Thursday, September 30, 2004

A view of the bridge

Still feeling lousy. And feeling lousier over something that happened on my drive home from work tonight. I left about 4:15 - a good two hours early - because my limbs felt heavy, my head was stuffy and all I wanted to do was lay down. I had just started to marvel at the lack of traffic at a typically busy intersection when I realized that the road to the bridge was closed. They've been working on the bridge lately, but are usually savvy enough not to close it at peak commuting times.

So I grumbled to myself and started down the alternate route - one that takes me a good five miles out of my way. May not sound like much, but my 15-minute commute is all on local roads, so five miles means at least doubling the amount of time my drive takes. This route passes under the bridge, and as I approached it, I didn't see any machinery or workers, just a cluster of police cars just past the southbound on-ramp. Traffic was just inching along, so as I cleared the bridge on the road underneath, I glanced up. And saw a man, clinging to the fence on the bridge from the outside. He was perched on a tiny little perch, with his back to the road and his face to the bridge. And there were a handful of people in uniform talking to him. And underneath, I noticed suddenly, were fire trucks and emergency personnel. And across the way, in the parking lot of the fish processing plant, were a couple guys on motorcycles, pointing and kinda laughing and talking on their cell phones.

It was chilling. I felt horrible for the man - and amazed at the impact one person's tragedy can have on thousands upon thousands of people. And I wanted to smack those bikers in the face. I called work on my cell phone, let my boss know about what was going on since she has to cross the bridge to get home, too. But really I think I wanted to tell someone what I had just seen.

The drive home ultimately took an hour. As far as I know, the bridge is still closed, and the man is still up there, holding on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The vacation cold...

... typically hits while we are actually on vacation. Last year at this time I was sniffly and feverish in Quebec City; five years ago we were both stuffed up and achy on our honeymoon in Ireland. This year, we had a fantastic four days in Southwest Harbor - on Mt. Desert Island - with beautiful weather, an excellent hotel and lots of good food. And NO colds, no flus, not even a hint of indigestion. We hiked, we kayaked, we talked and we relaxed.

And then last night, about an hour after we'd gotten home, I started coughing - a deep, chest-y cough. I wrote it off to the end-of-vacation peanut butter ice cream I was sampling at the time. But this afternoon my throat started to hurt, and I realized that I've been blowing my nose an awful lot. While I was making dinner - a leek and fennel soup that turned out to be thin and unappetizing, despite the addition of cream (otherwise known as That Which Improves Everything) and a whole bunch of fresh potatoes - I started to feel really, really tired. Right now, I'm thinking that 9:15 really isn't too early to go to bed.

The good part, obviously, is that the cold didn't hit me while we were away on what was possibly the best vacation we've ever taken together. The bad part is that, of course, work is hellacious, and lots of it has piled up in my absence. This isn't a great week to come down with a cold.

Besides, there are tons of things I'd like to do here at home - download the photos from the trip, call my parents to tell them we're alive, blog about the fact that after Saturday I am birth-control-free(!), catch up on my blog-reading, watch Mean Girls with Darren - but I think I'm going to wrap this up and head for bed. And, yes, I took some echinacea and vitamin C.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Things are put back together

Since I know you're all breathlessly waiting for an update on the state of the appliances around here, I will graciously acquiesce:

Everything is fixed.

For the dishwasher we had to pay a nice man $49 for approximately five minutes of work - that said, it was five minutes of work that neither Darren nor I would know how to do. So I guess it's worth it.

As for the car stereo? Mysteriously started working on the drive to the office yesterday morning, just after I blogged about it. If this turns out to be a pattern - I blog about something and then it's magically fixed - I will soon be writing about the sadly diminshed state of my bank account and my woeful work wardrobe.

On other topics... work has been relatively sane this week, despite our press deadline today on the Very Important Issue. I worked a lot last week - 55 hours, I think? - and I believe that in my panic, I completely overcompensated. So today, we're thinking we'll be done by 1 or 2 - at which point I will take my staff out to lunch and then order them not to enter the office again today - rather than our deadline of 7 pm. It feels a little funny to have everything so relaxed on press day, but I'm glad it's worked out this way.

