• the gaping void

    Absent any pressing need for me to cook, garden, escape, I slump.

    mead in the making

    You all know this — I’ve said it many times — but to quick recap: for two decades, my family was my life’s backbone, giving me structure and purpose, as well as something to rail against and escape from. And now that that’s (mostly) done, I’ve got to figure out what to do.

    sour cherries, lemons, raisins, honey, pre-blending

    In some ways, this problem is a gift: many people can only dream of such freedom, and it’s all I dreamed of when the children were little. But I also think that many people (me included) who say they want this freedom really don’t. They (I) will do anything and everything to avoid getting sucked down into the abyss of the gaping void of “why does this even matter” and “who am I anyway”.

    aeration via the creation of a cyclone

    To put it another way: sometimes the busyness becomes the fuel, the reason for Doing. We have to do it, we say, and as long as we believe that, we’ve got something to safely rail against. Because once an element of choice is introduced — I don’t absolutely have to do this, so why am I? — suddenly there’s a gaping void.

    It’s unmooring.

    Day five: we have fermentation, wheeeee!

    To be clear, in my situation doing something like taking a job or going back to school or taking up watercolors, just for the sake of doing it, is not gonna cut it. Sure, I can (and do) fill my days with stay-busy activities, but those things don’t even begin to come close to meeting my need for a bigger purpose. I need to need it, or it needs to need me, whatever “it” is. That’s what I’m figuring out.

    watching the fruit slowly swirl and the water in the airlock bubble as the mead off-gases

    I’m doing all the things I know I should do, that I want to do, to keep me healthy and on the right track: exercise, community involvement, expanding my social circles, and in the darkest of times, cleaning. I also I signed up for a four-week kickboxing course that’s cheerfully whupping my butt, two months of hip-hop and jazz classes that haven’t started yet (can’t wait!), and I auditioned for a play. I figured burning off my angsty energy and pushing myself to do new things in my body might help ground me.

    Or at least help me sleep better.

    This same time, years previous: family road trip: Boston, the coronavirus diaries: week seventeen, burnt cheesecake, roasted zucchini parmesan, twist and shout, the quotidian (6.30.14), fútbol!, dark chocolate zucchini cake, a break in the clouds.

  • chocolate cherry sourdough bread

    I have learned so much from working in a bakery.

    Here are a few things, in no particular order:

    • Label and date everything. The proper way to write the date is month/day, like “egg wash 6/20”.
    • When in doubt, sprinkle on some Maldon.
    • Tie apron strings together before tossing in the laundry to prevent them from knotting.
    • Chew gum to keep from snacking.
    • A couple tablespoons of OJ in a quart of seltzer will trick your stomach into thinking it’s full.
    • For safety reasons, always dry and put away knives immediately after washing.
    • Shout “behind” when walking behind someone, “door” when going through a door, “corner” when walking around a corner, and “sharp” when walking ANYWHERE with a knife.
    • Ratios are magic. Let’s say a recipe calls for 40 grams of whole wheat and 250 grams of AP flour. If I want to scale up to 1500 grams of AP, how much whole wheat do I need? 40/250 = x/1500, so cross multiply 40 and 1500 and then divide by 250 to get 240 grams of whole wheat. 
    • Organization via charts, schedules, and spreadsheets are half the baking battle. Maybe even three-quarters.
    • Whacking around baking sheets all day long will make your hands hurt.
    • If you need a tool, buy it.
    • If you want to learn something, learn it.
    • Experiment, experiment, experiment, and make note of EVERYTHING.
    • The proper way to cut a sourdough boule: slice it in half, and then place the half cut-side down and slice into pieces.
    • To turn a craggy cookie into a perfect round, place a large round cookie cutter over it when it’s still hot from the oven and gently swirl.
    • Get creative with scraps! Some of our favorite products resulted from someone getting creative: vanilla braids, lemon lavender pull-aparts, everything bagel cream cheese buns, etc.
    • ALSO: don’t be afraid to through out leftovers. Sometimes the trashcan (pig bucket) is the best option. No need to waste time on failure.
    • Lavish love and samples on your customers. Their eye-sparkles are the best part of the job.
    • Sourdough bread add-ins are fancy as heck and not at all as complicated as I thought.

    Each day we offer a different flavor of sourdough, and sometimes two: cracked 9-grain, roasted garlic and herb, sundried tomato and feta, pecan raisin, finocchio, etc. Days that we have leftovers, there might even be 4 or 5 different kinds to choose from (if you aren’t snooty about day-olds).

