Feeling Wanderlusty

I’m firmly afflicted with the travel bug again, much to my chagrin. I have consciously not traveled much since moving to Boulder because I want to put down roots, make friends,  know the area and etc., etc., etc. You know – actually LIVE somewhere. I’m committed to Colorado, and therefore it has been a year since I have been overseas. I’m starting to feel a little as though the metaphorical walls are closing in and I might have to hop on a plane without thinking it through clearly.

Truthfully, I shouldn’t travel right now. I don’t have the time or the money, and I’m blissfully happy in my life here. It’s not that I want to leave. It’s more that I want an adventure of relatively short duration, and then to happily come home again. I desperately want to visit a wonderful friend in Zurich, and I haven’t been to Europe in forever, and I also have started missing Oxford terribly so maybe I should stop in there on the way, and can I take a few weeks this summer to go live somewhere different just for a change of scenery? It’s such a good feeling to come home after the disconcerting-ness of living somewhere strange.

Zurich

Of course, I also really want to go HERE:

Everest Base Camp. My current dream trip, which realistically will take a month to do properly. First, a week to fly somewhere relatively nearby and adjust to the time change (Hong Kong or Shanghai? Maybe get lucky and get into Bhutan?). I don’t want to have trouble sleeping from altitude and jet leg at the same time, and I know the altitude will get to me. Plus, if I’m going to fly halfway around the world, I’d like to see some of it. Then, about 14 days for the roundtrip trek to a place you can only get to under your own power. Isn’t that amazing? There are still places on this earth that one can literally only get to on foot. If you meet someone who has been to Everest Base Camp, they literally walked there for two weeks. I think that’s incredible. It is also going to change – there are already rescue helicopters that will take some charter flights up to Base Camp – but for now, it stays a special place.

I’ve already seen quite a bit of Kathmandu, and I predict that I won’t escape this trip without some bodily harm, so I’m happy to quickly hightail it out of Nepal as soon as the trek is over for some first world/first class pampering in Dubai. Then take the fabulous nonstop Dubai-Atlanta flight, stop in to see my dad and stepmom, then finally home to Denver. See? It’s all planned. I just need a free month and a generous allowance. But it WILL happen.

In the meantime . . . I’ve been thinking of throwing a proper Pimm’s and strawberries and cream party to bring a little Oxford to Colorado.

Tomayto Tomahto (with a very good Pimm's recipe)

If I don’t just hop on the BA Denver-London flight over Memorial Day weekend and then jaunt to Zurich.

Addendum: I just noticed that in my last post one month ago, I wrote that my wanderlust itch had been scratched. Well. Um. I guess mostly? I don’t want to LIVE anywhere new. For me, that’s progress.

Easter One Year Ago

I was in Oman. Michael was visiting, and we went to the sunrise service because I had been told that was the service everyone goes to. It was so full that they held it outside, in a dusty field between two churches in the “Christian Complex”. Oman allows the practice of religions other than Islam, but they designate where churches can be placed. In Muscat, they are all stuck in a cluster together a little outside the city. So we drove out there and sat outside while the sun came up behind the mountains and went from freezing cold in the darkness to the warmth of early summer in the Middle East. Afterwards the ladies put out cookies and Dixie cups with juice and we had some and I felt kind of awkward in a crowd of people probably a lot more religious than I am. We probably went home and took a nap after that, I can’t remember.

Soon after Michael and I went on our amazing trip to India and Nepal, I came back to Oman horribly ill with something mysterious, and I went home two weeks later still too sick to fly, but I did it anyway, and I was happy to be leaving Oman. It was the right adventure at the right time, and taught me for the first time in my life that living a full 24 hours of flying time away from my family is just too far. It finally scratched that wanderlust itch that I’ve always had to just go off and do something/anything, as long as it’s different and interesting. It implanted a major bug in my ear (is that an expression? I think?) to trek to Everest Base Camp, which I am determined to do, though probably not this year. It made me realize the kind of work I want to do and put me on the path that I’m on now, which feels 100% right all the time, which makes a huge difference when I’m tired and/or feeling burnt out. It confirmed my long-held suspicion that following my instincts and excitement level is the best way to find my path – even when people I love think I’m being crazy and irresponsible and short-sighted.

So to whatever that is that leads me around by the nose and tells me what to do when the path is foggy: I love you. Life is good. Thanks for putting me in Colorado.

Yes, this is a real Omani sign.

New Home, New Life, New Grill

I’m in Boulder! I live somewhere again. It’s so nice to live in my own space with my own friendly things around me.

