Friday, October 24, 2014

Running Lately

I've been running.  I run in the early morning hours as they get darker and darker.  I run before the girls wake up, or at least before we recognize their wakefulness, and before Eric leaves for work.  On these runs I can think about what I want the day to look like and what I want to make for dinner.  Or breakfast.  On these runs I have time to resolve various internal conflicts, settle disagreements with myself, and generally make peace with the world.  There is both grumbling and thankfulness.  On these runs I work on a blog post or a writing assignment I've given myself.  I develop get-rich-quick schemes and ideas for entrepreneurial venture.  On these runs I take in my surroundings and enjoy getting a head start on the day.  Most thoughts I can't recall and float in and out of my head in rhythm with my stride.  I'm usually down by the river, running to this bridge or that bridge.  And back.  

I must paint this romantic picture because it does cost me something.  I have more energy and less energy at the same time.  Many things have fallen off my radar and out of my line of sight and I'm simply behind the ball.  The truth is I'm training for a marathon while pretending I'm not.  My inbox is like the Bermuda Triangle.  Phone calls that should be made, haven't been made and I'm not sure when they will.  Weekly meal planning remains just out of my grasp.  

After the race is over I hope I will be able to say it was worth it.  And I will ask myself that question.  Really, I would like something other than running 16 miles to provide me with moderate serenity.  I've grown accustomed to a bit of level-headedness.  But, I worry that there isn't.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

French Lessons

Last week we took the cousins, most willing and all able, to the French Cultural Center in the beautiful Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.  We want to fill those curious minds with some french vocabulary so that they pass the foreign service exam one day!  No, but in all seriousness, why not throw some French riddles in to clog up their little sponges.  Though I loved every minute of my time in the land of the Scots when I studied abroad in college, I do wish I had been bold enough to sure up my conversation French somewhere else.  And so that duty will rest on the shoulders of the next generation.  Here is your head start people.

The building was exquisite and the children's room captivated everyone.
Now to make it back in two weeks time to return materials and keep our account in good standing.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Meal Plan | 09.09.14 | Sarma and Beyond

Last week my lovely friend Rebecca came for a visit.  She has an uncanny ability to savor life, and a nack for finding joy in most everything.  She allowed us a needed break from our routine.  She read stories out-loud.  She helped me work on my day-time conversation skills.  It was truly wonderful to have her here.

Immediately upon her arrival we started talking and almost immediately we started talking about what and where and when we were going to eat.  She filled me with tales of abroad -her sister, just back from Egypt could testify to the authenticity of Kusheri -a simple lentil and rice dish we both love.  She explained some of the differences between Mexican and El Salvadorian food.  And after I told her I wanted to find more Indian dishes to cook upon watching The Lunchbox, she quickly referred me to this cookbook, Extending the Table.  I was told to not skip the stories and I haven't.  Indeed they are rich.  

Now I want a huge map of the world in our kitchen pronto and I want to put a dot on each country we visit. 

Our last night together we ventured to Sarma.  Two open seats at the bar.  Delicious dim sum style small plates being solicited by friendly waitstaff.  A bartender who was only minorly annoyed by our incessant questions.  We were easy to please, at least on this night, and we loved it.

So, I'm calling this international week.

Monday:  Chick Peas and Coconut Milk -Tanzania.
Tuesday:  Curried Split Peas -Kenya.
Dessert:  Bananas in Coconut Milk -Thailand.
Wednesday:  Vegetarian Tikka Masala.  TheKitchn
Thursday:  The Weekly Lentil.  An Ethiopian Salad.  
Friday:  Cuban Style Black Beans over Salad.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Judgement Rendered and Returned

It's been really hard for me to write anything lately.  I've been trying to jump to a few conclusions as to why this is so, instead just letting it be.  It could be because the neighborhood dog begins his endless barking at 1pm sharp.  Or it could be that I try to write during my dwindling nap time.  It could be that I do not have ready access to a study carrel.  It could be that I'm out of practice.


A while ago my neighbor called me on my cell phone, a number he obtained from another neighbor, during the middle of the day.  I didn't recognize the number and I picked up the call.  "Hi....are you home?"  I wanted to say, "No sorry, I'm out and can't be bothered."  But, I was home and the girls were napping.  But I very well could have been out!  "I need you to do a favor for me," he went on to say.  Thinking I was going to save a withering tomato plant, I said sure, of course.  I locked the girls in the house and proceeded to go next door, cell phone to ear, following his explicit instructions.  Walk into the breezeway, find the hidden key, with that key unlock the door, get the other spare key, go back downstairs, put that spare key out, put the original spare key back in hiding spot.  All of this so that the air conditioner repair man can repair the air conditioner without gaining knowledge as to the hiding place of the spare key.  This is above and beyond, I thought to myself and I was happy to help.  "Thanks," he said.  Click.  It was then that I started feeling a little crappy.  And then it dawned on me and I stood mouth agape, brow furrowed.  "I've been judged!"  I said with the same velocity as someone would say, "I've been robbed!"  Enter Steve Martin with a dopey voice saying, "Gee, do you think so?"

