Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yes...I Can Do Candor

We woke up this morning to rain as forecast.  At least it's not sleet or snow.  There will be no baseball today.  T. Bone is disappointed.  I am too.  I was really looking forward to finally seeing the Mets in action, but alas will have to wait until Tuesday and Wednesday this week.  Fingers crossed.  The yard work and today's walk on the day's docket seem unlikely as well.  I need both desperately.  Well, I need the walk and the yard needs the clean up.  I don't like curve balls.  Not even Mother Nature's.  Yet I am becoming better at fielding them.  After 40+'s about time.  Last night was the perfect example of the sublime of spur of the moment.

I came home and changed to go for a walk only to come downstairs and find my yard filled with kids.  And before I knew it, our living room was filled with friends too.  Then it was 9:00 and the house was empty.  I was cleaning up pizza crumbs and sticky spills and thinking how this last minute get together was probably more fun than if we had planned it.  When you ad lib the gathering, there are no expectations and little fanfare.  It's relaxed, casual and come what may.  That's the kind of spontaneity I like.

And speaking of spontaneity...I am regretting that I didn't take Jess up on her offer to join her in San Francisco this weekend.  I was way rueful and a tad envious when she called me while I was at work yesterday to share her weekend's itinerary.  I'm happy she's having a good time, and also wishing I were there especially now since most of my weekend plans have been cancelled or changed.  It's a lesson.  A call.  A reminder to ad lib more often, to go for it on a whim, to improvise on occasion. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

T. Bone.  This week I have really recognized how beautifully he is maturing.  I was impressed by how much discipline he exercised.  He had a crazy amount of homework this week (projects, year-end tests, quizzes and assignments) and he point blank tackled it head on.  He didn't balk and complain.  He didn't procrastinate or plow through it without attention to detail.  The other night I had to tell him to go to bed at 10:00 after homework, practice and more homework.  Last night he was so relieved when everything was finally complete that he went out to jump on the trampoline in the dark.  He was releasing stress he didn't even show cuz' my T. Bone just had it togther.  And he's also revealing himself to be insightful.  He matter of factly concluded that one of his friends is using him, another too competitive and another a know it all.  What struck me during this conversation was that he wasn't reproaching these friends, but rather trying to understand complicated dynamics and just what to do.  That reveals a strength of character many adults don't possess.  And truth be told he's competitive too.  He ran the mile this week in 6:26 after a fitful night's sleep and it was the first thing he told me when I picked him up before pretty much sharing the times of all the other 5th grade boys.  He's becoming more and more independent too.  Last weekend he went out for lunch with his friends.  They road their long boards to a nearby sub shop, and he even stopped in my sil's store to say hey.

Miss Bit.  This week I feel like she's still such a little girl.  I cannot believe she's going to be 8 at the end of the summer.  I swear when I'm on the phone with her, her sweet little voice is the same as when she was half that age.  This week I gave in and agreed to give her her allowance early so she could buy yet another stuffed animal for her ever growing collection.  She hasn't let Ellie Elephant out of her sight for long even taking her to school where she hid in her back pack all day long.  Her favorite pet is Peanut though by far.  He comes up to her room and relaxes while she gets ready in the morning.  I tried to hasten her the other day, and she reminded me, "I have to pet Peony for 2 more minutes.  I always pet him for 5 minutes and THEN I get dressed."  She loves snuggling in to read Little House with me or her dad, or better yet both of us in our big bed at the end of the day.  Right now she loves bleeding hearts, apple scented shampoo so much she's even showering when I haven't asked her to, and English cucumbers sliced real thin.  With her, it truly is the little things.  We went to order a fresh flower wreath to wear in her hair for her First Communion, and she wanted it to be just like the one I wore on my wedding day, but with a little pink...pale pink.  As we left, she thanked me and said she had so so much fun.

I'm grateful for my two, and the countless ways they bring joy to my every day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On My Mind Monday

There's a gulf the size of an ocean between adequate and finesse.

Looking back I break into an immediate cold sweat just thinking about it. Like a lot of things in my life, there's no making it prettier just 'cause time's passed. It happened. It was bad. There it is.

I felt like I had my thermostat removed - was without a regulator. I couldn't be trusted to behave correctly, to react appropriately, or to even discern what normal was.

