Friday Night Dinner 25

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Calamari with Spicy Tomato Sauce & Moccagatta Dolcetto D’Alba

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Noah’s been on vacation with his dad and stepmom all week, so Ray and I have had several quiet nights in a row by the river. His absence has also enabled to eat foods from a more sophisticated palate–not that Noah doesn’t eat sophisticated things, but he’s wary of some food combinations that we love: calamari & pasta being one of them. (He actually likes fried calamari (I mean who doesn’t?), but he insists that his red sauce stay uncontaminated by creatures that swim in the sea.) Adams had fresh, CLEANED calamari on sale this week so I decided I’d try my hand at making one of my favorite dishes to order when eating at a restaurant–sauteéd calamari with spicy tomato sauce. It was pretty good–especially because of the in-season tomatoes I chopped up for the sauce and because I paired it with fresh pasta I found at the market and a delicious, slightly chilled red wine that Ray purchased for the occasion. Noah  gets home after dinner…we can’t wait to see him!

Gina:

 

 

What We’re Talking About: Time Flies, as do YOU

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I put this photo on Facebook this week and it garnered more “likes” than anything I’ve ever posted–which isn’t saying much because I don’t post very often but, still. It’s a pretty funny juxtaposition. This past week marks the two year anniversary of us adopting Luca–and it’s been wild reminiscing about all the fun we’ve had with him and thinking about how much life and time (let alone growth) has happened during all those days. We adopted Luca just after our first trip to Italy to see you guys–in Lucca–that summer you spent traveling and trying to figure out the if and when and where of a possible move overseas. Now you’ve BEEN LIVING THERE for over a year. I mean I know I’m being Ms. Obvious right now, but still. I remember that day in the pet store like it happened yesterday. The good news is, that as I write this post, you are in the air, flying towards me at a great and earnest speed. I’m looking so very VERY forward to spending time with you all over these next few weeks!

Gina:

Friday Night Dinner 25

What We’re Eating & Drinking: Diner Food! Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 12.11.41 AM

Dinner tonight might just be at the Brooklyn Diner in New York City. If that works out, any of my favorites above might be just the thing after a long voyage! After 20 hours traveling solo with the kids, I’m sure I’ll be ready for a giant glass of wine or cold mug of beer too!

Christine: Yum! Diner food! I’ll have one of each from above!

 

What We’re Talking About: What? Another week went by?!

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The Bologna Board of Tourism may just have to give Stefan and me seats on the Board after this summer! Yet another crazy week of hosting and touring has gone by here. The week started out with the obligatory mid-summer dinner at Drogheria where we were surprised with the news that the always jovial owner has been on a cleanse of liquids (yep, all liquids, including those he loves best!) and foods, and has taken to biking 30 kilometers a few times a week. He was shrunk by several sizes since we were last there, but was as welcoming as ever! Next, it was back to the Adriatic Coast for more beach time. The coast is definitely getting more packed as we get closer to the August holidays, but we still found a comfy spot, beach chairs and umbrellas easily. The kids spent hours building sandcastles and forts, swimming and paddle-boating in the warm, shallow waters of the small town, Cattolica. Then, it was back to Bologna, where the Nadeau ladies and I put in a brilliant day of souvenir and clothes shopping before heading home for dinner with the boys. Stefan had made his Arrabbiata, and one of the Planeta wines that just arrived accompanied the meal. There was also the annual Casalecchio di Reno gelato festival, which the kids and Stefan took in with the Nadeaus too! The end of the week has been focused on packing and getting ourselves to “America”. I can’t wait to sit my butt down on my momma’s couch with a big ol’ bowl of Peanut Butter Pufffins this weekend, and I can’t wait to see you all next week! Maybe we should take a cue from the Europeans and hang a Closed in August sign on this lovely piece of internet real estate. We can start fresh again in September after we’ve had some time to catch up in person and sip our rose in the gazebo by the river. Ahhhhhh… I think that sentence just helped me relax a wee bit.

Christine: First, YES. I think we need to take August off and enjoy our time. We can start fresh again in September with a newly fleshed out purpose and vision. Your summer has been so busy, but so full of the very best things: family, food, friends and wine. I mean it sounds just like heaven on earth. We can’t wait to spend some quality time with you and the kids here. The rosé is chilling and the river is waiting. 

