Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Happiness:: looks good on paper

two

Because it is Friday,and it is Summer,and it is raining,
and I am missing two of my girls,
and worrying about things I can't control,
like weather patterns and airplanes,
and because I have two little girls,
(who I can't control, either, come to think of it)
down here on the ground,
who are giggling and teasing,and eating bagels,
and are right here in front of me,
needing me
and drawing me away
from my worry,
and I am full up, knowing that I will very soon
have all six of them back in front of me
and will be wondering then
how I ever will manage with all of them,
just as now,I am wondering
how I ever will manage without them all around me this week;
I take a breath now and think: yes,
this is who is here and where we are in the summer;
remember when we drew this plan?
remember how I thought it would feel?
and it is better, because now I am feeling it,
and real,
is always better
than on paper.
And for that,on this Friday,
I am happy.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

tt

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Me, mom::13

Me, mom::13
Me,mom::how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me,mom::Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.

How we feel about flying:

Callie:: loves it; can't wait to get on the plane. Will get the chance again tomorrow morning.
Me, mom::Callie

Tara:: practically grew up in an airport. Hasn't been on a plane in seven years. Doesn't miss it.
Me, mom::Tara

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In it.





Have you had one of those moments lately? The moment you've been waiting for?

And I don't mean the big announcement sort of moment.

I mean one of those tiny little moments that you do all of the other stuff for, just to be ready when it comes.

On the one hand, I had one of those moments yesterday at the beach.
On the other hand, maybe all of it is nothing but a long series of those moments, strung together.
Maybe I just finally sat down and was quiet long enough to notice.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A post in which she (finally) talks about the gallery (and the beach).

To the beach

Hi. Remember me?

Not me, the mother of many, lover of flowers and fruit pictures, follower of design*sponge, navel-gazing forty-something.

It's me, the partner in a small, contemporary art gallery, and co-curator of the first issue of a collaborative art journal.

I just thought I'd stop in to update you on what's going on downtown.

Well, we sort of took the summer off. The gallery is still open during the week, for a few hours, when Tim is in there, mostly working on this stuff. We were in-between shows, and when we decided to put off the publication of the book until the Fall, we looked around the back of the gallery and realized we have some pretty exceptional work from our various artists on the shelves.

So, we cleaned the walls and hung a few of them, in a sort of informal retrospective of the work we've shown over the last year. I put out a few of the postcards and posters we've printed in the window, and it struck me: we've shown excellent work. And built a community of artists that we're both proud to show, and eager to promote.

Which is how Public Bookstore began in the first place: wanting to be able to give more artists more exposure than we can in our little space here in Tarrytown alone.

So, while we may have taken a bit of a break as far as gallery hours this summer, we have not been idle. The book is complete and ready to go, and we can not wait to introduce it when we get back to business-as-usual in September.

::

Between then and now, though, we've got a lot of vacationing to do. Turns out I'm going to get to spend nearly four weeks in my beloved Maine in August, with some side trips for us to Ithaca, a friend's house in New Hampshire, and another short camping trip thrown in for good measure.

And today, we're headed off to a nearby beach in Connecticut for an afternoon swim and early picnic dinner. I'm loading the car, and picking Tim up from the gallery...See, I told you he's down there sometimes.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday morning, and arghh.

That old thing
Take two
Hi.
If these photos look a wee bit familiar to you, well...
Since I started taking all of these pictures, we'd been having some storage issues with our computer here at the home office. So Tim gifted me with the very romantic item that is an external hard drive. Once I figured out how to save my photos on that, instead of the computer, I ran with it and meticulously set up new files to hold all of my stuff.
And then it crashed.
And burned.
And all of the pictures I had taken for a week or so, gone.

There were a couple that I really liked, and I've been trying to recreate. Pathetic, I know. But there you have it.

Turns out, easier said than done.

::

In the meantime, there's some sun right now, and a nice breeze, and the natives are getting restless. We're off for a bike ride and maybe a little picnicking.

And summer marches on.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pink

Pink
Pink
Pink
Pink
Pink
If we should all have a room of one's own, around here that is the impossible dream.

The least we can do is carve out a little space for ourselves: a desk, a favorite chair, the top bunk, a spot on the porch.
For the littlest one, for whom nothing is ever hers first, everything is hand-me down, a little space of her own seemed the least she deserved.

In an awesome shop in Red Hook, Tivoli Mercantile, there was a little table-desk, covered with Cath Kidston oilcloth, and meant for the owner's daughter, to keep her busy while her mom worked the shop. Anna went right to it.