Anthony Bourdain

Medium Raw

Sunday, April 22, 2012

two day pass

few words at the end of it.
cat's got my tongue.
these snapshots will just have to do.
but they mostly tell the story.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Big little things. Miss Bit had an exciting case of the butterflies Thursday morning just because the second graders were going on a field trip that morning.

Hubby's grilled fajitas for more than a few meals this week. Everything tastes so good on the grill at the start of the season and these are a real treat.

We've hired a part-time nanny for the summer. The kids are so stoked to stay home instead of camp. Go figure.

The Mr. leaves this afternoon for a fishing date with his brother. I'm so glad they can spend some 1 on 1's so important.

An invitation from my aunt for Miss Bit and I to take the ferry across the lake for a weekend visit on the other shore this summer.

RLJ cancelled her recent concert. I'm grateful because I did not have tix, but if she reschedules, I surely will.

Being back in the 80's last Saturday night courtesy of the English Beat. They really rocked. It was a fun fun show.

T. Bone reconnected with a good friend he hasn't been hanging out with recently. No issues, or drama...they were both just going in different directions of late, and now they are like old times: never apart for long. I love how guys can do that with no hard feelings.

An impromptu dinner with friends this spontaneous that I literally planned the menu over this morning's coffee: caprese dip with garlic toast, risotto with peas and pancetta, greens with toasted pine nuts, olives and balsamic vinaigrette served with a montepulciano and a sangiovese all followed by gelato.

It's almost the weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Today was a good day. Nothing spectacular...simply sound.

I find that I really make the most of a day off when I only have one during the week as opposed to two. With an extra day, I tend to squander more and put off until the next day what I can do this day. So I've been putting in extra hours at work when I can, and it has been affecting my chi. Self-admittedly, the affect is not all bad. It's just change, and I have a love hate relationship with flux...albeit more loathe than lust.

Working in favor of my positive mood today, was the walk I took first thing. It was long and sunny and head clearing. Especially after I finally turned off the Nicholas Sparks novel I've been listening to recently. I silenced it for good. I give myself credit for getting all the way to chapter 12, and at the same time I chastise myself for devoting so much precious time to such sentimental chick lit crap. It was baaaaad. The story was tedious and trite, but the absolute painful part was the male narrator's poor excuse for a southern bell accent. Think nails on the chalkboard, and with that I fear I'm being mild. I vow never again to read or listen to another Sparks novel ever. It's just not my thing.

I've always finished every novel I've started no matter what. Well, always up until about a year ago when I could name the 5 novels that I'd yet to finish (but still planned to). Now I seem to be abandoning ship with regular frequency. I cannot explain it. Some of these castaways have come highly recommended by readers I respect, but just aren't griping or even compelling to me, and others I really think are gems, yet and I still struggle to forge through. I just cannot commit. Hmmm there's that C word. Take Cutting For Stone. Love it. The story, the setting, the writing. It's smartly crafted and wonderfully told. Smart and wonderful and I've owned it since summer, started it on 3 different occasions and am now only 1/3 through. Yesterday I started Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw, and sadly Stone doesn't stand a chance until I finish this tell-all.

So I was really bothered by my lack of fortitude. I felt like my waning perseverance was a weakness or a flaw. Until today, when I admitted that some books are not worth trudging through. I turned off Sparks and felt immediate relief. That made me realize that if a story isn't even entertaining, it's not worth any time I invest in it because there are hundreds or even thousands of works I still want to read. It's less flaw and more bad fit. I can live with that.

So I felt inspired by my walk and my gift (the gift of giving up), and I had such a productive day. I didn't do anything I wanted, but I did a long, nagging list of things I needed to do, and trust me when I say that feels even better....exhausting, but good.

And at the end of a long day, I had a good chuckle. Miss Bit was completely oblivious that I was snapping pictures of her enjoying her cheesey quesadilla as she watched Little House on the Prairie on the I Pad. As she watched Little House on the I Pad! The irony of watching a show about the pioneer days on her portable everything (t.v./radio/camera/computer) just chaws me. It's so right and so wrong and so funny.

