Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Scenes From A Snow Day

A brave little bird comes out in search of breakfast while one big cat dreams of eating him for his.

Serendipitous that I had this baked French toast ready to pop in the oven.  Scrumptious too!

Tigger is serious about birdie (pronounced boydee) patrol.

T. Bone atop one of the 25 foot pines in our yard.

Going up was much easier than coming down.  I think he learned his lesson.

There is no picture of me outside in my pajamas trying to coax him down.

Whew! Back on the ground.

All along Miss Bit was saying, "I told you so."

When sledding sounds like surfing.

When I hear snow day I think stay cozy at home.  When they hear snow day they wonder where they can go...what they can do.  They won.

The frozen shores of Lake Michigan.

T. Bone's wearing my jacket after soaking through his.  Had I seen these girlies eyeing the boys up, I may not have retreated to my car with my book.

My peace comes on snow day's eve.  There is nothing like a glass of champagne at the end of a school proclaimed holiday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

I feel a ramble coming on.  Let this opening announcement serve as warning: I have no earthly idea what direction I may take today. There are likely to be detours, wrong turns, roundabouts and dead ends.  I fear I may even run out of gas.  If you come along for the ride, just fasten your seat belt.

I came here this morning intent on booking a trip.  A trip to NYC.  A long weekend to be spent in the Big Apple in 2 short weeks. I have been on many sites.  One even posted that rooms at the Waldorf could be secured for $250/night.  That is a steal.  All desirable flights have at best 2 seats left...we need 3.  I'm getting a headache before I even take on theater tickets or the perils of packing for NYC in March.  I am getting heart palpitations even thinking about pulling the trigger, which lends me to believe that I should put the weapon (wallet) down.  I am sad to say that I am not spontaneous enough (or decisive if I am being completely honest) to pull this off.  I wanted to...I really did.  I'm also not strong enough right now.  I'm thin skinned, fragile and needy.  Even in my mightiest manic moment, I know that NYC is a very bad fit for me right now. I'm sad because I wanted to celebrate an important graduation.  I wanted to finally visit Ground Zero.  I was hungry to eat in Little Italy.  I dreamed of taking Miss Bit on a horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park and to see a show on Broadway.  I longed to say YES!  Saying No, I don't think so feels so much like defeat.

And the scariest part is that I really don't have a longing desire to go anywhere.  Ever.  I just want to stay here.  Home.  I have no desire for the hustle and bustle, or itineraries or strange beds even if they come with beautiful views.  Traveling right now seems like too much work for too little reward.  The kind of vacation that presently appeals to me is a month with absolutely nothing to see or do.  Capisce?

So now that I'm being completely honest about what is congruous with my current state of mind, do I dare even delve into why I am feeling this way?  What is causing this low level anxiety, this plague of paralysis, this Oblomov like mood?  Is it middle age?  Middle life?  The middle of winter?  Is it malaise?  Or mindfulness?

I can attest to the fact that I have had more than my fair share of aha moments lately.  Processing is hard work.  Synthesizing is draining.  Assimilating is no walk in the park.  And while the truth is ultimately liberating, it takes a little time to know what to do with it.  I haven't grown my wings yet.  Instead I find myself sitting around wondering where to go from here with both feet firmly planted on the ground not willing to budge an inch in any direction lest I make the same mistakes again or take the same missteps.  I think about what I would have done differently if I had known about myself, about life what I know now.  And then I get stuck on what I don't yet know.

I remember my Aunt who is only 10 years older and wiser than I am, telling me when I was 20, When you're 20 you think you know everything...just wait until your 30.  When I was 30 she said, When you're 30 you think you have all the answers, just wait until your 40.  Then when I was 40, she held the carrot out yet another decade.  And what do you know...she's been right every time.

I don't want to live from a place of fear or regret  I want to embrace choices and look back with confident conviction.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013


The contents of my grocery bag today are very telling of my state of mind.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

This Week's Menu

Last week we didn't stick to the meal plan.  Life happened and we adjusted so this week I'll be making the Linguine with Asparagus and Poached Egg, and the Denver Frittata that I didn't make last week.

Also on the menu:

Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers with Avacado Salad, or just tacos for the kids.

Whole Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower Gratin and Tossed Salad.

I've never made this gratin before, but it sounds delicious.  How could combining cauliflower, butter, Mascarpone and Parmesan cheese, cream, garlic and salt and pepper not be?  I'm pretty certain the kids will even approve of this one.

The Deconstructed Guacamole Salad is Ina's recipe, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.  Basically it's avacado, jalapeno, tomato, lime juice and garlic.  I usually make it in the summer, but I think it sounds good this week.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The boys had the slopes mostly to themselves on Monday.  T. Bone and his friend A. were the first on the lift.  Z. and J. were close behind.

