Last night I accompanied Tim to a work dinner at the Boathouse. When we arrived home, the sun had already set and a warm rain had just begun to fall. As I stepped out of the car, I opened my hands to feel the drops and a memory came back to me like lightening.
The summer before Tim and I met was a bit of a low point for me. I wasn't entirely happy with my employment and I was lonely. I was still recovering from a broken heart that had lingered for over two years without healing; back then I had begun to wonder if I would ever feel happy again. One evening, I think it was a Thursday night, I came home from a work function after dark and stood next to my car in a warm August rain. It was like I was in some sort of trance, soon completely drenched, and I couldn't will any of my limbs to move. It was one of those strange moments where I felt outside myself, as if watching someone else contemplate how to fix all cracks in her life. I must have stood there for a half an hour while the rain fell until a car turned down the street and I snapped back to the present.
I met Tim two months later.
We married a little over two years after that.
And now, three and a half years later, we are expecting a baby soon.
I share all of this with you because every time the baby moves around, stretching his or her limbs, I can't believe how wonderful life can be. Even I can see all of the differences between the woman I am now and the girl I was back then. And as I approach my 30th birthday next week, I can whole-heartedly say good-bye to my 20s and all of the struggles and opportunities they presented me. Last August, I committed (publicly, on this blog!) to living out my 29th year like a Victory Lap, and I think I have spent this time proving to myself that my 20s were a battle well fought.
What about you? Are you fighting for your life? I hope you win. You deserve it.
Oh, hello there. I've missed you. Lots of time has gone by, I know, and I hope you know I've been thinking about you. There have been lots of changes since the spring. I know it's how the world works, and life will always shift and slide, this way and that, but sometimes it still takes me a while to process these changes.
I wasn't as enthusiastic about planting our vegetable garden this year as I was in years past. I can't really explain why, but I think some of the disappointments and struggles we had last year with squash bugs and a few under performing tomato plants wore me down. I don't know if it was luck or strong seedlings or the warm weather but our garden is really thriving this year. We have a Black Prince heirloom tomato potted in a trash can on our patio that is finally beginning to ripen, as well as four other varieties of tomatoes in the garden bed.
The only things we've had a chance to taste were a few of the cherry tomatoes. Tim popped them into his mouth straight out of the garden and proclaimed them the best cherry tomatoes he's ever tasted.
The tomato I'm most looking forward to is our heirloom Oxheart. I chose this varietal because my grandmother, who passed away recently, told me her grandfather used to grow them, and she remembers eating them when she was a child. A bulky, slicing tomato much like a beefsteak, this fruit starts in a shape similar to a strawberry until it fills out to an oblong fruit. Every time I walk out to the garden and look at this plant, I think of her and how even though she's gone, we are going to be sharing an experience. It means a lot to me.
Things are changing in our home and family as well. It's largely the reason I've been absent from this blog for a few months. I couldn't bear to cook anything with a strong flavor, heavy aroma, or strange texture from March through June. You can probably guess what was the culprit.
Our little Nugget will be coming into the world in the fall, and I'm just starting to wrap my head around the idea of a baby (a baby!) being a part of our family. Every time I feel the baby move inside my belly I can't believe how different things will be. Tim and I have just recently started to prepare our house to make room for this little being which is starting to make the whole thing seem real. Every time I walk past the office--err, the nursery--and see the crib sitting in there, I am reminded that we are bringing a new life to the universe. It's equally strange and amazing.
I have been back in the kitchen recently, though I can't say I'm particularly adventurous. I've made some incredible buttermilk biscuits, Tim's favorite mint brownies, and an easy pork roast. I know Tim is thankful that I've taken over some of the cooking responsibilities, and we have reduced the amount of take-out in our lives. I will try not to disappear on you again, and I hope you will let me know what you've been up to lately as well.
Oh, and not quite an announcement as much as a disclaimer: we have had a bit of technology drama in our house and the computer that I was editing my digital photos on has given up on us. Until we bite the bullet and buy a new computer, I will probably be posting photos from Instagram. I am, however, excited to be attending a digital photography workshop next week and do hope to continue to work on my pictures for the site.
Can I just say that 2012 has been my best year ever so far? I feel healthy, I have so much love, and I am filling my life with wonderful moments. In fact, just last week when the temperature topped at 65 degrees and the sun was warm on my face, Tim and I sat on our patio, listening to a Spotify playlist that I made for him, a cold beer in front of each of us, and chatted about our days.
Welcome back to my life, Beer. You are most welcome to keep coming around.
If you are looking for a gluten free beer for yourself or if you'd like to buy something special for when a gluten free friend or family member comes over for dinner, I recommend any of these options.
My very favorite beer is Green's Gluten Free Amber Ale (pictured above). I ordered it this past weekend at Brazenhead and even my husband agreed that it was a fantastic option as far as gluten free goes. It really has a smooth, rich taste without being too heavy and no metallic aftertaste. (Also, I'm so pleased that Brazenhead had several options for gluten free customers including a few gluten free beers and several ciders on tap. Way to go, Brazenhead!)
I also tried Green's Gluten Free Dark Ale at Dilly Cafe, and I was impressed that it was just as dark and thick as a Guinness. It had a strong chocolate and coffee flavor at the first taste but finished didn't leave a heavy or sticky mouthfeel. I thought it was awesome to have the option of a serious dark beer, but I'd prefer it as an after dinner drink rather than something to pair with food.
Also discovered at Dilly Cafe is DogFish Head Tweason'ale. It's a seasonal gluten free beer that has a lovely scent of strawberries on the nose but is not overly sweet on the palate. Also, the strawberry flavor doesn't last much after the first sip, and I appreciated that as I don't usually like my beers too fruity. It's a medium bodied beer, very refreshing and would pair wonderfully with some simple roast chicken or a salad. If you can find it, I'd definitely recommend seeking this out!
A big thank you to the Cincy Beer Festival for including New Planet Gluten Free Beer in their vendor list. I discovered this beer there and all of the selections offered were wonderful. I particularly liked their lightest beer, the Tread Lightly Ale. It's the perfect backyard barbeque beer, and it's light enough that it would probably be unnoticeable to any non-gluten free beer drinks that it's missing the gluten! Locally, it can be found at the Dorothy Lane Markets in Dayton, and trust me--it's worth the drive to check out DLM and get this beer! (I picked up some on Saturday and it was stacked in front of the beer coolers.)
Lastly, I might as well tell you that in just about every well stocked Kroger that I've been into around Cincinnati, you can find Anheuser-Busch's gluten free beer offering, Redbridge. It's not my favorite--just like Bud Light was never my favorite--but in a pinch, it's easy to find, not too expensive, and definitely drinkable. I've picked some up when I just wanted a convenient choice.
I truly appreciate every single one of these companies for pioneering--or jumping on the bandwagon of--gluten free beers! You all get a big thumbs up from me.
To my gluten free readers, am I missing any of your favorites?