Little House, Big Table

a place where real people gather

When Verona, Italy said ‘yes’ to me coming to be a Secretaria di Giulietta – or a Secretary of Juliet, the plans began to take shape for that guy that I like so much’s Sabbatical. I will write more on the other places we visited – Istanbul! Sicily! Venice! but a full week in Verona quickly became the place it would all be centered around because hello, I’ve always loved words, and writing them on paper, and of listening to stories…and of telling them too.

How perfect this would be.

=)

Verona is lovely. Really lovely, We scored on a beautiful air bnb in the middle of the historic center, steps from the office of Juliet and her well visited balcony. October is the perfect time to visit…not so very touristy, the temperature warm enough to just barely need a sweater and the leaves on the trees were starting to turn yellow and fall.

Autumn perfection for this Autumn loving girl.

On Monday morning we left our flat and headed downstairs for coffee. I love the way Italians ‘do’ morning coffee. You either stand at the counter, have a quick conversation while drinking your espresso and then head on your way…or you sit, read the newspaper (for us the obituaries because our italiano is no bene) and drink your coffee while eating a brioche. And oh, the brioche – I dream of you in between every trip.

I was so nervous that first morning as that guy that I like so much, who spent his time in churches (how fitting) while I was away, walked me the 180 meters to the office of the secretaries…it’s located on the 1st floor (2nd floor American) in a building not far from Piazza Erbe. Walking in, there are rows and rows of boxes – every letter is saved and filed away. Every letter for decades is in this office…so. many. letters! And in the middle of the room, a long wooden table, boxes of letters sorted by language, pens and stationary.

I had thought so much about the week I was going to spend answering letters. I had talked about it to many – most of who had no clue what I was talking about and thought I was a bit crazy, so I finally stopped saying anything…because who knew if this would work out or not?

Anyway, I had pictured myself sitting at a table, laughing and talking with other women who had come from around the world to also write. I had thought about the friends I’d make and the stories we’d share.

I thought about every part of it…except what was really involved. The struggles, the heartache, the loss. I had no clue the type of letters that I would be reading – letters where woman (and men, too!) pour out their heart to a young woman who we aren’t even sure existed, beneath a balcony that we all know didn’t, who took her own life at 13 over a boy she hardly knew.

I mean, what kind of letters would I really be responding to?

The first letter I picked up and read was from a 13 year old girl in the midwest who was on vacation with her parents in Italy and who scribbled on a restaurant napkin if she would ever find ‘true love’. It was sweet (literally – it had been stuck to the wall in Juliet’s courtyard with chewing gum) and innocent and pure of heart. I imagined talking about this same thing with my nieces and boom, letter number 1 was done.

Lighthearted, quite simple…this was going to be fun.

The second letter was about a 27 year old woman who had been raped and wondered if she would ever be ok again. After that, there was the letter from the woman my age, who said ‘I know this is crazy, writing a letter to Juliet under balcony, but what the heck?’ and poured out her heart about recovering from her sons death. And then the others…like the letter from the 19 year old college freshman, who was broken hearted and lost and wrote that she could easily see herself ending up like Juliet.

WHAT?

I sat at the table and looked over at another secretary who had traveled from the Channel Islands with her childhood girlfriend because of the movie, Letters to Juliet, that we had all fallen in love with. She had tears streaming down her face at a letter she was reading and soon, this all became something much more than we ever thought.

If we couldn’t, or didn’t feel comfortable, answering a particular letter, we could pass it over to another secretary who might have better insight. Marriage stuff, young love, anything that had a reference to God (Yes! Juliet then had a Christian voice!), raising kids, questions about life – those I could answer. Others, I wasn’t so sure so chose not to answer.

Every day I cried. I tried my best to give some hope. To share a bit of me through Juliet…to share that I know love is big and that it is good and that it is worth fighting for.

Every letter that is left in the mailbox or stuck on the wall (usually with gum) or is mailed in (just write Juliet, Verona, Italy and it will find its way!) or now, emailed in, is personally answered by a secretary.

And every letter is signed by Juliet.

In between writing, the bell would ring and in would come a group of tourists. Usually older, American and on a grand adventure to Italy. They’d watch us write and some would ask questions along the lines of ‘why the heck would you come do this?’ and ‘why would anyone write to Juliet anyway’ and occasionally would try to read the letters we were working on or our replies. I learned to hide them when the tours would come in…they had no clue how personal this had all become. But most were nice and simply intrigued…and I was glad to share where I was from and that I had no idea what this experience was really about until I showed up.

