Monday, December 31, 2012
- I am breathing a little more easily now that the holiday rush is over
- I am contemplating 2013 and the changes I would like to make. I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, but I do like to take time to take stock and make some adjustments. Now, as the light is returning and life is a bit calm, is a good time for that
- I am sitting between joy and grief and trying to reconcile the two
- I am looking at our pretty holiday tree for one of the last mornings and wishing I could have taken it in more. My heart is not as open as I would like it to be just now
- I am grateful for a good night's sleep with my teething daughter
- I am grateful to still be here, growing and learning even though it hurts sometimes
- I am grateful for the small people in my life who keep me grounded in the goodness and sweetness of it all
- I am learning to accept that loss is part of life
- I am imagining the garden that is ready to come to life in a few short months, despite being buried in all of this snow
- I am waiting for what is next and learning not to brace anymore
- I am deeply grateful for the quiet
wishing you rich joy in 2013
Friday, December 7, 2012
But our life is full, and cooking with a one year old is haphazard at best. Some days she cruises happily around the kitchen as I prepare the evening's meal. On other days she hangs on me in meltdown mode, and what could be done in a short span of time can push dinner an hour or more later than desired. Which can equal even more meltdowns, all the way around.
So I have been looking for beauty in simplicity, in the realm of cooking and menu planning. A recent success was this one:
Oven Fried Chicken Tenders & Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Sunday, November 18, 2012
I have been thinking lately on the word, synergy, and it's ramifications for us as a world cultural. The mind works in mysterious ways, and mine, I think is especially mysterious sometimes... :-) Read on, and you may agree with me on this.
Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.
Monday, October 29, 2012
But the most amazing thing about all of this is that it all gets done, and, some of you may not be shocked by this, "with a lot more grace and flow because of the prep work."
This is not rocket science, really, but I'm still surprised by it. Somehow, in my training for life, the prep work was either a)ignored, or b) I was too impatient to pay attention to that lesson. Doesn't really matter. Now, I'm prepping. It feels slow, and a little painful, to move so, seemingly, imperceptibly towards my goals. But there is a point, in every process, where the prep work seems to pay off all at once, and everything accelerates near the end. Ah progress!
One could liken prep work, in a Zen sort of way, to enjoying the journey. If painting is the destination, then prep work is the journey, and the prep is the most of it. So why not enjoy the prep work (journey)?
Friday, October 12, 2012
6 weeks and some days ago my mama lost her battle with cancer. She fought hard and it was not enough.
I have struggled for words to adequately articulate all that this means to me, and the words don't come. Maybe in time.
When I knew, and when I was trying not to know, that there was not much time left for her, I wanted to run, to hide my head in the sand, to pretend that this wasn't happening in my life. As if, somehow, by avoiding the reality I could avoid the grief. But the wiser part of me, thankfully, knew better.
I was not necessarily at my best those last days and weeks. I vacillated between many different emotions, strong at times, weak at others, sometimes pulling back. But I did manage to show up. And for that I'm grateful.
Looking back, I can examine myself during this time and wish I was different, stronger, somehow better. But mostly I'm just glad I was there. I never, never wanted to say good bye to her, but I'm glad that I had the chance to love her all the way up until the end.
This morning, at work, a neighbor's cat was struck by a car in the street in front of our office. My coworkers and I followed him across the street where he had pulled himself from the road. He was breathing heavily and I was afraid. I wanted to run, to hide, not to confront this, not now. Instead, holding Lucy in my arms we sat in the grass next to him. He was breathing heavily, panting, meowing loudly. Again, the urge to leave came over me.
In the back of my head, it occurred to me that it was rather ridiculous that I, who had sat with mother and my family as as she breathed her last breath just weeks ago, was struggling to be there for this unknown cat. I laid my hand on his heaving body and we just sat with him, Lucy pointing at him, me telling her, he was hurt, ow, Lucy pointing and repeating again and again, "ow." His breathing slowed, his meowing became softer, and I thought, oh, oh, he's leaving. But moments later he was still with us, calmer, hurting, but still very much alive.
In the space of about 45 minutes my coworkers and I took turns being with him until the family was notified and the vet arrived to take him away. The vet felt, on first inspection, that he had broken bones but stood a good chance of recovery. She called later to say that he had been treated for shock but was resisting X-ray, so they were going to let him calm before trying again.
