Roasted Summer Vegetables with Tomatoes, Basil and Pasta

Zucchini or summer squash, sweet corn, bell peppers and red onion

I scooped up a piece of zucchini with my fork. “I feel like a lot has changed.”

Roo looked up from his plate. “What are you talking about?”

“I saw a child today; thirteen, maybe fifteen-”

“So you saw a teenager.”

“A child,” I reiterated, setting down my fork, “who was walking in front of me at Fenway and I could see her butt.  Hanging out of her shorts.”

“Like her pants were falling down?”

“Like they were so short, that I wanted to hug her and give her my yoga pants.”

“You do realize you sound about eighty five right now.”

I picked up my water glass and took a sip. “That’s kind of my point. I mean, when did I become so conservative?”

“You’re really asking me this.”

“I know! But I can’t remember caring about how short a girl’s shorts were when I was in my twenties. I don’t think I even noticed what children were wearing.”

“Well, we all change. It’s part of growing up.”

“I guess.” I said, fumbling with my napkin. “Like, when I was in college I didn’t eat carbs.”

“What?”

“I know. This,” I said, tilting my pasta dish towards Roo, “is delicious. Why would I give that up?”

“But I thought you drank Natty Ice in school.”

“Correction, The Beast.”

“So you didn’t eat carbs, but you drank beer?”

“I know, totally logical, right?”

Roo laughed, “I am so glad we all change.”

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Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I’ve been holding onto some news.

What took me so long to tell you?

Well…I forgot what Roo said when he asked.

I’m a horrible fiancé.

It wasn’t until last night that I mustered the courage to ask Roo what happened.  I wanted to know more than what I had been telling my friends,”he laughed, then I laughed, and I said ‘Yes.” Because, really? Even a friend doesn’t want to hear an engagement story like that.

“I was going to write up that I we got engaged.”

“Oh. You haven’t done that yet?”

“Not yet.  It’s just that,” I paused. ” I kinda forgot what you said.”

Roo smiled, “Did you blackout from overwhelming emotion?”

“Perhaps. I remember you joking, saying that I had to take my sunglasses off so you could see me cry.”

“And you didn’t!”

“I know! Are you disappointed?”

“Not really.”

“I do remember somethings. Sitting on the bench with you, watching the rowers go by on the Charles…wondering aloud if those girls from Wellesley College actually started in Wellesley and paddled down to Boston -”

“Wellesley girls? That’s what you remember?”

“No! There’s more! I remember you getting down on one knee, removing the ring from your wallet – which was so sneaky by the way – and,” I laughed, “I remember saying ‘No’ as a joke.”

“But what I actually said to you -”

“Something about being a better man?”

“Yes. I said you make me a better man, even when you’re away, and I would be honored if you spend the rest of your life with me.”

“Oh. No wonder I blacked out.”

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Buckwheat (Soba) Noodle Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

“Did you ever have rules when you were first dating someone?”

“No. No, I don’t think so.”

“Really? Because I feel like all girls have rules. Especially when we’re younger, in our 20s.”

“Like what?”

I paused, wondering if I should tell Roo all the ridiculous ‘rules’ my friends and I had while in undergrad. “Well…” I decided to start off slow, “Never display any sort of bodily function in front of them, like burp or fart.”

“Right, because girls don’t poop.”

“Yes.  And we also don’t cry while looking in the mirror.”

Roo nodded as he scooped up a piece of broccoli with his fork.

“Also, don’t laugh so hard that you snort or God forbid fart.”

“Didn’t you once -”

“No.”

“When we were walking back from Thai Red Pepper -”

I grabbed a napkin to blot my mouth, “No. That never happened.”

Roo stifled a laugh, “Ok, what else?”

“Don’t sleep with someone before the third date,” I replied, half focused on getting a few sunflower seeds onto the tines of my fork, “And if you do sleep with that person -”

“After the third date of course.”

I smiled, “Yes.  If you sleep with that person you must wake up before they do so you can freshen up.”

“Like get rid of swamp mouth?”

“And that oily mess you call your face, yes.”

“Well, what about dinner? You went from talking to that person to sleeping with them. Makes me think you were a bit -”

“Hey! Hey now. Alright, dinner. Well, never order noodles because no one wants to see you slurp and sputter sauce everywhere.”

Roo raised an eyebrow.

“I know, I know. They were ridiculous.”

“No, it’s not that.”

“What?”

“That last bite you took of soba. I think you got some dressing on your shirt.”

I glanced down to see a giant stain on my right breast.  It looked like I was lactating.  “Great. See? This is why we have rules.”

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