Every year seems to pass a bit more quickly than the last, or seem to anyway. I find myself peering at December’s calendar page often wondering how I got there; it’s not like I didn’t watch a glorious Spring burst into bloom in my yard, and beyond, or scuttle my way through the intensely hot summer, sweating in the kitchen at work and honing muscles I never thought I had. I did get all the freedom available to be able to fully appreciate the amazing and wondrous Autumn that landed in our midst, full of stunning color and temperate days of endless blue skies. I know all those seasons passed me, but still, here I am facing the last few weeks of 2010 and I find myself wondering “Just what did I DO this past year?”
And oh folks, when I think about that, I kind of get chills.
Because last year at this time, when I reflected over 2009, I was nearly in tears. Well, I was in tears. 2009 was hard. Very hard. Maybe you’ve noticed I’m a bit tender-hearted? That I feel my life pretty deeply? 2009 was like a constant rasp on my skin that I couldn’t get away from. I was so eager for another year, for the flip of the calendar page that spoke of new promise, of opportunity and chances to climb out of the darkness that seemed to chase after me in 2009. I wanted life to get better, and it far and away surpassed my expectations. 2010 had copious fanfare, waving flags and plenty of ‘Hip, Hip, Hooray!’ moments.
How can you NOT think your year will be amazing when in the very first month your life changes dramatically in one night, your simplest food idea ends up on The Kitchn website and sends 1000’s of hits to your humble little blog and you find the world’s most perfect waffle recipe ever?
I knew after I met up with 40 other bloggers from Minnesota last January that something very fundamental began shifting in my life, but I had no idea the lengths it would go to infiltrate the kind of friendships it has. The women I met that night have changed my life, and I don’t say that lightly. They are amazing. And God sent. And beautiful. And real. A year later and I feel as if we’ve only scratched the surface of where it will go. That in itself is incredible. I can’t wait to see where this leads in the year ahead.
The second month brought an increased desire to really stop and look at the world around me each day, as I dove into Project 365 with a photo a day. I was posting on Flickr, then stopped, but the habit has more or less continued and I love scrolling back over my photos, seeing what life was showing me each day. This month was filled with some really simple pleasures like Chocolate Toll House Bars, Pumpkin Pancakes and White Bean Salads. It was also the month that a part of my past went up in flames in South Minneapolis.
It was a month where I began to be less concerned about deviating from food posts on this blog, and started exploring other means of using it to talk about my life.
March always starts with my birthday. 2009 was a stellar celebration as I turned 45 with a blow-out party. It was quieter this year. There were Oatmeal Pancakes, a pan of Gingerbread that kept mysteriously disappearing every time I looked at it and the discovery of one of my most favorite simple meals. But it ended in a life-changing halt when my beloved Harmon became so sick that we needed to put him to sleep. His 17 years in my life still grips at my heart sometimes with a sorrow that dissolves me.
But then came
We renewed ourselves, I discovered how incredible Boursin cheese could be when blended with Spinach, I started seeking out more memories of my life through baking childhood favorites and Eli came bouncing noisily into our lives spreading love and affection at every turn. I also became gainfully employed again, as the Pantry Chef at a local Yacht Club. It was a palpable relief to our finances.
I worked. A lot. I thought it was a lot anyway, but in May I had no clue how hard and how much I was about to work. I managed to enjoy the fruits of Spring with Cardamom Spiked Rhubarb Crisp, and Roasted Apricots in Cardamom Syrup. But little else came from my kitchen, as I was absorbed and enfolded into a job that would push me through the next five months like a tsunami in my life.
I managed to blog about strawberries soaked in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, and share a superbly simple and delicious Fish Taco with you all, not to mention a post about the beauty that was bursting out all over my garden. But that was about it. The job engulfed my life. And me.
How was your July? Hot? Fun? Did you take a vacation, go to the beach, explore somewhere new? I managed to make a stellar Pizza Burger, found out how wonderful Guacamole can be when you grill all the items first, and captured high summer in my garden. But that was it for me. July? What July? At least I managed to pick Blueberries.
Huh? August? Really? I dealt with a bounty of garden tomatoes and I made Chipotle Lime Roasted Nuts. Someone hold me back from the excitement. I worked and sweated more than I thought was possible. At home, I did little else but drink coffee and do laundry. However, at night when I was done and life quieted down, the summer unfolded some amazing night-time weather to enjoy.
The ninth month was like one long deep breath for me. Work slowed down enough for me to be able to look around and really see what kind of life was going on. Griffin started 11th grade, the weather turned and I made Applesauce. The colors began unfolding their glory and soup started simmering on the stove. I reflected heavily on ‘Where I’m From’.
Glorious, delirious October. Probably the most stunning Fall season I have ever known. Warm days, cool nights and color splashes everywhere, beyond your craziest imagination. We walked around in a fog of delight, enraptured of the weather. Really, it was all we talked about. And work ended in a wave that was full of bittersweet relief. I utilized thinking on a different view of life, made Apple Streusel Bars and a Blueberry Coffee Cake out of Rice Krispies. But the month ended with a cracked up car and a messed up skull despite the joy of saving 6 feline lives.
It was National Blog Posting Month. I blogged every. single. day. I loved it, but I’ll spare you a recap of it all as I mostly resuscitated recipes from my archives (did you KNOW I have a Recipe Index? It’s up at the top of the page!). There was, however, a stellar Peanut Butter Banana Bread, Sweet Potato Biscuits and Whole Wheat Muffins with Quinoa and Squash. It was a delicious month.
And now, it’s
I entered a contest and my recipe took 2nd Place. I got paid to write a blog post, my very first paid blogging job, and I created an amazing Curried Squash and Corn Risotto. I also baked another memory, which I am swiftly finding to be my most favorite aspect of writing this blog.
And now, time to move on again into 2011. Again I feel that something big is on the horizon, and there is promise already with this blog, which you will read about as it unfolds after the new year begins. It’s going to be a good start to 2011, and one that I hope will lead to a lot of other opportunities. It’s nice at this point to feel so blessed by the past 12 months. It gives me much more hope for the next 12.