Wednesday, March 22, 2017


friday was st. paddy's day so i put on my mom's o'shit button and shamrock scarf, and went out to celebrate my heritage.
i almost didn't, but i'm so glad i did.
i really needed to reconnect with this friend.
she has been missing from my tribe for too long.
the plan was to catch up for an hour or so.
you know how it goes 3, or maybe 4 hours later and we still had so much to say.
it's a bittersweet day for me so spending it with my oldest friend...the friend who knew and loved my mom since we were both just felt good and right.


i was up early to shag ted off to work saturday morning.
he's such a great kid, but not an early riser.
i know i should just let him oversleep and leave hungry, but there's that part about him being such a stand-up young man...a stand-up young man with a job.
lily went to the movies with a friend.
they saw and loved beauty and the beast.
mike watched the badgers and i watched the boys enjoy their new toys.

 tigger prefers to hang out on the roof.

 so peanut staked his claim inside

they're like kids at christmas

after the badger's upset, mike went out to celebrate with friends.
after work, ted went out with friends so we had a girl's night.
aunt jess came over and while we enjoyed a bottle of vino, lily and her friend made us dinner.

 and they had lots of fun doing so.

 we appreciated their delicious efforts, and so enjoyed the chicken with brussels sprouts in lemon pan sauce.

sunday started with a walk along the lakefront.
it was good to clear my head and lungs.

it's starting to look and feel like spring.

when we came home, mike made us breakfast.

a mostly green omelette. i'm a lucky girl.

 a mostly content tigger leo.

 a very content peanut quincy.

lily and i made a tj maxx run that just brought the biggest smile to her face.
i was in a yes mood and she was so pleased with her purchases.
and grateful...always grateful that girl.
we celebrated with a small shamrock shake for two.
not whole30, but it's an annual tradition.
ted came home from work and we sat down for sunday dinner.
pork chops as big as your head and also juicy...fresh out of a cast iron skillet and cooked with garlic, sage and butter.

peanut approved.

the weekend was approved by all.
it was a nice smash up of time with friends and family, work and play and holiday and team celebrations.

Monday, March 20, 2017

On My Mind Monday

Spring has returned.
 The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Today is the vernal equinox. I stepped outside at that holy time of day when I am all alone in the house and the world, and I watched night surrender to day with equal parts awe and appreciation. I simply said thank you. It's such a powerful, oft forgotten expression. Thank you for all of it...for everything. It's almost always the right thing to say. Amen.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The little nod I got from my mom this morning. St. Patrick's Day was her day. Her favorite day of all the year. It's the one day every year that I miss her most. Don't get me wrong...there are many others, but always always this one. I wrapped the shamrock scarf she was wearing when she passed around my neck this morning almost as an afterthought. Then as I idled at the stoplight by my church, I said a prayer as I do every morning when I pass by. The prayer I said this morning was for my mom. And I cannot explain the feeling I had as I made the sign of the cross, but deep in my heart I just knew she was with me. It was like a flash of joy, a brief moment of eternal clarity, or a prayer answered offering much needed peace. I smiled through the tears that were flowing. I smiled because she gave that to me.


I got over myself last night. Well, I got over myself with the help of Rachel Macy Stafford's little manifesto for showing up in life. I've been waiting for a friend to call. Or email. Or text. She hasn't so I haven't. But I love and miss this friend and after a little nugget I read the other day, I realized how utterly silly I'm being for keeping score and not reaching out when I want to. So I did. I texted and asked her to meet me tonight for a green beer. She not only said 'yes' but also that my timing was perfect. Go figure. Universe, you continue to amaze me.

Mother Nature amazes me too. Just last week I was noticing so much bird song in my yard, I saw my first bunny and then a second and they were definitely cavorting, and of course, there's that thing about the days already feeling so luxuriously long. And then we got our biggest snowfall of the season...the kind we've been craving all winter long...on the cusp of spring. The roads were terrible and I took that as a sign to stay home safe and warm and cozy. I hunkered down with my boys and my books and I only felt a tad bit guilty.



their spot

my spot

We're going to Mexico! Have I made that clear? I'm starting to get very excited for our trip. One of the most important things to pack besides a good swimsuit and sunscreen is the proper reading material. I have  All the Ugly and Wonderful Things on Audible, A Long Way HomeThe Rules Do Not Apply and Textbook so this will be the trip of the memoir. And yes I am bringing actual books. I also ordered a pair of sunglasses that are readers so I don't have to do the attractive thing I do where I put my sunglasses on over my cheaters.