I don't know what our presence meant to this cat, but he seemed calmer and more peaceful when I was touching him. I know that in times of intensity in the lives of humans, we struggle to know how to help, what to say or do.
And I know I have been tremendously comforted by many seemingly small gestures from loved ones. A call, a card, a text, an email, a hug,a squeeze on the shoulder, a meal, a listening ear, just the words, "I'm so sorry." These things have lifted me up, buoyed me when I felt myself sinking and I will remember them forever.
If I have learned anything from all of this, it is this: It's not so much the end result of our actions, the polish or poise with which we present ourselves, as it is that we show up at all. For our lives, for those we love, for the work we do, for the commitments we make. Sometimes just showing up makes all the difference.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
This week, August 5-11, 2012
- I am catching my breath while simultaneously soaking up the sweetness of having family from California visit us all and mom.
- I am noticing that the weather has suddenly turned cooler. I always think of August as high summer, from my California days, but here, it seems to mark the downturn toward Autumn, and the weather is changeable, only 55 degrees this morning.
- I am contemplating death and change, and trying to make sense of it all, and feeling oddly grateful that I get to make my own sense of it....there are some great thoughts out there on this, and I get to pick and choose.
- I am marveling that Luciana is 11 months old, yesterday. She will walk soon.
- I also marveling that Helena, nearly 8 (wow!) will start school full time a few weeks. Her choice, and it actually feels right for her. She is wiser than me at times, and knows her own mind, and when I'm wise, I can see this.
- Sitting in this place of hope and acceptance all at once, and letting that just be.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Did I mention my mama has cancer? It's seldom far from my mind these days, and I'm spending as much time as I can with her. I'm grateful that it is summertime, and that our schedule is relatively light.
I have always been close to my mama, too much so, maybe some would say, maybe even me, in those moments when the lines between my thoughts and hers blur.
But these moments, these past few weeks, have taken on a luminous quality to me. The sun is brighter, images are sharper, the rich beauty of the faces that surround me are more vividly beautiful in a way I haven't seen before, especially hers.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 months ago, during the early part of my pregnancy with Lucy, I was stunned to the point of breathlessness. One morning, a few weeks later when Patrick was traveling and Helena was at school, I lay on the kitchen floor and sobbed more deeply and heavily than I ever have before, as the weight of the realization that I could lose her, soon, hit me fully.
And then, seemingly miraculously, her treatments went amazingly well, aside from some troublesome side effects, she was tolerating the chemotherapy well and, by December, her bloodwork and scans came back almost clean, very close to what would be considered remission.
But all of that has since changed and I don't know how much time we have left. I do, however, know that I have a choice right now, between getting lost in the bitter unfairness of having to contemplate saying goodbye to my mama, when she is only 64, or savoring the sweetness of the time we have right now.
I have chosen to savor. Lest you think I'm crazy or feeding you a line of crap, I cry all the time right now, multiple times a day some days, and I am scared and sometimes royally pissed. But then I move on. Back to the present moment.
Today I got to massage lotion into her skin, feeling the too thinness of her, and talk with her of simple things, of being a tired and less than inspired parent to my girls. To tell her that there will never be a good time for us to say goodbye. And I am so grateful that, whatever comes, I still get a chance to say these things. To listen to her wisdom, to hold her.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The future is always uncertain but knowing that a loved one's health, and possibly even life is on the line drives all this home a in way that nothing else can.
My mama has been battling cancer for more than a year now, and for the most part, all has been going as well as we could hope. Until now. Now there is more cancer. Now there are still options, but it all looks less promising, at least from the outside.
In times like these, it is easy to spiral into fear, to write the end of the story before it arrives. Harder though, to remain present in the here and now. But worth the effort.
Worth it to remain grounded now. To hold her now, to soak up the sunshine of each summer day, to love my babies as they grow so quickly, to laugh still, smile still, engage in life still.
Relationships with our parents, be they easy or not so much, are so primal, visceral, basic and yet so complex. My mama is teaching me, when I thought I had learned pretty much what she had to share, a lot about grace, just now. There are never really any guarantees in life, especially regarding how many moments on this planet are ours to savor with those we love. And there are gifts in these seemingly harsh reminders to live now, savor it all now.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Our little garden is starting to produce. We've been getting field greens for weeks now, and this week our snow peas are ready and we cut garlic scapes.
