I have a newfound love of firearms. You'd think that since I am kind of a country gal I would have fired a gun before I turned 30. Not so. I started shooting trap last year at the Trumansburg Fish and Game Club. I spend most of my Sunday mornings with a latte and a box of shells - my kind of church. I am currently taking a pistol safety class at the club and am high as a kite from gunpowder and giddy with adrenaline. I fired my first handgun tonight. Got my pistol cherry popped so to speak. It is scarier than shooting a shotgun, hands-down, but it is also very exciting. I did really well considering I am a total novice. My grouping is tight and I am definitely a double-action revolver kind of girl. It might have been a blessing in disguise because I am totally hooked. It taps right into the part of my brain that shouts more, More, MORE! I'll be on the lookout this year for a sweet little over/under shotgun if you know of one. And don't worry, you are actually safe with me behind the barrel. Promise.
Rainbows have been following me around. At first I was overjoyed! How wonderful! I saw ten in less than two weeks. Often double rainbows, one on each side of the sun. Maybe I just started noticing them more but it is getting a little cheerfully creepy. It seems that everywhere I turn now there is a rainbow or a prismatic reflection. Right, why should I be so suspect of such a lovely phenomenon? I don't know. I mean, really, who sees that many rainbows on a regular basis in the winter in Upstate New York? I must have done something good to be worthy of such a treat. In Greek mythology, the rainbow is considered to be a path made by the messenger Iris between Earth and Heaven. I hope whatever news it is, it's as lovely as the route it is taking.
More specifically: let them eat hazelnut cake with raspberry caramel sauce and hazelnut ice cream. Let them also eat five spice pork belly with cabbage slaw, watercress salad dotted with gorgonzola dolce and apple slices, rabbit blanquette with braised root vegetables, seared duck breast atop shredded brussels sprouts and toasted hazelnuts, oh I could go on. I mean, that is just what I ate tonight. I am just back from a lovely dinner at the Hazelnut Kitchen. If you have not had the pleasure, make a reservation RIGHT NOW! It has been such a blessing to have this bistro in our little town and it has been a joy to get to know the proprietors Christina and Jonah. I have had some of the most memorable and inspirational meals of my life come out of that kitchen (and I have traveled quite a bit). I had the sweet pea flan (pictured here) last summer and nearly fell out of my chair it was so amazing. A few weeks ago it was the green coconut curried escargot and the beef carpaccio that floored me. The menu changes every month and there is always something that just knocks me out. Everything is local and in season and all thoughtfully prepared. The wine list is foolproof and the desserts will bring you to tears. Nothing short of a foodgasm.
What do I know about anything really? Somehow this year I have found my way and fallen back in love with myself. All it took was a major change in my life to throw me into a spin that would land me firmly in my skin. You don't however usually welcome these upheavals or order them up when you think it's time for a difference, but we all amaze ourselves and each other with our innate resilience. It's good to suffer from acute cases of the human condition from time to time. I started really thinking about all of this when my sweet friend Scarlet Lily experienced some wonderful and major changes in her life. She lives away from me now but I am kept up to date via her blog. Last week she asked if I wouldn't mind guest posting because I am so quickly marking things off of my life list that I don't even keep one any longer. This prompted me to begin my own blog and an exploration into my own self and how wonderfully ridiculous life can be. My unsolicited advice to all of you? Confer with your seven year old self before doing anything. I am also a fan of treating every day as though it were your birthday. If you aren't a believer in successful regressions as a gateway to inner-peace and inner-silliness ask yourself: What might Homer Simpson deem a good idea?
I miss my grandfather. He's been dead for quite a few years now but I think about him everyday. When I lived in San Francisco I would take the train out to Millbrae a few times a month to visit him. His name was Elmer but everyone referred to him as "Whitey" on account of his super blond hair. He was sweet and unassuming. He was a Merchant Marine and grew up in Chicago. He laughed at his own jokes unabashedly, which is good because they weren't that funny. He kept a large canister in the kitchen that contained a mix of about 6 breakfast cereals. "Why limit yourself to just one kind?" He got a gold Cadillac when he retired and he loved me. My mother and sister are in California now cleaning out the house where he lived, nestled in a suburb that would make Tim Burton feel at home. His wife recently passed and now we can finalize things and perhaps move on a bit or, at the very least, grieve in a different way. Once the house sells it's done. No more coffee on the veranda or picking lemons from the tree in the backyard. Really, no more hearing him laugh or whistling lazily while moving orchid pots around the garden or waiting for him to look away so I could leave the waitress a little more money. No more 'Okay Vanessa, okay.'
Well, I'm sick. As in, my hair hurts and I've had 1,000 pots of tea in the last 36 hours and I can't leave my couch for too long. Thank goodness for DVR and Ivy! I made sure to pamper myself yesterday thinking it would help. I gave myself a manicure and a pedicure, drank a few tall glasses of McKenzie Rye Whiskey from Finger Lakes Distilling, had some excellent eggplant lasagna from the Pourhouse and a few pints with some great friends. I even got a great night's sleep. But I feel worse. I always tout that because I work at a hospital and am around germs all the time I rarely get sick. While this is mostly true there are always exceptions; like now. If you see me out kiss me at your own risk.
I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did. I would always hold my nose dramatically whenever we drove by a dairy farm. I would wail "Oh my God!" and hold my breath for as long as I could. Then, one day it all changed. I was in my twenties and just back home from an Au Pare stint in Europe and working at a local vineyard. I didn't need a second job. I was too busy as it was. But there she was: a lovely woman getting a hot cocoa while waiting for her daughter to finish up her violin lesson at the conservatory. I was in line at the coffee shop behind her listening while she told the barista this information. She turned to me and was wearing a sweatshirt with the family's dairy name embroidered on the chest. I didn't even think about it before asking "is that your dairy?" while pointing at her shirt, it was all so automatic. She said that yes it was and it was over right then and there. I was hired as the weekend milker and I just fell in love with the farm and the family. Suddenly, the odor that had offended me so as a youth was as complex and multi-layered as any great wine I had ever had. A heady mix of manure, sweet hay, warm milk and iodine. The pervasive aroma along with the hum of the milkers and the steamy breath of my "girls" on a winter morning was the most comforting feeling I'd ever known. Burned coffee and cigarette paper on my lips, country music scratchily emitting from the radio precariously tied to one of the parlor gates, shit on my boots, humidity in my lungs: my heaven. If I could, I would do it everyday for the rest of my days. Sometimes you lose sight and let other things get in the way. Regrettably, I left my position at the farm. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to catch the eye of a dairy farmer and one day be the mum of a Dairy Princess.