prepared with pesos

Last night we had a girl's night. Girls plus Peanut. The guys were out watching basketball with friends so we got a little creative in the kitchen since Thursdays are leftovers night at Casa Wags. We turned the last of the blueberries into muffins made of a combo of all purpose, almond and gluten-free flour as our pantry was scarce. Then I threw together some of this and that into a stir fry, which we decided was a deconstructed egg roll and delicious. She even wanted the leftovers for lunch today. Feeling inspired, she started looking through recipes so she can cook dinner for us over the weekend. I love being in my kitchen cooking with my girl. My girl who is always talking about her palette and willing to try most anything. 

he thinks he's human

muffins are so much better with glaze

plans and lists

The boys came home at about the same time and just in time to catch the second half of the Badger game. They were some very happy fans and maybe a little tired too.

family rooms

This guy is feeling better. He had a bug this week, but he's as good as new.

staying hydrated

Cloudy days.



Random acts of kindness.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Late Winter Inventory

I started out strong. Read Cutting for Stone. The fifth time was definitely a charm. That's right...I started this novel no less than 4 times prior. I cannot explain my road block nor my tenacity, but I was so rewarded by this story and these characters in the end. Next I picked up Salter's Light Years. It's not light reading, but it sure is beautiful writing. I was put off by Nedra and Viri initially, but drawn in by Salter's storytelling from the start. I dogeared practically every other page for some exquisite description or blunt truth. I'm grateful I didn't give up on this little gem. I started Chef Eric Ripert's 32 Yolks only to get notice from the library that A Little Life was waiting for me. Yanagihara's novel is not a little book or an easy read, but it was captivating and raw and well-told. I had to pace myself because I was tempted to devour the 760 pages as quickly as possible, but it was also draining. I was warned and it is true: this novel's impact makes everything else feel trivial and trite. I have not read much since I finished it. I'm halfway through a few in this stack and gearing up for the rest. Ultimately, it was The One in the Million Boy that wooed me back. Wood's YA novel is quirky and charming, and it also tugs steadily on the heart strings.  

Wondering what it would be like to be a cat. I've had some serious cat envy going on in these days of late winter. Days that seem designed for curling up in some soft spot for hours that turn into days.

Hoping that I can plan and host a beautiful Easter brunch. There's nothing better than a houseful of people. And also that we get to Mexico without any incidence. I'd be a strong candidate for teleportation. I like the going places just not the getting there. I suppose I'm in good company.

Thinking about the past and legacy. The things we leave behind. These musings were mostly sparked by a visit to my Grandma's house. It's being prepped for an estate sale. So many memories. This Albert the Alley Cat hat reminded me of the time my brother and I made the evening news. We were playing in the snowbanks on the street in our matching hats in the middle of a snowstorm. Albert was the mascot for the station so we were PR in our cat hats. I thought about what good friends my brother and I were growing up, and how the snow banks seemed big as mountains when we were small, and how I had dreams that we would be such good friends for all our lives.

I remember collecting these glasses myself. I don't think my Grandma ever used her set. She had so much stuff she could never put it all to use. She probably didn't even know much of what she had, and she never used the good stuff. I Thought about how important it is to use the good stuff and not to have too much stuff.

This picture hung in her living room. I was spooked, but also mesmerized by this depiction of Jesus with the crown of thorns. I Thought about taking it, but I knew I wouldn't hang it. I drove down the alley we used to walk together to church instead and then I paused in front of it long enough to say a prayer.

Watched The Affair. This season felt a little like a tease. I wanted a couple more episodes at least. I was annoyed by the ending, but now that I'm thinking back on it, it may just be perfect.  We're also getting caught up on Billions and Homeland as we have Showtime for the late winter. I'm lukewarm on both show's seasons right out of the gate.

Listening to lots of Gypsy Kings and mariachi music in anticipation of our trip.

Eating pretty clean and with Michael Pollan's wisdom in mind: Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too much. We're still restricting gluten, sugar and dairy. In the past week, we've had some of our favorite Irish fare. I don't think I'll be making soda bread though this year.

Drinking margaritas de patron, and lemon water and tea.

Wanting a big snowstorm all season. It arrived yesterday so I took a snow day. It was a gift to myself.

Enjoying Crabtree & Evelyn lotion, Teddy's new-earned independence, Amazon Prime (although it is a bit dangerous), brushing up on my Spanish and amping up the frequency and difficulty of my workouts.