Friday Night Dinner 24

What We’re Eating & Drinking: Grilled Peaches & Kris Pinot Grigio

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The weather’s warm and the coals are hot and we’ve been grilling like crazy here at the riverside. Do you remember how Michele made grilled pineapple for dessert on your last night here in the States last summer? Well, a few weeks ago I got to thinking about that night and remembered how delicious the spread was, despite our heavy hearts. After rummaging through the fridge for a minute (I didn’t even have to go to Foodtown!) I had collected a bowlful of summer fruits and was ready to give the grilling of them a try myself. A quick Google search told me that all I needed was firm fruit, hot coals and a little dab of butter and I’d be in business and it was really that easy. Since that night we’ve been grilling peaches at least once a week, and instead of serving them as dessert (though they are divine topped with some ice cream or crème fraîche), we usually pair them with lean pork or a skirt steak as a succulent side dish. The sweetness of the fruit complements the savoriness of the meat and the smoky, grilled flavor ties it all together. I’m no foodie, but YUM! I think I’m onto something. In other news, Ray has tired of my rosé binge so tonight I got him his favorite Pinot Grigio–one from northern Italy to sip as we watch the river and enjoy these glorious summer nights.

Gina: Do you have any Modena Balsamic left!? That’s delicious on grilled peaches or pineapples or anything grilled, even steak! If not, I’m bringing you some next month. The rest sounds lovely too, especially the riverside part.

 

What We’re Talking About: Noah’s First Trip Alone

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Noah and a cannon (and the tour guide) in Gettysburgh.

OK, so he wasn’t actually ALONE, but this past week Noah went on a trip without me or his father for the first time! I know that Zo’s been doing this kind of thing with your parents and Francois forever, but for Noah and all of the back-and-forth that he deals with on a weekly basis, this was kind of a big deal for him. The trip was a quick one–just two nights with his grandparents (Al’s folks)–to Gettysburgh, PA (only about 4 hours away) to check out the Civil War Museum and do some genealogy research about Noah’s Irish-immigrant family. Noah had a blast and was not the least bit nervous about the time away. I kept myself busy here so mostly the two days flew by and, when it wasn’t, I reminded myself of what a great experience he was having. Noah’s so lucky to have four loving grandparents in great health who enjoy spending time with him…what a gift. And what a perfect quick summer getaway.

Gina: Fantastic! I bet he enjoyed every detail of the Civil War Museum and listened intently to every bit of information that tour guide had to share. Zoel would have loved it too. He has a trip coming up with his grandmother to DC next month, which reminds me that we have to start getting ready for our transoceanic voyage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Dinner 24

What We’re Eating & Drinking: Venetian Goodies and Quintarelli Giuseppe

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This week we’ll be in Venice for dinner, eating… you guessed it, pasta! But not just the world’s favorite starch, probably fish as well.  Baccalà or cod is the most popular in the city of water, especially in the form of Baccalà Mantecato. Being such an international stop though, there is a bit of every Italian region represented on most menus, which means decent versions of pesto pasta from Genova, tagliatelle al ragu from Bologna, and penne all’ arrabbiata from the South can be found anywhere. The trick really is hunting down the authentic Venetian restaurant among the hundreds of tourist spots that populate Venice’s winding alleyways! We’re also enjoying a wine that we first saw at Yannetelli’s in Cold Spring, which they have displayed in an important-looking wooden box, with a 3-digit price tag. We were lucky to find it at a fraction of the cost in Venice and it’s delicious!

Christine: I remember wandering the streets of Venice last fall, having been warned about the tourist-y food and hoping that we wouldn’t stumble upon one for the only meal we were eating in the city. Luckily we found a tiny restaurant tucked in an alley. It was lunchtime and the place was filled with Italian men dressed suits and working clothes and we figured we’d hit on a good spot. Incidentally, I remember that Ray had some sort of fish. Of course Noah and I split several plates of pasta. I remember that wine, too! It’s so fun you found it there. I don’t remember drinking it, though. Maybe we’ll pick up a bottle for the weekend–if it’s not a hundred bucks!

 

What We’re Talking About: Does anyone ever really get to know this watery land?

