Thursday, July 31, 2014

In My Kitchen: Color, Aroma, Texture

(Joining Heather again for the kitchen blog hop)

Is there anything more divine than the smell of raspberries cooking for jam?  I stuck to two batches this year, and am looking forward to getting some wild blueberries soon to make jam--blueberry jam is my favorite.

Colorful, nutritious, delicious salads continue to be the theme of the summer.  Plus granola bars for my boy (and me) whenever I get around to it--and whenever he leaves enough almonds for me to make them.  The boy is an almond-eating fiend.  I guess that's what comes of growing 7 inches in 2 years.

Lately, though, I keep forgetting to take pictures in the kitchen.  I think I want to make sure that I do so in this next month, the last before the academic year starts up again.  Live fully and presently--in the kitchen, in my home, in my work.  Resist the lure to worry over how busy I will soon be.

What's late July looking like in your kitchen?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Six Years (at age 13)

I asked him: if the dinosaur loves cookies, why did you feed it pi?

It is six years to the day since Samuel was diagnosed.  I am, every day, grateful for this healthy, strong, smart, thoughtful, funny boy of mine who is so quickly growing into a man. I am also thankful on a daily basis for insulin and for living in the Boston area, full of hospitals and technology.  

Thank you, Sam.  Every day of your life--before and after diabetes struck--you have taught me (sometimes with joy and laughter, sometimes with tears or frustration) what is most important in this life.  I am so privileged to be your mother.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Did I Get Here?

I hope that I am not the only person who—even in my late forties, and on a somewhat regular basis—finds it repeatedly shocking that I am a grownup.  When I was a kid or a teen, “being an adult” seemed like I would have to be an entirely different person than I was. Yet, while I am indeed very different now than I was at, say, 14, I am…still just me.  I also thought that being an adult meant “having it all together.”  HA! (Enough said on that.) 

I suppose that I came to adulthood later than many people.  I was a "student" until I was 32, after all.  And I didn't have kids until I was 36 (this was largely a result of watching my siblings have kids while I was a teen). Even now, I regularly look at my kids and think: "Who the hell said I was qualified to be your mother? I have no idea what I am doing."  Further, although I have a house and mortgage, it is my husband who understands the mortgage, not me (what are points? I find them as confounding as off-sides in hockey).

But sometimes it just hits me that I am a full-fledged (and card carrying) adult. 

Signs that (for me) indicate that I am a grownup include:
·  When I look at a house, I notice if the roof needs fixing or replacing.
·   The art on my walls is not held up by thumb tacks.
·   I have a Kitchen Aid and a Cuisinart.  And I use them.
·   I have not gone dumpster diving for furniture in many, many years.
·  I have an office.  
·  I have “work clothes.”
·  I go to meetings.  I contribute to them.  I sometimes even run them. 
·  I speak the jargon of my field, and the more specific jargon of my institution (I can—but try not to—use acronyms numerous times in a single paragraph).
·  “My family” can mean the one that I created, not just the one from whence I came.
·  I refer to my husband as “Dad” when I talk to the kids.
·  I have said a eulogy.
·  I have political opinions. 
·  I don’t have to go to any religious institution unless I choose to do so.
·  I look forward to vacations with an aim of doing nothing.

What are the signs that, somewhere along the way, you turned the corner and became a grownup?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Perfect Place to Be

It's the world's ugliest chair...but it's also one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture in existence, and it has my favorite view in the living room.  On a hot summer evening, with the kids hiding away in air-conditioned rooms, the cat and I curl up to read (me) and snooze (Toonces).  

I might not like the heat of summer, but egads I love the pace of it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sorry, Beatrix

Once, this planter had three kale seedlings and one purple cabbage seedling.  One kale and the cabbage were early casualties. Then, left alone until some near-miss hole digging last week.  When I got up this morning, my two kale were still there.  An hour later?  More carnage.

I hate squirrels.  They don't even eat the plants, just dig and destroy.

Since trying to garden this summer and encountering massive squirrel damage, I've got to say that I am re-thinking my response to the Peter Rabbit stories by Beatrix Potter.  I am now totally on Farmer Brown's side.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

In My Kitchen: Summer in Swing

(Again joining Heather on her kitchen blog hop)

I feel like I avoid the kitchen with the heat that's been with us in New England in the past few weeks, but I suppose that I have been fairly busy here nevertheless!
  • Baking whenever the weather cools down a little--including finally making coffee spice cake
  • So happy that the farmers' market is back again--and getting to make strawberry-honey jam because of it
  • Salads, salads, more salads.  With lettuce from the garden, with pasta and peanut sauce, with more of those luscious strawberries...
  • And, if I had to go to a family party (I love them, they are just way too many for my comfort zone), I decided that I should at least make strawberry shortcake so that my Dad would be there in spirit.
  • More manageably, my brother Kevin came for dinner one night while out east from CA.  It's always so lovely to see him and catch up in person.  In addition to a fine (vegan) meal, we got to play with Anya's Lego city and introduce him to the new Dr. Who via "Blink" (you know, lure in with the best).
  • Finally: playing around with recipes from a new cookbook (always fun)
Not quite as hot or humid today, and tomorrow will be in the mid 70s!  Time to use the oven again while we can.

How is summer playing out in your kitchen?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Laughter Feeds the Soul

Among the things that are making me laugh lately:

1) My husband's insight about the secret of couples with long marriages: they stay together for revenge.

2) My realization (with Heidi's support) that we need to give up on looking for grading gnomes.  If monkeys would eventually type out Shakespeare given enough time, then surely they can learn to do my grading in short order.

3) Reading aloud again from How to Be a Villain.  Honestly, my only problem with this book is that I didn't think to write it myself.

4) The chihuahuas up the street (Lucy and Lola) who look delicate but wrestle with each other as if they believe they are German shepherds.  

5) Coming up (again with Heidi) with ideas for building children's show episodes around cool vocabulary words like: preposterous, filibuster, cantankerous, symbiotic...the possibilities for my own amusement really are endless here.

6) Though not all of it is laughter-worthy (and a few things not familiar), I am reminded here that I truly am a New England gal in the most bizarre and funny ways. (They forgot bubbler, though--that's the real giveaway that I am from MA: I drink water from a bubbler. And yes, it's typically pronounced "bubblah.")

7) And in the "laugh rather than cry" category: dreaming up ways to knock off the squirrels that are digging up my veggies.  They don't even eat anything, just dig stuff up and ruin the garden.  While I would never actually harm them, it makes me giggle with glee to think up plots to foil them.

What's making you laugh lately?