|Gorgeous lychee fruits|
I suppose I will just summarize what's been going on this last week. And try to tease whatever messages are there out for me, for us.
Miss Blondina and I journeyed to Seattle last Thursday morning, both to the the Broadway musical Mary Poppins (fabulous!) and to our friends' home, where the daughter was hosting my girlie and her cousin for a birthday sleepover celebration. I packed enough cooked food for the journey--chicken soup, a country pate, cheese and yoghurt (Blondie's), ginger tea--and the makings for a lavish meal to share with our friends. We feasted on braised grass-fed roast, asparagus, acorn squash and a cucumber salad, and everyone but me had my home-canned apricots for dessert. The duck eggs that I brought were for breakfast (asparagus omelets!), and there was plenty for my drive home.
In fact, it was such a successful trip food-wise that it made me wonder why I would ever eat out. I never got sick or developed a migraine, despite many hours spent at a mall looking for jeans (why does no one make attractive jeans for a curvy woman who is not a teenager? I left without the jeans.) Normally, a migraine would almost be a given after countless hours in stores that are too loud, too bright and filled with noxious scents (intentional, like candles and "air fresheners", and others like shoe glues and other chemicals in the products). Even though I drove home much later than I had intended, and ate my dinner waiting for the ferry, I ended up at home in pretty good shape.
There was a time, when The Bosun was actively racing his sailing pram, that we traveled to regattas with a Crock-Pot plugged into an inverter in the car. We would arrive at our hotel with dinner ready, needing only a salad. We could eat well, even without a kitchen, using a cooler and the slow cooker. This last trip makes me want to re-institute that set-up, or at least to invest in some more great stainless steel thermal bottles, as the two I have were in constant use with the soup and ginger tea.
Weekends are always busy, but we spent the last one getting ready for the arrivals of two of our kids. The Scientist, our oldest daughter, drove across the country in record time, dog and four-year old in tow, showing up Sunday night to a warm, but short, welcome--everyone was exhausted and soon settled down, knowing we have two months to visit. Yesterday, we picked the Writer up at the big airport (yes, that means we have driven to Seattle a crazy amount of times this week, as the Captain has gone twice to drive his parents to and from the airport). Sigh. Now we can rest for a bit. Except that it's The Professional's birthday this weekend. And the Juan de Fuca Festival. And....
Lucky for me, my kids are all superb cooks. That will make this busy summer easier, what with all of the comings and goings of our nine kids (and two grandkids), who will all visit at some point over the next few months. The Writer took dinner in hand tonight--without my asking!--turning out an absolutely amazing pot of oxtails that looked like they were made of burnished mahogany. Add in some pureed cauliflower and a salad, and of course our huge family, and we had a lovely evening. We topped it off with a bag of fresh lychees that the Writer picked in Coconut Grove, near my parents' home, and presented to us along with a bag of mangoes.
Thanks to Baden's insightful post from the other day, I happily partook of the lychees, willing the guilt to sit in the corner. Lychees are one of those amazing ephemeral fruits that don't travel well, are never sold in stores, and are limited to a very short season. The flavor is perfumy, almost floral, and there is a ritual to the peeling and eating that keeps it all in balance. Instead of gorging on a huge amount of fruit, I sat and savored the experience, so rare and special it is. And it seems to have worked--I have no headache or heartburn, despite eating fruit before its formal introduction (this is the second such lapse, and the first did not go well, so I am indeed surprised).
Perhaps cultivating not only balance, but also finding gratitude and pleasure in our moments of "cheating" or making exceptions or whatever you want to call it, perhaps that is what makes the difference. Perhaps our attitude about the treat can predict the outcome. I know that if I feel guilty or stressed, or like I am succumbing to a craving, then I end up feeling poorly in the end. Whether that's from the cheat food or from my emotional state, I may never be really clear. Still, the lychees were a treat I embraced and so far my body seems to be embracing the treat! Not a statistically meaningful experiment, but maybe a tiny bit of insight to add into the mix.
I hope you have had a lovely week while I was away from my computer! Did you have any great insights you would like to share in the comments? They are always welcome and do help other people, so please do join the conversation....