Ch-ch-ch-ch- … you know how it goes
… Changes, in case you were confused.
It’s been a very eventful spring around here. I was teaching approximately four times as much as I should have and all the while interviewing for permanent, real jobs. Come March, some good news rolled in and I accepted and we decided to up and move across the country. So Friday some movers are coming and driving our stuff away and come Monday morning, we’ll set off in our little blue car with the dogs, a bunch of plants I’m not willing to part with, Dan’s guitar, etc. and driving all the way to our new home in the sunny, wine-y Walla Walla Valley. That’s about 3,000 miles, but who’s counting.
(Feel free to laugh at the name. I did for the first few weeks as well.)
But of course, big new beginnings come with big sloppy goodbyes as well. This whole process feels a bit like a slow-motion breakup – after eight years in Boston (and four in this apartment), I feel ready to go, but also like it’s the end of the world. But mostly okay. But kind of devastating. You see, I’m feeling conflicted and inarticulate about all this. Packing in 90 degree heat does that to me.
This preamble is all to say STAY TUNED for exciting updates from the road and from our new house. I’ll also probably be posting about renovations as well – Dan and I plan on spending our first few days in the new (old) house pulling up carpet. Keep your fingers crossed for nice wood floors underneath.
* * * * *
But before all the new comes a bit of the old. In June I had my last hangout with two of my best girls from college. It was the tail end of a project we launched last fall where we all took photos of one another, portrait-style, to commemorate our 30th year. K did hers in Rhode Island near her home, I did mine on the beach in fall, and Liz did hers in Concord, near her home. It was a surprisingly moving process for me – I did much of the photography (not my photos, obviously) and it was nice to bookend this last year in Boston by spending some time two of my favorite faces and my camera.
And now as I pack up my life into a mountain of boxes, the dogs sniffing nervously around and wondering what fresh hell awaits (Lucy is of the opinion that SUITCASES are BAD NEWS), I find myself thinking about old friends, nerves about making new friends, how to get tipsy and play board games with them over Skype, time zones, and plane tickets. I remind myself that we can stay in touch and visit and that we’ll still be in each others’ lives. But there’s a small dark, depressing corner of me that keeps shouting “But it won’t be the SAME! Change is BAD! You’ll be all ALONE!”
And instead of facing down that fear, I pack it away as well, skipping the bubble wrap and newspaper, hoping it will break in transit. Instead I think about sunny days, bright yellow valley light, inside jokes, and easy, loud laughter.
The last day the three of us hung out was like that. The weather was perfect, we were all at ease, we went to farm stands, walked in gardens and visited the site of the first Revolutionary War battle. Now, in retrospect, it seems oddly appropriate to have visited that site that day. It was, after all, the site of a major beginning and a major end (for the nascent U.S. and British rule, respectively, obviously). It also seems appropriate that that first conflict centered on a bridge, a liminal space with one force on each side, each trying to expand their territory.
We ate salad. That’s the point of this post. It was a simple, fresh, wholesome meal and embodied a lot of what I love about The Girls. I won’t explore that thought for fear of drifting back into theory-babble territory or getting too weepy – there’s packing to be done after all. I also won’t insult your intelligence and call this a RECIPE. Instead I’ll just tell you what we did.
Weepy Delicious Farewell Girls’ Salad
- Mixed greens – we used a spring/mesclun mix with herbs thrown in.
- Pecorino romano or a similar hard, strong cheese.
- Small potatoes – we used rainbow colored ones that were about the size of eggs.
- Bright, sweet tomato – we used a yellow one.
- Green beans – those skinny, tender ones.
- Bread – if you’re in the Boston area, you have no excuse but to use Iggy’s 7-Grain
- Marinated Tomatoes
- Fruit – we used mango, apple, blueberries and mint
- Potatoes: boil them in salty water until just cooked. A fork should slide easily in and out of the potato, but the spud should NOT fall apart when you do it. Drain and set aside.
- Asparagus: break off the woody part of the stalks, toss in olive oil and generously salt. Roast in oven at 425 until the ends are crispy and the stalks fairly limp. Cut into 2ish-inch segments. Set aside.
- Green beans: break off ends and blanch until bright green and fork tender. What, about 5-7 minutes?
- Tomato: cut it up. Chunks or slices, whatever strikes your fancy. I prefer chunks. Set aside
- Greens: dress to taste. Liz’s dressing was delicious and I’ll share the recipe if she’s feeling generous. Cut whatever cheese you’re using into tiny chunks and toss with the salad.
- Put olives and marinated tomatoes (both optional, but highly recommended) into small bowls.
- Fruit: cut up whatever fruit you want. Throw in some shredded fresh mint and a splash of something sweet. We used creme de cassis, but you can use whatever is handy.
- Put it all on the table. I arranged the veggies in stripes on a big platter and we all assembled our plates to our tastes. Mine was light on leaves and heavy on marinated tomatoes.
**Pairs well with minty gin and tonics.