You can tell I’m feeling better because I’ve been whistling while I work, which is to say, singing along tunelessly to The Wailin’ Jennys while I slip meat off a smooth turkey scapula with my thumb. (Also, turkey bones are the Lamborghini of bone broth, so there’s that to celebrate, too).
Another clue that I’m feeling better is that Rose spent her dog-sitting money on these blingy nail-stickers, and despite the fact that they made me cringe for five thousand different reasons, I helped her apply and trim them and felt a funny sort of pride in her courage to be so sparkly-spangled while the rest of us are more good-naturedly boring and practical.
Also, it’s possible that my mind is either getting more expansive or the tiniest bit addled. I’ve been taking my beer money to various healers and every single one is independently encouraging me to find my greater, supernatural-like support system (except my acupuncturist, who is encouraging me to buy a new bra). I’ve been calling on the Arnica Fairy, on Old Mother Juniper, on freaking angels. I’ve been getting to know an old, braced place in my chest I’ve named “The Shield,” one of those places developed to keep you safe in the scary wilds of childhood, which now is like leaving the house with a team of armed bodyguards when you’ve actually got grown up skills and life is really pretty safe and lovely.
Also, I’m learning how to recharge my mental/emotional/physical batteries. Mostly this means doing less, and as my friend Ananda confirmed, the world does go on just fine even if I go to bed at 9pm and shut my computer down for the weekend. But also, self care is sometimes doing more, like signing the kids and I up to volunteer at the local animal shelter (where Rose is already agitating for a very elderly female cat who’s been marked down to $10). Self care is not just an island owned by Oprah. Although, holy moly, growing up American, somehow you get the impression that mastering your times tables by ten years old is the brass ring to strive for. And to tell you the truth, I’m still a little fuzzy on some of my times tables, but getting clearer that I’m never alone.
On the homestead::
:: Hanukkah has been more special than I could have imagined. Not sure if it’s that Col and Rose can be bickering right up to the moment the flame leaps from the lighter, and then we all unify like a wholesome Norman Rockwell painting to sing the Hanukkah blessing; or maybe it’s how Rose approaches the blessing like a gospel song with jazzy riffs and long-held notes; or maybe it’s that Dan has taught the kids to sing the part that goes asher kidishanu as I share kitties with you, which is a pretty powerful blessing when you think about it, as the adopting of our first cat Jasper was certainly the start of our own deep committment.
Notable: Rose is wearing a long-sleeved leotard in DECEMBER, hence bare legs; Col can’t keep his hands out of the fire (Dan is onto him); the ubiquitous bowl of soaking pinto beans; my lonely yet cheery bowl of bone broth soup in the midst of enchiladas. And ten points to anyone who spots Dan without his knit hat from now through April.
:: My parents just left after two months here in Durango (and are now obnoxiously e-mailing me pictures of the fresh tomatoes they’re buying at the Berkeley farmers markets. It’s ten degrees here today). We loved having them here, passing the kids back and forth between us like precious and very loud gifts. Yesterday Rose roped me and Col into a little “window-shopping,” which is something her and Nana do together (this is where you peruse stores without buying anything. For fun). I told her my limit was two stores unless someone hooks me up to a medical marijuana IV, when she scoffingly informed me that her and Nana usually do at least NINE stores.
:: Col got a remote control airplane for Hanukkah and now it’s clear what his hands have been missing all these years. I can’t quite understand the magic of watching something launch…circle…crash over and over and over. But, I’m happy for Col’s happiness.
:: This picture, taken on Thanksgiving, sums up everything I’m thankful for.
:: Kale poachers.
:: Forcefully grooming reluctant chickens with a stiff-bristled brush: Don’t let PETA know.
:: Col’s new homemade bow and quiver.
:: The complete, homely view of those lovely coldframe greens from my last post. Blankets overnight and a row of insulating bags of leaves on the northside. (Just so you don’t think I’m running some Martha Stewart-like operation here).
This could also serve as a great Holiday Book-Buying Guide for the 6-10 year old set.
