Monthly Archives: May 2009

Chalkboard wall

New chalkboard wall

For the last few months, I’ve had it in my head to paint the back wall of the kitchen in chalkboard paint. About a month ago, I got myself to Lowe’s to buy a can of paint. Once home, I moved it from desk to table, counter to cabinet, always finding ways to avoid tackling the project. Last Friday night, I decided to paint a patch of the wall as motivation to get it finished this weekend.

When I was halfway through, I was suddenly gripped with worry that I had made a horrible mistake painting an entire wall of my diminutive, windowless kitchen a light-swallowing black. However, a pep-talk from Scott kept me going and I finished the job. Now that the tape is removed and the space put back together, I am quite delighted with the effect. I’m looking forward to using the wall for notes, reminders and recipes.

Lancaster County Holiday

three lawn chairs

Last Friday at this time, I was racing around the apartment, tossing shoes, clothes and toiletries into a little black duffle bag and mentally running through my morning and evening routines, to ensure that I didn’t leave behind some essential cream or tube of lip balm. A few minutes before 12 noon, Thad and Angie called to say that they were moments from pulling up to the back of our building and that we should head down to meet them. By 12:03 pm, we were driving west, through University City and the Main Line, out to Lancaster County.

bailing wire clamp-style jars

It was a lovely weekend, full of good food, sleep, books, jar shopping and time spent splayed out in thick, plush grass. My only regret was that it had to end, as I was just beginning to feel truly relaxed when it was time to turn around and return home.

Musser's Bed and Breakfast

Part of what made the trip so particularly idyllic was the B & B in which we stayed. Called Musser’s Bed and Breakfast, it is located in the original general store and post office of New Providence, PA. The Musser family has lived there for more than 20 years now and have lovingly restored the entire structure from top to bottom. Over the years, they ripped out all the indignities done to the house during the mid-century, including some particularly horrible green shag carpet. Barb Musser is the primary innkeeper, and she is friendly, warm, outgoing and a wonderful cook. She happily accommodated our food preferences, serving Scott quiche on the morning when the rest of us ate oatmeal (Scott is not a fan of hot cereals).

Musser's Shopkeeper's Suite

We stayed in the Shopkeeper’s Suite, which is essentially a beautifully furnished two-bedroom apartment. It was the perfect home away from home. Another nice thing about Musser’s was that our suite had a full kitchen (both suites do, actually). Food lover that I am, I appreciated having the opportunity cook once or twice instead of always eating out, particularly since we made the trek into Lancaster City to visit Central Market.

All in all, it was a wonderful vacation and I already am plotting ways to go back and explore more corners of Lancaster County. If you want to see the rest of the pictures from the trip, you can find the set here. If you want to see even more, Scott’s are here, Thad’s are here and Angie’s are here.

Pondering thirty

The luscious cake that Angie made
They say that a dearth of blogging indicates a full and happy life (and really, isn’t that what we’re all striving for?). That’s certainly been the case in my book, at least when it comes to this site. I have been blogging with some regularity over at Food in Jars, so the internet hasn’t been totally bereft of me (although, somehow I don’t think the internet would even notice if I were to entirely cease my additions to the discourse).

Much has happened in the last few weeks. I turned 30 on May 14th, much to my amazement. It boggles me to think that I’ve been knocking around this life for a full three decades. When I was younger, my grandma Bunny would often comment that her first reaction upon looking at herself in the mirror each morning was surprise. Her initial, fleeting thought was always, “Who is that old lady?” Inside herself, she didn’t feel any different than she had when she was young and so it was jarring to see that each day her outsides were changing while her essence remained the same.

When she’d tell me this as a child, I’d nod my head with great understanding, while thinking her crazy. I knew that I felt older with each passing year. Didn’t every number come with greater freedom and responsibility? Of course your insides changed and aged.

Now I understand what she meant. I look at myself and know that I don’t feel different in any essential way from how I knew myself to be five or six years ago. I know that I’ve adopted more of the trappings of adulthood over the last few years; the home, the possessions, the job, the degrees, the life partner. And yet.

I am not unhappy to be here. In fact, I’m quite pleased to have finally shaken off the uncertainty and struggle that graced my 20’s. I am grateful to be refining my path towards work that I love and I am filled with delight that I am marrying Scott, the guy who was my most wonderful friend, long before I slowly slid into love with him. So I recognize these grown-up things in my life, while noticing that I don’t feel any older. It’s a strange and miraculous thing.

Dinner Salad

Dinner 5/5/09

We’ve been having an incessently rainy spring here in Philadelphia. It feels like it’s been raining for months (the only time out from the grey drizzle being the three-day heat wave we had in April). Having grown up in Portland, I try to remain outwardly unaffected when it comes to the rain, mostly because I still harbor a embryonic desire to live there again someday, and I don’t want to give this man I live with any further ammunition against the place (the chances, however, of us moving to Portland are narrow to none, so no one freak out). It is starting to get to me though.

I am grateful for one thing that this drizzle brings with it, and that is the return of the local salad greens. They love these cool, wet days and so have been turning up in abundance at local farmers markets. I bought two bags last Saturday at the Rittenhouse Market and I desperately wanted to purchase more Sunday at the Headhouse Market (I wisely refrained as even when salad greens are delightful, there is still a limit to how much we can eat before they turn slimy).

Tonight’s dinner was a simple one, that took all of two minutes to throw together (once the chicken was cooked). It was two big handfuls of salad greens (the farmers I buy from pre-wash their greens before bagging, so they are ready to go, just like the ones you buy from the regular grocery store), three inches of chopped English cucumber, some slivered red onion, a few spoonfuls of garbanzo beans, some feta cheese and a few chopped chicken tenders that I cooked on a countertop grill (like a George Foreman, only bigger).

I predict many more meals such as this one before the salad green season is out.