Today I made a lovely salad using mostly items from the garden:
Start with a bed of field greens
- chopped garlic scapes
- snow peas chopped into bite sized pieces
- dried cranberries
- blue cheese
- toasted walnuts or almonds
Drizzle with olive oil and your favorite vinegar (I used balsamic)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add chopped grilled chicken and make it a meal.
I could eat this every day, in fact, I probably will!
Friday, June 8, 2012
This was a rainy day, but the sun popped out briefly at 6pm.....
And I made one of my favorite summer salad dressing with the basil we got.....Basil Green Goddess Yes, summer is nearly here!
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
It's been busy, oh so very busy, in the way that life is busy with a 7 month old, puts everything in her mouth (food and otherwise), cutting teeth, wants to stand, will probably walk early little girl and her 7 year old, full of life, fully of silly, full of never wants to slow down big sister can be. Life is full, life is good. Sleep, well it's just not happening all that much these days.
I took this photo today...Lucy still comes to work with me...how very blessed I am to be able to do this with her. She loves this mirror, loves herself in this mirror, is still small enough to just be, and be good with that.
Would that we all felt the same, when we look in the mirror. What a world it would be. Something to aspire to, I think.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Therefore, I'm in search of ideas for make ahead meals that are either ready in the crock pot or that Patrick can pop in the oven so we can sit down and eat when we get home.
This week I'm making a chicken pot pie (a favorite of Helena's), but I could sure use some more ideas, any thoughts?
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It was somewhere, around the third or fourth glorious sip, that it was revealed to me...the discovery of coffee, was something like this:
The Discovery of Coffee: A Mama's Fable by Diana Griffin
There was once cave woman, with a cave husband and 2 cave children. They lived in a cave. Cave woman did not get a lot of good sleep regularly, because cave women have many demands on their time. Cave children need tending, cave husbands, who, when sick, tend to act like the cave children, also require a lot of care. There is food to find, food to cook, and clothing (skins) to clean.
One morning, cave woman woke early and stumbled to the cook fire. Groggily she added some sticks to the embers, and began to cook the morning meal.
There were some troublesome beans sitting around that cave woman had gathered, but that were not good to eat. She had tried boiling them, but they were not good to eat that way. She had tried roasting them, but they were quite bitter, and the children especially would not eat them.
Sleepily, she grabbed these roasted beans by mistake, intending to cook some berries they had gathered the day before in some water to soften them. After a few moments, she realized her mistake, but the aroma from the pot was quite enticing so she continued to cook them for several more minutes. Then she tried the beans. They were still unpleasant to eat, but the liquid was quite tasty, so she removed the beans and drank some.
Suddenly, cave woman was not sleepy any longer. She felt awake, and she smiled. She went and shook cave man and he grumbled and sniffed and rolled over. Then the scent hit his nostrils and he sat up. Cave women eagerly offered cave man some of the liquid and he accepted, first dubiously, then with greater interest.
When the cave children awoke, they thought the liquid smelled nice but tasted nasty. Cave woman and cave man were happy to drink it for themselves, and it soon became a morning ritual they both relied upon.
Moral: All fables have a moral or lesson embedded. This one has two:
1) Good things can come even from sleep deprivation
2) Necessity truly is the mother of invention, which our ancestors will attest to.
Happy Monday...oh yeah, it's Tuesday!
Sunday, January 22, 2012
....finally got some snow...Helena is off for a sledding date with Blythe in a few moments.
....did play with the girls, both of them, and it was rich and lovely. 7 year-olds are so great at creating complex games full of silliness. 4+ month-olds can giggle at the simplest things, like eating mommy's nose. This will make every week's to do list
....finished a crocheted hat, meant as a Christmas gift, but it will be ready for Valentine's Day.
....picked up another crocheted hat I started last year, and hope to finish it over the next week...
....stood by and observed with joy tinged with bitter-sweetness as my biggest girl took some big steps toward independence. And I spelled for her many of the words used in her journal entries and knew that the day when her thoughts are no longer always an open book to me is coming, faster than I want it to.
....fully accepted how tired a mama juggling sleepless nights with full days can get, and spent most of a day in bed. And the world kept spinning....
....acknowledged that my expectations for what I can accomplish in a day have long been unrealistic, and even more so now. Tried less, was frustrated less, and enjoyed more.