As a result, last night I got home at the insanely early hour of 6 p.m. Darren and I took Rocky for a long walk around the neighborhood, which was lots of fun - we even met a very cute shih tzu relative of hers on a street we don't usually walk down. Then we came home and made dinner. I feel the need to redeem myself from Monday's kiddie food, so I'll report that we had grilled chicken, grilled squash and red pepper (marinated in olive oil, salt & pepper) and a lovely green salad with sungold tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and hon tsai tai, which our farmers describe as "a Chinese specialty green... with an extremely mild mustard taste."

Darren and I have been able to spend a bunch of time together this week - we've been coordinating well on the food duties, and we've gotten out for several long walks with Rocky. We haven't talked at all, really, about the Kid Thing, but it's sort of thrumming under the surface all the time. We're headed away for a long weekend on Friday - going to the Common Ground Fair, then to Mt. Desert Island to hike during the day and sleep in a fancy hotel at night through Monday. I imagine we'll do some more talking then; we've got a few hours of riding in the car, and lots of easy, unstructured time. My feeling is that we're going to go ahead with this, that the next 10 days of pills are the last. But we'll see what happens when we actually start talking...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Things fall apart

Ok, that might be a little dramatic. Still, we are witnessing simultaneous mechanical failures around here that are making things a little interesting... and causing some Deep Thoughts on the conveniences they provide.

The dishwasher broke. This is a major bummer - not least because we found it was broken by noticing it was full, putting detergent in and attempting to turn it on. Nothing happened. My pal the Internet suggested checking to see if a circuit had blown. Easy, I thought - I can fix this myself. But a circuit hadn't blown. So the appliance repair guys are coming this afternoon. We don't know how old the dishwasher is - it was here when we bought the house - but it doesn't look all that new. Hoping this doesn't mean an exciting adventure in Dishwasher Price Comparison is in the cards...

And washing dishes - a lot of dishes, because did you know how many freakin' dishes that thing can hold? - by hand has really lost its charm. In just two days I've become much more aware of how many dishes I'm using, and figured out ways to conserve.

My car stereo broke. But only halfway: Weirdly, the tape player works, but the radio does not. This means that I can't listen to NPR or (one of my many secret vices) Howard Stern in the car on the way to work. But I can listen to a cassette of Patty Larkin, which I've gotta say puts me in a much better frame of mind. Even NPR can sometimes put a damper on a girl's outlook from time to time. Given the stereo's quirky habits, I'm guessing the radio will spontaneously start working again at some point. So I think I'm going to happily put up with music-only drives for the time being.

Also broken on Sunday night was my aforementioned pal, the Internet. My wacky browser wasn't allowing me access to any secure sites, despite all sorts of fiddling with security settings and antivirus mumbojumbo. This meant that online shopping of any kind was off limits - on a day when my to-do list included the items "order shirts" and "buy shoes." So that was also annoying, but instead I went to Marshall's and Bass and picked up a few things for less than I would have paid online.

Some other random, off-topic thoughts for this morning:
  • The Clerks 10th anniversary DVD is awesome. This is likely a generational thing, but Clerks was really meaningful to me when it came out. I grew up about 10 miles from where Kevin Smith did; he's two years older than I am, and the stories he tells about the Jersey Shore and the goofballs therein are really important to me. Silly, perhaps, and most definitely profane as hell, but I love 'em nonetheless. We even watched Jersey Girl a week or so ago; it's not as bad as it was made out to be, but it's not a surprise that Smith is backing off from the slick, mass-market flick to do Clerks 2 (allegedly titled Passion of the Clerks).
  • When is Alexi Murdoch's full-length CD going to come out? I've been loving the songs from the EP - particularly "Orange Sky," which I was reminded of last night when we watched The O.C.'s crappy pre-season special. Yes, The O.C. is another (very) guilty pleasure, but I loooove it. And I'll have you know that I first heard Murdoch's stuff on World Cafe, a highbrow public radio show. So there.
  • Grilled cheese on homemade bread is really fabulous. (Apparently someone here needs some nourishment and some coffee, in that order. This post is getting kinda ridiculous.) Last night we had super-duper gourmet grilled cheese. I'd made garlic French bread in the breadmaker over the weekend, and we had some really fabulous smoked cheddar from the great bakery/market down the street, plus a huge heirloom tomato from the farm. If that's not the recipe for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, I don't know what is. The bread turned out really well - probably one of the best loaves I've made. It was nice and light, but with no bubbles and a really fine crumb. And just a hint of garlic aroma - enough to make yesterday's PB&J at lunch just a little odd, but perfect in the dinner sandwich. And, yes, I realize that I ate like a kindergartener yesterday.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Cool weather, warm meals

