Tuesday, March 12, 2013

{8/52} - Photo

Just a quick photo of me doing what I do on my days off. Making oatmeal in my favorite pan (named The Workhorse)with my porridge spoon. It is such a calming activity and something I savor. A nice little thing to do for myself to feed my soul and belly. 
A very impromptu picture.

Friday, March 1, 2013

{7/52} - Food

Another late start weekend. A break from the usual though. Instead of the wonderful brown sugar cinnamon cream cheese popovers, I made scones. 
Another Smitten Kitchen recipe. I added dried cranberries. Sonny described them this way:
Me: "what do you think?"
Him: "Not good."
Me: "What don't you like?"
Him: "It's like bite...cardboard,cardboard,cardboard....cranberry."

The texture was good, but they could have used more flavor. Like some cinnamon and a friend suggested soaking the cranberries in OJ before adding them. I'm going to do that next time I make them. 


{7/52} - photo

This week a quick, quiet moment to be silly in the middle of a whole bunch of shit. 
We lost a dear family friend and it still doesn't seem quite real yet. 
I took Sonny to school last Friday as Lou was speeding towards us on the train. In the quiet of the morning, I couldn't resist taking advantage of the fresh snow to build a snowman. Even if it was just me, 37 years old, hunched over a baby lump of snow coaxing it to grow with my slow rolls down the sidewalk, I knew it was what my soul needed. I love fashioning their smiles and finding a hat for their heads. I like thinking of people driving down the road giggling at me building him. I needed the quiet of the fresh snow to take a step back from being sad.

I have lost many people in my family and friends that I'd call family. I've learned what gives me comfort and I guess you might call it my golden rule for life. Make sure the people that are important to your heart know in their hearts how you feel. 

My mom was also my first example of learning to laugh through the bad times. I was 24 the first time I'd really experienced a death that shook me to my core. My niece that I'd basically raised, died suddenly. My Mom and I were in shock. But I'll always remember sitting around a long table at the funeral home; my Mom, me, my uncle, and my sister, attending to all of the details. It was sobering to realize all of the things we had to decide at a time when we just wanted to quit everything. We wrote the obituary, picked out caskets, set times for visitation, chose clothes etc. So many choices. Music, photographs, programs, pall bearers. At one point the man helping us through this process left the room and my Mom leaned across the table to say that the pen she was using was amazing. She said, "You see how he makes sure he gets it back from me after every signature? I want that pen." He came back and the planning process continued. As we were walking to the car, my Mom pulled that pen from her purse. All of us dissolved into laughter. It felt good.

I shared a moment like that with C Friday when she whispered, "You know she'd be saying, 'Seriously? The median age is 62? That figures.'" It is exactly what she would have been saying. 

Another thing I believe in is doing something for myself that honors those I've lost. I signed up for the bone marrow registry after my niece died. Still ready to get a call and help a family.  

For Shanti, I'm going to write a 3 Minute Fiction submission for NPR. Writing was such a big part of our relationship, and we'd always talked about creating a final submission. I even stumbled across some we'd started at work one day. So in her memory, I will carefully choose 600 words before the deadline and send it out into the world. I think that would be a great way to honor our friendship. It was one that will be impossible to forget.

{6/52} - raincheck

No post for this week. I'll make it up when I'm feeling especially cute later this year ;)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Not the picture I wanted for this week. But my feet are peeking out and it's a glimpse of what it looks like as soon as I finally sit down on the couch for the night. My Moe-Moe, who likes me just fine when Lou is gone, and my Mary Bones. I was trying to knit, but that didn't happen.  I like Sara in the background too.

I don't think we did a new recipe this week. We were going to, but then went back to our tried and true apple tart. I've been making this for about 15 years and it is always delicious for dessert or breakfast the next morning. 


