Like You

No one tells a tale like you
Creates art like you
Tells a joke like you

No one does a dance like you
Plays a lick like you
Sings a song like you

 

 

 

No one is a man like you
Is a dad like you
Picks a wife like you

 

And I’m glad that you picked me.

Raw Sugar Ginger Chews

While experimenting to make a satisfying treat for Oscar and I during the few weeks we are avoiding white sugar, I stumbled across this concoction that is actually quite tasty!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 cup packed coconut sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
Raw sugar for rolling

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat together butter and coconut sugar until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the egg and molasses. Beat for an additional minute. Combine flour and wet mixtures. Spread a thin layer of raw sugar on a cutting board. Spoon balls of dough onto the raw sugar and roll to lightly coat. Place about an inch apart on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until tops are matte with a few sugary crystals forming on top. Remove and separate immediately from the cookie sheet with a spatula to prevent sticking (or use parchment paper).

Annie

Here is the girl
Who wants to be good…
Wants to be good…
WANTS TO BE GOOD!

But first she NEEDS to
Knock you down
To lick your face
To nibble on your objecting fingers.

Here is the girl
Who tries really hard…
Tries really hard…
TRIES REALLY HARD!

But alas–despite scratched nose…
Sick tummy…
Reprimand…
She can’t help it.

Unfinished Dollhouse

My childhood was
An unfinished dollhouse
A beautifully-appointed almost dream house
With never finished staircase to the top floor…

A life-sized doll
With permanent golden pigtails
Which were oddly glued and would never quite behave…

A red-headed, blue eye-shadowed Barbie
That never felt quite as good
As her more expensive, prettier counterparts.

Dandelion

I see you
Drinking my water
Warming in my sun
Putting down roots like you intend to stay.
I regret to inform you:
This is not your home.

Pillow

I wish you were a record
That I could play again and again.
 
A happy tune to whistle
When my soul is wearing thin.
 
I wish you were a sweater
That I could wear when I am cold,
 
Softness wrapped around me
When I’m feeling weak and old.
 
I wish I were a pillow
Billowy on your beds,
 
A place for you to rest and dream
To lay your perfect heads.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Butterscotch Scones


Sometimes running out of key ingredients results in happy accidents. Behold these delicious gluten free nutty oatmeal butterscotch scones! Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 405 degrees F.

Sift together:

2-1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour
3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup steal cut oats
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
2 Tbsp. + 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

Add 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup almond milk. Stir until mixture is just moistened. Knead dough gently a few times if necessary to disperse liquid evenly. Divide dough into 3 equal parts and place on an almond-meal-covered surface. With almond-meal-covered hands, form dough into three equal circles about 7″ round and 2″ thick. Use finger tips to spread a light film of cream over the dough circles. Sprinkle the top of the dough with raw sugar and anything else you think would be yummy (maybe cinnamon?). I used a chocolate/coffee/sugar grinder I got at Trader Joe’s for today’s finishing touch. Cut dough circles into 8-10 even wedges with a serrated knife. Place wedges on cookie sheets about 1-1/2″ apart and bake until sugar is crystalizing on top, bottom edges of scones are turning golden, and dough is appearing less shiny, more matte. Use baking paper to line cookie sheets or use a spatula to remove scones from cookie sheets immediately since butterscotch can be sticky. Enjoy! Yield: 24-36 scones (depending on how small you cut the wedges).

Helpful hint: Everything but the liquid can be mixed together the night before to make prep in the morning easy and quick. Also, feel free to try different mix-ins (chocolate chips, dried fruit, almonds?). This is a versatile dough.

Into the Woods

Though it’s not something I like to brag about, those who know me well are aware that I spent much of my late teens and early 20s lost in the woods. I don’t mean the literal woods but the figurative ones. There was a time when I made many wrong turns and bad choices. This includes the choosing of a particularly bad, insecure, erratic, dangerous man. You know the type. He’s the guy who’s charming until he’s terrifying, who’s so very sorry (again), who never meant to hurt you, who was only joking, who will never do it again…promise.

While it may seem weird and counterintuitive…escaping, surviving a man like that is what fuels my hope on hard days. The fact that I shouldn’t be here at all makes me beyond grateful for the fact that I’m experiencing anything at all…even the bad stuff. It also keeps me grounded in what I have the capacity to survive, in the truth that a dark chapter doesn’t have to mean a terrible ending. It is possible to experience despondence and fear, to almost be lost forever and still go on to be found, experience joy and fulfillment…to move on.

And so it is with this perspective that I have been navigating the post-election dystopia. While many of my closest friends are understandably completely freaking out and sounding alarms, I’m finding myself eerily calm. It’s not that I’m not upset. Of course I am! I’m a mother, a woman, a human. THIS is NOT the America I want to show to my children or anybody else’s. America is lost in the woods and I’m terrified and sad. I’m resolved to do whatever I can to help her find her way out. This said, instead of shouting for America to come back, I’m conserving my energy…waiting and listening for a sign that America is ready to be found. I’m afraid that if I shout and chase, she’ll just run farther away…slip deeper into the darkness. I sense that at the moment America is still guided by the parts of her that are cockily convinced that she knows right where she’s going.

And so, while the best part of America is screaming, “What are you thinking?!?! Where are you going??? You KNOW this is wrong!” the loud, angry part of America is boldly marching into dangerous territory, confident in her chosen path. To the voices that are trying to convince her otherwise, America is shouting, “Calm down! It’s alright! He didn’t really mean it! He LOVES me! He WILL stop, change, be different, be better. You’ll see, silly conscience!”

