12 December, 2016  |   3 Comments

Sweet weekend nothings, sneaky weekend grief

Because Pinot drank the water out of the tree stand, we had always hung the ornaments two feet up from the bottom branches.

Because she loved that sweet pine water, we also had to fill the tree bowl every day with fresh water.

This year, we hung our ornaments on the bottom branches (I had a big cry). And we keep forgetting to refill the tree stand (and every time James goes to do it, I cry a little more).

Dottie and Pinot eating Christmas morning breakfast

I always stood arms’ length away from people who actively missed their pets, wondering about their deal. Just get over it! It’s just a pet.

And like so much in this world, I see that I was so, so wrong in those assumptions.

My favorite part of this sneaky grief? All the ornaments that we hung on the bottom branches fell off and broke this weekend. This gives me comfort, imagining her spirit still sneaking around. She would do that kind of thing.

8 December, 2016  |   3 Comments

Telescopes and art supplies for everyone

So much seems worse these days. You know that. I know that.

But for now, we have this one thing that makes us happy.
Our kids don’t ask for a bunch of crap for Christmas.

And we have technology to thank for it.I received this Barbie Bubbling Spa when I was 9 and didn't have the patience to read the instructions for how to put the stickers on properly, so I was vaguely disappointed in myself every time we played with it. Let that be a lesson to you, always RTFM.

One of the most upsetting memories I have about being a child at Christmas was the WANT.

My Christmas list went on for 5 pages, with page numbers and references.

I wanted a new Barbie whirlpool, I wanted every third listed item in the JCPenney Christmas catalog, I wanted everything I saw on the cartoons and everything I saw on the commercials. (Except Gobots, no one wanted Gobots).

For me, one of those unexpected parenthood fears was knowing that my children were going to feel that intense WANT. They would be tortured with all the things they couldn’t have.

Thanks modern technology (and the internet) they’re largely exempt.

We recycle catalogs before they come in the house and most importantly, we stream the vast majority of entertainment that comes to us without commercial interruption. Without cable, they simply aren’t exposed to the relentless commercial manipulation of the 80s and 90s.

At this specific moment in their brief lives, they have less of a hard time of it than I did.

It’s an utter delight, that the kids aren’t yet consumed by the WANT.

Thanks technology, I’ll take this one as a win.

Anything you want from the JC Penney Wishbook can certainly NOT be yours.

14 September, 2016  |   1 Comment

Repost: Helen Jane’s Minestrone Soup Recipe

  • Seasons, seasons.
    This month seems all about revisiting things after taking a break from them.
    Sometimes the things are relationships, sometimes they’re beliefs, and sometimes they’re hobbies.

I’ve taken a big break from my blog, no surprise. Due to a combination of time and social media and a personal turn to the more private, this seems like the worst, most dangerous hobby in the world. Of course, I miss it.

Lately, due to wonky plug-ins and comments, I’ve had to go back in the archives.
I’m surprised at all the energy and adjectives.
I shared so much.
I’m not much like that anymore.

But all those past, bubbly posts remind me that I’ve shared some useful things. We still eat this soup nearly every other week. In fact, we ate it Monday.

Eat this with grilled cheeses and grapes

When I first made this recipe, we had no kids. I had more energy and adjectives. I shared so much.

Things change. Soup remains.

Now, this minestrone soup recipe is the most effective way I have to cram veggies into the girls. I make it on Sunday, we eat it on Monday. We eat it up and ask for seconds, not realizing the cabbage, greens, beans and lycopene doing their healthfuls.

Minestrone Soup is good for your ass and ass.

Helen Jane’s Minestrone Soup Recipe

Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 pieces raw bacon, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
3 carrots, peeled, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1/2 green cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
6 leaves swiss chard, stripped from the stems and sliced into thin ribbons
1 32 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
1 16 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed – we like butter beans
1/4 cup tiny star shaped pasta or 1/3 cup Ditalini pasta.
A block of parmesan cheese and a fine grater

Directions
Chop the onion, celery and carrots fine. You want them small, especially if small mouths are consuming. Mince garlic. Slice the cabbage fine. Remove stems from swiss chard and slice fine. Open the can of tomatoes.

Veggies are ready.

Warm olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add the chopped bacon and stir until the bacon is cooked through and fat has melted down.

Remove the bacon from the oil to drain on paper towels. Add onions, celery, carrots, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the pot.

Stir and cook veggies for 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic, cabbage and kale and stir frequently until mixed through and limp.
Add can of tomatoes, chicken broth and water.

Stir through until everything is mixed. Turn heat to high, bring the soup to a boil and then turn to low and simmer. If I have a random Parmesan cheese rind, this is when I add it. If you have no Parmesan cheese rind, I promise I won’t hold it against you.

After 15 minutes, add the white beans. Cook for another 20 minutes, add the pasta (if you’re using) and cook until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes, depending on the size). Remove bay leaves, taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Leave the bacon out and swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and you’re looking a little Vegan around the edges.

Serve with sprinkled reserved bacon (this keeps it crunchy) and a healthy scattering of grated Parmesan cheese.
(Sometimes, when lilygilding, I drizzle olive oil over the whole thing.)

We serve this soup with grilled cheese or panini and a chopped antipasti salad. The girls eat it up. Now you can too.

2 September, 2016  |   6 Comments

Missing our Pinot

My dog died. Remember when we got her? Seven million blogging years ago?
We put her to sleep on Sunday. It’s Friday now, seven million grieving days later.
We had her for 13 glorious years. And I walked with her nearly every day of that time.

She had the best sense of humor out of any dog I ever met. I see her everywhere.

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This week has been for quiet time, reflection and surprise tears.

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Friends sent us flowers – what a delightful surprise to be reminded of the community we share.

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I think this experience, more than any other, has brought the contrast of Everyone Deals / But What About My Pain? to the front of my heart. Having a beloved pet die is nearly universal, but the pain, the love and the relationship was unique, only to us.

Nora Lea and Pinot

A lot of acceptance happens in that space between universal experiences had in a way unique only to me. We’re all working through that.

 

 

23 May, 2016  |   Comment

100 Graces

Hello! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m taking part in the 100 Days project from Elle Luna. Thanks to a trip to Green Bay, Mom 2.0 and a new job (!!!) I got a little behind.

No matter! Instead of clogging your Insta-feed with pre-meal graces, I’m catching up here.
Thanks for indulging me!

23_blessings
23/100

24_universe
24/100

25_negativity
25/100

26_clap 27_strong
26/100

28_earth
27/100