Tuesday, March 22, 2016

two day pass

we spent time at home this weekend nesting and enjoying being together.

i finished one book friday morning before work,
and started another friday after work.

i watched the final 2 episodes of season 2 of the affair.
one before lily and i went to a friend's for a mother/daughter dinner friday night,
and, sadly, the last when we got home.
mike and ted both went out with friends to watch the badgers win.
march madness has arrived and the badgers are alive.
i offered to bring a salad to dinner.
it's slim pickings come friday though.
i was inspired by skinnytaste's house salad made with love.
the combination of everyday salad staples in a new way made it feel company worthy.
it was imo.

saturday was a good day for spring sprucing and cleaning.
teddy even got up early (just before noon) thanks to the vacuum.
we set up our new mattress and washed loads of bedding.
i was inspired to make a nice dinner by the skinnytaste cookbook again.
and also to put more leftovers to use.

mike, lily and i all gave the reuben stuffed pork loin the thumbs up.
teddy was out eating wings and pizza with friends.
his loss.
can i tell you how cathartic it is to pound a piece of meat?

then the three (or more like five) of us snuggled in for a movie.

we watched everest and were thankful for our warm house.
warm blankets and cozy cats too.
just for the record, i have no shame that i want my kids to fear that mountain.
sunday started early with palm sunday mass.
the music was moving as was the passion.
mike and i had a chill coffee date while the kids had class.
we came home to find the cats doing what spoiled brats cats do.

i made french toast with the loaf of challah i scored for brunch.
then mike and i went for a long walk on the first day of spring.
the sky was a fierce shade of blue and the clouds looked like they were painted they were just so perfectly poofed and placed. 

ted (he who no longer smiles for pictures) did homework and lily (always a smile) and i dyed easter eggs.

we had fun with pipe cleaners and chalkboard paint.
dinner was served while it was still light out and before the badger game.
i made the salad (simple, but delicious), and the pesto pasta.
mike grilled the balsamic glazed chicken.
i swear there is nothing better than grilled chicken at this time of year.
on my life.

the badger last second victory was quite an ending to an all around great weekend.

the boys had other entertainment i'm afraid.

i've not been much of a blogger lately.
i cannot put my finger on it.
i don't think it's lack of inspiration as i'm busy with lots of good things.
things that make me happy...bring me joy...give me satisfaction.
i'm in a good place.

Monday, March 21, 2016

On My Mind Monday


Friday, March 18, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Even though I'm not 100%, I gave 100%.  I'm still sick and a little down, but I didn't let it bring me down.  I took my vitamins (all of them almost every day), downed ridiculous amounts of water, ate mostly healthy and had a number of good work outs.  Although we eat relatively healthy (minimal processed or fast food, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, low fat protein and dairy), I had gotten away from reading labels and making the healthiest choices.  This happens over time because it takes work and a lot of time to be as conscious and committed as I want to be.  

That being said, we ate corned beef that Mike cooked in the pressure cooker and it was such a treat. It was St. Paddy's day after all.

My Irish heritage.

This preparation for cabbage.  Cut head into ribbons.  Mix with a little canola oil, a teaspoon of sugar and salt & pepper to taste.  Then cut 3-4 carrots into ribbons (I use my peeler) and marinate with cider vinegar and hot sauce.  Combine and roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until slightly charred.  It is the perfect bite of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.  Lily and I like it with sliced onion too, but the boys don't so I skipped it.

I didn't make soda bread this year.  Instead I made muffins with the overripe fruit: one batch of banana and another batch of blueberry.  These blueberry muffins aren't lookers, but they taste so good.  The secrets are almond flour, almond extract, plain Greek yogurt and, of course, fresh berries.

An afternoon at the salon.

Not one, but two new pairs of jeans I love.  

A new mattress.

A mid-week date night with Mike.

Longer days.

A walk down to the beach on a crazy windy day.  Lake Michigan was so many shades of blue and green it almost took my breath away.

More self-care this quiet weekend.

