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My Summer Fling

plum pitEvery summer I have a fling.

The romance starts in the spring. The seduction of the sun after long, dark winter nights always pulls me away from the cozy hibernation of the indoors.  My clothing gets lighter, I show more skin, and turn my back to anything that pulls me away from the fullness of his attention.

The house becomes a forgotten locker room.  I bathe, change, and sleep inside, feeling that each moment is wasted away from the splendid beauty of the summer.  Spending time away from the fresh air and wildness of summer pains me. My patio becomes the breakfast nook, living room and dining room.  I lose track of time, and weekends blur into the workweek, each sunny morning a painful reminder that at some point I have to steal myself away from the embrace of my May-September lover, interact with other people and for-god’s-sake-put-on-some-decent-clothes.

Increasingly nostalgia blossoms into a familiar yearning for the type of countryside wildness into which I was born. A sensuality city-folk only ever glimpse but never fully appreciate; picking wild raspberries by the roadside, climbing ancient, gnarled mulberry trees to acquire enough fruit to bake something delicious, finding wild strawberries in the grass, and falling asleep with the window open in the dark nights that the city can never know.

My home turns into a bit of a museum in the summertime. Even though autumn is a time of slow decay, it has always signaled a fresh start. A renewal of routine and return to the warmth of home. And so endeth my summertime affair every year. Slowly I come back to preserving the harvest,  decluttering all that was dropped and forgotten as the sun seduced the household outdoors.

Summer affairs allow you to sip the sweet, sweet, nectar from the cup of life, but there is something to be said to waiving good-bye and coming back home.

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Waving Good-Bye to Summer & How to Like What Comes Next

sunto
Every summer has it’s own story…

It’s hard to believe, that today is the last ‘official’ day of summer, what with being in the middle of another heat alert.

It’s a bittersweet season of not wanting the long, sunny days to end and looking forward to the delights of autumn.

I must make a confession, although I’m loathe to see another summer pass by, I have to confess that I love the fall.

Growing up a wild-haired blonde-beach-bum, summer was a season of freedom and self-discovery. Fall was the beginning of nesting, wrapping up our sun-soaked bodies and snuggling in for the winter.

Each year as summer draws to a close, I reminisce about what the summer brought; new love, broken hearts, shenanigans and road-trips. I also look forward to all the pleasures of autumn;

…clear, crisp air, and the beauty of watching green turn to shades of gold, rust and deep ruby reds…

autumnlandscape

…a fireplace on a wet November day…

fireplacewine

…weather cold enough to have an excuse to stay inside and write…

williegreeneye

…baking all kinds of yummy Thanksgiving treats…

autumn food

…sumptuous, comfort food shared with friends…

thanksgiving al fresco

…pumpkin spice lattes of course…

Pumpkin spice latte recipe

…rainy November days perfect for sleeping in, reading or movie-watching…

catwindowI hope that you’ve had a delightful summer, that your skin is smiling from the sun, and your wanderlust is somewhat sated.

Here’s to autumn my darlings, and all of the comforting beauty that it brings.

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How Will You Spend the Last Week of Summer?

28728-Vintage-Ferris-Wheel
“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.” ~Sebastian Faulks~
The 31st day of August, and all is well.

Well? 

The end of August, although not the official end of summer, is the end of summer-as-we-know-it.

Yesterday at the grocery store, I found myself sniffing pumpkin-spice scented candles and wondering at the orange, red and brown accessories that accompany back to school granola bar and juice box on-sale-specials. As I wandered the aisles, the reality that another summer was waving good-bye with her candy-apple red manicure, sunk in.

Did you manage to do everything that you wanted to do this summer? Did you go skinny-dipping under the stars with your sweetie? Did you plant your garden? Did you stay up too late drinking wine and talking the deep, soul quenching talks with your true-love?

Once again I have a summer-to-do list that is still unfulfilled. I did manage to do a few things though, and I still have a few days left. A concert, a day at the CNE and goodness-knows-what will be crammed in there. I hope to make every moment of this last week of summer count. I hope that you do the same.

