Monday, November 23, 2015

two day pass

the weekend felt long.
i think it might have something to do with our very first snowfall.
waking up to a world whitewashed saturday slowed time.
the kids were happy.
i was most content too curled up with a good book, a strong coffee and a couple cats.
this weekend i started fates and furies.
i liked it right away, but it's not the kind of book i can slip into and out of effortlessly.
that is to say i didn't read as much as i schemed.
i had visions of holing up in flannels all weekend long.
but duty calls, and it turns out as much as i love to spend time with my books,
i much prefer the company of my real life children.
friday was pizza and movie night.
lily and i cued up the age of adeline while ted went to see bond with friends.
she cried all the way through already grasping at the tender age of 11 that to never grow old would mean living through too many losses.
sunday we all enjoyed the mockingjay even if i might have rathered a viewing of love the coopers.
when i offered to forfeit my ticket to ted's friend, both the kids seemed sincerely disappointed.
saturday i hung out with ted in my basement kitchen.
he played video games and enjoyed having an audience while i realized it is possible to boil noodles in the micowave.
noodles for homemade mac & cheese, which the kids have been craving and the tuna casserole i've been dreaming about.
i also cranked out a batch of banana muffins and a spinach pie.
lil came home from softball practice and a swim date, ted left for open gym and jess came for dinner.
we ordered in.
coach came home from hunting sunday afternoon very happy for a shower.
we watched the packers win before turning in early for bed.
this is a short holiday week.
there's a chill in the air that feels festive and a hint of charged excitement too.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Change.  It's good.  Good and hard.  Although, it was swift and sudden and easy to decide to chop off all my hair.  I haven't missed it.

Imitation.  It is the finest form of flattery.  This beaut envied my hair endlessly until I caved and made an appointment for her.  Now we're twinning.

Competition.  It's healthy.  Form and function.

Cupcakes as big as your head...

In celebration of Mike/Dad.  Celebrate everything...everyone!  Especially family.

Happy Birthday wishes.

Books.  There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for books.  Last week I especially loved Did You Ever Have A Family.  Did you ever read this?  If not, please do.

These two bundles of cuteness and unconditional love.

The soft heart she has for every small creature.

 Big creatures too.

She's back in the saddle.  She fell off her horse last week.  Luckily she only bruised her ego.

These flower girls: Lily and Daisy.  And her smile.  It melts my heart.  Her tears break my heart. She got into the car yesterday and lost it.  She declared it, "The worst day ever."  I couldn't argue with how sucky it was to lose a long-term project or to have to start over basically from scratch the night before it was due.  She was smiling again and headache-free before dinner.

November.  We've enjoyed a stretch of Indian summer days: soft breezes and shining sun.  No matter the time of day, to look up is to feel that surge of inspiration that is always waiting for a summons.

Beauty in barrenness. 

Mother Nature's expressive palette.

Skies that deliver messages.

A sun that continues to shine and warm even as the days grow shorter.

Feeling humbled by it all.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Diary of a New Kitchen - Part I

This remodel is a long long time coming.  A decade of dreaming.  We knew we wanted to gut the kitchen the day we moved in ten years ago.  But as other things like new furnaces, chimneys, windows, air conditioners happened we sort of learned to appreciate the antique aesthetics.  Then last November the double ovens blew.  They ceased to operate on the same day after a marathon weekend of roasting.  We bought a counter top oven and agreed to table the project until after the holidays.  January arrived and we started to meet with contractors and designers.  In the first ten months of the year while we obviously took our time finding the right fit, the rest of the appliances dropped like flies.  I've been making due with a skeleton crew.  Honestly, we've been more than making due, which is why we didn't feel pressured to speed the plow.  That is until it became clear what we wanted and who we wanted to work with.  That was roughly a month ago.  The kitchen won't be complete until after the first of the year, but already there has been much progress.

1 week before demo

Clocks will return.

Soffits will be removed.

In fact, everything will be taken out.

New appliances are on order.

The sink will finally be centered.

New windows are on order too.

Night before demo

It looks so sad and bare.

I'm not the least bit sad to get rid of this gold.

Or these built in ovens.

A new window that actually opens is one of the most coveted inclusions.

Goodbye formica and linoleum.

Day 1 of demo

It's a bare box.

The minute Ralph leaves, he comes out of hiding.

Day 2 of demo 

 Down to the studs.

 There were no surprises behind the walls.

Curious cats.

Last week

 Electrical, plumbing, heating and insulation were put in before the drywall was put up.  It was dusty, but much less so than I anticipated.


The walls were painted Durham beige.


 I made dinner in our makeshift basement kitchen.

Beef stew and garlic bread.

It's a little comical and irritating to have to go out the front door to the garage where the full-size refrigerator is, but it could be worse.  We could have to trudge through the snow.  It's a bit annoying and challenging to feel my way in the dark to my Keurig to make a pot of coffee, but turning on the fluorescents instantly blows a fuse.   I've learned not to run the microwave and the oven at the same time for the same reason, and to take a basket on my refrigerator pilgrimages.  We're adapting and maybe just enjoying the adventure a little bit.  And really I'm not cooking any less.  Between my crock pot, my panini press, the microwave, the oven and Mike's grill, we're still preparing delicious homemade meals most of the time.  Last night I even made an apple crisp so we're more than surviving.  Life is good and this kitchen is going to be so much appreciated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I've stayed away from this space the past week not because I have been without words, but because I thought it better to keep them to myself.  I have felt quick to judge and condemn and also feeling judged and condemned.  Funny how what we reap is what we sow.  Often cliches are overused for good reason.  In retreating I did garner a few nuggets that I want to put down here lest I forget them. Make no mistake...I will forget them.