Monday, March 14, 2016

On My Mind Monday

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.

These words based on an interpretation of Dante's Inferno were spoken by leaders like JFK and MLK. After watching the national news tonight, it's what I'm left with.  The past few days, I was off the grid.  Not surprising, it was politics as usual over the weekend.  And while I have plenty of political opinions and convictions, I don't expound on them here, but I do just want to say that there may be no more crucial time than the present to stand up for what it is we believe in.  One way to do this is to vote.  And before going to the polls, make sure you understand the issues on a level deeper than you will find in the mainstream media.  It's our duty and our right.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March Inventory

Reading I recently finished Everything I Never Told You and while it was a quick read, it wasn't all too compelling.  The beginning grabbed me, but soon it became predictable and contrived.  The characters were rather one dimensional and stereotypical, and their lack of communication was mind-numbing.  I think this may present better as YA than thriller. The other night I read Safekeeping - Some True Stories About a Life from cover to cover.  Thomas's beautifully crafted vignettes contain so much raw honesty that it was an honor to read them.  I laughed out loud, shed tears and found myself shaking my head in quiet affirmation many times throughout.  I've started All Joy No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood because I'm always trying to be a better parent and as they age, the playing field feels drastically different.  Lily and I are slowly making our way through Diana Nyad's Find a Way, and I hope to get through The Ramblers this weekend.  I'm not so much in the mood for it, but it's a 7 day book and due mid-week.  Next up are Yes Please and Being Mortal.  One should offer lightness and the other levity.

Wondering if we'll go ahead and plant a garden.  It's a bit of an investment of time, space and cash, and I seriously lack a green thumb.  We also have a yard filled with critters.  The one year I did patio tomatoes, a red fox decimated our harvest.  Still I swoon over fresh veggies and herbs, and Lily dreams of growing things.

Watching season 5 of Homeland finally.  Lily and I are into Survivor this season and eagerly awaiting Dancing With the Stars too.

Listening to the birds.  First thing every morning and last thing every night, I hear the haunting coo of the mourning doves in the yard.  They're aptly named because their song is one of sorrow, but also sweet peace.

Eating lots of asparagus now that the kids have both admitted to liking it.  The best way is to quickly blanch it and then to add it to some garlic sauteed in EVOO.  Top it with s&p and a squeeze of fresh lemon.  I think we're ready for grilling season and summer fruits.  The pineapple I cut into the other day was as hard as a rock.  Blueberries have been sour, strawberries tasteless and apples mushy. 

Drinking a gallon of water a day.  It takes work and commitment to drink 128 ounces of water in 24 hours.  A new economy red I found at Trader Joe's that I like very much.

Wanting to start meditating again and thinking of  using Mark Nepo's Awakening as a spring board for guided meditation.

Hoping I've learned a thing or two about how crippling fear can be and how there are times...many times...I am my own worst enemy.

Thinking about Abbigail Thomas's Weather and the haunting way the little things matter big:

This is my favorite weather, rain and wind whistling between buildings.  I don't feel I should be somewhere else.  I don't feel guilty for staying where I like best to be.  I'm happy to be home, dropping the chicken into cold water with celery and carrots, preparing my dumplings.  I should be finding bowls and spoons and setting the table.  This is the weather for golden soup.

This is what you won't be here for.  Your daughter's life.  The new Japanese movie at the Film Forum.  All the April birthday parties.  Grandchildren growing up.  Tonight's rain. Tomorrow morning.  A cup of tea.

Enjoying and Loving 

1. 70 degree days and open windows.

2. Sun snoozes.
3. Stormy skies and thunder and lightning.
4. Making beautiful things including artwork and memories.
5. Sunday mass in a pew beside my family in front of God.
6. Sunny daffodils.
7. Crisp salads.
8. These Trader Joe chocolate croissants that come frozen and bake up beautifully.  I think they taste good too, but I gave up sweets for Lent so I can't say for sure...yet.
9. Tulips.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

First and foremost it is Friday.  It's been a doozy of a week with too many doctor appointments and too much sickness.  I'm still fighting off whatever I have and Lily is coming down with something similar just in time for the weekend.