Loving the Yiddish word mishegas and the French bete noire, the fact my cousins are coming for Easter, fresh flowers at the end of winter, a fresh haircut and feeling like I can wear some pink again.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


the front-end of the weekend was full.
the back-end was empty, yet still full.
it's possible...believe me.
my brother-in-law came over friday for the badger game and it was good to catch up.
i like seeing the brothers bond.
teddy was pretty much on the go all weekend long.
this was my view of him.


he didn't have to work so he made the most of his free time.
he spent most of this time with friends watching basketball, playing basketball, practicing baseball. 
he was up very early to volunteer saturday morning and then he went out for breakfast before going for a hike.
i think he saw the virtue in rising early and having so many hours in the day.
it's possible his actions speak louder than my words.
lily had a friend over saturday while i went on a trip down almost ancient memory lane.
my grandma's been gone for a decade, but my aunt is finally getting close to selling her house.
my dad and his siblings grew up in this house, and i spent much of my childhood there too.
there were lots of memories and hoards of  feelings.
it was a tad overwhelming to try and chose a few meaningful keepsakes.
but then i came home happy with the things i more feel picked me.
it's entirely possible that things exert energy.

roses and angels. her name is rose and she is an angel.

i came home with just enough time to greet our friends in my sombrero with margaritas when they arrived.
we hosted a fiesta...a prelude to our mexican vacation.
i dug out photo albums from a couple of our past adventures.
we had just as much fun reminiscing as anticipating and the kids even indulged us our rememberings of mama, and el fuerte and fat tony.
the teens ate and ran.
places to go and people to see.
so many things possible.
we lingered after the best pork carnitas i've made to date enjoying a little kahlua in our coffee that may have been leftover from our last trip.

and churro cupcakes, which are sort of perfect and heavenly and gone.

it was a perfect night of good food and good friends.
the kind of friends who are more like family.
the kind who have been there all along and aren't going anywhere,
and most importantly...the kind you want to stay.

i was spent come sunday.
there is something lavish about a day in pjs.
restorative and rich.
that was my day today.
this was my view as i binge watched the bulk of the latest season of the affair and cried through last week's episode of this is us.

sweet little snuggler for as much time as possible.

i started crying during the recap of  the previous episode and didn't stop much to lily's amazement.
she and i made clay creatures and then sunday dinner.

 sweet little spring bunnies.

 lily was on the potatoes. we make potatoes as many ways possible at casa wags. in moderation, they are a healthy starch.

i stuffed the chicken breasts with prosciutto and provolone, and dredged them in evoo and herbs.

it's snowing as i write this.
the world looks so peaceful and i just want to hit pause.
right now i'd like a month of sundays.
tell's possible.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


the weekend in pictures.
and a few words.
ted worked many hours.
he wasn't exactly thrilled about spending his weekend bagging groceries.
i was quite happy that he's able to drive himself to and from the job, and then to meet up with friends once he is off.
we hosted an impromptu birthday fiesta for the february girls.
it had the essential elements: patron, chorizo, and a very cute girl in a sombrero.

oh, and a chocolate cake and thoughtful presents.
this is the first time we did carryout and a store-bought cake for a party.
i will do it again because it was zero stress.
and also quite good.

also there were cards.
peanut is saying 'cut me in.'

and some slime.
always slime.

the rest of the weekend we were busy around the house getting ready for spring and spring break.
i cleaned out closets and started packing.
the boys kept a close eye on us.
they don't like when we leave them.

for the record...i don't like to leave them.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks...

That Teddy passed his driver's test and in the snow and on the first time. I think I was more nervous than he was before, but we were both pretty excited after.

He was so stoked he even smiled and let me take his picture. I love how genuine his smile is in this shot. He's truly happy. And he's such a handsome young man.

When I find her selfies on my phone. I love this capture of her because she looks confident and content. I'm really impressed by her recent dogged determination to eat healthier. She's pretty much cut out all junk cold turkey. She's growing up and into a lovely young woman too.

I may not be the happiest I've ever been, but one thing is for sure...I am as blessed. I truly feel warm appreciation and deep gratitude for this life I live even while I acknowledge it may not be perfect.

A new and good neighborhood pizza parlor. We all ate pizza (even the no glutenites among us) on Fat Tuesday and it was a treat.

Snow...the kind that blankets every limb on every tree. It was the most beautiful snowfall we've had all year.

I washed the boys' favorite blankets and then as soon as I took them out of the dryer fluffed and warm, they snuggled right back up in their nests.

It's still winter, but I can never resist the first daffodils of the coming season especially when they're $1.50 a bunch at Trader Joe's. 

Trader Joe's in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.

The way a few key ingredients can come together so beautifully, and the nights I get to be sous chef. Prepping is my favorite part of cooking.

 A recent resurgence of Gin. He had the title, but I have it now.

A friend gave me a beautiful jade ring just because she knew I'd love it. Her generosity and thoughtfulness never cease to amaze me or touch my heart. I have to have it sized before I can wear it. I had a jade ring in college, and I always felt fierce when I wore it.

A typical March weekend ahead.