During the past two weeks, I’ve silently mourned the dwindling hours of daylight. Yesterday, in the humid afternoon air of late August, I made a pathetic attempt to reorganize our shed, but made just enough progress to untangle lights and recycle a couple of empty boxes.

I hung twinkle lights on the patio, and dreamed of our annual fall Friends-Thanksgiving-Gathering. I imagined the pumpkins and corn stalks and decorations that would take the place of my petunias and geraniums.

summersunflowerAt dusk, under the twinkle lights with my cup of tea, I let my mind wander to the blessings in my life. For even though this summer has been the first time in my life that I have really come to know sadness, I have so much for which to be grateful.

The sunshine of summer is transforming to the warm colours of fall. Seasons change and turn with no regard for how much we feel we have accomplished, how satisfying our relationships are, or our ability to appreciate the swift, unforgiving nature of time.

We have one week left darlings; Wishing you a week of summer that is full of the light-hearted delights that only summer can offer.

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Lovesong for November

wildnovemberHello November,

I see you’ve brought the snow and tempted the trees to  undress

in a flutter of wind and colour,

caressing each leaf and branch

with the cool nip in your breath,

hinting at snowdrifts and darkness.

Welcome, November.

We were expecting you;

the seduction of your grey skies

forcing us to touch the nakedness of our own thoughts

and holding us there despite our resistance.

You’re a lady and a hard critic,

preferring simplicity and subtle grace to June’s light, blossoming gaiety.

You are a silent and quick captain on stormy seas,

with an eye for what mortals do not yet know.

Come in November,

reclaim your ancient throne in the dank chambers of our subconscious.

Remind me of the whispered mutterings of my soul,

that they will  not be silenced in my 41st year.

Set your pet, the cold, damp wind

on a fox hunt through the slumbering, forgotten forest of my creative spirit

and accept nothing less than the prize.

 

Copyright Andshelaughs 2014

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Bittersweet Summertime

farmersmarketBaseball season and football season start the official overlap tomorrow at our house. That means autumn is on the way.

The seasons are marked at our house according to what kind of footwear the kiddo needs; football cleats, baseball spikes, curling sliders, court shoes, water shoes…you name it, we’ve got it.

We are at the front end of what I refer to as deep summer.

I am ready to start canning tomatoes, salsa, chili sauce, and pickling beets. I wedge my domestic chores in between practices, playoffs and football camp. Oh yes, and my fuller-than-full-time-gig as a professional, working, single mom.

This is a bittersweet time of year. The sun is setting earlier, and there’s a crisp edge to damp air each evening when I sit out on my little patio before bedtime.

Although I love the summer sunshine,the tail end of the season is more precious because we can feel it slipping away.

I capture the essence of August in the fresh produce put up for another cold, icy winter, and enjoying the sunshine into the autumn.

As sweet as summertime is, fall has always been the season of my heart.

I give you another list;

 ~Reasons that the end of Summer & Cool Fall days are the Best Time of the Year~

1) Cool nights that call for sweaters and curling in up with your true-love under a blanket, watching for falling stars.

2) Canning and preserving all the delicious fruits of your summer time gardening-labours.

3) Pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving turkey.

4) Football season, and cheering on your local team.

5) Fuzzy socks

6) Long drives along winding roads to buy your produce from small farmer’s markets.

7) Winery tours during the grape harvest.

8) Long walks, holding hands and kisses on cold lips and cold noses.

9)  Delicious, hearty stews by candlelight with red wine and hoards of good company.

10) The World Series.

~Wishing you sunny days and a satisfying slide into autumn.~

 

 

 

 

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Why I Nest When I’m Stressed

nesting“It was so beautiful out today!” my friend chirped at the other end of the phone as I sipped my soy latte and squinted at the setting sun from my favourite cozy Starbucks chair.

It was officially the first beautiful weekend that the weather here hasn’t sucked icepops since December. But where was I all day?

