Saturday, July 11, 2020

movement

Last week three of my kids and I went to a local, youth-led Black Lives Matter protest. Driving down the small town’s mainstreet, we were greeted with a disturbing sight: armed men, their semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders or cradled in their arms, clustered together in parking lots and lining the streets.



photo credit: my older son

As the line of cars crept towards the park where the protest was to be held, my kids stared, horrified.

“Is this even legal?” my younger daughter asked.

I wasn’t entirely surprised. Another student protest, held a few weeks before and at the opposite end of the county, had been greeted with a similar show of force. The day after that protest when I’d seen the photos on social media of the masked men — members of actual organized militias, I learned — some of them lining the perimeter of the gathering and others lurking in the treeline, I’d felt physically ill.  

Still, I’d kind of hoped that sort of craziness was specific to just the other side of the county, not my side.

I was wrong.

*** 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been debating whether or not to put a Black Lives Matter sign in our yard.

I’m not a sign person — or rather, my husband’s not. He finds signs — in yards, on bumpers, printed on clothing — too in-your-face aggressive. Why the need to announce everything you think and believe? he asks. And my mediator friend says that yard signs heighten differences, pitting people against each other.

They both have a point. At a time when the political divide in our country is getting dangerously deep — in our rural county, Trump signs are around every corner, dangling from fences and flag poles, affixed to swimming pools and porch railings — is it pointless, or worse, counterproductive, to take a stand here?

On the other hand, maybe it’s all the more necessary?

At a seminar on bullying a few years back, I learned that it’s most productive to align yourself with the person being attacked, ignoring the bully entirely. This doesn’t mean that the bully is never held accountable; rather, in the heat of the moment it draws focus from the one inflicting harm to the one who is most vulnerable, providing that person the necessary support and connection.

Perhaps we need to quit tiptoeing around those who are clinging, white-knuckled, to biggoted ideology and instead focus squarely on this fact: Racism is so prevalent in our culture that when Black children (at the first protest, some of them even wore bullet-proof vests because of death threats) organize a peaceful protest against systemic racial oppression, white men run for their guns. 

I knew full well that whether or not I put a sign in my yard was inconsequential — a sign wouldn’t make me more anti-racist, and it probably wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind. The issue is endlessly complex — there is no right answer — so round and round I went, unable to let it go because, at its core, my little sign conundrum stood for a much deeper question: For a white woman in a politically conservative, rural Virginian community, what did it look like to try to be anti-racist?

*** 

A couple months back when I learned about our town’s silent march for Black Lives Matter, I wasn’t sure I should attend. Would it be safe? What did Black Lives Matter really mean? I didn’t have any close personal connections to Blacks, so was it even my place to participate? Would I show myself for what I am: a bumbling, awkward white woman?

Finally I decided I’d go. To learn, I told myself. If I felt uncomfortable, oh well — new things often were.

At the march, I was relieved to see lots of people I knew (if they were there, then maybe it was okay that I was, too?) and the whole march unfolded easily, peacefully. I was glad I’d come. I could do this.

But then at the closing gathering, the speaker asked everyone to show their support of Black lives by raising their right fist, and I panicked. I don’t wave my hands in the air at church. I don’t dance. I don’t put my hand over my heart for the pledge of allegiance (and I don’t recite it either). Self-contained, respectful standing is the extent of my physical symbolic gesturing, and now I was supposed to raise a clenched fist into the air?

Not wanting to stand out, I put my fist up. And then I stood there, inwardly cringing and trying to make sense of what I was doing.

“If putting my hand in the air is what they need,” I told myself, “then I need to get over myself and follow their lead.”

It still felt weird, though.

***

At last week’s protest, when we were kneeling in silence for nearly nine minutes, the same amount of time the then-police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck, one of the counterprotesters standing on the road at the back of the park started yelling, “Don’t steal for criminals!”

Don’t steal? I thought. But we weren’t stealing anything.

