Fresh, just-ripe strawberries can make your head spin. They’re deeply sweet and tragically tender. Wait too long to eat ’em and they disintegrate into a pile of mold and mush on your countertop. Wait too long to buy ’em and their season (the fleeting cusp of summer) is over.
With that in mind, I bought a couple pints of said berries last weekend and simmered up a tiny batch of homemade jam. No pectin or fancy canning equipment—just three simple ingredients (strawberries, sugar, a few lemon wedges) and a spell simmering on the stove. This recipe makes just the right amount—and the way the jam tastes is rivaled only by how a pot of bubbling strawberries can make your house smell. Divine is a pretty good word to employ here.
3 1/2 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
2 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon, quartered
Mix all ingredients in a heavy medium pot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases juices, about 30 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring as needed to prevent sticking, until thick and slightly darker, about 1 1/2 hours.
Chill jam in airtight containers up to 1 month or freeze up to 6 months.
About The Great Gatsby. It’s a movie—maybe you’ve seen a trailer or something? Yes? So, some friends and I went to a private screening last week. Champagne was involved, just like in the movie. Anyhoo, here’s my big verdict: I liked it.
Now, I’ve read some bad reviews but ya know I’m not gonna be too hard on it. The book is lovely and haunting—hard to pin down. The movie is a spectacle. They’re two different things—it’s okay. See, I’m a reader first and movie watcher second. I don’t need to love movies as much. I’m not spending hours and weeks of my life steering my eyes over tiny black markings on paper in an effort to divulge meaning. I’m just sitting here for a couple hours and I wanna be entertained.
So …. Go to see Leo perform. Go to hear how Jay Z and Kanye jazz up the jazz age. Go to see the costumes and the hairdos and the cars and the colors and the imagery. But don’t go expecting tears and truth and the best movie evah. Just FYI.
Kim Gordon: I read an article recently that reminded me why I heart her as my feminist idol. “‘Kim comes off all cool and badass, but she’s really sweet and gentle and feminine,’ longtime friend Sofia Coppola says, praising Gordon’s ability to draw power from vulnerability.”
Almond milk lattes: Richer and more toasty than ones made from rice or soy, markedly less phlegm-inducing than the cow’s milk variety.
A break in the weather: It’s oddly moving when a long stretch of weather—even if it’s not bothering you none—ceases quietly in the night, and you wake up at dawn to find a very fresh situation outside your windowpane, kinda like some ole friend you forgot you were missing.
Tangerine: The color, the fruit, and most especially the Led Zeppelin song. Warm and loose—and gone before ya know it.
Do you ever read about Tibetan Buddhist Meditation? …. Yeah, me neither. Until the last few months, that is. There’s a time for all things, I guess?
“Instead of trying to avoid our uneasiness and off-centeredness by running away, we could begin to open our hearts to the human dilemma that causes so much misery in this world. We could realize that the way to turn this devaptura ‘arrow’ in to a ‘flower’ is to open our hearts and look at how we try to escape. With enormous gentleness and clarity, we could look at how weak we are. In this way we can discover that what seems to be ugly is in fact the source of wisdom and a way for us to reconnect with our basic wisdom mind.’
I’ve read this passage by Pema Chödrön very many times, and I don’t have an interpretation for you exactly but I think you and I both know what it’s talkin’ bout, right?
I watched this last night. Have you seen it? Left me feeling gloomy … not sure why? In general I don’t like thinking about high school very much. Just not a chapter I’d want to paddle back to. Too much longing and no idea what for.
Anyhoo, it’s not often that a movie drops a feeling over me like a wet blanket that I can’t shrug off for a day or so. What does it all meeeaan? I don’t have the answers, guys.
Think of a reason (mine was out of town visitors), and take your reason wandering all over your town—eating, drinking, crossing back and forth over bridges and walking up dusty trails. Leave behind all semblance of budgeting and schedule restrictions. Buy 5 dollar almond-milk lattes at Heart without a care. Spend hours sitting around a wooden kitchen table drinking pine-scented cocktails and just, ya know, talking. Make a list of every restaurant you ever wanted to try in Portland and knock ’em off, one by one. Drop face-first into bed exhausted every night after so much walking and so much sun. It’s what they call a “staycation” I guess. It’s what I did last week. And it was SO good. No airports, no train rides, no itineraries. Just good friends, sun-toasted days, and my very own bed at the end of the night.
Meteor showers: When celestial arrows split the dark sky over your head, you feel special I don’t care who you are.
Trumer Pilsner: Crisp, that’s the main word to describe it. Does not require sunshine but perfectly accompanies it.
Bike rides in the warm rain: Not torrential, mind you. It’s nice!
Corn meal crust pizza: I ate at Dove Vivi last night and was reminded about the virtues of the kind of pizza so thick, rich, and savory you only need one piece (plus one to take home wrapped in brown wax paper for breakfast in the morning).
I just read this poem and suddenly knew that I HAD been riding too long in cars and that I SHOULD probably get a horse and that I NEEDED to be full of public joy much more often and that it was HIGH TIME to be riding through orange groves in the dust and heat of southern Spain. Do you ever feel like that?
By Stephen Dunn
The year I owned a motorcycle and split the air
in southern Spain, and could smell the oranges
in the orange groves as I passed them
outside of Seville, I understood
I’d been riding too long in cars,
probably even should get a horse,
become a high-up, flesh-connected thing
among the bulls and cows.
My brand-new wife had a spirit
that worried and excited me, a history
of moving on. Wine from a spigot for pennies,
langostinas and angulas, even the language
felt dangerous in my mouth. Mornings,
our icebox bereft of ice,
I’d speed on my motorcycle to the iceman’s house,
strap a big rectangular block
to the extended seat where my wife often sat
hot behind me, arms around my waist.
In the streets the smell of olive oil,
the noise of men torn between church
and sex, their bodies taut, heretical.
And the women, buttoned-up,
or careless, full of public joy, a Jesus
around their necks.
Our neighbors showed us how to shut down
in the afternoon,
the stupidity of not respecting the sun.
They forgave us who we were.
Evenings we’d take turns with the Herald Tribune
killing mosquitoes, our bedroom walls bloody
in this country known for blood;
we couldn’t kill enough.
When the Levante, the big wind, came out of Africa
with its sand and heat, disturbing things,
it brought with it a lesson, unlearnable,
of how far a certain wildness can go.
Our money ran out. I sold the motorcycle.
We moved without knowing it
to take our quieter places in the world.
Not last weekend but the weekend before, we had a perfect summer weekend. Were you here? Did you feel it? Everyone knew in advance—weather apps had warned us all. You had to choose your happenings wisely because you only had two chances to get it right—Saturday and Sunday.
I drove out to the coast and laid in the sand. I mowed my lawn wearing flip-flops and my feet turned electric green. I laid on my belly reading and letting the warmth from the deck soak into me. I ate all my meals outside. I went to a barbecue and skated a backyard mini ramp. I opened all my windows to let the sun-toasted air of, like, mid June carry into my house on this late March weekend. It smelled very good outside.
Now here we are, back in early April Portland. And there’s no way to rewind—it’s gone.