    One of the breads I was tasked with making was the chocolate cherry loaf. I’ve attempted chocolate sourdough on my own a number of times, but the bread was either too dry or the chocolate too bitter. It never was worth the trouble. But then our head baker did some research: apparently the trick was to first bloom the chocolate in oil and then add it to the dough. She also had me dump in a bunch of Callebaut and some fancy Amareno cherries. The loaves were a hit.

    I’ve yet to taste our bakery chocolate cherry loaf, but I’ve made it at home a couple times now. My recipe is a little different, of course —

    *different dough: I make a country white as opposed to the bakery’s more wheaty loaf
    *different chocolate: whatever cocoa I have, as well as whatever chocolate chunks (chips, disks, etc)
    *different cherries: boozy sour cherries from homemade bounce!

    — but the method is the same.

    Mix the cocoa with hot oil and let it soak for a bit (this is what’s called “blooming”), and then after the dough has been mixed and rested for 30 minutes, fold in the bloomed cocoa. Rest the dough for another 30 minutes and fold in the remaining ingredients. Once the chocolate chunks and cherries have been added, repeat the lift-and-folds two to three more times, interspersing each series of folds with a 30-minute rest. When you’re done with the folding, let the dough bulk proof for 4-5 hours before shaping, proofing overnight, and baking.

    Thick slices of this bread, untoasted and well buttered, make for a fantastic breakfast with coffee.

    Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
    Loosely adapted from Magpie’s recipe and method for Chocolate Cherry Bread.

    2 pounds country white sourdough dough (one-half recipe, enough for one large boule)
    50 grams cocoa
    50 grams canola oil
    150 grams semi-sweet chocolate (chunks, chips, disks, etc)
    125 grams canned cherries (Amarena, bounce, etc), partially drained and chopped

    Warm the oil in a small saucepan and stir in the cocoa. Stir for a couple minutes on very low heat (or off heat), and then set aside to cool.

    Mix dough as per the recipe and let it rise for 30 minutes. Spread a third of the cocoa mixture over the dough, then lift one edge of the dough and fold it over the cocoa. Add another third of the cocoa, fold, and then the final third and fold. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

    Add the remaining add-ins in thirds, as you did with the cocoa. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

    Repeat this lift and fold process another 2-4 times, with 30-minute rests in between. The cocoa will never fully incorporate but by the end the dough should be heavily marbled.

    Let the dough bulk proof for several hours and continue with the recipe: overnight proofing, docking, baking, etc.

    Serve with butter.

    This same time, years previous: the middle years, family road trip: New Hampshire, teen club takes Puerto Rico, buttermilk brownies, cherry picking, Korean beef, the quotidian (6.22.15), weigh in, please, beets, and more beets, spaghetti with fresh herbs and fried eggs.

  • bird knob trail

    I convinced my husband to go on another hike with me — this time, Bird Knob Trail

    We didn’t take a map with us (my husband usually prints one off, but he couldn’t find one online), so we did a bit of round-abouting. Like, to start out, we missed the trailhead completely, went down one path and then backtracked to the beginning, and then struck off up the mountain on an unmarked path. The lack of blazes, as well a whole series of trees felled directly across the path, should’ve been a clue we were doing it wrong, but no.

    wardrobe change

    We soon found the main path, opted to go right (the correct decision), and then carried on for a few miles, not another soul in sight.

    Halfway through we arrived at a large meadow and came upon two humans, the sight of which was so startling that we got confused and lost our bearings.


    After a bit of to-and-froing, we found The Emerald Pond, which lived up to its name and made me think of Anne of Green Gables. It would’ve been perfect for a swim, but we hadn’t brought suits or towels and the place was a little too exposed for skinny dipping. . .

    Maybe next time?

    Then we happened on those two humans again and they kindly let us screenshot their directions.

    And off we went again, this time in the right direction all the rest of the way back to the parking lot, including the correct trail back to the trailhead, which was considerably longer than our shortcut up the side of the mountain. But now at least we know where the trailhead is!

    one part of the trail was lined with the enormous anthills which I refrained from poking —
    be proud of me

    The duration of the hike, we had a cheeky little breeze which made the trees swoosh deliciously. At one point the trail consisted of sand and pine needles, and what with the roar of the trees sounding like crashing waves and the sand underfoot, I almost felt like I was on a beach. 

    It was a fun hike, but after the challenge and thrill of Old Rag, it felt like a bit of a let down. (Am I an adrenaline junky?)

