Wednesday, February 25, 2015

To Blog or not to Blog

It's been awhile since I've written here.  This space has unintentionally morphed into a place to share pictures and recap the dailiness of our lives.  There's nothing amiss with this.  I feel it's important to capture the ordinary and the everyday because when I look closely and lean in, I see that the mundane is often where the most magic lies. It's the wide angle shot where I'm witnessing an ordinary scene on the screen, but feeling how extraordinary it is before it fades.  It's all in the framing and perspective.  I see so much clearer from the outside looking in...from a the big picture. And retelling is a wonderful way to cultivate gratitude and appreciation.  In looking back, I have the ability to rehash and also to edit.  I can censor, cut and splice, but there are times I miss the candor and vulnerability that immediacy calls for. I miss the beauty in the broken and the richness found in raw emotion.  It's a struggle to come to terms with whether this is the place for it.  Whether the Internet is the place for it, and I'm quite sure I already have my answer.  Sometimes getting the answer is as easy as posing the question.

When I started this blog oh so many years ago, it was rather on a whim.  I never intended to go viral, promote a business, or write for others.  I liked to read blogs and I liked to write so it was rather natural.  I still read blogs, though not many.  And I still write just not very often here.  So things change and they stay the same and that is life.  This has never been the place to bare my soul or tell all. Three letters - www - are responsible for that, but it's getting trickier and feeling less natural to share at all here.  My kids are growing up, my feelings are getting more complicated, and the stories I need and want to tell are of the nature that they will strip me naked and leave me exposed.  Oh and probably royally piss off a lot of people I know or knew.  As a writer and a person, I strive to be authentic, vulnerable and honest.  It's a constant challenge thanks to the voice in my head and the world full of critics.

The blogosphere is as brutal as it is supportive.  Sometimes I cannot comprehend the level of vitriol it spews.  The mean girl snark, unfriendly competition, and utter lack of boundaries are cringe worthy, and at times down right uncomfortable.  Suffocating and paralyzing too.  It has the effect of making me hang on my every word even while I know and am thankful for the fact that I'm an unknown in this community.  There is something to be said for getting published posthumously.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Lent.  Lily decided to give up Mine Craft, which is quite impressive considering how much she loves that game.  Teddy gave up soda.  I thought that was a little wimpy.  Then he had a stomach bug on Ash Wednesday and I had to run out and get him white soda so it was kinda ironic.  We try to use Lent not only as a time to give up vices (of which they have so few), but also as a time to focus on alms giving.  I have given up (or tempered) most of my vices since the start of the new year and will continue on this path so I am going to use the next 6 weeks to recommit to this and also to work on what I want to do instead of not do.

Teddy is feeling so much better.  He came downstairs yesterday morning to tell me he lost 6 pounds in the 36 hours he was unable to eat, and to ask me what was for breakfast.  And lunch.  And dinner!

A fun day with the girls Monday.  I missed my Mom, but only a little.

A night with the girls tonight.  Wine and cheese and long overdue conversation.  Four hours felt like two.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatball Subs and Sausage Kale Pasta with Red Peppers in a Light Parmesan Cream Sauce.

Reading with my girl before bed.  We just started Olive's Ocean this week.  It's sweet.

"Instructions for living a life.  Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it."  Mary Oliver.  I think that about sums it up.

My budding photographer.  She's developing a discerning eye.  I'm especially grateful for that because the film for her camera is pricey!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2 day pass

while ted was away for a weekend of skiing,
we enjoyed lots of one on one time with lily.
because their interests vary so widely, it's nice to be able to do this from time to time.
not to mention, that he's a teenager who prefers hanging out with friends while she still thinks her parents are sorta cool sometimes (and especially when they are indulging her and only her).
we did things that she loves because we love her.
and also because she doesn't ask for much and she appreciates everything.
she was happy whether we were baking, shopping, painting pottery, taking pictures with her new camera, attending a play, or just spending time together or with loved ones.
she whipped up what are now known as lily's famous molten chocolate cakes for valentine's desert.
masterchef she comes!
we celebrated the holiday with a  family friendly evening at home and it was perfect.
mike cooked the steaks beautifully, lily make the vinaigrette for salad, and i made my favorite asparagus side.
we lit candles, played jazz and toasted one another.
she declared it was the best valentine's ever even before we agreed to let her choose the movie.
we had tickets for hairspray sunday afternoon, and were happily entertained.
it ranks right up there as one of our all time favorite performances.
later that evening we enjoyed family dinner at my brother and sil's.
lily helped her aunt assemble the lasagna and was happy to end the night with a spirited game of heads up.
monday we lunched with aunt jess and then spent some time in the studio painting.
she finally painted the turtle she's had her eye on.
i chose a plate and jess painted a spoon rest.
we headed to cedarburg to do a little shopping.
at miss bit's request we visited not one, but two candy shops.
she spent $14! on jelly bellys, and the rest of her money on a sweet little owl now known as sage.
we came home to share the giant caramel apple jess bought, and to take the bertie bott challenge at lily's persistent yearning.
the adults got stuck with skunk, grass clippings, vomit and stinky socks while lil got the licorice, green apple, pear and tutti frutti.
i opened the wine and made a new recipe for chicken cordon bleu meatballs for dinner not eager for the day or the weekend to come to an end.
but it had too.
jess went home, ted came home happy after an awesome ski weekend, and we all went to bed exhausted and inspired after a very full few days.