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I love this quote from NBC news that comes up when you search for Venice: “Venice appears to have more nicknames than street names. It’s known as the “Queen of the Adriatic,” the “City of Water,” “City of Masks,” “City of Bridges,” “The Floating City,” and “City of Canals. How about the “Floating Queen City of Water, Masks, Bridges and Canals”? Oh, and they forgot “Tourists”, “City of Tourists”. Venice has all of these things and it really is breathtaking, every single time, but on this our sixth or seventh visit to the place, I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible to ever get past all the tourism! I’ve had glimpses of what a Venice without all those German, Japanese, Dutch, French, American, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Saudi, Blah, Blah, Blah, would be like, but it’s always just a fleeting moment. Much like downtown New York, the locals are living parallel lives with the tourists, sharing the same 118 little islands that make up the city, but crossing paths sparingly. Occasionally, we mistakenly stumble onto one of these hidden alleyways. Immediately, the clatter dies down and the cobblestone lanes are no longer covered by marching sports shoes. A couple appears, holding hands and speaking Italian to each other! The neighborhood cafe in front of a narrow canal is tiny and charming, and there are no pictures of food on the menu! From the table outside, you notice a small 1500s era bridge just as a boat glides under it, and if you squint a bit, you can see yourself in a Renaissance scene taking place right on the very spot. None of that has happened today during our mid-summer visit, but I’m happy to have spent a few hours walking through these beautiful streets once again anyway. Now on to packing for the good ol’ U.S.A!

Christine: Like a small town American girl from upstate New York is wont to do, I fell in love with Venice when I was there (grimace), but maybe the very reason the city became an object of my affection was because it IS so difficult a place to know. I’m like that with men and jobs and friends and other things, too–always going after the elusive, the convoluted, the intangible. I mean the incontrovertible beauty of the place is impossible to deny–making it an easy repository for the romantic hopes and dreams of ten thousand tourists. Also, my connection to water (the Hudson River–here, or the Atlantic Ocean–where I spent summers as a child) is tried and true. [Last weekend when we were in New Hampshire, I found myself feeling a bit claustrophobic after a few days because of the land-locked nature of the state.] Though you visiting the place as many times as you have (and for so many different reasons and occasions), makes me think it just might be a city that doesn’t want to be known and maybe that’s okay, too. 

Friday Night Dinner 23

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Corn on the Cob & Domaine de Vaufuget Vouvray

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As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, summer is my most favorite time of the year and that’s partly because so many delicious foods are available at the markets now. One summertime treat I cannot get enough of (because it’s really only available for a few weeks each year) is corn-on-the-cob. Do they eat corn this way in Italy? Growing up my father and my grandmother (his Solvak mother, not my mother’s Italian one) used to plant a giant garden in our backyard–which is a really big field and had space to grow all kinds of things. They would plant every kind of vegetable imaginable: tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, peas, beets, radishes, lettuce and…corn. Rows and rows of sweet corn. I remember running through that corn field with my brother and hacking at the plants-that towered over our heads with stick-swords. I also remember carefully walking through the rows with my father, listening intently as he taught me which ears were ready to pick and which ones needed a few more hot days on the stalk. We’d gather a dozen ears, shucking them as we walked, and then cook them up in the pot of boiling water my mother had ready on the stove. To this day, I remember it as  the most delicious corn I’ve ever tasted. In upstate New York (where I grew up) corn isn’t ready until mid-August, but down here in the more-temperate Hudson Valley we can get local corn now, in mud-July. It’s best served piping hot and smothered with butter & salt which, I know, negates some of the healthy vegetable qualities of the food, but…yum! It’s summer after all!

Gina: Beautiful! I have yet to see a single piece of fresh corn at the food markets here. Maybe it’s later in the summer? Or maybe they’re not so into corn in these parts. Come to think of it, I haven’t had fresh corn on the cob since last year! In addition to the butter and salt, we like it with olive oil, parmigiano and peperoncino! Enjoy.

 

What We’re Talking About: Getting Wet & Muddy at Camp

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Noah’s is finishing up his second week of summer camps and it’s been an exciting, albeit dirty, muddy and wet time. He’s spent his days running around the fields of Bowdoin Park, a 300 acre swath of riverside grass and tress near Noah’s old school, in a camp that teaches survival skills, animal tracking techniques and Native American folklore. Last week Noah spent long afternoons sailing up and down the river. He’s in that boat in the left photo above! He and the other kids launched boats from Dockside, right in front of our house, so if I watched the river carefully I could get a peek of them floating by. So many mornings he wished Zo was joining him on the escapades, too, but we’ve been so glad to partake in your adventures from afar. Happy weekend!

