Tuesday, January 31, 2017


You know, back when I was wondering if I should go to the Women’s March, I questioned whether it would make a difference. Would it change me?

The answer is yes. Yes. I’m still very much the same person (of course), but thanks to the march, I’m moving now.

It’s all very awkward, though. I’m completely out of my league with this activism thing. My understanding of politics is shaky (that’s putting it nicely), and I’ve been gifted with a hefty dose of cynicism. I’m not one to jump on any bandwagons, even ones I find attractive. I’m fully aware that there is always another side of the story, that people are biased, that nothing is totally clear-cut.

So I move slowly, cautiously, like a stiff-legged teenager trying to dance for the first time, hoping against hope that she doesn’t fall flat on her face. Or, in the case of my daily phone calling, hoping I don’t unintentionally ask my senators to take the wrong action. I seek out writers and news sources that I trust. Once in a while I read a piece from the other side, or watch an interview, in an attempt to get to the source. When one of my friends posted a photo of postcards she was making, I ordered a half dozen. I’ll use them to write to my government officials, though I stuck one to the wall above my desk, a reminder to speak up already, Woman.

The kids’ interest and curiosity has sparked a bunch of conversations. I try to keep them updated on what’s going on, together watching interviews and the live newsfeeds of the protests, and explaining why I'm signing the petition to make our town a sanctuary city.

When the younger kids overhear me leaving a message for a senator (yet again because, “Due to a higher than normal call volume, we are unable to take your call at this time”), they get all giddy. What were you telling them to do this time, Mom, huh? What did you say? As though the senators have no choice but to follow my orders.

On Sunday, with less than 24 hours notice, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Harrisonburg to protest the immigration ban. After hearing reports of the chants and collective roars from DC, and listening to the protesters on the news, my kids were thrilled to yell along with everyone else: No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here! My brother, a freelance reporter for our local NPR station, did a short piece on the rally. (The last quote is my favorite.)

There's so much I don't understand. So much to do and so little I can do. I'm in over my head. We all are, I guess, right? Already, less than two weeks in, I find myself growing weary. It'd be so much easier to shut all of this out, turn it off. And, quite frankly, I'm sure I will, from time to time.

But, for right now, I'm moving.

One babystep at a time.


Oh, and one more thing! Today, scrolling through an endless stream of political posts on Facebook, I landed upon this gem, a friend's little girl's spontaneous bedtime prayer:
Thank you for friends and family. Thank you we are the same and different. Thank you for our shapes, colors, and sounds. And please watch over little Anna as she sleeps. Amen.                                                                     
—Little Anna, age 4
This same time years previous: lemon creams, and just when you thought my life was all peaches, peanut butter and honey granola, homemade mayonnaise, rock-my-world cocoa brownies, and orange cranberry biscotti.

Monday, January 30, 2017

the quotidian (1.30.17)

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

My new favorite salad base: power greens.

Now that's a grilled cheese.

Piling up: the daily starter leftovers.

Another quadruple batch of this soup.

Just for kicks: hot pepper in the caramel.

I love breakfast.

Kitchen geometrics.

She passed!

Whupped: after a 12-hour EMT shift
(that included a grueling round of CPR)
sandwiched between two days of construction work,
and then the start of a cold.


Naughty girls, all three of them.

He wanted to be closer to us.

Attending a private show (!) of their new (!!) music: The Steel Wheels (!!!).

This same time, years previous: crispy pan pizzas, sour cream and berry baked oatmeal, about a picture, swimming in the sunshine, mornings, the quotidian (1.30.12), Gretchen's green chili, shoofly cake, and Nana's anise biscotti.

Friday, January 27, 2017

omeletty egg bake

Instead of the traditional made-to-order omelets at our family gathering in PA, my aunt made a bunch of egg casseroles for Sunday’s big brunch. One was bread based (this one) and the other wasn’t. When I asked about the difference, my aunt explained that the not bread-based one was more like an omelet, but in casserole form. Lots of meat, eggs, cheese, and veggies, straight-up.

Back home, I bought the ingredients I didn't have, the cottage cheese and mushrooms (that I minced fine and my mushroom-hating husband never even knew they were there). The other stuff—the eggs, cheese, green peppers, and sausage—I already had on hand.

I assembled everything one Sunday afternoon and then baked it, along with a pan of hash browns and a batch of sky-high biscuits with homemade lard for a kick-your-butt-into-high-gear Monday morning breakfast. My husband was like, “What has gotten into you?” and Melissa was like, “Can I have this on my birthday?”

Omeletty Egg Bake
Adapted from my aunt and she, in turn, got the recipe from All Recipes.

1 pound loose sausage
2 onions, chopped
2 sweet peppers (1 green and 1 red, if possible), chopped
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
½ pound monterey jack cheese, grated
4 tablespoons butter, melted
10 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cottage cheese

Brown the sausage. Caramelize the onions in a bit of bacon grease, or butter, and sprinkle with salt. Saute the peppers. Lightly saute the mushrooms in a little butter.

