Week-ending

Working retail (and retail compounded with food– two industries known widely for their super fun hours of operation), neither Mike nor I ever counted on a weekend.  Two days off in a row, even in the middle of the week, was the unicorn of scheduling.  Once our roles shifted, and we routinely found ourselves free on the same days that much of the rest of the world is off work, it felt like we were getting away with something.  Nearly every weekend, it *still* feels like we’re getting away with something– something wonderful and not to be wasted.  While we spend a good number of hours lazing about, we try to shove out the door on a regular basis, and we’ve had some pretty excellent adventures this way– scrambling over rocks on the coastline of Rhode Island, sledding down hills in Vermont, eating our way down Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, or exploring decommissioned artillery batteries on the beaches of Queens (where we also stumbled on some pretty angry bees, so I don’t really want to talk about this last one).

Last weekend, we were treated to a sunny day wedged between some cold, wet ones, so we took full advantage.  Winnie zen’d out on Mike’s lap at Eucharist while I served as a lay Eucharistic minister (something I am absolutely LOVING– looking forward to during the week with such joy and anticipation) with nary a request to roam the aisles (a first!), so we jumped on the opportunity to pack a sleepy babe in the car after church and head out to the Queens County Farm Museum, a working farm within the city, where Mike and I were married.

Full disclosure: I saw this picture on the farm’s Instagram feed before we headed out to church that morning, and was determined to have those eggs (I was/am also completely obsessed with re-creating the eggy, vanilla-bombed White Cow Dairy custards I ate constantly when pregnant with Winnie, and I felt like these eggs were calling out to me).  Winnie fell asleep on our way up to the farm, which we’d expected, and Mike and I were perfectly fine with sitting in the car and reading while she finished her snooze.  Egg sales opened at noon at the snowy, nearly deserted farm, but when we pulled up at a few minutes before one p.m., I had a feeling we should get moving on those eggs, so I sent Mike in.  He laughed at me, looking at the complete lack of any human presence on the farm’s grounds, and offered to fight the crowds for the eggs.  He returned with the last half dozen eggs, so, you know, good thing I’m an insane person about eggs is all.

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Winnie’s new favorite word is alpaca, shortened for efficiency to “paca!”, of course.

 

In front of the barn where we were married. Winnie doing her best Blue Steel.

 

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After we’d visited every animal (cows, sheep, alpacas, and the chickens twice), talked about the resting fields, explored the greenhouse, and ducked into the gift shop for cocoa and dried apricots, we left to do some more Queens exploring.  We ended up at Ben’s Best Deli for a late lunch of matzo ball soup (so much dill!), pastrami and tongue sandwiches, half sours, and cole slaw. Winnie was particularly excited about the tongue and pickles, because that kid just is who she is.

We popped into Carmel Grocery to stock up on dried sour apricots (which Winnie and I destroyed in a matter of days), za’atar, citric acid (for cheese), chickpeas, and to try out some Cornelian Cherry jam (there’s a Cornelian cherry tree just inside the entrance we take to Prospect Park) and Russian honey harvested on the taiga.

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By that time, we’d put enough distance between us and the pastrami to consider ice cream.  Clearly, this trip into Queens was pretty heavily motivated by well-cropped Instagrams (see:eggs) and this ice cream stop was no different– I’d been drooling over a friend’s shots of old-fashioned sundaes and mounds of freshly whipped cream at Eddie’s Sweet Shop, so we meandered through the ridiculously charming tudors of Forest Hills (seriously Forest Hills, you are out of control with your charm), stepped back a few decades into a spot where I could imagine my Poppie as a teenaged soda jerk, and ordered one of everything.

Not really, but the hot fudge sundae, vanilla malted, and sweet little Winnie-sized dish of ice cream nearly put this family over the edge of a sugar-butterfat cliff (the very best cliff there is).

