Monday, August 31, 2020

the quotidian (8.31.20)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace 

Peanut Butter Cream: I can hardly stand the wait. 

Off-the-cuff summer supper.

Nectarine galette.

Fruit face.

A cute wee box of veggies. 

And a few more.

We aren't the only ones benefitting from our daughter's farm job.

The college guys heard we had one hamburger left over from supper. 

Setting up my new phone for me: I (literally and accidentally) composted the old one.

He understands things I don't. 

This same time, years previous: it all adds up, they're getting it, the new bakery, walking the line, oatmeal jacked up, roasted tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, classic pesto.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Commitment March on Washington

My husband, three younger kids, and I left home for DC in the dead of night, arriving just as the sky was beginning to lighten. As the sun rose over the Potomac, we gathered with the other marchers to listen to a recorded message to our group from Al Sharpton, a spoken word piece titled Mississippi The Microcosm from Genesis Be, and a message from the pastor of St John’s Episcopal Church.

photo credit: my younger daughter

Then the group, now swelled to about a hundred, set off on the walking trail that would take us the eight miles into the city.

photo credit: my older daughter

Once there, we went directly to Lafayette Park where we spent some time looking at all the wall of photos of Black victims of police violence on the fence along the perimeter.

Our group had had a permit to gather in the park, but then it was revoked at the last minute so we gathered on the street instead, just a half block from St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was also closed to the public.

Different church leaders spoke briefly, focusing specifically on Biblical texts about justice (of which there are no shortage). One pastor shared what had happened when she’d eagerly asked one of her staff, a black man, if he would like to join them on this march.

“He exploded at me,” she said. “He told me, ‘I’ve been doing this work, and I’m tired. Don’t ask me to do more. It’s your turn now.’”

A singer-songwriter from South Bend, Indiana, Daniel Deitrich, sang a song he wrote to the church of his childhood: A Hymn for the 81% — the eighty-one percent being the number of evangelicals who voted for Trump. It was beautiful and raw and painful, and listening to it I cried. I’m so glad my younger daughter had the presence of mind to record it.

The Walk the Walk presentation over, we split from the group and headed to the Lincoln Memorial. My husband and I estimated the crowds were about 90% Black, which surprised me. I'd thought there'd be tons of whites present to show solidarity, so their absence made me second guess our choice to be there — were we overstepping? But then I spied this sign:

This wasn’t about us, and yes, we were welcome.

The grounds were packed — after months of physical distancing, the precense of so many people felt almost surreal! — so we sat on a little knoll edging the reflecting pool.

Hungry and dehydrated (we had to ration out the last of our water and then crossed our fingers we'd be able to find more, hopefully before we perished), we dozed in the shade — oh glorious shade! —while people made speeches.

photo credit: my younger daughter

When the keynotes began, though, we all sat up. (We were far enough back that we couldn’t see the jumbotrons, but we could still hear.) Martin Luther King III, his twelve-year-old daughter, Al Sharpton, the family members of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. To have all those people gathered together in one place — so much pain, so much love and hope — felt momentous, was momentous. This week I want to re-listen to the speeches, and watch them so I can put faces to the words I heard.

For the actual march, we stayed on the edges as much as possible.

by the time we reached the steps of the Memorial, the area had mostly emptied

photo credit: my older daughter

At the end of a long field, we happened upon a small group of people clustered in front of a stage. Minutes later, Al Sharpton appeared, along with Martin Luther King III and Representative Ilhan Omar. So we got to see some of the speakers up close after all!

And then we trekked back across town to join our group in front of the Federal Justice Building to protest the federal execution scheduled for four o’clock that day.

While the execution took place in a federal prison in Indiana, we kept vigil — people took turns speaking and singing — and then, once we received word that it was over, we climbed into shuttles and headed back to the hotel.

And just in time, too, because then the heavens opened and the rains poured down.

P.S. Here's a sweet little video clip, with some familiar (masked) faces and sneakers!

This same time, years previous: at home, crunch week, chomper, the quotidian (8.29.16), the quotidian (8.31.15), peach crisp, bezaleel scenes, puppy love, chocolate yogurt cake.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

sixteen miles

On Sunday, my younger two kids, my husband, and I drove over the mountain (a bear crossed the road in front of us! with her cub!) to Culpeper to join with the marchers for day four of Walk The Walk 2020.

me and my son
photo credit: my younger daughter

My husband doesn’t like these sorts of things — I’m not an activist, he says (though he’s been doing more anti-racist reading than I have recently) — but the next day was our anniversary and I’d told him that I wanted him to come walk for a day for my present. Not that we’re in the habit of giving each other anniversary presents, or even really celebrating the day, but apparently my husband feels a certain level of guilt over our non-celebratory habits because he came, yay.

twenty-four years, together
photo credit: my younger daughter

I thought the traffic might be lighter because it was Sunday, but no. At one point, traffic was backed up eight miles. ("Inconvenience is not injustice,” one of the marchers wrote on his Facebook page.) Also, it felt like the antagonism was worse. So much cursing. So much rage.