So I got to thinking that we could do something similar at home for her. An old Ikea table (from my first apartment in the city! Practically vintage...), some Marimekko coated fabric I got tired of seeing on the kitchen table, and the perfect pink paint which Tim mixed up under careful supervision by Anna: in an hour or so, she had some room of her own.
Pink
Now the only problem is: I suppose they'll all want one. I'll see what I can do.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Happiness




Things I've learned this week::

That watercolor paper is really expensive, and acrylic paints don't come right off of a four year old.
That the best way to get help is to ask for it.
That I do not like dark-chocolate covered edamame, but I do like roasted shrimp cocktail.
How to play the pentatonic scale on the bass guitar.
That even the best laid plans need to be changed, sometimes.
That the chemistry between Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn can not save every movie that they are in together.
That there is a place behind the Pleasantville train station that makes hands-down the best lobster roll I have ever eaten. Anywhere.
That it still gets light out very early in the morning, but it's getting dark, earlier and earlier in the evenings.
That I am so not beyond needing my mommy.

Learn anything new this week?

Enjoy the weekend! Thanks for reading.
tt

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Me, mom::Twelfth - Just Callie

Me, mom:: how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me, mom:: Today, just Callie with a camera, on the Cape.
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie
Me, mom::Callie

What could I possibly add to that?

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A few things

Farm stand
Farm stand
Farm stand
Farm stand
that made me smile today::

watching Ina Garten on tv in the waiting room at the orthodontist: she's baking something with her KitchenAid, and when she pulls the paddle attachment off and puts it to the side, Lindsey says, incredulously, "she didn't even lick it!"

my girls genuinely laughing at me, and my pathetic attempt at an Australian accent. I'm a sucker for a good accent, and have always wished I could do an English one. However, we all agreed it's a good thing I can't, because I would definitely use it all the time, and annoy everyone.

my mother dropping in unexpectedly this morning, and her being exactly the one person I needed to talk to just then.

cherries-local(ish) and dirt cheap (well, relatively speaking)...

even the boys pitching in to clean up our basement (the girls pointed out that it was only fair, seeing as they spend as much time down there as they do.)

this photo. and this one. and this one. summer.

the newborns next door getting all cute and chubby.

and an old favorite tonight: broccoli rabe, sausage, white beans, pasta. Oh, yes, thank you.

Hope you had some smiles today. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trailer food:: Bubby's Burritos

Road food
Road food
Road food
Road food
Road food
In search of the ultimate roadside burrito, we went north, up the Hudson, to Bubby's. No Phone, no website, no nothin'.

Nothing but rice, beans, and cheese, local lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade salsa.
Served up with the perfect combination of hot and cold ingredients, rolled together in an organic flour tortilla. Made while you wait, and fresh, fresh, fresh.

I used to say that I wanted my ashes scattered at Spotty Dog Books and Ale, but I think now Tim might have to swing by the parking lot at the corner of Routes 9G and 199 in Annandale, and throw out a handful or two.
::
The details, as I know them:
Bubby's Burritos
Tuesday through Saturday 12-5
Montgomery Place parking lot/corner of Routes 9G and 199,
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
There are a few picnic tables, and a grassy area to bring a blanket...or you can drive over to Bard College and spread a blanket there.

While you're up there, there's a nice farmstand right next to Bubby's, a museum at Bard, a pretty walk around tiny Tivoli, plus nearby are the towns of Rhinebeck, Red Hook, and (a little farther) Hudson.

Eat more burritos. Thanks for reading.
tt
ps::that's not me obviously, with the long hair and an orange hat and shirt, but she's stylin', no?

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Monday, July 20, 2009

A new bed

Strawflowers
New bed
New bed
New bed
We took another nice, long road trip up to Tivoli on Saturday, primarily to buy burritos from the side of the road (more about that later...).

On the way, we passed a stand selling organic flowers, and I asked Tim to pull over. That he is the sort of man who will gladly turn the car around and pull over so that I can buy some flowers is a constant source of surprise and gratitude for me. Just saying.

Anyway, part of my almost daily routine, as you may have caught on, is to walk around our yard and cut whatever looks good and make little arrangements for the house. At times it's easy-that one week of peonies; when the daisies and coneflowers are going; even into the fall with thyme and lavender-but the truth is, it's sort of slim pickin's around here, bloom-wise.

So, yesterday, Tim found a heretofore neglected patch of our small lot, and dug it out to make a bed for cutting-flowers.

