It’s June 1st – a date that feels like it holds such promise to me. Like leisure might suddenly drape itself lightly upon my shoulders, and the lingering daylight hours will stretch to accommodate the perfect balance of productivity and idleness. Ha! I know better. This isn’t my first rodeo.
Last week I worked very hard to create this mini-retreat from the routine. It helped not having children in the house; in fact, that’s what really inspired it. I was pretty run down at the end of the preceding week – not really by said children, but by the normal events that accumulate at the end of the school year. Last week I still went to work, but I altered my morning routine significantly – I hit the snooze button, I read in bed, I had breakfast in coffee shop courtyards, I wandered around the garden on my own. My evening routine was different too – we didn’t cook, we met up at restaurants or picked up a favorite pizza (we have so many!) and beer and brought them home to enjoy. I ran longer distances and went to late night power yoga sessions. I cleaned and organized and pitched stuff – an act that almost certainly requires that children be absent.
The week felt so balanced in so many ways (aside from the fact that I did wish for my children to return)! It reinforced the idea that the concept of summer vacation is really important – even in a family that works all year long, including the summer months. It takes a little more creativity to make it happen, but it can be done. Last week I tried out some of those ideas on myself, and I’ve been talking to the girls about some of the ideas I have for making the mornings and evenings feel like summer, and not just an extension of the school year, minus the homework.
Which brings me back around to my opening paragraph – that optimism at the beginning of summer that can overtake you. This will be the most relaxing summer EVER! And I will also get SO MANY projects done! When fall comes around I will be rejuvenated, incredibly fit, ever so slightly golden (in the healthiest way possible), and my house and yard will finally, FINALLY be finished.
It happens to the best of us. I’m acknowledging it early this year in the attempt to fight it off. Wish me luck.
Maybe it’s taken me four decades to realize that I can’t simultaneously do everything and nothing, but I now understand this and (begrudgingly) accept it. Let this summer be the summer of tiny moves – not hugely arcing pendulum swings. Let this be the anti-manifesto summer. Let this be the summer of lingering at the farmer’s market, but not buying all of the fruits and vegetables of the season in one fell swoop. The green tomatoes can be enough.
Inspired by a Blue Apron meal in past years: thick slice tart, firm green tomatoes into 1/2″ slices. Coat in flour, both sides, shake off excess. Dredge through buttermilk and then press into panko crumbs, firmly pressing to generously coat. Heat a 1/4″ layer of oil til sizzling over medium-high heat; fry tomatoes, 3-4 minutes a side, until golden and even darker around the edges.
These are delicious with lightly dressed greens (olive oil and lemon juice), and topped with a spicy remoulade. The original recipe stirred together 1/4 cup of mayo, cajun spice to taste, one minced shallot, once minced garlic clove, the zest of one lemon, and the juice of half of it. I used equal parts cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, dried oregano, dried thyme, and some paprika for color, about 1 teaspoon total. I tasted it and swirled some sriracha in for a little more kick. Sour cream with a little lemon juice would be a tamer, tasty alternative. Parsley on top makes it fancy.