Monthly Archives: June 2009

Midpoint Check-In

Back in January, I talked about a choosing a word to be a theme for the year. The word is thrive.

Several weeks ago, I was anxiously awaiting June 1 so that I could write this midpoint check-in post and brag  (basically) about just how thriving this year has been. But June 1st came and to be quite honest, at that point I was having serious doubts regarding the word. If you had asked me June 1st if I was thriving I would have flat out said, “No.”

It’s funny, funny being ironic, how when you do something so bold as to proclaim, “I will thrive!”, Life hands you all sorts of situations and says, “There. Try thriving now.” And for awhile I thought I was. Some would like to interject with the oft used “pride goeth before the fall”. But that would be wrong because, as I’ve found, it’s all about perspective.

More naysayers would proclaim that perspective is  just a way of making excuses for something you can’t deny. In some situations that may be true, but for me, for us (DB and I) it really is all about perspective.

This year has brought about some of the most significant trials we have faced in our married, adulthood. Moving, having babies and buying a house (all things listed in the top ranks of life stressors) had nothing on what we’ve gone through in the last six months. Yet, when I look back over our life together and compare it with our life now it is quite obvious that had this happened at any other time, we may not have survived at all, let alone thrived.

And yes, yes I am (we are) thriving. Why? Because we’re pushing forward, trusting each other, trusting God. We’re not curled up in the fetal position, under the covers, not facing the world. This doesn’t mean I’m never anxious or scared. What it means is that I’m trying  not to let the anxiety and fear consume me. It means I’m taking stock of what is really important in life and knowing that no matter what happens, as long as I have my husband and children, we are just fine.

And we will continue to thrive.

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Frozen in Time

Somewhere along the way he forgot to put it back on again. Maybe he was in a hurry one morning and even though the habit seemed so well ingrained, something slipped and it never made it onto his wrist. Maybe it was when he took it off to wash the dog, stuck it in his pocket, then in the dresser drawer as he undressed for his shower. But certainly it was not because of what it reminded him of. That’s why he wore it in the first place, right? To never forget? True, it had stopped working years before. Time, frozen at that exact moment. He had ceased to wear it as a timepiece, instead, it was a memorial. He didn’t need it and yet he did. And now as he held it in his hand, feeling the weight of it in his palm, he couldn’t help but wonder, was it time to let go? A glance at the clock on his bedside table was all the answer he needed.

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I wrote this an entry to contest being held by The Novel Doctor. If you’re intrigued, there’s still a few hours left to enter the contest (by tonight, midnight, Mountain time). The instructions are to:

… write a scene in which a wristwatch plays a key role. That’s all I’m gonna give you. The rest is up to you. Write in any genre you want. Be funny or serious, scary or romantic. Whatever. You have up to 200 words to create the most compelling scene possible. I’m not looking for a fully-fleshed-out short story. Just a single scene. Write something that will make your reader (me) hungry for more.

I immediately had about three ideas when I read this. I chose the one that seemed to have the best hook for, possibly, wanting to know more. It’s maybe, now that I’ve written that part, I can form it into a short story. We shall see.

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The Silly Kid Song That Reduces Me to Tears

pancakesWhy would a song about an inedible pancake make me cry?

It’s always breakfast for dinner Thursday nights at suppertime.
Orange juice, eggs & waffles served at five.
But once there was something I did not recognize.
It was harder than the table so I thought it was my plate.
I hit with a hammer and it didn’t even break.
It slipped upon some syrup and the butter ricocheted.
Then it rolled and it rolled and it rolled and it rolled, a disappointing pancake.

The song then goes on to describe how this inedible, disappointing pancake travels around the world becoming just the right item for people in need. A mitt for a catcher, a spare tire for bicyclist, a knee patch, a coaster, and so on.

The pancake made it’s way around the world, jumping in and helping where it could.

On the surface, it’s just a silly song about a world-traveling pancake. But when you look deeper, and really you should, it’s a song that describes so many of us, describes…me. I often feel like a disappointing pancake. I’m not what was expected. The role I was supposed to play is not the one I’ve found myself in. How do I reconcile this? Can I still be effective, useful, helpful?

The pancake disappointed me at breakfast, yes it’s true.
But there are many other things that this pancake can do.
I’d like to think the pancake is a bit like me and you.
We roll and we roll and we roll and we roll like a disappointing pancake.
We roll and we roll and we roll and we roll….not so disappointing pancake.

That last part always chokes me up. It’s all about perspective. The disappointing pancake found so many ways to redeem itself and so can I.

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“The Disappointing Pancake” by Lisa Loeb from her album, Camp Lisa.

Written from the heart, not for personal gain.

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Messiest, Ugliest, Tastiest Cupcakes. Ever.

glamour MaliaDB’s favorite cake is a German Chocolate Cake. Just about every year since we’ve been married, with only a few exceptions, I’ve made him a cake for his birthday. It’s really a very tasty cake. I’m always pleased with the end results but it is kind of a pain to make. There are at least 10 steps in the cake part alone and then you have to make to frosting.

I asked DB a couple weeks ago if he wanted me to make him a cake again this year. I got a non-committal, if you want to kind of response. Then a day or so later, I happened to reading about a new cupcake place in Nashville and the thought occurred to me to make German Chocolate cupcakes for his birthday. So, I Googled it and read at least half dozen or so recipes. Most of them were just slight variations on the cake that I usually make but there was one that really stood out.

fearless-fridaysI wanted to try it but I was a bit afeared of venturing out with a new recipe like that. Then I remembered what Heather has been talking about at Home-Ec 101, being fearless in the kitchen. Determined to do this, I made my shopping list, headed to the store and proceeded to try this recipe. I’m going to skip ahead a bit and say, the cupcakes were amazing! So this post is a cross between Rachel’s Mouthwatering Mondays and Heather’s Fearless Fridays, which is why it’s appearing here on Wednesday!

