So, we have a grill, right? I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before around these parts. It's kind of been our summer maker. I've been looking for work (still am, if you happen to know anyone in the Bay Area looking for someone like me...ok, plug done. Moving on...) and so we've--like so, so, so many other folks--have been a single income family. And we've been lucky to have that income (so, so, so many other folks don't even have that) and we've known it, but that doesn't mean that we haven't lamented how locally we've been living as of late. Usually we'd get away for at least a couple of days, a trip north or south for a change of scenery and a fresh perspective on our selves, our home, and each other. That wasn't in the budget this summer, though, and so our grill became the center to our little bits of get away.
We've strung lights and gotten chairs and a little table (which, mind you, just might be the ugliest table ever made, but it was free and sturdy, so here we are...and yes, I was going to paint it...and yes, that was nearly 2 months ago...and no, no I haven't yet...YET) and at night, after M has gone to bed, we've retired to sit under the giant and slightly creepy old pine tree out back, sipping wine while coals get hot and snacking on cheese and crackers while our main meal cooks.
And you know what? Not once--NOT ONE NIGHT--have I not absolutely relished every second of it. Vacation is awesome, and I hope our ability to take them returns soon, but there's something really magical about stepping out the back door and finding myself in a space that we've managed to keep exclusively associated with relaxation. My shoulders sink, my mouth slips into a half smile, my worries are checked at the door. I feel really proud of us for making this little summertime oasis for ourselves, for remembering to find a way to step away from the day-to-day so we don't get mired down in it, and for remembering to hold a space for us to come together in.
We've grilled all sorts of things. Chicken and steaks, vegetables and s'mores and whatnot. The other night, with friends who we've enjoyed several evenings out back with, John grilled up a pizza that was absolutely fantastic. He pre-baked the crust in the oven earlier in the day and then covered it with lemon zest, garlic, goat cheese, mozzarella, sliced Early Girl Tomatoes (so, so, so good--go find them and try them before it's full-blown tomato season and they're gone), torn basil, leeks (which we sauteed earlier as well) and crumbled bacon. I mean, really. This pizza was GOOD. So good that my mouth is watering right now as I write this even though I just ate half of M's sandwich and, really, I wasn't hungry when I sat down and began the post.
And tonight? Tonight we've got a date on the patio again. We'll plug in the lights and talk about our days, grabbing sweatshirts as the sun disappears and, for an hour or two, stepping away from it all.