    And now, here’s my hot list of hiking tips:

    • Tip #1: Print (or screenhot) a map of the trail because you won’t have cell service and getting lost happens.
    • Tip #2: Use 1 liter seltzer bottles for water: they weigh almost nothing, and warm water prevents dehydration just as well as cold. 
    • Tip #3: Invest in a small backpack. This one costs only 30 bucks and has been worth every penny.
    • Tip #4: Leggings might be warmer than shorts, but they protect your legs from brambles and bugs and make you feel invincible, like you can climb mountains (which is what you are doing, after all). 
    • Tip #5: Carry Tylenol — for when the dehydration/exhaustion headache sets in. 
    • Tip #6: Women: wear a pantiliner to catch the drips after trailside squating-and-peeing.
    • Tip #7: Tuck an extra shirt in the car to change into for the ride home. A clean shirt will make you feel refreshed even if your body still stinks to high heaven.
    • Tip #8: Keep a cooler with iced coffee in the car for your end-of-the-day reward. Bonus points if you wait to eat the salted chocolate chunk cookies until then, too.


    A note about Tip #6…

    At a gathering this weekend, I proudly shared my brilliant discovery and immediately got major kickback: That’s a terrible idea! Boo, pantiliners! Just shake and go!

    And I was like, Are you kidding me? Pantiliners keep your undies from getting soggy. It’s so much more comfortable!

    But the pantiliner gets soggy.

    No, the pantiliner absorbs the soggy. That’s the point of the pantiliner.

    Round and round we went, louder and louder. I had no idea wearing a pantiliner while hiking would be so controversial!

    So what do you think? Pantiliners while hiking: yea or nay?

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (6.20.22), family road trip, nova scotia oatcakes, one morning, the quotidian (6.20.16), in recovery, walking through water, three things, refried beans, orange cranberry scones.

  • the quotidian (6.19.23)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    When your kid works at a CSA, you get the BEST treat boxes.

    Runny to the core: 12 weeks old.

    The perfect post-Ultimate dinner.

    Bandage wrapping WORKS!!!

    Mead: either go big or go home.


    Hazy, from the Canadian wildfires.

    Foot splurge.

    It’s a Murch spotting!

    Puerto Rico bound.

    King of the Facebook Marketplace finds.

    His goat kidded: Introducing June.

    This same time, years previous: currently: a list, all before lunch, the quotidian (6.19.17), magic custard cake, the quotidian (6.19.12), cold-brewed iced tea and cold-brewed iced coffee, strawberry margarita cake.

  • salted chocolate chunk cookies

    I know I already have a million chocolate chip cookie recipes on the blog but — brace yourselves — I’ve got a new one! 

    It all started a couple months back when I was tasked with revamping the bakery chocolate chunk cookie. Bakery baking is different from home baking — bigger, fancier, more expensive — plus, the recipe has to be mass producible. Not too finicky or complicated, and the method has to be clear enough that a variety of people can just come in and work with it at different stages without too much headache. 

    I won’t bore you with the progression of failures and frustrations, but I did finally land on a recipe that seems to be working well, at least for the time being (bakery baking being all about the switching things up and seasonal recipes, yadda yadda yadda): Vaughn’s perfect chocolate chip cookie from the NY Times

    Vaughn did a whole bunch of tests — you can watch the video here — and finally landed on a formula that I’ve now adopted as my own. 

    I don’t normally like cookie dough but I can NOT keep my hands out of this stuff.

    A few highlights that I gleaned from him:

    • Beat the butter and sugar for a loooong time — at least  5 minutes — to get it all fluffy and aerated. 
    • Use a mix of cake and bread flour: cake flour for lightness, bread flour for chew.
    • Good quality chocolate, and loads of it
    • Chill the dough in the fridge for 24 hours prior to baking or freezing.
    • Salt salt salt the finished cookies. 

    At the bakery, we add in some buckwheat flour, and we use a blend of chocolate, a good portion of which is Callebaut which we get it in 11-pound blocks and chop it by hand. The small flecks of chocolate go all through the dough, and the big chunks create the most delicious chocolate puddles. (To amp up the puddles, we plunk a couple big lumps on top of each cookie right before baking.) 

    Any volunteers to lick the beater?