To him I was that stay-at-home mom who had nothing better to do than to make sure someone else's air conditioning was running full blast.  To him I was that stay-at-home mom watching her soaps in the middle of the day and eating cookie dough batter.  I was clearly over-reacting and clearly judging his motives at the same time.  I said to myself, I'll totally get over this when I see him in person the next time and he thanks me profusely for my random act of kindness and when he goes on and on about how he can't believe he caught me at an okay time.  Those things never happened of course.  God knows I do my fair share of judging and I need to give the guy a break, for goodness sake.  But, still.  I was judged!  As every person is again and again by people who don't understand, by people who do things slightly differently.  By people who think the way they do things is the best way to do things.  Myself included.

What is a judgement for if not to take stock of your life and the decisions you've made and decide if you want to change anything?  I do this all the time.  There are some moms who insinuate that you are betraying your children by sending them to preschool twelve hours a week.  There are some people who look at you and your decision to be with your children during the day-time hours and secretly feel as if you are sending the wrong message to them and to the greater population of women.  And there are others who find it easier to understand your role as a stay-at-home mom if you have a part-time job attached to it.  It's a relief for them to hear that you at least do something on the side.  It's also more comfortable for the mother because then you don't have to clarify that it isn't child-care you are passionate about, but your own children.

Any way you slice it, you are doing something wrong according to someone.  This is hard for me because I like to be in agreement with all people at all times.  Not sure what I should do about that.


The girls were great, exhausting company this past week.  My little compadres.  They have no choice but to go where I go.  This is a great responsibility, many times a pain but it's also a lot of fun.  I'm still surprised when I turn around in the car and see two people strapped in, waiting to go where I have us going.  Following my sister's lead, we didn't rush out the door.  I didn't realize that I did this until I stopped doing it and it was so nice!  We laid low, ran errands, bought groceries, and had long lunches.  They ran around naked in the backyard, jumping off of a lawn chair into a blue plastic pool and watching me laugh at them.

I also got a moment to paint.  For a while now I've wanted this blog to have a header -something other than Times New Roman.  It's hashtag nobigdeal, but like you want to envision your best self, sometimes, depending on the time of month, I have a vision for my blog as its best blog self.  Right now it's not that.  And maybe it never will be.  But I have a vision, a vision that changes from mood to mood, but a vision at least.


Monday, August 11, 2014

The Meal Plan | 08.11.14 | A Sketch

Today we made purple pesto!  For our reach moment we made the peach tart prepped for yesterday's non-specific feasting purposes.  
Tomorrow I'm hoping to make Barefoot Contessa's provencal potato salad.  I made this on Sunday with half of the ingredients it called for and I'd like to try it again.  First she makes a basic but stand-alone french potato salad and then adds to it haricots verts blanched, tuna, capers, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, black olives, hard-cooked eggs.    
Wednesday I might make a spicy ratatouille from the Home Made Summer cookbook that is now overdue. 
Thursday: On the same page of that cookbook is a recipe for large polenta pizza with ratatouille.  Then I'll return it.  
Unless I keep it around to try her crispy chickpeas on Friday.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Meal Plan | 08.06.14

There hasn't been much meal-planning around these parts.  We've been loading up at farmer's markets and trying to keep the oven off.  Duh.  We've been eating lots of tomato sandwiches and lots of peaches.  I perfected corn on the cob!  Boil it for only four minutes, drain most of the water, put a lid on your pot and let the corn steam until you are ready to serve it.  The corn stays warm and the kernels are plump.  Thanks Aunt Rebecca.  

Last week I ate raw.  I can't really call it a cleanse because I was still drinking coffee.  I made smoothies, ate lots of cashews, splurged on a beet juice and drank lots of water.  It was good and I learned a few things.  One, I can survive a day without a full bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.  Good to know.  Two, it is possible for me, though I don't recommend it, to go a night without wine and or chocolate.  And three, it is really hard to sit down and eat something different than your family.  There are many questions: "Momma, why aren't you having any oatmeal?"  "Momma, why aren't you eating any pizza?"  "You see, Naomi, I'm not growing anymore so I can go without sometimes."  This is very true, but it's also true that eating together and eating the same thing is the real bonding experience.  I felt like an outsider.  But the other part of me was like, "deal with it and stop with the peer pressure!"

What have you been up to lately?

*Above is a picture of some posies I made for a wedding.  I keep meaning to tell you about my new job at a most becoming little flower shop!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lobsters with a View

Chauncey Creek.  Last month it was featured in Bon Appetit and so when we went there last week I thought we would find it puffed up and crowded.  But it wasn't.  It hadn't changed at all.  There were parking spots, no framed copy of the article and no long line.  Granted we were there on a Tuesday.  We laid our tablecloth on one of the picnic tables and got out our accompaniments - a baguette, pasta salad and a bottle of white wine.  Then we ordered our lobster, some steamers and two cups of clam chowder.  Then we sat and sipped and admired the view.  Or ran around climbing on ropes, depending.  It really does make for the perfect summer evening.  If you can make it there go by way of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and take the little bridge that connects you to Kittery, Maine.  It really is beautiful.