Summer

Sweating for a Sandwich

Turn on the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a pound of bacon and layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes until crispy.

While you start to sweat because your house is eighty degrees and the oven is on at 400 degrees, take out the toaster. Plug the metal machine in to the socket.

Turn from your cool granite counter and take the package off the top off the whirring fridge.

Remove the plastic twist-tie from the crinkly, cellophane bag holding the precious loaf of sourdough bread.

Turn back to your cold counter.

Select two of the softest slices of bread and place in the toaster, pressing down on the black metal bar to engage the heat.

More heat.

While the bread toasts, wash some lettuce with cool, cool water and slice a tomato once warming on the counter. If you’re feeling luxurious, slice up an expensive avocado before it turns from the heat.

Pop!

Your bread is done.

Remove the toasted pieces from the hot metal grates with your fingers. If you feel brave, unplug the toaster and use a fork to get the bread out. Do not mix up the order here.

Open the hot oven to check your bacon.

Has it reached toasted perfection?

Once it’s done, put on insulated oven mitts and remove the hot pan from the hot oven.

Take your bread, now cooled, and spread refrigerated mayo with a cool knife to one side of the one slice. Take your expensive, normal temperature avocado and spread with the cool knife on the remaining slice of bread.

Layer warm bacon, cool lettuce, and warm tomato slices. If you’re like my dad, you’ll add a slice of cold cheese. Cheddar or Muenster will do. Smack those slices together and cut into triangles with your knife, cold mayo lingering on the blade.

Turn off the 400 degree oven.

Eat your sandwich outside because both you and your house are now stifling.

BLTs, my friends, are beautiful things.

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In other news, my favorite dinosaur Carl now has his own Instagram. Please follow along.

And don’t forget to tell me what’s bringing you joy this month. More details here.

July Favorite Things – 2019

New month. New favorites.

I want to hear about your gratitude lists and what’s bringing you joy!

These are some things bringing me joy this month.

  1. Ursa Major Skin Care
    I like using natural skin care products and many of them are amazingly expensive. Not this stuff. The face wash leaves my skin feeling fresh and the balm leaves me moisturized and happy. The scents are refreshing, natural and light. And all the products are within my budget.
  2. No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffie

This book is charming, smart, and gives me hope for the workplace. As someone who cries at work, I’m encouraged people are leading the charge to encourage more empathy and healthy coping mechanisms in the spaces we spend most of our time.

3. This foccacia recipe

Even though it’s 94 degrees out, I’ve got the oven and the air conditioning on. And if you need me, I’ll be eating this delicious bread. Scared of yeast? You can’t go wrong with this stuff perfect for the amateur baker.

4. Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

I gave up alcohol for the month of June and have been drinking this instead. Mix with some sparkling water and lime for a refreshing after-work drink. If you’re feeling fancy I suppose you could add some tequila or vodka. I won’t tell.

5. Rainboots

Because Colorado can’t make up it’s mind. Bring some joy to the afternoon thunderstorm with these fun galoshes.

Have a joyful July.

For Sarver

I went to a show last night. We entered a big dark room filled with eager fans. I shuffled to claim my space and looked up to see rows of massive speakers suspended overhead. Lucky for me, my friends were keen to lean against the grubby wall with torn purple wall paper. How do you know you’re old at a concert? You wear tennis shoes for support and seek out hidden spaces to rest your legs already aching from eight hours at a standing desk.

As the singer screamed with passion, I nodded along in the back hiding from the rays of yellow flickering from the wands of light on stage.
It felt good to be in that room.

As the musicians emoted and the twenty-somethings jumped to the beat, I stood with my feet planted to the concrete floor. I swung my arms and let the intensity pulse through my body causing my knees to bend and shake. With each drum beat I absorbed the reverberations and welcomed, over and over again, the pounding reminder – I am beautifully alive.

There were times the audience’s screams of admiration caused me to plug my ears and I felt, once again, embarrassed to be an introvert in a loud space. I reminded myself it’s a radical act to care for oneself and while I left my ear plugs in the car, I pushed my hands to my head and my fingers in my ears. Sometimes, the noise and the darkness became too much.

