Monday, April 29, 2013

On My Mind Monday

For a woman to say she is searching for a “good enough” life is not failure — it is maturity and self-knowledge.

Elsa Walsh


I read this piece earlier and it reminded me of something I've kept with me from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project: Don't let perfect ruin good.  No, don't.  Wouldn't that be a shame?

Good enough.  A couple seemingly benign words that pack a punch.  The enough qualifying and patronizing and marginalizing the good.  There is a feeling of judgement to say that any task, effort, or accomplishment is good enoughGood enough suggests that whatever it was could certainly be better.

And yet I have had the experience of age Walsh more eloquently refers to as maturity and self-knowledge to believe that good enough is good enough, but there is a caveat.  The moral lies in the compassionate gift of self-acceptance.  As women, we have to give ourselves and other women permission to be imperfect without fear of reproach or reprisal.

I think about the expectations I have for my children.  How many times have I told them that I am happy as long as they are doing their best?  Countless, and I am.  Their best...not mine.  Why wouldn't I give myself the same grace? 

Frankly, I'm not fool enough to believe there's any such thing as having it all.  At least not all the time.  Life is a balancing act regardless of so many sets of circumstances.  As soon as I feel like I've achieved equilibrium in mine, harmony is disrupted. I'm reminded that the only failure I risk, is to give up trying to be good enough  whatever that means at present.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 day pass

the past couple days were sunny and springy in both weather and mood.
inside and out.
the furnace was turned off, and windows and patio doors were left open.
we spent most of our days and eves in the fresh air.
i am ever so slightly sunburned and completely ok with that.

saturday marked the official start of the mets 2013 season.
the team lost their opener, but came back on sunday to earn a win.
t. bone made me most proud on the mound during the first game when he worked through his frustration, and started throwing strikes again instead of balls.
he stayed at it almost as cool as a cucumber and that was a personal victory.
all the players played hard.
oh how i have missed these 6 inning afternoons.
when they weren't playing ball, it seemed they were practicing.
so it was just me and my girl when she wasn't off with friends.
miss bit and i went for a bike ride one night and a 3 hour hike one day.

she was eager to check out the frog situation at mystery pond, but after she got her hands on a little box turtle, we had to investigate every single pond, swamp and puddle on the premise.
we've had arc-sized rains people so standing water is in no short supply.
yet she's rather passionate about this place and its critters so i indulged her desires.
i tried real hard to keep it mum that she only caught the turtle because he was feet up and a little stuck in the mud.
she was ever convinced that we would go from water source to water source catching turtle after turtle.
while that wasn't the case, we did hap upon our first ever large snapping turtle sunning near the shore of the remote bird blind pond.
i thought he was mossy driftwood, but miss bit immediately identified the creature and warned me to keep my distance.
i felt like i was spending the day with survivorman...or rather survivorwoman.
other than that we came across a single tadpole, many ducks, a silly wood pecker, some geese, thelma and louise the center's pet hooded rats, miss bit's teacher and some friends.
she can hardly wait until she gets to spend days here for summer camp.
after getting sufficiently muddy and sun kissed, miss bit came home to cruise around the bario on first her scooter and then her bike.
all good, almost clean fun.
yesterday we hosted an impromptu bbq with my brother and sil..
the first grilled bugers of the season were perfectly done and even the sweet corn was tasty.
t. bone called 911 when we realized we came home with plain chocolate custard instead of the flavor of the day we wanted.
my son took me seriously when i said call kopps, which happens to be the name of the establishment.
we stood in a line that snaked practically around the parking lot for that salted caramel custard so we were not amused.
the officer that showed up at our door was not amused either.
i think that was a once in a childhood prank.
coach and i stopped at the italian market while the kids were in sunday school this morning.
we stocked up on some meatballs, sauce and such.
he had an italian sausage sandwich topped with italian beef and giardiniera for breakfast.
believe it or not, it was a good choice, even if it didn't go well with my coffee
the spaghetti and meatballs were served for tonight's dinner since we were cheering on our team until 7:00.
now t. bone is crashed in bed with the light on, miss bit is out cold in her bed and coach is comatose on the couch.
i'd say that's a sure sign of contentment.
if only weekends like this could be bottled up and saved.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

This Week's Menu

Tis' the season that is, which means it's time for simpler meals....easy to make ahead and eat on the fly or reheat.  Many nights we are in the stands cheering on our Mets.  The other nights there's apt to be practice so we are down one or two or three.  T. Bone is on two teams.  Coach is the coach of both of them.  Miss Bit is on a team too.  So something has got to give.  I still aim to serve healthy, balanced meals, but I will be stocking the freezer with their favorite chicken pastina soup from our local Italian market and lots of fresh fruits and veggies just in case.