And then I realized, Oh, not steal, kneel. Don’t kneel for criminals.

As his angry shouts continued, his voice cracking under the strain, I noticed people one by one silently — proudly, calmly, courageously — raising their fists.

This time, I didn’t hesitate.

Just two rallys in, and suddenly I was a person who does these things: I am here; my body is here.

It feels so good to finally be moving.

*** 

The other day, my brother sent out an email to our family group. “I’m placing an order for BLM signs. Let me know if you want one.” And my older son immediately responded, “Yeah! Thanks. Get one for me!”

That day at lunch we all took turns going around the table, each person sharing their opinion about putting up the sign. It didn’t take long to reach a consensus, and after lunch my son stuck the sign in our yard.



It felt right to have the sign up, but I was still conflicted. A sign didn’t solve anything. Was I doing more harm than good? Was it my place to speak up?

And then the next day when I was up in my room working on this post and the rest of the family was outside doing yardwork, a pick-up drove by and a male voice bellowed “White lives matter!” and all my doubts vanished.

Clearly, it’s high time I speak up.

P.S. We’re already on our second sign: last night someone climbed our fence, came into our yard, and took the first one.

This same time, years previous: all things Thursday, the quotidian (7.9.19), the quotidian (7.10.17), one weekend only, let's talk, what my refrigerator told me, soft and chewy breadsticks.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

mushroom burgers with cheese

Normally I toss the Costco membership magazine in the trash with barely a second glance, but this time, bored and looking for something bright and shiny to entertain me, I idly flipped through the glossy pages, slowing to study the ones that had food photos. Which is how I discovered this recipe for mushroom burgers with cheese.



Since some of my family members adamantly despise mushrooms, I wouldn’t normally pay this sort of recipe any attention, but it just so happened that I had a half of a costco-sized box of mushrooms in the fridge from the other evening when we'd had friends over for supper and I, excited at the prospect of catering to more sophisticated palates, had grilled up a bunch of mushrooms with the other veggies.

I made four regular burgers to appease the mushroom haters and a batch of the mushroom burgers. This way, no one could be mad at me for springing a new recipe on them (my older son agreed ahead of time to eat a mushroom burger), yet I knew there was a good chance that, still hungry, a few of them might venture to try something new.

The burgers were fantastic. The added mushrooms gave them heft (read: made them enormous!), yet at the same time, they felt incredibly light and tender. My older son thoroughly enjoyed his mushroom burger, and my husband and younger son each had a half and declared them tasty(!). Maybe there's hope for them yet?



(A day or so later, I had a leftover half burger, this time in a warmed flour tortilla and topped with curtido. So good!)

Mushroom Burgers with Cheese 
Adapted from Jennifer Pallian’s recipe in the July 2020 issue of the Costco Connection.

The original recipe calls for topping the burger with Swiss cheese. Not having any, I used a mixture of sharp cheddar, Muenster, and fresh mozzarella.

8 ounces white button mushrooms, rough chopped
1 small onion, rough chopped
2-3 tablespoons bacon grease (or canola or olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt, maybe a little more
1 pound ground beef
black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
sliced cheese: Swiss, Muenster, Colby, Blue (!), etc.
4 buns, split, buttered, and toasted/grilled
mayonnaise (and ketchup and mustard, if that’s your thing)
leafy greens and bacon, optional

Put the mushrooms and onion in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but stop before it turns into a paste). Melt the bacon grease in a skillet and add the mushrooms, onions, and a couple shakes of salt. Cook until the moisture has evaporated and the veggies are starting to brown, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, mushroom and onions, worcestershire sauce, teaspoon of salt, and black pepper. Shape into four, gloriously fat patties. Grill on one side for about 4 minutes before flipping, topping with lots of cheese, and grilling another 3-4 minutes.

Spread the toasted buns, both top and bottom, with mayonnaise. Add a burger (and lettuce and bacon, if desired). Devour.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (7.8.19), fresh strawberry cake, three things about writing, the puppy post, the quotidian (7.8.13), the quotidian (7.9.12), grilled flatbread.