While the band may not have been my first choice, they are my husband’s old favorite and I knew he was standing behind me, screaming well-known lyrics and smiling ear to ear.

This morning, my ears are ringing to prove it. I’ll never again get return to yesterday’s base level of hearing capabilities.

And this morning, I woke up and scrolled through my Facebook feed and found out again someone we knew, someone my brother loved, has died.

There is too much darkness haunting our young people. Hurting kids are turning to the wrong things to help ease their pain. And I swear to God it never gets easier to hear the truth that people we love will leave us. That one kind, searching kid just did.

Peace be with us.

We stand in darkness, there are flickering rays of light, and we bend and shake with the magnitude of our choices. We can lean on walls, hold hands, show up to support the ones we love. We can shake our heads and scream and pound and let the pulse move through us. And we can weep when people hurt.

A swirling mess of fog and noise and joy created in big, emotive sounds exists – this is what the world asks of us. I want to be affected. I refuse to go numb.

For we are still alive and we can choose to move toward the light.

If you know someone who is struggling, reach out.

If you are fighting demons, get help.

I want the pulse and the verve to continue on through me and through you. Lean on walls if you must. I want your ears to continue to hear the beautiful music. Please continue to live loudly. To see beauty. To run towards the flickering light mixing with the screeching feedback. Get on stage and help find your voice to sing.  I’ll be with you to help plug your ears when it all feels to much.

Joy on Jumbotrons

I spent over eight hours at the ball park this weekend. Sitting in the stands as the sun beamed down on my shoulders, memories of ball games past flooded my brain. I’ve been going to the same stadium for over twenty years.

Each summer my family set aside one or two afternoons for a day in Denver.  If we got lucky, we ventured out for a night game. I sat in the squeaky green seats watching the sun set over the mountains and only occasionally track the score or notice the activity happening on the actual field.  I was often busy people watching. We’d buy ice cream and foam fingers and my brother would convince my dad for just one plastic container of nachos overflowing with gooey fake cheese.

Over the years, my tastes have matured. I’ve gone from asking for Dip-n-Dots and cool lemonades to cold beer and peanuts. My obsession with foot long hot dogs shrank and I now can stomach a mini-one (they still cost over five dollars) without too much pain.

Now, more than ever, I miss my dad in those squeaky seats next to me. We’ve started a tradition and go to a game as a family near his birthday. Our new memories mix with the absence of him and I come home fingering the stitches sewn on my healing heart. Red thread, white skin, circling over and over like a pitcher readying to throw the ball.

Despite my aging, his absence, our new stories, and my awareness of caloric consumption possible in one afternoon as a fan, some things about baseball games never change.

The concrete stairs and metal stands. The smell of onions and spill of mustard on my white t-shirt. The thwack of a ball hitting a bat. The announcers voices, deep and booming. Fountains launching foamy water into the air after a home run. The joy found on the jumbotron.

Spectators of all ages light up when they find themselves on the gigantic screen at the back of the field. Older women with expensive blow-outs nod their heads along to the music. Dads holding babies start dancing and flail their offsprings chubby legs to the beat. Young boys wave their hats. Old men raise their beers to the air and slug their buddy or son sitting next to them. Young women in too-short of shorts flick their hair, kiss their partners, or blush and wave.

Spectators caught on screen may pretend to be embarrassed. Really, they’re delighted. They’ve got their phones out to capture the moment. They tag a friend.

If you’re feeling down, think of all the ball parks all across the country and all the baseball games happening at any given time. Then think about all the people who will be highlighted on those mega-huge screens and all the joy those appearances will create.

Hold that positive energy  in your palms. Capture their smiles.

Tuck that beautiful delight into your heart pocket and beam.

It’s not all bad. Think of all the joy found on jumbotrons. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

 

 

 

“But Soon a New day Again”

Thank you to all who have chosen to participate in The Short & Sweet Giveaway!

