July, and still in school

It’s nearly the middle of July. Our friends at the Steiner school in upstate New York have been finished with school since early June – so, for over a month already. Friends at Ichabod Crane public school (great name; I always had fun with it) have been done for two or three weeks. And what’s happening at English schools here? They have still another full week. It’s a very different rhythm than we are used to.

I do feel bad for having complained in my last post about the cold. Literally two days after that, it turned warm, and it’s been mostly hot ever since. There has also been no rainfall at all since even before that time. Our rain buttie (no idea if that’s the correct spelling – the barrel that catches rain water off the roof) has been drained dry for many days now. The garden is hanging on but the potted plants are looking quite sad if I don’t give them some water every day. My allotment lost more plants, b/c they were young seedlings and I definitely wasn’t getting there every day to water. People tell me it’s due to the Pennines, the nearby mountain range, blocking the rain clouds and weather that settles west of here.

This is a piecemeal quick entry, but today was a special day that I must at least mention. It was my first professionally-speaking working day, at Neal’s Yard in Beverley. For months, I was slowly working my way to renting space there, and finally I got all my bits and bobs together to be able to begin. I started off with a lovely acupuncture client for my first day, hurrah! And she told me that it’s apparently a most auspicious day to begin a new project – my timing was good, after all, not consciously, picking Friday the 13th as a magically energetic date. My client brought me a beautiful little bouquet of wild thyme. (Ah, how that makes me think of Provence and my Junior Year Abroad there. We climbed Mont Saint Victoire and picked wild thyme that I used to make tea for months afterwards. So delicious.)

I love my little bunch of thyme, and I thank my lucky stars for a beautiful treatment room in which to work. I look forward to many sessions doing Classical Five Element Acupuncture, and Chinese Face Reading in Beverley. And we all look forward to next week starting the summer holidays.

Witching Day Thyme2

 

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Summer?

Westwood Glen

Today is beautiful – sunny as soon as we awoke, and remaining so. It’s 63-degrees already, and supposed to go up to 70. This photo is from a few weeks ago, of a glen in the Westwood open pastureland a few minutes’ walk from our rental. The buttercups that were lighting up the green scene have just started to become leggy and are fading. They cheered me so all May. The fact that they are fading must mean the season is progressing and that summer is really here. It is mid-June, is it not? It doesn’t feel so much like summer to us.

I was complaining this past week. We were all (well, my daughters and I) missing a “New York summer” with HOT weather that doesn’t disappear immediately. Last week, it was fifty degrees most mornings, and barely broke sixty during the day. I AM a bit cold-blooded and wear multiple wool layers all Winter, even in to Spring, but never in summer, not in New York. It’s very different here. We did have two gorgeous days, Sunday and Monday. I had been so miserable on Friday and Saturday that I really took advantage of Sunday and sat outside in the garden in full sun, with as much surface area as possible ready to collect some vitamin D. I also indulged in reading a novel I’d read when I was in 8th grade? I think so. Can’t believe I read the beginning of this series when I was just thirteen. That was another full-circle moment for me, reliving a book from decades ago. This is where I sat, though the pic is after the sun had started to go down.

ChairGardenBook

I was so happy! I really needed both that sun and that restful activity of READING. The garden is really very lovely. I’m not showing all the weeds, though, that I haven’t been able to keep on top of.

It got so cold again on Tuesday, though. At least, I needed wool layers again. I see British women in sundresses when I have wool undershirts (plural), a wool jacket and thick wool socks with my boots, ha! My brother in law told me my blood shall warm up with more time here. Hmmmm… I’m not sure about that. But, perhaps. And that is part of the question – do I want to be here long enough for that to happen? I torment myself with that question sometimes. Just how long shall I/we be here??

Well, I shall write just this for now, as I’m off to Frith for my weekly garden shift. I have so much to post about! Soon, I hope. And hopefully not much complaining shall be included 🙂

Foraging Season Begins

But not yet by me.