Monday, July 6, 2020

the quotidian (7.6.20)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace 



Um....?!




July Pride!




Simple pleasures. 




Inspirational: Black Espresso Cake with Bittersweet Spiked Glaze. 




Also: Roasted Sweet Potato with Rum-Soaked Currants and Rum Caramel Glaze.




Thawing station.




Testing the limits.




And then a minute later. (It was raining.) 




Seconds before calling everyone to eat. 




We keep telling him he's the most annoying child so he gave himself an award.




Francie: a paint-by-number from her great aunt.




He likes this sort of stuff.




New sofa: At first I hated it; now I LOVE it. 




Four kids, an instructor, and a wall of rock.
photo credit: my older daughter




Sunset gardening.
photo credit: my older daughter

Friday, July 3, 2020

cucumber mint cooler

It’s been hot all week and it’ll be even hotter this weekend so naturally I spent the morning baking. My default philosophy: if I’m going to be miserable, I might as well be really miserable. (It actually wasn’t too bad, though, thanks to the breeze and lower humidity.)

I made granola and caramel popcorn. I washed and chopped a bunch of kale. I rolled out a pie crust. I strained a half gallon of iced coffee. I chopped leftover grilled veggies from last night’s supper and cooked a pot of farro to go with them (along with a can of Costco chicken and chopped fresh parsley and basil from the garden) for lunch. And I made a cucumber mint cooler concentrate. 





Watering the garden this morning, I’d discovered a ripe cucumber — I had no idea they were close to being ready! — and ended up picking a big bowlful. And then I remembered that David had just posted a recipe for cucumber cooler.



When my husband came home for lunch, I gave him a sample. “It’s really good,” he said, sounding surprised. (The man has a knack for making compliments sound like criticisms.)




Tonight we’re watching Hamilton (HAMILTON!!!!). I made the caramel popcorn specifically for our viewing party, and we’ll have giant bowls of chilled watermelon, too. And now there’s this cooler to go with.


Happy weekending!

Cucumber Mint Cooler 
Adapted from David Lebovitz

2-3 garden cucumbers OR 1 large English seedless cucumber
2 limes, zest and juice
¾ cup fresh mint leaves, packed
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt

optional: triple sec, vodka, gin, tequila, seltzer, etc.

Wash and peel the cucumbers. Cut them lengthwise into quarters and cut out the seeds. (If using the English cucumber, there's no need to peel or seed it.) Rough chopped, you’ll have about 2-3 cups of cucumber.

Put the cucumber chunks into a blender, along with the zest and juice from both limes, mint, salt, and sugar. Blend until smooth, about a minute or so. Store the concentrate in the fridge until ready to drink.

To serve, mix the concentrate with equal parts water, stir well, and pour over ice. Add boozes, if desired. (Triple sec for me, please.)

This same time, years previous: Vieques!, the quotidian (7.3.17), the quotidian (7.4.16), creamy cauliflower sauce, our 48-hour date, linguine with shrimp and cilantro-lime pesto, spaghetti with swiss chard, raisins, and almonds.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

so you're thinking of homeschooling...

Word on the street-slash-Facebook is that, what with covid and all, lots of parents are considering homeschooling their kids for this upcoming school year.



I see posts with all sorts of questions, from notices of intent to curriculum to how to hire in-home tutors. I don’t know the answers to many of the questions — we’re a pretty laid back bunch over here — but considering that I’ve been homeschooling for the last fifteen years, I figured I could at least share the barebones of how to get started.

Or rather, how not to send your kids to school.




Disclaimer: States have different homeschooling laws; I live in Virginia and I write of what I know, nothing more (and sometimes not even that), so doublecheck everything I say and correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.

Now, there are two main steps to homeschooling: 1) notifying the school system of your intent to homeschool, and 2) evaluating the child’s progress at the end of the year.

Let’s break it down.

