Blood Moon the night before, ruffly clouds appear to be blown across the crystal blue skies this morning; hundreds of starlings cover graveyard tombstones as they gather to migrate towards warmer climates. Cold weather is coming – that is a given in this part of the country – but today the humidity is high and my clothes stick to my body as I push my feet onward around the perimeter of the cemetery, rock crunching under the rubbery tread of my shoes. Hundreds of acres of amber-colored soy beans surround the neighborhood; harvest begins soon and large clouds of dust and dirt will dance about like a dervish as the tractor makes its way up and down each row – a routine I’ve witnessed now for nearly 20 autumns. In the next couple of months the fields and tombstones will be covered in snow making it impossible for me to walk my loop – so today I’m embracing the heat and humidity as I know Mother Nature is attempting to fake me out – because I know she is really in the process of putting this summer to bed.
It’s a gray day here in the Midwest and I find myself pulling inward, desiring to get quiet and create – to write, to try a new recipe, to paint a wall. It’s hard work as I’m a perfectionist, always picking apart my work, always comparing, always believing someone else can do it better – and as my Life Coach tells me, ‘They can – but the others you’re referring to cannot create, cannot do what you do, Debra. You are the only one who can create what you see.’
I’m celebrating this guy today – it’s his birthday and I honestly don’t know what I did to have this man as my life partner but I know I’m blessed beyond measure. My partner in business and in life, he’s my confidant and my best friend.
If you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll know that I’m back in Italy this week, sans The Professor; it’s the first International trip I’ve made by myself – a feat that is, by some estimations, a miracle because I’m incredibly directionally challenged, as in ‘any way I’m facing is North’. The Professor still has students to teach and while it was difficult to leave him behind, I managed to travel from the Midwest to Italy without incident – yay me!
‘. . . run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.’ ~Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
I could be cleaning my house, running the sweeper, mopping the floors, dusting the furniture or balancing my checkbook; I could be in my kitchen putting pie crusts together, baking muffins, biscotti, scones and quiche. I could be doing my morning yoga practice, taking a walk outside in the crisp fall air following a night where a glorious moon beamed its beautiful light. Instead, I’m staring at my computer screen, heart racing, breath shallow, mind jumbled with flashbacks as I read through my Facebook feed; ‘Ray Rice’, ‘Domestic Violence’, Ignorant’, ‘Dumb’, ‘Effing Stupid’, ‘Married for the $40 million’, ‘She hit him first so it’s not abuse’ and the list goes on. And the truth is this: a small part of the reason women stay in bad relationships is because of these very words – used by both abusers and the observers standing along the sidelines – flinging these words with great intensity, but who have never walked this path. Part of the reason battered women stay is because of the shame.
Well we’re home; a little jet-lagged but home and sleeping in our own bed after a 24-hour travel day. I have to admit that the last leg of our journey was grueling in a very small puddle-jumper with about 35 teeny-tiny seats of which I’m convinced were made of concrete and wooden spikes; it felt as if I was being tortured for those last hours on a plane. But Italy was so, so worth it!
We’re here in Italy for the next 7 days; it felt as if we were coming home – that familiar feeling of seeing good friends, laughing and catching up and seeing the beautiful Villa Boccelli.
We’ve waited two years to bring bees to the Smith Bites Homestead – and yesterday our journey of helping to rebuild honeybees in our area began. A friend of ours came over and helped The Professor get them settled in; Keith has been a beekeeper for several years now and we’re grateful to have someone experienced to help get us started. The bees seem right at home, buzzing in and out of their new homes, collecting pollen and finding water – stay tuned for more homesteading adventures!
Happy Sunday Friends – thanks for stopping by!
A few weeks ago, The Professor and I headed up to Chicago and hung out in the lobby hoping to catch up with friends at the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference. It was nice to connect with people we haven’t seen for a while and finally meet those we’ve only ‘known’ online.
2013 was a big year travel year for The Professor and me; we began in March and didn’t stop until right before Thanksgiving. One of those trips involved getting in the car and heading East, making a loop up into upstate New York and back home again; it was a fun traveling in our own car instead of crammed into those tiny metal frames they call seats on airplanes.