[Maine, June 2010.]
In the past two weeks:
* Riding an off-road vehicle thing through the woods behind my aunt and uncle’s place in Vermont with two of my cousins, up the hills and past the apple trees and along the snowmobile trails, bumpily, and never being happier to smell all that good, green air, run through with secrets.
* Coming back into the old kitchen to cook part of dinner (penne w. pine nuts and feta and spinach from the garden), resting my eyes on that wide expanse of grass out the window, exclaiming (again) over those gorgeous, just-picked greens.
* A night sitting ’round the table with my cousin and her fiance, cementing that she and I were definitely separated at birth for too many reasons to count, albeit 14 years apart.
* Watching the Sox with my uncle. Remembering how completely curmudgeon-y, and with the softest heart, he is.
* Catching eyes with a sweet black lab, and falling in mutual adoration on the spot.
* Screaming for the USA in a pub in Bath, Maine, after they scored against Algeria, hugging and jumping up and down deliriously along with a roomful of strangers, nausea banished as Landon Donovan threw himself onto the field in joy. (Conversely, those excruciating minutes on Saturday during overtime, when it was clear they were just not going to make it. Waaaa!!)
* How good that gin and tonic tasted sitting outside by the Kennebec after baking for 7+ hours (that’s seven, people), still spattered with flour and melted chocolate and my feet hurting like they’ve never hurt before. The pizza devoured later at home. The leftover chocolate cake with too much frosting. The garden at night.
* Swimming at a little hidden beach near Phippsburg, that freezing water.
* Dinner by the water in Portland with the old gang, drinking beer and eating pizza, the impromptu toasts. The late-night drive back with the ipod on shuffle hitting it just right.
* Getting that the dowels do work (thank g-d!!).
* Realizing that the boys will always be the boys, and no matter how old we get or where we live or how little I see them, they will without fail make me laugh like nothing else. And how I love them.
* Decorating the cake at the museum in a bit of a rush (though not frantically) Saturday morning before getting ready for the wedding, grooving to Greek music and calling my best friend to tell him the first dance song was to Tom Waits’ “Picture in a Frame” (oh yeah).
* Walking through a green field near Pemaquid (in heels!) with the (tall!) brother of the bride, and noting that holy shit our siblings are getting married, like, for real, in about 10 minutes.
* Watching my brother cry when he said his vows. Crying a little bit, too.
* Knowing I gained not only a sister-in-law but a near-sister, and a true friend, and how lucky I am for all of it.
* Having most of my extended family from both sides in one place at the same time. And then hanging with the Sebastopol crowd at the bar after.
* Seeing my brother’s best friend so happy.
* Seeing my brother and Emily so happy.
* Collapsing into my sweet, much-missed bed last night after about 15 hours of travel.
Friends, was an amazing stretch of days — the wedding was beautiful, perfect, a gift of a day all grey light and looming storm that held off until we were safely inside and drinking white wine sangria and eating delicious Mexican food. The cakes turned out even better than I’d hoped (thank you for all your support) and I saw people going back for seconds … thirds … which as you know is the most gratifying thing for a cook. And I would definitely do it again which means that a) yes, I am absolutely nuts and b) they did turn out pretty well. They involved 7+ hours of baking, 5 hours of assembly/frosting, 4 dozen eggs, too much butter to articulate, and a lot of faith. But holy crow was it worth it.
ps: a wee taste