8.31.2013

I'd say that's a win

Way back in May we planted four small tomato plants of varying types - a lovely cherry tomato that a friend started from seed, a bushy little patio tomato from the farmer's market, and two medium sized tomato plants that I can't remember the name of but we bought because the farmer said they wouldn't surpass my height (liar). And here we are in August with heaps and heaps of tomatoes (!). By the time I'm actually getting around to writing this, our plants have all started to slow down, with a sad sign of the end of summer. But with these four not-so-small tomato plants we have made batch after batch of homemade salsa, lovely tomato salads, several kinds of grilled pizza with fresh tomato, mozz, and basil, and many other tomato-inspired meals. For a little while there I was eating tomatoes with every meal. Last week at the farmer's market my friend bought an entire bushel of tomatoes to make sauce. A bushel!

You gotta love summer's end - when she spills out the very best and last of her harvest in all its glory, one final push of produce to over-indulge in preparation for a garden of quiet for many months.

I've got one last tomato-rich recipe on the docket: a lovely Herbed Tomato Tart.


I also just finished a great end of summer book, The Last Summer of the Camperdowns. A saucy and cleverly written story about a WASP-y family on New England's coast. The dad, "Camp," is running for office while his wife trills and snarks about absolutely everything, living like a queen, and refusing to face their mountains of debt. And their daughter, Riddle, left to deal with them both, navigating her own summer between childhood and adulthood, holding tight to what she knows of a mysterious disappearance and how it could destroy her summer. A great summer read with an incredible ending! Don't miss this one.

In other news, I am both sad and excited to be welcoming September in this week. It means there were a few things I missed on my summer to-dos, many stories I failed to write about, and several blank canvases that are sitting beside me still blank. Work has been super nuts and most evenings consist of a short run, a salad (with tomatoes, maybe?!), a bit of clean up/catch up, and a good book to hide away in. Not to mention the two weeks in early August that I was struck down mighty hard with an ear-sinus infection duo. But I refuse to mourn the summer's failures. I'd much rather celebrate the summer's successes. 

Two very excellent camping weekends.
Two equally excellent weekends at friends' lakehouses. 
Eight pounds of freshly picked blueberries. 
Several pounds of freshly picked peaches. 
A few blueberry peach pies, and tarts and cakes and salads.
Countless trips to the farmer's market.
A good tan and sun-lightened hair.
And a slew of good books.

I'd say that's a win.

And last weekend we celebrated a hot and sunny Saturday with pie at Bang Bang Pie Shop. A real Chicago gem. Iced coffee on tap. Chocolate pecan and summer ice box pie made with sage ice cream, lemon curd and macerated blueberries. And a biscuit with jam for good measure. Yum. Definitely a success.



Not only did we celebrate pie this week, we celebrated a great man, a world-changing speech, and a march for freedom. Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.


With recordings of I Have a Dream still ringing in my ear, I read this in My Utmost:

Continually bring the truth out into your real life, working it out into every area, or else even the light that you possess will itself prove to be a curse. 
The mountain-top experience must be so genuine that it shows in your life.
Your theology must work itself out, exhibiting itself in your most common everyday relationships.

Maybe that's some of what MLKJ was getting at. That if we believe in truth and justice and beauty, then we better be working it out in our everyday. A sobering thought. If that dream, that light, is as genuine as we say it is, then the whole world should see it. Starting with the most common everyday relationships. 
And maybe a slice of pie or an herbed tomato tart to share.

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