As usual he had a little help.

He says it will take a year or two to really be "productive". In the meantime, I'll keep using what we have. And he'll keep pulling the car around when I spot something good on the side of the road.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

A day in the city.

Walking in the East Village
Walking in the East Village
Walking in the East Village
Walking in the East Village
Walking in the East Village
Walking in the East Village
Sweet potato fries; the cleanest public bathroom on the planet;
Good Samaritan on the bus; walking walking, bringing extra shoes;
St. Marks Bookshop, A Year of Mornings;
little shops; huge rat;
city people in summer clothes;
mojitos and seviche; running for the train...
psychotic cab driver;
arriving home late in the pouring rain to open windows and the band playing in the living room.

Hope you are enjoying another stellar weekend. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Happiness

White
Pink
Green
at the river
Months ago, when many of our summer plans were hammered out and set in stone (camp, vacation schedules, gallery deadlines, house rentals, pool fees, camping reservations-it takes a lot to organize summer for eight), it all seemed abstract and so. very. far away.

Another week goes by, and as I mentally (and literally) cross off day after day, I shake my head in disbelief.

I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know, here. But I'm wondering, is there something you're not doing, or have not yet done, that you meant to do this summer?

I can think of a few things on my summer wish-list that seem to be slipping out of my hands as the summer progresses.

Let's promise ourselves to do them.

::

This afternoon, I'm checking one off: a day in the city with grown-up girls, only.

Tomorrow, a road trip upstate again. Mapping out our culinary stops with the help of the latest Edible Hudson Valley. Awesome.

And here's my summer love-song dedication to the man who'll stay behind, today.

Enjoy the weekend. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Me, mom::Eleventh

Me, mom::Eleventh
Me,mom::how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me,mom::Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.

Where we'd like to be, fifteen years from now:

Callie:: living in London, working as a photographer.

Me, mom::Callie

Tara:: Living in Portland (not sure which one, though), taking pictures.

Me, mom::Tara

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Inside, for a change.

Emma

On the table

We're spending so much time out of doors right now that inside seems still, and calm. Like a refuge.

Until the girls come in like a stampede of horses.

I'm finding I appreciate the quiet of my house when it is just me and the little one, more than ever.

I love that the windows are always open, and there are fresh flowers in jars and glasses and vases all over the house. Every day. Even just a few sprigs of thyme. Or one Black Eyed Susan. Sage mixed in with hydrangeas and two stalks of lavender.

I love that lunch can be anything from some leftover cucumbers to a little bit of cheese and bread and tomatoes. Dinner can be something quick once the sun has gone down. I'm finding myself very unmotivated to do the full on meals I normally would immerse myself in preparing. Now, I don't want to take the time.

I want to sit and enjoy what stillness and quiet I can find.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

tt

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Hej.

Pool party
Pool party

I am watching my kids grow up every day, right in front of my eyes, and there is nothing much I can do but grasp even a little piece of their hem, hold on to their fingertips, as they pull away toward some unknown thing that is beckoning them forward.

I know it needs to be this way. I know that all mothers reach and grasp the same tiny bits of their children whenever they can.

It's hard, though.

It does make you savor them in those momentary lapses, when they crawl back up onto your lap and melt. We do have that.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wheels

Wheels

Wheels

Waiting for wheels

Wheels

It's Anna's turn to learn how to ride.

Tim has a thing for bikes, in general. He's out right now taking a spin on one of the (many) old bikes that he's picked up curbside, brought home, and refurbished.

Years ago, seven or eight years ago, he found a bright red bike with sixteen inch wheels and a banana seat. Perfect for teaching girls to ride.

I think all five big girls were taught on that bike, and now it's Anna's turn. She's a whole year younger than I can remember any of them starting on a "big girls bike", but like everything else in her world, she's seen her sisters do it, and she's not going to wait any longer.

So, Tim took her out to get a set of training wheels, put them on, and she's off.

She teeters a little, and needs more help than she willingly accepts. For now.

We've done this enough to know that she'll be riding on her own before long.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

A question in the middle of the weekend.


Cutting
Local garlic

What's the opposite of a mid-life crisis?

Why doesn't the re-awakening and self-confidence and curiosity and appreciation of life and the possibility within it's un-limitlessness have a positive name?

Just wondering.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Happiness

Empty basket


Snap pea


One pea


Tomato hoop


What she found

I have a friend, who is away, and encouraged me to tend to her garden, of which I have become covetous.

I have basil, and I have sage.

