22 May 2014
This is such a special handful of months. I am busy with several big things that are on a deadline, but I’ve never felt more productive, or like I’ve made better use of my time in my life. It’s an awesome feeling, one that I hope will carry over to whatever I may be able to get done during naptime (I’m setting my expectations very low so I can avoid putting pressure on myself and feel like a rockstar every time I accomplish something). But my deadline work means that all the creative projects I want to write about (the quilt! scrapbooking! reflections on my word for 2013–yes, I am aware that we are barreling into June!) are…not finished. And when that happens I sometimes just look through my photos and wait for inspiration to strike. There’s so much treasure in that Picasa folder.
So I wanted to write about making jam with Eric. Full disclosure: this is in no way a recipe post, but we used the recipe on the Pectin box for freezer jam. It was something that Eric knew how to do long before I met him, which he learned from his awesome mom, who is a master of canning and preserving (literally) and all other things in the kitchen. The great thing about freezer jam is that you don’t have to do all the intensive boiling and sterilizing. It’s quick and easy. So we decided to try it together. These pictures are from 2009 (!), and they were taken in the lovely little house where Eric lived when we first started dating. I miss the light and the hardwood floors, and all the laughing we did while making dinners together there. We made this jam soon after Eric got back from a three-month balloon campaign in a tiny town in New Mexico. We were ecstatic to be back together again, and he was more than excited about getting some fresh summer fruit.
That morning we went to the farmer’s market and bought these two trays of strawberries–Albions. We still love this variety, even with all the Oxnard competition. We had never been to the farmer’s market before (Berkeley Bowl, ah, glorious Berkeley Bowl had everything we needed and more), but we had fun walking around and looking at everything. I remember seeing necklaces made with old typewriter keys and being enamored of them. And those glasses I’m wearing–ha! I got them when I was a freshman in college and wore them for about 10 years. I still kind of miss them sometimes.
I put an old shirt of his on over my dress to keep from splattering myself with strawberry juice. And now I wear that shirt as a pajama top. Those bright white countertops make me so happy. While Eric was in New Mexico, one roommate moved out, and a new one moved in. She was awesome in every way, and she kept things so neat and clean. This was a major improvement over the previous tenant!
These were the days when I was teaching lit at Berkeley and had to wear a watch to stay on track with my lessonplans. And it must be around the time that the silver rings I bought in Russia got too big for my fingers, because I have them pushed back with my grandmother’s sapphire ring, the one she gave me for my 16th birthday, just before she died.
Here is our sweet pink treasure.
We jarred it up and divided the stash evenly–half to his house, half to mine. I love looking back on this time because I just couldn’t have imagined all that was to come. Don’t get me wrong–I knew I wanted to marry Eric. I knew that more or less right away, in the way that you know something in your bones. I had never dated anyone like him, and we just had, and have, so much harmony together. We dated for two years before we got engaged, and I think it was perfect, though I know I spent some of that time impatiently longing for where we are today. But it’s so beautiful to look back and remember what a treasure this time was too. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At the same time, it’s wonderful to be in a place where I’m no longer longing for anything. Eric and I are so deeply happy to see each other every day, and this little baby on the way feels like an extravagant gift on top of that. Sure, there are plenty of things I still want to do in life, and career goals I haven’t met yet, but I am so fully content and grateful for the life that we have together. I am so overwhelmed, honestly, by all the happiness that is to be found in the littlest things: making jam, looking through old photos, reading the paper, eating a cold peach. I don’t want to take any of them for granted. I don’t want to forget any of them. I hope that five years from now, I’ll be writing a post about the pictures I took today: water lilies and jacaranda petals, summer veggies going into a savory galette. Each day is so full of magic that I could never record it all. But I’ll never stop trying.