An English friend came by today with a gift right up my alley. She and her husband had gone foraging yesterday for wild garlic, and also to the seaside for clams. I was gifted with these razorbacks (in a bag, sorry, I was on my way out the door and didn’t make them super photo-ready) and also a nice bag of wild garlic leaves.

Razor clams

We were going to dinner with family, as a last Beverley meal with my niece, who is about to move out of town – we’re all terribly sad about that. She cooked us a delicious meal, and then we watched videos online for how to prepare razorback clams. I spent a good half hour washing sand out of and preparing just these few darlings.

And here they are, cooked, served in a portion:

Razor clams cooked

(Apologies – I don’t know how to alter the size of photos that don’t come from my phone.)  The clams were sliced, then pan sautéed very gently in butter for a few minutes and the wild garlic leaves added for another two or so minutes. The juices we then put in a separate pan and cooked down just a bit more, with a dash of sherry. Delicate, fresh taste of the sea, and very nice texture. The wild garlic was stupendously tender and flavorful. I really enjoyed my gift.

My own plan for foraging will not be nearly as grand – nettles shall likely be first on the list, and I am very much looking forward to them!

But before that, we’ll be Edinburgh-bound, and also off to Paris. Future posts, coming soon.

March!

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So much has happened in March and I’ve written nothing. Here’s a quick recap:

The end of February and beginning of March I was away in Holland. My dear friend from acupuncture school became a Buddhist monk a decade ago and he teaches in Europe every Winter, culminating in a European week-long retreat. I’d always wanted to go to his US westcoast teachings, but never could manage it. Here I am in England and the European retreat was only a 45-minute flight away, basically right across the North Sea from East Yorkshire. It was delicious on many levels – so good to see my old friend who has become a tremendously learned and inspiring teacher; delightful to meet thirty-plus people from Holland, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Spain and the US (I was not the only American there, but was the only one who traveled from the UK); extravagant to be cooked excellent food for every meal of every eight days there; incredibly relaxing to have every hour of every day planned out for me and few responsibilities other than focusing on the training.

The training was excellent, but that shall be the subject of another post.

While I was away, March 1st came and went. Our ONE YEAR anniversary of the date we arrived in England. Egads, we have been here a full year. Well, I haven’t, since I was away for nearly four of those months, but a full year since we left our home in New York. It felt like a huge milestone. I wonder how many more years we shall be here? And I still haven’t spoken much about the “full circle” concept of starting this blog in the first place! Here’s another huge full circle made.

March 9th and 12 were two more birthdays for family members who are no longer on this earth. We celebrated with blinis and caviar for my mom’s, and had English family over to also fête another grand event, that of our having put an offer in on a house and it being accepted. Yikes, we’re buying a house in England. It was through selling hers that we are able to buy one here. For my dad’s birthday, we had a delicious dinner with just the four of us, with tales of his talents and adventures. Our girls didn’t know him much.

Tucked away in there was Mothering Sunday. I love that name. I get two Mother’s Day celebrations, I suppose. Funny, how the English one is nearly on my mom’s birthday, and the American one always on or about the anniversary of the day I became a mother. My family bought me a luscious lemon tree – I’ve wanted one for years. And we went to a local manor house for a walk and to look around their about-to-spring-into-action gardens and have lunch in their café. It was a lovely day.

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That’s the quick recap of the first half of March. More details to come soon, I hope.

 

Happy Birthday, Aunt Kate

My Great-Aunt Kate lived a life almost of mythical proportions. She was not an ordinary person – God-forbid if she did anything boring. She liked to surprise and even shock people, and usually did things her own way. She started off as a rebellious first-generation American born in Manhattan to immigrant Sicilian parents. She was one of two daughters and five sons and preferred to be a tomboy and hang out with her more “interesting” brothers than do “girl things”. She lifted weights and rode motorcycles, as much as her older brothers would let her. That was rather radical in the 1920’s and 30’s.