    At home, I take the easy way out: no buckwheat (because I don’t have any), and no fancy (expensive!) Callebaut. Instead, I use chocolate chips — I like a blend of semi sweet and milk chocolate — though if I have semi-sweet bar chocolate on hand, or chocolate disks, I’ll add that, too. (Remember: chocolate chips have an anti-clumping additive that prevents them from melting, so hand-chopped bar chocolate will create superior chocolate puddles.) 

    frozen cookie pucks

    The other bakery habit I’ve adopted is that, after the dough has rested in the fridge for a day, I’ll weigh the dough into 50 gram blobs (half the size that we do at the bakery) and then shape the blobs into pucks and freeze them.

    Then, whenever I want cookies, I bake off a few cookies for a limited (gotta check myself!) supply of fresh chocolate chunk deliciousness. 

    Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
    Adapted from the NY Times Cooking website.

    To make your own cake flour: put 2 tablespoons cornstarch in the bottom of a one-cup measuring cup. Top it off with all-purpose flour. Stir well.

    If you don’t have a kitchen scales, this one is a workhorse and costs less than 10 bucks. BUY IT.

    2½ sticks butter
    10 ounces brown sugar
    8 ounces white sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    8½ ounces cake flour
    8½ ounces bread flour
    1½ teaspoons salt
    1½ teaspoons baking powder
    1¼ teaspoons baking soda
    1¼ pounds chocolate chunk and/or chips
    Flaky salt for sprinkling (I use Maldon)

    Cream together the butter and sugars — beat briskly for at least 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, and mix gently just until combined. Stir in the chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic and chill in the fridge for 24 hours.

    To shape and freeze: Divide the dough into 50-gram blobs. Roll the blobs into balls and then shape into pucks. Since the edges cook first, make sure the edges are a little higher than the middles. Place the pucks on a cookie sheet, freeze, and then bag them and store in the freezer.

    To bake: place frozen cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown and the tops are puffy and no longer wet looking. (Err on the side of underbaking.) When pulling the cookies from the oven, smack the tray on stove top to make them deflate. Sprinkle the tops with Maldon salt and let them rest on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes to set up before transferring to a cooling rack.

    Yield: 43 50-gram cookies

    This same time, years previous: cousin week, family week, puff!, smart hostessing, sinking in, the quotidian (6.16.14), language study, Kate’s enchiladas.

  • in my kitchen: 1:07pm

    Going clockwise, starting on the table at 3 o’clock:

    • A five-gallon batch of sour cherry mead in the beginning stages of fermentation, squeee!
    • A small fraction (a very small fraction) of the eggs that we’re getting from my daughter’s hens.
    • My bowl of leftover ramen, bulked up with broccoli, grilled chicken, and kale.
    • Sourdough, bulk proofing.
    • A triple batch of sourdough crackers waiting to be rolled out and sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning.
    • A box of garden goodies — lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, two kinds of cauliflower, onions, garlic, and a single red beet — from the farm where my son worked that morning.
    • A kettle of whey leftover from making cuajada.
    • My son’s bowl of ramen, and the bowl of tuna salad he just mixed up for his lunch because he was famished.
    • My son fixing a massive sandwich, plus a plate of cheese and crackers and that soup.
    • My notebook, opened to the cheesemaking log. (I’d just tasted and packaged a bandage-wrapped cheddar. It was divine.)

    And on the counters, starting from the left:

    • A dirty skillet leftover from the morning’s eggs: my husband had four and my son had two, plus they both had toast and lassis.
    • The instant-read thermometer that I used to make the cheese.
    • Two pounds of ground beef thawing for the supper burgers.
    • Four jars (tucked behind the olive oil bottle) of sour cherry jam, waiting to be run down cellar.
    • Hamburger buns thawing.
    • Clabber clabbering.
    • The beginnings of a massive pile of dishes that my son washed mid-afternoon.

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (6.15.20), a new pie basket, high entertainment, street food, a glimpse, when I sat down.

  • lassi

    For the last month or two, I’ve been on a lassi bender. 

    A lassi, for those of you who don’t know, is a thinned-down yogurt drink: sometimes it’s sweet, but often it’s savory, jacked up with salt, coriander, turmeric, and the like. It’s like a smoothie, but thinner and less complicated. 

    My recent lassi infatuation is only natural, really, considering the insane amount of yogurt we have on hand. Dumping a whole quart of yogurt into the blender still feels excessive — yogurt is expensive! treasure it! — but then I remind myself that I have a whole fridge full of yogurt and it’s free and healthy so just eat it already, Jennifer, and then I get over myself and move on. 

