I’ve been asked to write about being thankful this evening, but am also quite full from tonight’s epic turkey dinner, the kids are in bed, another bottle of wine has been opened, Elf is on tv, and my cousin is waiting to play Boggle. That said, I’m going to keep this short and to the point.
The things for which I’m grateful are all small moments, each piece hitched to the next, creating a patchwork representing the quilt of my life. I’m thankful for so much, but currently, life consists of London and family. Below are swatches for which I am thankful and in which I find peace.
Today, Think Kit asked me to look at my surroundings as if I were seeing them for the first time and reflect on what I notice. My first thought about this prompt was that I’m currently traveling and am seeing most things for the first time. I proceeded to complain a bit about the prompt to my husband, who then good-naturedly blew off my discontent with a series of ridiculously funny faces that made me laugh hysterically. In that moment, I had the answer to my blog post for the day: I choose to see him in a new light today.
Mrt (his initials, and my nickname for him-pronounced “mert”) and I have been together for ten years so while we absolutely enjoy each other’s company, support each other, and find each other amusing, remembering to be downright silly with each other sometimes gets lost in the mix of life. So when he turned on the goof this afternoon, I remembered one of the reasons I love him. Thanks for the lightheartedness, mrt, that served to shed new light upon you today.
Being a food fiend, I’m always on the prowl for an amazing epicurean adventure wherever I may be standing in the world. Spain is one of my favorite places to eat-I could sustain myself with pan con tomate, pintxos, and a crisp Albarino for a good long while and be a happy woman. While I’ve been lucky enough in life to have eaten my way through Spain and several other countries, I must admit that London has not historically been my favorite place to indulge in indigenous fare. My last trip to London was in 2005, and once I made my way through a cornish pasty, some blood sausage and sticky toffee pudding, I set aside my quest to try all that was London and instead was content enough to sit back with a pint or two and eat whatever was put in front of me. It’s not that I disliked the food, I just wasn’t inspired to go hunt down specific dishes to satisfy my cravings.
This trip to London has changed my mind altogether. Staying with family that has lived here for years means I am getting a truly local food experience and have been able to partake in some incredible bites. First, I should begin with cheese. Glorious, glorious cheese. Epoisses, Burata, Compte and many more graced the delicious cheese board we shared last night, and accompanied with some saucisson, baguette and roasted green beans, it was a fantastic meal.
Borough Market offered an array of yummy opportunities. The Raclette was unreal, and the pastries blew my mind. Today we headed to Marylebone Farmers Market and the pounds flew out of my wallet as my bag grew heavy with wonderful soups, fresh leeks and brussel sprouts, handmade macarons, and an enormous fresh turkey for Christmas dinner. This afternoon, I fed my son and nephew lunch from the market and watched them slurp their soups with glee and then take down the gingerbread biscuits with abandon.
Essentially, what I’m learning is that what I believed to be true about English cuisine-that it’s quite heavy, covered in dough, and is at times a bit bland-is truly incorrect. The produce is amazing, the prepared foods are as unique and delicious as the baked goods are delicate and flavorful. I am blown away and can’t wait for the curries, high tea treats, and sausages yet to come. On that note, I’m going to shove off and partake in a pistachio macaron that is calling my name from the kitchen.
I’ve missed some blog posts recently but for what I believe to be the best reason in the world. For the last two days, I’ve been busy traveling to London and nursing my jet lagged self back to awareness. We came here for a grand family vacation to visit my in-laws for the holidays and it really provides a good answer for the Think Kit blog prompt: What am I listening to as I write this post?
Right now I hear: The sound of rain outside on a grey London afternoon. My brother-in-law making zerberts on my 4-month-old niece’s tummy while she laughs hysterically. My parents-in-law ooohing and aaahing over all the kids as they fly all over the house playing. And the best one happened just now: My son ran up to me at light speed and said exuberantly, “I’m happy we’re in London!” Then he kissed my shoulder and ran off to play. Life is good.
The word ‘momentous’ typically signifies something of earth-shattering significance, so to use it to describe my annual getaway weekend with friends to Indiana may seem to be a stretch. To me though, it was momentous this year. Which is surprising, as some very important guests couldn’t attend and were dearly missed. Nonetheless, the weekend was made of moments that were simple yet significant. We were particularly primed for a joyful time this year as three days prior, the state House passed the bill for marriage equality in Illinois. Momentous in itself, this bill passing provides equal rights for so many people that I love who love me well, including two of my greatest friends who join us in Indiana every year. Champagne was ready to be popped and we were ready to celebrate!
The timing of our retreat is different each year which means new activities and varied season changes in the grand maples and oaks surrounding the property. Summer trips are wonderful-we take the boat out, grill out, and lay out. Winter has been lovely as well, as we sit around the fire with cocoa and the kids, playing, reading, and taking winter walks. This year’s retreat fell upon the most beautiful fall weekend, and ended up being my favorite by far. The colors were astounding and the sun was warm in the day with a nip in the air at night.
It just felt like the perfect weekend of love and warmth shared with family and friends. My buddy Brian and I stopped at a smoke house on the way and bought a couple of pounds of amazing smoked fish for the most delicious schmears for breakfasts. We had a pinball tournament. We cooked dinners together. We collected acorns with my kid. We toasted marriage equality. We hung out with my step-sister and J’s cousins. It was wholesome family fun, and at the end of it, I felt momentously lucky for my good fortune in having such amazing people filling my life and my memories.
Think Kit asked me to write today about a discovery I made in the last year, so here it is: I like football. I mean, I really like it. Given how football-obsessed our culture is, saying this out loud sort of sounds like a confession as well as a discovery. But I’ll take one for the Think Kit team and go there, get honest, and talk about how I just now caught up with the Football is Good program.
The timing of this discovery is sort of ridiculous as I was a national level competitive cheerleader in high school, which means I cheered for every single game that our state championship winning football team played. At that time though, getting through football season had to be done to get to basketball season, which finally led to our cheerleading competition season; the whole point of it all, in my book. Another reason this new discovery seems a little silly is that obviously, lots of people really like football. We Americans are simply enamored with this traumatic brain injury-inducing game, and to be someone that could have taken or left the sport singled me out of the crowd on many occasions. I loved the snacks, the beer, and the company, but the game itself? Meh.
At this point you may be asking, “Why football now?” The answer is simple: family. About a year ago, my brother took a position with the San Francisco 49ers, and since then, I’m a die-hard fan. I got some slack in the beginning from my wonderful Michigander family members. They’ve been loyal Detroit Lions fans forever, so I can appreciate their mild dismay last year when I said I liked football and five minutes later donned a Kaepernick jersey and bit my nails through the Superbowl.
I really would love for San Francisco to do well this season. Heck, my older brother gets a ring if they win the Superbowl, which is pretty cool. Still, I’m all for the Lions and against every team that gets in their way (well, except for the Niners, I suppose). Ultimately though, I’ve recently discovered that my appreciation for football is more than just cheering for my teams. It’s been quite the discovery in the last year to find myself looking forward to football Sundays and participating, albeit “late in the game”, in the excitement of the game.