As soon as she could, she eloped with a tall, skinny, Irish American (very important that he was non-Italian) artist. They lived in Greenwich Village and knew the to-be-famous painters when they were poor and starving. She regularly served pasta and wine to the likes of De Kooning and Kline and Pollack. She had a pet monkey that she fed fat beetles to, and a pet jaguar that she walked in the eighth street neighborhood until it got too old and she broken-heartedly brought it to the Central Park Zoo.

She parted ways with husband number one and then found her “crazy Russian Jew” second husband while he was temporarily homeless in a NYC park. He took beautiful pictures with his Leica and translated dictionaries from Russian to Danish. Here they are in one of his photos:

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Kate’s father hadn’t allowed her to go to art school, though she had been accepted. She remained quite bitter about that. Though she did paint murals with her first husband and do some sculpture on her own, she never fully embraced being an artist in her youth. When things got rocky with husband number two, she did become an art therapist, back in the day when there was no training necessary and she relied instead on her fabulous creativity and her deep desire to help people. She lied about her age when applying for the job, and near the time of her retirement expressed astonishment that she was older than many of her patients in the nursing home.

Here she is surrounded by many of her needlepoint pictures done by the nursing home residents. She wanted them to do real art as much as possible instead of simple crafts, and both these and still life paintings were common creations by those in her care. She also adored and cared for cats – these are the last two she lived with, Pasha and Priscilla.

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In her retirement, Kate did work intently and intensely on floral art – I can’t believe I don’t have any images here. But she satisfied her love of color and shape by working with and creating hundreds of floral pieces that are really quite stunning.

Kate had zest and style and guts and panache, and lots and lots of moxie. She could be a “pain in the ass”, as she would sometime acknowledge, but that was far better than being boring, in her book. She was a character and a half, and then some. I was so sorry my girls never got to meet her. This February 25th she would have been 102, I think. Happy Birthday, dear Aunt Kate!

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Goodbye, Long Island

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Two weeks ago today I was in New York. I had a super stressful day that Wednesday – massive last-minute clearing out and packing up and a house closing to get to for noon. After that, Nicholas and I got in our respective vehicles and drove upstate in a snowstorm. It wasn’t pretty. Boy, was I relieved when we arrived at our destination.

We made a point of having a champagne toast (thank you to Rodney of Wines by Morrel – he was deeply fond of my mother and gifted us this bottle of La Veuve). We toasted my mother, toasted each room of the house, and all those we could think of who were integral somehow to its history. It felt good, part of saying goodbye.

I can’t believe it, truly, that it’s real, that we no longer are in possession of that house. Part of me thought it would always be in the family, like an ancestral holding that would house the family treasures and memories for several more generations. I’m not sure where I got that idea, for my mother only purchased it when I was in my mid-20’s. Perhaps because the home contents of both my grandmother and my great-aunt were moved there, it felt like it had been in the family for a few generations already. That and the fact that I HAD grown up in the house right next door, so it was quite familiar to me for nearly all my life. I suppose I had transferred my affections and allegiances to that house when my childhood home right next door was knocked down.

Two things that I will miss deeply: the European fern-leaf beech trees in the front yard. Just look at them:

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They are more than magnificent. Seventy (eighty? more?) feet tall, with gracefully outstretched branches and trunks like elephant legs. They are quite unusual, the fern-leaf bit, and stunning. My mother bought the house partially because of them, and I kind of wanted to hang on to the house because of them. For a long while, anyway. I hope the new owner appreciates them.

I will miss the beach as well, the beautiful sandy ocean beach just a few minutes’ drive away. Sigh… So much history there.

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Thank you, East Hampton, for all your gifts. Thank you, Mère, for giving us a childhood in that place of natural beauty. May this not be good-bye forevermore.

 

Visa Details

Visa Application

Okay, since I promised, I shall try to recount at least some of the many details of the terribly long and extended process I lived through this Fall to obtain a visa to be allowed to stay in England.

