11 August, 2014  |   1 Comment

Conquering our inner hobbits

Nora Lea kept climbing out on some rocks,
further than our comfort,
over seaweed slick boulders,
up steep hillsides.

Discovering new lands.

From the beach, we hollered
parental inanities like,
“WE HAVE TO SEE YOU WITH OUR EYES!”
as she continued to sneak away.

Come with me to the grotto.

This disappearing made me grumpy.
Grump trumped discomfort,
so I climbed out on those boulders,
braving nature’s oogy glory.

Can you believe it?

There, an alcove,
three feet wide and 7 feet deep,
tiny waterfalls,
the perfect water princess lair,
Ariel’s grotto.

Ariel's Grotto.

The older we get, the deeper those ruts of our routine become.
The tighter I cling to perceived safety.

All of it’s safe, none of it is.

The last few months have shown our family a little turmoil.
Employment, health, life, family,
it’s all shaking up, changing in a way that feels unsafe.

Profoundly uncomfortable.

But that discomfort is the way to growth, right?
It’s that stretching that gets us where we need to go.
Right?

If it were up to James and me,
we would wake in our hobbit hole
to do the same thing, every day,
the way we did it before.

They tell me that we need to mix it up.
They tell me I need an efficient routine.
An ironclad routine.

6 August, 2014  |   1 Comment

Wine Wednesday: Barnacle Bubbles

Govino gls

We were encouraged to share our knowledge at Y&YY. We were encouraged to teach that magic only we know how to make.

Uncovering what I might know enough about to share was tough. I mean, there are all these experts in the world about everything. They all know better than me.

Wait. Wine.

I know wine.
Better than that, I know people who know more than me about wine.

My newlywed friend Erin from Acme Fine Wines and I put together a little tasting in the spirit of Y&YY.  She found wines where the producers reworked, retooled and reinvented their corner of the modern wine world.

And that brings us to: Barnacle Bubbles.

More accurately, the wine is named Bisson Abissi, Spumante Metodo Classico. It’s from Liguria, Italy and was bottled in 2011. $101.

Piero Lugano is a winemaker from Italy who wanted to make a Methode Champenoise styled wine. He just didn’t have the space to age sparkling wine the way sparkling wine needs to be aged.

So Lugano put it in the ocean. As Acme Fine Wines says, “The temperature is perfect, there’s no light, and the rocking of the waves acts like a riddling rack, gently moving the lees through the wine.”

He got approval from the Agricultural Ministry in Rome (no small feat). They determined that there would be no environmental impact, so Lugano put his wine made of Vermentino and Bianchetta grapes in a big cage that he then dropped into the Mediterranean Sea.

“Thirteen months later, the bottles were still intact; however, the sea certainly made an impact. The bottles were covered with algae, seaweed, and barnacles, all of which were carefully cleaned, dried, and preserved onto the bottles. The result? A pale yellow wine with tiny, soft bubbles, the palate reveals sweet ripe stone fruits, swiftly followed by bracing acidity and an almost salty minerality.”

What a story, right? A delicious wine with the sea on the bottle, cleverly created, with a good story to boot.

Sneaky, Y&YY, you’ve found a great way to get me sharing.

No one paid me to write this. I like Acme Fine Wines, I like this wine and I thought it a cool story to share.

4 August, 2014  |   Comment

On The Sads

The Gift of Tears
1. The Gift of Tears is on my friend Margit’s brilliant site TueNight. (It’s like we’re blogging in 2002, but with an editor this time.)

2. Read this brilliant post on ZenArchery: Everyone I know is brokenhearted.
Put your babies in Black Flag onesies, but make sure their stroller is more high tech than anything mankind ever took to the Moon, because that wolf is always at the door.

3. Quantum physics gives me hope (there’s another reality somewhere better AND worse than this one and that distinction is meaningless!).

4. My friend told me their conspiracy theory regarding the rise in apocalyptic fiction. They said it can be traced to a government wanting us to feel that fighting back is useless. Since the totalitarian regime is around the corner anyway, we might as well give up any expectations of privacy and mercy. This popular culture reflects our collective disillusionment with the future.

5. I see these fires of It’s Not Fair and It Never Will Be stoked in the comments section of everywhere. We compete – how much we work, how hard we have it, how our real life is realer than theirs.

They have it hard. Their real life is no realer than mine.

5. This isn’t to say, I’m not hopeful.

I start a new project today,
surrounded by friends,
thriving children,
enough water for us to drink,
sadness is seasonal.

6. We hope, we gather, we share some food. We remember that our egos can take vacations too. We get mad. Oh, it’s time to get mad.

