On keeping it simple.

On days when the kids run amok and the rain pours down and everything seems to be breaking or peeling or falling apart, there’s only so much we can do to hold ourselves together. For me, that “so much” usually involves food.

I can’t bake in this humidity (well, I can, but we would all regret it), so I end up focusing a little more intently on the dinner process than usual. And that can have nice consequences.

The other day I made potato salad in the morning: my favorite kind, with new red potatoes from the farmer’s market and white wine vinegar and olive oil and pressed garlic and chopped lemon basil from the garden. I put it in the fridge with orders for no one to touch it, and come dinner time, it was astonishing: bright, intense, comforting, addictive.

To go with that, I had an unceremonious pound of ground beef from Clay Hill Farms, also acquired at our local market. I know it’s great beef, but honestly, I get a little bored with beef. I needed something Greek. Ish. So I got out the goat cheese and added maybe a third of a cup to the beef, along with a handful of chopped oregano and the ritual salt and pepper. Made some patties, fried them up, and OMG. Such good ideas. Add some fresh steamed broccoli (plain, for variety), and it’s a beautiful little meal.

I should add that we are slowly refinishing our kitchen table, which is where we always eat, so we are having most meals out in the screen tent on the deck. It’s kind of a hassle, but kind of a beautiful way to live outdoors more. Plus, we may eventually get a nice new kitchen table out of it, so there’s that.

This is where I want to wind up with something witty and reassuring about how kids grow up and it won’t be this chaotic forever, and aren’t we lucky that we get to be WITH all this astonishing youth and growth…and yes, I am lucky. And I’m also really really tired. Good food helps, but so would a long vacation. Solo. So I invite you to tell me: what are your ways of sustaining yourself, of keeping it simple? Cut flowers? Walks in the woods? Escape novels? Meditation? Bonus points for brilliant strategies I haven’t thought of. 🙂

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2 comments on “On keeping it simple.

  1. dietrich schlobohm says:

    Hi Anna, For me it’s kayaking in a quiet, beautiful place with few people and no motorized boats. I become totally relaxed and absorbed in all the sights, critters, sounds and smells of a place. One can also do this with a nature walk in the right place. During the week is almost always better than the weekends. Last summer I hit the jack pot on a remote Maine river where I did not hear a single human sound for over 3 hours, except my own breathing. It’s a kind of meditation I guess. And lastly what works for me is a well written page turner. be well, dietrich

  2. Dietrich! I LOVE the idea of being out alone like that…I can’t even remember the sound of my own breathing. (I’m not sure if that means I’m surrounded by noise or I’m not actually breathing…) And yes to the novel as well..but lately I’m kind of afraid of dipping into a book, afraid I may never resurface. Sigh. Thanks for writing! I wish you lovely time in nature this weekend!

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