Please consider yourselves forewarned: there shall be some complaining here. I do apologize, but I was pretty amazed at the goings-on that took place. And I count myself lucky, very lucky, that my situation is as incredibly fortunate as it is. So many others waiting for visas are not nearly as blessed as I.

Here we go: We arrived as a family in the UK on March 1st of 2017, and I honestly didn’t research a thing. Going to England was “Nicholas’s idea” and I kind of let him figure out the hows and wheres – I had plenty of other things to occupy my time and thoughts anyway, packing up house. He felt it would be best to just get there and figure out the rest later. Perhaps he was right. If I had known all that we would have needed to do, I may never have ever agreed to start this whole grand adventure.

Anyway, once we were there we visited a lawyer and found that I was allowed to stay in England on a tourist visa for only six months. Because we went to France for a week and came back in to London the second week in April, we had the erroneous notion that I had until the second week in October to leave the UK (six months after my last entry in to England). Very silly notion, but it would have been so much more convenient to have the month of September to get our kids settled in to the new school year. Wishful thinking. We discovered on the first Monday of September during a visit to the solicitor’s office (I really should use the British word, no?) that I, in fact, had to skedaddle by the ninth or risk the displeasure of the Powers that Be. We booked me a ticket for September 8th.

The solicitor’s assistant said that a “normal” visa application would take upwards of four weeks, but if we prioritized the application, it would be two or three. We paid an extra almost-seven hundred pounds to prioritize it. Being away from my family for even 2-3 weeks seemed nearly impossible. Ha! It turned out to be eleven. Nearly three months, egads.

We got all the necessary info to the lawyer (I can only use the British word so often before it feels odd in my mind) before I left, and she said she would get the application filed the Friday I flew, or by latest the following Monday. Okay, I figured – three weeks from that Monday, I should be back in Beverley, right? Well, there were all sorts of problems getting the UK Visa application site working properly, she said, and they needed more information than previously thought, and it took much longer than that to get the application submitted. I finally got an appointment to have my “biometrics” taken, for October 5th. Sheesh, that was nearly a whole month after my arrival.

I was chomping at the bit well before this point. My elder daughter was starting “6th form” which is the equivalent of 11th and 12th grades, and we were Face Timing and messaging nearly every day, trying to determine which classes she could take. It was SO stressful, helping her from overseas and not being there to diffuse the tensions that were running high. She had very few choices and wasn’t able to take any of the subjects she thought she’d like to learn more of (Biology, History, Earth Science/Geology/Geography) because she didn’t have the GCSE exams (from the end of the equivalent of 9th and 10th grades) and didn’t have the confidence to take English Literature or Language (again, b/c she didn’t have the background all the other kids had from their GSCE level English classes). I was practically foaming at the mouth with the fact that she had to select only THREE courses to study for two whole years, and that her choices were so very narrow. Somehow, the school allowed her to try out classes for a good while longer than they allowed other students to do so. That was kind of them. And it prolonged the agony. Finally, she chose – Psychology, Art, Photography. On verra.

While this was going on, I also had to focus on my NY surroundings and get to work. I was blessed to have incredible help from my English niece who came over for two weeks in September. We organized several yard sales and ebay listings and more, to translate some of the many treasures from the basement and attic of my mom’s house into cash. I couldn’t have done it without her. Thank you, thank you, thank you for YOLO! (She quit her job to come and help, wow.)

Finally, October 5th came and I went to NYC to have my fingerprints taken and to hand in my passport to them. SURELY, I would be back in England 2 or so weeks after THEN, no?

No. The solicitor said it would be another six weeks. I so did not understand why. Did not the fact that I had an English husband and English children (they have dual citizenship) make ANY difference? No. How could they keep families separate for so long? The lawyer said some families are kept apart for many, many months and even years. Many weeks later we found out that she actually had no clue whatsoever of the timing, for me. No lawyers are able to be in direct communication with the visa office, so she had no knowledge of my particular case. Why had she never told us this? How could she even give any time estimates, then? We didn’t know this then, though, and just kept patiently (and not-so-patiently) waiting.