Braised chicken thighs with kale and brown rice.

Grilled pork chops, steamed brocoli and cauliflower, baked potatoes.

Stromboli and salad.
Pasta.  Kid friendly with tomato sauce and adult approved with aspragus and poached egg.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Lots of sunshine and baseball this weekend.

Clean sheets, quilts and  comforters on all the beds.

More deep spring cleaning this week.

A long walk along the lakefront early one morning.

New haircuts for both kids, and the fact that they both like them now after initially disliking them.

Not losing my temper with T. Bone when said haircut made him act like he was 6 instead of 12.

Hubb's peanuts.

Boys night out girls night in.  Jess joined me for a little wine and cheese anoche.  I picked up a really tasty cheddar with stilton a bottle of red and a bottle of white.

I wasn't the only one having trouble with my daughter's third grade math homework...Aunt Jess was too.

Miss Bit made her own breakfast twice this week.  Now I have to inspire her brother to do the same.

Banana berry smoothies.

I finished Gillian Flynn's Dark Places.  It was dark.  Now I will start Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning.  I don't think I've ever read it.

Thinking about this quote I read this week: An old Tibetan monk tells me the soul has no memory.  The dead do not feel their past.
To A Mountain in Tibet
Colin Thubron

Bedtime has greatly improved for my Bit.  She is having little to no anxiety at the end of the day. It is such a relief for her and also for me and Coach.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Synecdoche: a part representing the whole.  A sail representing a fleet.  A crown representing a king.  A dinner representing a mother.
Claire Dederer 

As I drove along the lakefront this morning, I was taken aback by the cool slate color of the still icy water.  I was struck by how the ripples appeared to be devoid of color...completely colorless.  Our lake has been quite the chameleon this week changing from blue as sky to green as grass to gray as...really what is gray?  Just like that and the shimmery hope of yesterday's liquid expanse is today's vast vacancy.

The rain clouds stalled out over the lake were releasing their moisture.  I could see sheets not drops falling from them.  Along my route, some roads were rain soaked and others bone dry.  It was rather hit or miss.  The sun was straining to make an appearance.   Despite rain and cold, I was not stuck in a somber mood. 

Au contraire...I was singing along to You Are The Sunshine Of My Life and feeling rather warm and bright.  Everything about the decades old ballad is happy and joy filled.  I was humming and remembering the first time I recall hearing this song.  I'm stretched out on the floor of the living room at the end of a hot summer day.  The sun is still streaming into the room, flooding it so that the gold shag 70s carpet looks like spun precious metal.  I'm fresh out of the bath dressed in a pair of shorty pajamas covered with bright flowers.  My Mom is in the kitchen making a late dinner after a long day at work.  Something light and simple on this humid night I am sure.  I'm listening to her sing along as drawers open and dishes clang.  I feel safe and happy...warm and bright.

This image of my 7, 8 or 9 year old self is a treasured synecdoche of my childhood in the same way that this morning's's back of life's landscape. Today this little part...this song...most definitely represents my Mom, and it just happens to do so beautifully.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Daily Dose of Inspiration...

A quote...

(picture taken during my walk along our inland sea this morning)

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.

Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God

A recipe...

(last night's's lunch)

Green Rice:

Heat up a T. of oil of preference.  Add 3 cloves (more or less) of minced garlic and saute a couple minutes.  Add about 1/2 pound (or 2 cups) of finely chopped and then steamed kale.  Saute a couple minutes.  Add 2 cups of cooked brown rice.  Saute a couple more minutes.  Add 2 T. (more or less) of soy sauce.  Enjoy.  (This is Gwyneth's (Paltrow) recipe that I have only adopted.  She adds some chopped scallion at the same time as the kale.  Numerous of my family members would reject this rice were I to add a member of the onion family so I don't and simply pat myself on the back that they are eating kale.)  