    My method is simple: a quart of yogurt, a frozen banana or two, a handful of frozen red raspberries (for color and a pop of tart), and then my secret weapon: a generous scoop of coconut cream.

    Coconut cream gives the lassi a kiss of sweet tropical sunshine, and even though it may feel like a luxury, it’s actually not that expensive (about $3/can), and a little goes a long way — a single tin makes 4-6 batches of lassi. Once opened, I cover the can with plastic and pop it into the fridge where it sits, ready to elevate my next lassi.

    Bottom line: If coconut cream isn’t a staple in your kitchen, it should be. 


    1 quart whole milk yogurt
    1-2 frozen bananas
    1 cup frozen fruit, like red raspberries or strawberries
    2-4 tablespoons coconut cream

    Whirl everything together in a blender for a minute. Pour into glasses. Drink.

    P.S. A lassi makes for a great breakfast on the road.

    enroute to Old Rag

    This same time, years previous: pepper jack cheese, barbecue sauce, up, up, up to Utuado, plan our vacation for me, please, the quotidian (6.12.17), a photo book, spinach dip, the business of belonging, the smartest thing I did, Greek cucumber and tomato salad, microwave flower press.

  • what are you good at?

    The other day when I was flipping a cheese (or maybe I was getting it out of the press? brining it? whatever), I suddenly blurted, “I’m good at making cheese.” 

    black pepper parmesan

    My husband mm-hmmed me politely, and everyone else ignored me, but as I puttered about the kitchen I kept thinking about what I’d just said. 


    Three years ago I didn’t know what clabber was, or the differences between mesophilic and thermophilic cultures, or how to do the squeeze test to see if the curds were done cooking or make a saturated salt brine, and now I’m consistently turning out fat wheels of delicious cheese.

    baby swiss

    I really am good at making cheese!

    Here are a few of the stages I’ve gone through thus far. 

    • Hope Springs Eternal: where I have zero confidence but truckloads of ambition.
    • The Granny Fantasy: where I obsess over finding a cheesemaking granny to teach me how. 
    • Death By Information: where I read everything I can get my hands on and watch hours of YouTube videos.
    • Finding My People: where I get together with other cheesemakers to discuss process, troubleshoot, and eat cheese. 
    • Make All The Cheese: where I do exactly that, because how else will I learn what’s good and what’s not?
    • Crash and Burn: where I culture a whole bunch of cheeses with kefir and then throw most of them out because kefir is from the devil. 
    • Share The Journey: where I start a YouTube channel, because simply making the cheese isn’t complicated enough.
    • Clabber Me Silly: where I learn the power and glory of clabber and use it to make all my cheeses. 
    • Moi Terroir: where I’m finally coming into my own. I know which cheeses we like best and how fast we’ll eat them up. I understand how little tweaks will impact the final product. I know which tools are necessary and which ones are aren’t. I have my own cheesemaking style, complete with techniques and handy little tricks.

    pepper jack

    All along I’ve been getting good at making cheese and now I am good at making it. Now I can confidently knock out a 7-pound wheel of cheese in several hours, zero stress, zero drama. It’s just cheese.


    Which is a marvel, really, considering how much I didn’t know.


    What are you good at? Whistling? Parallel parking? Growing tomatoes? Typing? Writing books? Telling jokes? Giving IVs? Splitting wood? Apologizing? (Three other things I’m good at: making lists, delegating, and trying new things.)

    This same time, years previous: happy pork, milk central, margarita mix, energy boost, the family reunion of 2017, the quotidian (6.8.15), delivery, thorns, Jeni’s chocolate ice cream, how we beat the heat.

  • old rag

    I’d been itching to go on a hike so last week husband said he’d take Friday off. I told him I wanted a 6-8 mile hike, something long enough to make me tired and be worth the drive.

    “How about Old Rag?” he said from behind his computer screen where he was scrolling through options. “It’s 9 miles, and they say it takes 6-10 hours.” 


    “It’s classified as ‘very strenuous.’”

    So I texted a bunch of my hiking friends to see if they thought this was something I could handle. They all said yes, and my older son added, “There’s a bit of a rock scramble near the top but the views are well worth it. Definitely recommend.” 

    A bit of a rock scramble, hahaha.

    The first hour was uphill. We started off at a brisk pace, leap-frogging a few groups as we went. There were two guys behind us, and at one point I asked if they wanted to pass us. “Not yet,” they said, and then I got weirdly competitive, needing to stay ahead of them even though I was huffing and puffing, dying of thirst, and on the verge of seeing stars. After 45 minutes, we took our first break (and they passed us), but then we happened on a huge group of high schoolers, and once we got passed them, we again had to hustle to put distance between them and us. 