A quick overnight getaway was just what we needed. We arrived at Starved Rock after the rain so we didn't actually get to hike due to warnings saying "seek shelter immediately, stay away from trees". We did get to poke around lots of thrift stores resulting in me finding another $5 Yashica Electro 35 gsn. I'm going to make sure it shoots and then sell it to someone that admires mine. 
We found a cute rootbeer stand to enjoy an afternoon snack of apple pie ala mode and a pint. Of course I had my knitting and listening to other peoples' conversations was a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon.
We had a delectable dinner at our favorite place in Ottawa, Tracy's Row House
Photo by C

The next day we fell in love with a mansion. Both of us were hypnotized by the combination of grandeur, detail, and mystery.  We will be back there, probably soon. 

Our new recipe was simple, but has been repeated several times already. Another Smitten Kitchen recipe, I swear she does no wrong. Everything is always delicious and more perfect than I could imagine. This time it was her hummus recipe. We are mastering our blending skills and C says peeling the chickpeas is a bonding experience for her and the Shorty. We pack this in our lunches, snack on it while making dinner, or just eat it for dinner in our post-work Saturday night daze. I can't wait to begin doing different variations. And to try it with dried chickpeas. We've already sourced the most affordable tahini we could find. I need to get better about taking pictures of the food we make.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

{3/52} - Photo

Lou went back to Chicago today. It will be strange getting used to her being gone again. On the plus side, I get to send more mail! 
It made me feel better to send her back wearing the scarf I made her. Seven feet of wool to keep her warm in the cold. Weeks I spent knitting it with that special feeling in my heart that makes me feel like my soul is singing. On the train, in the car, at work, during Matthew's unexpected surgery - I took it with me everywhere. 


And today, I bought the yarn to make her a hat. 
I never would have known I was a knitter if C hadn't commented that she'd always wanted a homemade scarf. The day I decided to knit one was so random, I had no idea the people I would meet or the things I would create. 

It calms me. It passes the time when I am idle. It clothes the people I care about. In some small way I feel that I am protecting my family by knitting for them. I can't really explain it and it may not be reasonable, but there is power in what I make. Because it is made with love. My love. Every. Single. Stitch.   
I am a knitter.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{2/52} - Food

We had Lou's friends over for a wonderful dinner. Coq au vin using this fast, and probably not very authentic, recipe. I've made it before and it looks like an impressive meal. At least I feel fancy serving it. We kept the meal simple with bread, green beans, and potatoes.
For dessert during Samsara I served a cranberry cake. That was the new recipe of the week. It was ok, easy to make but not the taste sensation I was hoping it would be. I served it with Smitten Kitchen's cranberry sauce on top and a scoop of ice cream. 
Dinner with the kids and their friends (usually Lou's) is always a good time. We laugh and talk about disgusting stuff. We tease and joke and have seconds and get rowdy. It's what I think life is all about. Dinner and sharing it with the ones you care about. 
C told me I should let NPR know about our dinners, they had a "call for submission" about what dinner is like at your house. But I am at a loss for how to explain the experience. I invest so much time in preparing a feast for those I invite, and it is such a brief part of our day, but in so many ways it is the most important time we spend together. I don't think we really even realize what a big part of our lives it is until we get too busy (which occasionally happens). 
This meal was the last big one before Lou went back to Chicago. I'm glad her closest friends could join us. It was their first time watching Samsara and it was funny listening to them. It is an evening I won't forget spending with Lou in the city. We had no idea how it would open our brains to new things to think about. It showed us the world. I'm glad I own it and can't wait to share it with others at a grown up dinner soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{2/52} - Photo

Morning Coffee
This week I got my hair cut. Cut. Not colored :) I always end up going too long between dye jobs and I am not sure why. It doesn't take that long or cost that much; I just don't make it a priority. This project just might change that! My last haircut was in August and, for the most part, I have just had it trimmed for years. It was getting fairly long. Not anymore. It was a spur of the moment change that I think was just what I needed.
The tripod has been moving around the house with me and I really appreciate the immediacy of the image on the point and shoot, but I am loading the Pentax with black and white film today. If I am lucky, I can take a break from carpet shampooing tomorrow and shoot the duaflex.
Looking at all of these images I have snapped from different angles has me thinking about something. Posture. I need to keep my shoulders back. How many times did my mom yell at me? How much did Judy Blume's Deenie scare me? I need to do something to exercise and strengthen my core now or I am going to look older than I am.
I am also wondering what I will do with all of these photos. Make some kind of collection of them? I would love to have one of my Mom. To see her through her own eyes would be amazing. There is a curious thing about Moms that I have only thought about more in-depth recently. Since reading Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin, I realize how easy it is for children to lose sight of their mother as an individual and just see her in the role of caretaker. They rely on her care but forget she has opinions, thoughts, and dreams. I have been a mother my entire adult life, unofficially from the age of 12, and maybe I have forgotten that I have dreams? That I am an individual? This project is going to force me to really think about how I want to portray who I am.    

