I’ve had art projects on the agenda this last week so writing has taken a back seat. This phenomena occurs quite often with me when my mind shifts from art to writing. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m too dim of a bulb to shine my light in two corners at once or if I can only express myself creatively in one medium at a time.
Cold this morning walking along the dam. Just a hint of a breeze had me wearing one sweatshirt and wrapping the other one around my waist. Normally, maybe because I’m from Nova Scotia, I’m the one wearing shorts in December but lately I’m starting to feel the cold. Maybe the bones are getting old.
It seemed others had looked out their windows and decided not to bother, as the usual twenty or so diehard walkers had dwindled down to five or six. Halfway across my first mile I stopped to watch the low-lying morning clouds lift and bits of blue water appear from underneath. A young couple occupied a bench about ten feet to the right of me. I noticed them, but they were so involved in one another, had I been doing the two-step in a wet suit and flippers I probably wouldn’t have merited a sideways glance.
Watching them from time to time it occurred to me that love is a fascinating and elusive subject, particularly in the early stages. Having been married four times, I’ve dallied in its seductive embrace a time or two, but obviously with my track record I have no plans to teach a course on the subject in the immediate future.
This train of thought had pulled through my station earlier in the week coincidentally. As Halloween is lurking around the corner, my pencil was busy adding color to masks and putting the “grue” in gruesome for a local art campaign.
Halloween parties are the most fun parties for me to host. Primarily, I believe, because the guests come as someone other than themselves so can release their inner demons and cavort among strangers with their usual guards down. This brings me back to new relationships, if you were thinking “she really is a dim bulb” at this juncture.
In the early glow of a relationship we mask in many ways who we really are to entice the person we are infatuated with. Truthfully, if we brought Aunt Maudie on a first date who wears industrial strength hosiery rolled at the knees, eschews deodorant due to religious beliefs, and has an infuriating habit of depositing her uppers in the Avian at dinner to give them a good fizzin, second dates might never occur, Las Vegas wedding chapels would soon go to ruin, and eventually the species as we know it would disappear from the planet.
In the beginning we put our best foot forward and it’s usually wearing our best shoes. As familiarity sets in over the years and we grow accustomed to the face across the dining room table we let down our guard and the mask reveals more and more of who we really are. In all cases, this is not a positive thing, but in most it’s just a sign that the relationship is ripening, hopefully not that it develops a strong odor, but more that it has taken on a more comfortable feel.
I can remember setting the alarm an hour early so I could get up and put on my makeup and brush my teeth before my other half woke up, and socks and boxer shorts were not considered nighttime attire. Things change. Eventually keeping up the facade of perfection can be wearing and unrealistic and you just have to breathe and let that stomach out.
Romance, however, blooms on in good relationships. It’s two people who love each other, and perhaps more important like each other, because of, or sometimes in spite of who they are, and choose to travel the same path after sleepless nights walking a crying baby, blended families, job loss, teeth loss, weight loss, weight gain, bed hair, no hair, and whatever else compels us to stay with each other year after year and still look forward to seeing the other walk in the door.
Intense heat can’t be sustained forever, or perhaps shouldn’t be. Perhaps if we didn’t have that strong initial attraction men and women being so inherently different, would gravitate towards those of our own sex like at mixed dinner parties and the maternity ward would be slow on a Saturday night. Who knows. No answers just questions, but I enjoy the familiarity of our years together. Not having to tell my old stories to a new face but rather making new stories with the old one. That’s my story for today. Have a great one!
The holidays are coming up. This is a nice side for a fall meal.
Brussel Sprouts au Gratin
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 cup leeks, sliced
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup plain breadcrumbs, dry
1 Tbsp. EV olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tsp. lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Blanch brusell sprouts in boiling salted water for 5 mins. Drain and set aside.
Saute bacon in skillet until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Add leeks to skillet. Cook over med. heat until softened. Whisk in flour and garlic. Cook 2 mins.
Whisk in broth, cream, lemon juice, white pepper and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add brussel sprouts, reserved bacon and 1/2 cup of Gruyere. Transfer to baking dish.
Heat 1 Tbsp. EV olive oil in non-stick skillet over med. heat. Stir in bread crumbs and walnuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until bread crumbs begin to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Stir in 1/2 cup Gruyere, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Top brussel sprouts with mixture and back 25-30 mins. until crumbs are brown.