Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Day All my Own

I had Friday off and was in need of a day to reenergize and follow the day where it led. The library was a must because I yearned to search the shelves and lose myself in the task of finding the next stack of books to bring home, since I had finished several books and was in need of more; none at home nor on my Kindle were calling out strong enough to lure me in. I felt empty. I’ve also been quite exhausted during the evenings for no reason.

I needed this day.

And so it began. Even though it may not be the best activity, I wanted to do some cleaning and because I was out of energy the past few days I had left rinsed dishes in the sink for days. It felt good to get that out of the way. It’s the little things. I then thought I’d get a head start on laundry and decided to take the bedding to wash.

I saw an elderly man walking as I drove through the parking lot to the ATM machine. I do a double take as I wait for him to slowly inch across the road. It seems he’s wearing one brown shoe and one black. It’s possible his eyes didn’t register the colors or perhaps that’s just how he bought the pair. From what little I could tell from a short distance, the shoes looked worn about the same.

I walk to the ATM to get money for laundry. As I approach a bird’s shadow above my head causes me to look up into the sun. I don’t see him. Where did you go?  I continue to the ATM. Finished with my transaction, I step off the curb, turn around with my hand covering my eyes, to look for him. The security woman sees me and says, “He's hungry.” She is friendly and lets out a chuckle. “Ah,” I say, “he's looking for something to eat, huh?”

“I checked my pockets, but I don't have anything for him,” she said.

I smile. I didn’t have anything to give him either. Crow continues cawing, I continue walking. The air smells of home cooked potatoes from the nearby restaurant, and at the same time, it smells like crisp fresh laundry. I inhale deeply.

At the library, I didn't make it out of the first row of books. I did find a stack to take after reading the first few pages of several books that looked interesting, and that first seized me, either by their covers or titles.

Outside again, I am greeted by white wisteria glowing in the sun and moving gently in the breeze like a white wedding dress, bees gathering nectar, buzzing with purpose and instinct; cascades of rosemary line the short walls. I rub my fingers on the green herbaceous tendrils as I rest my gaze on their purple blossoms. I bring my fingers to my nose and deeply inhale the vibrant fragrance of rosemary.

Since I haven’t cooked dinner all week, I wanted to prepare something light and delicious. One of the places that I found myself yesterday was TJ Maxx. I was looking through the household items when I saw two cute baking dishes: A rectangular one at 7 inches and a square one at 5 inches. Then I saw that the brand was Le Creuset. I then also remembered my significant others cousin’s husband telling us that TJ Maxx often has Le Creuset at great prices. I couldn’t resist and planned on using the baking dishes for the evening’s meal.

I had one more library to go to and noticed that the day—all my own—was nearing an end. I looked at the recommended books and saw 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die. I needed to select a red wine for tonight’s meal. I took the heavy book to a table and began looking in the red wine section. The photos were breathtaking. I wrote a few choices down realizing I probably wouldn’t get any of them for tonight. And then I remembered that I had downloaded a Kindle book called Great Wines Under $20 (2011) by Elyse Luray. After feeling satisfied that I had written a few wines down for future, I checked out a few other potential books, went to the car and looked at the e-book on my Kindle. I saw a few options that I bookmarked to take in the store with me. One in particular caught my attention: Cloudline Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon. The description said, “A great everyday wine, light but feels full-bodied, with fruity, well-balanced flavors.”  It was time to go shopping for dinner.

I knew I wanted to prepare fish, but I had to look to see what looked fresh. I gathered the few other items I needed and saw some nice looking red snapper. I went over to the wine isle hoping to find one of the wines I had bookmarked. I looked at the labels to see if anything looked familiar and then I saw Cloudline. It was settled.

Dinner was kept simple. I had some jazz playing in the background so when my significant other walked through the door, he would be greeted with the soothing notes alongside the aromas from the kitchen. I prepared polenta and smoothed it into the new small baking dishes and set that aside. Then I gently sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil, added mushrooms, spinach, salt and pepper. What I did different this time was to add a little texture by way of a few breadcrumbs and slivered almonds. The mixture went on top of the polenta, and then I sprinkled the smallest amount of “Ghost Pepper Sea Salt” on top before adding the freshly grated Parmesan and then into the oven. I seasoned the red snapper with salt, pepper, and a new spice blend called “Pirate’s Bite,” then sautéed it in olive oil.

When my significant other got home, after he settled in, he opened our bottle of wine; we toasted and eased into our meal, chatting about our days—then he noticed the almonds and liked the added texture. I’m glad he noticed.

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