Monday, February 16, 2015

On My Mind Monday

We saw Hairspray yesterday, and I cannot get it out of my mind.  The story and the music are great, but what blew me away was the level of talent that our high school aged cast brought to the stage. They were nothing short of incredible, and I felt honored to be in the audience.  Next up is Fame at my alma mater.  SHS is known for performance arts and I always feel humbled there too.  Miss Bit called us theatre junkies as we talked about upcoming shows, and she's right.  I love the spring musical season best, and the fact that she does too.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Grateful Saturday

Today I give thanks for...

A little time to myself this morning.  It's me, the cats and my coffee.  I just saw T. Bone off for a few days of skiing.  Of course, it's bitter cold and the winds are blustery, but I'm telling myself that the conditions will be less brutal in the western corner of the state.

We exchanged our Valentines last night.  Coach gave me the most thoughtful gift of 20 things for the 20 years we've been married.  It's extra sweet, and I love him!


My girl still loves to cook.  Tonight we're going to make Molten Chocolate Cakes in honor of the holiday. 

Lunch with my sil mid-week.  We tried a new to us restaurant and we both agree we'll return.  I had a Korean bowl that was the most delicious combo of pork shoulder, brown rice and veggies (broccoli, kale, spinach, shrooms, radishes, bean sprouts) all topped with a runny egg.  Just typing that is making me think of the leftovers still in the fridge.

Conferences this week.  Both the kids have excellent grades and are really loved by all their teachers. The feelings are rather mutual too.  

Miss Bit's reading teacher gave us some great suggestions for her.  She hasn't really loved anything she's read lately.  I know how that can take the joy out of reading, but I think we have a list of books that will light that fire again and a few are waiting for us at the library.

Tickets to see Hairspray at the high school this weekend.  T. Bone saw it with his class this week and he enjoyed it so I expect that we will too.

Another successful swim meet, and swimming her first 100.  She was way more than ready, but had to overcome the nerves that present themselves when something new is on the horizon.

Ice skating with my girl after school one day.  We had the rink all to ourselves so even though the ice was treacherous in places, it was well worth it.  

There are no pictures of me from the rink, but I wore my Mom's Irish sweater and the matching wool hat that still smell like her, and kept me toasty warm.

T. Bone the volunteer.  Last week he went to the VA hospital and hung out with the vets.  He really enjoyed that.  This week he worked at the food pantry our church sponsors and had another great experience, and there will be more to come thanks to our civics minded middle school.

She loves her new camera which was part Valentines, part your brother is away on another trip and part reward for another trimester of hard work.

Twilight skies.

My lake front.  Your lake front too.  And that Coach felt well enough to join me for a walk along it.

New recipes.  This week Giada's Orange Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins and Skinnytaste's Baked Zucchini Sticks.  Both were keepers.  

Corned beef.  I picked one up from Costco last week and it was thebestcornedbeefwehaveverhad!  Coach does it up in the pressure cooker and really it is such a treat!

A new denim shirt.  I've been in search of for a long time, and I finally found the perfect one.

No work or school on Monday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2 day pass

this weekend was one long exhale.
i could have paused for at least another day.
especially since the world around me and the people in it didn't exactly stop or even slow.
nevertheless, i did my best to simply breathe and in between chauffeuring and chaperoning.
i spent as much time as possible doing only what my soul stirred me to.
it wan't much...just enough.
i read and i wrote with cats at my feet like dense loaves of bread or curled in my lap like lima beans.
i walked along the lakefront in the howling wind that whipped like winter, but smelled sweet as spring.
i baked for the first time since the holidays...
a cake for miss bit's half birthday.
she's 10 1/2, which is both beautiful to my heart and beyond my mind's comprehension.
we don't always celebrate half birthdays, but we were in need of some sweetness and sugar after a rash of doom and gloom.
i'm happy to report that the dark cloud's lifted.
and now i'm breathing easier.
around the table for sunday night dinner, i felt it in my bones:
that palpable shift in energy...
from laborious to light.
and then i inhaled and went to bed for the night.