vacation


This Memorial Day week-end I drove up to the Berkshires to take a “mini week” course at the Kushi Institute, learning more in-depth about “great life” or macrobiotics. Our group consisted of twelve people from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,Maine, Indiana and Florida. Together we studied, we cooked, we exercised and we ate a lot!

peony about to open

day break with the full moon about to fade

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I was distracted getting ready for a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean Islands of St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk. Not a card or drawing has been done in the last month.

The trip was breath taking and I had fun taking loads of photos to document the journey.

Our ship the Costa Fortuna

Stunning color everywhere

Looking for Lunch

The sun was just rising as we approached San Juan

This fellow greeted our arrival at El Yunque, the rain forest of Puerto Rico

Arrival at Grand Turk

Fort Lauderdale harbor

Biddeford Pool Beach at Sunset

Biddeford Pool Beach at Sunset

sandal

I just returned from a week at the beach, an experience shared with my sisters. Although the weather was uneven, is there anything more magical than walking the beach whether it’s sunny, foggy, raining, morning or dusk? We enjoyed all of those options this week.

lily

Fishing by a Quarter Moon

Fishing by a Quarter Moon

Nevertheless, I was happy to return because it was Farmer’s Market day in town. The Marie Joseph Center, where we stayed, had a rather uninspired choice of vegetables at meal times. The Market, on the other hand, was a visual symphony of choices. There were local white peaches, sweet tiny plums, kolrabe, carrots, beets, green beans, fingerling potatoes, kale, pink and white cauliflower, patty pan squash, and zucchini. In my rapture I may have over bought a bit. I made vegetables in red thai curry for dinner.

This week's Bounty

This week's Bounty

Just before I left for vacation, I had taken a Vegan Al Fresco cooking class with Emilie Hardman at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. I was thinking about Charred Vegetables with Creamy Tarragon Dip and Rosemary-Scented Peach Raspberry Upside Down Cake during my buying frenzy. This was the second class I had taken with Emilie. Every picnic food recipe was a hit.

I love setting up my kitchen to prepare a meal. Getting out my non skid cutting board, honing my very sharp knife, and finally chopping and preparing. It’s as satisfying as sitting down to eat the final preparation. That started me to thinking this morning as I read Michael Pollan’s article “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch” in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine section of my “cooking history”. He starts with his fond memories of watching Julia Childs shows on PBS as a child.

I got my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a graduation present from MGH from Betsy’s parents. How I embraced that book and cooking in general. I spent the next 20 years cooking all manner of food with a sense of adventure. Then somehow things changed as a busy work and leisure life style and the convenience of processes or ready made foods took over. My cooking or lack thereof and my diet went through many evolutions. I feel like I have come full circle. I’m back in the kitchen.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Mr. Pollan’s artcle:

“Because it’s hard to imagine ever reforming the American way of eating or, for that matter, the American food system unless millions of Americans — women and men — are willing to make cooking a part of daily life. The path to a diet of fresher, unprocessed food, not to mention to a revitalized local-food economy, passes straight through the home kitchen.”

The Front Cover

The Front Cover

This spring I took a fabric painting class with Autumn Hathaway.

Every summer she makes a fabric journal for her family to share the experiences of their summer. Although I couldn’t take her journal course, she was very gracious about giving me advice on her technique and was even available to answer an email when I had a question.

I have made books before but not this particular style with the signatures sewn directly into the spine of the book. I worked non stop for two week ends and many week nights trying to finish the cover and get the inside pages decorated.

The sisters took a little convincing to get in the spirit of journaling our retreat. Once Gladys got going she was a power writer. Jad was slower to get started but by the end of the week, she was seeking “the book” out as well.

 

An inside page

An inside page

Here is one of the inside pages.

The photo is one I took last summer looking out my bedroom window of birds atop the cross at the Marie Joseph Spiritual Center. I did an image transfer onto a piece of muslin. The rest of the elements were collaged on and then pasted onto the page.

Jad was grateful for pages like these because it meant fewer surfaces needed to be journaled.

Keeping the journal added a whole new dimension to our trip. It also preserved memories in a way we could never have done by just trying to use the power of recall. This will be invaluable when we are all sitting around a winter table and someone challenges a memory. “Look, it’s right here in the book. Told you so!”

seagull trinity
seagull trinity

I have just returned from Biddeford Pool, ME. This annual silent retreat is something my two sisters and I have been doing for the last five summers.

We always return relaxed and with a kind of peace that is difficult to achieve on most vacations.

I made a journal for the three of us to use. I handpainted some of the fabrics in the covers and then patchworked them together with other fabrics. I used water color paper and cover stock for the pages. More on the journal in the next post after I had a chance to take pictures.