light like this

the rhythm of my days is changing, and i am finding a deeper love for the quiet of a gray day.

small comforts are magnified: the warm weight of my little dog, her sleepy head against my lap; the scent of tea leaves steeping in hot water, reminding me of something wordless.

i went into the city yesterday with a friend, and let myself dream inside the stories we heard about the oldest buildings in downtown. soft light beams through these big windows that push out to the sounds of the street, rust clings to the spindly rails of fire escapes; los angeles is old in new.

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i put a bit of money into fixing the bike i had bought back in college. it’s still squeaky from years spent in storage, but good enough now to take on rides around the neighborhood near day’s end. by this time, the gloom has always lifted, like a shade pulled up to let in the honey glow of an early autumn sun, setting.

now, leaves twist in tiptoe across the pavement when the wind drifts and swells – just a few. but soon our gutters will be filled with them, the curbs lined, and i’ll see that single branch of reddening leaves grow to the whole tree.

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sometimes, when i’ve parked my bike and come back into the house and the light is like this:

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…i am sure the song of it must be something like this:


(give it a minute or so, and the lyrics come floating in.)

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{more dreamy fall tunes are right over here.}

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herb-roasted onions

i like onions. i didn’t always; in fact, when i was a kid, i’d gingerly pick them out of everything from sandwiches to my mom’s fried rice. but now i love them in all sorts of ways: caramelized and strewn over pizza, sliced thin and added to salads or stacked in burgers, pickled and tossed in with potato salad.

here, the onions are the star of the show. they are cut into thick wedges and coated in a lemony garlic and thyme dressing and then sent off to the oven for the kind of roasting that produces browned edges and a house that smells surely of dinnertime. they are the ideal side dish for a fall meal of chicken and potatoes and something warm to drink.

yeah, fall. i was pretty sure i didn’t want it to come – not quite yet. but yesterday, the sky clouded over and autumn seemed to come down all at once. the windows let in pale gray light all day and the air outside is cool and still. and, surprising myself even, i have been loving it.

already, i’ve spent an afternoon sitting in a warm, quiet café with a friend, carving into a cup of peppermint ice cream and half-reading a book. today, i pulled on my softest sweatshirt and indulged in a chick flick or two. and walking out into the backyard in the near-middle of the night to find the lightest of mists falling – i couldn’t help but smile.

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Herb-Roasted Onions
adapted (barely) from a recipe by Ina Garten
Serves 3 to 4

2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup good olive oil
handful or two of cherry tomatoes, halved

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.
  3. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.
  4. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Using tongs, flip the onion wedges over once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Toss with tomatoes, and serve warm or at room temperature.

spooning

today, i am loving this song:

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a perfectly kicky tune for this sunny day.

late summer squeeze

i returned from a quick weekend out of town to find that the weather at home had changed. for weeks it seems, the air conditioning in our house would get flipped on scarce moments after i woke up because the rooms quickly became too hot to bear. but now the windows are open all day long because the breeze is a fresh rush of air instead of the hot breath it used to be; it carries the faintest whisper of the cool fall days to come.


like a kid, i take these hottest months as a time to go outside and play. even if you have somewhere to be soon, something to do next, the sun shines and the days stretch such that you can trick yourself into believing you’ve got all the time in the world – for a few crucial moments at least. so you dangle your feet in the pool, drink everything on ice, sit in the shade and daydream awhile. seeing as it’s september already, though, i suppose our thoughts should turn towards more serious pursuits: brisk walks and wearing sensible clothing and not having dessert in the middle of the afternoon. but the weatherman says the city is set to warm right back up again, so before autumn arrives for certain and it’s time to come inside, i am setting off for the store in search of some popsicle molds so i can make these:

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blueberry and lavender pops

{photo from the los angeles times}

or these:

creamy pistachio pops
(made of sweet milk scented with earl grey and cardamom)

{photo from food network}

or maybe both. there’s a lot of summer to squeeze in before the seasons change.