A suggestion...

Find your Stevie Wonder CD.  Or maybe it's a tape.  Or cue him up on your I whatever.  Just play him.  Any song you listen to from any period in his long accomplished career is pretty much guaranteed to make you smile.  Like smile with all your heart.  Miss Bit was in the groove after seeing him on DWTS for the first time Monday night.  I've had a CD in my car ever since, and I've felt more joy while listening (and yes, singing along and maybe a little car dancing too) to him than I remember for quite some time.

A question...

Don't's an easy one.  Where are you finding your inspiration these days?  What is awakening your mind, heart and spirit?

Monday, April 22, 2013

On My Mind Monday

Beginning is hard.  But it's also lucky.  Because you have the chance to build something beautiful from the ground up, with no old mistakes, no bad habits. 
Claire Dederer 

Isn't that the beautiful opportunity each day's dawn presents?

2 day pass

where did the weekend go?
how is it already come and gone?
it was a mostly quiet and cozy couple days.
in between dates, we got to some spring cleaning.
it felt good to get at the grit.
it also felt good to catch up with my friend saturday.
we took our girls roller skating and thought we would chat while they went round and round.
only we went to a new to us rink where the music is louder than usual.
like cannot hear yourself think kinda loud.
talking was out of the question.
it was ok though because then they had to stay for dinner.
coach made ribs and they were his best yet.
it was a bit of a production, but worth it.
i made ina's onion rings and sauteed spinach to round out the meal.
it was good.
sunday i was so happy to go to our church after two weeks away.
i'm pretty sure mass was my favorite part of the weekend.
like just what i needed.
breakfast with coach after was real nice too.
miss bit went swimming with a friend and t. bone opted to chillax at home despite at least one invitation.
coach and i planned our summer vacation during an impromptu happy hour.
we let the kids in on the exciting road trip during dinner.
dinner was leftover ribs and homemade mac and cheese.
i promptly fell fast asleep on the couch a nano second after tucking the kids in.
the sun is shining today and it smells like spring.
the bunnies are chasing each other around the yard and little red is on his stump patiently waiting for breakfast.
i'm ready for the new day...the new week...the new season.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This Week's Menu

Today after church we stopped at our favorite Italian market to get ingredients for homemade pizzas.  We will make them tomorrow.  We don't normally go through the production of making our own during the week, but Miss Bit's friend will be our dinner guest and that is my girl's choice.  I chose to add a salad to the meal.  Cheesecake stuffed strawberries will be served for dessert.  Also not a weekday staple, but guests change all the rules.

She also requested homemade chicken tenders so they are slated for Tuesday served alongside Green Rice aka brown rice with kale.  It's really hard to say no to someone as sweet as Miss Bit.

Shepard's easy, tasty one dish meal.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A New Day

Yesterday I woke up to another day of gray.  The sooty skies were heavy with what was to come: more rain.

I managed to get out for a walk right after drop off duty.  I started listening to Elie Wiesel's Night.  I hate to say it, but the somber subject felt right for just this kind of day.  It was quick to draw me in.  I extended my walk along the way so I could keep listening to the haunting story.   How is it I have never read this?  More proof that there is never enough time.

The rain was held at bay until I turned up my driveway.  Then as if on cue the skies opened up and the heavens roared.  I love nothing more than a thrashing thunderstorm mostly because it is the most urgent invitation to snuggle in with a good book and a cat or two.  I have a stack...many stacks...but nothing is calling my name right now.  I am in a place where I need to be lured.  I decided I would peruse the aisles of a nearby used book store I have had my sights on. 

Two hours later I left with four books.  The truth is that tally is a sign of great restraint.  I was proud of myself though.  I've decided I will only buy books I absolutely must own.  Those that fall into the category of want to read I can get from the library in due time.  Patience is not an easy virtue for me, but this is an exercise in waiting that gets easier and easier the longer I practice it.