By 1:00pm, when the office closed for the day, I was emotionally exhausted. That guy that I like so much would be waiting in the courtyard when I was done, he’d grab my hand and we’d walk to lunch. After the first day he knew I needed some quiet time while I processed a bit of what I’d just written about. Did I answer well enough? Did I explain what I really wanted to say? Did I offer just enough advice followed by hope? I prayed through every response that grace would flow onto the paper…did I help at all?

In the end, I think I did. But I am changed. I do know I will return to Verona to write letters every time we are in Italy…even if it is only for a day or two. But more than that, I will carry my secretary work out here. While there isn’t a red mailbox outside my house (yet…haha), the whole art of sending a letter in the mail is a dying one. Think of the joy of opening your mailbox and having a letter inside…one that someone took the time to actually hand write, on paper, put in an envelope and snail mailed?

I am different because of this experience. I thought it would be lighthearted and fun and easy. And some of it was. But it was eye opening (and heart-wrenching) to see how many people are struggling and just need someone to listen without judgement…and I am so thankful we were able to slow done long enough to give someone a little hope in the form of a handwritten letter in their mailbox.

I already miss it and so…for the last time in the next little while, I will simply sign this:

All my love,

Juliet

As with most trips, by the time the planning is done, and the paying for is (almost) done, and the getting the house and the pets and the kid who is holding all those things together done…well, it’s exhausting.

EXHAUSTING.

Sure there is the excitement that comes with a long journey but sometimes, you (as in me) just begin to wonder if it it will all be worth it.

And so, by the time we packed and the notes were written and left (to be ignored, I’m sure) on the kitchen counter, I was almost in tears when we finally set out for the airport.

We have been talking about and dreaming of this adventure for a long time. We’re good…and experienced, travelers and were just waiting for that guy that I like so much’s Sabbatical to begin. And so once we arrived at the airport, got all checked in and then did the necessary thing…headed to the lounge. Because one must lounge prior to a long flight…right?

There was food and drinks and lots of laughs. We’re starting this journey with our best friends who were planning to show us their city…the one that they love so much.

But first…a 14 hour flight. The joyful kind with an empty seat between us.

=)

Turkish Air for the win. Menu’s and slippers and socks and chapstick and movies and you almost forget for like a minute that you’re flying above the clouds in a tin can.

The whole way there, we chased the sunset.

And once we landed in Istanbul, we were whisked off to our friends home for the most. amazing. meal. ever. Turkish food…real Turkish food, is so fresh and delicious and oh my, I just couldn’t get enough.

Until I couldn’t keep up and fell asleep at the table. Sleep…I needed sleep.

The next few days were filled with so many things to see and touch and taste and experience…the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, fresh, hot simit, listened as the prayer bells sounded, took a taxi ride that was probably one of the scariest ever – yet was the fastest and cheapest, so there was that, a cruise across the Bosphorus to Asia (so we could lunch on the same continent as Matthew) and then back to the Europe side to wander the spice market and buy saffron to bring home.

And tea. Lots of turkish tea.

We had dinner with friends and by this point, I was in love with this city. The people…they are amazing. The food…unbelievable. Shish kebob and a baked hummus that I cannot wait to make at home.

And on our last night, amid texts from home over the news of what is happening in Turkey, we celebrated at a special restaurant with friends. Hulya and Erdin…we will never forget your hospitality.

And then we were off. The foursome was separating – they were off to Cyprus and we were off to Sicily. I missed them immediately…it’s fun to travel with people who travel the way you do.

I had no expectations prior to going to Turkey and did no research…I didn’t need to since we were with friends the whole time. And because of that, we got the insiders view and it was amazing.

I can’t wait to go back.

My favorite season has always been the next one that is beginning. In SoCal that might not seem like a major shift, but I still feel those changes…as subtle as they might be.

Summer this year in our little house on our little street is probably best described as joy filled with a massive heap of stress and chaos. One boy who was moving out of state and towards the end, as is common (and healthy!!), he couldn’t get out the door fast enough. He literally shouted ‘love ya, ma!’ as he was driving down the street and I can tell you without a doubt that he didn’t even glance in the rear view mirror.

