A Picnic in the Park with Live Jazz and Appreciating a Small Town
While I was nursing Lucia when she was an infant, I used to feel "stuck" in my rocking chair for what seemed like forever. She would eat and then fall asleep and I would judge whether it was better for me to get up and put her in her cradle and risk her waking up (which happened most of the time) or if I should just stay in the rocking chair and hold her while she slept. Since this was right after she was born, I usually was so tired that I just kept her in my arms and rocked her while she slept. To get me through those naps in the chair, I started watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix (it had just been released to "Watch Instantly"). I never really watched it while it was on live tv but I fell in love with it during those first few months of Lucia's life.
There is something so incredibly charming about the little town of Star's Hallow. Since I started watching it in autumn, it made me fall in love even more. Anyone who knows the show, knows that it shows the season of autumn so quaintly and beautifully that it just makes you want to throw on a scarf, grab a coffee at Luke's, and go walk around the town square. I always wished that I could live in a small town like Star's Hallow. Why can't I live somewhere else, just as cute and quaint like this (fictional, mind you) town?
But wait, I kind of do! Mercer Island isn't as small and not quite as charming but we definitely have a small-town feel. There is no town square but we have plenty of beautiful parks. No Luke's will be found on the Island but we do have family restaurants. I don't have a "usual order" anywhere but I'm sure I could if I ate out enough! We have children riding their bikes downtown, coffee shops to get your daily fix of caffeine (also, 3 Starbuck's in a 2 block radius but hey, they are technically local up here!), a Farmer's Market on Sundays with fresh beautiful produce, and friendly people who still smile and ask how you are when you pass them on your walks. Every time I go to the grocery store (which I walk to) I see someone I know, or someone who knows Alex, or his Uncle, or Father, or Mother and then I get to know them too. Your town/city/community is what you make it. Look around yours, I'm sure there are some Star's Hallow qualities to be found even in the largest of communities.
So back to our evening picnic. In the spirit of small-towns, Mercer Island does a concert series every summer called Mostly Music in the Park. The music ranges from kids music to jazz, rock to zydeco and there is always something for everyone. Last week was a jazz group called Jazz Underground. They are a Seattle-based group and perform favorites from Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra but also played the intro to the anime show, Cowboy Bebop. Like I said, there is something for everyone.
Since the weather was great, I decided to pack a picnic and we walked to the park a little bit early to set up and let Lucia play on the playground. As I walked from my house to the concert in the park, with my husband and daughter, along tree-lined streets with just a tinge of autumn peeking through in specks of yellow on the leaves, I thought, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.
I made a pitcher of pink lemonade and put it in an old glass milk jug
Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches (recipe tomorrow), salad with homemade ranch, and some olives
Peaches and red plums for dessert. I love when Lucia crosses her ankles like that, so sweet!
My little beauty
Clapping and dancing along to the music with Dad
Having a blast
Sweet snuggles and ready for bedtime