I don't know what it's like where you are, but it's cold here. I'm sitting at the desk with a (now-cold) cup of coffee, wearing jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt. Socks and warm slippers. AND I've got a blanket on my lap. Darren said it looks cozy. Me? I say it's absurd. It's still September, and we've got all the windows closed and I'm still chilly.

But the good thing about this weather is that it prompts me to start thinking about the warm, hearty meals of fall. Yesterday, on a rainy, cold day, Darren and I had lunch at a local BBQ place. He had a pulled pork sandwich; I had a bowl of chili - the serious kind, with nothing but meat, jalapenos, sauce and some grated orange cheddar on top. None of those frivolous beans or anything. As we left, I was bemoaning the fact that so many of our good friends are vegetarians. Darren and I used to be - I more seriously than he. I didn't eat meat for five or six years. Now I cook chicken, pork and beef - which we eat medium-rare - and I LOVE sausage. I love the meals we make with it - a butternut squash and sausage soup from Emeril, of all people, and a pumpkin, sausage and sage sauce for pasta... also from someone on the Food Network. But when our beloved vegetarians come over for dinner, such dishes are verboten.

Tonight, though, it's just the two of us, so we're having sausage and peppers over pasta. We have an abundance of peppers from the farm that we have to eat today. They're a little bitter raw, but I've found that after sauteeing they're just fine. I plan to cook them slowly, with plenty of garlic and some olive oil, so they'll get soft and sweet and yummy.

Along with the cool fall weather, though, comes the conversation about Where We Will Go For the Holidays. In the past we've avoided this particular fight by settling on a simple, annual rotation: Each year, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with one set of parents, and Christmas with the other. We've alternated year after year. So, according to the schedule, this year we're supposed to see my parents, in New Jersey, for Thanksgiving, and celebrate Christmas with Darren's family here in Maine.

The schedule works, in general. But there are some major flaws, not least of which is the sheer misery of traveling around Thanksgiving. The last time we did turkey in NJ, it took us eleven hours to get home. Eleven. For what is typically a six- to seven-hour drive. The other flaw is that this schedule entirely lacks a holiday celebration for our own little family, just the two of us and Rocky.

So this year I had dreams of an alternate holiday. We would do Friends Only Thanksgiving at our house - more like a dinner party with our close friends than some treacherous, nostalgic family affair. My sister and her boyfriend would be invited, but no other family members would be allowed. We'd do Christmas Eve and Christmas with Darren's family, and then, on the 26th or 27th, we'd go to Jersey for some festivities with my family.

But of course this ain't easy, either. D.'s youngest brother and his wife, who live in North Carolina, put themselves on our holiday schedule when they got married, so we'd all be celebrating Christmas in Maine on the same year. So we can't make our plans to go to NJ without finding out when they're coming up, and for how long. And then there's Darren's work schedule, which is problematic to discern this far in advance. And on top of it all there is the pressure from my mother to let her know what we're planning right now so she can get the appropriate time off from work. It's a lot of balls in the air all at once.

Somehow, Darren and I started discussing all of this at F. and S.'s house for dinner last night. And, needless to say, the "discussion" quickly degenerated into a very tense near-argument about how we are going to handle the holidays. The room was silent when we were done; I had to physically get up and leave the room. Not good. We put a damper on the entire evening; I apologized to F., S., and A., the other guest, last night; Darren called them all again this morning. Oops.

