Our next door neighbors have a giant holly tree in their yard. It’s at the front corner of their back yard, if that makes any sense, and the reason that’s important is that the location of it makes it hang over into our driveway. Big time. I, for one, am thrilled about this. Christmas decorations cost money, and holly hanging over my car is free.
The point is – the last time I posted on the back burner, I hadn’t even noticed any berries on the holly tree. I started to see them a few weeks ago, and their unripe greenness reminded me of how bright and Christmasy they had been when we first saw the house. One morning this week, I got into my car, heading to work, and noticed that the berries had started to get yellow. How could it be that time of year already?
Today, as I sit on our couch in our living room, looking out into the crisp autumn afternoon, the berries are bathed in cool sunshine. They are a deep orange-y almost-red, and I can hardly believe it. Life happens. Life is busy. Holly turns red practically before your eyes these days.
And so, in the spirit of taking the time to notice what’s going on around us, here is a recap – with some pictures, don’t worry, I know I’ve been long-winded already) – of the past month. It’s been a good one, a crazy one, a memorable one. Enjoy!
Let’s see. Where should I start? Well, I’m still doing yoga. It has been so incredible for me. I’d heard about Bikram yoga for a long time, and had always been too chicken to try it. I started in July, and haven’t really looked back. I try to go to class at least three times a week, which usually means I go to class three times a week. With a full-time, “traditional” job, it’s often tough to fit in the 90-minute class, but it’s worth it. The studio is about ten minutes from our house, and the benefits I’ve reaped since starting are well worth the scheduling challenges I face. I feel better in so many way, including that much of my chronic back pain is now nonexistent. Cheers to Bikram. I’m an official convert.
Okay, I know. It’s time for some pictures. You know I love to take pictures of food, so that’s what I have. I’ve made lots of great dishes recently – this was a Cooking Light fish and tomato and basil saute:
I also made butternut squash soup for the first time. How amazing does this roasted butternut look?
Next came the big batch of basil pesto, some of which is still in the freezer. Check out this picture: Charlie is a BIG dog, and the basil plant is as tall as he is!
I also made the very unique and ridiculously delicious acorn squash quesadillas with tomatillo salsa from Smitten Kitchen. They’re like nothing else I’ve ever eaten, and we loved them. Here is a picture of the squash before roasting and a picture of the quesadilla filling cooking on the stove.
I also made from-scratch pumpkin pie this month. Strange, but true. I roasted and pureed the pumpkin myself and everything.
The crust was kind of a disaster – it was perfect underneath the pie but burnt on the top edge – but the rest of the pie was delish. This picture doesn’t really do it justice. It was much lovelier in real life!
I guess I’m getting out of order here, but the cooking topic brings me to yesterday morning. Carrie, Kus and I decided to make brunch here – and it ROCKED. The menu included mimosas, cinnamon hazelnut french-pressed coffee, cinnamon raisin french toast with fresh fruit, and spinach and ricotta quiche. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. It was to die for. I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures.
I had the pleasure of visiting R. in Charlottesville a few weeks ago, which is always well-worth the drive West on 64. I miss living in the same city as her. Maybe one day. :)
All three members of my immediate family have celebrated birthdays in the past month, too. My mom’s was a big year, if you know what I mean, so Dad threw her a huge surprise party. It was awesome. She had no idea. I sent my brother art supplies in the mail for his birthday, and we were all together again to celebrate Pops with a lovely dinner made by mom on Friday night. Again, I’ve got to remember to start taking pictures of things other than food. Sheesh.
I also did a little Fall decorating at our house – for some reason it seems that I’ve only taken pictures of one room, but here they are. What do you think?
My MFA program is…well, it’s going. I still get frustrated a lot, but I’m really working on it. I’m trying to remind myself that it’s okay for things not to be perfect and it’s okay for me to not feel like writing every second of every day. It’s just a crazy time, and it’s hard to me to balance everything.
Work has been crazy, but I like it that way. I’d so much rather feel like a chicken with my head cut off than be sitting around bored all day, doing nothing. I feel really fortunate to have found this job when we moved to Richmond, and it continues to be good to me.
Finally, last weekend we got a small group together and headed up toward Wintergreen to hike Three Ridges. It’s an almost 15-mile loop, so we did it over two days. We got on the trail at about 3pm on Saturday, camped Saturday night, and came off the trail at about 12:30pm on Sunday. It was awesome. We really needed to get away, and it was the perfect place to be. You just can’t beat Fall in the Blue Ridge. You really can’t.
And in case you need a laugh to end on, tomorrow is my last class at a local yarn store – I am allegedly learning how to knit socks. Tomorrow makes class #4 – and I seriously don’t know if I will be able to get through the second one after the class is over. Those things are complicated. And yes. You read that correctly. It has taken me four weeks to knit PART OF one sock. Gah.
Anyway, thanks for being here, and thanks for reading. Cheers to you and your loved ones, and enjoy life happening. :)