Change in the weather…

Just about two weeks ago I found myself mourning the end of summer.  Admittedly, this has been a very odd summer for me.

First of all, summer took forever to arrive in Chicago this year.  Too many false starts and teasing.  Then when it finally did get here, the blast furnace was turned on … big time!

Secondly, my work has been odd and different this summer.  Not my usual schedule, and we’ve already discussed how I do like to keep a regular schedule. Things just seemed jumbled, disorganized and out of sorts.

Finally… and I shouldn’t even mention this…. summer to me means my beloved Chicago Cubs.  What a disappointing season.  Mind you, I still watched just about every game (and will continue to do so until the very bitter end), but it just wasn’t the same.  There was no pressure… no anticipation.  We knew from a very early stage, that the playoffs were not in the cards this year.

So… suddenly I woke up one morning and it was September.  September?? How is this possible?  It was June just a moment ago!  Now the calendar was telling me it was fall.  I just didn’t think I was ready.  Somehow, I felt cheated.

Then, this morning I awoke to a gloriously cool, clear morning.  It was even chilly!  I immediately knew what needed to be done.  I cracked open my favorite cookbook, “Around My French Table“, by Dorie Greenspan and found the recipe for Paris Mushroom Soup.  Soup!!  Glorious, warm, silky soup.  I put on my favorite light sweater and suddenly… I am all about fall!  Summer?  Who needs it?

Bring on college football!  Bring on fires in the fireplace!  Bring on cozy soups and succulent stews!  Autumn…. I am ready!

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Being Blown Away

Mary Poppins came to mind today.  We have had tremendous winds here in Chicago, and while I didn’t feel the need to move on to another town as Mary did… it certainly helped blow out some cobwebs and let me see things a bit differently.

It started as I began the day the way I start most Wednesday mornings, at the Green City Market.  As I was crossing the street to begin shopping,  I was blown away (pun very much intended) by the almost overpowering scent of fresh strawberries!  The berries were a very strong reminder of why I love going to the market — to buy what is ridiculously fresh and abundantly in season this week and decide what to do with it later.  That’s exactly what I did and decided on a chicken and strawberry salad for lunch tomorrow.

Then I was off to my miracle-worker hairdresser at Salon Soca to get my hair cut.  Nothing like a scalp massage and a fresh “do” to set you right with the world.  As I was walking home, the wind whipping my newly cut hair, I experienced about four climate changes in my one mile walk — bright sunshine, menacing dark clouds, and what felt like a 15-degree temperature change.  All of this accompanied by these amazing winds.  It really felt like all of the cobwebs had been wiped out of my brain and I was experiencing a clean sweep!

I got home to discover a unique work-related opportunity had popped up (or blown in?).  Not only was I really interested in pursuing this, but I was more excited about it than I’ve been about many similar opportunities.

Finally, I made myself lunch.  Whenever my husband is out-of-town (as he currently is) I see it as a chance to spoil myself and “go all French” with my cooking and experiment a little.  After all, if it’s awful no one will know!  My newest cookbook obsession is Dorie Greenspan‘s “Around My French Table“.   I decided to try the Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs.  It is served over toasted brioche slices.  I took my first bite and was instantly transported to someplace sumptuous, fabulous, and no doubt incredibly French.  To put it simply… I was Blown Away. (I apologize for not having a picture of the dish… I really didn’t anticipate it being such a momentous occasion. I thought I was simply having lunch).

Maybe today was caused by the winds of change.  Whatever it was… it made my day.