Luckily, if there is one thing we all have in common, it is domestic squabbles concerning holiday travel. At least that's what F. told us. And even though she's a vegetarian, we've chosen to take her at her word.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Work is absolutely insane this week. We are putting out a special issue that's much larger than usual, and I'm about half-dead as a result. So blogging will be light until the weekend.

I did want to mention, though, that I went to a great meeting last night, something called the New Girls Network. It's a nine-month program about feminism, philanthropy and social change for women in their 20s and 30s. Seems like a really great group of women, and we had an invigorating discussion about our experiences of feminism. (Invigorating or not, I still came home, had a bowl of cereal and went to bed...) Anyway, it was a chance to talk about some of the big, important topics I feel I've been neglecting for the last couple years while I've been focusing on my career, such as it is.

Now, it's off to write one story and edit four or five more.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The back-to-school state of mind

Meg wrote earlier today about the feeling that, no matter how old we are, the fall still feels like kick-it-in-gear time. That resolutions in January feel sorta lame, but resolutions in September - particularly, I will exercise more, I will drink more water, I will write more for myself - feel very apropos. Needless to say, I agree.

Darren and I turned over a bit of a new leaf of our own on Sunday. We used to hike a lot - in fact, the long, tangled, inquisitive conversations we'd have while hiking in New Mexico when we first met were, I think, a big part of what made us fall in love. But ever since acquiring The House (or, more aptly, The Mortgage) three years ago last month, hiking has taken a back seat to the business of our lives together - the lawn mowing, the painting, the renovating, the readying for guests and recovering from guests that comes from owning a 1920s bungalow on the Maine coast. (Incidentally, do people in other states moan about their houseguests the way we Mainers do? Maybe it's the short, precious summer... whining about the influx of people "from away" may as well be the state's official pastime.)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that it's taken a concerted effort for us to spend deliberate time together. When you don't count all the time that we're both in the house at the same time, but instead start to tally the time we are here, together -- the numbers are surprisingly small.

All this came to a head in a big blowup argument on Saturday afternoon. I was feeling left out of his kayaking - which I'm not interested in at all, but was feeling a wee bit like, of all things, a kayaking widow (a la the golf widows of an earlier day... or at least a different social set than the one we swim about in). And I was feeling lonely -- I'd wanted to spend some of the gorgeous day outdoors, doing something fun. Instead I ran errands, picked up supplies for the dinner we planned for friends that night and fetched a friend's dog we were watching for the weekend. Then came home and moped on the couch, and practically spit at Darren when he walked in, salty, sunburned and happy, 90 minutes before L. and C. were to arrive.

As usual when we haven't argued for weeks, all sorts of things ended up being bandied about, largely our two perennial themes: Darren Doesn't Do Enough At Home and MC Doesn't Do Enough With Darren. There was an interesting moment in which I was sniping about his lack of interest, except when nudged and nagged, to do big chores like washing windows or scraping the g-ddamn trim on the g-ddamn garage -- and that I, in fact, find accomplishing tasks such as those satisfying. (Small aside, to salvage my husband's honor: In fact, Darren does 80% of the day-to-day cleaning and organization in our house, including laundry. It's the big chores that we squabble about.)

I swear this is getting back to Meg's point about turning a new leaf, or maybe an old leaf turning a new color? Anyway, we resolved to Be Better. And so we got up Sunday morning and picked out a hike in western Maine that we'd never done. Darren suggested the activity, and I picked the specific hike, 2.5 miles roundtrip up, and down, a steep but rewarding trail. We resisted our eternal temptation to invite friends along, bought ourselves some lousy sandwiches and fabulous cookies and headed an hour west. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon, followed by leftovers and soft serve (a root beer float for me) while watching Sense and Sensibility. We barely even talked with anyone else the whole day, and it was exactly what we needed.

