You know you’re at the market too much when the cashier comments on your new haircut. This morning when I ran in for a few sweet potatoes and cheese, Bernadette (yes, I know all their names) complimented me. My hair is now up to my chin. It was semi-impulse, though you might say I’ve been building up to it.
As I have hinted at, the past twelve months were really terrible. Hacking off my hair felt good, as though I was leaving behind the damaged ends of every dark day, each split heart and fractured feeling.
If I were a different kind of person, I’d probably tell you exactly what happened. You’d either read with great interest, gasp, or get bored. You would definitely thank your stars it wasn’t you or your family. You might feel bad. And maybe someday I will write about everything in specifics. But maybe it’s also just enough to say we are starting fresh now. The losses that accumulated this year won’t ever disappear but they will fade. The electric green on the branches, the egg-yolk forsythia, the spring birthdays, and puppy; all new.
Part of rebuilding for me is taking stock of small pleasures, those moments in parenting or life or cooking when you feel full and happy. When Julia writes and reads aloud a book she’s written all by herself. When Jamie compliments Daniel without any trace of irony. When Daniel hears Elton John’s I Guess that’s Why They Call it the Blues and picks it out on the piano. When Will climbs between me and my husband and grins like he’s won the lottery. When the daffodils open. When the sweet potato slices brown just so and the broccoli sandwiches made to order come out gooey on top and crunchy on the bottom and we all sit around the table with nowhere better to be.
Sweet Potato Slices
3 sweet potatoes, preferably long and narrow
Oven to 400. Wash sweet potatoes and dry well. Cut into slices (1/4-1/2 inch). Coat lightly with olive oil and arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for at least an hour.
Open-faced Grilled Broccoli, Cheddar, Jarlsberg, and Bacon Sandwiches
1 head broccoli, steamed or roasted and cut into pieces and patted dry
1 slice turkey bacon per person, cooked and drained
1 slice cheddar per person
1 slice Jarlsberg per person
1 whole wheat baguette cut into sandwich portions
spicy mustard to taste
mayo to taste
Set your broiling rack and turn on the broiler. Assemble the sandwiches: bread first, then bacon, then broccoli, then cheeses. If you are using condiments obviously put those on the bread first. Stick under broiler for about 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
You will see in the photo we customize (within reason) for everyone. One with mayo and only cheddar. One with cauliflower, too. One with broccoli on the side instead of on the sandwich. One with extra spicy mustard, etc.