A friend checked in yesterday to see how I’m doing and what I’m doing.
“Little things”, I texted her back. “Little things that require little concentration.”
I roasted a pound of coffee and half a pound of decaf.
I made a 24 hour cold brew from the decaf.
Last week I mixed up a bunch of shrubs.
Earlier this year at a conference in Yosemite, one of the speakers talked about new things she was trying. She wanted to drink fancy cocktails but didn’t want to drink alcohol. So she’d been buying bitters and shrubs and using them to flavor soda water. Bitters are often intense flavors extracted in alcohol. You only add a few drops to a cup of club soda so you don’t need much. A shrub uses vinegar instead.
I bought a book and mixed up five different flavors of shrubs: cucumber, ginger, concord grape, cranberry apple, and apple pie.
The book explained that after about two weeks the flavor changes dramatically and the vinegar and sugar mix in such a way that neither is so forward. I’ve been drinking the cucumber one while I wait – I figure the vinegar flavor matters less in the savory one than the sweet one.
Every sip reminds me of my time with Kim in Yosemite. It was one of her favorite places on earth.
Yesterday, I also started a new batch of sourdough. I mixed up a rye starter and a wheat starter. It will be about a week before I can bake with either one.
If you’re not baking, you need to discard about two thirds of the starter or you’ll have gallons before the week is out.
Kim hated throwing out the unused starter. She thought it was stupid and wasteful.
I tried to explain why it would be more wasteful to keep it – you’d need three times the flour to feed it this afternoon, nine time tomorrow morning, twenty-seven tomorrow afternoon…
Treat it like feeding a pet. Feed it twice a day and discard two thirds of what is in the bowl.
I hear her exasperated sigh when I throw out the cup of starter each feeding.
It was a beautiful fall day yesterday so I made a pot of chili and had some people over for the Indians game and watched them sweep the Red Sox.
Kim would have liked that.
Twenty-some years ago we went to playoff games and even a World Series game together.
One night we fell asleep during a long Indians – Red Sox playoff game. It was 1995 and the Indians would go on to sweep the Red Sox.
At that time we had a television set in our bedroom. We didn’t have a remote – we just had a long extension cord with an on-off switch that we used to turn the tv off before going to bed.
This game started late and went long. Game one was a home game just like this year.
Kim and I fell asleep around midnight.
For some reason we both woke up about 130 and the game was still going on.
We were both awake and watching after 2 am when backup catcher Tony Pena hit the game winning home run. Pena was not a home run hitter. He ran the bases with such joy. It was the Indians first post season win in my lifetime. More than that, I just looked it up, it was the Indians first post season win since 1948.
Kim and I watched the replay over and over. Pena hit a home run every time. We weren’t just glad for the team, we were so happy for him.
Kim said, as she often said of people she only knew from tv, “he’s such a nice man.”
And last night the Indians swept the Red Sox again.
It’s funny every memory ends up back at a Kim story.
I do little things that require little concentration and my mind wanders back to my favorite little thing.