Friday, November 21, 2008

The One Where I Think Deep Thoughts

Do you ever notice that your thought patterns go in cycles like so much of the rest of the world? You know, the moon, the sun, the tides, the days, the months, the years. Cycles. Round and round and round they go and where they go--well, let's just say that sometimes you don't want to know. 

Except I'm going to tell you. 

That's just the kind of girl I am. A lover, not a hater. The only problem is the love is going pretty strong right now. 

That's right. Cycles. Somebody shoot me to the moon. 'Cause I've found my sun and my stars. The world is exploding. 

And now I suspect why the cheshire cat was grinning so widely. He had to be in love. 

And I so want to be too. I'm just not telling with whom. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008


A new baby is coming. I'm going to be an auntie for the 18th time. I can't wait to hold this wee one in my arms. Hug and kiss the little cherub cheeks, smell the fresh, new smell of dewy life, let the tiny fingers grasp mine and hold and hold and hold.

I love the 17 n&ns (nieces and nephews) that surround me now. The two oldest, Mx and Jo, are getting taller and taller every day and starting to look like the teenagers they are fast becoming. The older middles are preteen and charming. You know that great stage where they still love hanging out with you and are easy to entertain and love to chat about their lives? That is the space that K, Ab, C, P and Mt occupy.

Then there are the middle littles--N, JB, D1, D2, and G. They are at the "best buddy" stage that I adore. They want to be my best buddy. These are the ones that like to run errands with me or go for a walk or come to my house and eat popcorn and play with toys. They can't wait to hang out and tell stories. One of my favorite times each week is when they come home with me after church on Sunday. For just a little while, they fill my house with their brand of exuberance and joy.

And then there are the five wee littles. They are toddling and vocalizing and growing. They are just past the baby stage but still getting the hang of walking and talking. The whole world is wide open for them. And they each seem to change daily. Like little E who was away for two weeks and has grown an inch it seems. And baby M whose face changes just enough every few weeks that it's like I'm rediscovering him each time I see him again. They also have a special place in the family as "the five." They made a big splash in our family in one year and we are grateful for each and every one of them and the joy and vigor they've added to us.

So, number 18, we welcome you to this ever-expanding brood with our jokes and our noise and the general hubbub that descends when we gather together. And we gather together a lot. And sing a funny birthday song. And with so many of us now, we sing that funny birthday song a lot too.

We do it though because we think it is rare for so many of us to be nearby to each other for a few short years. And I want to hold on to everyone of those few short years left to us. And hold and hold and hold.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Snippets and Snapshots

My head is full of things that I'm working on, thinking about and planning for and I can't seem to decide on just one to write about. So, here are some snippets.

  1. I've really got to study for a test. This is numero uno right now. Anyone want to quiz me on the different types of marriage enrichment approaches in the field?

  2. Just had a successful FHE with some friends and family. I love hosting parties--especially when my house is so clean that one of the small guests could take an impromptu bath. (Why, you ask? Why do most two year olds in potty training need such a chance?)

  3. My CD collection just got reorganized. There is something so clean, cool and smooth about every case aligned with precision. And I love, love, love the label maker I borrowed so I could label each category. (Now for the new iPod to load them all on!) I think my birthright of organization and cleanliness might finally be entering its full stage of flowering.

  4. I'm still trying to do this allergy-free diet for two months. It's not the dairy, sugar, and wheat that is killing me as much as the corn, potatoes, and citrus. It seems I'm always wanting to sprinkle mozarella on something, dig into the mashed potatoes on Sunday or use some lemon in a recipe. And once one piece of the pyramid falls, the rest just comes tumbling down.

  5. Yes, I'm listening to Christmas music and no, I don't feel guilty about it. One of the radio stations in town starts playing Christmas music on November 1st and I'm a big fan of this tradition. I don't think it takes away from my enjoyment or love of Thanksgiving either, but it certainly puts me in the mood for apple cider, snow days and gift giving. Hurray for another Christmas season.

  6. I still wish I played the piano with flawless skill. That and fluency in the French language are the goals I'm wishing I could accomplish.

  7. I've been cleaning and reorganizing my life like crazy the past month or so. There is something so deeply, deeply refreshing about purging files, tossing old, worn items and knowing where every single piece of paper in my household is located. I am ever addicted to the concept of organization. The practice of it continues to need improvement.