But I do not have snap peas, and string beans, red lightning and sun globe tomatoes, squash blossoms and marigolds, just for color I suppose.

I do not have it.

I was so glad to go "help". What I did not anticipate was the true joy of doing...of looking and seeing and picking and "don't step on the plants" and "pick it this way, sweetie." and "look what I found!"

The pleasure was mine.

::

Other pleasures today?

The new Wilco album, and that song with Laura Feist.

Another supremely good story from the Huffmans.

Jennifer Judd-McGee featured on a new-to-me blog, Upstate Fancy. Besides being happy that Jen is getting the proper attention, I've got me a new phrase to work into a sentence this weekend. As in, "this potato-crust tart isn't quiche-fancy. It's, you know, upstate fancy."

Looks like a beach club night. Better make a run over to Stone Barns, and get me some more of that Swiss chard.

Enjoy the weekend, and I hope you get to pick something fresh, too. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Me,mom::Tenth

Me, mom::Tenth

Me,mom::how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me,mom::Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.

Best feeling in summer:

Callie:: putting on warm, dry clothes, after coming out of the water.

Me, mom::Callie

Tara:: sitting down with a glass of wine, in the hour between sunset and darkness.

Me, mom::Tara

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Perfect morning.

Perfect morning

Blue skies.
Sleeping kids.
Hot tea.
Pancake batter ready.
No plans.

::

Found this food blog via Leya. Be still, my heart. The photos. Go look, and try not to gasp. Go on, try.

::

That supper recipe I was going to tell you about? Here goes.

Stonewall Kitchen Harvest::Swiss chard tart with a potato crust
I can't find a link online to their recipe, but I don't follow it closely enough anyway. So with credit, I'm going to write it out myself here.

This seems very difficult when you first read it, but once you've done it, it's really quite easy.
This is gluten-free, and it's so good, we had it two days in a row. It's the perfect thing to take on a picnic, because it's good hot, warm, or cold. And I find Swiss chard to be one of those plentiful farmer's market items that I always want to buy, but don't know quite what to do with. Well, this is it.

For each tart:
Saute 3/4 lbs chopped swiss chard, 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves in olive oil. Let cool.

Whisk 2 C ricotta, 1/2 C parmesan, 1 egg, black pepper, and fresh thyme.

Thinly slice two small, unpeeled russet potatoes. It helps to have a mandoline for this, but a proper knife would certainly do the job. It's important to have them a uniform thickness, though.

Make a "crust" by overlapping the potato slices in rings in a glass pie plate, tucking slices along the edge to make a layer that comes up the sides of the dish. Drizzle 2 T of olive oil over the potatoes, swirling the dish carefully so that the oil spreads over and under the potatoes. Sprinkle the dish with fresh thyme, black pepper, and 1/2 C parmesan.

Fold the swiss chard into the ricotta mixture, and spread evenly on top of the potato crust.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees; turn the heat down to 350, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until it is nicely golden on top and the filling is firm when touched with your fingers.

Two tips:
the parmesan cheese is so salty, that I don't use any salt in the recipe, just the pepper, thyme, etc...I used to follow their recipe closely, and it was way too salty.
I would definitely make more than one at a time. You usually end up with extra potato slices, and it's easy enough to double the filling. This is so good, that if by some chance you don't eat both tarts at the same meal, you will be happy to have leftovers.

I do hope you try this. My apologies if the recipe isn't iron-clad. But if you read it through, hopefully it will make sense to you. I promise, this is so.so.good.

I think I said that already.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What I'm thinking about these days.

Coneflower

Found objects

Back

My girls are home, and things fall pretty much right back to where they were in an instant.
Lindsey is homeschooling Anna, in between locking her out of her room.
Callie looks just a little bit taller, and seems just a little bit older, in the homestretch to thirteen.
Today is Tim's birthday, so we hung the banner at breakfast, made pancakes, and sent him on his way to a meeting, while we plan some surprises.

::

I'm struggling with something, and I think maybe some of you can relate. I feel comfortable with and proud of the homelife we're making here for these kids: a little bit slower than some, maybe; no-tv, good homecooked food, lots of free-time, not so many electronics and plastic and commercial entertainment. Some of these choices are born out of economic necessity, but honestly, we would keep making most of the same ones, even if we won the lottery.