I’m going in to all the details here, now (gosh, on a roll I suppose – you may all be bored, however!), but Nicholas was also in the US for a couple of weeks in September and for much of October, needing to do work Upstate. Our children were being looked after by amazingly kind and helpful relatives (to whom I am forever grateful), but a school holiday was coming up for the last week of October and Nicholas’ warehouse project wasn’t finished. The relatives had to work. The kids missed me. The kids missed their US friends. The cost to have them fly here, we figured (after prodding from younger child), was not much more than for Nicholas to fly there and back again. And so, we booked them tickets. That story would take up another several paragraphs – it was stressful beyond belief and was like something out of an Ionesco play. Everything that could go wrong seemed to, including discovering only the night before they flew that their US passports had expired. Ack!! They couldn’t fly with UK ones unless they had visas. It got so complicated. But they made it here. Greatly due to more kindness from family members.

We had a whirlwind week, including Halloween, with our old community in Columbia County. it was pretty fabulous, and also so strange, since we weren’t living in our own house. We stayed in our friends’ house for several nights and got to look out on the Hudson River:

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That same scene would be full of ice now, I think, so sorry for the anachronistic image. We also stayed at the mansion of another friend and had a good deal of fun “playing house” there. This picture hardly conveys the depth of decadence this room carries. I loved this room full of Birds-Eye Maple details – just delicious, the color and richness of the wood.

Philmont Mansion

We were so very lucky to have so many friends to stay with, and that I had a house on Long Island to live in for as long as I needed to. I kept thinking of the poor people who had no such base to rely on who had to wait longer than I for visa approval.

I started to enjoy myself, too. I figured that I should take advantage of the fact that I was in charge of my own time, that I had no parental or spousal responsibilities, that I was my own free agent for a few more weeks. And so, I had lunch with my very first acupuncture colleagues, I went to NYC to visit a Wellesley friend I hadn’t seen in fourteen years (ack), went to Boston to take an acupuncture seminar. I even had the very good fortune to have a Face Reading event planned for me – a close friend organized seven women in her workplace to have mini-readings with me. It did feel good to work again.

But finally we thought, “enough is really enough!” and Nicholas, who was back in England by this time (he and our girls probably thought I was never coming “home” at that point), contacted the local M.P. (who is like a local congressman, maybe?) to inquire as to the progress of my case. Their office was incredibly swift in assisting us and within a day or so determined that my application was NOT being considered a Priority one. Huh? We’d paid a very tidy sum for it to be expedited and asked the lawyer to send proof of that fact. That was when we discovered she was not allowed to communicate directly with the UK Visa office. We had to send the proof to the M.P.’s office and THEY sent it on to the visa office.

Within 24 hours of that exchange, I had notice that my visa decision had been reached. Originally, the lawyer had told me that I would have to go back to the NYC office where I’d given my fingerprints and that they would hand me my decision in person there. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do that. They mailed them to me and luckily the decision was in the affirmative – phew. I could book a ticket! I did so for the next week. I ended up staying in Long Island for Thanksgiving, which was interesting. A bit sad to not have my usual family members to bond with, and also actually quite liberating not to have to cook a thing. I was the glad guest of a cousin out here (from my father’s side) who was incredibly kind to invite me to join in their family gathering. I flew on November 28th and arrived in England on my birthday. I was back.

Christmas Holidays 2017

Minster Dec'17

I returned to England just in time for the holidays – a full description of my delayed visa process still hasn’t been written, but hopefully shall soon. I was very happy to be reunited with family members, and it has been a busy month. English folk seem to celebrate much more than in America. Everyone gets together with different groups of workmates and friends and family members seemingly on a regular basis, for weeks. Perhaps I grew up differently from other Americans, but I think of Christmas parties as happening maybe once at work and then one family gathering is organized, maybe two. A couple of events would seem normal or average? My sister-in-law has had at least three or four work get-togethers, a few more with friends, and then at least five with family members. That’s a lot of celebrating, and seems to be the norm here. Tonight, the four of us in our little family shall have our sixth event, though we are on to New Year’s Eve of course.