 

28 July, 2014  |   5 Comments

Nora Lea’s Lego Birthday Party

Our shining enigma turned six this summer.
To celebrate, we threw a Lego themed birthday party.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Two days before the party, Nora complained of a tummy ache.
No problem! We agreed she would be fine by her party!

When she was still sleeping 30 minutes after the first guests arrived, we realized she was definitely not fine yet.

But the party is strong with that one, so she pulled it together and sat quietly while her friends bopped around and played hard.

We played “Guess how many Legos are in the jar!”
(There were 88. We realized Nora had the right answer because of an eavesdropping sister.)

Nora Lea's Lego Party

We made a Lego bean bag toss board — I’ll show you how we made it later this week. It was super easy and it occupied the children for at least 15 minutes.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

More than one child was disappointed in the contents of our goodie bags. (Lego eraser, a small notebook and a pack of Lego man shaped crayons.)

I crossed my arms and said smugly, “When I was a child we did not have goodie bags.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Our friend Melissa made this amazing cake. Before serving, we covered the cake in industrious Lego people that we then removed before serving and are humans weird or what?

Nora Lea's Lego Party

James crafted the utensil holder from Legos. He is my favorite.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Little girls picnicked on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. They spent most of the party sitting on a blanket and talking about presents.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

We had lots of Legos laying about for grownups and kids to build together.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Let’s all build together.

Happy birthday my Nora Lea.

24 July, 2014  |   4 Comments

The Cherry Cordial Revolution

Probably thinking about Grandma Yeager's candy drawer.At 96, my Grandma Clara Yeager (far right) was pissed. A tough Irish broad who raised all 5 of her children during the Depression, she had broken her third hip and could no longer stay at home alone.

Dad and his siblings sent her to live at Woodbridge Nursing Home.

We visited her once a week. My sister and I sat on the end of Grandma’s twin bed watching Star Search while Grandma groused at Dad for putting her there in the first place.

She had a legendary sweet tooth. Fifty years of grandchildren still talk about that candy drawer in her house.

So, when Grandma established a Woodbridge candy drawer, we assumed she had come to terms with staying at the nursing home and the grousing would stop.

One day, a nurse took Dad out of the room for a private chat. My sister wasn’t there that day, and Grandma took the occasion to make a request.

“Listen,” she said, grabbing my hand tightly. “Next time you come, bring me a box of Brach’s Cherry Cordials. Here’s 3 dollars. For some goddamned reason, they won’t let me have them. Put the cherries in my sweater drawer at the bottom, the drawer above my candy drawer.”

Grandma rarely talked to me, much less made a direct request so I didn’t ask why. Soon my dad returned to the room and it was clear this was secret.

A few days later, I bought the cherry cordials at the drugstore across from my middle school.

That night, from the computer, I overheard a conversation between my parents

“…leaving the cherries all over the nursing home.”

“What?”

“She’s sucking the chocolate off the cordial and spitting the cherry out. She leaves them all over the nursing home. The nurse said Mother refuses to comply. The home has offered napkins, containers, special times of day but still, she leaves the sucked on cherries on windowsills, in drawers, in the art room, on the piano, on the table in the cafeteria.”

“So no more chocolate cherries,” said my mom.

Cherry Cordial RevolutionNow I knew Grandma was unhappy with the nursing home, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be complicit in this… sabotage.

NOW it made sense, why she wanted me to put the chocolate covered cherries in her sweater drawer.

Revolt.

Do I help Grandma? Or do I follow the (eavesdropped) rules and refuse to buy Grandma her cherries?

At the time of Woodbridge, I was twelve, I wore thick glasses and headgear. HEADGEAR.

I preferred writing computer programs to interacting with humans and I was growing hair between my eyebrows.

My body was changing and I didn’t like it. I felt trapped. I had no control over the changes happening to me — and I had less control over my living situation.  I felt like I couldn’t make my own decisions. I wanted my own space, I couldn’t have my own space.

I totally got it.
I decided to help.

It wasn’t her fault her body was changing and everyone told her what to do all the time. That was the worst. I knew from experience.

The next Thursday, I snuck the box into the bottom of her sweater drawer. I did this every Thursday for the next 2 months until she died. They never knew where she got the cherries.

Last fall, I toured Woodbridge Nursing Home with my mom. She’s moving into a nursing home this year under far different conditions (willingly! cheerfully!).

I couldn’t help but look in all the corners, on all the windowsills and shelves to see if they missed one – that maybe, just maybe, I’d see one quivering red cherry, sucked free from its chocolate cover.

Cherry cordial, candy of the revolution.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...