And, on tap for next weekend: Scraping the garage! We can hardly wait.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

An Actual Running Post

Yes, it's true, Darren and I went for a run this morning. It was pathetically short - two miles or so - and pathetically slow - no, I am not going to say how slow! - but it felt GOOD. I've been in one of those sleep ruts lately where I'm only comfortable in positions that later hurt my neck/back - most likely due to all the Important Topics I've been pondering when I'm not working ridiculous hours. So I'm hoping that a little more exercise will get rid of some of the physical (and mental) tension, and help me sleep better. And, y'know, if the jeans also fit better, I wouldn't mind that, either.

It's a gorgeous, clear sunny day here today - so much like that terrible day three years ago. Somehow the clarity of the sky and the warmth of the sun make the memory of that horror so much harder to bear.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The work-life conundrum

I am ever so frustrated with my job, and trying to figure out what I can do with it. The hours are rough - I put in 10 hours yesterday, plus about 11.5 on Tuesday and two or three on Labor Day. It's entirely deadline oriented - we sent the paper to the printer last night, which is why I have the freedom to be sitting here at 7:45, unshowered, no breakfast, reading blogs and listening to the rain. So today and tomorrow I "only" have to work eight-hour days.

As I was driving home last night, I was trying to imagine myself doing this job if we had a child. And I really can't envision it. We've developed this culture at work in which the editorial and art departments have super-high standards, and work the hours necessary to meet them. Tellingly, we're all young - 33 and under - and only one of us has a child (the kid is 14 or 15 and very self-sufficient). I worry about our ability to hold it together if any of us decide to reproduce. And I especially worry about my own ability to do what the job requires - something that, at best, is pretty damn frustrating and dissatisfying - if I have a little bundle of love waiting for me at home.

Although I know that the decision to have a baby has to come from the Big Picture, and that if we wait until our job stuff is perfect we'll never do it, I'm a little overwhelmed by trying to figure out kids and work in one fell swoop. I've been with this company for nearly five years, and it's afforded me a ton of opportunity. But I'm increasingly dissatisfied with what the job demands from me. I'm working on delegating a few things, but my staff is (almost) as overworked as I am.

I'm thinking about bringing this up - in general, not specific to me - with the publisher next week. I am really worried about burnout, both for myself and my staff. I don't have any solutions - other than getting funding for an additional person, something that won't happen until January at the earliest - but I'm thinking the publisher needs to be aware of the level of frustration among a good half of her staff. D. thinks she'll immediately glom onto the mere hint of kiddies - which would be entirely typical - so I've got to think of a way to discuss this that doesn't specifically include the implications of procreation.

And with that Deep Thought, I'm headed to the shower.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The joy of the three-day weekend

The Grumps are so far gone, I can barely remember them. Today is the kind of day I'd love to have more often. Slept 'til 8:30, then showered, fed Rocky and read the Week in Review from yesterday's Times while I ate my oatmeal. (Yes, it is chilly enough for oatmeal-eating... another sure sign that fall is upon us, even if the calendar doesn't agree.)

I got some laundry going; typically, D. takes care of that, but he had to be at work at 7 a.m. today and has been feeling lousy, so I figured I'd take care of it while I do other stuff around the house. I made some coffee, and came to my newly spiffy desk to take care of my work - putting the finishing touches on a story I wrote and editing one of my staffers' stories. I went on a major cleaning/organizing binge Saturday morning; the desk had become essentially the only place in the house that we allowed to collect clutter - big, messy, unconnected clutter. For a while, that was ok, but we both spend so much time at this desk that it became stressful. Clearing the mess took a while - to get papers off the desk, I had to make room in the over-stuffed file cabinet, which meant I had to make room in the overflow file box in the basement - but was oh-so-rewarding. I shredded bank records from the accounts I had in New Mexico in 1995, as well as the lease for the apartment I rented in Boston in 1997, not to mention about a jillion other useless pieces of paper.

So in any case I've finished my editing, taken care of some work e-mails and gotten the laundry underway. Also on the agenda today are a couple cooking projects: quick pickles - I found a better recipe than the verrry tart one I made a few weeks back - and some salsa verde with the tomatillos we picked on Friday. I may get around to washing some windows - they've needed it for a while, but the spray-washing before the house was painted made the need very apparent. I can at least get to the ones on the shady side of the house today. And I'm hoping to get a short hike in at some point. D. should be home in an hour or so, but he's not feeling well, so my afternoon activities likely will be without him.