Then I came home to find a book I requested on hold for me at the library proving my point.  It is an older Gillian Flynn novel written prior to her popular Gone Girl, which I loved simply for its entertainment value.  I got right back in the car to pick it up because that was exactly what I was in the mood for: mindless diversion.  An easy read.

Once home, I curled up and dove in.  I drifted off within a few minutes/pages only to be woken up by a crashing round of thunder.  It was a good thing too since it was already time to pick up the kids.  Just like that and it's three o'clock.  It amazes me almost every day how quickly time passes whether idle or engaged.

T. Bone was quick to remind me that I promised an after school stop at the frozen yogurt shop.  Miss Bit was just as pleased.  A promise is a promise or so they say.  That could have been dinner as far as I was concerned, and in college many nights it was. 

When Coach arrived home, I was alternating between napping and reading in my favorite family room spot.  He kindly assumed dinner duty.  And maybe homework duty as well.

At the end of the eve, I retired with Miss Bit to my bed for our nightly read aloud.  After many detours, we're finally making headway with A Little Princess.  I fell asleep mid sentence at the end of our chapter.  I woke up to my girl imploring, What was exciting?  What?  What!  She had no idea I was out cold.  She thought I was just leaving her hanging...playing...joking.

I roused long enough to finish the last two paragraphs and tuck her in for the night.  I went back to bed to read and then T. Bone sweetly came to tuck me in.  I fell asleep before finishing my chapter.

I felt the weight of the world yesterday.  Everything seemed heavy.  My life was water logged.  All I have to do is to look at world affairs or the local weather for an explanation, but really it's more than that.  It's deeper and more personal.  Today I'm not going to dwell on the worries and woes of yesterday.  What I am going to take away from the day is the healing power that exists in taking care of oneself without guilt or excuse.  There is no shame in a little escape when the going gets rough.  The other thing that I am realizing is that it is OK to let things slide or to ask for and accept assistance.  Acceptance here is key.

How fitting it was that one of the books I picked up from the bookstore was Claire Dederer's Poser.  I don't do yoga, but something deep down and intrinsic tells me I should.  Sure I've dabbled in it a time or two, but I've never committed.  I leafed through the book and focused on this detail: A chicken roasted in the oven was a virtue discernible.  There it was: love, concern, nurturing, all rolled into a four-pound organic fryer.  I instantly related.  Of course I has to do with cooking not yoga.  But it also speaks to keeping it real and acceptance.  There's that word again.  Really does it mean I love my family any less that I didn't make them dinner last night?  Are they scarred by the fact that Coach baked non-organic chicken breasts?   Should I be embarrassed to admit that I took two naps yesterday and did zero loads of laundry?  Is it neglect that all three pairs of Miss Bit's beloved yoga pants are in the wash?  Will Coach begrudge me for going to bed with the kids?  Will God forgive me for being too tired to pray?  I say no...Sometimes the most valuable gift we can give others is love, concern and nurturing of our very own selves.  It's not natural for me to be selfish in this way, but there are times that it is essential.  Yesterday was one of those days.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Day After

On the way to school this morning, I asked Miss Bit if she had any questions about what happened in Boston yesterday.  She wanted to know who would do such a thing.  It didn't feel good to have to fess up that we don't really know yet.  Then she stated with absolute certainty, Well when we do find them, they'll be punished.  I thought, If we find them, they'll be punished, but there's plenty more waiting in the wings.  Thankfully, she doesn't know the depth and breadth of human hatred.

She expressed gratitude that only 3 innocents lost their lives.  She doesn't know that one of them was a child...a child her age there cheering on his Dad.  She does know that many more people were injured and some seriously and to that she says, YES, but they are still alive and that is SO much better!  She doesn't know that a 5 year old lost both legs.

I assured her that our city is an unlikely target, but then I felt a wave of unease as we blew our air kisses.  The distance growing between us as she made her way up the school walk filled me with fear.  Yet she's smiling and squinting at me thanks to what's left of childhood innocence and a sunny day.  Today I stayed to watch her disappear into the school realizing the risks inherent in every day.

