Monday, August 20, 2012

Letters in blue

Ours is a story of letters,
of transcontinental surprises
penned on blue-tinged paper
and delivered via air mail
to hands
too far to squeeze.
My dear Jess,
Dear Nanny,
Sometimes no more than a few lines,
a picture, a clipping.
Yet enough to hit its mark:
I've been thinking of you.
Sometimes the envelopes 
would scream, 
glue straining,
the pages dancing with 
laboriously detailed moments 
squeezed from whole chapters of life 
into ink on paper
to stand in gentle defiance
of those twin devils:
distance and time.
We would S.W.A.K.[1]
and XOXO
and always sign,
not goodbye,
but T.T.F.N.[2]
Goodbye was not right,
too final.
Ours was a signing off
wrapped in a promise
of another meeting,
another letter,
another time.
But time, 
that great meaning-maker,
stops for no one
and you have gone now
to where letters cannot reach.
Yet words do not just disappear.
They can be read and recollected,
contemplated and cherished 
long after paper yellows
and ashes scatter.
Life too,
captured on pages,
in freeze-frames,
imprints on the mind,
is never lost.
It can be remembered,
resurrected in sealed kisses,
shared stories,
and resolute promises 
to believe
that time and distance
can be defied.
And so
as I squeeze words
from lives lived,
I say
not goodbye
but T.T.F.N.

[1] Sealed With A Kiss
[2] Ta-Ta For Now

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Cherry Blossom Haiku

March remembers snow
A blanket of fallen bloom
Spring is underfoot

Our neighborhood this past week has turned into a magical place of lightly frosted treetops and gently falling petals. If you squint, this springtime miracle looks and feels a lot like the silent moments after a gentle snow. A haiku is about all I can muster during these last few moments of spring break but I couldn't pass up the chance to share the wonder with you all.

Happy spring! Now to dig the sweaters back out. . .freeze advisory for tomorrow?!?! March might have the real thing left in her yet. . .Mother nature, you cheeky thing. 

Siena romping in the petal snow.
The Easter bunny face paint looks a little
"Insane Clown Possee", doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Everyday Moral Dilemma: Is that a bottle in your pants?

Here's an everyday moral dilemma for you all.  I think I saw someone steal something yesterday and I have been working it over in my brain ever since. I would love the chance to analyze and talk this one through. In all fairness, yesterday I was rocking a double pink eye infection (that's right. . .that's how I kick it for Valentine's Day) and was under the influence of that strange concoction of no sleep and sinus pressure. Yet I am quite certain about what I saw.

The Situation
While browsing the hair products as I waited on my prescription yesterday (WHY does it take so long to label and bag a bottle of eye drops?!??!), I saw a man around my same age lingering in the aisle with me.  He was teetering from foot to foot, a move I interpreted at first to be indicative of an urgent desire to pee, but upon closer examination, I saw that he was struggling to put something in his baggy pants. Wedged between his belt and shirt, covered by a loosely fitting jacket, I glimpsed two or three bottles of some presumably hair-related product.  In disbelief, I watched him shifting and adjusting the fabric to achieve maximum concealment. He did not meet my eyes but stared at the ground, repeatedly sniffing in a manner which I find retrospectively confusing, leading me in the moment to a feeling that he was not in his right mind.  He then teetered his way down the aisle, past the store manager, all of the check-out counters, the shoplifting prevention device, and out the door into the parking lot.  I stood stunned and watching, waiting for the hidden cameras to descend upon me. What was the right thing to do in this situation???

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Lessons in Accidental Smut

Siena got tired of her "library cards" and decided to use them as scratch paper. So now this is what I get to giggle at while she "works" at her desk. Once again, she appears to have NO idea what she is coloring. Life is beautiful, children are a hoot, and I think I need to buy some new bras.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Get-well Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara

So we've all been sick this week.  The kind of sick that makes you want to crawl into bed and re-emerge only once the chain saw has safely exited your throat.  I'm not going to lie.  Feeling sick is definitely a one way ticket to the drive-through or delivery drawer in my house.  No shame in calling in the reserves.  The trickiest days, however, seem to be the ones when you are resurfacing to the world of the living but have yet to find your energy---not sick enough to justify the expense of ordering yet not well enough to put together something fancy. What do you make on those days?

When I'm sick, meat seems more disgusting than usual.  Just the idea of it, even sitting here now, gives me the chills. Weird, I know. In contrast, pasta, especially involving cheese, seems to always be desirable.  Adapted from this vegetarian pasta carbonara recipe from Food and Thrift, this Meatless Monday is not only thrifty, but also chock full of the kinds of comforting flavors that are welcome on a cold evening when, let's face it, you would rather be in bed. Definitely adding this one to the rotation of go-to get-well dinners.