The above photo was taken at Beverley Minster, the stunning cathedral-sized church a short walk away from us. My younger daughter was performing a “Nine Lessons and Carols” with her school the week before Christmas. The children did such a lovely job singing and playing instruments and doing readings, and the setting can not be beat for atmosphere and grandeur. That was the first real Christmas event we attended. If we hadn’t been to that performance, we would have gotten tickets to a “real” Nine Lessons service as part of the Christmas season celebrations.

Walking in town is incredibly delightful – it gets dark before or by 4pm, so any late afternoon walk is made quite pretty by the holiday lights. This isn’t a terribly good picture, but it gives a hint of the feeling of coziness imparted. The church lit up in the background is St. Mary’s.

Night SatMarket

Despite all these fabulous events and settings, the days before Christmas and Christmas morning itself were a bit blue for us. It’s funny – just about a week earlier, I had picked up a book at Tesco’s, my favorite supermarket. There is a set of shelves near the entrance where the general public can exchange volumes, while leaving a few coins for a charity. I’ve found there a number of novels and other tomes of interest. The week before Christmas I picked up a Penguin-published paperback entitled “Wife in the North”. I wasn’t sure I liked it at first and didn’t read that much of it. But Christmas week I started reading a bit more and found myself appreciating the author’s language and rhythm quite a bit. She is from the North of England, a county next to “ours”, but had lived in London for her adult life. Because of her husband’s love for Yorkshire (sound familiar?) she agreed to leave her favored metropolis and all her dear friends to try out the countryside with said husband and their three children. The day before Christmas, I read these words of the author describing her own Christmas blues: “I am without my rituals. I hate it all. I am in mourning for my life.” On my own, perhaps I wouldn’t have identified with this so very strongly at this point, but I did recognize the sentiment and felt the author was writing “for” me a bit. And, my two children were very much feeling in mourning pre-holiday. They were missing everything they are used to and feeling so sad to not be “home”. Lovely as it is here, Christmas just didn’t feel like Christmas without the normal rituals and environments they associate with the holiday.

This was the general timbre of a couple of our days:

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I’m bringing in perhaps too many details, but the morning of Christmas Eve we were getting ready to have a dinner at our house for nine people. I was all geared up for the work of cooking and organizing and was actually in quite good spirits. Then, someone dear to me made a comment that felt quite critical and continued to hit the point home to the extent that I became upset. A cascade of emotions (ah, the joys of perimenopausal hormonal fluctuations) just wouldn’t let up all that day. I was fine for the evening, but woke on Christmas Day still feeling challenged, perhaps even more so. I realized that the stress of “holding things together” was affecting me more than I had thought. I would like to better understand the close link between the adrenal/stress hormones and female reproductive ones, but I was sure experiencing the depth of their relationship on Christmas Day. Thank goodness for understanding relatives – being overly emotional is not at all usually my mode.

The excitement and enjoyment of Boxing Day socializing, more dinners and game nights with extended family (this is a very energetic and fun-loving crowd we have been welcomed in to, hurrah), as well as tickets to a play production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at our local East Riding Theatre seemed to bring out good spirits in all of us, thank goodness. And tonight was another gathering with dear friends – dinner and yet more games. People do seem to have social time as a primary priority here, and we have greatly benefited from that.

Here it is the new year. Happy 2018 to you all – may you all feel the community of friends and family around you. May there be many blessings and joys in the coming weeks and months of this new cycle of time.

Threading Coincidences

I’m clearing out the basement of my mother’s house. Ma très chère mère died six years ago, but we’ve rented the house out as much as possible since then and haven’t ever had the time or inclination to do the job fully. Since I’m (forcibly) in the US for many weeks (please pardon my complaining about the UKVI process!), this seems an excellent time to get done a good portion of this important project.