....was read to by my daughter as much as I read to her, wow!
How was your week?
Monday, January 16, 2012
I woke up feeling reasonably rested, made some tea, turned on the computer, and looked at my sticky notes on the screen (I love these, by the way, so GREEN!). It looked something like this...
- Pay business card when xxx check arrives
- complete application for Lucy's health insurance
- Revise Vermont proposal
- Follow up on medical billing.....
you get the picture....I think I may need more vitamin D...I'm sure I need more fun....
Not that I don't enjoy my days, and I do my very best so savor the richness that is my life all the time with these sweet girls, this amazing husband, this wonderful family and group of friends....
But sometimes, a midst all of the to dos, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the driving to and fro, there just needs to be time to play. Really, there always should be, but I get bogged down, am the first child in my family, the responsible one, and so I forget. But I've been looking at my oldest daughter, the first in our small family, and thinking there is much I am teaching her by default....and I need to teach her to make room for play and those things that she loves, to prioritize them, even, or she might forget too.
So this morning, after looking at above list, I put these two on the top:
- Play HARD & LOUDLY with the kids!
- Get your crafty on this week! (which is grown up for play for me).
So here's to play time and wishing you time to play your heart out as well.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
From Gluten Free Goddess, these brownies are really incredible, and I will be making them again, just because. My favorite brownies are the rich, fudgie kind, and these were exactly that. I used buckwheat flour in place of the rice flour because that was what we had on hand, and they were still great. The coconut oil adds a bit of coconut flavor, which I loved. I'll be making them this coming week for our friends who just had a new baby.....Papa happens to be gluten and dairy free, how convenient, will need to make a double batch :-)
ROASTED MUSHROOM AND GREEN BEAN FARRO SALAD
From Kevin, at Closet Cooking. I have to admit to never having eaten Farro before, and needing to look it up to even know what it was. It's a grain, apparently similar to barley, grown in Italy. I used Millet in place of the Farro in this recipe, once again, because I had it on hand. I don't imagine it was at all like Farro, but the salad was excellent anyway. I'll look for Farro and try it again that way. I think it would also be great with Quinoa. I don't think I had ever roasted green beans before, and they were lovely this way...will cook them that way again just to eat plain. Kevin's blog has a lot of really yummy recipes I'm looking forward to trying.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Here are a couple of new to us recipes we've been loving that you may enjoy trying...
Baked Quinoa Patties, recommended by Lori, thank you! And found here. These are light, delicious, and filling. The seasoning is reminiscent of falafel, but they're lighter and legume free...important for me these days, since legumes seem to hurt Lucy's tender little tummy when I eat them...ahhh, but I really do miss them. I served them topped with yogurt, yum! I also used dried herbs...about 2 TBSP dried chives and 1 TBSP dried dill, in place of fresh.
Eastern European Vegetable Stew
From Moosewood, found here. Not sure what it is about this recipe, but all that root veggie goodness just really hits the spot. I've served it to my parent's and siblings a few times as well, and it's always a huge hit. Serve with some crusty bread and maybe some red wine?
Biscuit Topped Chicken and Root Veggie Stew
This is a bit more decadent, but another great root veggie recipe. Patrick and I both agreed that the biscuit to stew ratio was a bit heavy on the biscuits. Next time I'll double the stew portion or halve the biscuits. Find it here.
Happy Thursday and happy Eating!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
1) My posts need to be brief...my time, as the homeschooling, part time working, mother of a nearly 4 month old and a 7 year old, is broken up into pretty small bites.
2) My posts need to be pretty low-frills. Not a lot of time in those bites for adding the perfect photo or other "bling."
So, here's a stab a brevity...
2011 was an intense year, full of big challenges and bigger rewards. One thing, at 40, that I'm getting a handle on is this...
I have to work with what I have....and that requires acceptance.
This, perhaps, doesn't sound like such and epiphany, but for me, the ability to truly understand and integrate this is just that.
I have spent a lot of my life fighting was it (or was), sure that if I just pushed hard enough, I would get away from the unwanted place or state (wrong job, wrong body, wrong feelings...fill in the blanks). Come to find out, it doesn't really work that way, and even when it does, it's a hard way to live.
So my theme for this year...Work with What I Have
More on this later....