Love in Other Places

I feel a tinge of guilt adding the description “CSA, Weeks 11-17” to this post. It’s that same old too busy living life to write about it moment I seem to reach during this point every year. What’s left when I come up for air are a series of flashing vignettes from the back half of my summer.

Family milestones.

We kicked off August with a long-awaited visit from Jon’s parents. We finally got to cook for all our parents together under our roof, which was a little dream come true. I made radish butter for Jon’s homemade bread, spicy lamb manti, and a tray of baklava.


On August 15th, Gianna turned two years old. She loves Winnie the Pooh and knows how to make my heart melt into chocolate sauce. Here she is on Grandparents’ Day opening her souvenirs from Disney World. Speaking of which…


After months of secret-keeping from our blushing bride (the blush could’ve been from frustration), we finally took Megan on her surprise bachelorette trip. We rode Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain, and ate mountains of food. There was the famous Dole Whip ice cream and the requisite turkey leg at Magic Kingdom. We had lunch with our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. The next day we toured the world at Epcot, starting with champagne, baguettes and cheese, and chocolate-filled beignets in France. Later, some wine and antipasti in Italy (before getting comically caught in the rain). Along the way, I enjoyed a bit of the familiar, the scenes in Morocco reminding me of my travels to Uzbekistan, then heading straight to the “Tokyo Pop” section of the Japan store to buy Gudetamas. Our night ended on an amazing dinner under “the stars” in Mexico (after a proper tequila shot in La Cava del Tequila, of course).

P.S. I cried like a teeny tiny little baby at the castle fireworks show and have zero shame about it. I stand no chance of getting through the wedding tear-free.

Margaritas. (Seriously.)

Over a leisurely outdoor dinner with colleagues, after a long day of using our brains, appreciating the first dip in temperature.

In every shade of sunset. Two with salt on the rim, one without (ahem--Carolyn).

To go! Because Malvina was bold enough to ask if that was a thing. In paper coffee cups with a knowing wink from a champ of a waitress.

But mostly, being 6,000 miles apart.

I’m on Day 13 of being home alone while Jon traverses Kyrgyzstan, working on an unusual project (as usual) and continuing to be my hero. He documented the World Nomad Games, went on an eight-hour horseback journey, and sends me perfect messages like “I have to warn you I’m looking ruggedly handsome, like a mix between Prince Ali of Ababwa and Solid Snake.”

In return, I send him pictures of the chickens at Brooklyn Grange and tell him how our garden is holding up. I sauteed slices of our homegrown tomatoes and peppers for breakfast one morning with leftover baked potatoes and a dollop of labne. He sent me his recipe so I could make salsa with our tomatoes and onions, plus a habanero pepper from our CSA. Our herbs and onions have started attracting gorgeous butterflies.

When our second Kajari melon of the summer ripened from green to orange, I climbed through our overgrown pumpkin vines to pluck it from the trellis, chilled it overnight, then shared it with Mom and Dad during a drive to New Jersey where we enjoyed oysters and sandwiches and walked the Asbury Park boardwalk. On the way there, we stopped at our favorite farmer’s market, Samaha’s, and I bought everything that excited me: fresh mozzarella, jars of locally made tomato sauce, a bottle of rich balsamic vinegar glaze, and fresh figs.

The best way I’ll remember these last summer weeks are as cherished moments of love and light shared with my family and friends. But it’s really about time Jon comes home; I’ve been dying to open this new jigsaw puzzle of hotdogs.