Right now, a large part of America is so determinedly lost that she sees no need for a compass. She will continue to ignore the signs that she’s on the wrong path. She is not interested in a map. She will let the trees close in around her, convinced that his “love” and her own ragged breath are enough to guide the way. And so begins a very dark chapter for America.

But I sincerely believe that this does not have to be the end of America’s story. Though she may teeter precariously on the brink of oblivion before she’s ready to listen; hope remains that someday before it’s too late America will be humbled, will reach bottom, will find the clarity and courage to say to herself, “How many times does he have to show me who he is before I believe him???” And in that moment, she will cry for help and the well-organized search party that has been praying for America’s safe return will shout and wave flashlights and bring blankets and holler, “Over here!!! She’s over here!!!” And in that moment, America and all who have been searching for her will collapse with relief that she survived. Collectively, they will see that—while she sustained some damage and alienated many who love her—she will go on to heal, to hope, to write a different ending. This is the future I imagine on the hard days and I still have faith that this is the future I can help to write.

Into the Woods

What I Know about What She Knew

What She Knew

When preparing for a recent work trip which promised much time on airplanes/in airports, I went through the familiar ritual of checking out the “Kindle Daily Deals” in hopes of finding something inexpensive to occupy my mind. With much reluctance, I selected What She Knew by Gillian Macmillan.

As the mom of 7 and 9 year old boys, I had much trepidation about diving into a story that centers around the disappearance of 8-year-old boy. I promised myself that if things got rough, I’d put the book down, back away slowly and resort to crosswords and gossip rags.

To say that I ended up devouring this book would be an understatement. I spent more than one night in my conference hotel reading until my eyes shut on their own, compelled and obsessed to know how it all turned out. It’s not only that the story is an exquisitely-crafted mystery.

This story delves so deeply into the many ways we humans punish one another and ultimately ourselves in times of crisis. When things go awry, we’re so quick to judge one another, judge ourselves…blame one another, blame ourselves. Too often, little room is left for being human, showing compassion…even and especially to ourselves.

In the end, I was left feeling that this wasn’t just a good book for me to read…but an important book for me to read. I found myself weeping and whipping out my notebook to write down passages more than once.

Those who know me well will not be surprised to read that—like lots of folks—I’ve seen some things, survived some stuff. There are dark corners in my mind that are sometimes hard to escape. When I got to the part of the book that reads, “…There are some events and uncertainties that you take to the grave, and they threaten to tumble you every single step of the way…” I wept and wrote and felt understood.

I wept and wrote some more when I read, “I understood in that moment…that being a mother had given [her]…a single silken strand, strong as a spider’s web, which had tethered her to her life. It was the string that had led her, time and time again, out of the enveloping, dangerous depths of the labyrinth that was her depression. It had prevented her from slipping fatally and completely away into the dark seductive folds of melancholia…” I thought of the days when I’ve only had strength to sit sandwiched on the couch between my boys and hold onto them for dear life…the days when I put something light and funny on the TV and just wrap myself around them until I regain the energy to get up, make something to eat, behave like a proper mother.

When I read, “…here’s the thing: none of us deserve a thing. That’s an illusion we all exist under…I should simply have been grateful for what I had. I should have celebrated my life as it was, imperfections, sadness, and all, and not forensically examined its faults…” I loosened the grip on some grief, some guilt.

And finally, when I read, “…I count my blessing every day for my blemished, damaged family, which is full of love, and this is fine, and that is all we need…” I thought, “Amen, Sister!” What I know about What She Knew is that I’m glad I read it and I hope others will do the same. There are books that are read to fill the time and there are books that are read to fill the soul. For me, this book was definitely the latter.Classic

The Season of Realism

For many, the New Year is an opportunity to reflect on all that has come before and ponder all that is yet to come. For those (like myself) who have birthdays on New Year’s Eve, the New Year is a time for double reflection…not just thinking about the past year but about all of life. Am I anywhere close to where I thought I’d be 20 years ago? If not, does it matter? What do I hope for the coming year, the next 20 years, and beyond?

Alien CakeAs I reflect and ponder on the doorstep of my 44th birthday, there is much I have surmised. For starters, I can confidently say that while the glittery, unrealistic dreams of my early 20s have faded, so have the cynical sorrows of my late 30s and early 40s. Like many of my contemporaries, I started adulthood with a few delusions of grandeur (e.g., Maybe I’ll open the world’s first nighttime poetry bakery so that I can sleep in, bake cakes in the late afternoon, and write/perform poetry by night!) When I was shaken still by the realities of parenting and mortgages, traumatic injuries, and the relentless grind of life in my late 30s and early 40s, I spent a fair amount of time being angry and sad…wondering how I could have been so wrong about what my life would become. Though the cocky confidence of youth didn’t seem to fit anymore,Pink Hair at times, I still kept trying to wear it. Other times, I found myself feeling most comfortable in a dark shroud of doubts. Even while cocooned comfortably under all that fabric, somewhere inside I knew that those doubts didn’t fit right either.

Now, I feel like I’m settling into my style…or at least the style I’ll wear for the next season or two. This new style is eclectic…a bit of the pop and color of youth mixed with classic touches of realism. Doubts and confidence are great accessories but should be used sparingly. When it feels like I’m wearing too much of either, I’ll do my best to shed something in pursuit of the ultimate in comfort and style.

Boys' StyleAs my boys grow older and develop their own style, it’s difficult to speculate what trends lie ahead or how my own style will be affected or influenced. As I stand grasping the threads of who I thought I was with one hand and the threads of who I’m becoming instead in the other, I hope that I my instincts will guide me to put aside the colors and textures that no longer suit so that I can weave something beautiful and comfortable from what remains.

XMAS 2015