Not out running around the lake, or taking a leisurely stroll with my pal, no, not I. I was on a step stool scrubbing cupboards and sorting through lentils, nuts, and I kid you not, 29 kinds of tea.

Having 29 kinds of tea is overwhelming. It’s also a good indicator of how much I really needed to be taking stock of, and cleaning up my cupboards.

I was supposed to be enjoying the day today, writing, reveling in the great outdoors and reading the paper in the sunlight. But I’ve been feeling stuck.

Stuck as in; I need to tidy up the energy in my place. Stuck as in; every door I knock on gets opened a crack, and then slammed in my face. Stuck as in; something’s gotta give.

rejectStuck as in, I really need to get out more.

So, as luck would have it, on the first great, sunny weekend of spring, I trudged out to the Toronto Blue Jays’ Home Opener with a sore throat and fever, and carried that theme into work at 9am Saturday, and home to the couch for the remainder of the day.

After a 3 hour nap, 2 hour movie (slugging back some green veggie juice)  and 12 hour sleep, I felt somewhat better when I woke up this morning.

When I was in university, I cleaned  before I sat down to write a paper, or study.  I nest when I’m stressed.

I also nest when I’m getting ready to fly the coop. It’s been a few months of stop and go, should I or shouldn’t I, and, like the sign says, feeling like my best just wasn’t good enough.

After a winter of feeling rejected by the universe and being hopelessly  city-bound, I made plans to spend some weekends out-of-town.

There’s nothing better than packing a bag and hitting the road with some great music playing and your worries fading in the rear-view mirror. A weekend away with friends can feel like a week-long holiday.

Reality often hits the moment I come home and open the door on Sunday evening. I have lunches to pack, laundry to do, and (le sigh) an alarm to set for Monday morning.  Coming home to a clean house is the only thing that can make that ok.

So, staying in and cleaning my kitchen cupboards today was a small sacrifice to make for a season of being out and about. Next weekend I have a date with the dark kingdom of why-on-earth-do-I-need-this, in my walk in closet, and the black hole of kitchen gunk behind the fridge and stove).

It’s time for me to shake off the winter blahs, to hit the road, soak in the sunshine, have some fun, and remember what living is really about; The sun, the fresh air, good friends, and laughing. My goodness, how I’ve missed the laughing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Savoury Sunday: Crevettes a la Grecque

Glasses
Glasses (Photo credit: Simon_sees)

It’s been a while darlings. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, I’ve just been terribly busy, pre-occupied, and frankly, enjoying the simple pleasures of the barbecue.

Alas, I am back with a delicious recipe for you to enjoy while dining al fresco under the stars after the sun has set and the humidity is blown away by  the cool evening breeze.

Shrimp in Mediterranean sauce is simple, easy and delicious; the way that food should be prepared and served. With a few fine quality ingredients and lots of love, you can enjoy this simple dish with your true-love without having to spend hours slaving over the stove.

Add a glass or five of Joseph Cattin Pinot Gris spritzed half and half with ice-cold club soda and a wedge of juicy lime. Be sure to have a baguette and fresh salad of baby greens with a simple vinegraitte, and you’re all set.

Don’t worry darlings, I haven’t forgotten the  ambiance. Please see my preferred selection below the recipe.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup olive oil

2 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced NOT crushed)

1 small red onion (finely chopped)

1 large lemon with finely pared zest

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. coriander seeds (lightly toasted)

1/2 tbsp. ground pepper

20 large shrimp or equivalent smaller shrimp

Fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped for garnish)

Method

1) Combine wine, water, oil, garlic, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, coriander seeds, pepper into a pan and bring to a boil.

2)Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3) Add the shrimp and simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp (depending on size) turn pink. Remove from pan and place in serving bowl.

4) Bring the liquid back to a boil and reduce it by half (approx. 5 minutes)

5) Pour over shrimp and serve warm, garnished with parsley.

***

What would a romantic dinner be without a little music?

I’m going to suggest a summery-remix of one of my favourites;