Friday, January 11, 2013


I have no idea how to start this portrait challenge so I kept it basic with this spur of the moment Instagram pic. It will have to do. 

This week I have been hauling the digital around with me mounted on the tripod and snapping with the self timer. It is just a basic point and shoot, refurbished even, but it has been my old reliable. I am still angry that I lost the one C gave me for Christmas last year. 

I am not sure how I am going to work out shooting film and making regular posts. I am not always on the ball about developing. So I think I will do some of each. There may be weeks where the digital photo is added before the film one. That makes sense. Take the pic with both cameras and have a monthly round-up of the film versions. Deal, that is how we will do it. 

I did try to invest in an air shutter release, but the 20' one malfunctioned. I have a shorter one now. I'll still have to pick up a longer one if I want fun pictures. 

In recipe news, last night I made a Smitten Kitchen recipe for us and Neela. Tomato-glazed meatloaves with brown butter mashed potatoes. I didn't take any pictures of it, but it was amazing. I will definitely make it again, but I won't peel the potatoes and I won't forget the second round of worchestishchestshirishe sauce.  Lou says I should put more glaze on them while they are baking so I will also do that. 

Hope you are having a fun week. Within the last 7 days we have acquired 2 new cameras. I am shooting the duaflex asap, I already have the film for it. 


I found this one at the Nearly Nu shop, I don't think we will be able to shoot it, but it will make a dandy bookend.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Ours was nice, not as easy as we expected but also easier for me in some ways because I let go of some of the expectations I had. 
We limited the gifts to 4 presents each: Want, need, wear, read + our homemade presents for each other. Our homemades were a delightful mix, E made each of us journals, M designed button monograms (which sounds fancier than they actually were- BUT he hates crafts AND had a broken arm), C made bath fizzies for each of us, and I was inspired by one of my jail lessons to rewrite fairy tales for each of them.

Every year on New Years Day I write myself a letter at futureme.org to be sent on my birthday. Just a little check-in with myself about what I had on my mind for the year and where I was at. On occasion I write myself back on my birthday to be delivered on New Years. It is one of my favorite traditions. 

I made a few resolutions this year. The first being a 52project - I plan on taking 52 self-portraits this year. I got the idea from Soulemama's blog, she was giving away a spot in an online group that provides themes and community for women taking on this challenge. Seeing whereas I don't have the funds for the group and I didn't win the giveaway, I am on my own; but just as excited to embark on this journey. I think I will learn alot about photography and myself. And at the end, I will maybe end up with a photo of myself I like. 

For my second resolution, I was inspired by Leigh-Ann's instagram post for a Design Sponge challenge. She didn't want to say she was going to eat healthier, because what exactly does that mean? So she committed to one new recipe a week! Brilliant and fun! I'm excited to watch her progress. She is also doing a photo challenge and an art challenge!

There are other goals and hopes and dreams I have for this year. Going back to school, reading lists to accomplish, and those pounds I have to make friends with or banish. But those are things I am going to do regardless if I make them an official "resolution". I want my resolutions to be fun- I resolve to play and have fun with my hobbies!

In knitting news, I am finishing Lou's scarf this week. Next I have to finish a pair of socks that are just missing the toes and then I can pick a pattern and yarn to make MYSELF a hat to go with my new coat. 

What are your resolutions? Where are you headed this year? What are you looking forward to?