I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: I think I like February.
I mean, sure, here we are, with 49 out of the 50 states having snow somewhere. And sure, being outside too long still makes my nose run and my ears burn, like it did this weekend, when on Sunday afternoon, every! train! seemed to take five extra freezing-cold minutes to arrive, but listen: it’s not all bad.
To start, LOST is back. If February brought us LOST, February is good. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that.
Then there’s the light. I realized last week that the days have hit that point where the sky is still light when I walk to my car at 5:30 PM every night. How fantastic is that? No, really. Dwell on this with me: (almost) DAYLIGHT when I begin driving home, the kind that gradually diminishes and colors the sky and only becomes darkness as I’m parking my car again. This means not needing to turn my desk lamp on at work at all if I don’t want to. It means being able to see my hands in front of my face when I scrape snow off my car. The first day it was like this, I am not ashamed to tell you, I almost cried, that’s how happy I was. People. It only gets better from here! The days will keep getting longer! And then warmer! We are close! We are close!
And of course also, it was just Valentine’s Day this last weekend, and while I know every blogger has already said something about how much he or she does or doesn’t love this day all about love, I’ll just throw my two cents in: it’s hard to hate a day filled with chocolate. I mean, right?
The following is a clip from “Feel Love Tomorrow,” written by Bryce Taylor of the Yale Daily News, and I think it’s just as beautiful and appropriate today as it was last February 13.
Love, after all, encompasses a great deal more than romance; it comes in many forms. We can love a spouse, and we can also love cookie dough ice cream. We can love a parent, a place, a work of art — even a stuffed animal.
One of the most common forms of love is simple affection. Affection grows out of familiarity and thus depends on regular contact over time. While a new home, a young puppy or an unheard song may bring excitement and adventure, they incite none of the tender fondness of the familiar home, the old dog, the longtime favorite song.
Friendship is another kind of love, one that incorporates affection but remains distinct. Whereas affection is a feeling, friendship is a relation. In contrast to mere acquaintance, it springs from and orients itself around a common interest, a shared pursuit.
But beyond romance, beyond affection, beyond friendship, there is another form of love — the highest form. It is called “agape” in Greek, “caritas” in Latin. Probably the best way to express it in English is “charity,” although it extends well beyond the act of assisting the needy.
Charity is a habit of the soul, a disposition, an attitude, and its aim is the well-being of others, even at the cost of self-abnegation. In the abstract it sounds laughably easy, but charity does not exist in the abstract. It exists in the gritty details of daily life. It exists in letting someone else go first, in listening before speaking, in forgiving an enemy’s wrongdoing or a friend’s betrayal.
to read the rest of the article, click here.
There is a school of thought that says we cannot change our basic selves, that who we are intrinsically is who we have to be, give or take a few small choices, that someone like me will always be someone like me, maybe with different circumstances or friends or hairstyles, but always the same me deep down. Do you think that?
I’m not sure. To be totally honest with you, I don’t want to think that. I want to believe I can change—or rather, that I can be changed—and I want to believe that about you.
Thing is, change is hard to measure. Take asparagus. When you trim a bunch of fresh white asparagus and lay it on a baking sheet, rolling the stalks in lemon olive oil and sprinkling them with salt and pepper before you roast it all in the white-hot oven, you can watch it transform before you from hard and cold to bruised and limp, with spots of darkness from the heat all over its thin stalks, and you can know there’s change there, no question. But would some say it’s not much of a change? Though softened and broken, it is, after all, still asparagus?
Or take potatoes.
You can boil baby golds, the way you’ve done before, cooking them until they’re soft, then smashing them and coating their soft skins with olive oil and salt and pepper like you did the asparagus, and you can roast them, too, until they’re crispy and golden, wonderful to pop in your mouth one by one but, at the end, bettered by heat and seasoning and time. Are they changed? Are they essentially the same?
And then there’s fish. Tilapia.
It is always a pleasure to spend time with Jacqui of Happy Jack Eats—that girl makes two hours at a Barnes & Noble book signing seem fun—so this last Saturday, after two months of sickness and holidays and traveling and (for her) wedding planning!, we met up at Honey Cafe, a suburban brunch spot I’d read about online that was said to rival the best of the city, and can I just say? It does.
First of all, it’s in downtown Glen Ellyn, where they have historic houses surrounding a few streets of shopping and dining, all smack-dab next to a Metra station, and there’s a historic theatre and a mom-and-pop grocery (where I bought a loaf of bread! support local business!) and random alleys that make for nice pictures with the blue sky poking through above.
Honey’s also pretty inside. Read more…