head
God paints a splendid sky;
a backdrop brave
your worn and searching eye.
May sunlight bathe and kiss your skin
and trumpet you along;
and when the stars
bedeck the sky,
may you imbibe their song.
And if, in some uncertain hour,
a tremor fills your soul–
a darkened shroud
and calm past your control,
I hope you find your faith in God;
that, pouring from above,
you feel the peace
from His enduring love.
And as around this world you weave
a web of your goodwill,
I hope you find
in something worthier still;
That your untiring spirit draws
dear friends to share your burden;
and a happy step
in sync with yours –
Love’s sweet grace and guerdon.
So kindle hope within your heart,
its pure, undying ember.
Do right, fear not.
And if you can, remember:
If you will reach, wherever you are,
as our two paths unfold,
my well is deep
enough for two;
my hand is yours to hold.
April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
Keep it in your mind and heart,
whatever else besieges you,
that I love you.
February 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’m enjoying my slow discovery of this city, which feels like an old friend that speaks another language. But when troubling news comes from home, the heart yearns for what’s familiar.
It was good, then, after a week of stressful calls from home, to reunite with a dear friend in this place where nothing yet is familiar. Friends are familiar wherever they’re found. It was good to escape the frantic student-world of living out of suitcases, to spend an evening in the settledness of a family home. In a grand old house, up a painted staircase, a cozy apartment with whimsical clocks and crowded kitchen countertops.
Even the world changed its face, stark grey in the afternoon, soft white in the evening. Before dinner we took a walk into a perfect fluffy snowfall. The trees around us were old and grown tall and made perfect cathedrals where their branches met the sky. The quiet streets were aisles to skate down, and the snow was deep enough after an hour to cushion our falls. The white made the grey of the houses gentle, and set off the warmth of the light from the windows. It was so beautiful.
Thank you J and J and J and B for welcoming me into your world. It was the hum of life and the bank of memories that make homes out of faraway places, and it was like a pillow for this tired and homesick spirit to fall into. I believe that in German this is called gemütlichkeit.
My grandmother is recovering in California and today is birdsong and church bells and a lazy brunch time with a lovely flatmate. It’s amazing how quickly life can turn — and all it takes is friendship.
December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
This year was an education in friendship.
I learned, later than many perhaps, the singular devastation of having love and trust betrayed, of holding too long to hope as false friendship reveals its real nature and breaks away.
But I learned about resilience too; even as I navigated that heartache and disillusionment, I could feel how a path rose to meet each footfall as I took my leave of the lies and stepped towards truth with good-will.
I learned on this journey the singular joy of recognizing the true friendship that rushed in to fill the empty spaces. The friendship that holds up a mirror for my life with one hand and holds out the other in support.
I have been so surprised and delighted by the new and wonderful people who have found me this year, opening up new universes by coming into mine. I am grateful beyond words for these friends who have shown me the world and my life within it as I could not see it alone.
I look forward to reflecting some of that light back into their lives as we move forward! I am so blessed to step into this new year surrounded by their love!
July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
When missing people and doubting dreams had made a washing machine of my mind, I took my turning, churning thoughts in hand and went “down to the river to pray”.
Doubts always seem surmountable in the sunlight. A look at the sparkling Charles, at the goslings floating serenely down the river, calms your mind and reinvigorates your purpose.
And, well, the voice that rang through to my telephone unexpectedly was calming, too. And the friend on the other end listened to my worries one by one and offered perspective and laughter and advice.
When, later, in the bookshop, I saw that advice echoed on magnets, I felt ready to embrace the challenge. I paid $20 for inspiration to slap on my refrigerator door, $4 for my favorite latte, $1 for a truffle spiked with Chambord, and I felt a richer girl than I had been when I had set off on my wander.
And in the sunset, with wisdom in my purse, with a symphony of chocolate and raspberry on my tongue, with pretty memories playing like a movie in my head, I was settled again.
Settled in my soul and ready for the next step.