Getting Started 
Delay, delay, delay! 
You don’t have to declare intent to homeschool for kindergarteners! In Virginia, kids are expected to go to kindergarten if they’ll be age five by September 30 (I think?), but legally, they aren’t required to attend school until age six. So if you’re homeschooling a kindergartener, a simple letter to the school district superintendent (if in VA, find your superintendent here) stating that you’ll be delaying your child’s entrance to school is sufficient. 

Here’s a sample of one that I wrote: We have decided to delay our daughter’s entry into school because we feel that she is not yet ready. Her birthdate is February 29, 2004. And that’s it!

Notice of Intent 
Once kids are legally required to be in school, you must send in your notice of intent to homeschool. This is a simple, one-page form asking the child’s name, age and grade, and your address. The form is due by August 15 (though last year I forgot to send it in and they had to send me a reminder letter a couple months later — they were quite friendly about my mess-up, too) and you can print it off here.

Regarding parental qualifications, a copy of your high school diploma is sufficient; send it in the first time and they’ll keep it on file so you don’t have to resubmit each year. (If you’re a certified teacher, you get a little more autonomy but since I’m not certified, I’m not exactly sure what that means...)

Curriculum
Along with your notice of intent, submit a curriculum. I’ve heard that it’s better to provide as few details as possible — the less information the parents supply, the more flexibility and freedom all homeschoolers have — so that’s what I’ve done.

Here’s a sample of this year’s curriculum for my rising ninth grade son:
Reading and writing skills will be developed by reading, and listening to, a wide variety of literature and working with assorted reading books. 
Math skills will be developed by participating in a variety of everyday activities such as cooking, shopping, singing, carpentry, problem solving, etc. 
I've used the same lines year after year, only editing to account for the changing year. (And according to a reader's comment — see below — I've been providing even more information than necessary!)

So all you need to do to start homeschooling is mail in a single envelope with three papers — notice of intent form, curriculum, and a copy of your high school or college diploma — by August 15 to your superintendent.

Then you proceed to live together for a year at the end of which you have to submit proof of progress...

Evaluating Progress 
In Virginia, the only homeschooling requirement is evidence of progress. In other words, the child doesn’t have to be at any particular grade level — just, they have to be improving, learning, and growing. Since children do this naturally, it’s not hard to prove.

There are four ways to show evidence of this progress: testing (CAT tests, available to order online and protored by parents, or some such thing), creating and submitting a portfolio, being evaluated by a licensed teacher, or claiming religious exemption (this requires a lot of paperwork up front, but no year-end evaluation). We’ve always opted for the home evaluation.

Each spring, a teacher/friend pops over (this year it was via zoom) to chat for about an hour with me and the kids. We talk about books they’ve read, trips they’ve taken, their projects and interests. I show the evaluator the textbooks we’ve used, and I print out a copy of the year’s informal log: a loose list of each of the kid’s activities. For example, last year my younger daughter’s list included children’s concert choir, regular babysitting jobs, started job at farm and did yard work for friends, prealgebra, physical science lessons with Granddaddy, went to Puerto Rico for two weeks over Christmas, piano lesson from her aunt in exchange for babysitting, got her driver’s permit, and so on.

Our current evaluator (we’ve had several and they’ve each had different, but similarly relaxed, styles) comes with the “I’ve evaluated this child and she shows adequate progress” letter that I then mail to our superintendent by August 1. She keeps a file on our family in case problems ever arise and she would be called on to provide specifics, and she also offers the option of doing a more detailed write-up should we want one for our personal files (we don’t). Cost of this entirely painless and fun little evaluation is about 50 dollars per child.



To summarize!
Each year, mid-summer, I send in my intent to homeschool form for the upcoming school year, along with a copy of our curriculum, and the superintendent responds with a letter saying, Okay, fine, whatever. (It’s a little more official than that — something to the effect of “we wash our hands of you and good luck” — but it’s a form letter so I only bother to read it every five years or so.)

