Some days are like this: I take a bike ride. I feel happy and strong, legs pumping, pushing me forwards. The sun is out in full force, warming my face and five minutes in, I start to build up a sweat. The world slides by in one-block increments of colorful storefronts. There's potential everywhere: Restaurants to try (cafe tables spill out onto the sidewalks, people hug and sit down and order cocktails and steak and go about their evenings), movies to watch, gardens to explore, streets to walk down.
It's 9:44 PM on Thursday. I'm sitting on the couch with a blanket tossed over my lap. The dryer is clinking in the background, and the apartment is still warm from heat of the day. I threw open the windows this morning and let the sun stream in. Upstairs, the bedroom is cool and dark and quiet, and my bed awaits: I'll pull back the crisp white cotton sheets and slide in.
Let's talk about good things, okay? There are so many of them. Every day, if you look in the right places. For example, if you pause outside the grocery store and stop being so absorbed in your list of laundry detergent, bananas, paper towels, cocoa powder for a moment, you'll notice the heavy scent of lilacs hanging thickly in the air. There are buckets of them, and for $10 you can buy a bunch. The woody stems always stymie me at home; I go at them with scissors and a knife and still end up twisting them apart with my hands. But it's worth it when the entire living room is perfumed with flowers.
So far tonight I've listened three times to "Here at the Right Time" by Josh Ritter, and I swear my knees get a little weak when he sings: my love for you was always sure / the bucket was broken / but the water was pure.
If you like his music, I also get stuck some days on "Homecoming" and "Girl in the War". And if you need to, say, run stair repeats or get dressed to go out at night (I KNOW THOSE ARE VERY DIFFERENT THINGS but oddly they benefit from the same sort of tunes), try "Getting Ready to Get Down".
Today it rained all day: a steady, persistent drizzle. It's the sort of rain that doesn't require an umbrella, but makes your jacket damp and your shoes just wet enough that you have to leave them outside the apartment door.
My skin is still stinging from yesterday's sunburn (I'm pale enough from this long winter that spending a mere 20 minutes in the backyard, sipping coffee, on a sunny afternoon garners me a red glow).
For a brief moment around 4 PM, I had that heavy, dull feeling that often arrives without warning in the low valley of the afternoon. You've already passed the acceptable time for coffee; lunch feels like a distant memory; and it's too early to contemplate dinner.
THINGS THAT CAN BE VERY GOOD OR VERY BAD:
1. Wear sunscreen
3. Turn on music whenever you have a chance. It’s an instant mood improver. On that note, here are four songs I like lately: Thunder by Imagine Dragons (for driving in a cab with the windows down at sunset through Central Park wearing something pretty on the way to a night out) and Another Way by Ten Fe (for slow-dancing around the living room) and Nice by Rye (for listening just after you've poured your first glass of wine in the evening) and Good and Ready by Anthony D'Amato (for singing along, loudly, and probably ideally alone given my personal vocal abilities).
Alternative titles for this recipe included "99 Problems But Brown Butter Ain't One", "Toffee for President", "Legitimately Addictive Cookies" or "Medium-Sized Circles of Heaven" but I reined it in. (You're welcome.)
I've made three batches of these cookies since discovering the recipe a week ago. I did run into the SMALL issue of not being to find toffee bars -- which surprised me, given that I consider Skor bars to be one of the greatest candy bars around (simple is better, kids!).
Yesterday I realized we had no real dessert in the house. Travesty! (Also the result of ten days away, and being really OCD about cleaning your kitchen before vacation.) There's usually at least something sweet to be scrounged up, whether cocoa powder for a quick stovetop chocolate pudding or a leftover slice of cake wrapped up in the freezer. Okay, perhaps I'm being dramatic, as there was a pint of vanilla ice cream with a few spoonfuls left in the bottom (and a serious case of freezer burn), but nary a cookie in sight.
I’ve spent the week in southern California; two friends from college got married on Saturday in San Diego. Having never been south of Los Angeles before, I was expecting a lot of fish tacos and to be able to spend at least two days pretending I was a cast member on Laguna Beach (kidding!) (not kidding!).