Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What Happens On Rocky Lane...

Gypsy Slow Down


Aylen Lake. 

I should mention that this year was the first year that we had street names. The once impossible to go over 3 miles an hour woodland roads were clear and graveled. When my mom and I went to town I drove. I would have trembled in fear a few years ago lest I run into a tree, split a tire with a boulder in the road or hit a moose.

 I want to write about the lake while it's still fresh in my mind, even though I can't post it for a while because I'm back at work and there are huge piles of dirty laundry. I also want to sort through the 2,000 pictures I took and edit a few of them. In the meantime, I learned several things upon returning home.


Gypsy Slow Down


1. My house is not really as clean as I think it might be. It's dusty and the shower has rust and the stove looks like alfredo sauce exploded on the burners and promptly dried up to a crust so shield-like that I'm worried no amount of magic sponges will remove said crust.

 2. I am tired of living in the Little Brick House and of not having a dish washer, washer or dryer or place to store all the things I brought back from the lake. I do not relish the full day I will spend at the laundry mat this week.

 3. I usually get over my hatred for the Little Brick House once I vent and moan for a good hour and the dustiness and the cramped space fades into the background and I accept my surroundings (a nice glass of Chardonnay whilst sorting dirty clothes speeds up this process). It also helps that our garden exploded with...flowers! They are everywhere. The sunflowers are taller than me, the zinnias have a million butterflies fluttering to and fro. It's lovely.


Gypsy Slow Down



Gypsy Slow Down


The lake was many things, one of which was relaxing. There was a lot of Mom and I sitting on the dock with good conversations and a lot of chilly mornings with coffee outside watching the sun rise over the cottages across the water and a lot of bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and a truly wonderful sparkling rosé while the men and Nan camped. Lots of dinner with my grandparents on their spacious porch overlooking the lake.



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 I taught my mom how to wood burn and she made a beautiful sign for the cottage. Mom and I and my cousin Maddie sat at the dock and painted on canvases and I came to the realization that I have completely lost my touch for landscapes. But Mom did the most adorable folk art scene of the lake and cottages.



Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


We walked, four miles up hill every day and then down the path past all the cottages, me secretly hoping to speed by and not have to have a chat that might last for hours with the yearly neighbors.

 I saw glimpses of Witt here and there with my dad, mostly shirtless, mostly in his bathing suit, mostly carrying a fishing pole and mostly laughing.  I did not shower for an entire week but washed my hair in the lake. I'm proud of myself.



Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


There were parts I didn't love too, but I've learned it all comes with the package and you take the good with the bad. Like when Witt, Nan and I spontaneously jumped in the river in our sports bras and jean shorts on an outing. There were crazy rapids and Witt would help us up to the top and we would slide down on our stomachs, our knees barely missing the rocks underneath. We rode the rapids and soaked up the sun, too chilly to rise above the water but underneath it was perfect. On the way home I was really cold and sandy and dirty and all I wanted was a hot shower. The only shower is the one at my grandparent's cottage but the girls were in line first and I would not wait forever for an elusive shower with probably cold water and me in my towel wandering out as dinner is in full swing.



Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


But I realized I can do this and enjoy it, that there is a bigger part of me that delights in the wonders of nature, a place where I can see how God's fingerprints have touched down. I can relish the relationships I have with people who don't love what I love, I can learn from them and be a part of their experience. I can sit on the dock and feel peace with the lake gently rocking against the shore and I can swim and appreciate crisp air on my face and even swat a mosquito or two.

And deep down I am comfortable with who I am and who I am likes a warm shower at the end of the day.

There was also a lot of book reading. You didn't think I was just going to skim over those bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese, did you? 



Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down




Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


On the way up I read a book called Bread and Wine. I say on the way up because I finished the entire book on the 20 hour drive, it was that good. 



Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down



Gypsy Slow Down


My aunt had told me about the book and then finally my Mom called me while in Canada and said, I'm reading this book and I want you to as well so we can talk about it. So I express shipped it on Amazon and when I cracked the cover I couldn't stop. 



Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


I love food books that feel like you are reading a fun blog...I love reading about someone's life when they write in a way that makes you feel like you've pulled up a chair and they are being real with you while you both sip glasses of Sav Blanc. This book was like that. She won me over when she said she didn't want to wait until they had a bigger house to throw parties when they first got married. She opened up her bedroom as well as the rest of the house in their itty bitty space, put drinks and appetizers on the piano and at one point came in to find guests sprawled on her bed trying on her shoes. I love that.

I love having parties in the Little Brick House, love soaking up the warmer months so I can have people on the lawn, under the trees. There's just no need to wait. But sometimes I feel like I need to apologize for our tiny house and that I should wait until I can host everyone in a spacious space but life's too short. Time around the table, time celebrating each other with food and drinks are important and life giving. She draws a beautiful connection between what we do around the table to what Jesus did during the last supper. It's fellowship and breaking bread.



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The boys and Nan caught some fish while camping so we friend it and yum.




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Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down


Not only does Shauna throw fabulous parties but she has also struggled with accepting herself and her weight, had to wait five years to have another baby and she has fallen in love with Paris, the nitty gritty of Paris and the beauty at night when the lights twinkle. 

So we could be best friends, that's all I'm saying. In between her stories she has recipes. Mom and I tried the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and died.



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And really, I think that's the only introduction you need for these. They are sweet and smoky and tangy with the goat cheese and just about the easiest appetizer you could ask for. I plan to keep them in mind for all my future parties on the lawn of the Little Brick House.


Bacon-wrapped dates ~ from Bread and Wine By Shauna Niequist 
1 8-ounce package pitted dates
4 ounces goat cheese
1 16-ounce package bacon


*slice dates in half & open them up. scoop a small amount of goat cheese into the center of the dates & close them back up.
*cut the whole package of bacon in half, so that each long strip is now half as long. wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside of each date.
*arrange seam side down in a baking dish, a baking sheet with sides, or a foil pan.
*bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until well browned. drain on a paper towel, and serve warm or at room temperature.





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