  8. The twin of organization must be preparation. Once again in my life, I prove to fluctuate wildly between ever prepared to never prepared. My anxiety levels would lurch into a complete stall if I could somehow magically figure out how to meet every deadline two days before it actually occurs. That this could be an actual reality? Well, let me dream, people, let me dream.

  9. My collection of 937 healthy recipes continues to grow despite the crockpot chicken that went askew this weekend and the veggie frittata that tasted more like caca. Somewhere in there though I made a spinach turkey burger that knocked my socks off.  And yes, I will be sharing my variation of this very soon.

  10. I accidentally gave away a pair of pants I actually wear when I donated a bunch of items the other day. Which only means besides the other clothes shopping I need to do, I will be buying a pair of pants. It is yet to be determined how long I can put off this inglorious task. 
And finally, a snapshot to leave you with on this bright and beautiful Tuesday. This is a photo I came across in a recent hunt through the family photo archives that just makes me smile. Mostly because of the chubby little blonde number on the the right side with the absolutely scrumptious cheeks. This was from an autumn day a few years back. Maybe you can guess how many. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Path Chosen

I keep hearing about the historic nature of yesterday's election and it feels momentous indeed. Regardless of who you voted for, the speech last night that the president-elect gave in Chicago's Grant Park was an emotional experience for many. It seemed to me that the speech was an outreach to every citizen of the United States as well as the world. Mr. Obama was more sober than I expected, less gleeful about his triumph and more thoughtful than I anticipated. He seemed imbued with a sense of great responsibility regarding the work he has ahead of him. He seemed to comprehend the weighty and momentous decisions that will be his as our newly elected leader.

I must admit that with his ringing voice, his charismatic style, and his good looks that I felt a bit of the sparkle of Camelot that I've heard so much about from the JFK years. I think its about time for some of the romance and enthusiasm to return to the political scene.

I also was surprisingly pleased by McCain's concession speech. He spoke with grace and humility regarding his loss of the presidential office and his support of the president-elect. It is the type of emotion that I rarely see in the public arena of politics and I so appreciated it. It showed pluck and courage and a measure of this man that I had not witnessed before. In the end, I was touched by his choice of words in characterizing himself as a servant-leader.

Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone, and I thank the people . . . for it.

That is such an inspiring way to think of each of our roles as citizens of this country--we are servants and helpers to each other regardless of our positions of power.

With all the disagreement and division that occurs throughout a political campaign the notes of grace, humility and responsibility were not the emotions I really expected to experience on Election Day. I suddenly felt reconnected and reminded that this political process can be a hopeful and even a beautiful one, if we treat each other with dignity and respect. As Mr. Obama encouraged last night,

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

And while [we have] won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

That is what I would like to see as well. I do enjoy the discussion and debate that are an inherent part of our political system. What I dislike is when that discussion crosses the bounds of respect for one another and the willingness even to agree to disagree without rancor or derision towards each other.

If we take our cue from the leaders last night, I think we are headed on the right path.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

RECIPE: Super-Fast Smoothie

I've been making this super-fast smoothie for the past few months nearly every day. I was bemoaning the fact the other day that I didn't have a lot of great go-to foods and then I realized that this smoothie was actually a great go-to food and I can whip it up in less than three minutes. 

I have some food allergy issues with dairy, cane sugar and wheat, so I've been revamping my pantry and almond milk and agave nectar are my favorites. Here's the recipe:

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 to 2 cups almond milk 
1 to 2 tsp. of agave nectar (or a squirt or two is how I do it)

I know super-scientific, right? Let's just say that my measurements are all about eyeballing the amounts so this is my best approximation. Add more or less of anything to taste. 

Also, I will periodically get some flax seed and grind it up and add it to my smoothie as well. I love this recipe and it makes me feel like I'm visiting Jamba Juice every morning. 

It's healthy and delicious and a lot of times I pair my smoothie with an egg over easy topped with fresh salsa and avocado. I think the two go together beautifully. 

Now, if I could only find 937 other recipes that are as fast and easy and yummy as this one and I could really get the hang of this healthy living thing. Until then, I will continue wildly yo-yoing between my smoothie recipe and my chocolate obsession. I certainly enjoy them both! 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just One

I never get over thinking: maybe next Christmas I will be married. Maybe the next baby will be mine. Maybe, the next life to really take off will be mine. Maybe. 

Those are the nights you wish you could make dinner for more than one. 

Okay, cue the violins. I'm thinking I need to take this pity party on the road. 

Halloween 2008


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