Monday, July 16, 2007

Guilt-Free Leisure

I spent the weekend in San Jose with one of my dearest girlfriends, Stacy, and her family. They own a beautiful 1920's home on a double plot in one of the most charming neighborhoods in town, and Stacy has created an absolute sanctuary. I love visiting there for so many reasons, but I'll admit one of them is that I simply love spending time there. The home is cozy and loved-in, and the front door is always open to welcome neighbors who want to chat in the kitchen or stop by for dinner (which has happened almost every time I have visited them). Stacy is a real inspiration to me - a mentor for simple, open-hearted, deep living.

She is also an amazing chef, and a hardcore follower and proponent of the traditional food movement. We spent all our meals at a simple al fresco dining table in the yard, shaded by Japanese maples and redwoods. Meals were made with the freshest, most local ingredients, prepared lovingly and patiently by Stacy and whoever else was chatting in the kitchen, and served graciously and proportionately. I could always see much of the plate (watch out Claimjumper!) yet the food was so delicious and nutrient-dense I never left the table feeling hungry or cheated. I would much rather have this kind of food than the piles and piles served by most restaurants these days. I believe there is some redefining to be done around the idea of value as it pertains to food.

Apart from taking me to and from the train station, we got into the car exactly once the entire weekend, to visit Whole Foods for some ingredients for dinner on Saturday. The rest of the time we practiced slow living...long chats, frisbee in the park, blackberry-picking in the backyard, bee-watching, games with Stacy's daughter, and more chats. It was languid and lovely. I came home determined to create more of that, although I know too well my tendency to get busy in response to that slowness; there is something uncomfortable about it, which I'm trying to work through.

After a nourishing weekend of good friends, good food and lots of fresh air, Stacy sent me home on the train with a bag of wonderful goodies - a sack lunch of gorgeous sockeye salmon, green beans, quinoa, and Caprese salad; two dozen (!) pastured eggs from their CSA (apparently a lot of families were on vacation this week); a jar of sourdough starter, and a beautiful 12-inch disc of kombucha scoby. Fermentation heaven! Today I got my hands on a 5-quart glass jar and tranferred that mammoth mushroom to some fresh sugared jasmine tea. Fingers crossed!

I feel so deeply honored by my friendship with Stacy, one of many deeply nourishing relationships with special women in my life. I count myself incredibly lucky to know her, and to be a recipient of her grace and love. Thanks Stac!

1 comment:

Jerry Chacon said...

I was glad to be one of the ones that participated (obliquely) in your expedition. Good to meet you. And your feed just landed in my Google reader for perusing and sharing. Please stop by again when you are in our neighborhood.

-- Jerry