I cried…but it was more tears of sadness for me. It’s yet another life change that I need to adapt to…another change that is buried deep in the mothering 101 handbook that no one tells you about when you hold that sweet smelling newborn in your arms.

This kid, the one who came early and in a hurry, who was labeled as failure to thrive, the one who is probably most like me in the ways he lives life…well, it was time. He was ready…and so was I.

But I still miss him. He was born in Colorado and couldn’t wait to move ‘home’ to the ‘motherland’. The part I’m most jealous of is the that he is surrounded by friends who are more like family and I want more than anything to be hanging with them too.

Matteo, our oldest, blew in from China, dropped his bags and headed out on a road trip with his brother. I prayed they’d like each other as adults…and they do. A lot. Once home, our little house on our little street had a full table and a full garden for the whole time he was here. He’s got a great circle of people, both here and overseas, and because of that I don’t worry about him quite as much.

He signed for two more years and I have never been so thankful for technology.

=)

That guy that I like so much is on Sabbatical this semester – though it’s a different sort of Sabbatical than ever before. He’s serving in a church and still has lots to do…and so there aren’t as many quiet days as he’d thought.

But the work he’s being led to do? Ordained. God breathed. Sacred.

But then there is October. We’ve been holding on, waiting patiently, for October. He and I are heading on a journey…a long(ish) journey. We need this time. Oh, how we need this time.

I had this plan to write more…to set aside time each day and put words down on paper. They’re all swirling around in my head but by the time supper rolls around, and the dishes are cleared and that last glass of wine is being poured…I just can’t seem to quiet enough to write. Our little house on our little street is quieter than ever before, yet, I don’t know. I’ve just been tired. The words spoken to me at work this summer consume me and it still stings. But that’s real life stuff and oh well.

But then there is October. A chance to leave work behind. A time to hold a familiar hand and see new things, explore new places, meet new people.

Needed. This trip is needed. After all, how many Autumns do we really have left?

One last quick thought. My new love…or maybe obsession? Craving?

Topo Chico.

Where have you been, in your cute little bottle and smiley label and bubbly bubbles?

YUM.

This young thing…this young, now 21 year old (!!!!) just makes me smile. He has no clue how much he was prayed for, wished for, wanted. He just knows he’s here. And for our children, that’s the most important thing I would ever want them to know.

You were prayed for.

You were wanted.

You are loved.

These three? Mine. All mine.

=)

And so we enter a new season. The married couple with grown kids phase. It’s a fun phase, I must say. We’ve poured a lot of us into this family and while it used to feel selfish to claim time for just us, it no longer does. We were young parents and now it feels right to call this time ‘ours’.

Thankful, that’s for sure. Just thankful.

I have been holding on and holding on to so many things…things that I know I should be letting go of. Mainly my boys. Mainly because I love being a mama and it’s what I most identify myself with.

But lately? Lately our house has been full and I’m feeling the need (urge?) to push the big bowling ball out and deliver this kiddo into the world. He’s a man now, has lived on his own, came home again with dirty work boots and piles of work clothes and tools everywhere…and is probably the most like me of all of mine. That bugs him…and bugs me too.

It’s time. It really is. And in seven short (though not if you are laboring and trying to push the baby out) days, he is heading out to a new job, in a new state. I’m looking forward to what our relationship will become and I know he is too.

I’ve been protecting my heart on the work front as well. Empowering some, keeping silent with others, listening lots, talking very little and trying to lay low. It’s a very strange place for me to be…until today. Today I rallied my team for the coming year and was reminded of how much I like what I do.

I’m also setting boundaries…healthy boundaries. Days begin, breaks happen, days end. No more responding after hours and working late into the night.

And then there has been this. A new bible study with friends. We’re doing 100 Days to Brave alongside the book of Esther and I’ve been sitting in the garden at lunch time and journaling my heart away.

It feels…right. And good.

We are soon to settle into a new family normal here. Boy #1 is arriving from China next Tuesday for a three week visit. Part of that will be moving Boy #2’s car and work things to another state. Boy #3…the baby, is about to start his senior year of college.

And this guy? Sabbatical for the next semester. Lots of reading and learning are in store for him, as well as serving in a church. But lots and lots of time home too…which means I have a super sweet dinner date most evenings.

I like him, so it’s all good.

