Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Munchies: I Got the Garden Blues

For the past several summers, my husband, Dan, and I have called the shores of Big Bear Lake in northern Michigan home. Although we both love it up here, we especially look forward to having our own garden – something that's not easy to come by in our French Quarter apartment (where we spend much of the rest of the year). I even wrote about our seasonal efforts in July of 2009, when I first started this blog.

Sadly, though, because of a combination of factors – namely, our later-than-usual arrival and our preoccupation with various tasks, such as my struggle to update the Moon New Orleans guide and preparations for our first-ever Traverse City Shorts Festival – we weren't able to start a garden this summer, and believe me, we're both missing the usual sight of our ever-growing tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and other produce. We're especially bummed that there are no mint leaves this year – as each of us does dearly love a refreshing mojito from time to time. But, alas, life intervened, and it just wasn't meant to be.

Of course, there's always next year. In the meantime, though, I'll have to live vicariously through my online pals. So, what's growing in your gardens this year?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Munchies: Wild Michigan Blueberries

Though I'm still plugging away at my update of Moon New Orleans – yes, it's true, I'm still not done – I'm trying hard to enjoy my summer stay in northern Michigan and take advantage of the state's berry-licious bounty. Right now, it's wild blueberry season, and due to favorable weather conditions, it already looks to be a, forgive the pun, fruitful season. Just today, I managed to gather quite a few of the yummy little devils. Now, the only question is... what to do with them? Bake some blueberry muffins, make some blueberry jam, opt for some blueberry pancakes, or simply add them to my oatmeal? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Comfort Zone

Two weeks ago, I took a solo drive to visit my online buddy and fellow writer Bridget Chicoine, who lives more than 100 miles south of my home in Michigan. For many of you, that might not sound like a big deal, but as you'd learn by reading my recent post on my American Nomad blog, this was a huge deal for me. In truth, I was terrified of driving as a teenager, so much so that I didn't get my driver's license until I was 22 years old. Since then, I haven't driven nearly as often as I should, so now, at the age of 34, I've finally made driving a priority. As part of my “training,” I typically drive at least one way on any trip that Dan and I take, whether we're driving one mile to pick up groceries or more than 70 miles to see a movie – but making a 210-mile, round-trip journey by myself was a first for me... and I've never felt more liberated.

So, when have you ever ventured out of your comfort zone... and more importantly, how did it feel?