I have taken 2 cold showers more today than I had intended when I stumbled out of bed this morning.
I am foreseeing a few more before it’s all over.
I have made more insurance phone calls and left more voice mails with water restoration companies than I see fit.
I have purged more Oprah and Runner’s World magazines than I’d like to admit.
I have caught a floating liter box.
I have learned the invaluable-ness of plastic Rubbermade totes and the importance of putting treasured items actually in those totes.
Frustrations have been had.
Lessons have been learned.
I have relived the summer of my senior year of high school and traveled through Europe with a group of my favorite people.
A film loaded Olympus point and shoot camera in hand and a smile spread across my face.
My dream coming true.
Wanderlust taking hold with each plane, train, and bus ride.
I stopped first in London and took pictures with English guards and became smitten with our British curly haired guide.
We walked the halls of the Tower of London and viewed the changing of the guards.
We ‘minded the gap’ and made phone calls from infamous red boxes. Not booths. Boxes.
Piccadilly Circus and Buckingham Palace. The gray and moody skies soothing my innards.
We then took the EuroStar through The Chunnel and arrived in Paris.
I stood atop the Eiffel Tower and rode a boat down the Seine at night. The Eiffel Tower glittering with twinkle lights.
We viewed .08% of the Louvre and were surprised at the size of Mona.
I walked where queens and kings once stood and where world altering treaties were signed.
We covered our sunburnt shoulders as we walked through Notre Dame while our eyes were drawn upwards.
From Paris we hopped a train and swiftly moved onto Switzerland. The train was hot and we had a fit of giggles. Fits that make your sides ache. Where the source of the laughter is unknown and those over the age of 22 no longer understand nor do they have the patience for. They offer you only a roll of the eyeballs instead of a knowing smile and a light chuckle, a nod to those younger years when they themselves had uncontrollable laughter on a train bound for Switzerland that was so blazingly hot that it was difficult to breath.
We crossed bridges that were covered and found ourselves face to face with the Lion Monument.
The alps were ascended and rocks stowed away. We soared above cows wearing actual freaking bells.
Another train dropped us in the midst of Salzburg, Austria.
I felt like Maria the entire time. We sat at the fountain in the center of town where she takes the children, dressed in their curtain play clothes and teaches them how to sing. And sing they do.
Mozart’s apartment. The Mozart.
Fraulein Maria and Mozart. Salzburg – stop/don’t stop showing off.
Germany was just a short jaunt and the final country of our 2 week whirlwind tour.
Neuschwanstein Castle – they just don’t make them like that anymore. The place is like a dream.
We saw a certain wall and were all haunted by Auschwitz.
I found the note from my mom that allowed me to taste beer while in Munich. I remember turning my nose in disgust. Oh how times have changed.
We said a teary goodbye to our British guide who, in 14 days, had become a fast friend. Emails were exchanged and hugs given.
I wonder what James is doing these days.
The final bar of toblerone chocolate was purchased.
British Airways was boarded followed by a final bus trip to the high school parking lot to be reunited with our families and to begin our recitation of the past 2 weeks of our lives.
I am still trying to wrap my brain around the history I witnessed. Placing my foot in the same imprints of so many before myself…a different lifetime ago but the same bricks line the streets and give structure to the buildings. I get overwhelmed when I get to thinking of all those eyes of history – be it kings or peasants; Joan of Arc or Hemmingway - have gazed up and saw the same cathedrals and palaces as I did during those afternoons of my 17th summer.
Brush strokes on paintings centuries old…brush strokes that haven’t changed since they were swiped onto the canvas. The same paint as witnessed by myself was the same paint touched by Leonardo da Vinci. It dazzles and boggles my brain. I can only close my eyes and shake my head. Does this just get anyone else?
Boy does it get me.
I long to return. To those same places and so many more.
The re-trip took my mind off the wet basement and the tent drying in my front yard and Christmas ornaments in my front living room and my treadmill a touch water logged. There was not a picture lost or a plane ticket destroyed from that trip…Each and every item saved from that trip 14 years ago come June, survived…some things a bit more wrinkled or wavy than before, but saved and dried and remembered and treasured once again.
While we work on cleaning up the basement and returning heat to our showers, I am tempering my nerves and anxiety and frustrations and annoyance and challenges and this whole being an adult and home ownership joy with cobbler. Stuffing my face with sweet berries and biscuits submerged in slightly thickened juices and vanilla ice cream. Always ice cream.
Plastic totes and ice cream. Always.
Thoughts of Paris don’t hurt either.
- 6 Cups Mixed Berries ( strawberries, blueberries, black raspberries)
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
- Pinch of Salt
- ⅛ Teaspoon Cinnamon
- Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Stone Ground Cornmeal
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ Cup Buttermilk, well shaken
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Cinnamon and Sugar for topping
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together brown sugar, corn starch, salt and cinnamon.
- Add the berries and toss gently to evenly coat. Add lemon juice and zest and toss to combine.
- Pour filling into a 9 inch cast iron skillet or comparable glass baking dish. ( pie plate, square pan, casserole dish, etc…) Place in preheated oven and bake until bubbling around the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- While the filling is cooking, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Stir together buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla in a small bowl.
- When the filling is bubbly and ready, remove from oven and set on wire rack. Increase oven temperature to 425F. Once filling is out of the oven, now is the time to stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no dry ingredients remain.
- Using two spoons, place equal sized dollops of biscuit dough on top of the berry filling. Space them evenly apart without them touching. Sprinkle each dollop with cinnamon and sugar.
- Place in preheated oven and bake until filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool cobbler on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- Serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. The cobbler can be reheated by placing leftovers in 350F oven for about 10 minutes or until warm.
Do not pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the filling is out of the oven.
*Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated
Update: Hot water is back…heating as I type this.