Col, recharging his batteries.
ps: Earlier this week at you’vegottabekiddingme thirty in the morning, Rose wakes me up because her knees are hurting. I ask if she’s nervous about going to school tomorrow. Yes, that’s it. Would you like to call in some angels to help you? She would. She calls in 3 boys and 3 girls (each trio has an angel with black, red and blonde hair, suspiciously similar to Charlie’s Angels). I ask if she wants to ask the angels for help. She asks the boys to help her with the knee pain and the girls to help her get back to bed. One minute later she’s in her top bunk, calling out a bit like a drunken sorority sister, as she does when sleep-happy, “I love you soooooo much, Mama.” Just saying.
We’ve been celebrating Hanukkah, which is joyous because no matter what is happening at sundown—which is usually that it has become simultaneously cold and dark, no one’s thought about dinner, and the kids are either happily or bereftly loud—we stop to light the Hanukkah candles.
We’ve explained to the children that Hanukkah is about bringing light to the darkness, and about miracles, large and small. This has been cheering me up immensely. I’m like an old retired horse given new purpose: sniffing out miracles. This is also called mind expansion practice, which is like taking my old worn out neural pathways to the gym.
It’s possible that I’m scraping the bottom of the miracle barrel, content with assorted crumbs rather than the sea-parting, oil-lasting stuff of legends. Which is to say that when Dan and the kids all relieved themselves behind a bush this weekend and Rose asked if anyone had any toilet paper, and Dan found, inexplicably, a tiny square of it in his pocket, we proclaimed it a Hanukkah miracle.
More Hanukkah miracles:
1) The miracle of siblings not fighting. When we play a family board game, siblings are too busy and occupied to remember to fight! (Which may or may not be the reason we bought Dan (count ‘em) three new board games for Hanukkah).
Catan Junior, where you win by acquiring resources like goats, bundles of wood and barrels of molasses, which feels pleasingly wholesome. Also, equal parts luck and strategy = fun for all the ages of our household. Also, we haven’t had actual dinner at our actual table in three nights due to our obsessive Catan playing soon as the sun goes down.
2) The miracle of seeds. In the beginning of November, I scattered a few hundred lettuce seeds in a couple garden beds and covered them with PVC hoops and plastic. I was entirely prepared for the seeds to do what most seeds do in November, which is nothing. But look!
There are three of these coldframes. My guess is the greens will hold on all winter and start really putting out next spring. We cover them with blankets at night.
3) The miracle of optimism. Having not grown up celebrating Christmas, I can just barely cobble together a safe-for-kids facsimile of this holiday. We do our best and it’s all good. But I just can’t uphold Santa as anyone other than a man who’s been paid to dress up in a portly red suit. My kids have been briefed and know not to spill the beans for other kids. This year we stumbled on a Christmas tree lighting ceremony downtown in which Santa and Mrs. Claus came riding up on a horse-drawn carriage. Rose gasped, and announced, “I DO BELIEVE IN SANTA!….He just hasn’t ever brought me presents.” We call this extreme optimism.
4) The miracle of digging deep. I have been alcohol-free for three months now. And though I would rarely consume even 2 beers in one 24-hour period, there was a certain ritual in toasting my glass to the setting sun after a day steeped in children and work. There was some entitlement: I’ve earned this beer. Also, some taking the edge off: It won’t matter as much that Col is howling because Rose pinched him because he walloped her with a pillow, now that I’ve cracked this beer. But without that crutch, I’m digging a little deeper. And, it’s just like digging in the garden, your hands scrabbling past the sharp-edged rocks of your fears and judgments, watching all your expectations sift through your fingers like sand. And amazingly, underneath it all, I’ve been finding more patience and tolerance than I thought existed. I don’t know why. Maybe because there’s nothing else to lean on. And turns out patience and tolerance work similarly to beer.
Every night, after lighting the Hanukkah candles and saying the blessing, I declare, ”Let there be light in the darkness. And let there be miracles in our lives.” And then Dan says, “and let there be candle wax on our table.”
And the Lord said, It was good (enough).
* Tell me your Hanukkah miracles.
* yes, Rose is wearing a stuffed bra. We get home, I take mine off, she slips it on. Latest inexplicably coveted item along with braces.