That's just good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2 day pass + 2

the tail end of spring break was full eventhough the glass above is empty.
it's taken me a couple days to recover.
i sense a theme here.
both kids had play dates and sleepovers here, there, every where.
i found it humorous that one of t. bone's friends was being picked up just as another was being dropped off.
miss bit was insanely happy to have 24 hours with her bestie.
i was too...they played together so happily that it made me happy.
there were walks each day...with my girl, with my man, all alone.
we threw together an impromptu bbq one night, went out for small plates with friends the next, and ate up the last of the easter ham with scalloped potatoes another.
we sang and danced saturday night to our favorite ska band of old with longtime friends.
i'm still singing sole salvation (click for your enjoyment) in my's my personal best, but they were all good.

yes, even ranking full stop.
it was all good.

yes, all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


My friend paid good money for her 3 boys and T. Bone to have a good time playing ping pong the other day at a local establishment. That's what it took for this poor table that is always free to finally get some action. The boys took part in their own triathalon alternating between jumping on the trampoline in the yard, longboarding around the hood and ping pong in the basement all of yesterday afternoon.

Thanks J!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I just got back from a 3 miler with my 7 year old. She was going to stay home and watch Toddlers and Tiaras while I went for a 4 miler. Apparently, she's been biten by the exercise bug (thanks Dad for inventing the game Cash Walk) because she decided a long walk would be far better use of her time, although not monetarily profitable today. I'm proud. So I shortened up the route by a mile and was happy for the company. About 2 miles in she asked me if we were almost home. I broke the news that we had about a mile to go. Her response, "Je-sus! Christ!" I tried to keep my composure as I asked her, "What did you say?" Looking 100% incredulous she repeated, "Je-sus! Christ!" I calmly asked her why she said that. "Duh," she said. "That's a loooong way!" I'm proud. Proud that I didn't laugh out loud. Proud that my girl truly didn't know she was using the Lord's name in vain, and that when it was brought to her attention she was very very sorry for it. And proud that she kept up with me for the duration of our 45 minute walk. That last mile was brutal let me tell ya. In trying to keep her motivated, I suggested we play Simon Says. That meant skipping, hopping, lunging, jumping and racing our way home. She won. She really won. I'm proud.

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A break from our day to day routine this week of vacation.

Grandmas and Grandpas for spending time with Miss Bit and making her feel special while her brother is away on another trip...this time to a waterpark with friends.

Friends (see above).

The note T. Bone left on the counter for the family before leaving for a few days. It read, "By every 1. Love you all! Have fun! XO XO XO XO XO XO"

Goobye Picnik...hello PicMonkey!

It's 9:40 and my girl is still sleeping. Of course, she walked at least 6 miles in the last 2 days.

A spontaneous stop for what used to be our favorite pizza last night. The pizza is still delish, but dining is much more than just the food. The ambience, or lack of...kept making me want to call Gordon Ramsay to request a restaurant makeover. Sadly, hubby and I decided we're moving on.

Leftovers...we still have 4 slices!

I made Jaleo's spinach this week. Saute spinach in EVOO. Once wilted add toasted pine nuts, raisins and chopped apple.

The Audubon. I used to visit at least once a week. I've missed this weekly ritual greatly.

An Easter bouquet from my cousin. Shortly after the florist delivered these, the UPS man delievered another package for the kids. As soon as he rang the bell Miss Bit said, "It has to be Aunt C.! It's always Aunt C.!"

Only 1 injury to date on the trampoline. The honors go to hubby. My money was on my brother, and he didn't even get on it. I'm also thankful that his injured tailbone is healing.

A girl's afternoon. Miss Bit loves nature as much as her mama. She also loves bugs, which I do not claim to have even a slight affinity for. She wanted to catch a toad yesterday. She said, "I just wanna catch it so I can hug and kiss it...well...maybe just hug it."

Poached eggs. I picked up these nifty little eggs cups at Sur La Table and I finally used them. I got carried away making the kids waffles and cooked them a little too long. I'm going to try them again today.

Spring cleaning....sheets, closets, drawers, garden beds and one despicable van.

Homemade hollandaise. It is so easy and so heavenly yummy.

Tomorrow we have plans to see The English Beat with friends. It should be a rockin' good time. Either I'll feel really young, or really old.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Perfect Day

Our favorite nature preserve...

Just me and my model/best girl, Lil...

And a few critters we met along the way.

Doesn't that sound like the perfect day? Miss Bit even declared it such.

It was warm enough for a light jacket and not too muddy. We braved the grassland loop pretty certain that most wouldn't. We bet right, and had it all to our very own selves. The path was covered in deer tracks, but we didn't come across a single one as we wove our way through. We pretended the helicopter hovering over the highway nearby was trying to find us, and we DID NOT want to be found. We ran from tree to tree and ducked for cover embellishing our story along the way. We planned to cook fish stew for dinner after dark and sleep in a stick tepee. In the morning we were going to borrow a kayak and set off across Lake Michigan where our trail would never be traced. Of course, we would use our cell phone to call Aunt C. and Uncle P. once we arrived on the other shore.