=)


The boys all request their favorite meals when home…or when about to leave. One of them is fried pork chops – buy the super thin boneless ones, bread and fry in olive oil with lots of kosher salt and pepper. Super healthy…haha. But they eat them right out of the pan and the only thing I serve them with now is a big green salad. In the old days I would make homemade mac n cheese and roasted green beans, but they’re maturing…and my grown up kids are HUGE veggie eaters.

This meal reminds me of being a little kid again…and I think my boys feel that way too. And so, a few times of year, it’s what I’ll make to keep them coming home to mama.

I have been reminded this week of how beauty rises out of ashes…and how very blessed this life I have been given is.

There was no tragedy. No one was injured or diagnosed or died. But a work meeting this week left me reeling…and hurt. I cried. For days. I cried until there weren’t any more tears and then cried a bit more. It wasn’t the criticism, but it was the way it was handled.

But then I began to see that God was showing me that there were things I needed to see. That often times work places aren’t healthy…and that goes for churches and the secular world. That I need to create, and maintain, healthy boundaries. That the team I work with on a daily basis is special, and hard working, and kind. That I am more than what I was told…that it does not define who I am.

And through all the tears, I was given the clearest vision of my life.

Home.

I have a home. One here, that is full. Full of people who I am thankful to call mine. And another home waiting after this soot filled life on earth ends…one that I see as having a long table filled with people needing to be fed.

There is so much more than what we see.

So enough about all that…and on to the good this week. The weather finally warmed and it’s now HOT, so the AC has been running all day and night. The fig tree is bursting with figs…so many that I’m worried it will collapse and the garden flowers now need daily water in order to hold their pretty little faces up. And s’mores with peanut butter cups really can make everything feel better.

=)

This week was also filled with many long walks and many long talks and many quiet prayers and many long suppers in the garden. Oh…and an early morning rain that was completely unexpected and gave everything a good soaking.

So here we sit. Another week done and another beginning. There’s work to be done, meals to be planned…and cooked, a dog to be walked.

I’m ready…whatever might come. I could worry about it getting worse but I’m going to trust that my hand is being held and my heart is being protected. Even when it feels ugly, I know the beauty is always there.

=)

There’s lots of big, and little, life stuff happening in our little world..I have one moving out of state in two weeks and another coming home for a short three week visit. The third is gearing up for school starting, I’m stressed about tuition payments and my work life is all topsy turvy. Bedrooms are being cleaned out and reorganized, the washer is going all day long, boxes are being packed and multiple trips are being made to the dumpster.

All that has meant I haven’t been sleeping well lately…the kind of not sleeping because my brain just won’t stop thinking all kinds of thoughts that most likely don’t matter…yet still bother me.

And then I don’t want to nap because I want to sleep at night and then the same cycle repeats itself. Which basically means I’m grumpy and groggy…though thankful for the art of afternoon coffee.

=)

Panzanella with farmers market tomatoes and day old kalamata olive bread – probably one of my favorite meals ever!

I’m trying to focus on the the good stuff and not on the ‘what if’ parts…like, there is a beautiful tree in the back yard EVEN IF it doesn’t grow $100 bills.

=)

The garden is so peaceful during the daytime and I’m trying to take advantage of that and spend time reading or writing or planning dream vacations or counting the figs on the tree. (50 or so this season, in case you were wondering…) The garden becomes a bit more animated at happy hour and then downright loud by sundown. Our poor neighbors. We do invite them over but for some reason, we keep forgetting that we don’t live in a 100 year old farmhouse in the middle of 10 acres and instead live, literally, attached to our neighbors.

Oops.

This season has one downside…and it’s a BIG one. This past winter was super rainy in SoCal, and super rainy brings lush greenery and gorgeous flowers. And…SPIDERS. So. Many. Spiders. The kind of spiders that drop right down in front of your face while you’re eating dinner and make webs in walkways within minutes.

Ick.

Hasn’t stopped us from having long, loud dinners…but I’ve got super scanner vision and a broom nearby at all times.

Earlier this week we did a quick run into Costco for a few staples, came out with an 8×10 carpet only to remember we drove that guy that I like so much’s car. Or maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea? I do feel it’s part of my lot in life to humanize the ritzy county we live in…and a carpet hanging out of the car helps that cause.

Friday night we grilled up some marinated tri-tip, multiple trays of vegetables (peppers, asparagus, zucchini and onions) and served the whole thing on top of a big arugula salad. Friends brought some great wines, another walked in with whisky and ta-dah! we had a party.

