Things have been blurry around here lately. The weeks seem long, yet the hours are so full that the days speed right by. I haven’t been able to find the time, or the brainpower, to write. When I sit down to try, everything that comes out feels useless, like I’ve been futilely throwing precious minutes at flabby, flaccid prose. I finish each page and can’t find anything worth anything, and I abandon it.
Part of this problem is that my energies have been focused elsewhere. The wedding is now less than four months away, and each new task gives me greater understanding of why there is a whole profession dedicated to this process. I’ve lost entire days to research, reading, websites, and preparation, days that end with me feeling as empty and unproductive as I have been after all my hours of writing. I know that, really, progress is being made on each front, but it’s difficult to shake this feeling of wasted time.
I really hate to be one of those bloggers that blogs about not blogging, and yet, here I am. I have updates on the garden, some good, some bad. I have stories to tell, things to say. I have so many recipes to share that I’m beginning to feel mean for withholding them. It’s not that there’s nothing to write, it’s just that my brain won’t let me.
One could say I have issues. I like things to be in order, tidy, sequential. At times, my mind gets stuck on something that I want to say, am struggling to say, am having three separate Word documents worth of difficulty spitting out—but I can’t move on. The subject becomes like that old lady at the checkout counter, searching madly, insistently through her purse for a single twenty-five-cent coupon. There’s a whole queue of other ideas behind her, sighing loudly, craning over each other’s shoulders for a better look at what is holding everything up, and shouting, “Hey lady, I’ll give you a whole dollar if you just move!” But she knows that that coupon is somewhere in the cluttered depths of her bag, and as soon as—and only as soon as—she finds it, the next in line may have their turn. This is the twisted scenario happening inside my head as of late.
Combine that perfectionist nonsense with all the rest of the mess that is our days lately and it’s the perfect recipe for “What the hell happened to July?”
So I’m using this post as my own personal deus ex machina, my device to push this plot forward, to allow myself to move on from all the hopeless half-written posts cluttering my desktop and clogging my brain. This post is the young, handsome gentleman passing by that checkout line. He stops and moves toward the old woman, bending to grab something from the floor. “I believe you dropped this ma’am,” he says, handing her the coupon. She smiles. The whole line erupts in applause.
Letting out a long sigh of relief, the cashier hands the old woman her receipt. She looks up, ready. “Next!”
I introduced him a few months ago. Nothing very interesting happened with him for a while after that, save for growing a few new leaves. New leaves are nice, but they're hardly post-worthy. The past month or so, however, has been a bit of a roller coaster with our little lemon-bearer.
As the days grew warmer, I figured that George, being a citrus tree and all, would like to step outside and enjoy the sun. So I carried him onto our balcony. I can't say whether he enjoyed the sun, though, because all I ever saw was how much he hated even the slightest breeze. George was sort of a wuss, but it was partly my fault for keeping him cooped up inside.
I figured some tough love was in order.
I left him out there, figured he could get strong and deal with it. How was he ever going to hold lemons from those wimpy branches of his if he couldn't even withstand a little wind? "Deal with it George," I told him. "It's for your own good."
Sometimes I forget how exactly how much wind we can get up here and, one day, George got thrown around something fierce. I brought him back in. He looked awful. His leaves were hanging limply, curled into themselves. I apologized and hoped with all my might that, being back inside and able to rest, his tattered leaves would heal.
In the coming days, a few leaves lifted and I took this as a good sign. But then, the majority of his leaves began to turn brown and dry up and fall off. Occasionally, I'd walk by and pick off the obvious dead ones. I think Nilla caught onto this, because she began to reach up and pluck off leaves as well. Except she went for the healthy ones. Between losing nearly three quarters of his leaves to wind damage and our dog-turned-giraffe, George was beginning to look like a dead plant potted.
Growing up, I don’t think I ever once saw or knowingly ate a blackberry. In fact, I don’t think I really even knew what a blackberry looked like until last summer. This is not the fault of my parents or anything comparable to that tragic scene from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. No, I just never knew what a blackberry was.
When I first went gluten-free, I was all too happy to renounce bread in all its forms. I felt so amazing that it never fazed me to pass up the bread basket, say no to those croutons, or order my burger on a bed of lettuce instead of a bun. As time went on, however, the bunless burger became less and less appealing. The initial joy of warm, well-seasoned beef contrasting with crisp, cool lettuce slowly turned to thoughts of a greasy mass weighting down a pile of wilting leaves. It almost made me not want the burger altogether.
So we started eating our burgers on a bed of quinoa. This was a tasty, protein-packed combo. The quinoa provided that sort of carby complement to the hamburger, something to offset the beefiness and absorb the juices. This was particularly good when I had made some sort of sauce or condiment to slather on top (feta-stuffed turkey burgers with homemade tzatziki was a favorite) as it could drip down and mix with the quinoa.
But even these burgers still required a fork and knife.
There’s something almost fundamental about the burger/bun combo. The bun not only helps to absorb the flavorful burger runoff, but it is essential to making the burger into casual, handheld fare. I’m all for fork and knife burgers, but when you’re at a party or a barbeque, eating off of paper plates, standing or, at best, using your lap as a table, a burger on any sort of “bed” becomes a real challenge. And I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of experiences with those store-bought buns—you know, the kind that look awfully pretty in the freezer case but fall to dry crumbles the second you take a bite?
Well, my gluten-free friends, prepare to go bunless no more!