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You would have thought that once Mike went back to work on Monday, the weekend was over, but you would be wrong, my friend!  Tuesday brought, if not the century’s greatest blizzard, a healthy heaping of six inches of powdery snow and a day off of work for all of us.

We headed to the park, sled in hand.

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The day before, as the snow started to fall, I somehow had the presence of mind to sear a giant beef shank, start a broth, soak some chickpeas, and toss everything together with a heap of leeks and kale (and a ton of za’atar, obviously), which we’re still eating on a week later.

Pretty good week-ending, if I do say so myself.

A Weekend, with too many parentheses and just enough sunshine

On Saturday, we:

  • woke up to a sunny day
  • ate eggs + bacon + spinach + onions to make way for this week’s CSA pickup 
  • ran (RAN) out the door to get to that CSA pickup,a bounty of garlic scapes and arugula and red leaf lettuce and zucchini and radishes and more spinach and broccoli rabe and my new very favorite, salad turnips (have you ever eaten a salad turnip?  If not, get ye a salad turnip and some fleur du sel and call to thank me later.)
  • drank sour beers and watched Argentina v Iran and tried to yell when everybody else did
  • took a nap (just Winnie, I swear) 
  • took the train to Coney Island
  • caught the tail end (ha!) of the Mermaid Parade, ate Mr. Softee because summer, and headed to the aquarium
  • met walruses, stingrays, seals, an otter, some penguins, lots of very cool fish and coral and the two greatest sea lions possibly in the history of the world (aside: Winnie couldn’t believe her eyes when she woke up from her nap in the aquarium, and she ran from tank to tank shouting and pointing at the fish, looking around to see if anyone else was noticing how so completely awesome this place was.  When we took her to the sea lion show [aside aside: you can see THE OCEAN from the sea lion show— like, beach views from the bleachers] she sat, rapt, mouth agape, utterly transfixed, until she began to slow clap at a time when no one else was clapping, which grew into a much faster clap accompanied by squeals [not to be confused with seals])
  • walked down the boardwalk to the beach, where we lugged a stroller across the sand (not recommended) to give Winnie a second shot at loving the beach (first shot, in Portland, she declared it [via yells and tippee-toe-standing] to be The Worst).  She loved it.  She love love loved it, and wanted down to splash in as the waves rolled in, and wanted to dig in the sand, and generally proved herself to be her father’s daughter. Phew. 
  • came home to find our dear friends were now our dear friends AND neighbors, and shared chicken tikka masala around our coffee table amidst our very messy apartment and were not, I don’t think, judged.  It’s a magical feeling.
  • all passed out, with just the right amount of sand between our toes

On Sunday we:

  • ate blueberries and yogurt and bagels and cream cheese and coffee
  • read the paper
  • hurriedly turned the house from “is this even legal to inhabit?” to “Just normal parent-of-a-toddler messy”  
  • welcomed my mom and her friends after their three-day trek to Brooklyn
  • ate brunch like I hadn’t already eaten a whole giant breakfast, because French toast and mimosas don’t count (made up rule)
  • walked to Prospect Park 
  • walked in Prospect Park
  • walked some more in Prospect Park 
  • rode the carousel in Prospect Park
  • toured the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, where we: carded some wool, mimed some butter churning, learned about flax processing, and let Winnie peruse a potato patch
  • walked to the Lakeside water feature where we decided we would let Winnie play in her only dry clothes rather than the two swimsuits we had packed 
  • decided to face the water spray head-on, literally (just Winnie)
  • got nekkie (just Winnie) and changed into a dry swimsuit and out of wet clothes, because sometimes parents make bad wardrobe decisions
  • walked home (stopping along the way for Pimm’s Cups and beers, because three blocks is a long way and watching Algeria get their first World Cup win in 32 years is kind of great) 
  • cooked more of those CSA veggies for dinner than I thought we’d eat in a week— hooray for no food waste!
  • all passed out, with just the right tired in our bones

And I didn’t take a single picture.

Thanks, weekend.  Come again soon.