Simple Things

cuke_tomatoWhen I had the opportunity to go to Ukraine more than 10 years ago, I almost didn’t take it.  I didn’t have enough vacation time.  I didn’t have a lot of extra money.  I didn’t speak the language.  I was scared.  Not scared for my life.  It was a peaceful time there then.  I was just scared of the unknown.  So much so, that the night before my flight, I lay awake convinced I wouldn’t get on the plane.  I did though.  And the trip was filled with highs and lows and absolutely no regrets.  Particularly now, as I watch with sadness the news from there, I am so thankful and glad for that opportunity–and my courage to seize it.

One of my more light-hearted memories from that trip is how my brother would often finish my meals for me.  Not because he was that hungry, but because I couldn’t bring myself to eat everything I had been served (and not to finish was to be rude to our hosts).  He may have gained 10 pounds on that trip.  One thing neither he nor I ever had trouble finishing was the simple cucumber and tomato plate we were often served with our meals.  To this day, one of my most favorite and very simple things.  Garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

At Last

cornCue Etta James, because the moment of summer we’ve been waiting for has arrived.  Well, in this house anyway.  CORN!  Hopefully, your farm stand now has it fresh from the field too.  Go get some!

Summer Afternoons

coreopsisRemember the Country Time Lemonade commercials from the 90s?  The ones with scenes of kids running through fields, swinging on tires and rolling inner tubes down the dock to a lake?  I haven’t had the pleasure of mixing a pitcher with that magical powder for some years now, but I always associate those commercials with my ideal summer.  Lazy days.  Best enjoyed in the late afternoon when the sun makes everything look a little golden.

We’ve been enjoying some rare hot but non-humid days lately.  The kind of days that I don’t want to turn on the air conditioning and, instead, dress the girls in airy little sundresses and keep all the windows open to capture the warm breeze.  We went out for a backyard picnic yesterday and it was as close to one of those commercials as I can remember.  Yes, the baby’s nose was running into her graham crackers and I left the beets in the oven to shrivel up for dinner, but so what.  The three of us swung on the swing set letting our bare feet feel the breeze, gobbled up our graham crackers, and watched planes draw lines in the sky.  And out of the corner of my eye, I happen to notice a small patch of sun peeking through the trees to give my coreopsis just the right light.  Darn good afternoon.