She walked to the car with such a weary look on her face so I suggested we stop for stronger meds, fluids and lots of ice cream.  Then we curled up in my bed and watched Up together.  It was a really sweet afternoon.

When Russell said "That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most."  That's when Lily and I needed extra Kleenex and not because of our colds.

After Up, I joined Ted to watch Sixth Sense.  

When Cole says, "I see dead people."  I feel dead people.  I love the way I'm reminded of the little boy he once was when my almost fearless son watches scary movies. 

A stack of books and the better part of Homeland season 5 waiting.

You see where this is going.  Plenty of time for r&r&r.  Rest relaxation and recovery.  I'm good with that.

No plans for the next couple days.

I'll be ever grateful if Mike and Ted are spared this bout of sickness.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Tale of Two Quiches

Quiche is the perfect dish to use up all the random remains left in the frig.  Chunks of cheese and ends of veggies that would likely get tossed can come together to make an inspired meal.  A little capricola leftover from a charcueterie platter and a half eaten round of brie came together beautifully. Some soggy spinach and a forgotten ball of fresh mozzarella made another tasty duo.  I served the pies along with an everything but the kitchen sink salad that took care of the dredges in the crisper.  The smash up was nothing special, yet it was a fine meal.


It struck me as I plated last night's dinner that it is a metaphor for my life right now.  It's delicious, but confusing.  Bifurcated.  I'm betwixt and between.  Between shopping trips, moods, seasons, stages of life.  Let me tell you limbo is not where I like to remain precariously perched.


I woke up yesterday feeling like dog meat.  Cold head was largely to blame.  Mid-day I caught a welcome surge of energy and optimism.  I didn't waste time wondering what flipped the switch...I just went with it. Throughout the day I was shedding layers, opening windows and than looking for a sweatshirt or wrap a few minutes later.  In one of my warmer moments, I started swapping out the flannel and down for cotton on our beds.  Why resist change I conceded.  


Time after time I bristle and buck.  I duel and stonewall, but in the end winter becomes spring becomes summer becomes fall otherwise known as moments become days become weeks become years.  That's why I repel.  Revolution...evolution...it's hard for me.  In moving forward, I fear leaving something behind.  I rue and I regret every single time.  I know it, and yet I cannot change it.  It's simply the way I'm wired.


I feel things.  I notice everything.  I want to honor all of it.  That takes time...more time than I have.


Last night while I chopped and mixed time, more or less, stood still.  I was in the moment.  In the be.here.now mindset.  I heard gruffy old Hemingway, not Dickens.  He once said,

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really taste the food you eat when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep.  Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell.  And when you get angry, get good and angry.  Try to be alive.  You will be dead soon enough.


And if I'm to come clean, last night was actually the tale of two dinners.  The kids had crepes.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

two day pass

feeling fragile and a bit out if sorts, i stayed close to home this weekend.
the malaise had been building all week despite the sun, the spring air and the smiles.
i showed up all week and did my best, but after a lovely friday happy hour with friends.
i felt relief when i sent them off into the snowy night.
relief not for their parting, but for permission to stay put for the next day and the day after too.
you see dark clouds outside make dark clouds inside less frustrating. not as disturbing.
it is uncomfortable to feel incongruous with the weather.
a semblance of peace blanketed me when i woke to a whitewashed world.
i worked all day digging out from a stretch of procrastination.
there was some accomplishment in completing projects that were not glamorous or fun.
mike and the kids went to lunch, and to hang out with friends and cousins while i worked.
these were the kinds of tasks best tackled solo.
the minute i woke sunday, i could feel a bug coming on.
i managed to rally for church and then came home to bed where i read and napped all afternoon.
i felt guilty for checking out and a little blue that i was missing precious family time, but it was what i needed.
i was able to rally late in the afternoon for a workout.
getting rid of toxins was a boost.
then mike and i made sunday dinner in tandem.
i think i was finally good company.
chicken cordon bleu, asparagus and green rice rounded out the menu.
lily curled up in bed with me after dinner to cuddle and watch t.v.
that's some of the best medicine.
this weekend i gave myself permission to act the way i felt.
it was a gift really.
i've gotten worse not better, but my mood is on the upswing.
i know my body will soon follow.