Two spiders crashed it, too…and our dog is absolutely no help. He knows exactly where to park himself under the table where a slick hand slips him some treats and completely ignores the creepy crawlies.

Last December we totally Marie Kondo’d our attic and it felt so good that we did the same thing on Saturday to our outside storage shed. So much was tossed/donated..in fact, most everything found a new home if we hadn’t touched it in the last year.

It’s a little space that holds a lot…basically everything a garage would hold. Our extra freezer is in there and so is our water heater, plus all our beach equipment. The big question…how many boogie boards does one shrinking family need?

Today has been quiet. Church this morning, which isn’t quiet for that guy that I like much since he leads worship, but quiet for me in that I just show up. Tonight we are firing up the pizza oven and since the fridge is somewhat empty, we will get creative with our pizzas. I ordered einkorn flour and am trying my regular dough recipe with it, so we’ll see how that goes. It does have a beautiful golden yellow color!

And tonight? Post pizza, I’m praying for sleep. The kind where my brain completely sleeps too.

This summer season I am doing a few things differently than usual. Rather than being completely unscheduled for a few (rather glorious) weeks, I’m involved in a journaling ‘class’. The daily prompts show up via email while I am sleeping and have me writing in the early mornings in the garden while I listen to the neighborhood wake up.

It feels good to write again after feeling like that was something that I had left behind (or that had left me behind) and I am loving the joy that is there as I write all sorts of words down.

And the prompts are sometimes a bit heavy, which I’m finding I like too.

Makes me think.

Summer days are all pretty similar…coffee with that guy that I like so much while catching up on the world news (sigh), a load or two of laundry thrown in, the garden gets watered, we shower and head out on a few errands together…usually involving a breakfast or lunch at a fun place, a stop at the market for whatever is going to be cooked that night and then home.

Home.

I love home. It’s not fancy, it’s not big, it’s not always (gulp) picked up. But it’s ours and my favorite people in the world call it home too.

Our home is in this interesting season of life and for those that are walking through this same season, or have walked it already, then you get it. Home used to be FULL OF BOYS.

Full.

Of boys.

And now it isn’t…or it is, but it’s full of boys who are transitioning out. Matthew lives in China, Alex is moving in a few short weeks to Colorado for work, and Brian is starting his senior (what????) year of college.

So those people listed above (and if you know me in real life, you know I use the phrase ‘you people’ a whole lot) all have either one or both feet out the door.

But that guy that I like so much and I?

Empty nesting is on the horizon.

But, and maybe I’m alone in this…but now what? Is it ok to think those thoughts? Is it ok to feel a little (or kinda a lot) unsettled at what’s next? I mean, will our little house on our little street continue to be a place others want to gather?

But then I get little bits and pieces of clarity thrown in there. Friends who show up because they need a hot meal after a long day of work. Others who come because they have things to work through and need a little advice or maybe just a glass of wine and a moment to breathe. Grandkids (and where are mine, boys? Dad and I are ready!) who are beginning to come with their grandparents and feel so at home because we have a scaredy dog.

So maybe that’s this season. The in between season. The one where the children begin leaving and the friends keep coming.

And so I keep feeding people…to keep them coming. Maybe it’s not for them, but for me.

And there are other important summer things too. Like Season 3 of Stranger Things and panzanella with home grown tomatoes and figs from the tree with honey and goat cheese and 80’s music playing way too loud all afternoon and evening and doing a Bible study of Ruth with a girlfriend and Esther with another and long walks around our neighborhood lake.

All that ‘life goes on’ things help make all the changes a bit easier.

I boarded a flight for Florida work meeting earlier this week and I’m still in the process of figuring out where I am and why I’m here. But my work life is a whole ‘nuther story and I find myself praying daily for wisdom and clarity. I like what I do but it’s just sometimes a place where I don’t feel as if I belong…and that’s not such a fun place to be.

But God knows my situation. God always knows. And I’m leaning into him.

missing my puppy, too – isn’t he cute???

I’m a homebody. Sort of. I think even bigger than that is that I’m a family body. Wherever my people are is where I belong and I find myself floundering when I’m not with them.

I miss my people.

I miss feeding them, cleaning up after them, complaining about them.

=)

The night before I left, I cooked a big meal…enough for lunch takers to take for lunch and dinner eaters to eat for leftovers. It’s an interesting Italian meal…pork cooked in milk, which doesn’t make sense until you smell it cooking. You need a blender for this one – or an immersion blender, which goes against my ‘no fancy tools’ motto.

