Thursday, August 04, 2016


I almost titled this post "Every Day Can't Be a Beach Day." In fact, when I reviewed the morning, I felt that I was about as far removed from yesterday's lakeside pleasures as you can get. I had traded in a lovely water breeze for too many minutes on asphalt today.  Honestly, it seemed that all I had to show for this morning was a meager loaf of bread. If that...

Let me go back to the beginning: going out to open the coop, I saw that the bug population has only grown worse. It's hard to imagine what could be worse than yesterday's tsunami, but I kid you not: today we had a meteoric explosion that probably doubled what was here before.

It was time to water the pots and, too, I can't stand to see a day lily covered with spent blooms and so I occasionally reached out to snip a few wilted flowers, all the while swatting bugs with our nifty battery powered bug zapper. The few photos that I took are an act of love...

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Over breakfast on the porch, Ed and I talk about how wonderful it must be to enjoy the harvest of tomatoes, rather than doing it as we have to do it: quickly, amidst the buzz of the hated bugs.

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All this would have been enough to make me wistful about the beach, but there is more:

I knew that once again I'd be better off keeping Snowdrop away from the temptation of outdoor play at the farmette. It's hot and muggy (in addition to being buggy) and so I decide to take her to the store. My Madison friends are coming over for dinner tonight and I'm thinking a baguette would be a nice complement to the meal.

There is only one baguette in town that I really like and it's at the western edge of Madison. I know that the French couple who own the bakery like to take August vacations and so I google the shop and facebook it too, just in case, to make sure they were not closed this week. Satisfied that they are up and running, I pack Snowdrop into the car and we set off. To sweeten the deal for her a bit, I promise a stop at one of the few remaining bookstores in town -- the Barnes and Noble that is just across the street from La Baguette.

Here at last! Book time!

Unfortunately, the bookstore has quite the number of toys and notably stuffed penguins in between the book aisles. Once Snowdrop spots them, all pretense of book browsing flies out the door.

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(This "bis" comes home with us, okay grandma?)

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And you have to have inordinate patience and great tolerance for walking along hot slabs of concrete among whizzing cars if, upon leaving the bookstore, you want to head out to the bakery. Barnes and Noble and La Baguette are near malls and strip malls and it feels like you've stepped into some caricature of what our planet will look like someday if we don't take heed -- the spoils of our insatiable desire for big houses and wide roads to get us to them. With few sidewalks, fewer trees, no smiling people, no reason to smile yourself, as you make your way across a six lane ribbon of rushing madness.

I force the stroller over all this horrid stuff, thinking all the while -- we will have a nice baguette for our efforts! Throw in a cookie! Two cookies! Dessert for tonight! Snowdrop, just you wait!

And then I come to the door to La Baguette and find the dreaded sign that the French love to post on their places of business this month: closed for vacation.

No, every day cannot be a beach day.

And still, there's more.

Because I had wasted Snowdrop's morning by coming here, promising her a baguette -- just like in Paris, just like in Paris! (Indeed -- closed, just like in Paris!) -- I decide I should go to my second favorite baguette store -- this one located on the east side of town. Good bread cannot be had without effort, after all.

Back in the hot car (because of course, mall lots do not have trees -- why satiate our desire to be one with nature when we can, instead,  pour concrete over every last inch of soil?). Off we go to the east side of Madison. Snowdrop does not protest. Perhaps she is happy with the small penguin I bought her at the bookstore. (I know, I know...) Perhaps she is waiting for the magical baguette (just like in Paris!).

We arrive at the Madison Sourdough Bakery, where the baguettes are most often overdone, but still somewhat satisfying. More importantly, there is a pastry section where we pick up some macarons and other cakes for supper...

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... and the staff is so damn nice to Snowdrop and she smiles her biggest smile that I think  -- well, it can't be a beach day, but it can have elements of splendor anyway.

At the farmette, I run her inside, past the bugs, and she is happy as can be. Oh, there are the letters of the alphabet to play with...

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And grandpa Ed comes over and they do their usual...

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... and more importantly from her point of view, ah-ah spends time playing with her.

With total generosity, she hands over her penguin...

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... he hands it back to her...

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And somehow this all puts her squarely in his lap, which makes her laugh and laugh...

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No, not a beach day. But a sweet, warmhearted day nonetheless.

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And of course, it ends with a lovely dinner with my friends and a colleague of Ed's who had been working here on some stuff with him.

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We couldn't eat on the porch. Storms rolled through, rains fell -- it wasn't pleasant out there, even within the shelter of the screen. No matter. It was a beautiful close to a day.