I drove home in silence.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another Sad Day

When senseless tragedy strikes, like so many others I find myself asking why?  I look up for answers and I look inside too.  I wish I had something profound, comforting or healing to say.  I don't.

I thought I'd come here tonight to write about a weekend filled with both joy and pain as family came together to say goodbye to an uncle...a brother...a friend, and then goodbye to one another.  I can't.

I can turn off the television coverage and tune in to my children.  Not because I want to shelter them from what has happened.  At 12 and 8, that is almost impossible, but I see no value in subjecting them to the terror in the endless barrage of rhetoric and carnage.  They are children, but sadly they no longer live in a place of protected innocence. I feel as a parent it would be just as irresponsible for me to allow them to believe in universal altruism.  Not all people are kind and good, and they need to know that as much as I wish that weren't the case.

I cannot stop thinking that this is a near daily reality for children in many corners of our world.  I hear these stories and I feel moved, but from such a distance.  When egregious acts occur on our own soil,  we no longer have the luxury of feeling disconnected, insulated or safe.

I'm trying to put the focus on the good that emerged today.  The first responders were fast and fearless.  Tragedies like these can create heroes out of ordinary people.  There were many.  They also can bring people together.  That is what must happen.

I'm going to hug my kids a little tighter tonight and together we'll say prayers for today's victims, all the residents of a city I love visiting, and another angel in Heaven.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Before Bed Confessions

I wasn't a very good Mom tonight.  I was irritable and short and prone to brooding.  I snapped at T. Bone when he gabbed all through his easy homework, and then I really ranted when he presented me with a paper filled with second grade grammar mistakes.  He's in sixth grade and at the top of his class.  In the end, I apologized and put on my editor's hat, but a tad grudgingly.  I frequently remind him that I am not in sixth grade...he is.  It's one of those things parents say that I swore I never would.  I just about chewed Miss Bit's head off when she asked for dessert right after spaghetti dinner.  I had just finished cleaning the dinner dishes and she wanted to make another mess.  My Mom used to joke about hanging a Kitchen's Closed sign.  I think it's a brilliant idea.  Again, I said I was sorry.  Then I served them bowls of sherbert straight away.  Rainbow sherbert and T. Bone only wanted two of the three colors, of course.  At that moment, I started seeing red.  I grumbled and growled some more, but he didn't have a lick of pineapple in his bowl.

I started feeling like Mommy Dearest so I gave myself a timeout.  I literally went to my room and curled up on my bed, and I stayed away from the hangers in my closet.  My cats nervously followed me slinking along this hallway and that.  They know nothing of Joan Crawford. For them it's our sump pump, which never goes off.  It has been running regularly today all day, I presume, and all night I have heard.  The boys do not like the commotion in the southwest corner of the basement at all.  It's racket we're not used to given our sandy river edge soil. We're about ready to build our arc here.  It's been raining for days...days and nights.  Normally, I am into a little rain, but  we're way beyond water logged and weary.  The river has been rising and roaring for days.

In the quiet of my room, I tried to listen to the cadence of the steady stream upon my roof and against my windows while I waited in vain to get an attitude adjustment. The boys were even recoiling at the familiar drip ping, so traumatized have they been all day by firing up of the pump's engine.  I realize that they are on edge.  I confess that I may be perched on the precipice too.  This fight or flight response is palpable and pressing.

There's a lot going on right now.  When it rains it pours. Not profound, but true.  Yet I know these are days for rising to the occasion and saying I'm sorry I'm wrong when I am...then moving on.  These are days for saying Thank you for, well, so much to so many, and I love you to many more.

I know pain and guilt often manifest themselves as anger.  At least in my little life.  I'm likely to reproach or reject when I'm hurting, shamed or sad.  And I felt shame that I decided not to get together pictures of my Uncle for tomorrow's service.  I wimped out saying that I didn't have many and few worthy ones.  He didn't like pictures or parties anymore I excused.  Then after my attitude improvement, I started going through boxes and albums all throughout the house.  I found many worthy.  Not perfect, but worthy.  Telling.  True.  The images reveal a man I knew as Uncle simply as who he was: simple and kind and real.  A guy's guy who loved fishing and gardening and politics.  A lover of Christ,  a Godly man, and the patriarch of a family he cared for.  I cannot imagine a better legacy than to be remembered as the salt of the earth.

