live it up.

 Sometimes the earth turns at just the right speed, as it should. dreams are born, ideas are hatched, everyone agrees and lovely comes together. we discover there is life, good life, not to mention gratitude, beyond all the negotiating, and second guessing and hemming and hawing and excuse making and procrastinating and blah blah blah-ing. I swear I just heard the universe exhale!

  A few weeks ago, for a fleeting, poignant moment in time, the earth’s usual rotation was suspended. poised like the arm of a turn table over a spinning disk. feeling it's power, knowing that once it lowers, makes contact with the vinyl, the entire room will be at its mercy. It appears that was the day I officially abandoned all my good sense in honor of the greater good ~ and by the greater good I mean, summer. I know, we're more than half way through... don't even bother trying to reason with me. I won't listen.

Summer can be a lot of things. it can be sprinklers. flowers in window boxes. picnic lunches in vintage wicker baskets, by the lake. dirty feet from wearing flip-flops, all the time! If I'm really lucky, it's watermelon granita. Further down the road, there are fields full of wildflowers. and corn. Absolutely there’s lots of summer left.

 I almost feel like I could just stop right there. It seems a fitting summation.

But then, I've never been one to make a long story short.

So...more than anything, summer is when my flip is switched.

It happened. today. without warning. I have no reasonable explanation. I can't account for this.  All I know is, I never made my bed.

I thought about it. It's part of the routine. takes only a few seconds. I walked away without warning.

This may be the beginning of the end. or! it could be the beginning of the beginning. all in the way you look at it, you know, rose colored glasses, glass half full, la-de-dah. It just suddenly comes over me. in the summer. a summery state of mind, if you will. Making life feel bigger, fuller, richer. Big enough to put an unmade bed in its place. letting me know how silly it is to care so dang much about such things when there is life to be lived.

It's not every day. It's just now. and then. And it feels pretty darn good. I stacked the dishes on the counter. near the sink. like I had plans to wash them. end of story. without another thought, I sorted the whites. game over. I made other plans.

My other plans?

A nap! An hour nap! in my unmade bed!! in the middle of the afternoon!!!  A blissful, decadent, uncharacteristic, just-because-I-could nap.

The room was cool and shadowy. the sound of a distant lawn mower lulled me. I drifted in and out while the rest of the house was quiet as a whisper and the world kept spinning past my windows.

I did the drill all winter long. Now I'm all geared up for some good clean fun rebellion. My perfect day, low seventies, and sunny, with just enough breeze to ruffle my bangs. The puppies are lying at my feet, dozing, dreaming, and softly snoring. occasionally barking in that late-afternoon way they have. I think they may also have sundown syndrome, that same energy shift that causes the elderly to get agitated, babies to become cranky and housewives to reach for the wine bottle.

So from now on, there will be days when the house is a mess because, lately I am only in it long enough to stir things up. cause a scene. I just can't be bothered to stick around too long and take care of things. I'm busy summering it up. 

Any day now, I'll stop making dinner.  Soon, I promise you, I'll start to forget to buy groceries all together. And when I remember? Mostly fruit. or veggies. straight from the garden.

So! my plan is to live it up, Baby! This is my summer. the one I have been waiting for. This one, won't pass me by. I will spend every moment embracing it. appreciating being alive. I have become a tourist in my own town. I have eaten lunch in my gazebo. sat on the porch swing, after nine! pm. I rode my bike to the library, farmer's market, and to the middle of nowhere. I watched the sun rise and set. in the same day. I people-watched at an outdoor concert. Drove mom to Amish country. bought cheese and fresh eggs. stayed up late discussing everything, laughing and eating ice cream. I cut my own hair and wore long gauzey skirts.  Got a tan on my arms, and feet. wore a straw hat and ate blueberries warm from the garden.

Baked early in the morning, when it was cooler. walked under the stars. watched fireflies. Filled a sketchbook. Wrote in my journal. did yoga on the deck, in my pajamas. Took pictures of loved ones and total strangers.Talked to old friends. and people I've never met before. gave them directions to my favorite café. Sat in the gazebo, alone, when it was cloudy and about to rain. Wrote, loved and lived in those silent and still moments, because they are just as precious as those reckless ones. And, oh, those reckless moments. Get a tattoo, in memory of. Paint my bedroom. the color of the ocean. Do everything I've ever wanted and the things I never thought I could. Be brave. Be strong. Be a unicorn. or a mermaid. This is my summer, this is my story, this is my life. I want to live it up

just sayin'.

 Leek, Corn, and Mascarpone Tart
For the crust
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, in 1/4-inch pieces (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 
Make the crust:
 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
 Place the flour in a large bowl, and, using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the pieces are pea-size. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, my editor Justin suggests that you can also use two knives, in a crossing pattern, to cut the shortening into the flour mixture.) Sprinkle the ice water by tablespoons over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until all the dough is moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to fit a 10-inch tart pan. Fit the dough into the pan and trim the edge flush with the rim. Prick all over the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork. Place the crust on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
 Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F.
Make the filling:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Stir in the basil, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, and cool for 10 minutes.
In a medium-size bowl, beat together the mascarpone, cream, and eggs until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cheese mixture to the leek and corn mixture and mix together until the ingredients are well blended. Transfer the filling into the crust and lightly sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set. Allow the leek tart to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


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