Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Garden, Week 1

This weekend we started our garden: two tomato plants, four bean varieties, two kinds of sorrel, a host of lettuces, one wild-haired chervil, and a little strawberry plant. Already I feel unduly maternal towards my lettuce, which I've never grown before, and which I'm starting from seed. Next weekend I'm adding basil and dill, and Brian's going to plant another set of beans.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Brian and I met for a picnic lunch at Union Park a few days ago. He augmented his salad and stir-fry with a honey cookie while I augmented mine with the last of Sunday's pancakes. Verdict: equal satisfaction.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

A perfect weekend is a blend of cheerful industry, improvised adventure, and undemanding solitude. Such was ours. Saturday was gray and pouty with immanent rain, so (having gone on our Saturday grocery trip earlier this week) we stayed indoors and spent the afternoon cleaning and taking care of household chores. I scrubbed and wiped down the humid bathroom while Brian put on angry music to tackle the floors with our temperamental vacuum cleaner.

Later I made bagels using a recipe from this highly-recommended book, Brian cleaned a bike he's getting ready to sell, and we watched Ace in the Hole--an unrelentingly cynical film from Billy Wilder, one of my favorite directors.
Sunday was even nicer: a day of food and bicycle riding. We made pancakes; rode our bikes to the lakefront and through the sunny, empty city; bought falafel and beef kofta sandwiches at Baba Pita; cycled in fancy dress to Chicago Cut for a Mother's Day dinner with some of Brian's family; and ended the night with Fight Club, which neither of us had seen in about a decade.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Candy jars

Candies. On the left are peppermint puffs, which Brian loves to chew to a powdery goo. On the right are my favorite sweets: Polish cream fudges beloved by all Ukrainian children. The kids in my family had different ways of eating them when we were young. My oldest sister Yana ate hers methodically over several days. Dmitry and Oksana (and my Mom) consumed theirs within twenty-four hours. Natasha, I don't remember. Me? I hoarded and savored my stash for months until the fudge turned hard and crystalline.

In my child's mind, the mission of every relative traveling back to the homeland was to return with several pounds of these delights. We often went months without them. Now they're sold in lots of Slavic groceries, and none are more than a ten minute bike ride away in my current neighborhood. Over the weekend Brian and I took our bikes for a spin and I brought home enough fudge to fill my jar twice over, discovered the most delicious home-made pickles, bought a tin of herring, and gave in to a craving when I saw slabs of cold salt pork behind the deli case--all in one little Ukrainian store. Now that I have a supplier nearby, there's no need to hoard my fudge. I've been unfolding the yellow, red, and white paper wrappers and eating a few every day.