So I'm putting together that picture board, after all, as much for myself as for him.  The picture that absolutely made my heart melt was of him holding my hours old bundle of baby girl not like a football, but like a loaf of bread.  He's looking down at her reverently.  His gaze and grip say you are are cherished.

And so is he.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beauty, Peace and Grace

I haven't been taking the time to show up here the past few weeks.  When I neglect this space, I feel guilty and rueful.  I also feel incomplete.

Then this morning I woke up to a misty grey, glorious morning.  Somber rainy days are my muse.  Thunder, which I heard rumble for the first time this spring a few moments ago, is more manna.

 Finally, there is no snow to speak of in the yard.  I don't see any buds yet, but the birds are back.  There are brigades of big bellied robins hunting juicy worms every day now.  They scamper and scurry like sandpipers on the shore.  Over the weekend, I saw and heard a bluebird during a walk.  I don't know what was more beautiful: her song or the blue beyond blue of her feathers.

The lagoon we sometimes walk around is only half frozen now.  Soon it will be home to tadpoles and eventually frogs.  I am waiting for the blue herons to return.  All summer the prehistoric birds patiently hunt the koi plentiful in the murky waters.  I can do without the geese, but they'll come back too.

The river is rising and her banks are muddy.  She is swollen and bursting at the shores.  The weather woman warns of floods.  It makes me wonder why anyone chooses to live beside the water so at the whim of the endless ebb and flow, but only for a moment.  I'm a block from her banks now, and I always have been close by choice.  I know why.  This morning I caught a familiar whiff of her fertility and it lodged in my throat.  I could taste the ripeness of a memory from my childhood.  There I am again on my friend's tire swing still slick from a spring deluge.  We are holding on tight and her Dad is pushing us.  We are soaring over the bank of overgrown brush and bramble.  We get high enough that we can see the river at the bottom.  We are yelling, Higher!  Higher!  with giddy delight.  It has been a long winter, and we are ready to rediscover our neighborhood and all its inhabitants again...anew.  Age does nothing to mitigate the marvel of rebirth year after year.

The metaphor of nature's renewal is not lost on me today, or any day really.  My Uncle's body will be buried soon in the ground, yet he is risen.  It always amazes me the way that as our bodies rot and decay, so often our spirits simultaneously shine and soar.  So it is that there is beauty even in death.  Beauty and peace and grace.

Monday, April 8, 2013

2 day pass


the weekend was good and full.
and full of good too.
so much so that i am jealous of my cats who can spend all of this rainy monday in bed.
in my bed that is.
i had a fun night with coach friday.
we enjoyed our date even if willy did use our concert as a practice session for the new record he was to begin recording the next day.
sadly that meant that we did not get to hear many of our old favorites.
4 songs of like 20 is not many enough at all.

saturday i went bumming with my bit through some of our favorite neighborhoods to some of our go to shops.
we went in search of all the best ingredients for our pizza party planned that night since i didn't feel compelled to cook or bake.
that meant a stop at the cupcake store that sells the cutest cupcake bites.
we were so pleased and puffed up with regard to our eclectic selection that we didn't even mind the super sized price tag.
i think maybe i celebrated my perfect parallel park a little too heartily because then i almost ran a stop sign and all 24 of our $28 cupcake cuties were on the floor.
but i haven't parallel parked since i was a teenager and i like did it on the first try.
we made a second stop at our most beloved italian market.
we loaded our cart with fried ravioli, artichoke fritters, crusty bread, homemade sauce and good parmesan.
maybe a bottle of sangiovese too.
at whole paycheck we ordered pizzas to go and then the store literally lived up to the snarky moniker my friend cleverly gave it many moons ago.
i had my second heart attack of the day when the checker manhandled my pizzas to the point of total topping disarray and then tried to charge us $407.90 for 6 mini canoli cupcakes.
i may have called him dude...and more than once.
the cupcakes ended up being free, which was good because they were bad and dry.
we had much fun catching up with our friends who joined us for the evening...
old friends we share much history with and many memories.
we reminisced at moments about fat tony and a suitcase full of miller lite and curses doled out on mexican beaches.
after dinner, we gathered to play a little wits and wagers and to enjoy a cupcake tasting, of course.

