five minute friday: bare

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.

Go:

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I take the teacher note out of the Quail’s backpack and read it to her four year old self: “The Quail was not kind to her friends today. She pulled her friend down and her friend did the same….” The Quail looks down at her shoes while bird-perching her bottom lip out at my words.

“Momma, that girl was mean to me again. She took my prize and hid it and wouldn’t tell me where it was.” Zuzu’s voice wobbles through her tears.

 “Momma I got my sticker and stamp taken away today. But I was only talking quietly. Lucy was talking loud but Mrs. Campbell didn’t hear her. She didn’t get hers taken away. It’s not fair.” Her tears flow hot at the injustice of kindergarten rulings. Her embarrassment at having gotten in trouble worn as plain as the clean back of her hand where the daily stamp is missing.

“Back away from each other and Quail go to time-out. We do not hit or spit.” I raise my voice to be heard over the wild ruckus of the girl’s disagreement and then proceed to wipe the spit off my face that was sent there flying out of the Quail’s frustration. I feel myself pause- I need to be heard, but I need to not yell and frankly- that’s hard some days.

Each day we start again. Each day I promise myself I will not yell. I will listen. I will instruct calmly. I will model what I want to see in them. Each day I feel the frustration mount as we repeat the same lessons over and over. Including the new promise to not yell *this day*.

The basic lessons:

We do not hit, pull or spit.

We ask for help when we need it.

We listen to our teacher, parents and grown-ups in charge.

We do not yell.  

The bare bones they are,  these daily repeated lessons of ours. How to get along with others in this ole’ world. How to be kind.

These basic lessons- they bare repeating each and every day as we wake up and try again.

Stop.

corner view: potatoes with…

IMG_1925I’ve been trying to use my food blog more of late. I decided to share my favorite potatoes over here. Come visit and try these and a few of my other favorite recipes. My original intent in starting the food blog was to have a format to turn in to a book of our families favorite recipes. Then one day I got a wild hair ( or maybe hare would be more appropriate) and decided to start a food page in face book. That format seemed friendlier to having more discussion and sharing of recipes and all things food. It’s been a nicely growing community and you would be welcome to join our Kitchen Social: Where food friends gather. Hope to see you there!

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, hosted originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

I am 40.

photo courtesy of Zuzu

photo courtesy of Zuzu

I am 40 today. To be honest, I think I’ve always been a little bit 40, even from way back when a very young me mostly dressed in orthopedic Doc Martins and gray woolen cardigans with Kleenex tucked up the sleeve while sipping tea from the perch of my 1940’s solid maple Ethan Allen swivel rocker listening to Prairie Home Companion. Really the only “funny” feeling I have with this technical change in decade is the discombobulation that is coming with being officially older than the age my mother perpetually resides at in my head (It’s 37 if you are curious). I’m arriving to my 40’s in a pretty happy and contented state of being. One where “I’m good” would be the answer to most questions about the state of my life, and the changes I still feel I’d like to make one day. One where my daily boiled egg, cup of yogurt and coffee leave me feeling perky. Sound in the knowledge that it’s ok that I haven’t slept more than 5 hours at a stretch in over 6 years rather than finding it insomnia inducing.  