Then in the spring, April or May, usually (and no later than August 1), I send in the evaluator’s letter saying the kids have shown evidence of progress, and then I get another “okay, fine, whatever” letter.

Actually, I was so on the ball this year that I sent both the evaluation letters and info for the upcoming school year all in one go back in April!

And that, my friends, is all you need to know about how to start homeschooling, okay, fine, whatever. 



And good luck!

This same time, years previous: day trip, weekending, the summer's first trip, smash hit, when the wind blew, the big apple, berry almond baked oatmeal.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

the coronavirus diaries: week seventeen

The other night, my brother’s family and my family got together at my parents’ place for fresh black raspberry pies with whipped cream. My brother’s kids were playing, but my younger son sat apart. When I suggested he go play, too, he shook his head. Then he paused, reconsidering.

“I could wear this,” he said shyly, pulling his mask out of his pocket. It was more a question than a statement.

“Sure,” I said, and minutes later he was down on his knees, clustered with his young cousins around the sand pile.

Watching him play — the first time in months that I’d seen him play in close proximity to other kids — my heart broke a little. An already sensitive soul by nature, he’s become increasingly cautious, fearful of getting too close to people, preferring to stay home than risk being exposed, or worse, exposing someone else.

I’m glad he cares about other people enough to not want to get anyone sick (if only we could all be as thoughtful, can I get an amen?) but seeing him in the great outdoors surrounded by glorious tall trees and wide-open skies and the people who love him most, and wearing a mask on his face — a mask! — I felt so very sad. Children should’ve have to worry about this sort of thing.

Some days it feels like the whole word has become shadowed — sinister, almost — and I get the distinct impression that we’re living in the middle of a dystopian novel.

I wonder how the story ends.

***

Gradually, we’re figuring out ways to be safe, yet still live. This means, in nice weather, having an open-door policy: when friends come over, we mostly stay outside, and we don’t worry when people need to come inside to grab stuff, use the bathroom, visit briefly.

For example:

*My younger son and I met up with friends at a river for a few hours of visiting and playing in the water.



a physical-distancing picnic lunch

*My older daughter’s friend is staying here, off and on, for a few days. With no air conditioning, our windows are thrown wide, and, thanks to the heat, no one’s too keen on cuddling in enclosed spaces. As an added precaution, she sleeps in the guest room instead of my daughter’s room. 

*When some out-of-state young adults needed a place to camp out on their way through our area, we let them stay in our yard, giving them access to the downstairs bathroom and setting out breakfast on the porch.

*My younger two spent the night at my parents’ house, sleeping out on their porches instead of inside.

*My older kids went camping with friends for the weekend. They divided up between three cars to help with physical distancing, and sleeping arrangements involved hammocks and extra tents.



Though that kind of fell to pieces when they got hit with a wicked rainstorm and one of the tents sprung a leak.

Speaking of cars, I think my older son’s new car makes for a perfect covid-mobile.




Lots of fresh air and it only seats two!

***

The other day, in need of a dress, I stopped by Old Navy. I breezed through the store, yanking clothes off the racks willy-nilly to try on.

But then I learned that the dressing rooms weren’t open. Seriously? What do they think we do to the clothes while trying them on — lick them?

So then I had to buy a whole stack of clothes and take them home — to my contaminated, germy living space — and then, a couple days later, return the items that didn’t fit.

Whatever. I'm chalking it up to yet another covid inconvenience.

***

Over the past few weeks, I kept hearing people ask, re the Black Lives Matter protests, Why now? Why, suddenly, was George Floyd’s murder the one atrocity in a long, long line of atrocities to garner national attention and kickstart white people into caring?

Wasn’t it obvious? I thought to myself. People were caring now because of the pandemic, right? Stuck at home, people were aching to do something. Frustrated and angry, they needed an outlet, and Floyd’s murder gave them one. Furthermore, since Covid-19 had interrupted routines, it'd shattered any sense of normalcy, jolting people out of complacency and making them more vulnerable and, consequently, more accessible. In a way, the virus was practically inspirational: if everything we thought of as fixed — work, commerce, schools — could fall to pieces in mere days, then maybe real change was possible?