Gina: I’m sure Zoel would have enjoyed every second of this camp with Noah. Hell, I think I would have enjoyed this camp with Noah! We’re relishing a few low key days here after our last trip, and as I was saying on Wednesday, I think I could do with a few more weeks of the same. Kids too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Dinner 23

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Pasta with Lentils and Water

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Just about every meal we’ve had over the last two weeks has been accompanied by a glass of wine (or two or four), so we’re trying to stick to water for a few days! I think I first started to make this dish when we got here last July, and didn’t have a lot stocked in the kitchen yet, but it’s turned out to be one of our favorites. The lentils and pasta are the base and then we  add whatever’s available – prosciutto, veggies, sun-dried tomatoes or just herbs and parmesan.

Christine: Okay. At the last meeting with my writing ladies we were talking about all of the imbibement that seems to occur come summer. Lentils=good. Prosciutto, veggies, sun-dried tomatoes or just herbs and parmesan=good. Yum!

 

What We’re Talking About: A Different Kind of Summer

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Our summer is feeling a bit erratic to me, kind of like this random night of dancing on the piazza of a small neighborhood in Sciacca, Sicily. Some moments can be so unexpectedly delightful, others so utterly ridiculous, and yet others, totally anxiety-provoking. Last summer had some of the same characteristics, but I figured it was the move that had thrown everything out of kilter. Alas, it may just be the nature of living in another country temporarily or of exploration in general.  In any case, I remember that I arrived at last September, holding on to my sanity by a string, so I’m trying to find some internal calm and make those spaces for myself during the day that I talked about here just 4 or 5 weeks ago, but so far, I’m not so good at it. Maybe better than last year, but there’s still a good chunk of summertime to go, and my mental health really could go either way! In the meantime though, we had a lovely time in France and Sicily last week, and I’m feeling like I need to do a whole other post about them for next week, instead of launching into a summary here. But in general, the town in France that we visited, Pyla-Sur-Mer, turned out to be surprisingly beautiful, and the area we went to in Sicily, Menfi, surprisingly dull. We’ve already decided we’ll need to give Sicily another try in the near future… maybe we could rope you into that trip! I’ll call you this weekend to catch up more! x

Christine: Yes! We’re in for Sicily! Also:

Summer Night, Riverside

Sara Teasdale, 1884 – 1933
In the wild soft summer darkness 
How many and many a night we two together 
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson 
Wearing her lights like golden spangles 
Glinting on black satin. 
The rail along the curving pathway 
Was low in a happy place to let us cross, 
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom 
Sheltered us, 
While your kisses and the flowers, 
Falling, falling, 
Tangled in my hair.... 

The frail white stars moved slowly over the sky. 

And now, far off 
In the fragrant darkness 
The tree is tremulous again with bloom 
For June comes back. 

To-night what girl 
Dreamily before her mirror shakes from her hair 
This year’s blossoms, clinging to its coils?

 

Friday Night Dinner 22

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Pasta at Bar Giuseppe on Piazza Maggiore with a Brunello di Montalcino

Tonight, we may either be at the beach (Cervia) or back out on Piazza Maggiore to enjoy another classic film under the stars! In the middle of Bologna, the evening might look a little like this:

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Dinner with Oliver, Melissa and Brian as a re-mastered Charlie Chaplin short from 1915 plays on the big screen.

Christine: We walked through that square when it was 40 degrees. I think we were looking for mittens? And maybe a wine festival? It looks fab now. And fun. Hugs to all!

 

What We’re Talking About: Classic Movies in the Piazza

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(My three, literally on the edge of their seats, as the watch the conclusion of Lady from Shanghai, just after midnight.)

Cineteca Bologna does a brilliant job with this summer movie series. Last night, we were on Piazza Maggiore to see one of Stefan’s favorites, Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles. Under the stars, with good friends, a plate of pasta and a bottle of red, this is pretty ok. Wish you were here! Happy 4th of July!

Christine: Wish we were there, too. Happy weekend to you!

 

 

Friday Night Dinner 22

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Flag Cake & Tullia Sparkling Brut RoséScreen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.30.03 AMHappy Fourth of July! I’m the least patriotic person I know but growing up, my mother always made this flag cake for the fourth of July, and since this year the 4th falls on a Friday night–an occasion I’m happy to celebrate–I figured the least I could do was recognize America’s independence with sugar-covered fruit. Noah’s at an age that resents such outward signs of parental goofiness, but since since we’re heading to Michele & Dan’s for the day I figured that Walker would appreciate my efforts. (He still thinks I’m cool.) It’s a super easy cake–you can use any flavor (or a mix! shhhh….)–just bake the cake in a rectangular pan and then decorate the top with blueberries and raspberries (or sliced strawberries if you prefer). My mom always used whipped cream in place of frosting (if you do, keep the cake in the fridge–which makes it deliciously refreshing and cool) but we’ll be using (dairy free) whipped coconut milk which is just a delicious. Paired with some sparkling rosé (this wine was featured at the Artisian Wine shop in Beacon a few weeks ago and I discovered it is yummy) will help put us in a celebratory mood (before the fireworks begin and Luca spends the night under a bed). Cheers!