The climb up the 96 stairs of the lookout tower just about did us in. As we chilled in the rockers on the porch of the lodge, Miss Bit said, "I wouldn't want to be here with any other Mom." And that sweet revelation earned her a trip for ice cream on the way home, and not 1, but 2 scoops!

(She didn't know I took the first photo and then wanted to ham it up for another picture saying, "Mom, put this one on your blog!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

On My Mind Monday

A family seems exactly like an archipelago...all part of the same hole, but always separate and alone and always drifting slowly apart.

- The Descendents

Watching a movie with my guy... I mean guys. I've been wanting to see this one since it was released.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

2 day pass

we had a happy holiday weekend.

the highlights for t. bone and miss bit were cousins and a new trampoline, or better yet cousins on the new trampoline.

easter goodies times 3 or 5, and time with grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles were close runners up.

the kids had a sleepover friday so me and my guy headed out for a pizza with the works at 9:00 at night. what a treat for so many reasons.

our saturday easter/birthday celebration allowed plenty of time with family and also plenty of yummy ham.

before we went to bed, we decided as a family to get up and go to church and then come home to find easter baskets...should the bunny bring them that is.

t. bone was most pleased with his donuts seeing as how he gave them up and hasn't enjoyed even one for all of lent despite numerous opportunities....i mean temptations.

miss bit loved her bug zapper best and caught many bees throughout the day.

we played our first croquet match of the season.

i almost won and then i lost.

dinner was more ham, polish sausage, mac & cheese made from scratch to please the kids (and ensure that they eat more than marshmallow bunnies, peeps and jelly beans), and asparagus with homemade hollandaise.

this week is spring break.

i better get some's going to be a long week, but i'm looking forward to it.

Happy Easter

Today as the congregation was joyously singing Handel's Hallelujah, I closed my eyes, stopped singing and listened. The celebratory chorus was so beautiful that it made my heart race with joy and awe. I wondered how all these songs of praise sung by so many believers below sound in Heaven. I bet it's beyond beautiful.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for a great time in our nation's capitol with Jess. 3 nights and 4 days exploring and enjoying Washington D.C. and all she has to offer.

We were lucky to be put up at the Mandarin, a 5 star hotel on the tidal basin. We didn't mind staying just off the beaten path because we brought our walking shoes and a map, and we intended to use them.

The best way to really get to know a city is on foot after all. There is so much to see, do and learn in this bustling metropolis. It seems that every destination is a museum filled with artifacts, history and information, but there are plenty of places to enjoy green space in the midst of so much marble, cement and stone.

The 624 acres that make up Arlington National Cemetery are a holy oasis on the other side of The Potomac. The sun was shining, the birds singing and the cherry blossoms still blossoming much to our delight. It was a beautiful, warm early spring day, but I got serious chills when the sentinels performed a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. One guard played Taps on the bugle and my heart swelled with such protective pride as the song sounded through the almost silent air. The stillness was interrupted by the roaring engines of an airplane heading for Reagan. I found myself remembering the soldiers known only to God and everyone touched by 9/11. It also makes me proud to pay tribute to our founding father's and other great leaders who followed in their foot steps. Although this is as close as we got to Jefferson's monument, the bibliophile in me preferred to be up close to some of his over 6,000 books housed in the Library of Congress. I have much respect for a man who says, I cannot live without books.But I must confess that before I bring my kids to Washington D.C., I need to do some solid refreshing...sadly so much have I learned and forgotten over the years.

I'm ever grateful for Jose' Andreas. We most enjoyed the bacon wrapped fried dates at Jaleo, and every one of our 4 courses at Zatinya, but especially the pillowy pita bread and the spanokopita and the egg plant and the desserts that sure didn't look like much, but were delicious and, thus gone.

The eggs Chesapeake at Old Ebbitt Grill was also worth the walk and the wait.

I think the Holocaust Museum had the biggest impact on me. You are my witnesses. Isaiah 43:10. Yes, we are. I am. I'll never forget the piles of shoes or how haunting the smell of candles burning in the Reflection Room was after just reading about the gas chambers.
And as is always the case when I go away...I'm thankful for coming home. It's big fun to see the world, but my little home is where my heart is.