But nobody was saying any of that and, since it felt crass to suggest that real social change was pandemic-motivated, I didn’t say anything out loud (except to my husband).

But then Code Switch did a podcast called Why now, White People? Of the three reasons they mentioned — peer pressure, Trump, and the pandemic — they spent the majority of the time on the pandemic. According to them and their guest social psychologist, the political landscape coupled with the pandemic, has made this an opportune time for protests. So I guess I wasn’t so far out in left field after all!

It’s an excellent podcast. If you have a chance, give it a listen.

*** 

And finally, three gems....

If you've ever wondered how effective masks are, this clip (starting at about the 30 second mark) is for you.

Our beloved Schitt's Creek darlings salute the teachers on a zoom call.


Oh, David. How we love you!

And a current day Parks and Rec town hall meeting.


The mask wars are real, y'all.

xo!

This same time, years previous: buttermilk brownies, we have arrived, the quotidian (6.30.14), on slaying boredom, honeyed apricot almond cake, a potential problem.

Monday, June 29, 2020

the quotidian (6.29.20)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
everyday; ordinary; commonplace




The morning after my mother's driveby berry drop-off. 




I simply had to have a taste. 




Rolled.




Regular and fancy, with cardemom, marzipan, and pearl sugar, on the right.




Olive loaf that the webs raved about: meh.




Sweets, from a local orchard.




Pitter stains.




Summer suppers = an exercise in finding creative ways to deal with the produce tsunami.




No rhyme or reason: overproofed bread, OB tampons, alegra textbook, etc. 




Sours, from our trees.




I was sick of his grungy shirt so I ripped it. Then he finished it off. 




Ball-cifier.




Baby robins in a pear tree.
photo credit: my younger son




The campers prepare.




Practicing for a very special event: stay tuned!

This same time, years previous: burnt cheesecake, teen club takes Puerto Rico, roasted zucchini parmesan, twist and shout, better iced coffee, in recovery, blueberry pie, dark chocolate zucchini cake, a break in the clouds.

Friday, June 19, 2020

nova scotia oatcakes

Hello, friends. It’s raining, a gentle downpour. Half of the family is at work (getting soaked, probably), and the other half is here, quietly working/playing on computers or reading or whatever (I don’t care enough to run upstairs and find out). I have no idea what I’ll make for supper, but a loaf of cheesy olive bread is in the oven. Maybe we’ll eat that and… aw, heck, I don’t know. Eggs? Tomato soup? Salad?

That’s it! Salad, tomato soup, and cheesy olive bread! Hang on while I call my daughter and ask her to cut me a head of lettuce from the farm…

Okay, I’m back now.

The weather has been unseasonably cool all week, so I’ve been trying to bake a little more than usual: a grape pie, granola, oatmeal cake, raspberry cheesecake cookies, flan. Which brings me to my point: Nova Scotia Oatcakes.



I already have an oatcake recipe on the blog — an oat biscuit, of sorts — but this one is entirely different. Thin and crunchy, these cookies are like a biscotti-cracker hybrid. They remind me of those packaged thin-n-crispy granola bars, but better (of course). Sweet and rich, they have a wonderful caramel flavor and the snap of a good toffee.



The ingredient list is quite similar to the recipe for a fruit crisp topping: flour, oats, butter, sugar. Just, in this case the butter and sugar get creamed before adding the dry ingredients and then the dough is rolled, or pressed, into a large rectangle and cut into smaller rectangles.

The original recipe provides all sorts of variations, including gluten-free and vegan versions, and a whole array of add-ins: peanut butter, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, spices. (So they are kind of like a delux granola bar, yes?) The author says her mother likes to butter (!) her oatcakes, but I think that’s overkill; they’re plenty rich as is.



