About 3 years ago I lived in San Francisco. Living there was an adventure and I'll never regret it, but it was absolutely not the place for me. One thing I learned about myself while living there is that I need change to feel like I'm progressing. Literally every day in SF was 70 and partly cloudy, and I hated it. HATED IT. It was like I was Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. In the morning I woke up and lived yesterday over again. Imagine, if you will, getting dressed on a February morning. Here is the conversation I would have with myself:
(9:00 a.m. in my closet) "Oh, it's my favorite month! I'll put on my favorite turtleneck! Yay February!"
(10:00 a.m. walking to the bus stop) " I look like such a moron right now. It's 75 and I'm sweating my ass off. I hate this place."
When I moved back to Ohio, I was so incredibly thrilled to experience winter again, you have no idea. Changing seasons just feels like progress to me, like time is moving forward and I am getting somewhere, even if I am accomplishing nothing except living another day.
One of the reasons I wanted to be a teacher is because the cycle of the school year appeals to this need for progress I feel. Seasons are celebrated in school, marked by grading periods and holiday breaks, and every year I get to send my students up the ranks before greeting a fresh new batch. I love the feeling of finishing my job completely and starting a new one. It makes me hopeful, like success is always a possibility because there is a new cycle ahead where everything will be better and brighter and I will be THE GREATEST.
This is how the changing of the seasons makes me feel, and it's also why February is my favorite. It's the beginning of the new year, and everything is fresh and new and there is endless possibility just vibrating in the air. And even though the weather may be crappy, I would not appreciate the summer if it weren't for the winter. Don't roll your eyes until you have lived without winter because it's true, summer is nothing without winter, and fall, and spring.
This is all a longwinded way to say, the school year has started and I'm so happy to be beginning this cycle again. New students, a new season, and the feeling of progress. Ahhhhhh, I'm complete.
Here is my greeting card for September- a homemade tuna noodle casserole. Of course I love the box stuff, but it's just a teensy bit more delicious and a lot-a-bit more nutritious if you make it yourself. I love adding capers for their acid-y mustard-y kick, but if you don't like them leave them out. I think the addition of mushrooms would be great in here as well. This recipe is a perfect transition between summer and fall; not quite the cheesy-hearty goodness associated with crisp weather, but a little heavier than light and fresh summer fair. Tuna noodle casserole hits the sweet spot between the seasons, which is perfect for anyone who wishes to savor the current season instead of wishing time away.
Although I thrive on the change and look forward to a new season, knowing that every day is a step out of the current season is a reminder to enjoy every day for exactly what it is, exactly where I am. Because time doesn't stop, even if you are living somewhere where it's hard to see that.
Tune Noodle Casserole
Time: 25 minutes
1 tbsp butter
2 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried dill
pepper to taste
2 cups rotini pasta
2 cans tuna
1 tbsp capers
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (panko would be good too!)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, add butter, water, heavy cream, salt, dill, and pepper to a large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer. Add pasta and bring back to a boil. Cover saucepan and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add tuna and capers, mix well. Transfer pasta to over safe dish and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.Drizzle with olive oil and bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool before eating. Enjoy!