we all decided a lazy sunday was in order so we slept until our internal alarms sounded.
that was restorative and divine.
as was the 4 miler coach and i took in the midst of the sunny afternoon.
miss bit went for a bike ride and jumped on the tramp.
t. bone went to hang out with a friend.
my brother and sil stopped by late afternoon.
we sat in the living room while the late day sun streamed through the front windows and we could feel the seasonal shift...the weekend shift too.
we ended the 2 day pass by firing up the grill for the first time this season.
rib eyes, homemade onion rings and green beans were on the menu.
oh and leftover cupcakes.
after that it was pretty much food and fun coma for this family.

On My Mind Monday

You try your best to love the world despite obvious flaws in design and execution.  And you take care of whatever needy things present themselves to you during your passage through it.  Otherwise you're worthless.

Charles Frasier

Do your best despite the rest.  Got it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

This Week's Menu

With spring break and sickness setting in, I completely fell off the band wagon.  We had no menu...and at times no appetite.  Next week I will get us back on track, but I'm still feeling the need to keep meals simple.  So I will.  I also feel the need to use up the Easter ham.

Pork tenderloin marinated in minced garlic and balsamic vinegar, with steamed and then sauteed French green beans and brown rice.

Scalloped potatoes with ham, and steamed brocoli.

Cubanos ala panini and fruit salad.

Split pea soup with bread.  I am not expecting the kids to even consider this so they'll likely be having an easy chicken noodle.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Grateful Friday

My first ever signed book and the many little nuggets that I am discovering every time I open it.   The inside of the echo chamber is where all the boring people hang out.  I love that.  Be childlike not childish.  I want that.  Your gadgets are tethering you to a world you already know very well.  I need that.  I need to hear that.

Black jelly beans.

A healthy house.  And these two for hunkering down with whomever needed the comfort while convalescing.

Parties.  Three this week.  Easter brunch with family, gloaming happy hour with fristers and pizza/game night with family friends.  I dare say that the Reluctant Entertainer is rubbing off on me.

Singing the Alleluia Chorus (or trying to) from Handel's Messiah at the end of Easter Sunday mass.

Tickets to see Willy Porter tonight.  I'm really starting to get excited for a night out with just Coach (and Willy, of course).

Aunt Jess for kid sitting.

No cricket escapees despite Peanut's frequent attempts to free them.


Lent is over and this committed young lady gave up gum for every one of the 40 days.  Of course, she chewed a piece first thing Sunday morn and has quite a stash in her bedside table.  T. Bone also gave up gum and was just as successful.

Homemade pasta.  This is bucatini.  It was a little fussy for first timers, and we hurried the process, but it was tasty so we will try try again.

Family date night to celebrate stellar second trimester report cards.  At the local hibachi, which is a family favorite.

Both kids have been more willing to try new things and more apt to like the things they try.  Miss Bit tried shrimp again and she really liked it!!! 

Easter favorites.  My quiche.

Ina's coconut cupcakes.

Martha's asparagus tart.  Just as easy as it is tasty and beautiful.

Pretty spring tablescapes.  And breaking out the good china even if it means hand washing all the dishes.

This recent candid may be a little blurry, but my love for these two is very clear. 

Shore views.

Sand surfing.

Log riding.

Rock climbing.

Having one another's backs.

I picked up Charles Frasier's Nightwoods this week.  I jotted down this line even before my Uncle's passing yesterday.  The place spoke of time.  How you're here and  then you're gone, and all you leave for a little while afterward are a few artifacts that outlive you.  He still lived in his childhood home.  There are many memories, relics and remnants there.  It's sort of haunting and daunting.  The thing is that I have mementos (Mom's sparkly earrings, Grandpa's rolling pin, Grandma Doe's mountainscape paintings) from loved ones passed that remind me of them when I see them or use them or wear them so  I'm grateful for these artifacts and the connections and comfort they bring.