Is it already mid-July? Whaa?
Although summer vacation for my daughter and me started in early June when school let out, most of June and part of this month were sucked up by summer school, book orders, annual reports, and the flu virus. In a way, our vacation officially began this week. I'm actually starting to feel a teeny bit purposeless, which is actually kind of a nice feeling, once embraced. It's only temporary, after all. In a few weeks, I'll be drowning in paper again (not the patterned kind, sadly) and composing relentless "to do" lists. In the meantime, I'm just going to fall into summer, before summer becomes fall.
Onto this week's five faves:
1. Facebook. For the longest time, I didn't "get" Facebook. I wasn't interested in creating an account. It just seemed like one more thing to maintain, one more site to visit, one more item on my "must check daily" list. Now I recall that mindset and just laugh. What did I know?
Facebook has totally sucked me in, and I surrender. It is one more thing to maintain -- but it's so fun to maintain. It is one more site to visit -- and it's usually the first and last site I visit each day (and a whole bunch of times in between). It is on my "must check" list -- but only because it is actually worth checking. I love that I can feel connected to friends and family regularly. I can chat with them, or email them, or just read status updates and feel as if I'm keeping in touch. I even get updates about my favorite shows (like True Blood, woo hoo!), writers, and singers.
2. Mr. A-Z. Speaking of these updates, one of my favorite blog posts of the week is from Jason Mraz. He's all about the wordplay, I know, but it's those words that reveal just how hilarious, intelligent, soulful, contemplative, and most of the time, right he is. These lines from yesterday's blog post are smiling down at me from one of the stickies on my desktop:
"Words and pictures make the best souvenirs for any adventure. Just press a flower into a notebook and call it a day."
3. Good Eats. I don't really get to cook as much as I'd like to during the school year. At the end of a typical day, I am physically and mentally exhausted, and while a home-cooked meal sounds terrific, it just takes too much effort. We tend to eat take out pretty often, but after a while, it all just tastes the same. Over the summer, however, I tend to cook more often. I don't just love the food; I love the process. There's nothing quite like the smell of freshly minced garlic on one's fingers, or the sweet spiciness of tomato soup, or the aroma of a roasting chicken, or the wonder of watching gravy thicken.
Last night I prepared two trays of lasagna, the ultimate comfort food. I use an ancient recipe from my mom's 1968 copy of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (which apparently needs a "new" title). I've had lasagna prepared in a multitude of ways, but this is my favorite, hands-down (mouths open). I'm so not a secret-keeper when it comes to recipes, so here you go:
You can adapt the recipe pretty easily. I do make a few changes. I use extra-lean ground beef instead of Italian sausage. I also use one 28 oz can of plum tomatoes instead of a 16 oz. can. I use cottage cheese instead of Ricotta, and (grated) parmesan instead of Romano. The lasagna also makes great leftovers, which is always a plus.
4. Ra Ra Riot.
Their album The Rhumb Line has been on replay all week long. My absolute favorite is the cover of Kate Bush's "Suspended in Gaffa." Or maybe it's "Can You Tell." Or maybe it's "Dying Is Fine." Or...
5. Blooming Color. I don't know if it's just a summertime thing, but I feel as if I'm surrounded by a universe of bright and bold colors lately. I've been wandering in the garden outside just to be near the flowers. My favorites are these daisies:
We have them in pink, white, and yellow, too. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a little mental when it comes to taking photos of flowers? You'll find me on my belly, on the grass, for an hour, snapping away like a foolio.
Have a great weekend!