The contest has come to a close and a winner has been randomly selected.

Congratulations to @WMO_Poetry for your contribution!

You will be notified by Direct Message.

She tweeted:

I sit here

all night

by my innocent

sleeping child

I write & she dreams

Typical

New meds

Again

But soon a

New day Again

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For a bit of a boost and encouragement in beauty, here are the other contributions.

I truly believe beauty is all around us if we choose to look.

Thanks for playing along and sharing your journey with me!

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Sippin’ On the Porch

It’s hot. While the official start of summer is still a few days away, the temperatures here are creeping incredibly close to 100 degrees. The itchy, sticky kind of heat that causes your legs to stick to your seat, and your sheets to remain pulled back when you sleep. I suppose I don’t have much to whine about – we do not live in Arizona, and Colorado’s humidity is typically low, but nevertheless, I’m hot.

With this heat comes porch time. Maybe you’ve come home from work, and the summer sun still is flirting with the horizon. You grab a cold beverage, and you sit on the porch. This last week I’ve started to embrace porch time, and with it, the conversations that flow while sharing a beverage. This week, rather than delving into the deeper side of human searching, I’m going to share a few recipes and recommendations for things to sip on in the summer.

May your porch time be beautiful.

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White Wine Sangria

I enjoyed two glasses of this concoction at a gathering this weekend. I am sneaking this family recipe and sharing with the world wide web. I will not disclose my source – but seriously delicious. Note – btl = bottle. Hope you have friends to share with.


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Watermelon Agua Fresca

A refreshing break from soda and sugar, this drink is made with only five ingredients. My mother-in-law made this for us this weekend, and I quickly slurped it up. You can find the recipe from Dr. Axe here. No alcohol needed.


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New Belgium’s Heavy Melon

At first I was hesitant to try the newest seasonal release from Fort Collins’ favorite, New Belgium Brewing. Watermelon? In beer? However, I quickly became a convert to this sweet and tart beer. Perfect for sitting in the sun and chatting with friends. Can be purchased wherever New Belgium beers are sold.


 

Wanna Hear a Joke?

Heard any good jokes lately?

This is my new favorite one.

A dyslexic man walked into a bra.

I have a love for cheesy humor and small things to delight in. I have to admit, my inspiration for the week seems to be less than emotion evoking, so I apologize. I’ve got some things on my mind that are thwarting the deeper thoughts from flowing.

I’m sure you’ve all heard many quotes about the little things, and so as we continue to pursue the big things, here are the little things I have found along the way this week.

Bad jokes – they always make me laugh and I found a list of fifteen I hadn’t previously heard. Here is another.

What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

Cherries – the little orbs are on sale at King Soopers and they are fresh, juicy, bursts of summer

Watching friends get married – it is amazing to be on the other side of the wedding experience, and I have a new appreciation for watching people glow as they walk down the aisle in white and grin like never before as the bride and groom meet in front of the people they love. Weddings are fun – the one this weekend had delicious beer and such a fun band!

Reading a whole book in a weekend – oh the joy of turning the pages! It has been ages since I have had the free time to sit and read a book from cover to cover in one weekend. I went to the library and picked out three books, and read a newer Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus book “Dedication” in less than two days. I have a love for easy to read “Chic Lit” where stories of drama, coming of age, and love are interwoven. The chance to hold some literature, no matter what caliber, will always be a beautiful experience for me.

Cavatappi at Carrabbas – It’s true, my family goes to this restaurant a lot. We had their food at my wedding and I know what is on happy hour at the bar. This restaurant has become a staple in our family’s lives for better or for worse, and so I suppose I am thankful for delicious food shared with my parents and my husband. I tried a new dish – branching out – and well, yum. Who doesn’t love pasta and the comforts carbohydrates bring.

This is a fabulous exercise for grounding and calming you down when life swirls you through your days. Please share with me a few things on your list.  What little things brought beautiful delights for you this week? Maybe next week I’ll have more earth moving things to say. Thanks for continuing to follow along.

No biscotti or nail polish. oops