it is wisdom to follow the heart.

It's true, I've let things go. People who know me are scandalized. especially my mom. What can I say? I am enticed by the promise of sunshine and laughter. You'll have to forgive me. I knew it was wrong. I knew there would be consequences. Why am I acting out like this? Heck if I know. For what it's worth, I'm better now. Also, while we're here, I'd like to dispense of what is perhaps my most valuable life advice: It is wisdom to believe the heart. so, follow your heart. Find your joy and go for it. It makes life so much easier and eliminates a good portion of the should I or shouldn't I internal debate. If I find something in an acceptable shade of will this make me happy, I'm probably going to try it. If it's whispery blue, perfectly pink, or wintery white, I dare you to try to stop me. If I find something in a lovely shade of red or yellow, I'll get excited to try it another time and keep on walking.

In following this belief, I am free to snatch things up, even if I have no earthly idea what I'm going to do with them. I can try them with the full confidence that I'll find a home for them somewhere. Aqua. Green. turquoise. cerulean. Come to Mama. I could keep this up all the livelong day.  Last year I was hunkered down in vibrant. magenta. fuchsia. chartreuse. I didn't understand the quiet. I didn't want it. I was busy having dreams about what would happen next, now I am making room in my heart. 

So, really, nothing much to see here, dude. and if I'm being honest, or at least empathetic, I should have at least mentioned as much at the outset.  and now? I'm knee deep in domestic. boxing up summer and airing out winter. I know, right? exciting as dirt.  So long hubbub, hello humdrum. 
It's pretty exquisite. and I am excited about it. Because in a year like this year, when change has been the only constant and novelty my closest companion, the ordinary feels awfully good.  A little exotic, even.  I'm going through all the drawers. I cleaned out closets that smacked of ten years' neglect, some of their contents still in moving boxes. I made headway in the garden and order in the "studio". Successful repairs to a water heater, furnace, and deadbeat dresser.  Last year, I would have called this all drudgery.  This year, blissfully normal.

It's not all housework.  If anything, chores are playing second fiddle to the whir and dazzle of mom/sister days and sudden salad suppers. I've been working hard to re-claim this common commotion for nearly six months now, so I wasn't exactly caught unawares.  But the all-at-once of birthday parties and day trips and outings longed for and arrived blindsided me a little anyway. They left me more than a little bit giddy.  I'll deal with the vortex later.  Right now, it's just nice to have a seat at the swirl. I dissed the vacuum cleaner for days, because the sun just wouldn't quit, and there were tye-dyed trees. I walked at the feeblest excuse, to buy cupcakes, to romp through the woods, to gawk.  because right now, the trees are pretty darn gawk-worthy.  Once, on the way back home I fielded questions from a neighbor, voicing concern. I set them at ease. Everyday accomplishments snuck in.  I found time, here and there, to work on a DVD, full of hippies, laughter and friends. set to music. nostalgic. Absolutely trivial.  Deeply satisfying. I began a novel. again.

But there is more. I spoke loudly about wanting tides and seasons and all of that. so now I'm packing. and planning. trying to see past the missing. the sad. So maybe my season was a quiet one, but in my heart, I am happy. Sure there were days when I lived with the curtains drawn, brewing tea for one, in my pajama pants. But I never checked out. I found other ways to cope. Left to my own devices, now, everyday would be ocean, a good book, and call it a day.

 My point? (I am suppose to have a point?) is that I'm a whole lot of miscellany. I defy categorization. I like the freedom to do whatever the heck I want. Mostly, I like to enjoy the love and beauty that surrounds me daily. It contents me. I have no agenda, other than my every day nonsense, but I'll save that for another day. I feel no pressure to be thematic and organized. really you never noticed? I'm telling you, I've learned that it's best to just roll with it all. My occasional days of moping about helps to balance things out.

At a certain point, I've got to admit that it's just kind of full of it.  Life, I mean, with it's grab bag of  outrageous. I keep it slung over my shoulder so I can reach in every now and then for little bits of silly and incredible. I got to thinking about this in early summer. while in search of the sunshine. there was none to be found, as it happened, so I settled instead for a rainbow.  A whole rainbow.  A sight akin to unicorns and garden gnomes. Leprechauns. pots of gold. And yet, there it was, one-hundred-and-eighty degrees of unlikely.  So ever since, I've been sort of taking notes, noticing those funny little wrinkles in Life where reality and serendipity rub shoulders.  And darned if they don't keep popping up.

Potato Leek Soup
Adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Yields 4-6 supper-sized servings
I prefer this slightly thicker than the original. 
4-5 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
6 leeks, halved, thoroughly washed, and thinly sliced (whites and tender greens)
2 quarts (8 cups) of water
1 Tbl. kosher salt (2 1/2 tsp if using regular table salt)
4-6 Tbl. heavy cream
3-4 Tbl. chives or parsley, for garnish
6-8 oz. smoked salmon or trout, flaked, to top

Place sliced potatoes, leeks, water and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to the boil.  Turn heat down to low-medium, and simmer, partially covered, 40-50 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender.

Place stick blender in soup pot, and blitz 1-2 minutes, until soup is completely smooth.  Alternatively, process in batches in a standing blender, or pass through a food mill until uniformly smooth.  Stir in cream off the heat, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. 
Ladle into soup bowls, pile a small heap of flaked fish on top if using, and garnish with fresh herbs, enjoy. 


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