Hey friends. Summer is almost over. Can you believe it?
Do you too feel like collectively we are just stuck in this muck of life right now?
Truly, I don’t even know where to begin with all that’s going on. Murder and violence in the streets. COVID everywhere. Economic downturn affecting every corner, and now fires and hurricanes? Oh, and then there’s the cancer diagnosis that colors every corner of our small little world.
Like so many of you, I’m trying to wrap my mind around the fact that summer has come (and nearly gone) and now, if I allow myself, I could all too easily fall down the rabbit hole of distressing news everywhere I look.
I’m finding the key to sanity these days can be boiled down to this card I picked up last Christmas.
So instead of addressing issues here that frankly feel too overwhelming right now, let me show you what’s keeping me sane.
And from time to time, giving me the odd moments of joy.
All day, every day.
And of course, the ubiquitous, end-of-season BLT.
EXPLORING QUIET AREAS WITH MY KIDS.
The last two weeks we’ve taken a few fun side trips.
Twice recently we’ve driven out to Sauvie Island, a beautiful spot about twenty minutes from our house.
It’s a gorgeous and peaceful ride out there, and on the way out you pass my one of my favorite Portland landmarks, the St. John’s Bridge.
Once you drive over the small two lane bridge to Sauvie you see acres of farmland as far as you can see.
Kruger’s Farm used to be a favorite farm of ours, but it was sold and is now named Topaz Farm — and it looks like it still has the same berry picking from years past and small store with items for purchase.
The kids and I explored a further section of Sauvie Island and there was absolutely no one around.
We took a short hike
until we came to this beautifully pristine body of water (called Sturgeon Lake).
Porter wandered around, the kids threw stones and I picked wild blackberries by the edge of the water.
The kids think it’s hilarious that I always travel with a Ziploc in case I find wild berries.
We’ve also been heading out to the Sandy River with Porter.
It’s only about a 15 minute drive from our house, the river is very shallow and slow moving and when we went yesterday early morning it was nearly empty.
Porter loves chasing after the tennis ball
and the kids enjoyed some fresh air without masks.
Of course I was found picking blackberries — the very last of the season.
ENJOYING CRAFTY TIME.
Months ago I found this vintage dictionary at the Bins and recently I decided to photocopy my favorite entries onto sticker paper.
I then cut it onto stickers and have them used some of them on jars.
It is so fun to look into my fridge or pantry and find these labels staring back at me.
MAKING EASY MEALS.
Sandwiches for dinner?
Eggs. BLT’s. Roast beef. Lox and cream cheese.
I’ve also picked up some really great convenience foods and dollied them up a bit.
Trader Joe’s has some fantastic ravioli/filled pasta and this week I served them up with simple (but different) sauces: white wine sauce, brown butter, and chicken stock/herbs.
Boiling up pasta doesn’t feel like cooking — but it was so satisfying to have all those different flavors.
I’VE BEEN SUPPORTING THE POST OFFICE– AND FINDING HOPE WHERE I CAN.
Like so many of you, I’m afraid for the Post Office and mail delivery (especially with ballots).
Buying stamps is something I can do — and using them.
Charlotte is engaging in one of those letter writing campaigns to adopt voters in swing states (she’ll have finished almost one hundred handwritten letters by this weekend) so I know all these stamps will be put to good use.
I also loved hearing so many inspiring speeches during the Democratic Convention.
So many all-stars.
God I love these women.
LASTLY, I’VE BEEN BAKING AND SHARING NEARLY NONSTOP.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache.
I made 36 mini cakes and cupcakes for David’s oncology office and I brought leftovers to neighbors and a few friends.
And cookies are always a welcomed treat.
Baking is a small thing I can to bring joy to those around me — and drop-offs allow for easily socially distanced conversations and commiserations with people I love.
And like that — pooof!– summer is almost over.
George Washington University is completely on-line so Oliver will be home with us through the fall (C’s high school is digital only, too, for the moment).
I know that this is frustrating for them both but I’m grateful to have them here — it feels safer to me to have them home and it’s a wonderful to be all together during this tumultuous time.
Porter is thrilled to have us all together, too
and this allows me to keep doing what I do best — cook for a big group.
What are you all doing to keep sane?
What joys are filling your cup?
(Me, I’ll be here eating another grilled cheese with thyme brown butter while you ponder that thought.)