While winding down on Monday night, T. Bone was telling me about his day.  He had much fun with his friends.  The four of them are great guys.  They are kind, smart, considerate, well-mannered and silly in ways that most twelve year old boys are.  I am so thankful that T. Bone has a core group of good friends who are good people.  

This conversation in my jam packed van Little Swiss bound.  The boys had just finished breakfast and were gorging on Sour Patch Kids, but they were already talking about lunch.
T. Bone: Will we eat at the sit down restaurant?
A: Yea. Of course.
T. Bone: Dudes will the waiters serve us?
A: Yea. Duh. (holding up a very large bill)
I was also thankful that they left a $10 tip on their $38 tab.

We stood around watching at the bottom of the hill for awhile.  Miss Bit expressed a strong interest in learning to ski.  

A day to spoil my girl sweet: her favorite store, her most loved lunch and a trip to the museum.  We both chose a new pair of earrings to remember the day by.  She ended up with amethysts.  I chose a howlite pair.

Finally a butterfly landed on my girl.  I knew we were not getting out of that 90 degree exhibit with 100 percent humidity until one did.  Unfortunately, the first one landed on her back.  I took this picture to show her, but she wasn't budging until one of the winged beauties landed on her hand.  

 Soon did.

Sandwiches.  Grilled  cheese and egg salad this week on whole wheat sour dough.

After a long day Saturday, I came home to new magazines in my mailbox.  I curled up with a mug of hot tea and enjoyed a little lost time.

The Academy Awards are this weekend.  We used to host a party on Oscar night.  That was many moons ago...before kids.  We won't be making any crabby snacks or homemades for Sunday night, but I am looking forward to the show.  It's the first time in a long time that I have seen many of the contenders.  This week I crossed Zero Dark Thirty off the list.  I hope to see Lincoln this weekend too.

A bunch of assorted tulips from a friend this week.

Noticing that there is more brightness in the sky when I wake up in the morning, and also that darkness is setting in later at the end of the day.  The days are definitely getting longer.

The kids are outside playing together in the snow that fell overnight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Girl's Day Out

Yesterday I had a date with just my girl. After we deposited T. Bone and three of his friends at the ski hill, we embarked on our own special itinerary planned by one eager Miss Bit.  My Dad is the king of the list.  When the kids come for a visit, he has them write lists of everything they want to do.  Then he does his best to make sure they cross off as many wants as humanly possible.  When they return home, he crashes for a couple days.  He's kind of a legend.

I spend a lot of time with Miss Bit these days...more than I spend with T. Bone because he is a tween with a social calendar busier than mine...but there was something special about yesterday.  Maybe it was the decadence of a whole day...the fact that it was a holiday, but only for some...or the carefully considered plans we made.  The truth is that I enjoy spending time with Miss Bit no matter what is on our agenda.

Our first stop was World  Market, one of her most favorite browsing places.  It's one of my guilty pleasures too. She scored some candy, worry dolls and colored pencils and then skipped all the way back to the car.  It is all about the little things with this girl.  Little things and sugar.  She broke open the mini sour belts as soon as we were strapped in and insisted I try one.  I am not a fan of gelatinous super sweet candy, but I knew that sharing them with me...introducing me to something new and delicious...made it all the more happy for her so I ate more than one.  I was thankful when she sealed up the bag declaring we could not ruin our appetites for lunch: our next stop.

We met Coach at a new to her restaurant we knew she would approve of.  She had her standing order: chicken tenders and fries with ranch and ketchup, and a lemonade.  The burgers were good too.    

Coach reluctantly went back to work while we headed to the public museum.  It was a little crowded given the holiday, but we navigated the exhibits like pros.  She wanted to see everything and she likes to take her time doing so.  T. Bone, on the other hand, treats a visit to the museum like a 5K so it was nice to be on the same speed.  We held hands and explored Africa, the Arctic, the Rain Forest, the Ice Age and the Living Sea.  We viewed Pirates and both learned some fascinating things one of which: that I suck at tying knots. We headed to a matinee of To The Arctic.  After the show she decided she wants her very own polar bear cubs, and I definitely want to travel to Alaska more than ever.

Our final stop was the much anticipated butterfly exhibit.  Finally, a butterfly landed on my girl.  I knew we were not getting out of that 90 degree exhibit with 100 percent humidity until one did.  Unfortunately, the first one landed on her back.  I took this picture to show her, but she wasn't budging until one of the winged beauties landed on her hand. did. 

She was smitten and now she wants butterflies too.  Shhh, but I'd even get this girl a unicorn if that's what she really wanted.