By Col Hinds
We butched all night, we butchered all day
We butchered a roadkill deer today
You could hear the chop chop chopping
Of our knives on the cold red meat
The ground was covered with snow that day
I said, “I think we’re going to do this all winter this way.”
Rose is delivering school lessons to Polar and Tabby. Right now it’s Spanish, which sounds more like a mash-up of the first five languages you hear on any random street corner in San Francisco. No matter, Tabby and Polar are rapt students. Now—sleeting outside—Rose is in pink sundress, working at her store, The Chocolate Carrot, where you can put a 2 cent massage on a credit card that she keeps on file for you.
I am at
my desk the kitchen table writing a script on American food waste for NPR (yes, I’m name dropping. Also, in typical NPR cheeriness, “food waste” is coming out just before Thanksgiving. Rejoice!). Col is at Mathew’s, where Mathew’s mother Melanie is craftily crossbreeding remote control helicopters with bar graphs so the boys get a little education with their fun. A pot of deer and beef bones simmer on the stove, secret nutrients peeling off in layers.
Rose is staying home with me on Thursdays. This is our current compromise to her current request to never leave my side (her school is Tues/Thurs; she now goes just Tuesdays). On Thursdays, I work from home, and she is free to engineer her own day. This also means she’s free to wipe her nose on her skirt ten times with no comment from me, and I am free to get my work done without feeling guilty that I’m ignoring her. It’s a strange compromise, I mean how about you forego kid-friendly school activities all day to stay home and play alone? And I can hear the accusing voice of the spokesperson of “We Are American and We Value Independence!” in my head: how is she going to develop strength and resilience at home by your side?
Life is surprising. I really value clarity and direction, like if I could just figure out The Right Approach with my health and with Rose’s anxieties, we’d be sprinting across our own personal finish lines, leaving discomfort back at some forgotten mile marker. But this hasn’t happened. There is much discomfort. My hope for myself these last 2 1/2 months on this healing diet was that I would reach ground zero, symptomatically speaking, then unveil my superhero cape and announce how I triumphed over mainstream medicine and its bogus “cure the symptoms, ignore the cause” approach. Yet, I keep folding up the cape for another day. These days my intention is more about showing up. And then, showing up again. And again. As Anne Lamott says in Some Assembly Required, “I had two slogans to guide me. One was: “Figure it out” is not a good slogan.
I feel a little self-consciously Oprah-like saying this, but the act of showing up is allowing me to see (with my tiny flashlight in the forest) the blessings of all this discomfort (mine and Rose’s).
1. Learning to be with discomfort. Discomfort can be physical or mental. Allowing it in without judgement deepens your capacity for all emotions. Brene Brown says “You cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff: vulnerability, grief, shame, fear, disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. When we numb those emotions, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.”
2. Self care is a necessity. If there’s a choice between taking a small hike or fitting in a little extra work, the choice for my well being is clear; I am lacing up my boots. I don’t have the luxury of ignoring stress; it shows up in my body. It has been more nourishing to nurture my body and mind than to push it to produce.
3. Who’s to say what’s right? For example, Rose is typically a person who’s looking for the next party, the next stimuli, treat, excitement, playdate. And on these Thursdays, she entertains herself brilliantly for five hours. She works in her store, teaches her stuffed animals, makes alphabet sheets and writes and illustrates books. She dresses up, dances and sings. She gets to know herself. Who’s to say this isn’t the exact education she needs right now?
4. Love is better than chocolate. It’s also bigger and more sustaining than recognition, praise or achievement. Last weekend we played monopoly while eating snack-a-dinner. It was loud, chaotic and maybe there was a little cheating. At one point Rose bungeed her legs together and hopped around the house when it wasn’t her turn, and Dan was trying to listen to the football game while I was playing my Pandora melancholy mix, and Col was hoarding money and I felt this strange expansive comfort of belonging, of being loved as the greatest gift.
So, basically, I don’t know what I’m doing. One foot in front of the other. Shining this very small flashlight through the very deep woods. Showing up.
We call this November in the Southwest.