The three-day weekend really should be standard. I've had time to do domestic things that need doing, but aren't the must-do items that are typically all I can accomplish on a normal, two-day weekend. I've gotten some outings in, and have spent time cooking and relaxing with D. We even watched a movie last night - Krzysztof Kieslowski's Red, which I think I saw many years ago, back when I had that New Mexico bank account, actually. Anyway, I find it so satisfying to get to the bigger projects around here - both the household maintenance and the food preservation. I love my morning alone, tapping away on the keyboard while listening to my favorite radio station. And I love the anticipation of an afternoon adventure when the work is done.

Would I be so chipper if it were gray and rainy outside? Maybe not. But I'm content and mellow right now, which is about the best I can expect.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Sunday Night Grumps

Here's the question: How can I have the Sunday Night Grumps when I don't have to go to work tomorrow? This would seem to suggest that the Grumps are a consequence of my typical Sunday activities - reading the papers (both the crappy local daily and the New York Times), snoozing on the couch and generally being lazy - rather than my attitude toward the day ahead. Because tomorrow all I've got to do is a couple hours of work here at home, while D. is working his half-day in the morning. Other than that, it's a totally agenda-less day, which is something I've been craving.

Today satisfied that itch a bit. D. made omelets for breakfast - with feta, tomatoes and amazing organic maple breakfast sausage - then I poked around for a while. I did finish cleaning the outside of the kitchen cabinets, and spent a while in the basement breaking up boxes - one of the many chores left to do after our basement flooded in a minor way a few weeks back. Then B. came with eight-month-old H., and the four of us went on a slightly needle-in-a-haystack-esque quest for lunch. It was just the late afternoon that was an ode to laziness.

But it's 6:30, we haven't started dinner - in fact, we haven't even gone grocery shopping, which totally annoys me - and D. just spent 45 minutes talking very loudly, and in excruciating detail, on the phone with his brother about the Red Sox. And for some reason that really irks me. But D. grabbed the half-made list and headed off to get at least what we need for tonight; I'm too annoyed, and probably too logy from the nap (which likely is the real culprit for the Grumps), to come up with meals for the rest of the week. He promised to bring back a bottle of red wine, though. At which point I will apologize for snapping at him and make nice while we get dinner - ratatouille, crusty bread and the aforementioned wine - going.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Weekend food report

I did a bunch of cooking last night, after D. and S. and I returned from a trip to the farm to pick up our veggies for the week. I'd planned the meal for Thursday night, in an attempt to finish up all last week's stuff before the new produce appeared. But D. lured me off to Norm's for dinner, and beets and chard were left home, to sit alone in the vegetable drawer.

So I made up for it last night. First, I roasted beets, onions and potatoes - all from the farm - with olive oil, salt and pepper. This was a recipe from The Joy of Cooking, and it suggested putting each veggie in its own dish. That seemed a bit much to me, so I put the potatoes, which also had some rosemary and unpeeled garlic cloves, in one pan, and the onions and beets in another - knowing, of course, that I'd end up with pink onions. After that was all done roasting, I combined the veggies and poured a homemade vinaigrette over them. I think TJOC meant for each vegetable to be served separately, so the beet juice wouldn't stain everything, but when D. and I were just going to eat it all slumped at the coffee table while watching the Red Sox, that seemed just a bit precious. So we had pink roasted veggies and vinaigrette, which was pretty tasty.

At some point I noticed that the recipe said it was to be served at room temperature. Right. When you start roasting veggies at 7:30 at night, ya ain't gonna wait around for 'em to get to room temp. So it was good - not great, but definitely good. And my guess is that the leftovers are even better, since the vinaigrette has had some time to sink in.

