a day of one’s own

Hallelujah; I had a day of rest!  Real rest.  The kind that begins with rising early (which for me means 7:30), continues with one self-selected activity after another, and ends with a sigh of contentment.  That kind of day.  I’d love to share the highlights with you.

I awakened surprisingly ready to dive into a day I’d thought I’d wade into slowly, say at 9:00.  But there I was, long before I’d planned to be awake, reading my latest Bon Appetit while the sun streamed in.

After I looking at seriously serious food photos for a while, I realized it was breakfast time and then some.  Hungry, hungry me wanted something delicious fast, so…a toasted bagel with cream cheese and green onions and a cup of sweetened English Breakfast tea were just the token.

Full and ready to accomplish something, I tackled the heap of dishes that’s been taunting me for a couple days.  Though we have a dishwasher now (if I could click my heels in glee I would!) there are still things I prefer to lovingly hand wash.  Then again, it remains open to debate how loving it is to neglect them for the better part of a week beforehand.  Oh well; I got to them today.

Maybe I should have titled this post “The Day I Stalked Myself.”  I guess it might seem weird that I took photos of myself all day long but here’s the thing.  I’ve liked the idea of writing a day-in-the-life post, but it’s not too practical when you work with library patrons and flower shop customers, so I waited until my day off.

The fact that I don’t feel right doing a post about my workday brings me to a question I’ve been pondering.  I’ll just go ahead and throw it out there: for bloggers, how do we know what is ours?  For example, when does talking about my job become talking about my employer’s business?  Is there some agreed-upon way for bloggers to determine where the lines lie between telling their perspective and telling too much about something someone else did?  Not that I have deep secrets I’m avoiding or anything–I just wonder.  Maybe I was thinking about it while I washed those dishes.  I honestly don’t know.

Anyway, after long-overdue sink-emptying, I glided happily into the day’s next planned activity: making caramel crème brûlée.  Oh, yes.  By the way, I saw dessert cakes with that name in the Asian market the other day–not even kidding, OhYes brand.  Those must be good.  So is this.

It took 45 minutes to bake, so in the meantime I went and entertained myself.  I have a book of quotations I’ll tell you more about in an upcoming post.  I started going through it recently and couldn’t believe some of the profundity contained within its pages.  The quotations I’ve collected there repeat the same few themes:

Love is important. Don’t hurry romance. Suffering is good for you. Be courageous. Don’t talk too much. Learn, learn, learn.

I think everything I’ve ever copied into that book fits into one of those categories.  It felt almost surreal to read page after page of things I’ve found inspiring and to see that they revolve in such a tight orbit of courage, love, and wisdom.  Those are apparently the things I’ve always felt a need to chase after and root more deeply in my life.  Do you have a quotation collection?  Does yours reveal a snapshot of who you want to be too?

I found a quotation I thought would be worth seeing even after the book’s covers closed, so I copied it onto my blank chalkboard.  It says, “A man must seek his happiness and inward peace from objects which cannot be taken away from him.”  -Wilhelm von Humboldt

*Free tip: if you have a chalkboard of your own–they seem very popular right now for some reason–the chalk shows up more vividly if you write on a damp board.  I like to do it that way for two reasons: the old dust gets cleared away and the new dust goes on smoothly.  I really don’t like the feeling of writing in chalk; it’s so dry and scrapey.  When the board is wet the chalk slides along a bit better, almost like writing with pastels.

Then the kitchen timer sounded.  Ooooh, boy!  Here are the little crèmes:

While those chilled, I drove across town to pursue one of my other hobbies–you know the one:

You know that saying, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”?  I think that only applies philosophically.  (It’s from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, in case that was going to bother you.)  In the dressing room, at least as far as I’m concerned, it is only with the camera that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the heart.

Take the purple tunic for example.  On the hanger I liked it.  My little heart said, “Yes, please; we will take that one home with us and wear it close for always.”  But then I snapped a photo and, well, that said differently.  I’ve learned this about myself: when it comes my clothing, I’m kind of oblivious.  I’ve worn many outfits that I felt good in, only to see them captured on film and think, “Really?!  That is so unflattering!”  So out came the camera and with it, better judgement.  I hope.  Although, talk about feeling like a goofball, posing for yourself in a scrappy Salvation Army dressing room….  But it got the job done.

Here’s the plunder, some from Salvation Army and some from a local consignment store.  Purchase total: $8.03.  Yeah, baby!

Among the criteria I try to impose on myself when shopping are:

– “no” to empire waists or otherwise pregnant-looking clothes

– “no” to shirts that rise above my waistline when I reach for something above my head

– “no” to falling for a brand name when the garment itself is uncompelling.  (A trick: I ask, “If this had a WalMart tag, would I still want it?”

– “no” to items that don’t stand alone (e.g. “So cute, but has a plunging neckline…I could wear a cami…?”)  I like to layer but it should be because I want to, not because I have to.

– “yes” to wide (not deep) necklines.  All the better to showcase some pretty jewelry, or the collarbone, which for some reason I find much more alluring than…the obvious part women often use necklines to feature.

– “yes” to unexpected or unique details (e.g. shell buttons, a twist or knot, collar embellishment)

Good day shopping.  I even ran into my friend Beth–a fun surprise.  I got to offer my two cents’ about curtains she was considering.

Then home again, home again, jiggety jog, with another prize find.  I sent Hubby a photo text from the store to make sure he was cool with it, because we haven’t liked the same lamps the couple times we’ve looked at them together.  We both liked this one.

Then we went on a walk, even though it was blustery and the sun had mostly disappeared.  Brrr…

I made tea to warm myself up again–that wind really chilled my ears and nose!–and, while I sipped, checked my email and the updates to blogs I follow.  Here I am reading about organization on Small Notebook.

Then back to the crème brûlée.  It was broilin’ time.  Did you know that you don’t need a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar on crème brûlée?  Bon Appetit told me so; that’s how I know it’s true.  (Well, that, and it works.)  You just pop your little guys under the broiler for a couple minutes.  Truly–only a couple.  This is what happens after about four:

Not perfect, but not ruined either.  Hubby and I enjoyed desserts with our friends Jesse & Luke, who brought along fudge and peanut butter balls to share.  Um, yum?  We had plenty of sweetness to go around–and maybe soften the blow for those of us who didn’t conquer at couples’ game night.

What a way to end an already fabulous day!

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  1. Diana Fahrenholtz

     /  February 24, 2012

    Fun to follow your day. Maybe we can make some creme brulee when you come this summer!

  1. luscious lemon « wellcrafted

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