Gina: I think I’d love your patriotic cake! Enjoy the day and the fireworks… I think I remember that there’s a beautiful view of them from Michele and Dan’s back porch! Cheers to you all. 

 

What We’re Talking About: the Dreaded Bullseye

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Sorry for the graphic photo, but that’s a deer tick bite on Noah’s belly. He woke up last Saturday morning feeling fine, but when his shirt lifted up as he was playing with Luca, I caught site of a giant red blemish on his left side. At first we weren’t sure what kind of bite it was–there are a thousand spiders that live in this house and it’s mosquito season after all. And deer-fly season. And Noah’s skin has always been sensitive and marked easily. So since, on that first morning, the bite was just a red circle (about the size of a nickel) and it didn’t hurt and we didn’t find a tick, I was hopeful that with some TLC (and maybe if we ignored it) the thing would just go way. No such luck. After 24 hours the red area had doubled in size, warranting a Sunday morning call to our pediatrician and a panicked day of Googling and dreading the worst. We were told to look for the formation of a bullseye pattern and rash (not all deer tick bites leave this tell-tale sign, but many do) and if it looked like that’s what was happening, we needed to come to the office Monday morning at 9am.

Diagnosis: Bullseye; probable exposure to Lyme Disease. Needless to say, Noah is now on a regimen of Doxycycline (an antibiotic that, because we caught this thing early, should cure him and help him escape any side effects or long-term problems associated with the disease) but a bummer, nonetheless. He’s got to be careful in the sun and get lots of rest so he can beat this thing back. I’m very grateful for Noah’s doctor and with how quickly I was able to have the prescription for the magic medicine in hand (we left the doctor’s office in Garrison and the bottle of pills was waiting for us at Drug World in Cold Spring). In other news, we’ll be spending the remainder of our summer evenings doing tick-checks, combing over one another like monkeys in the jungle. Ugh.

Gina: OH. NO. Not the deer tick! I dreaded spotting those little buggers or this bull’s eye while we were in Garrison, and I was always amazed when we made it through the summer without a bite. I’m so happy you caught it early. How long does he have to take the antibiotic? There are deer around the farm here too, but they don’t seem to run through our yard. At least, that’s what I’ve been betting on.. I can’t say that I miss the nightly tick checks! Keep us posted. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Dinner 21

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Whatever Teresina Has on the Menu!

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When the house is full of people and we are ten eating every meal together, sometimes, you have to go out! So this evening, we’ve booked a garden table at Teresina, a restaurant whose menu changes seasonally, but that always offers traditional Bolognese fare like Tagliatelle al Ragù and Tortellini in Brodo. Just off the main plaza, Piazza Maggiore, it’s a pretty walk from the Centro’s perimeter (where you have to park if you’re a non-resident) through Bologna’s archways and over to the restaurant’s garden, just beyond La Fontana del Nettuno. 

Christine: Looks delicious! Now I wish I could just smell it. I’d like two of each–do they deliver to New York?

 

What We’re Talking About: Finding Quiet and Space for Yourself over a Busy Summer

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It’s easy to get carried off by the current of constant activity and lively conversation that has become the standard environment of our summers. It’s a joy to spend time catching up with the people we don’t get to see during the rest of the year, and exploring beloved or totally new places with them. I also cherish spending time with the smalls in the lazy, meandering way that’s only possible when school’s out, and that usually leads me to some undiscovered part of their personality or a glimpse into their current loves. Then there’s all that cooking and meal time preparation, that often involves a group of us gathered in the kitchen, talking and making and drinking. But as wonderful as all of this is, I need time away from all the buzzing, a time to retreat to quiet spaces for meditation or reading or yoga or work or creation. I failed miserably at finding them last year and as a result I was twitching straight through October. That’ll be the quest this summer. Already, finding a slot of time to write here, on LHT, is providing a little guidance on how this might be done. Hopefully, I’ll keep stretching out this time and space in the coming week!

