My balmy Texas January is on vacation this weekend. The temperatures plummeted yesterday and the wind blustered with frigid swirls of air. In the evening, before running out for a loaf of bread and some frozen peas (more about those tomorrow!), I had to fetch my pink scarf and hat from the closet. It was comforting to wear my old winter clothes, cozy warm things I would not have dreamed of leaving the house without when I was living in Chicago.
Last night, as I walked home with my groceries, I thought about homesickness. I’m surprised I haven’t been more homesick since I moved to Texas. I do miss Chicago and Michigan, and I have moments when I long to be in my old apartment, with its familiar kitchen and smooth wooden floors, big windows and trees waving to me outside. But most of all I miss the people in those places and the moments of our daily lives that we used to share. I will be the first to admit that I have not been doing a good job keeping in touch with people, and I’m working to remedy that problem now. It’s hard trying to hold together all the strings of my life—work, friends, family, health, money, home. I comfort myself by telling myself that a balanced life is an ongoing project and balance is a long-term goal. With some effort, a few months of topsy-turvy imbalance can be nudged into place gently with phone calls, lunch dates, and, when the spring comes, a trip to Chicago.
This weekend I’m looking forward to some peaceful domestic work. Feeling inspired, I’m going to clean out the fridge. I don’t really enjoy cleaning out the fridge, but I’m feeling motivated by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, for which I signed up earlier this week. Self-improvement reading is a guilty pleasure of mine; usually I just read it and continue on with my life without missing a beat. I like letting other people do the hard work of improving themselves; I’m just a voyeur. But The Happiness Project caught my eye because it seems focused on taking a good thing (my life) and making it even better. I feel warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it.
Every week, Gretchen is posting a video on her website with a small goal for the week. This week’s goal is to tackle a nagging task. The fridge is my nagging task. I love the way I feel after completing a long-standing cleaning chore. While I work on the fridge, I’m going to put the oven to work roasting carrots and fennel for Jess’s Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup. Shannon first told me about Sweet Amandine, the lovely blog that Jess writes, and I’m totally smitten with it. Jess’s artsy photos and mouthwatering prose have sent me into the kitchen more than once, and I urge you not to read her site if you are the least bit hungry. You may regret it, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Speaking of a sweet tooth, I’m toying with the idea of making these crazy hippie Smart Cookies from everybody likes sandwiches. They sound like such a delightful hodgepodge of ingredients, just the thing for my afternoon snacks. What’s your favorite afternoon snack?
My cheeks are flushed with embarrassment at my reaction to this trailer of Jamie Oliver’s new show on ABC. I got a little teary-eyed, just like Jamie did! But it’s hard to imagine something more important to our health and happiness than food that nourishes and energizes our bodies. I’ll be curious to watch the show when it airs in March.
Have a cozy delicious weekend, friends!