Which isn’t to say that I don’t see room for improvement (like maybe increase that hours of sleep a night number for starters). What exactly would I like to change in this coming decade? I’d like to yell less. I want to be more patient. I’d like to read more by myself and with my family. I’d like to increase my technical knowledge of photography. I’d like to declutter my home, my brain and my email folders. I’d like to have a seasonal, familial, daily rhythm to the food my family and I eat and the time we spend together.  I’d like to have a weekly pattern of walking, gardening and yoga. I’d like to completely rid my brain of the guilt that piles up when I don’t meet my own expectations in life so that I can move on more quickly to trying again. I’d like to write a book.   I’d like to make a yearly book of our family’s life and one of our families recipes. I’d like to use more of what I already own more regularly. I’d like to go back to seeing more live music shows and traveling regularly. I want to continue to see the magic in the ordinary of our days.
What have I learned in the last 40 years? Here are the highlights- and yes- I know there are many contradictions in here. A little secret- there are many in life as well:
  1. What other people think of me is none of my business.
  2. It is ok to feel happy, angry and sad. They are my feelings and I don’t need to apologize for them. That said I am responsible to create my own happiness, control my own anger and curb my own crying.
  3. Ruminating over things that aren’t going well only makes ME unhappy.
  4. I prefer to find the good in my day and document it. And I prefer to let the rest go at days end.
  5. I prefer my chocolates mixed, my jewelry sentimental, my coffee strong with milk and my flowers colorful.
  6. When the next day comes, I’ll try again.
  7. Not only do I need the ability to try again, but it’s good to give the people in your life another chance as well. We all make mistakes.
  8. Listen to other people’s opinions about life, but remember they are only opinions.
  9. When someone compliments you, say thank you and smile.
  10. Share what you have.
  11. It is important to say sorry when someone is hurt by you, even if you didn’t mean to.
  12. It is possible to enjoy variety- McDonald’s McRib and High Tea.
  13. Not everyone needs a detailed explanation of what you mean.
  14. Not every situation needs resolution; sometimes the best course of action is to just let it go.
  15. If I didn’t photograph or write about it, it’s hard to remember that it happened for me.
  16. Daily structure, rules and routine help me to look outside of those for inspiration.
  17. When people offer help, if it really would be helpful- say yes and thank you.
  18. I feel better when I eat my fruit and veggies, get lots of sleep, take a walk, go outside, floss my teeth and drink lots of water.
  19. When something is bothering you, try to think about how you could fix it. When something is bothering someone else, just listen.
  20. In parenting my children, I understand and appreciate my own parents so very much.
  21. When I can’t stop ruminating on something, walk on it, photograph it or write about it. There is freedom in taking control of your thoughts so you can move on.
  22. Your experience in life is yours alone.
  23. Don’t try to control other people’s actions. It doesn’t work.
  24. Everything passes in life- the good and the bad.
  25. Expectations should be in flux- lowered when you become overwhelmed and raised when you could do better.
  26. When you can’t change your situation, change your perspective and attitude.
  27. I like to be cooked for, read to and invited over.
  28. In the moment, I am much more capable than I think I am in the preparation.
  29. A daily family meal is defined as us being together for the meal. It doesn’t matter who serves it, what it is or what time of the day it happens.
  30. I enjoy the feeling of a good melt-up (think opposite of a melt-down)
  31. Trying something new is just as great as returning to our old favorites (food, vacations, friends, activities).
  32. I’d rather have an ongoing list of things I want to do than have that list neatly checked off.
  33. When people tell me they see something good in me, I start to see it in myself and I live up to that expectation.
  34. Being able to laugh about the daily awfuls helps me to get over them.
  35. It is so very important to be kind. To others and yourself. Whether deserved or not.
  36. I learn a lot in a quiet moment.
  37. I’m inspired by images, words and food others make.
  38. I’d rather ask a question than assume I’m right or understand all that I need to.
  39. You can learn just as much from those younger than you as those older than you- if you want to.
  40. I am crystal clear how lucky I am to have the family, friends, community, health and teeth that I do.

Bless you all.

When you turn 40….

…you mostly get to do what you want. Maybe it doesn’t all go seamlessly, or exactly how you picture it….but it’s still how you want to spend your day…and…because you’re now 40- you’re ok with that and choose to remember the special parts and let the rest go…unless of course you can joke about those other parts now. That’s ok too. You know, because you’re 40 and all now.

On my day I had a few things in mind. I wanted to eat cinnamon-roll pancakes. I wanted to drink a latte. I wanted to see what was in bloom on my birthday. I wanted some time to do my thing (photograph/edit/write/blog/reflect). I wanted to drink another latte. I wanted my family to bake me a cake together. And I wanted to go out for a tasty dinner. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check, and check. It’s good to be here. It’s good to be 40.

five minute friday: afraid

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here. Go:

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Once upon a time fear was something I wore like a coat on a brisk fall day. As a young girl I was prone to anxiety to the point where it caused me to reexamine what was essential and what I could let go of each day. I stopped every extra-curricular activity my friends still enjoyed. I so wish it could have been the fear that was let go.

Over time, those feelings- the frequency, the intensity have lessened and lessoned. They are no longer a daily companion, someone who holds me back and makes me think twice. They do still rear their ugly heads.  Mostly in the night.  When I least expect it.

It started again in the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Zuzu. I was like a dog roaming our house looking for a spot to rest my weary head, heart and hips. I cried to my OB that I couldn’t breathe at night. That my allergies were preventing my sleep. I was so confounded as to why the medicine they gave me in response did nothing. After Zuzu’s birth it came on even stronger. I would try to hold her and lay down and find myself rushing out of the room in tears asking someone else to hold her while I tried to calm myself.

Then came the late months of my pregnancy with The Quail. This time I knew the feeling that woke me in the night with a start. That made my heart flutter and my breath catch. This wasn’t allergies. It was anxiety. After the Quail’s birth I let the fear have one night in my head and then I asked for help. I knew how awful post-partum anxiety could be and I didn’t want to give the Quail’s first weeks over to it as I had Zuzus’.

When the later weeks of Sugarplum’s pregnancy came I was prepared. I asked for help sleeping  in the last month and when she was here I asked for help on day one. Only one night still caught me, the night my milk came in I was certain the flu had gotten me for how horrid I felt. But it passed. As did my fear.

My fear- it isn’t conscious. It’s hormonal. It rears its head when my hormone levels surge. It always has and I would expect it always will.

The difference now- the difference is I’m no longer afraid of it.

Stop.