  • 1 bag of whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 onion chopped (I used red onion since it's what we had)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 bag peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • enough lemon wedges for one per person.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Pear, pesto & brie pita pizzas

Sometimes the key to making something everyone likes is giving some choices and, in a sneaky way, making everyone make their own darn food.  Hard to complain when you're the cook, right?  With this in mind, pita pizzas are a fabulous choice for a busy Meatless Monday.  Armed with a variety of your family's favorite cheeses and meat-free toppings, this one has a little something for anyone.  As an added bonus, you can go as homemade or semi-homemade as you like, depending on your pantry, your motivation, and, well, your Monday.

Although we've made these personal pies with tomato sauce many times before (with great success!), this time we decided to also experiment with a playful and different combo. . .pear, brie & pesto.  Seriously, how can you go wrong with those three?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Standing on the counter and screaming: Daily affirmations

Have you seen this one yet?  It's a great one.  If not, go ahead and check it out.  It's worth the 50 seconds for the smile, the reminder, and the side benefit of knowing what the heck I'm talking about.

This sweet little video of 4-yr-old Jessica enthusiastically proclaiming her confidence to the mirror and world (via the magic of YouTube) has been circling the webosphere, delighting audiences with Jessica's refreshing brand of self-love.  Strange that unabashed confidence should be news-worthy, isn't it?  Watching her shout out such pearls of childhood affirmation such as "I love my school!", "I love my hair!" and "I love anything!" has me wondering.  What would this look like if her mom was on the counter ranting into the mirror?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Easy Meatless Monday: Black olive, tomato & parmesan pasta

My three-year-old is a big fan of black olives: in a can, marinated in oil and spices, even in tapenade. A good source of vitamin E, a variety of minerals, and chock full of the healthy fats that are recommended for heart health, black olives are necessarily always in stock in our house and are an easy go-to grab when I want to throw a little nutrient-rich something on a pizza, in a pasta, or on a salad. They are the classic butt-save for the evenings when 6:00 rolls around, I've forgotten about dinner, and pasta with cheese just doesn't have our spirits soaring.

Allow me to share one such butt-save variation with you.  I like this one for the sweet and savory combo that is created by the warm EVOO-tomato-garlic-parsley blend as well as the finishing twist of lemon that ties it all together with some zing.  Here's to saving Monday night dinners one butt at a time!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lessons in Accidental Smut (in which my 3-yr-old teaches me about my body)

Siena's recent art project
Allow me to explain. I love when my three-year-old, Siena, wanders off to work in her "office" to create an "art project".  It means a few minutes of independent time (for both of us) and some good old fashioned creativity.  Jeremy and I like to stockpile random things for her to use and since she has been into cutting and gluing lately, the most recent inspiration pile has consisted mostly of the randomness pushed through the mail slot every day. Trust a toddler to transform our junk mail into treasure, shouting out with glee (Magazines!!!) at the first screech of the mail slot.

This morning I was naturally thrilled then when she initiated such a venture during my morning scramble to get ready.  Hurray for the small victories in motherhood mornings!  As is customary during this early morning custom, we hollered back and forth about her progress as I threw on my makeup and what I hoped was a full outfit.

Me: "What are you doing in there Siena?"
Siena: "Making library cards." Snip snip snip.
Me: "Cool!  What will we do with them?"
Siena: "Play library." (Subtext: Duh!)  Snip snip snip.  Glue glue glue.
Siena: "I'm working so hard, Mama!  So hard!"
And so on. . .

As sometimes happens in the frenzy of morning preparations, it wasn't until we were about to rush out the door that I stuck my head in to rally my little worker into her coat and to the car.  And that is when I saw her "library cards". . .

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waking up to "Blue Monday": Anyone else feeling the effects?

I mean. . .really?!? Blech.
Was rolling out of bed this morning particularly hard or was it just me?  The sickly combo of grey skies and the pallor of melting snow mixed with mud does little to inspire me on any given day but perhaps today was different. As reported in an article from CTV News, at least one psychologist has controversially named the third Monday or January the most depressing day of the year.  Widely criticized for his over-use of the term "depression", psychologist Cliff Arnall nonetheless makes some compelling claims regarding this time of year, specifically the potentially toxic brew that can result from failed New Year's resolutions, Christmas bills, bad weather, and winter lethargy.