Monday, March 7, 2016

On My Mind Monday


While you were alive the past was a live unfinished thing.  Like a painting we weren't done with.  Like a garden we were still learning to tend.  Nothing was set in stone yet, and weren't we ourselves still changing?  We might redeem our past by redeeming ourselves.  I had in mind a sort of alchemy.  But then you died, and just like that, it was over.  What was done was done.  Now we could never fix it.  All I can do is chip away, see what comes off in my hand, look for a shape.

Abigail Thomas

Friday, March 4, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Playing hooky with Lily in the middle of the day Wednesday.  After her doctor appointment, we stopped for a quick lunch at Ma Fishers.  Actually, lunch for her and breakfast for me.  She really didn't want to miss school though.  She's such a dedicated student.  She even took the science quiz she missed in the morning that afternoon.

On our way back to school, we stopped at the lake front.  It was quite a different scene from just the week before when I visited with Ted.  I was reminded of these C.S. Lewis words: "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different..."

Mother/daughter selfies.  I am not comfortable in front of the camera.  I'm used to taking the pictures, but once in awhile I move out of my comfort zone, and I'd pretty much do anything for her.

Ted went with Lily this week when she had to dog sit.  She's still leary to go by herself even in daylight, and I cannot blame her.

Mike and I started Homeland Season 5 this week.  

I started a new book.  Everything I Never Told You should be a quick read based on the first 4 chapters.  

Ted's had a lot of homework these past few weeks.  He doesn't complain.  He just powers through it night after night.

Everything about this guy.

Everything about this girl.

There's snow in the weekend forecast.  I'm looking forward to holing up at home this weekend.  Snow is a good excuse for being a recluse.

These Rumi words...If you only say one prayer in a day, make it thank you.

Friends should be here soon for a Friday night happy hour.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

two day pass

the week was a whirlwind.
the weekend was without much time for lingering either.
and i 'm an idler. 
i like my quiet corners and stolen moments.
they were scarce this weekend, but joy moments abounded.
i left work a little early on friday to stop at the italian market and bakery.
i was inspired to make dinner for my brother and sil who were coming over for a birthday happy hour.
a little chicken, fresh angel hair, good cheese, and garlic and herbs go quite a long way.
a petite red velvet cake, hazelnut gelato and a couple robust reds and we were set.
the starter was a chacueterie and cheese board the star of which was the triple cream i knew the birthday girl would appreciate.
i pounded out the chicken breasts, dredged them in seasoned flour, pan fried them in evoo and dressed them with a squeeze of bright lemon.
mike put together the pasta aglio olio, which is a side that never disappoints.
i blanched the asparagus,  baked the garlic bread and set the dining room table.
the new kitchen is conducive for cooking while visiting and so it was a family affair before during and after.
i was up early on the springy saturday morning rarin' to go.
i gave lily the choice of movies or the art museum.
she wisely chose the museum.
we enjoyed the renovated galleries, painting our own canvases and hitting the calatrava cafe for some lunch.
we shared a caesar salad, a margherita flat bread and easy conversation.
it was a good day with my best girl.
that night mike and i had our monthly bowling outing and i really didn't want to go.
it went quick so we stole away just the two of us at a nearby cantina for a little bit.
we cued up old family videos when we got home.
lily joined us and was smitten with her wee self.
i smiled through my tears reliving how fast they grow up.
it's cruel.
sunday i was up with enough time to finish a book i've been struggling through and get in a workout before brunch.
we gathered to celebrate my step mom's 65th.
she was surprised and delighted.
so and in all...it was a weekend book ended between birthday cakes and long on goodness.