11 February, 2017  |   Comment

Egg Carton Saturday

This week, we decorated our egg carton like it was a monster.
More egg cartons should have teeth.
Teeth on our egg cartons would remind us that we are
no
better
than
the
foxes.

Decorate your farm fresh egg carton like a monster!

7 February, 2016  |   1 Comment

Mustard Season

In wine country, this time of year brings the runny noses, the deep coughs and the irritable allergy response from the pollen in the air.

And it’s glorious.

This weekend, we celebrated the Superb Owl by taking our yearly photos in the mustard flowers. This weekend, I watched my friend Kristen targeted by internet commenters about the way she shares her family online.

girls_posing

The words we currently have for that kind of targeting, of relentless negative commentary sound like physical threats. When someone’s being targeted online, the words we have to describe it removes focus from what’s really happening.

Yes, it’s unlikely that that threat isn’t real, but my brain can’t yet distinguish between these internet threats and real life ones. 

girls_posing3

If I have 100 acquaintances, and 3 don’t like me, that’s normal. I can deal with that.

If I have a public internet presence with 100,000 visitors and 3,000 don’t like me and they tell me all about it every day, that’s not normal. I cannot deal with that. Even thought the math makes sense, my brain cannot handle the load of having 3,000 people not like me. My brain’s reaction to a perceived threat doesn’t scale like that.

girls_posing4

What do I deserve to get by putting up these photos of my children? What form of punishment is enough for me? When does the internet majority decide to turn on me? When will I get what I deserve?

girls_posing5

The network has outpaced my ability to process it.

girls_posing6

Maybe my kids will have an advantage. The advantage of a structure, of new neural networks, of language to describe it.

Maybe they’ll be less unkind online.

30 October, 2015  |   Comment

Helen Jane’s Apple Crisp Sipper

My first apartment.
Winter in Wisconsin.
Homesick.

(This is me back in the mid-nineties, all film camera and apple crisp.)
Helen Jane, mid nineties

During a particularly brutal winter, in those early grown-up years, I learned to bake apple crisp.

The ingredients?
Inexpensive staples.
The outcome?
Warm and loving.

Now that I’m in sunny Napa Valley, November temperatures can reach the nineties. So when I’m craving something cold and cozy, spiced and sweet, fresh yet comforting, I make this Apple Crisp Sipper.

Turns out, this autumn-inspired cocktail is the perfect pre-Thanksgiving cocktail. Pair with gently spiced nuts to keep guests cheerful when the turkey roasts.

Helen Jane's Apple Crisp Sipper recipe

Ingredients
2 ounces apple juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
1 ounce amaretto
2 ounces rum
2 ounces hard apple cider

Directions
Add the first four ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into an pre-iced old-fashioned glass. Fill the rest of the glass with hard apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon-sugar crusted apple slices if you’re feeling ambitious or a cinnamon stick if you’re not.

Helen Jane's Apple Crisp Sipper recipe

Three cheers for cozy, icy drinks!