In a large bowl, combine the sausage, onions, peppers, mushroom, and monterey jack cheese and then transfer to a 9x13 pan. Drizzle the melted butter over top. Combine the eggs, salt, black pepper, and cottage cheese and pour over the meat.

Bake the casserole (or cover and refrigerate until ready to bake) at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the middle is set. Serve hot. If there are leftovers, count your lucky stars.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (1.25.16), through my lens: a wedding, the quotidian (1.26.15), keep everlastingly at it, hobo beans, the quotidian (1.27.14), what you can do, first day of classes, and then we moved into a barn, five things, and corn tortillas.

Monday, January 23, 2017

the quotidian (1.23.17)

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

Busy and productive: just how I like it.

A gift: honeysuckle—HONEYSUCKLE—jelly.

Company prep: candles, cookies, and and a task for when I'm running my mouth.

Keeping everlastingly at it: crackers, bread, and granola.

Homemade peanut butter: the boy got a bee in his bonnet and just had to make some.

Writing group: the remains.

Because tossing them on the floor is easier.

She teaches (and has openings!).

Cat cube.

This same time, years previous: blizzard of 2016, lazy stuffed cabbage rolls, the quotidian (1.20.14), world's best pancakes, rocks in my granola, and other tales, the quotidian (1.23.12), chuck roast braised in red wine, moving forward, peanut noodles, on thank-you notes, pink cupcakes, in no particular order, movie night, on not wanting, and capturing the moment.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

women's march on washington

Never, ever, ever have I been around so many people. The sheer volume was staggering. From the moment we stepped away from the bus, we were surrounded. Even though I knew lots of friends attending the march, I didn’t see a familiar face—aside from those in our group of seven—the entire day.

When we left the stadium lot where the bus dropped us—two miles from the start of the march—the sidewalks were already full. We were immediately swept up in the ever-swelling stream of bodies that eventually, and rather suddenly, ground to a halt in a roiling sea of pink.

By the time we arrived, the rally had started. (We had made a bathroom stop which involved a loooong line.) Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, the crush of bodies carried us to a dead-end spot behind the stage. It took us a good long while to work our way around to the right side and then we couldn’t even get close enough to hear the speeches, let alone see anything.

So we kept moving, inching our way down a parallel (and full) street, block after block, trying to find an entry point. Finally we found a spot where we could hear (but not see any of the big screens), and for the next couple hours we listened to speakers Michael Moore, Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johannson, Van Jones, 6-year-old Sophia Cruz, etc.

After the pain of standing became too much (standing still hurts), we started working our way through the crowd, trying to get to the place the march would be. Passing the big screens, we’d catch glimpses of speakers, Angela Davis, Madonna, Maxwell.

We shuffled along like a pack of emperor penguins, each person with her hand hooked into the hood of the woman in front of her. Sometimes the press was so great that we moved only a fraction of an inch with each step, and sometimes we couldn’t even take steps. I’d look around me, at the thousands of people hemming me in on all sides and do my best not to think about stampedes and mass shootings and trucks driving into crowds. My fretful husband had begged us to be safe. Don’t worry, hon, I’d told him. I’ll stay at the edge of the crowd. That I thought there’d be such a thing as an edge—ha!

An hour and a half after the march was scheduled to start, it finally got underway. The few times the crowd thinned out enough that we could actually stride (because mostly we did the penguin shuffle), it felt so, so good. There were chants of all sorts, but my favorite was the random group yell. From several blocks away, we’d hear the roar begin. We’d wait, listening as it moved closer and closer, and then, as it washed over us, we’d throw back our heads and join in the collective, wordless howl of pent-up rage and hope, frustration and joy. Group therapy at its finest.

Things we saw:
*A hippie drum circle.
*Mountains of hay, for the police horses, running the length of a block. We only ever saw three horse, though. 
*Almost no police.
*Signs, sign, and more signs. SO MUCH CREATIVITY.
*Random hell-and-damnation preachers with their black-and-white signs sporting words like “whoredom” surrounded by dancing protestors chanting “Love, love, love!”
*An enormous model of the world creeping down the street.
*People on stop-light posts, on walls, in trees, on ledges...
*(Few and far between) porta-potty cities.

The march over, we started the long walk from the White House to our bus. Along the way we passed churches with their doors open, a woman standing outside her door with a pitcher of water ready to refill our bottles, a large sign on fence proclaiming in masking-tape letters THANK YOU.

I arrived back at the bus dehydrated, hungry, and hurting all over. I inhaled my ham-and-mustard sandwich, carrots, figs and dates, cheese and crackers, and chocolate and then promptly fell sound asleep, waking only when the bus trundled into town.

At home—glorious home with TWO bathrooms and NO lines—I chugged water and chattered nonstop. My husband filled us in on the media reports (they said they had called off the march?!), and we skimmed through my hundreds of photos.

What a day. What an inspiring, entertaining, grueling, exhilarating, and profoundly moving day.

I am so glad I went.

This same time, years previous: lemon cream cake, and so it begins, the quotidian (1.19.15), the good and the bad, and multigrain bread.