Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scenes around our house

The miramelindas, or impatiens, as they're called here, really like this area of the yard and have been bursting with their pinks and reds and orange colors.

 Darwin and Hamlet spend a lot of the time outside nowadays and have decided to share, nicely, the space.

Hamlet, with a cara de pocos amigos, likes to spend time on top of the gate, which he has no trouble climbing and getting down from. You can tell he is the youngest of the cats.

Magellan loves to be outside and my husband often has to go outside to find her in her hiding places.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."

Beloved Summer, you whose presence is so fleeting, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

Now that we're in Deep Summer, or basically only a few days short of a month until fall officially beings on Sept. 23rd, there is an urgency in the air as if every living thing was trying to make the most of what remains of the long, warm days.

For us, it's been a good summer, thankfully. There's been many caprese salads to prepare with fresh tomatoes from the farmer's market, fresh basil from my glorious plant in my small huerto and Ohio-made mozzarella cheese.

There's also been lots of sweet corn -- I prepared a corn soup a few weeks' back that was one of the best recipes I've prepared yet, and weekly trips to the farmer's market where the produce has been plentiful and delicious.

There's also been several trips to our favorite nearby orchard for fresh peaches, which have made for several each-one-better-than-the-next peach galettes, and one visit to the pool at my parents-in-law's compound, where my husband spent some quality time on a inflatable chair.

We also visited the tombs of Rusty and Geni, our beloved and gone Puerto Rican satos, who loved "the hill" as the place where my husband grew up is affectionately known.

There was also a quick visit to Puerto Rico to accompany my mami to some medical tests, which also thankfully, came out negative.

While there, we looked through old recipes and cooking books and came across a "menu list" my mom typed up, we don't know when, of the dinners she would cook over a month's time.

We also found a small hand-written booklet my abuela prepared for my mom, when she had just married my father, for easy recipes that he liked. The booklet, in my abuela's painstakingly clear script, is adorable and very valuable as a memento of her personality and style. All the recipes, for some reason, are egg dishes.

Today, the first years arrived on campus for their week-long Orientation and classes begin next Thursday. I am, thanks to a teaching fellowship award, not teaching this year, so I am thankfully spared the last-minute jitters and stress that each semester brings. I am, however, advising three first years this year, as part of my work with a summer retention program, so I will be meeting with them and their parents tomorrow.

Also today I returned to the quilting shop where I took classes last year, and paid in full for the American Beauty quilt set that I put a deposit on almost a year ago. I hope to start another beginning class in September and get started on the first me-made quilt for our bed, to be completed (hopefully) before I go back to the classroom next year.

Summer goes so quickly. I know I will miss it terribly once the days begin to get colder. But, for now, I'm not thinking about that. Instead, I plan to make the absolute most of every one of the next 34 days.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dog days

The dog days of August began in July when we had almost two solid weeks (or maybe even more) of temperatures above the 90s. My husband and I, who aren't fans of having the AC on, have had to cave in and keep it on even though we set it at 77 degrees.

Lizzy, for her part, has been trying to claim the cat bed that is really Chiquita's bed and not doing very well at it, while Darwin, who has been spending a lot of time in our bedroom since we had our ugly carpets torn off and had a wood laminate floor installed, likes the idea of hanging from my open drawer.

My husband and I are trying to make the most out of this summer and going out on the motorcycle to explore the surrounding sights, and this weekend we went to Landoll's Mohican Castle for lunch. It wasn't much of a castle, at least not as we imagined, but the food was good and the ride through some beautiful country, so we didn't complain.

I've also vowed that I will make it to the Farmer's Market every Saturday through October, barring travel and any other unforeseen interruptions. More so now after I've watched Food, Inc., the documentary about the agricultural industry in this country, which has made me vow NEVER to eat again a mass produced piece of meat or eggs or vegetable, if I can possibly avoid it. I've also requested Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit from the library so I can learn more about what we eat when we buy produce in supermarkets.

Two years ago, I listened to an audiobook of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and it changed my understanding of what it means to be a consumer of mass-produced food in this country and made me embark on a more purposeful effort to become a locavore. One of the real perks of living in Ohio is the bounty of farm fresh produce that we can get, and the Amish baked goods (including ready made pie crusts!).

Continuing to educate myself more about and improve on what we eat in our household is one of my priorities this summer. Especially now that I've met the two main work-related deadlines I had for June and July, turning in a chapter for an edited collection and revising an article that will be published in a journal. Now it's on to the book manuscript, while we also try to eat better and do some more sightseeing in Ohio.

As my papi might say: Sigue pa'lante y pa'trás ni pa' coger impulso.