Month: August 2014

Harvey Wallbanger

20140831-201416-72856443.jpgThere are those words, pictures, songs, movies – even recipes – that instantly devour your senses, bringing up a memory long forgotten.  For my husband and his family, food has always been Memory Lane’s tour guide.  I suppose his career in the kitchen is a genetic predisposition.

We spent the afternoon with my father-in-law.  A long overdue visit that included lunch (of course) – lobster rolls from his favorite seaside restaurant.  We sat indoors because, with my husband and his father, atmosphere is trivial.  It is the food that matters most.  The girls and I sat together, a blanket found buried in the car draped over us, and we shivered beneath the vent that blew cold air at us from above.  My husband and his father sat across from us, tiny sweat beads noticeable on both of their brows.  We managed to catch a quick glimpse of the bay as we were leaving, the two men barely noticing.  Their bellies were full, the lobster roll even better than their memory allowed them to recall.  Our visit could have successfully ended there, but we needed more.

Returning to my father-in-law’s house, we sat in his living room where the conversation quickly turned to food.  My mother-in-law – when she was alive – was constantly in the kitchen, literally feeding their obsession.  The house always smelled of something delicious.  Comfort food.  Even now, long after her death, she seemed to be comforting her ‘boys’ with her handwritten box of recipes.  At some point, she began neatly transcribing them onto lined index cards.  Both recipe boxes still sit where she left them.  Rummaging through them together now, we laughed and my husband and father-in-law argued over the ingredients in her rouladen recipe.  On the sidelines, I sat and wondered what rouladen was.  My husband swore that his taste buds recalled a mustard flavor.  His father doubted that was true.  Those two stubborn Germans searched those boxes until rouladen was found.

Turns out mustard was, in fact, one of the ingredients.  

Rouladen gave way to her sauerbraten recipe and then to Betty S’s special punch and finally, to my personal favorite, the ever-elusive recipe for a Harvey Wallbanger cake.  Good ol’ Harvey.  Thanks buddy – you made us happy today.



Running Sleep

I was out with some old friends last weekend.  They were complaining about the vicious cycle of sleep – or lack thereof – that has taken over their lives.  Restless nights followed by a day of exhaustion, impatiently waiting for the chance to lay their heads down on a pillow again.  Sleep comes quick the next night but it is fleeting and the cycle begins again.

“Run,” I said.

The conversation stopped momentarily before the laughter took over.

“What is wrong with you?”

“Why in the world are you running?”

“What would make you do that?”

“That must hurt your knees.  Your ankles too.”

“Running won’t help.”

I laughed with them, but we were only midway through dinner and I was already having a hard time keeping my eyes open.  It’s been that way since I started this 5k training experiment – sleep comes fast and it is gooood.

Today is no exception.  I (somewhat) successfully completed my 3 mile run/walk early this morning and I’ve been waiting to let my head hit the pillow ever since.  I caught myself daydreaming about sleep more than once today – about the feel of the mattress on my back, my head on a cool pillow and the way my eyelids would quickly grow heavy.  I can’t wait. 

My friends have no idea what they’re missing.  I have no doubt that running sleep would make them just as happy as it does me.



I Want a Spectacular View When I’m Dead

20140829-204611-74771382.jpgI want to spend eternity staring at a spectacular view.  T20140829-214310-78190802.jpghis one will do.  I wonder if the pre-civil war folks buried here will mind if I squeeze in right beside them.  I won’t take up much space and they do seem to have space to spare.  With any luck, they have plenty of time to consider my proposition.  I have so much still to do.

I need to spend more days like this.  I need to have more Fridays off.  I need to hike and explore and laugh, and I need to learn how to make a whistle out of an acorn.  I need to remember to wear long pants on wooded trails and I need to remember to use bug spray too.  I need to know how Mother Nature creates such amazing things – natural bird baths clinging to trees, bright yellow mushrooms covering the forest floor an20140829-222611-80771018.jpgd spider webs large enough to capture a small human.  How does she do it? 

I need to convince my husband that he can’t make a living selling wild mushrooms to fancy restaurants and I need to cajole him into believing that vine swinging probably won’t cause a deadly rash.20140829-222614-80774425.jpg

I need to end each day with peanut butter ice cream topped with crushed peanut butter cups and20140829-222617-80777643.jpg chocolate syrup.

And then, when I’m finally done, I need to spend eternity recalling the spectacular view.



