I’ve been on a bit of a digital sabbatical since returning from Europe.  My internal clock is re-adjusted.  Eric and I are happily finding the balance of “differentiated” and “connected”, and our relationship is feeling imperfectly perfect.  I’ve had lunch with several friends and some creative projects are rolling.  I have to say that I have never felt happier and more settled!  My nesting phase is only slightly psychotic, with a scant 437 items on the home-improvement list, and Eric humors me endlessly, configuring the now-familiar smile when I lean over and say, “Honey, I was thinking we could…”

I’ve been wondering about what will come next on my blog; having a focus of content (the 76 days) was an easy way to find inspiration, and now I notice that I could go a hundred different directions.  I’m still sorting out where I would like to set my blogging eyes for the next three months, and while I figure it out I hope you’ll indulge this entry – a spontaneous appreciation for one of the many beautiful relationships in my life.

My sister and I did not always get along well in our younger days, and I carry a load of older-sister guilt that would make any Catholic proud. (I’m sorry for the wooden clogs on your bare toes, the late-night haircuts with scissors dull from sawing through construction paper, that time I chased you with a frying pan for telling me I was fat or some such thing…hmmm…have I said too much?)

Thank goodness we have been able to become much closer in our adulthood, and especially since she became a fabulous and heroic mother to my beloved niece and nephew.  She is one of my best confidantes, an always willing ear with worldly advice that constantly surprises me with its mature wisdom.  She is firm yet forgiving, funny as hell and smart as a whip.  I love the closeness we have now.

Recently we’ve been bonding over food; a few months ago she started asking me questions about my decision to go Primal and after reading up on it she decided to go for it too; she and her kids are now Grokking it with the best of them and reaping the benefits.  We get to compare recipes and share creative meal ideas, and starting this month we are trying out a plan to get the most bang for our grocery buck by using the supermarket less and less.

Do you know about CSA boxes?  CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture, and here’s the deal: you choose the farm you want to support.  You pay the farmers a weekly fee (I love that the farmers get 100% of that money) and they provide you with a weekly box of just-picked produce, usually delivered to a pick-up site near you.  Sara and I subscribed to a weekly produce CSA box through my longtime favorite, Full Belly Farm, and a monthly meat CSA box through Barbarosa Ranchers/The Foragers.

Here’s the routine, currently one robust week old:

Pick-ups are on Saturdays near our house – Eric and I pick up and stow the box(es) for the night.  On Sundays Sara brings her brood downtown (my niece and nephew, plus their miniature Border Collie mix, Jasper, who is Harper’s new boyfriend).  The dogs head out to the backyard for their rendezvous, and the rest of us head out to the Sunday Downtown Farmer’s Market to pick up other staples like eggs (pastured eggs for $5 a flat!), local olive oil, honey, raw almonds – yes, RAW – for $5/lb, fresh fish, and other goodies – like the fuyu persimmons that are in season right now and taste like crunchy honey.  After we gather our Farmer’s Market booty, and the kids have had some time at the playground across the street, we head back to my house to cook up some lunch and pack up all of my sister’s groceries for the ride home.

This past weekend the kids were mesmerized by the live fish and seafood sold at the market; I just love this picture of them watching crawdads being scooped up and weighed.

This weekly ritual gives Harper some much-needed romping with her buddy, teaches the kids more about where our food really comes from, and affords us the chance to share recipes and ideas for what to do with the sometimes odd veggies that come in the CSA boxes (Tokyo turnips, anyone?).  But what I appreciate most is the laid-back time with Sara, simply appreciating our relationship and the gift of having her as a regular feature of my daily life.  I’ve missed you, Sis!