we live on the porch.
So many of you responded so compassionately for the Facebook request for prayers for Mr. Pom that I was misty-eyed. The outpatient spinal surgery went flawlessly and he was able to avoid the more extreme operation for which he signed a consent should the surgeon determine in medias res that more extreme repair was necessary. He's moving slowly and gingerly, but each day has been better than the last, and knowing how many folks were thinking of him raised his spirits considerably.
We have spent most of the days since then on the porch, where the temperature has been perfect for porch sitting. Cool enough not to need the overhead fan and warm enough for a cold glass of wine. Mornings I am in the yellow cushioned chair impatiently waiting for the seven-minute French press to do its thing. The sky is pearly white and blazing pink down the hill over my sister's house. To the west gray hazy clouds cling to the daybreak sky like the dog hair clumps that fly across my wood floors on the breeze.
Evenings, especially if Mr. Pom has gone to bed, like last night, I am on the sofa, quilts and shawls at the ready, trying to read under the fairy lights. It is quiet and as long as no one dares walk a dog by our house - or heaven forbid, have a conversation on the sidewalk - the labs will sleep at my feet. It was a perfectly beautiful last Saturday evening in summer. I was alone with my thoughts and the twinkle lights, trying to practice the "mindfulness" that I had just read about in the issue of Flow pictured above. All that was missing was a firepit, which for some reason, Mr. Pom thinks is dangerous on a screened porch. My suggestion that I turn on the overhead fan to blow the smoke away was met with that "you can't be serious" look that only long time partner dares give you after years of hearing your harebrained schemes.
Mindfulness is on my mind again this morning. Since vacation, the weeks have been jam-packed and I am glad to have the last week behind me. For two weeks, I've been dragging myself around sick f and finally got an antibiotic. The youngest has been interviewing for a new job and we were on pins and needles waiting for The Phone Call. (She got it!)Both Mr. Pom and I were scrambling to get ahead at work before his surgery. And then, of course, was the actual surgery. There was no time for mindfulness.
No, it was not propitious to begin some kitchen renovations right now. When we lined up the contractors and picked a date two months ago, we did not foresee back surgery occurring in mid-September. When we returned in August from vacation, the youngest and I leisurely began emptying cabinets and moving furniture and planned to finish c the weekend before the start date. Then the contractors moved up the date and arrived without notice while I was at work. They threw our kitchenware and food into boxes, crates - and even a baby pool they found in the garage! I rushed home from work, , burst into tears at the sight of the dining and living rooms, grabbed a bunch of giant garbage bags, and sat in my suit sorting bagging up expired cans and obsolete kitchen tools. Then I boxed "like" things together (my word, how many coffee cups do I have??), and the New Mom rushed over to rescue me and organized a mini kitchen in the dining room. Mr. Pom looked on helplessly, only adding to his stress, of course.
Two weeks later, we are a bit more organized and used to blowing plaster dust off our toothbrushes. Saturday morning, I would not leave the house until I cleaned the sawdust and sheetrock dust on the first floor and organized our living space. I lugged stuff outside and hoped for no rain. I dusted, swept and mopped. I moved all the foodstuffs from different areas (no more dog bones on the Victorian side-by-side) and onto the porch hutch. The quilts and blankets on the porch sofa got an airing and last week's Sunday papers were thrown into the recycle bin.
When everything was clean and bright, I arranged some succulents in a corner with the bear, the bunny, and the frog, and added my mother's white ceramic Cheshire cat and Christmas cactus. I had to make one space of beauty amidst this chaos. I breathed a little sigh of relief and put my feet up for a minute, heard a car door open, and the fellow who is "the taper" was at the back door to spend a few hours troweling more mud on the walls and do some sanding.
It is what it is.
Unfortunately, this is my favorite season to wander the Farmer Markets and spend Sunday morning cooking. I like to chop all the veggies into a ratatouille with fresh tomatoes sauce and brown up some pork ribs for the base for a long-simmering tomato gravy. It is my Sunday zen. I
You cannot make soup in the microwave nor roast vegetables in a toaster oven. I could be a little creative with the outdoor grills, but the problem is the clean up - I am resistant to scrubbing a roasting pan caramelized with chicken fat in the upstairs bathtub. Yuck. Thank you the gods of paper goods! We apologize for temporarily increasing our carbon footprint but maintaining our sanity for a few weeks!
Last night, the New Parents brought over turkey burgers and delicious kale and spinach soup and I was able to microwave small red bliss and purple potatoes for a simple warm potato salad dressed with a rosemary and basil vinaigrette. The baby had a variety of entrees until settling on ricotta with applesauce and a generous smear of ketchup sucked off the turkey burger (he didn't care for the burger consistency), and mouthfuls of watermelon. Unfortunately, he ate this in stages before and during our dinner, requiring his mother to have to carry him twice upstairs to the only working sink to clean him up
Today I have a full day of work reports to do. Since I could not spend the morning cooking, I worked in the basement for an hour or two throwing out the junk of 15 years and lugging it to the curb. It was not as tasty as morning cooking, but in a way just as satisfying as moldy stuffed animals were, literally, kicked to the curb. This lack of a kitchen may actually benefit my waistline.
(No, that is a lie as there are are leftover Italian heroes from yesterday for lunch and this morning we drove to Tarry Market for cappuccinos and continued up the road to Citarella's for a few imported cheeses and raisin semolina rolls, which we had for breakfast.)
I am about to set up my work laptop and make another cup of coffee and carry it all to the porch. Wishing you a fair and pleasant last weekend of summer. Make something wonderful in the oven like an apple pie and grill something in the backyard that requires woodsmoke and pork and let the smell drift over here, pretty please? Let me know what you are culinarily creating and be content that I will be sitting on the porch in the sunshine.