I have two books to recommend to you today. I’ve been gripping the raft of transporting books lately because my own mind is full of sharks and sneaker waves. My symptoms are flaring up and as I told the kids at our family meeting last Sunday, there are two things I’m working very hard on right now, one of which is this auto-immune condition. To work very hard and feel worse is bringing up a fair amount of cursing, crying, and spending money formerly alloted to beer and pastries on various healers. And reading.
I’ve changed my Pandora shuffle to all women (emmy lou, gillian welch, joni, lucinda, be good tanyas) partially because Rose recently remarked, most of the singers are men, and also because the women do “melancholy poet” so well. When I explained to Rose what was behind my puffy red eyes this morning, she said, “That sounds really hard, Mama. I’d be frustrated too if that were happening to me.” Her unprompted and sincere empathy may be the very definition of silver lining.
But the books! I’m so grateful for the medicine of stories, in which no one is appraising the latest batch of bone broth for jiggly clumps of gelatin, nor trying to coax bereft children back into their own lives.
The Rules of Civility was so beautifully written, so light and smooth, reading it was like watching the effortless gliding of professional ice skaters. The book takes place in Manhattan in the late 1930′s and is about luck, fate, love and class (I stole that from the Chicago Tribune review, but it’s 100% true).
Here’s a gorgeous line from Rules of Civility:
“The little planes no longer circled the Empire State Building, but it was still a view that practically conjugated hope: I have hoped; I am hoping; I will hope.”
The second book recommendation is the first book I’ve ever read by Nick Hornby, who has written a trillion best sellers, and only just last week my friend Kati mentions he’s one of her favorite writers, which is like after spending approximately 324 hours with a particular friend, having her just casually mention she’s descended from unicorns. Which is to say, the man can write like a mofo. I’m reading Juliet, Naked, which is about tracking down the meaning of our lives, how people join together and move apart, the courage to do your art, and people who have a particular fondness (cough*obsession*cough) for certain musical artists (If the shoe fits, Kristi…). It’s probably about even more, but I’m not quite done yet.
Finally, Dan and the kids like to take early morning Sunday drives in the winter, which may be a euphemism for “looking for roadkill.” Appropriately, they’ve made badges to make everything more official.
True badges, with mounted safety pins on the back; Rose’s yet to come.
Also, taking book and female singer suggestions.
There must be ways to tastefully photograph what an animal looks like after it’s dead but before it’s on your plate. This is what I was thinking as Dan instructed Col to hold the hoof away from the deer’s body so he could unstitch the entire shoulder from its socket with his knife.
There was blood and hair and bone. There were chickens bob-heading around the yard, nipping at red threads of unprotected flesh. There were neighbor boys—pulled out of their endless backyard baseball game—equal parts fascinated and repulsed.
It is startling to gaze so intimately at another creature. It seems improper, a breach of propriety somehow, to view another’s secretive internal organs: the fat-shrouded heart, the lungs lacy with alveoli, the rubbery trachea that shuttled breath from outside to inside. It hints at our own animal mortality – that underneath our vibrant lives, we too are muscle groups bounded by elastic fascia, blood vessels of all sizes looping like trails throughout our bodies.
A friend came by and uttered a few rounds of a Sanskrit prayer as Dan removed legs as expertly as a surgeon. The way we make use of the animal—hide, bones, meat, sinew—every meal a song of gratitude, feels like the best prayer I can offer.
Col was Dan’s apprentice every step of the way. He was by Dan’s side when the phone call came in from Highway Patrol about the dead buck on Farmington Hill. Together, they assessed the body, hefted it in the truck, and drove it back to our house. Together, they lowered the deer into our wheelbarrow, spilled it onto a tarp and made the first cut through the hide from anus to neck.
If Col was affected by the pooling blood, the eyeballs losing their sheen, the coil of intestines—brownish-green with semi-digested grasses, spilling out of the opened belly—he didn’t show it. He didn’t flinch when Dan reached in behind the intestines, wrestled with something, then like a magician furnished the dark smooth liver.