Still, the support far exceeded the negativity. One woman leaning far out her car window, frantically blew two-handed air kisses at us. Another woman, this one Latinx, the wind whipping her hair, her body slowly turning to look us in the eyes as she passed, chanted, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you” over and over, her face serious, her voice fervent, like prayer.

photo credit: my younger daughter

Conversational tidbits... 
*One of the organizers, a former homicide detective with the Baltimore police, filled me in on the behind-the-scene work that goes into a march like this: communications with VDOT, state police, organizational leaders, safety precautions, death threats (for real!) and the intel that’s required as a result (or maybe regardless?).

*A retired officer with the Baltimore police — “You ever watch The Wire?” he asked me. “It’s all true.” — recounted some of the police shootings that have been in the news, breaking down the video footage to explain his take on where things went wrong. There are a lot of good cops, he said. But the system is overloaded. It needs to be reworked.

*A pastor said I surprised him. "I thought all homeschoolers were conservative," he said, "but here you are with your kids and it confuses me." I laughed and then filled him in on homeschooling's wild diversity, but then I was left wondering: Are most homeschoolers conservative? In my world they’re not, so I’ve always assumed that belief is a myth, but maybe it’s actually accurate?

With no shade and no cloud cover, the sun was brutal. After lunch the heat became a real battle. My daughter felt like throwing up, so I pressed a cold water bottle to the back of her neck, and at the next break we iced ourselves down … literally. But then a couple miles from the end, her legs started cramping up so she hopped in the van and met us at the finish. And then my younger son kept doubling over from stomach pain — I think he ate too much at lunch? — and one of the leaders got so worried he put a van on standby. But my son claimed he was fine and actually ended up running the last little bit, ha.

The next day he wasn’t even sore.

The 16 miles completed, we debriefed with the group at an ice cream joint, and then split for home, feasting on junk food all the way. (Strangely enough, it wasn't until two days later that my 42-miles-in-three-days walk caught up to me — I could not. stop. eating!)

We meet up with the group again on Friday to walk into Washington DC. If you’d like to join, sign up here

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (8.26.19), the quotidian (8.27.18), a big deal, tomatoes in cream, don't even get me started, atop the ruins, grape parfaits, on not rushing it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


One of the perks of working at Magpie is that I get to order a meal per shift. (I also hear we’re allowed one beer per shift, but I’ve yet to do so — what is wrong with me!) When I start getting hungry, I just write what I want on a take-out bag and run it over to the line cooks and a little later they pop into the bakery, my plate of food in hand. It’s kind of dreamy.

Here are a few of the meals I’ve ordered...

Chilaquiles: tortilla chips in red sauce topped with fried egg, crema, cilantro, etc.

Tomato Toast: a piece of toasted sourdough bread topped with both roasted tomatoes and fresh, soft mozzarella, basil, and balsamic.

photo credit: coworker Lydia

Chicken Milanesa:  Breaded chicken on a milk bread bun, with greens, house pickles, and a creamy sauce. Afterward, I was stuffed.

Egg Sammy with Sausage: such an easy, fast meal, and deeply satisfying. I want to try it with bacon next.

Rainbow Bowl: dressed greens topped with beet hummus, quinoa, and assorted veggies. It’s insanely delicious — my favorite so far — and it makes me feel fantastic.

Not pictured: egg scramble with bacon over toast. Turkish eggs (that I sampled from my daughter’s plate, and which are enormously popular). A BLT. Fries. The Green Goddess sandwich (which they no longer offer, much to my older daughter’s vigorous dismay) (yes, my kids like to eat at the diner!). Countless cups of coffee. Buttered heels of sourdough (my usual mid-morning snack). Croissant tastings.

Chocolate croissants are my fave.

Another perk of the job is that I occasionally get to take home scraps: failed bakings, dough scraps, leftovers, etc.

All day long, we throw dough scraps on a baking sheet and then, at the end of the day, we pop the pan into an oven and bake it off with the residual heat. The baked scraps get dumped into the “pig buckets” that a local farmer periodically stops by to pick up. Except sometimes one of us might grab a hunk of the still-warm scraps to take home for supper...

pastry dough, pre-laminating

Stale loaves of sourdough are fabulous for toast, grilled cheese, baked egg casseroles.

One time I took home a tray of croissant cuttings to play with. By the time I got home, the scraps had overproofed wildly in the hot car, so I raced around, slicing peaches into a pan, adding some sugar, flour, and lemon juice, and then tossing on the top crust of pastry bits.

The other little pieces I baked up and then brushed with a vanilla glaze.

My helter-skelter creations were nothing like the bakery’s tender, buttery pastries, but even so, they still got scarfed.

But the best yet was when I got to take home a whole paton of mis-rolled pastry dough. My older daughter and I made trays of chocolate croissants (I used a chopped-up bar of Godiva 53%), vanilla braids, and cinnamon rolls, and then I tossed some nectarines with brown sugar and bourban and capped them with a pastry lid.

We skipped the overnight proof in the fridge (no room), and after letting the pastries rise at room temp for a couple hours, baked them that evening.

The pastries baked up gloriously high, so I celebrated by front kicking my way across the kitchen and roaring, "TAKE — [kick] — THAT — [kick] — PASTRY — [kick] — SCRAPS — [kick]."

 This same time, years previous: chocolate cake, full circle, an unlikely tip for runners, family extended, on love and leftovers, the quotidian (8.25.14), he got me, 16.