Read the rest of my cupcake adventure, after the jump!

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Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess

Adventures in CSA-ing

glamour MaliaFirst, if you don’t know, CSA (community supported agriculture) is a local food program where you receive a weekly delivery of produce fresh off the farm for about 6 months out of the year. We joined the Long Hungry Creek Farm CSA this year. Long Hungry Creek Farm is in Red Boiling Springs, TN and is run by a guy named Jeff, better known as the Barefoot Farmer. You can buy single shares or family shares. We are sharing a family share with some friends of ours. It works out to be a bit cheaper that way.

The interesting thing about this is that it’s not like going to the grocery store or even the farmer’s market and picking and choosing what you want. You get what has been harvested that week. It comes to you freshly picked and unwashed. You either use it or lose it or possibly give it away. That’s the challenge of being in a CSA. We’ve had two pick-ups so far and already I’ve received quite an education! Also, my learning curve needs to get a bit steeper if we’re really going to make this worthwhile for us!

rhubarbMy first adventure was rhubarb. I knew we’d be getting rhubarb and I was very excited about it. I’ve had rhubarb only one time in my whole life. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by it and even though I knew all kinds of cakes and pies (and we all know how I feel about cakes and pies, right?) are make with it, I’ve just never ventured out to use it myself. Also, I was under the impression that rhubarb is red. So on the first pick-up when there’s these long, green stalks that look like celery, I’m a bit confused but I just go with it. When I go to chop it up for baking, it’s still green. Turns out, rhubarb is only red if it’s been grown in a hot house (thank you Google & Wikipedia!) Who knew? Well, now we both do!

I was able to make two desserts using the rhubarb we received. First, I made a recipe that was provided by the CSA. They send an e-mail newsletter the day before the pick-up telling us what we’ll be getting and it includes some recipes for some items from the week’s harvest. I made the Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert bars andthey were quite yummy. Since there was oatmeal used in the recipe, I deemed them appropriate for breakfast!

The only other time I’ve ever had rhubarb was back when we lived in Virginia. We had visited a coworker of DB’s who lived on some lovely land on the outskirts of town. She had encouraged DB to drop by sometime, so one Saturday afternoon we took advantage of the offer. After we arrived, she pointed out some things on their property (like an orchard!) that we go and look at. As we meandered around and took in the views, she was busy in her kitchen. When we returned to the house, she had baked a rhubarb upside down cake, had made coffee and had set out some really yummy cheeses and crackers. (This woman definitely has the gift of hospitality!) I was leery of the cake but to be polite, I tried it and was very pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. All that to say, the second thing I made was rhubarb upside down cake*! And it was every bit as yummy as I remembered.

garlicscapeDid you know that garlic grows under the ground and has an edible stalk that can be harvested before harvesting the garlic (it just grows back)? It’s called scape and it’s delicious! It’s especially yummy when you sautee it in olive oil and then add chard or other greens (we got swiss chard on the first pick up and beet greens on the second) to it. There are lots of things you can do with scape. And it keeps nicely in the fridge.

We got a lot of lettuce. I learned, too late for the first week’s batch, that you can put lettuce in water, set it in the fridge and it will perk up again. I lost the lettuce from the first week because I didn’t know this. The lettuce we got this week has been so good! Quite flavorful and colorful. I hope we get it all eaten, we’re not big salad people so it’s been hard to get it all consumed.

I need to be more proactive about giving away things that we won’t eat, like the radishes we got the first week (which we also lost, see what I mean about learning curve?) I’m excited to see what each week’s harvest brings. Trying new foods has been very fun, at least for me. The kids are kind of unphased by it. They tend to be rather picky. They’re supposed to take a least one bite of whatever is on their plate. I made JBelle try the beet greens tonight. She didn’t care for them though it may have actually been the balsamic vinegar that was on them that turned her off!

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 This post is my pick for this week’s “I Am Blissfully Domestic“.

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Diane Birch – Bible Belt

Edited: I was having some difficulty with the widget yesterday and didn’t realize this had posted without any content! Oops!

glamour MaliaI have two reasons for posting this.

1. I really, really, really, really, really, like this music. Really. I’m not exactly the most fluent music critic (obviously), I just know what I like. I can’t exactly describe to you what I like about this music and this artist, I just feel it in me. I feel good listening to her music. I get her songs stuck in my head and instead of it being annoying, it’s satisfying. I relate to her lyrics. I enjoy the mixture of styles she employs to create her own unique sound. It’s good music, plain and simple.

2. It’s for a good cause. If you like this music too and are compelled to add it to your collection, would you please consider clicking on that widget up there and buying it through that service? For every album purchased through one of those widgets, $1 will be donated to charity. As you can see, I picked the March of Dimes. You can purchase through either iTunes or Amazon.

To find out more about Diane and her debut album, go here.

Many thanks to good folks at One2One Network for the opportunity to share this with you!

disclaimer: A gratis copy of the album was provided to me. My review of it is from the heart, as is my participation in fundraising efforts.

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Koko Taylor – R.I.P.

koko taylorJust about thirteen months ago, I wrote a post about how the children’s show, Arthur, on PBS introduced me to Koko Taylor. I didn’t even realize she was still performing and then I saw her on The Kennedy Center Honors Morgan Freeman in February. She performed, I’m a Woman, and she could still rock the house!  Yesterday, the “Queen of the Blues”, Koko Taylor passed on to that great blues bar in the sky.

She was 80 years old. She’ll be missed. But her legend will live on. Here’s Koko performing my personal favorite, Wang Dang Doodle in 1967.

Now  you can Wang Dang Doodle for eterninty, dear woman.

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