We closed the museum and still didn't get to see everything she wanted to.  I assured her there are more museum visits in her future.  She's already planning her next choice day.

After dinner we curled up in my bed holding hands to watch The Bachelor.  Yes I watch this show and no I cannot believe I am admitting that I do.  No I don't usually, as in ever, let her watch it, but neither one of us wanted our day to end.  Anyways she closes her eyes whenever they get smoochy, and it was hometown visit night so there was very little romance this week.

At the end of the night we curled up in her bed until she fell asleep.

Yesterday it was all me and my girl.  Today it is me and my guy(s). 

2 day pass

after a long holiday weekend, today marks the official start of the new week for the kids.
it was tough to rally the troops this morning.
t. bone had an stiff, sore neck after snowboarding all day yesterday.
miss bit just had a sore heart longing for one more day together.
i am already missing her too.
with t. bone snowboarding the day away with friends, yesterday was all about
that deserves a post unto itself.
sunday we all were awed by joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat.
we saw the production at the high school.
it was a sold-out show and absolutely spectacular.
even t. bone agreed and he was not necessarily looking forward to it.
i had a perma grin for the duration of the performance and i caught coach singing outloud a couple times.
i cannot tell you how many times i've listened to the cd since the show at miss bit's request.
after the show, my brother and sil joined us for sunday dinner: an erstwhile tradition much missed.
coach made our company worthy chicken parmesan in his new cast iron skillet.
we served it with my famous garlic bread for which the secret is simply good bread and copious amounts of butter, and a salad dressed with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette. mangia!
there were clean plates all around the table and no room for dessert, which was a good thing because i didn't have time to make any.
much of coach's weekend was consumed with baseball: try outs and the draft.
he ended up with some solid picks.
i think he has a good team...a very nice team and that is reason for celebration even if they don't win the championship again, but...
but i think they might!
the kids had their share of play dates and parties and just hanging around playing games and building forts.
a fort that peanut claimed as his own for the duration of the weekend.
i am still happily in hibernation mode myself reading and viewing my days and nights away.
i did stick my nose out a couple times to pound the pavement, which was refreshing.
one walk was with coach close to home and another along the lakefront and through downtown whilst the kids were in sunday school.
as they say all  good things must come to an end.
this was the kind of weekend that i would have liked to last forever.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On My Mind Monday

Homesickness is just a state of mind for me.  I'm always missing someone or someplace or something.  I'm always trying to get back to some imaginary somewhere.  My life has been one long longing.

Elizabeth Wurtzel
Prozac Nation

At times...many times this is so.   Today...President's Day...I always think of my Mom.  We would have spent the afternoon together.  After a a long leisurely lunch, we would have picked the kids up from school and probably had dinner together too. Instead I have plans to spend the day with my daughter.  I'm so glad she has the day off so we can make the same kinds of memories I made with my Mom.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Week's Menu

It's an egg, pasta and chicken week at Casa Wags.  This is the tentative menu.  Tentative because Coach made mention of homemade pizzas and that could trump any one of these options.

Breakfast for dinner: Veggie Frittata and Tortilla Espanola.

Baked Chicken Parmesan, sauteed spinach,  garlic bread

Linguine with Asparagus and Poached Egg

Friday, February 15, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Love, chocolate and hearts.  Hugs, kisses and foot rubs too.

Handmade valentines and Pinterest for a plethora of cute, doable ideas.

T. Bone made us a valentine of his own volition.  One side was for me and the flip side was for Coach.  Very efficient and green of him.  Sweet too.

Miss Bit wrote me a one page letter this week trying to persuade me to let her get a lizard.  She's moving beyond any hope of a bearded dragon and now firmly fixated on an anole.  She was quite convincing, but still lizardless.

A date to skate after school this week.  The ice was good and temperatures fine, yet the warming house was closed.  Thankfully, the van did quite well as a makeshift warming house.

I convinced  Miss Bit to wear her cute heart printed dress on Valentine's Day with leggings and boots.  She didn't want to, but then I could tell that she thought she looked rather festive and hip.  I am not ready for dress days to come to an end.

Remembering no meat today.  I'm so glad I love tuna.

Miss Bit bounced out of bed this morning because she was a little excited that today is hibernation day for the third grade.  She brought a sleeping bag, pillow, teddy bear, stack of books and a supply of snacks for the day's experiment.  Sounds like a fun day.

Early to bed every night this week and night after night of solid sleep.

A new, soft afghan and the fact that it took this guy mere minutes to to claim it as his own.

Conversation hearts and cats who try to read them.

The kids both gave up gum for Lent.  They spent the better part of the beginning of the week chewing through their packs.

A long weekend.  No school on Monday.