    I kept pondering the upcoming rock scramble my son had mentioned. What did “rock scramble” mean, exactly? A field of rocks like what you’d find on a river bed? A trail of small-ish boulders which required leaping from one to the other, like when you were a kid and the floor was lava and you had to get around the house by jumping from sofa to chair to pillow to piano bench? He said there were no cliffs so it couldn’t be that bad.

    About one hour in, we hit the rocks, and I was like, Oh, now I get it. Crap. 

    I don’t have many pictures — I was too busy not dying — but let’s just say: it’s called a rock scramble, m’dears, because you gotta throw your whole body into it. Forget simple walking — this sort of hiking required scooching along on one’s bum, crawling on all fours, and lots of slide-falling. 

    When we got to the rocks that were taller than me and slippery smooth, and that I somehow had to heave myself over, I got sweary. How the heck was I supposed to climb boulders without a hand-hold? (Answer: via a husband who let me use his foot as a prop, and random dudes who pointed out the best stepping ledges and gave me a hand when there were none.)

    Him: We gotta get the whole way up there!

    Me: [death stare]

    Sometimes the trail markers pointed straight up, or straight down, or straight into the rock (and then there’d be a tunnel). Once my hips got stuck. Another time, I braced myself against the rock walls with my elbows, which didn’t hurt but now they’re purple. 

    As we climbed higher the trail led across the tops of big boulders with gaps between. My husband basically walked over them (he’s a goat), but I’d get to the crevasse and stop cold. In my head I knew I could do it — Just step across the damn crack, Jennifer — but in my other head, I could clearly see myself slipping, tumbling downdowndown, shattering bones and eventually getting wedged between rocks, and then there’d be the surgeries, obscene medical bills, and tedious months of healing (assuming I lived).

    ALSO, when I was on cross cultural in college (warning: if easily queasy, skip the rest of this paragraph) I watched one of my classmates leap across a stone-sided ravine: her one foot made it but the other one didn’t. Instead, it slammed into the stone wall and — there’s no polite way to say this — the impact knocked her foot off her leg, a bit of skin and tendon the only thing keeping it from falling off completely.

    So there I’d be: stuck, and a wee bit whimpery, but then I’d gather my wits about me (what other choice did I have?) and jump across and it’d be fine. 

    We arrived at the top two and a half hours after starting the hike. It was spectacular.

    We sat on the far side of the mountain in the shade of a giant boulder (of course). At first it felt like a flat location, and it was more or less, but the longer we sat there the more I realized that the rocks just kinda curved down, down, down. If we dropped anything, or stumbled, there’d be no way to stop.

    But I tried not to think about that and instead focused on (not dropping) my PB&J and watching the birds soaring at eye level and then swooping so far down below us, yet still above the tree tops.

    Eating my lunch high above the birds — now that was incredible. 

    And then we hoisted our packs back on our shoulders and took off down the mountain. The decent was much easier (no rock scramble, yessss) but miles of downhill stepping with legs that felt like jelly was its own special kind of pain. 

    And then there were several more miles of fire road hiking which were so boring that I took to singing “This is the trail that never ends” at ever-increasing levels of volume until my husband begged me to stop.

    And then we were back at the car — the nine-mile loop took us 4 hours and 40 minutes — where I swapped my smelly shirt for a clean one, peeled off my socks and wiggled my toes, dug the iced coffee and mint tea out of the cooler and — ahhhh — relaxed. 

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (6.6.22), mama said, simple lasagna, the quotidian (6.6.16), white icing, of a sun-filled evening, on hold.

  • the quotidian (6.5.23)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Good morning!

    Roast ready.


    It’s the season to (make) bounce!

    In the works: mac and cheese (aka time to clean out the cheese drawer).

    When having kids pays off.

    Strawberry freezer jam: a family favorite.

    Should I be concerned?

    Book nest.

    When breathing costs $177 — with a discount at a pharmacy that doesn’t take our insurance.
    (With insurance, it’s $250.)

    Tall much?

    Can you spy all four murchlings?

    This same time, years previous: so much milk, in the bedroom, the coronavirus diaries: week thirteen, berries for supper, how do you want to be when you grow up?, the quotidian (6.4.18), this is us, a better grilled cheese sandwich, on pins and needles, meat market: life in the raw, the best chocolate ice cream ever.