I needed to sew something and pulled out this cute little sewing box from a trunk that belonged to my paternal grandmother. Some very vintage items in here. IMG_2286

It’s funny – just a month or so before I left Beverley, I bought one of those wooden sock darning forms at a “yard sale” for 10p. Now, here are two of them. I constantly have the strong and deep impression that everything I need is here at my mother’s house, that she continues to provide for me. I do hate getting rid of some of these items. Will they be appreciated by someone else? If I knew that for sure, it would be so much easier. I have to simply say a prayer that they shall be.

In the sewing box was this little vintage card of tapestry needles:

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I particularly like this for two reasons. One is that I’m often using tapestry needles and seem to need to buy them a couple of times a year if I’m not careful with keeping track of them (I usually have too many knitting projects going at once and tend to leave my finishing needle with the unfinished project, in a careful but not permanent place). Second is that it made me smile because of the company name. “Boyes” is a store in Beverley we often shop at and where I likely WOULD have gone to get more tapestry needles should I need them! I love these little cosmic jokes.

I had another one just yesterday. I might as well include it here now. I posted a picture of this framed poster on my instagram account:

MacHaydn poster

What in the world was this doing in my mother’s basement? Besides the fact that it is full of mildew (oh dear…), the shock factor for me was that it comes from a theatre I live very close to in Columbia County. My mother’s house is on the eastern tip of Long Island and I was living here in 1979. The MacHaydn is in a beautiful but pretty sleepy town five or six hours away. My mother has never been to the MacHaydn and was only ever in Chatham after I moved to that area sixteen years ago. It was a very, very odd colliding of the worlds to find that yesterday.

Of course, I then figured that the poster was a find at a thrift shop or yard sale (sources of all good things, before TJ Maxx came to town) for its frame some years ago, but still – what are the odds that a thrift shop out here would have a poster from up there? I wonder how many years it’s been down there? I’m quite certain it was acquired long before I moved to Columbia County, before I was even aware of its existence. My mother would often buy frames for her NYC aunt’s art projects – this was in the 90’s. That aunt was no longer living by the time we were house hunting in 2000. I still can’t shake the feeling of how odd is this coincidence.

What little messages does the universe constantly send us that we may or may not be aware of?

Tasty Fall Cauliflower

Is cauliflower the hot new vegetable? When I was in Trader Joe’s a week or two ago, near Albany, I saw a whole open freezer display cabinet filled with cauliflower products – packaged diced frozen pieces of it, cauliflower-based pizza crust, fully constructed pizza made with a choux-fleur base, and who knows what else. I was intrigued.

Later that week I bought a GORGEOUS specimen of organic yellow cauliflower at the farm store of the Farm at Miller’s Crossing in Claverack, NY. What a beautiful building they have, and what vegetable riches filled the old barn. We didn’t eat it right away, but a few days later when I was in New Jersey, we roasted and enjoyed it.

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Yesterday Nicholas drove over to Watermill on Long Island (I know, we are still really getting around) and bought two bags of organic veggies at The Green Thumb market, including both a yellow and a white cauliflower. Both were beautiful, and the white one became dinner.

I heated a heavy enamel pan with a tablespoon each of olive and coconut oils and one of butter. Into this I added about a tablespoon of powdered cumin, half a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne and slowly cooked them for a couple of minutes. I added the head of of cauliflower, cut into florets, and stirred everything to coat with the spices plus about a half teaspoon of sea salt. The leaves and stalk were also included, since they were all organic!

cauliflowe

I then put the pan in the oven, preheated to 375-degrees F and the convection fan on. This roasted for about half an hour.

What deliciousness emerged – the cauliflower was tender inside but the edges had a crispness to them. The leaves were like kale chips. The spice and salt level was mild, but noticeable. I might want a tad more spice flavor next time. This is definitely a recipe to repeat.

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