a firecracker life.

Life has been sort of a hodge-podge lately. then the wind starts blowing everything about. It kinda annoys me, yet I can't seem to muster the strength of mind to move it all to a more picturesque location. Apparently all that matters to me at the moment is that everything is present and accounted for. given that life still has a few surprises. A few years ago, I thought everything was settled in. I felt like I could move on. I had a plan! I wasn't ready for what happened. So, I am still here. Where it’s lovely and quiet. Not near the water, but kinda rural and quiet. Where it’s dark enough at night that stars crowd the sky. And it’s quiet. Did I mention that it’s quiet? Except for the crickets. And the occasional train. I hear them at night. when I am alone. those sounds, they soothe me. lull me to a land where dreams still come true. As for me, I'm working on it.

It scares me to say this, even as I can’t help myself, even as I think it a dozen times a day. Even as I daydream about the ocean, all the live-long day. Even as I hang pictures on freshly painted walls and feel what must be contentment rise up inside me. Even as I watch my life fill this space. as I feel myself become at ease here, and start to believe that I am home. for now. Yes, as happy as that all is, it’s scary too. Because what if it all goes away? What if I can’t hold on to this, for myself? For those I love? I’ve learned that fear. To wait, as I do, for the other shoe to drop. To reach out for something and not feel surprised when it’s yanked away just as I’m about to grab hold. Just when I feel the safest.

For years, I’ve been looking for a place to land. That place, the one I would never want to leave. A place where I could stay through enough seasons that memories would have time to take root. A place beside the sea.  There must be people who like to move, who like the change, but I am not one of them. not anymore. I used to be. I have moved many times. thousands of miles apart. I have loved my homes, built whole lives around them. I always seem to be able to see how it will look. how it will be. yet, I can walk away.

My life, it gets more misbehavin' all the time. I can feel some of the illusions slip away.  but trust me, I've still got plenty in my pocket. I can feel the heart stopping love. I've been practicing. Sometimes things even seem to make a bit of sense, making me believe I can fit the pieces together. But not always. I'm the girl who works an idea like a pop quiz. I'm scribbling and erasing just to do it all again. In the end, even if my ideas fit neatly into the little boxes, I'm sure they won't add up. And what I'm learning, amidst all the in between living and piles of laundry is that it's best to just live while I wonder. enjoy the gift. 

Let's be honest, we all pine for things. Sometimes, what I pine for most are French wines and cheeses, imported chocolates, a nap in the afternoon, the perfect peach pie, a fresh bag of Corn Tortilla Chips and homemade salsa ~ spicy ~ room temperature.

Unfortunately, today isn't one of those easy days.

Today I'm pining straight from the heart for a big ticket item. A home by the sea. But this place? The life I have here looks peaceful, for now.  Settled. Rooted. My little town is all charm and history. The next closest town meets all my shopping needs and has a lovely historic downtown, too. There’s enough here to keep me entertained, with enough sillyness and beauty that I can find my own ways. and some of my favorite people live here. friends I can meet for coffee on a whim or a get together in the most perfect barn ever. ever! Still, I keep a jar on the kitchen counter for shells, and wishes ~ I call it my ocean jar. I still want that. It won’t be easy. truth be told, it just gets harder. Life is always messier than a postcard. There are practical concerns that keep me awake some nights, but that would be true anywhere. It’s all possible. Good things are possible. If I’m hard-wired with a certain amount of fear, I’m also an eternal optimist through and through. Any instinct I've ever had to move on has settled for the time being, like a sky full of stars coming to rest in the morning light. I’ll leave them to their task. to the wind. wings. and wanderings. I want those roots. But at heart I'm still that piece of sea glass that keeps getting tossed back in, allowing life to tumble me up a bit more. my sharp edges are many and sometimes I feel like I might drown. making this trip I'm on feel like a firecracker. Turns out, I've always wanted a firecracker life.
just sayin'.

 perfect peach pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup ice water

About 3 1/2 pounds peaches (approximately 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about half a regular lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch 

To finish
1 tablespoon milk, cream or water
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar

Make your pie dough: Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large, wide bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. (I chop my butter into small bits.) Gently stir in the ice water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.

Meanwhile, prepare your filling: Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Prepare an ice bath. Make a small x at the bottom of each peach. Once water is boiling, lower peaches, as many as you can fit at once, into saucepan and poach for two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice bath for one minute to cool. Transfer peaches to cutting board and peel the skins. In most cases, the boiling-then-cold water will loosen the skins and they’ll slip right off. In the case of some stubborn peaches, they will stay intact and you can peel them with a paring knife or vegetable peeler.

Halve and pit the peaches, then into about 1/3-inch thick slices. You’ll want 6 cups; it’s okay if you go a little over. Add to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small dish, stir together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch until evenly mixed. Add to peaches and toss to evenly coat. Preheat oven to 425*.

Assemble your pie: Flour the heck out of your counter, unwrap your first dough (if the two pieces look uneven, go for the smaller one) and put it in the middle and flour that too. Be generous, you’ll thank me later. Start rolling your dough by pressing down lightly with the pin and moving it from the center out. You’re not going to get it all flat in one roll or even twenty; be patient and it will crack less. Roll it a few times in one direction, lift it up and rotate it a quarter-turn. And that’s what you’re going to continue to do, roll a couple times, lift the dough and rotate it. Re-flour the counter and the top of the dough as needed–don’t skimp! You should be leaving no bits of dough on the counter and none should be stuck to your pin. If at any point, the dough starts to get sticky or soft, it’s warming up and will only become more difficult to work with. Transfer it back to the fridge for a few minutes (or even the freezer, but for just a minute) to let it cool, then resume your rolling process. Once your dough is a 12- to 13-inch circle, transfer pie dough to a standard pie dish by folding it gently into quarters (making no creases), arranging the folded corner into one quadrant of the bottom of your tin and gently unfolding it to fit over the base. Trim the overhang to one inch.

Scoop filling into bottom pie dough, including any accumulated juices (they contain the thickener too, also: tastiness). Roll out your top pie dough using the same procedure, until it is 12 to 13 inches in diameter. If you’d like to make a regular lidded pie, use it as is, cutting some decorative vents in the pie lid before baking. To make a lattice-top pie, cut the pie dough into strips anywhere from 1/2 to 1-inch wide with a pastry wheel, pizza wheel or knife. Arrange every other strip across your pie filling in one direction, spacing the strips evenly. Fold back every other strip gently on itself and add the longest remaining strip in the other direction. Fold the strips back down, repeat with the other strips until a full lattice-top is formed. Trim the lattice’s overhang to the diameter of the pie dish’s rim. Gently fold the rim of the bottom crust over the lattice strips and crimp decoratively.

To finish:Brush pie with milk, cream or water and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake pie: For about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is set and beginning to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake pie for another 30 to 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling all over and the crust is a nice golden brown. If the pie lid browns too quickly at any point in the baking process, you can cover it with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent further browning.
Cool pie: For three hours at room temperature before serving, the pie filling does not fully thicken until it is fully cool. Pie can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge.       enjoy.


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