But it feeds a crowd, unless you are turkish and don’t eat pork. (Alev! 😎)

Roasted Pork in Milk

4 - 5 lb bone-in pork shoulder 
kosher salt and pepper
6 T olive oil
2 cups white wine
4 cups whole milk or half & half
8 whole cloves of garlic
12 large sage leaves

Heat oil in a large dutch oven until hot. Salt and pepper pork and brown on all sides in olive oil.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook at 350 degrees for 3 1/2 hours.  Pork should be falling apart - if not, cover and cook a bit longer.
Remove pork to a large plate and cover with foil. The remaining sauce in the pot will look curdled - use an immersion blender and blend the sauce until smooth. Add pepper and salt to taste. Gently shred the pork into large chunks and put back in the sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes and a big salad.

Occasionally we will wake up the next day and think that it would be easier to sell the house and start over rather than wash all those party dishes…and hello? Who still uses glassware that can’t go in the dishwasher?

Ummm…us. Because it’s so pretty after all. And I like ‘real’ dishes – so I do it to myself.

The 4th of July was fun, no matter what the kitchen looked like the next day. We fired up the pizza oven, invited a bunch of people we like, added an extra table to the garden and poured wine. Lots of it.

Our neighborhood has the best fireworks display. People drive in from all around to watch and we just have to grab chairs and walk to the end of our street…which is exactly what we did. Then all came back to the garden for cocktails…and another pizza or two.

sausage, peppers and onions..so good!

This year we had a 6.4 earthquake in the middle of the party – the rolling kind that was rather subtle and took us all a while to figure out what was going on. There was another the next night – 7.1 this time (all centered quite a ways away, so not too strong…but long!) and now we are all thinking of earthquake kits that need to be updated. Ours was packed 15 years ago and had things in it like pop tarts and a football, complete with a mini pump. Because we had three boys back then and the football was a necessity.

=)

Anyways, the morning after the 4th, I made a few almond croissants (thanks to Trader Joes freezer section) and multiple cups of coffee. Occasionally I’d glance over with hopes that the kitchen might’ve cleaned itself and once I realized it wouldn’t, and we were having friends for dinner in the garden later that day (again! love that!), I filled the sink with soapy water and washed all those glasses.

And like my mug says…JOY. Because it really is a joy to have such a beautiful place to share with others.

This past week was quiet, followed by a filled up weekend. I am technically off work for a few weeks but the phone calls and emails continue to trickle in with people needing things…but it’s still been a welcome, much needed break.

I had grand plans of cleaning out our storage shed as well as the laundry room. I also had wanted to paint the boys bathroom and replace all the broken things…the rusted light fixture and mirror, the toilet paper holder that was ‘accidentally’ ripped off the side of the vanity, the towel bar that has been hanging by one screw for, I don’t know…years?

Instead, last week I caught up on my (valentines) hallmark movies, lunched with a girlfriend, breakfasted with another, dinnered at the country club (that was super fun!) and spent not one, but two full days in my pjs. TWO. Basically, I came to realize that if I didn’t have a job, I might never, ever get dressed.

And then last night that guy that I like so much came up with a plan because I needed a diversion. Or intervention? Conversion? Aversion? Basically, I needed to get out of the house. In real clothes, because sometime last week I became one of those people who walks their dog – and gets their mail in their mismatched, wrinkly, yes I slept in them last night, pajamas.

Yep…just keeping our sky high real estate prices classy.

So off we went today an hour or so north of us to the Huntington Library – complete with a Gutenberg Bible, early manuscripts of Shakespeare and Chaucer and then there are acres upon acres of botanical gardens.

But the true highlight for me was high tea in the rose garden. Scones with clotted cream and lemon curd, finger sandwiches – egg salad and chicken salad, mini quiches, and pots of hot, fruity tea.

I always feel like I’ve been on vacation after having high tea. No one rushes you, everything feels just sort of grown up, and in the end I feel like it’s more of an event than a sit down meal.

And I like that.

Back home for bbq’d burgers with grilled green chilis and jack cheese. I didn’t even make a salad or cut up some fruit or make some tater tots to go with them…just a burger on bun, on a plate. Cuz we are fancy sometimes…and mama was tired.

The wine though? Yum! A gift from a friend who just returned from a trip. Definitely deserved a nicer meal to go with it, but oh well.

=)