Casual Friday + Love of the Week

  • Got milk? It’s official! John – husband-and-photography extraordinaire – is the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Saltscapes Amateur Photography contest. Cue all the jazz hands. His acceptance speech goes out to cheeky cow #88 whose willingness to cooperate for the camera is responsible for our prize: a 2-night, all-inclusive stay in a seaside cottage at White Point Resort. Yes, please!
  • Father’s Day was nice. Some adventure, some relaxing. Church started up in-person, we went on a long family walk. There was lots of good food: chorizo sausage and eggs for breakfast, a charcuterie board for lunch (with pecan pie for dessert), and takeout sushi for supper. Hence the long walk. Our trek to George’s Island on Saturday was fun; a bit underwhelming, but I think we have pretty high adventuring expectations and we’re all glad to have crossed it off our Nova Scotia bucket list. The highlight was a guided tour of the island’s underground tunnel network, complete with 1940’s military munitions.
  • I finally settled on a pair of sneakers. Oh, the drama. I ended up buying 4 pairs and trying them all out on our treadmill. One day I was running with one brand of shoe on my left foot, and another brand on the right. When I went to the Running Room I told the sales associate: any brand but ASICS. My final pick? A pair of ASICS. They’re pink and I like them. Definitely not perfect, but they’re good enough and the decision is done. As a related aside, I learned that ASICS comes from the Latin Anima Sana In Corpore Sano – a sound mind in a sound body. A pretty lofty – but fitting – logo/mission statement for a sports apparel company.
Heading out on our daily walk to school; new sneakers + artwork by Abby
  • Saltscapes is now promoting their annual recipe contest. Spurred on by the success of her father, my favourite pint-sized baker desperately wanted in on the action. For weeks she’s been begging me to spend time helping her tweak our beloved waffle recipe to fit the contest brief. The result: a hearty (gluten-free) oatmeal waffle with blueberries and a whipped vanilla maple cream cheese topping. It was delicious! The grand prize is a brand-new dishwasher so I told her if she wins, I’ll give her a month off (one of her daily chores is unloading the dishwasher)!
  • Obligatory strawberry U-pick – check. Somehow, even if it winds up being cheaper to buy them in-store, I feel obligated to pick at least one basket of my own strawberries. A perk of maturing children: they are are a real help in the berry fields. It’s amazing how much faster, and more pleasant, berry picking is when there are no diapers to change in the field, no toddlers darting off and Godzilla-ing the berry plants.
  • And just like that the school year is practically over. We only have a handful of days left before summer vacation. It was an unusual year: masks, segregated playgrounds, and a month-long stint of at-home learning. Admission: I don’t feel prepared for summer. I had a temporary crisis last week when I realized just how unstructured our summer plans were; because of border closures and restrictions, it has been hard to plan ahead. Programs are just opening for registration, and certain activities are shuttered for the whole summer due to COVID. I feel like I’m slowly moving toward having a better grip on reaching that balance between having enough activities to keep the kids active and engaged (allowing the adults in our household to have enough time to handle work responsibilities) while leaving white space for spontaneity and real vacation.
Flashback: Day #1 of school 2020. We’ve walked the same route well over 100 times, driving to school less than a dozen mornings the WHOLE school year.

LOVE OF the week: my soup-and-sandwich oasis

I have a friend. She’s decades older than me, wiser in spades…and we’re kindred spirits. I admired her from afar for years. Then, providentially, a series of challenging life events put me directly in her path. I didn’t know her well at the time and yet she said some of the kindest words I’ve ever heard at just the right time. We’ve been dear friends ever since, and it’s downright uncanny to keep uncovering our similarities.

We don’t see each other as often as I’d like, but I carved out one last visit before summer break (when my flexibility will plummet for a while; or at least my flexibility to do things without someone under 4-foot tall in tow).

My visits to her place – we call them my “soup-and-sandwich oasis.” She makes gourmet (and healthy!) soups, always accompanied by delicious (equally gourmet) sandwiches, and the best cup of tea you’ll find anywhere. We eat and discuss and laugh. We talk about hard topics like aging and grief and mental health. We talk about God and faith and existential questions of purpose and meaning. We talk about Keto, cats, and a new lentil soup recipe she’s perfecting.

I hope everyone has their own version of this soup-and-sandwich oasis. If the opportunity presents itself, befriend someone beyond you in years. Friends come in all shapes, sizes…and ages.

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