I’ve been here a few weeks and so far so good, though unpacking boxes and furniture that were in storage for a year was like opening up a wrinkled dust bowl. Which doesn’t even make sense, but there was dust. And wrinkled everything. And I didn’t have internet for a week and a half. I realized that I’ve never moved from one house to another like normal people do – I’ve always flitted off to somewhere random and left everything at my parents’ house for months, or gave all the furniture to Goodwill because it wasn’t worth keeping and then just bought new stuff. Does having nice furniture that deserves storage space mean I’m a real grownup now? So I had to do things like buy a lightbulb for every single lamp, and discover all the shoes and coats I stored for a year and forgot about, and buy so many clothes hangers and organization bins I think I’ve kept Target in business for at least another month. Normal moving has got to be simpler, right? You just put everything in a truck, and then it comes out of the truck an hour or a day later and everything is just the way it was when you put it in? That sounds so lovely.

In the spirit of a new place and new things – and also of being out of New York City and therefore in a normal place where there is, amazingly, outdoor space – I have a tiny patio and I love it! So I bought a gorgeous outdoor grill for it. When I lived in New York, I moaned a lot about how so many recipes require grills and my grill pan was just not getting it done, and grilling is just not practical for anyone in NYC who isn’t Bobby Flay? I’ve joined the ranks of all those annoying people with space for grills. Sorry guys. But IT’S AWESOME.

When I was debating whether or not the grill was worth the money, I remembered that my Aunt Loren told me she uses her grill all the time, even in the winter, because it cooks things quickly, easily, and there are no pots and pans to clean. I figured, ok, if I use it year-round, it’ll be a good investment. So far, I’ve not cooked anything on the stove in five days, and it really does clean up in 5 seconds flat. This will be a wintertime staple, I do believe.

I’ve been making homemade turkey burgers like its my job, and I’ll put the recipe up one of these days but I think its a fairly standard recipe that no one is going to flip out over. And so is the following one, really, but it blew my mind so I’m sharing it. Grilled peaches.

Everything you’ve heard is true. They are GOOD.

Turn the grill on to medium-high heat (mine went up to about 400 degrees with the lid down). Wash the peach, dry it, cut it into quarters. Spray or brush high heat canola oil on them so they don’t stick to the grill or burn. I hear butter works too.

Sprinkle a liberal amount of cinnamon on them, and then a dash of nutmeg and/or cloves, and a dash of salt.

Grill for 4-5 minutes on one side and 3-4 minutes on the other side.

Eat.

I can imagine all sorts of variations on the theme – balsamic syrup, vanilla beans, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, cognac whipped cream, cinnamon cognac whipped cream…..

Finally

I got rid of the evil hacker. It took multiple customer service reps from my excellent web host, Just Host, and I had to change the theme of my website. Apparently it had a lot of security holes in it and that’s why it kept getting hacked. Ugh! The site will look like this for a while – it’s not my former gorgeousness, but it’s not too bad. At least the content is there (looking on the bright side – my poor molested BB&B!).

So, if you are reading this, thanks for coming back. I am moving in the next few days, so I’m not going to be posting again right away, but as soon as I get settled I am really looking forward to writing some fun posts and party ideas.  See you soon!

A Girl in the Garden Tea Party

I LOVE high tea. It makes me ridiculously happy. It is the girliest of parties, requiring floral teacups, pink jams, tiny sandwiches, and outstretched pinky fingers. It is also a great cocktail-type of party to throw, due to the aforementioned tiny sandwiches. Add some champagne and everyone will be as ridiculously happy as I am about tea parties.

There is even an entire book about tea parties, written by Susannah Blake, and I don’t know anything about it except that the cover looks gorgeous. I want to go to there.

A walled garden just begs for tea to be served within it, doesn’t it? A civilized table set amongst the wildness of ivy climbing the walls and flowers growing amok.

There is tea served in the garden in Kamala Nair’s new book, The Girl in the Garden, which arrives in bookstores June 15. And that’s all I’ll say – now you know there is a garden, and tea is poured within it, and you still know nothing about who drinks it or why. Plot twists, you are safe with me!

For book clubs or friends who just want an excuse to get together, a tea party at any time of day would be absolutely lovely. An evening tea party, with champagne and cupcakes, would be gorgeous; or go the traditional afternoon route for a bit of girly weekend fun.

A tea party is easy to put together, also. I quickly searched Martha Stewart and found the yummiest twists on the classics:

And then there are the obvious: cucumber and butter (or cream cheese, or mayonnaise) sandwich, egg salad sandwich, and chicken salad sandwich.

YUM.

photo by: teenytinyturkey on flickr

For something fun to add to the sandwiches, any of these fancy potato chip appetizers would play on the typical overly fancy foods usually served at tea parties.

Don’t forget cakes or cones with clotted cream and a nice jam or two. You could make the scones (here is one of Martha’s recipes) or I personally feel fine about buying them, if you have a bakery near you that makes them.

Brew a little tea and you’re all set for a grownup tea party and The Girl in the Garden.

Halibut Poached in Olive Oil

photo by: Alan Richardson

This recipe for poached halibut with lemon and capers sounds so good and easy – you know I’m a sucker for recipes with a low number of ingredients.

Throw together a simple salad, or choose a fancier one like Rachael’s Beet and Walnut Salad.

Slice crusty bread and you’re done.

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