The conversation goes like this:
Me: You know I haven’t heard about whatever. I would have thought I would have by now.
Husband: Don’t get all crazy.
Me: I’m not!
Husband: I don’t know, I definitely detected a little bit of crazy in your voice . . .
And that folks, is what nearly nine years of marriage is about. Hearing the crazy in someone’s voice and not being afraid to call them on it. What it’s also about, is being called out on your crazy and being okay with it. Knowing that the other person loves you so much and knows you so well, that they are refusing to let you slip into an icky patch of self-doubt over whatever.
When you find this sort of love, I recommend you hang on to it.
Sometimes I’m not so good at recipes. I skip ingredients when I’m making my list. I don’t notice that things need to be marinated overnight. Or, like tonight, I make rather irrational conclusions about what I believe to be the ingredients, as opposed to what actually are the ingredients. Perhaps it’s the dark underbelly of the same part of my brain that allows me to draw connections and conclusions between seemingly unrelated characters in stories. Perhaps I’m just distracted.
When looking for something to do with the large haul of peppers from the plant on my porch (read, at least a dozen). I ran across lots of recipes for Salsa Verde. Of course! Green salsa, made with pretty little green peppers! Slathered over black bean enchiladas and warmed! Yum!
Except that when I got ready to make this tonight and really read the whole recipe, Salsa Verde is made with tomatillos. The peppers are just an ingredient. Sigh.
Luckily my husband’s culinary skills are the balance to my poor recipe reading skills. So he altered the filling to include some of our peppers and made a little additional tomato salsa-ish sauce out of some tomato paste. I made a big bowl of guacamole from avocados that were supposed to play some role in the original dish (or perhaps some other dish, who knows). What we ended up with was a plate full of delicious accidental awesomeness.
I remember reflecting on my college experience some months after graduation and coming to the profound realization that the past four years had probably been the only time in my life I would have the benefit of being surrounded by hundreds of my peers. Perhaps even more profound, not only were they my peers, but we were all basically in this thing together. Most of us were away from home for the first time. The majority of us lived in the same residence halls, ate in the same dining hall, attended many of the same classes. Connecting was easy. You could talk about the crazy old heating system that pinged and bumped and thumped all night. You could go on about the amazing stuffed shells/grilled cheese/lemon meringue pie/soft serve ice cream. You could dream up reasons as to why that one professor wore turtlenecks literally all the time.
Outside of this bubble, I realized quickly you have to work a little harder. You have to search around for those common denominators. Accepting the fact that sometimes they just don’t exist, relishing the moments in which they do, and savoring those times when things just come together.
Several weeks ago over happy hour at a bar in our neighborhood the manager asked my husband and I if we would like to come to an event on the 15th to try out some items on their new menu. We marked our calendars and showed up last night, having no idea what to expect. What we found ourselves in the midst of was an “eat and tweet” event, where we were treated to small plates of selected appetizers, entrees and a dessert (the details of which can be found in my Twitter feed, obviously).
We chose seats at a table with another couple. Within a few minutes of chatting, it was clear that they belonged to the same local facebook group for craft beer lovers as my husband. Then, I noticed that right at the top of my Twitter feed, someone I follow was tweeting from the same event. I had a chance to meet her at the end of the evening. Those two things alone would have made it a near magical night of connections, but there was more. One of the people who works in the office space right across from the restaurant, stopped by to introduce himself. I walk by their office, most of which is large windows, twice a day on my way to and from work. We laughed at the coincidence of being on the same side of the glass. Today I waved as I walked by.
It’s these experiences that keep us working towards connections. That keep us telling our stories and listening to other’s. Encourage us towards bringing the virtual into reality. Towards taking a moment to introduce ourselves.
And truly, when you really think about it, aren’t the rewards sweeter, perhaps more magical somehow when they aren’t so easy to come by?
I’m a city girl at heart and I’m not really quite sure how that happened. I grew up in a rural area and I loved it. The blue haze of the mountains in the distance, the green hills that went on forever, the creek with pockets of clay along the banks, the river with the lazy ankle-kissing rapids. I wouldn’t have traded a minute of it. There was never a point where I sat brooding over pictures of cities. I never created a countdown marking the days until I was free to leave and make my home elsewhere. I’m not sure I even knew I was so in love with all that concrete and steel and glass and brick until I found myself in the mist of it.
Shortly after college I moved to the suburbs of Washington, DC. While I learned quickly that my heart was not in the suburbs, I relished my weekend trips into the city. I loved the click of my heels on the Metro platform; the ding signaling the doors closing, the whir of the train as it whizzed through tunnels. The soaring ceilings of the stations and the hop and jolt of tall escalators made me smile in anticipation of the crowded streets above. I took my place among the shoppers and diners and errand runners and I felt energized. Part of something larger than myself; somehow simultaneously anonymous and infinitely connected. New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Fransisco, Denver, Seattle, London, Rome, Glasgow, Dublin; no matter the city the feeling is always the same.
As cities go Richmond isn’t the largest or most bustling. It’s no New York; not even DC. But it is the city in which I have the privilege of walking the concrete sidewalks daily, past brick buildings and steel posts, my reflection bouncing off panes of glass. It is the city that offers up its own unique energy. That both excites and frustrates; which frequently seems to offer all or nothing at all.
Yet as juxtaposed as it can be, there is still the love.
And suddenly it is August. That one sort of snuck up on me.
Summer months seem to have a way of taking on a life of their own and just flying by. Lots of full weekends and evenings. Always a road trip or a concert or a backyard cookout. I suppose that whole thing about the speed of time when you’re having fun* rings pretty true, huh?
So August. We could be all glass-half-empty* and look at it as the end of summer; the official winding down of all those weekends at the beach, outdoor festivals and charcoal grill flavored food. But I prefer to see it as the beginning. Maybe that’s because for me lots of things start in August:
- It’s the beginning of the academic year for those of us connected to colleges and universities (welcome, class of 2016).
- It’s time to start seriously planning those fall vacations (hello, Denver, CO in October).
- It’s time to start looking through our closets and thinking about fall (this one’s for you, dress I bought in May that doesn’t work with pale legs and sandals but is certain to be awesome with tights and boots).
- It’s time to start harvesting all that summer squash (right, plant on my patio with your pretty orange blooms?)
- It’s time to start gathering fall recipes (and by fall I mean anything with pumpkin).
- It’s time for the brewers in our lives to start crafting those fall beers (and by fall I mean anything with pumpkin).
So much to look forward to! Get out there and have yourself an amazing August!
*It’s also time to start using clichés with wild abandon according to number 2 on this awesome list. Okay. maybe not wild abandon, but you get the point.