Hanging On

20140828-225535-82535041.jpgThe sun set too early tonight, I’m sitting down with a warm cup of tea, and I had to borrow a sweatshirt to spend time outside tonight.  Summer is coming to an end.  Ho-hum.

There was one other reminder of our quickly fading summer today:  middle school orientation.  Ugh.

This entire summer has held this sort of restless undercurrent – an unspoken awareness that changes are coming. My daughter and I have spent these last few months sharing this nervous excitement – a sadness over the loss of something special coupled with the thrill of wonderful things ahead.  I suppose that’s why we’ve been hanging on to every moment of this summer, or perhaps that’s why I’ve been hanging on to every moment of it.

Today I was simply happy to see my daughter hanging on to her dad as she welcomed this newest adventure.  Here’s to wonderful things ahead.

Dude, Roll Your Windows Down

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

I was stuck in an air conditioned office all day today.  I suppose that sounds like a whole lot of happiness for you heat-haters but, for me, it was torture.  Halfway through the day I found myself pressed up against a window that will never know the joy of being opened, hoping that the sun’s rays would find me.  They never did.

When I made my 5 o’clock escape, I jumped in my car, rolled every window down and, of course, turned the radio up.  Pure delight. 

I felt sorry for that guy in the gray car behind me.  He was following so close behind that I could actually see his furrowed brow.  I understood his frustration.  After all, I was breaking the unspoken rule:  no more than half a car length allowed between cars traveling at – well – at any time during any given day.  But I was feeling crazy – reckless – and I didn’t care if I was breaking the rules.  I was happy and I wanted to yell “Dude, roll your windows down” to that furrow-browed, gray-car-driving man behind me.  It would have made him so much happier.

No Distance Required

Remember those toddler days that you thought would never end?  The days of sweating through the aisles of the grocery store, hoping that your two year old could somehow suppress that brewing meltdown.  The mornings that began at 5am and the nights you bargained with the man in the moon, imploring him to show up early just this once.  The years of referring to nap time as happy hour.  Remember those days?

Distance makes me recall them now with a warm sense of nostalgia.

Tonight I tucked my little one into bed and lay down beside her.  In her toddler years, she insisted that I lay beside her every night until a deep sleep took her over.  Each night played out much the same.  Lying quietly next to her, I waited impatiently for her eyes to close, hoping – praying – that I could quietly escape when the time was right.  And each night her eyes would flit open as soon as she sensed my impending desertion.  It was a vicious, seemingly unending, cycle that left me wondering when will it end?  

Eventually, it did end.

Tonight I laid down with my little one and prayed that her eyes wouldn’t grow heavy too quickly.  I wondered if there could possibly be any better place to escape the world and I silently wished that this time would never endA sense of blissful contentment took over – no distance required.


I Want to Talk About Wet Dreams

God is definitely a man.  In my next life, I want to be a man too.

Men don’t have to worry about sprouting boobs and they never consider those monthly visits from “Aunt Red.”  They don’t worry about having tampons on-hand when it’s time to go swimming.  Heck, they don’t even have to know the difference between a tampon and a pad.  They don’t keep a monthly calendar of their expected cycle and they don’t need to feel their breasts each month in search of that dreaded lump.  They don’t have to give birth in a teaching hospital with a class of wanna-be obstetricians looking on and they don’t have to breastfeed with a judgmental public audience whispering from the sidelines.  And, as if this weren’t reason enough to be reincarnated as a man, I give you the final and most compelling reason:  men will never experience that awkward conversation when a woman relays all of this information to her tween-age daughter.

Yep, that happened today.  I talked – or rather tried to talk – to my 11 year old daughter about what it means to become a “woman.”  I reminded her that she was lucky to have a progressive mom like me, one that was ready and willing to talk and answer all of her questions.  I told her about my own experience – getting my period for the very first time – and how I knew little or nothing about it because my own mother thought it was best not to share.  I was convinced that I was dying – bleeding to death.  I talked and talked and begged her to talk to me, ask questions, confide in me.  Instead, she simply said “Please stop talking.”

We drove on in silence for some time.  Finally I said in jest, “Well, that was a conversation killer.”  She responded only with “Tun on the radio…..please!”

I did as she wished, came home to share my story with my husband, opened a bottle of red and – for the first time – wished that I had given birth to boys.  How hard can it be to talk about wet dreams?

I’d be happy to discuss wet dreams right about now.