“Oh Gawd Ma, that is so good” Jeremy back in 2003 when I made him a batch of one of the best things I had eaten in Spain, tomato bread. Now Jeremy was never a fan of the slippery little fruit, in fact outside of salsa he never ate them and as suspected it was a texture issue. I once had a friend that was completely repulsed by tomatoes and whenever asked why he would say, “They don’t seem like they’re finished” that comment always made sense to me, I happen to love them but I can see how one might see those goo covered seed deals as like tiny tomato embryos or something….ick. Truth is I have my own issues with them, when they are out of season they simply suck and I can’t use them, when in season they can be a little sweet to my highly sweet sensitive palate. Easy enough to fix, I douse them in lemon juice and a good clip of salt, all that lovely flavor without the sweetness. So I never forced Jeremy to eat them and could tell he was dreading the Spanish tomato bread the second I announced I was making it. Poor kid I am sure he was picturing something like Bruschetta but even back then the kid was ever supportive and kind of a foodie (yeah I hate that word but it is the one most used so I am using it) so he was willing to give it a try. Imagine his elation when I brought out a plate of crispy grilled bread that had been brushed with olive oil, rubbed with a cut clove of garlic and simply smeared with the cut side of a fresh tomato. Crunchy, spicy (from the fresh garlic) and cooled down, revived by the acidity of the tomato juice. That one plate of my newest loved food would set in place a palate that would forever seek balance and a precedence…always make a double batch of Spanish tomato bread.
I’ve been struggling with balance a lot as of late. Balance in time, energy, love, friendship, work, this blog…feel like I have been walking a thin, fine wire about to be knocked off at any second which I must confess has left me feeling a little panicked, exhausted and afraid to make any sudden moves but…a move needs to be made before everything snaps, including me. So I’ve been doing what any sane grown up does in this type of situation, ignoring it. Choosing instead to pout and retreat a little….which of course makes me feel lonely. Crazy, feel like I have been living in Crazy Town the past couple weeks. After my forced shut down the other night and the subsequent, “Oh man, me too” comments I heard after I knew it was time to stop avoiding, start facing things head on and deal with any snappage when it comes. My first attempt was a complete and utter failure.
I had the opportunity to have a quick visit with my beloved Amy, she and her hubby were in San Diego for a work thing but they had a few hours Sunday morning before they flew back to Dallas. We had planned on her driving up to meet at our much loved Tracy’s but her hubby thought there might be an issue with her getting back on time so vetoed that via text message as I was getting ready for my early morning date. I walked into the kitchen, face half painted, still in my jammies and poured myself a Pastis. Best idea so early in the morning? No. Smartest thing considering I had been walking a tightrope for weeks? Absolutely not but it’s what I did. Truth be told I was trying to spare the hubby the boo hoo fest that was beginning to puddle against my lower eyelids. You know you are in a crappy place when your husband emerges from the shower and makes his way to the kitchen stops to look at you and says, “Fuck you are so beautiful” and the first thing that sputters out of your mouth is, “Oh please. You’re high”….funny he didn’t mention how charming I am right? I told him about the cancellation and felt his little funk follow him back to the bedroom to get dressed. Again he emerges and says, “Well we could go down there and meet them”….have I mentioned he should be sainted? So turns out booze on an empty belly, anxiety and loneliness are a treacherous combination….any thought that I had of unloading some of my crap and having her help me sort it out went right out the window the second we popped a bottle of Chidaine Rose…before lunch. The wine went down so beautifully sitting there in their open and airy room at the resort, seeing their faces, being close to them….tears. So much for keeping my shit together or trying to talk about my issues…failure but not yet ready to quit.
I felt the same bullshit weighing heavy on me this morning. The feeling like I need to get back onboard with the whole social media thing, not knowing how or where to start... not as much for this blog…although it has always been written with The Wine Country in mind, but to find ways to promote our store…make people notice. I hopped on a few other blogs, tried to read them but for the most part could not, cannot see the point of chiming in with “Great post X!” after scanning the uninspiring marketing chatter of someone trying to sell themselves. I don’t have a problem with them doing so but they don’t need me, there is a virtual sea of others skimming and congratulating each other…I’m not buying, I’m not a magazine editor looking for the next new yawn inducing voice and with their boxes of free samples they aren’t looking for a place to shop. Minor breakthrough in the balance of time, only visit that which you actually enjoy reading, learn something from or might actually do the store some good. Hooray.
The heat was driving me nuts but the hubby was hooked up to his phone for the whole afternoon and not feeling at all like making a lunch run I scoured the freezer and fridge to see what I might be able to come up with. Found some sausage, white onion, beer, stock and buns….perfect. Sliced the onions while the beer and stock came to a simmer, plunked in the sausages and onions and covered them until they were cooked through. I removed the lid and while everything thing was getting brown and toasty it hit me….sweet onions, rich sausage and soft buns….out of balance. Had nothing in the crisper, no veggies to add so I looked to the condiment section of the fridge. A little mayo, finely grated Parm, big splash of lemon, Dijon mustard and a couple shakes of hot sauce. A feisty sauce to combat the richness. I stood there assembling sandwiches for Call-o and after my sandwich updates on Facebook, for my neighbors and I felt really grounded….like my mind was clicking in the right direction and my focus was coming back a little.
My life is about balance, finding time to love all those that I do with as much as I have. Learning how to balance my snarky sense of humor with working the sales floor. Writing here for this blog and for the obviously more professional newsletter…learning how not to feel guilty when one needs me more. Being a growing public voice while still being a spokesperson for The Wine Country….being sensual and being a mother….selling wines that I may not love but to those that absolutely do. All of it requires balance and as I sit here, my toes gripping the thin, fine wire once again, glass of 2009 Chateau Canorgue Cotes du Luberon Rose bringing life to my heat weary palate, the fruit, minerals and fierce acidity making each little sip a perfect one… letting the little beads of condensation formed by the sweating glass slip down my chest….I feel like I can take each step forward, arms extended, little bounce in my step, swing of my hips…flip of my snarky lip and proclamation of, “you are going to love this” even when I don’t. I can do this…fuck I need this and I’m just not willing to give any of it up.