But, I find that I spend so much time on the busy-work of creating that home, that perhaps I end up missing a key element. What's the difference if I'm making their dinner from scratch, if I'm too tied up to sit down on the floor with them and draw? What's the difference if I've made
a pretty, little, cozy house for us to live in, but I'm always after them about making a mess? And as much as our world (all of us parents' world) is child-centered (a term I don't like, but you know what I mean...), I still really need a line to be drawn between parenting-time and parent-time. Balancing their need to be nurtured and cared for, with our need for time to be ourselves and by ourselves, is one of the trickiest feats I've met yet. And then the flip-side to that is: how do you let them go enough to give yourself a break, and still keep them safe and feeling secure?

Anyway, I've just been thinking about things lately, because we live such a strange existence here, in blended-family land, in the summer. Sometimes we have long stretches with just one child, with lots of night-time a deux. Then we're a family of five for a while, then six, then eight. It forces and/or enables me to examine how things work, or don't work, with a fresh pair of eyes, again and again.

I don't really have a point, but I do have a keyboard. So there it is. I'd love to hear what you all think, if you feel this way about things, and how you manage it all.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

ps::I love to hear from you, but if I haven't ever gotten back to you before, please leave me your e-mail address with your comment. Blogger makes it hard to just hit the "reply" button and send an e-mail. Thanks!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Holiday


This weekend.

This weekend was::
having an "only child" for four whole days.

brothers and nephew and grandfather and son-in-law, all around the same table; a table usually surrounded by girls.

taking a road trip to Hudson, NY. Date night for three: beer and books, organic pizza, and a drive-in movie!

keeping a four-year-old up later than ever, and staying in bed in the mornings, later than ever.

making plans for small improvements around the house. Being invigorated and inspired by this . (Notice Eunju Kang's work on the walls!) It's amazing what moving a few things around the house can do. I find I look at our rooms and our "stuff" with a fresh pair of eyes.

supper at the beach club, with unexpected friends, a fire ring, and an amazing sunset. It was hard to remember the weeks on end of rain. (I'll tell you about the supper recipe, later on.)

I miss the girls so much-always more than I anticipate-but I feel rejuvenated and ready for the next few weeks of summer, when that only child turns back into the youngest of six.

Hope your weekend was peaceful and sun-filled, too. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Patience


Do you remember this?

Well, it's growing back in, slowly but surely. We still have the self-imposed bangs, but it's finally starting to come together again.

Anna loves to get her haircut, I will say that. Ear to ear grin,the entire time in the chair. She amazes me, with her determination and good cheer.

This girl is very good company.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Happiness

::back home, taking care of business, sorting through the stacks, and drinking pot after pot of tea

::catching up with blogs and flickr, and thrilled to find Brian Ferry's photos in the new issue of This Joy + Ride

::thinking this might be just the thing for Anna, who is desperately missing her sisters, already. I see a whole set of five girls for her to tuck into a sweet little pillow. Too bad her mama can't sew.

::dinner with my parents, and half of my brothers. This doesn't happen very often any more, so being around a table with them is a rare treat.

::I'm going to try to recreate various parts of the awesome meals we've had with friends, lately. Grilled salmon, maybe. Or those pork chops with balsamic vinegar. Definitely tomato salad. Roasted asparagus...grilled mushrooms. I think we'll just head over to the market and see what looks good for the grill.

::planning a day trip, or two. Hudson, perhaps. Or that drive-in movie we've been meaning to get to.

::And finally, I've talked the mister into an Ikea run. Planning a surprise mini-redo for the girls' rooms, when they all finally land back home.

Best wishes to you all for a happy Fourth, and some sun this weekend. Thanks for reading.

tt

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

OK, now it's summer.

Perhaps eleven is an excessive number of photographs for one post. What the heck, though.

I didn't touch a computer for three days.

The kids made tye-dye shirts, cinnamon-chocolate ice cream, stayed up too late to mention, watching borderline-questionable movies, and slept like babies until well into the morning.

They bravely dove headlong into a muddy three acre pond, which this mother would rather not have to jump into to save them. (But I would! I promise!)

The grown-ups did a fair share of their regular work, then quit for the day, drank very good wine, made a lot (a lot) of really good food, and slept...well, maybe not quite like babies.

I read somewhere in blog-land recently (and if you are the one who said it, please remind me, because I can't find you now) that vacation is meant to be so much fun, but you really spend the time waiting to go back home. Or something along those lines.

I don't at all mean to imply that I didn't have the best time I could hope for, but only that, in the end, I do love coming home most of all.

I suppose that's the best I could hope for.

Glad to be home, but boy, was that fun. Thanks for reading.
tt

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