Eating

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All the best angles of our new yard! Our lot is huge, almost double the size of our Portland house and more than double that of our Pittsburgh place, though most of it was taken up by our ginormous house.

It is a shambles at the moment. After years and years of neglect, the back is mostly dandelions, a falling down fence, and the remains of dead trees and shrubs. That big dumpster I told you about? I filled about half of it with branches and the skeletons of six foot tall monster weeds. Fear not! There are a few gems – the snowball bush just above the bird bath, a spindly volunteer of a flowering cherry, a lilac, choke cherry, and three onion plants, smack dab in the middle of the yard. We’ve been using the greens in salads, and will, one fine day, move the plants to a proper garden bed. There, they will be joined by rhubarb and tomato (Sun gold! Cherokee purple!), cucumber, and maybe some ground cherries and boysenberries, if we are lucky enough that they can grow here.

In a wildly wonderful windfall from my friend Jennifer (holla!), we got two massive piles of beautiful stone that we plan to break our backs moving into some pretty configuration involving runoff from the roof, then add masses of flowers, currants, wild roses, and native grasses. Oh, and a patch for herbs and peonies (I already have an order in with Adelman Peony Gardens!), because, well, it wouldn’t be a Colleen Sohn garden without them. No, it would not.

That’s all dreaming, though, at least for now. The inside of the house still isn’t 100 percent hospitable. There’s no shower, but a dilapidated bathtub, no toilet on the main floor, but one in the basement, next to a sink that doesn’t work. BUT, the kitchen counter comes this week, and the guest room is looking pretty snazzy, with a fresh coat of paint, new bedside table, bed frame, box spring, and linens. Just in time, too! Our Pittsburgh friend Megan is joining us today for a visit. We are so excited to see her!

Oh, and the first picture, we’re enjoying a mighty pretty and delicious bulgogi and bibimbap at our new favorite Korean restaurant Shin Sa Dong. Yum…

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The two of us celebrated our anniversary, twenty-three years wed (huzzah!), with a very fancy dinner at The Broadmoor’s Penrose Room. I wore a beaded cardigan and a pearl ring that were once my Grandmother’s. He wore a jacket for the first time since New York city, circa 2004, when we saw A Raisin in the Sun. That time, I wore a snazzy dress and he wore the jacket, the pair of us alone and slightly defeated in a sea of shorts and t-shirts (this is not like Sex and the City!). Thankfully, our disappointment that we had so carefully carted such fancy duds from Portland to Manhattan was short lived because it was high summer, and beautiful, everything warm and aglow with night lights and neon. We strolled hand in hand back to SoHo and our rented apartment, everything New York quiet, the hush of a place that only nearly sleeps.

Friday night, not nearly as warm, but lovely still, with stunning views (oh my goodness, we live here!), was a bit of a dream. Every need considered, every taste bud tickled, amuse bouche, lobster bisque, lovely sweets, I even got a pillow for my back. We ate and giggled and laughed and ate and wondered and ate some more. We felt grateful, for all of our privilege, all that we have and can do.

Cut to my Sunday morning bath, the sharp contrast from Friday, me luxuriating in a tub without walls. Life is good!

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A hodge podge of photos, a pack of stray cats…

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Happy Cyber Monday, peeps! Say hello to my annual Thanksgiving pecan pie, perhaps the most handsome I’ve ever made, and just as tasty, too. That’s me getting ready to push it (in what look like ginormous Doc Martens – I swear I’m a 6.5!) and our other food and beverage contributions down through Brighton Heights in our wacky wagon, so called because one of the wheels requires an occasional swift kick to remain on the straight and narrow. To those observers who may have thought we were treating a swaddled baby unkindly, you’ve been informed. Kristen, our great friend and hostess extraordinaire, mixes her don’t ask don’t tell gravy, which, along with everything else, was delicious and soul-filling. In true Thanksgiving form, I ate too much and lamented the fact that my waistband was not elasticized. Maybe next year…

Friday morning

broccoli and zucchini roasted with smoked paprika and sea salt

spinach salad topped with my favorite egg, caramelized apple, and fennel

The last of the fallen leaves on our front steps.

Under beautiful skies, the wing beats of a murder of crows, and a mere twenty-four hours after Thanksgiving, we feasted, yet again, at The Penn Brewery. The pretzels and cheese were the mere tip of the German-leaning culinary iceberg…mmmm.

Oh, and in true cyber Monday fashion, the kindly folks at Block Island Organics are having a crazy good sale. Get 30% off your entire purchase through tomorrow by entering the code THANKS30.

Heck ya! A real hodge podge today, huh? Have a great week…

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South Side

Carousing, in our mild way, on the streets of the South Side. I found a dozen pennies and a couple nickels scattered on the ground, some thoughtful person anticipating my delight, I like to think, that weird woman who will always stop for a coin. To state the obvious, I love the collection of neon here, probably Pittsburgh’s best concentration, juxtaposed against the cow’s head, perched high, and gazing down on them all. Old and young, we all live together.

We ate far more than we ought at Winghart’s, including a ridiculously rich and enormous funnel cake (such a weak spot for fried dough!), no carnival required. Winghart’s, along with Burgatory and Benjamin’s, makes the best burgers in town. My favorites all have jalapenos on them, just in case you were wondering. I like spicy (but not so much as to ruin the flavor), and with the exception of home cooking, it’s very difficult to find in these parts. No Tabasco for eggs. Mild salsa. Not-so-hot and sour soup. My friend calls it the mid-west palate. It makes my mouth sad.

Speaking of palates, are you geared up and ready for all foods homey and Thanksgiving? No spice necessary! We are going to friends for the feast and bringing Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, mashed sweet potatoes, and home made pecan pie. It’s funny how foods like crescent rolls and jellied cranberry (which our friends are providing), that when tried as an adult are often offensive, yet are integral to the Thanksgiving experience, how every adult I’ve ever met must have at least one item served at their childhood table. Whether it is nostalgia or expectations, I’m not certain, but I like the sweetness of it, how we carry so much of youth with us, always.

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