Col brandished his own knife to snip the backstraps off the spine, as if that was precisely what his knife—ever-ready on his belt loop—was put there for. He was his father’s smaller shadow absorbing the grace and efficiency of an intimate task that will feed him in many ways.
A deer dies. A boy learns. A community will be fed.
Admittedly, I don’t know how to tastefully share this story through photos. But you can choose to view the photos or not. They’re not meant to shock or impress. They’re simply what an animal looks like after it’s dead but before it’s on your plate.
Col gets the knife.
Col and assorted neighbors watching Dan’s lesson on internal organs. I think Dan is sniffing the meat here, pleased to find no “off” odors.
Chicken: “I am not a vegetarian. Enough with the soy feed, people.”
Col, cutting out the prized backstraps.
You’re still here?!
I wish I could have you all over for some grilled backstrap, or deer sausage. We’d all hold hands and pray in our own way in gratitude for this life that will become our life.
Every Halloween, part of me tells myself to just get it together and smile over the triple dipped gummy marshmallows bites for the kids’ sakes so they don’t end up at The Halloween Support Group as adults, full of dour people recalling their parents cringing over the many small and colorful packages of corn-syruped GMO food coloring.
And so every year we piece together costumes, we canvas the neighborhood with our candy baskets, we sort through candy, and I do a lot of cringing.
This Halloween, we got to remake the holiday.
I jumped at my friend Joanie’s suggestion that we put on an interactive Halloween Play (a free resource from Sparkle Stories, a fantastic company that produces audio stories for kids), a magical mystery in which costumed parents assume roles and the kids band together to unlock the mystery.
On Halloween night, the kids (for whom the story was a surprise) met in the woods as “travelers.” They soon learned from their adult guide that the Fairy Princess needed rescuing from the magic of the Will’o'Wisp, who stole the Princess’s magic wand and cast a spell on the creatures of the forest, freezing them. If the Princess could be unfrozen, the Fairy Ball would proceed!
First, the kids assemble, learning that they need to find the Will’o'Wisp and retrieve the stolen wand.
Next, they come upon The Grey Lady, tending her fire. She teaches the children a song to unfreeze the forest people.
They find the wood cutter, frozen mid-chop. The children unfreeze him with a song. He gratefully gives them a story in return.
The wood elves commiserate with the travelers over the Fairy Ball being cancelled. “No treats? No dancing? No fun?”
Next, the children stumble upon the wandering minstrel.
He tells his story through song.
Next, the Gnome under the Stone gives the travelers a shiny gem to trade with the Will’o'Wisp for the magic wand.
The will’o'wisp, responsible for all the mischevious magic, tries to hide behind a pumpkin. (Also, holy paper maché wonder!)
Gotta love that the magic wand is a mullein stalk. The kids get the wand in a fair trade!
The kids find the Fairy Princess, still frozen.
Rose taps The Princess’s doc martens with the magic wand to wake her up.
She is thrilled to see the children still believe in magic and fairies and she announces that The Fairy Ball will go on!
The Fairy Princess passes out tickets–tickets!—to the fairy ball, and the party begins! There is fire, hot drinks and a table of sweets.
Everyone resumes their Mama/Papa role, but there is much magic in the air, which will never be completely undone.
Even Rose, president of the Kids Need Candy fanclub, asked about 30 seconds after it was over, “can we do that again next year?” (Which is akin to getting a 5-star review).
Some hugs for the photographer.
~Eat Your Vegetables: A series of unknown length and direction on how to get more vegetables into your life. Part 1 here.~
Rose took this picture. Am I licking my fingers? Only Rose knows.
It occurred to me today that all the things we’re always
harping on kindly reminding the kids about will someday be completely part of who they are. I’m not sure exactly how it happens, but chances are Col and Rose will grow up to be well-mannered adults with lovely social graces and acceptable dinner table manners.
I’m imagining Dan and I visiting Rose in Kauai (where she’s reportedly opening a bakery/surf-lessons shop), all of us nibbling on the house specialty: grain-free pineapple tart. Whole conversations will unspool, lob around the table like a tennis ball, and then quietly retreat without anyone jumping in with the next pressing and wholly unrelated thought.
