Our family of four relies heavily on a delicate balance of personalities. Brian, whether by nature or force of will, is stoic and patient almost all of the time. I strive for the same, but most days just holding it together feels like an accomplishment. If there’s one thing you don’t have a lot of as a parent of two, it’s space, both personal and mental, and I need a lot of it. I thought, now that our littlest one is in school five days a week, I’d have plenty of time to recharge and conquer the world, but it seems the more space I have, the more I need. Making up for lost time, no doubt. We had thought our girls each took after one of us –– the oldest being sensitive and prone to the same types of high highs and low lows that her mother experiences. Until recently, our youngest seemed to have inherited her father’s quiet introspection and mellow exterior. I say until recently because just a couple weeks after she turned three, something changed. All of a sudden, there were tantrums, as well the intense desires and a stubbornness that you might expect from any other toddler turned preschooler. We just really didn’t think it would happen to us. read more »
Like many people out there –– whether they are quietly stoking a fulfilling career in the industry or just trying to hold down a day job while creating a little something in the evenings, or both –– I went to art school. For painting. Learning of my degree might lead a polite conversationalist to ask, “So, what do you do now?” This is usually followed by an explanation of what and how I write on the internet, which nearly always raises questions of varying levels of intrusiveness about whether these pursuits generate, you know, income?, then the equally inevitable reference to Julie and Julia, and finally my polite demurral that no, I don’t follow Julie’s career or writings so closely, but yes, of course I love Julia. read more »
Today is one of those days, one of those posts, where I have too much to say. It’s more than this delicate crumb-topped peach pie can bear, I think. So instead of a more involved tale, I’ll say that I’ve been enjoying the some much-needed peace after a few weeks of freelance craziness. My work life was upended just a bit recently. Right away there was scrambling and a slew of emails; happily, I now have a few exciting projects beginning to take shape. In the meantime, I’ve had some time to recharge. read more »
Peak tomato season in Virginia means there are expansive flats of heirlooms at every market. It also means that there are plenty of cast-offs. And, as far as canning’s concerned, it’s cast-offs you should be after. It may take some asking around, but you can generally find someone to sell you dented, bruised, or otherwise compromised tomatoes at cut rate.
In search of tomato deals, last weekend we piled in the car and drove down to the town of Scottsville for country prices. read more »
I decided I’d only worry about the garden through July. After that, I let it all surrender to the squash bugs, at least one groundhog, a few squirrels, possibly a deer, and powdery mildew and blight of all manner. But even as they weather the onslaught, the tired-looking plants still spew fruit. Most of my outdoor plants have had a banner year, especially considering my gardening-in-Virginia track record. All the plants, except the fig. read more »
Charlottesville is just 25 miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Shenandoah National Park, but it took us more than a year of living here to make our way out there. And even then, we barely made it. To start, it one was of those weekends –– equal parts magical and exhausting –– where Brian and I fit way too much in. It was like a marathon as we madly hopped from one fun activity to the next, with hardly any time for important things like sitting around or making food.
No matter, on Sunday we had brunch with visiting friends and then set out for a trip to the mountains. read more »