Tuesday, April 29, 2014

That Birthday Thing

(Hands down my favorite birthday card this year!)

Yesterday I turned 49.  I suppose that I am not what I expected to be at this age/time in my life.
  • I don't have a job at a research institution
  • I don't feel like I'm "old" (except when my legs stiffen up or my back goes out, and even then it seems out of synch with who I feel like I am)
  • I'm not married to a cool guy (I'm married to a sweet geek)
  • I don't have adult kids (I have a teen and a tween)
  • I'm not thin
  • I'm not stylish
  • I still feel like I'm always running to catch up with work
  • I'm not sure what step/s to take next in my yearning for a slower life 
But you know what?
  • I make a difference in college students' lives
  • With the exception of some physical changes, I really enjoy middle age (and have for a while, as is evident in this post)
  • My sweet geek has one of the best hearts of anyone I know, and he can make me laugh until I cry
  • I hold brains and values in higher esteem than looks
  • I'm earthy and eccentric/eclectic in my tastes
  • I'm learning to keep the work rush out of my soul
  • I'm learning to wait for the next step to be revealed
I guess that 49 isn't too bad after all.  I feel very lucky to be in the life and place that I am!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Kitchen: Contrasts

(Joining Heather's kitchen blog hop.)

A clean kitchen on a Saturday morning--tidy shelves--clean pots--the newest flowers (love tulips).  Countered by: coats on chairs--papers we haven't put away*--an odd array of knick-knacks on a window sill--a messy table.  And through it all, both clean and chaotic, cooking and eating occurred.

(*In my defense, we don't actually keep laundry detergent in the kitchen.  That's just what we use for a sharps container.)

It hasn't been a stunning cooking week, but I am 3/4 of the way through the 55 rough drafts on my plate this week, and I'm one week closer to May 17th and the end of the semester's work!!!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Many Moments

Kind of joining Amanda today, by using a photo in remembrance of Gabriel García Márquez, who died yesterday at age 87.  García Márquez had tremendous influence on my turn to Latin American studies, and One Hundred Years of Solitude is my vote for the best novel of the twentieth century.  It is a really good book the first time you read it, amazing the second, and the greatest book you've ever read by the third time...so few books are like that.  

Maybe I need to read it again, in the original Spanish, this summer.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In My Kitchen: The Heart of the Home

(Joining Heather again for the kitchen blog hop.)

This week and next are two of the busiest of the semester for me, so there is relatively little cooking goodness going on in my kitchen right now. Instead, lots of easy dinners (pasta on Wednesday--anybody remember the old Prince spaghetti commercial in New England, the one with Anthony?).

Even so, the kitchen is still clearly the heart of the home, where:
  • I made a cake to celebrate my son's thirteenth birthday
  • I set up cups of relaxing tea or awakening espresso to get through the madness
  • remnants of work pass through (I am leading a discussion on "Even the Rain" at one of our global film festival events on campus today)
  • My girl reads
  • My boy leaves cubes around, in-between speed cubing sessions
  • We gradually eat artisan chocolate sent to us from Ecuador--made by one of my friend's sons! 
  • We always have a home-made calendar, my gift from Howard on home-made night at Hanukkah every year
The kitchen is also the room I first walk into when I mark the passage from work-day to home-time.  Ahhhhh...

What's your favorite non-cooking way that the kitchen is the heart of your home?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This Week in My Kitchen: Simplicity

(Joining Heather for a kitchen blog hop)

It's been a week for simple foods in my kitchen:
  • seafood either broiled or grilled outside (I am a New Englander, after all--I like my seafood, and I like it cooked w/o smothering its flavor in sauce)
  • green veggies: steamed, or sauteed in a little oil
  • sweet potato oven fries with brown sugar and coriander (penultimate photo--being flipped)
  • easy work-night dinners
  • ...and last but not least: a husband who does dinner prep when work gets crazy for me (we've hit that point in the semester; I come up for air again in mid-May)
What simple foods do you love?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Personal Day?

Today I took a personal day to catch up on work.  More precisely, to catch up on grading.  Most people--you know, normal people, not college professors--can't even wrap their heads around an idea like that.  But my colleagues can.  Some do the same, others refuse, but it makes sense to all of them that someone would do that.

It wasn't a "fun" day. But I am hugely relieved to have one major pile of grading done before starting to collect more tomorrow. From now through the end of the semester, it's just going to get more intense until it's finally over.  But this week, at least, I have a little breathing room.  

I also got to take a long walk in the morning and end my work day with an hour of yoga.  I hardly ever get to do all that on a weekday lately.

Today was, in essence, sanity day.  
(I'm trying not to think too much about how it might be my last sane day in a  month and a half...!)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Centered Again...

Every Saturday afternoon feels more centered than the rest of the week, because we clean on Saturday mornings.  But this particular Saturday?  The basement finally got put back together--giving us back important creative and work spaces, and de-cluttering the rest of the house--at last!!!! 

I almost forgot what a calming effect a relatively organized house has on me.  Hopefully that will be incentive to continue to simplify and streamline.  

What centers you in your living space?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This Week in My Kitchen: Comfort

Joining Heather for A Kitchen Blog Hop today.

Although some healthy foods and raw veggies made it into our week, the rain and dreariness from Friday through Monday--not to mention the madness at work--had us turning to comfort foods (hello to breakfast-for-dinner nights, and to my kids' beloved Taco Tuesday!)  Candle-light and flowers helped raise our spirits, too.

What was the theme this week in your kitchen?