Along with the Pink Veggie Medley, I made an orzo and parmesan thing that's supposed to have sauteed spinach on top, but I did it with chard instead. It's not a complicated recipe, but there are about eleventy billion steps for something that tastes so warm and homey. First you cook the orzo; while that's going, you blanch the chard briefly and let it drain. You also mix together an egg, a buncha parmesan and, if you're following the recipe, heavy cream, though I used skim milk, because who has heavy cream in the house all the time? After you drain the orzo, you mix it w/ the egg mixture, cover it and let it sit.

THEN you move on to step two of the spinach/chard process: Saute slivered garlic and red pepper flakes, then add the chard, which you've pressed until all the water is out of it and it forms a disk. Once it's in the pan, you sorta break it up with the back of a spoon, and just saute it briefly until it's heated up (this takes a little longer for chard than for spinach, I think). Again, this has some fancy schmancy presentation suggestion - you're supposed to smooth the orzo out on a platter, and top it with the greens. Eschewing the hoopla, I used tongs to mix the chard throughout the pasta.

It was an unintentionally carb-heavy dinner, but as D. says, who the hell cares? I really like the orzo/greens thing - perhaps especially because we have some really great, sharp (real) Parmigiano Reggiano in the house, which gives a good bite to the pasta, which is also just the tiniest bit creamy. And then there's the garlic... mmm.

So I don't know if I'd make that particular combination of dishes again, but I'd definitely make them separately.

Tonight, we're heading over to my sister and her boyfriend's for dinner. E. and I just came back from walking the dogs, which was a good outing. It's really cool here today, though - the sun is warm enough, but there is a chilly breeze. Fall is on its way for sure. But dinner tonight is full-on late-summer harvest: E. and P. are making a chilled avocado-tomatillo soup, followed by tomato and basil sandwiches on grilled bread. They belong to the same farm we do - and part of the reason we ate so late last night is that we were out in the pick-your-own patch for a long time, foraging for tomatillos - so the veggies will be top-notch.

For dessert, we were torn between something light and refreshing, to go along w/ the super-healthy dinner, and something totally decadent. So, my contribution to the evening - besides pineapple juice, for what E. assures me will be kick-ass pineapple martinis - is Ghiradelli double-chocolate brownies, currently working their chocolatey magic in the oven. I'm not sure how the pineapple will go w/ avocados, tomatillos and basil, but given my sister's drink-mixing prowess, I bet we won't much care.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Talk

So D. and I finally had time and energy to catch up on where we are since getting the CF test results. I came home one night this week - Tuesday, maybe? - to find the table beautifully set, including the bottle of Fat Bastard shiraz that S. and T. had brought us last week. I'd left work early - because the Italian grocery where I needed to buy bulk olive oil, fresh mozzarella and pizza dough closes at 5:30 - and was home by 6. Together, D. and I made beautiful margherita pizzas, with farm tomatoes, fresh mozz and farm basil. I made a tossed salad, and we drank our Fat Bastard, and we mellowed into talking. (Someday I'll figure out how to post photos and do the cool foodie dinner photo thing, but for now you're just going to have to take my word for it.)

In any case, we had a long and really mellow, intimate conversation about kids - what we're worried about, what we'd look forward to, what we're leaning toward, etc. We talked and talked and talked. And even moved out of the (eventually uncomfortable) dining room chairs onto the couch, with Rocky the shih tzu in between us.

It's hard to recount now - not that you need a blow-by-blow account anyway - but what remains two days later is just an incredible sense of intimacy. The conversation wasn't contentious at all, as it can sometimes get when either of us gets passionate about something. We really just heard each other out, in a really thoughtful way. The only pressing matter is that my current pack of pills is up on Saturday. That felt like too soon to make a decision as big as this, so we decided that I'd take the next pack, and that in the next four weeks we'd talk some more and come up with a decision about whether we're going to start trying to get preggers.

D. and I both end up in a similar place - we don't not want kids (as we did just a few months ago); we're worried about how the logistics would work out, but determined not to let that affect the big-picture decision; and we are leaning toward kids but can't explain why - and that lack of ability to explain nags both of us super-verbal people.

In all, though, we are really happy right now. The conversations have felt really wonderful to have - no matter what we decide, the talks will have been a good thing for us. And on that mushy note, it's time to Step Away From the Computer.