It’s almost the opposite now, as if my children have some switch that flips on just as an adult is beginning to talk. Now, it says, now is the best time to tell everyone about how you and Dewa were ponies and her name was Skitter and you loved purple best. My mother said recently, “maybe we should hire a babysitter before we start a conversation.”
And now I’m thinking of Col, (who, if things go according to his current plans, will be living downstairs at 18). He’ll join us for dinner every night. We’ll cook his favorite, something with elk and wild mushrooms, and he’ll use a utensil to transfer food from plate to mouth for the entire meal. I can totally see it: all of us sitting in our chairs. Eating. With forks.
However, today Rose asked me to write on our family meeting agenda: “how to tell when Mama pauses because she’s done talking,” which is hopeful.
Life-changing. You think I’m exaggerating? Bits of green = parsley.
So, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: this avocado-mayonnaise will change your life. Because really, homemade mayo is revelation enough on its own without adding a fruit that went to fat camp. This dip is the word that “mouthfeel” was created to describe. I picture its relationship with vegetables to be a little like Hugh Hefner’s with his Bunnies, which is to say it’s hard to choose a favorite! We like it on shredded raw cabbage, as a dip for raw carrots or celery or steamed broccoli, on top of roasted veggies, plopped on a heap of lettuce or greens, or (confession) as naked spoonfuls for bedtime snack.
I’m also thinking that if Rose moves to Kauai (where the avocados grows as big as your head) she will totally start making this avocado-mayonnaise, despite the fact that she told her friend Daphne, apologetically, last time I made this (which was yesterday, while the two girls punched numbers on calculators and exclaimed, “oh look, I just got a text from Alex!”) “I do like mayonnaise, but mostly the kind from the store.”
I’ve begun picturing Dan’s and my dotage as this endless meal in which we eat avocado-mayonnaise on enormous salads, heaps of sauteed kale and onions, and generally console our empty-nesting selves with all the foods our kids are currently suspicious of. (Talk about rekindling the old flame).
The recipe comes from my friend Jennifer, who knows how uplifting it is to fall in love with your food.
yolk of one egg (at room temp)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar or juice of 1 lime or both, which is really amazing
1 clove garlic
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
fresh herbs optional
Blend (in blender, food processor, immersion stick blender, or by hand) egg yolk, vinegar, lime, salt and garlic for 30 seconds. Add olive oil slowly, just drips at first until it all starts to emulsify, but try to blend for no longer than one minute (Tamar Adler is right that excessive blending of olive oil can make it bitter). Add avocado for another 30 seconds. Done. Transfer to fridge where it holds up well for one week.
p.s. Are you dying to know how our interactive Halloween play went? In which Col and Rose fore-went trick or treating to hob nob with elves and will’0′wisps while munching vegan coconut fudge around a fire with buddies? That post soon.
Stilllife with lunch and battered coffee mug.
Our little October towny.
We’re in the final stretch of fall here. It’s breathtaking and melancholy, per usual. I found myself belting out Total Eclipse of the Heart along with Bonnie Tyler in the car last night, all nostalgic and deeply moved, because that’s what fall does to you. The oaks are extinguished, and now the cottonwoods are all flamey yellow. Every time I see them I warn myself: This is it. After eight months of something new and beautiful every week, the big off switch of winter is coming.
Dan is home from hunting with a nice buck deer. It’s so good to have him back. He’s like this gravitational force pulling us all back to center, or at least to cleanliness and solid ethics. I found this note I wrote about Dan being gone, “we all get a little unstrung and undone,” which may or may not have referred to how after finding our cat’s kibbly puke in the solarium, I walked right past it, knowing the nighttime raccoons would clean it up soon enough.
Col skateboarding down cul-de-sac heaven.
Right now, Rose is honoring the spirit of Lou Reed, singing “the colored girls go doo doo doo doo da doo,” while appraising her dancing reflection in the window. Col is asking, “would it be okay if I started a very small fire in the yard?” So, you know, just the usual. Col, who bravely slept alone the eight nights Dan was gone (because Rose was in my room), told Rose he was ready for her to come back and sleep in their room, which is the closest they get to saying I really like you.