I think communicating via text and email is both brilliant and indicative of everything wrong with our society.  It's so smart when you just need to send someone a quick missive, but it lacks or misrepresents the nuances of tone and delivery.  It's near impossible to convey warmth so we don't even try.  And think of the language associated with electronic communication:  I'll shoot you a text, fire me a message, I'll ping you, tag him. It's borderline combative and at best all business, which is often appropriate, but more often not.  I got a text from someone this week that came out of the clear blue and was all business.  I haven't heard from this person in at least a year.  The text had no greeting.  I read it like a slap in the face.  Even though I waited for days to respond hoping that the sting would fade, it didn't.  When I finally responded, I was careful with my words, yet still not proud of my bristly reaction.  It would have been better not to respond at all, or to pick up the phone. God forbid.


Know that not everything is about you.  I think this individual is feeling a little frazzled right now hence the curt message.  Even the most enlightened among us are narcissistic, me focused beings.  (And I'm not saying I'm one of the enlightened ones). I didn't stop to think of her situation before I allowed myself to feel slighted even though I was well aware of why she might be spread thin.  I made it about me me me.  My ego.  My feelings.  


Talk and share.  Listen and validate.  Those people you have transparent, open communication with...the ones you can be honest with and comfortable being so almost always, recognize the beautiful gift it is to relate in such a way.  There are a dear few people in my life that I have this type of relationship with.  The basis of these unions is mutual trust and mutual respect.  When the trust and the respect aren't free flowing both ways, it's impossible to be vulnerable.  Without vulnerability, we aren't able to be open...we cannot grow in our relationship.  I don't have a lot of friends, yet I am rich in friendship.  Quality over quantity.


Trust your intuition.  It's almost never wrong.  If you feel something, it is true.  Go with it.


Go to church.  Just like exercise, I never regret it.  Father Tim's 3 things this week (and there are always 3) were largely responsible for my getting over myself long enough to cobble together this post.  His words of inspiration together with my own procrastination.


Don't procrastinate.  I should be...I promised myself I'd be cleaning out my closets right now.  It is a loathsome task and so I'm avoiding it despite the fact that it is long long overdue.  I'm here clearing out my head instead of cleaning out my stuff so there's that.


Accumulate less.  I have a friend who always gets rid of one thing when she acquires another.  She is my idol and not because she often gives her lovely discards to me.  Too much stuff is gross and suffocating. It feels good to get by with less.  It's my goal to surround myself with the things that I love and only them.


Sometimes all you need is a pizza (Homerun) and movie night (Jurassic World) mid-week to keep the blues at bay.  It rained all day yesterday.  All night too so I decided it was perfect to snuggle in all 6 of us gathered in the family room.  At first the resident teenager declined, but we were able to sway him.


Never give up on the teenagers.  Keep asking, hugging, listening, loving even when it seems that they want none of it...of us.


The universe isn't against you.  Just because you bought all new appliances except a washing machine and a dryer and now that 20 year old dryer is on the fritz, know it's coincidence not conspiracy.  Call the repair man and move on.


There are times we all need to put our heads in the sand.  It's OK to evoke the ignorance is bliss card now and again.  It's a sad world we live in when you feel like you need a shower to slough off the fear and loathing after watching the nightly news.

Monday, November 16, 2015

On My Mind Monday

"Funny how disasters can make you see what you could lose."

~Bill Clegg
Did You Ever Have A Family

Funny in the sense of true.  We so often take so much for granted. Then something happens to make us see clearly how much is at stake.  Usually it's something seismic. This was a quick, but striking read.  Lydia and June, the protagonists, are archaeologists who must delve into the past and make peace with it in order to move forward with a beautiful abundance of grace.   

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

two day pass

i love weekends.
it's no epiphany.
it's just the truth.
this past weekend certainly was no exception.
it held a just right mix of improve and structure.
i have accepted that i don't have much desire to make plans on friday nights.
friday nights are for decompressing and pizza.
quiet friday nights in make it all the more possible to wake early on saturday mornings.
saturday is the best day so it ought to be the longest.
mike and i picked out our slab and also our pendants first thing.
then we picked up the kids and headed out for breakfast.
i was impressed by how quickly they motivated and dressed.
eggs never tasted so good.
the boys tackled the yard while lily and i did a little shopping.
she needed breeches and gloves for riding.
i dropped her at pitching practice, and ted went to hang out with friends.
we grilled dinner, watched a movie and were in bed early again.
sunday started with church and then held the normal mix of chores, homework and football.
i met jess for dinner.
we met stella.
she's a 9 week old beagle pup who is cute even while she is peeing on a menu on the bar.
we shared a nice tempranillo and a sampling of pinchos the stand out of which were the brussel's sprout chips with lemon aioli and a short rib tagliatelle topped with manchengo that melted in our mouths.
we both were grateful we were able to experience the lion.
it was different than any show i have seen before.
it's still with me days after.
and, of course, now i'm already thinking of the weekend to come.

Monday, November 9, 2015

On My Mind Monday

I'll tell you something was once told to me about the way that we weather the storm.  It's not how long the rain falls or how hard the wind blows or how deep is the snow in the road, nor the balance we fake when we feel the ground shake and we think that our world will explode.  It's the help that we give, it's the love that we live, it's our pride and the friendships we form. It's the courage we show facing things we don't know, it's the way that we weather the storm.

~ Benjamin Scheuer

Jess and I saw the last performance of The Lion  last night.  Turns out it was the perfect way to end the weekend.  Scheuer is talented and genuine and he bears his soul for all to hear.  There were laughs and there were tears. Cookie Tin Banjo was a favorite of mine.  After the show, we stopped for a night cap even though it was a school night.  The experience was intense and raw, and we needed to wind down.  And it was a beautiful, fun evening  we weren't all too excited to see end.