They pair well with anything — coffee, lemonade, vanilla ice cream. Probably they’d make a killer “graham cracker” crust, but I haven’t tried that yet. When I make these, I store them in a glass jar on the fridge, ready for packed lunches and after-work snacks. They never last long, though, so my advice: double, or quadruple, the recipe. Since they keep well at room temperature, they'd be perfect for mailing to that dear friend you can't see right now because of this dang plague. If nothing else, they'll freeze indefinitely. Really, you can’t go wrong.



Except if you don't make them, then you'd be going wrong.

Nova Scotia Oatcakes 
Adapted from Kelly Neil’s blog.

1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat a couple more minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, or onto a piece of parchment paper, and roll it into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Cut into rectangles (about 12 oatcakes per recipe) and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Or, if rolling the dough out on parchment, simply pull the oatcakes apart from each other to create space between them and lift the parchment onto the baking sheet.

Bake the oatcakes at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them sit on the baking tray for a couple minutes to firm up before transferring to a cooling rack. Store oatcakes in a pretty glass jar on the counter, or bag and freeze.

This same time, years previous: one morning, the quotidian (6.18.18), the quotidian (6.19.17), the quotidian (6.20.16), dobby and luna, walking through water, refried beans, Kate's enchiladas, cold-brewed coffee and tea.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

currently: a list

These days, I am...





Battling… boredom. Lately it’s been more intense than usual.

Marveling… at the body’s ability to heal. My finger reattached itself, y’all! (My husband says "reattached" is too strong a word but I beg to differ. After three full weeks of bandaids and tons of coddling and lots of inconveniece, if I say the dang finger done did reattach itself, then it did, SO THERE.)

Applauding… myself for running this morning because, even though it was my day off, I knew a run would help my mood on this gloomy, dreary day. And it did.

Considering… murdering the neighbor’s rooster. The early wake-ups are putting me over the edge.

Eyeballing… these cookies. Her recipes rarely work for me, but this one looks foolproof, yes? Also, I think it’s high time I learned to make flan and tres leches cake.

Gobbling up... the freshly-picked black raspberries that my mother left in our mailbox.





Stepping out of character and permitting… my children to experiment with frying: rice paper chips, sugared bananas wrapped in rice paper, potato chips.

Appreciating… articles like Our Pain Is Not Your Classroom (Medium) and this video which I showed to my family at the supper table the other night.

Signing… a petition to change the name of a local high school.

Bookmarking… movies from this list of 15 Kid-Friendly Movies to Help Build a Conversation About Race and Racism.

Watching… Queen of Katwe for our family movie night. Recommend! (The week before we watched Selma, and I'd like to watch this documentary with them as a follow-up to Just Mercy.)

Listening to... to David Berry. I’m in awe.

Reading... Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I love her characters, her insights, her writing, everything. Also, I just finished Being Mortal and Normal People. Next up: Scratched (I have a feeling I'm not going to like it), and I'm reading Little Women to the younger two.

Putting on hold... books from the library: they’re up and running again!!!

Hoping… the DMV sends my son the title for his new car and quick. Unable to drive it, the poor boy just sits in it for hours on end, or stands on the porch gazing at it longingly.




Savoring… leisurely wine-and-cheese visits on the deck with friends.

Puzzling over… the outlines for the next few chapters for my book. Which is the polite way of saying: I’m hopelessly stuck. Deep in the mire. Miserable. It's agony, people. Do you hear me? Agony.

Wearing… sweatshirt, jeans, and wool socks, in June.

Laughing… over Sarah Cooper’s brilliance. Favorites include this, this, and this.

Missing… coffee shops and crowds.

Lingering… at the supper table, swapping stories, arguing (loudly and a lot), watching YouTube clips, and reading articles out loud.





(If we were in a motley crew competition, we'd take the cake.)

xo!

This same time, years previous: cousin week, family week, puff!, smart hostessing, sinking in, the quotidian (6.16.14), language study, a glimpse, when I sat down.