This morning when the two kids tumbled into my bed, I told them how special it was to be a loved child. How lucky to be able to run down the hallway and flop into our bed with no prior appointment, no money exchanged, to tuck themselves into the envelopes of our bodies. To know that at any time of day they are wanted and welcomed. They laughed, because what other reality is there? and then asked for breakfast.
This may be the story about coming upon a black bear nestled down in its den.
The doll sling that is now a bikini top on the girl who looks forward to wearing a bra.
:: Rose is still seeking an external uterus when a family member can’t be with her. She is tearily vehement about needing to be picked up before music class at school, which is odd, considering how she’s almost never not singing. Last night, over dinner (deer heart, marinated and grilled, which is as delicious as any cut of meat you’ve ever tasted), Dan told stories about how he cried every day of kindergarten, and then was shocked and horrified to learn that after kindergarten, it wasn’t over. There was first grade. In first grade he got beat up by a girl. By 9th grade, everything was settling down, until his older brother’s wrestling coach pressured Dan to join the wrestling team. Dan didn’t want to wrestle, but did anyway. He practiced five days/week and then had a match every Saturday, and you know what? He became the top wrestler in his weight class. His story was so compelling, so brave and so unlike the slacker and slightly illicit stories of my own childhood, we all piled on his lap for a family hug. Rose still didn’t want to go to music, though.
:: From the gallery of carrots, 2013:
Please bring me a martini and a cigarette, dahling:
The challah-bread carrot:
The giant orange squid:
2011′s gallery of carrots here.
There’s snow in the forecast. And venison sausage. And carrots. And a weird holiday in which Col is dressing up as mad scientist and Rose as his pet bat. And even more love flung at children who are both the receivers and givers of the gift of always being wanted and welcome.
ps: winner for Ready for Air giveaway is Stephinie. Will check and see if I have your address and get back to you. xo
My attempts at making sauerkraut without all the self-righteous and time-consuming pounding. This batch got pushed into a jar, covered with water and sea salt and is burbling away on my dresser.
Outside, the Southwest is its typical October showoffy self. The sky takes no cloud prisoners. Colored leaves spin on loosened stems, then twinkle to the ground. The sun is yours if you want it. Each day holds a little less of summer, a little more of winter.
Inside, I prepare food. My current eating regime requires a certain tethering to the kitchen. Any meal or snack falling under “grab and go” is only such because I’ve already chopped an acre of vegetables, coated them in a barrel of fat, stirred, sauteed, roasted, or otherwise prepared a stockpile of food which can be parceled out on a busy Friday. Generally, I like being in the kitchen. It’s command central, in which I’m available to comment on Rose’s latest artistic series of smiley-toothed horses, or spot Col before he sneaks out the door with a lighter and dried bits of flammable shelf mushroom.
My body continues to lean towards healing, though it hasn’t been the linear process I’ve come to expect as an impatient American. This healing is more like a long journey in which the roadmap is written in Swahili and then got accidentally burned by Col and his lighter trigger-finger. I mean, I know where I’m trying to get to, just no idea how long it’ll take. Sometimes it’s a little surreal. I went to a block party last weekend and drank tea while the keg got tapped, flowed and then went dry. Recently, in the car, the Guess Who song No Sugar Tonight came on and Col and Rose asked, sincerely, “is that song about the paleo diet?”
Which is to say, I’m 100% committed. This healing diet, which looks a lot like a paleo diet, which looks a lot like meat and vegetables, is well, a lot of meat and vegetables. I feel most reassured when there is a deep well of prepared veggies in which to dip my thermos. I figure between trying to make a living and becoming kinder and more patient people, we’re also all trying to eat more vegetables, right?
Welcome to my new series (ha! you’ve heard that before, no?) on how to eat more vegetables.
Answer number 1: Roasted vegetables.
It’s just as easy to roast one as four trays of vegetables, as the oven and oil do the work. The veggies keep well in the fridge for days, intensifying in flavor over time. The vegetables go in the oven stern and disparate, and come out like one nation of caramalized and festive people.