Christine: What a great intention to have at the beginning of summer! I’m glad you’re already finding a bit of time each day to write here–a crack in your schedule that will most certainly allow more ‘you’ time to follow. It’s such a difficult balance to keep–spending time with those delicious kids and that (delicious) hubby, talking with all of your fabulous guests, needing to clean and do laundry and cook and then trying to find space and quiet for yourself–to do yoga or write or, even, to do NOT something highbrow–like watching a Lifetime movie or catching up with old friends on Facebook. I have faith in you, Gina. Paint! Write that screenplay! Play your guitar! Read! I can’t wait to see you fly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Dinner 21

What We’re Eating and Drinking: Garden Bounty and Chilled Beaujolais

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The bouquet of kale on the left is from our garden! Isn’t it pretty? Almost too pretty to eat, but we’ll find a way to incorporate it into our meal tonight. It’ll just be the three of us in the gazebo this evening and we won’t be getting there until after Noah’s All-Star baseball game (did I tell you that he made the All-Star team?) so we’re doing something simple. We’ll grill some asparagus and hangar steak, boil up some corn on the cob–from Adams, via Georgia, which is sacrilege for a girl like me who grew up with cornfields in the backyard…corn doesn’t come until AUGUST–and a simple salad made from the Red Russian Kale above and a little lemon, olive oil, some shaved parmesan and ground pepper. Ray is already tired of rosé (blasphemy!) so I’m going to chill a light red wine to go with the meat. It’s been pretty warm here so it will be refreshing after a long night of Little League.

Gina: All Star! That’s awesome. He must be so thrilled! Enjoy the game, the grilling and the homegrown kale. I’m pretty jealous about that last one! 

 

What We’re Talking About: Last Days of School and 7th Grade

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So, how did this happen?

 

I’m not one for sentimentalizing, but this year’s last day of school got me all choked up. Maybe it’s because Noah being a 7th grader now makes him seem so grown up–even though 6th grade was supposed to be the milestone because it marked, technically anyway, the transition to middle school. The truth is his past year of 6th grade didn’t seem all that different than 5th…Noah still had a homeroom group that he moved through the day with and his teachers still sent homework reminders to parents and, well, 6th grade is still part of elementary schools in some school districts around here. 7th grade, though…SEVENTH GRADE…now THIS seems like real change. At an annual end-of-school-water-gun-and-slip-and-slide party yesterday I was chatting with some other parents and we got to wondering if this was the Last Year that our boys would want to get together and run around in their shorts whooping and giggling and spraying each other with water. Already the girls had decided it wasn’t an activity for them anymore (for the first year since kindergarten not one of them showed up). We heard they had decamped for a day of more grown up activities…I don’t know: hair braiding and talking about fashion? But…we pondered aloud, by next year will our boys be reluctant to be so obvious in their joy, too? How about in their affection for one another? By next summer will they have fractured into small cliques, playing video games in a dark basement or wandering around the river’s edge all surly and mute?

One of the dads at the party–a sweet, soulful, retired NYPD officer–was teary at the very thought of it. As the father of two older boys, in addition to his now 7th grader, he knows all too well that a parent cannot, despite his most fervent wishes, halt time’s relentless march. It seems silly, we all agreed, to get misty-eyed over something that is really cause for celebration. In this case, the healthy development and growth of these divine beings who we’ve been feeding and loving and urging forward since the moment they tumbled into our lives.

“I guess I just wish we had a few more kids,” the father/sage chuckled as he gazed over the field of half-naked adolescents, their skin still, for a few more fleeting months anyway, as hairless and slick as a newborn’s. “But I guess no matter how many there were, I’d have to get used to saying goodbye eventually.”

At his utterance of that word goodbye, a word that had been dangling on each one of our tongues as we thought about all the little goodbyes of seventh grade that would eventually, inevitably, on one similarly hot and humid June afternoon like this in the far but not so distant future, give way to the big goodbye of high school, we took in a collective short breath.

I think I’m still holding mine.

 

Gina: Wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I see these small changes happening here too, and try to avoid thinking about what will happen when all of these small changes are piled up together. Who will I be facing at that moment? Will I recognize the 11 year old boy that lives with me now in the 18 year old face that will be here before I know it? Even now, as I think of describing to you some of the evolution that I’m witnessing, I’m stopped by thoughts of invading the privacy of a young man who maybe doesn’t want his mother talking about some of the recent conversations we’ve had or experiences he’s had, or the kinds of questions he’s asking. Makes me even more thankful for the slower days of summer!