Archive for March, 2012

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And now, a quick word from our sponsors.

March 13, 2012

Well, not really.  Because no one actually sponsors me in the advertising-monetary-sense of the word.  But sponsor in the legislative sense, or the religious sense, or the 12 step program sense?  Yes.  You, dear readers, do sponsor me, support me.  I take a leap of faith by writing, and then sharing it with you.  You, in turn, take a leap that reading it will be worth your time and reflection.  And sometimes, you are touched deeply enough to respond.  I was reminded recently in my graduate studies that the creative process is incomplete without the presence of the audience.  That the human need to express ourselves artistically comes full circle only when both yin and yang are there.  And so in the great coincidence of timeliness, I received from one of my readers, a blogging award.  But it isn’t just an Elvis ‘thank you, thank you very much’ kind of award, it is a reveal a part of yourself award, a pay it forward award.

So here’s the scoop.  I need to tell her (and you) seven things about myself, and then pass the award on to other bloggers.

Seven things about me…

  1. Can I be done yet?  I really dislike listing things about who I am.  Hmm…I think that counts for one of them.
  2. One of the most meaningful days of my life occurred a few summers ago when we were able to spend time with my French host family after losing touch nearly 20 years ago.  The day was magical.  Here we all are.  I’ll never forget the feeling of being able to tell them how much they meant to me, how much my living with them in high school changed me, how much of them I carry with me each day.  It is true we cannot go back to the past, but it is never too late to return and say thank you.
  3. Growing up, Emily was not a common name.  So every time I am in the grocery store and hear a parent say it with a sharp tone I whirl around and instantly blush, assuming I have done something wrong.
  4. One thing I swore I would never ever do is work for myself.  And now I am in the process of launching my own business as a parent coach….which leads to number 5…
  5. Being over 40 is absolutely fabulous.  I love that I have learned to embrace new adventures no matter what…but number 4 also ties to…
  6. Stress nightmares.  Mine, since childhood, has involved The Count from Sesame Street.  He is chasing me as we both run under water along the ocean floor and he is calling out ‘one, one wonderful clam, ah ah ah…two, three, four, five wonderful clams’…which predisposes me to not being very fond of the whole vampire fad.
  7. I watched ‘16 Candles’ for 16th time on my 16th birthday.  Back in the days of video rentals, that took some planning.  And I’ve always wondered…if you leaned that far over a cake with all of those candles, wouldn’t it be incredibly, uncomfortably hot?  Surprisingly, I’ve never done the science experiment and tried it.  On the other hand, Jake Ryan never showed up at my sister’s wedding, either.  (on the other, other hand, I don’t have a sister, which may be why my life never turned out like Molly Ringwald’s).

And now for the blogs I read and love.  Blogs that ask me to consider, stretch and grow in new ways long after I turn off the screen.  So check them out…(list is in no particular order)

  1. jeffmcclenahan.wordpress.com Jeff is an amazing guy, and a new blogger, check him out now and you can say you knew him back when he began.  He’ll change the way you look at the little creatures in life.
  2. ethics4adigitalworld.org  Two educators I highly admire focusing, as they say, “Resources and discussion for parents, teachers and young people navigating the evolving landscape of the digital world.”
  3. nancylevin.com/category/blog  Nancy is a brave woman walking a new path in her life, and she shares it with us in poetry.
  4. momastery.com/blog Glennon builds her life as a woman, mother, wife every day.  She makes me laugh.  She makes me cry.  She has incredible faith, belief in the process of life, and in the rest of us.
  5. svwondertime.com  parenting from a home that is 38 feet long.  Floating in the middle of the ocean.  Written by a Stay-at-boat-mom.

If you’d like to read the blog of the writer who gave me the award, here she is – FreshScratch.

And here’s the award

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tomato. tomahto.

March 7, 2012

Monday’s attempt to keep the Doldrums at bay included cooking a new recipe for vegetable soup.  The directions included roasting the leeks, carrots, garlic and tomatoes for 1 hour, or until tender.  When I removed the pan from the oven, the tomatoes were unrecognizable and adhered to the pan.  The outer layer of the leeks were burned to a crisp, the carrots were shriveled and puny, the garlic resembled miniature molted-brown cinder blocks.

Huh.  Maybe I should have paid more attention to the second half of the directions instead of relying on the first.

Oh, how I was tempted to throw the whole thing out.  Or, curse my kitchen ineptitude.  There was a panic that set in, triggered by the memory of burned tomato soup I ate at camp one summer that was served along side a severe case of the stomach flu.  Needless to say, the tents all reeked of especially red barf and I still can’t stomach the smell of a traditional tomato soup.

I took a deep breath and thought, okay, how do I go forward?  What’s the worst that could happen?  We all eat cereal for dinner.  So I salvaged what I could from the roasting pan and put it into the stockpot on the stove with the broth.  Then added a few more tomatoes and carrots to the crispy leeks and blackened bricks of garlic cloves to try and make up for what had been lost.  The blending that happened in the final step of preparation broke the pieces of charred skins into tiny little flecks.

I tentatively tasted it.

Huh.  I really, really liked it.  I renamed it fire-roasted tomato soup.

A few weeks ago I was sitting with two wonderful women as we watched our sons dance.  The discussion eventually wound around to parenting, and how we help our children learn in the moment.  One of the mothers related a story in which her child had a friend over to play and wasn’t yielding to the friend’s voiced interests.  There was conflict.  It wasn’t getting resolved.  The Mom quietly pulled her son aside and spoke to him, explaining what was happening and why.  Despite her best effort, her son was not emotionally available to take it in.

The second mother laughed and said that her daughter had discussed something with her husband and then finished by saying “but don’t tell Mom, she’ll lecture me too much about it.”  What she says to her daughter is true and important, yet for the child, too much to comprehend.  We sat quietly, watching through the large glass windows as our sons attempted both strength and grace while learning something new.

My husband and I often joke that we have approximately 35 seconds to get our point across before eyes begin to glaze over and all hopes of being heard disappear.  This isn’t a nod to lack of attention span.  It is a reminder that our children are not students in classrooms with notebooks and pens eager to write down everything we say, as long as it is going to be on the test.  Because the thing is, there is no test.  The semester doesn’t end.  Courses don’t jump from 101 to 201 to 350…to 5500…we learn elementary lessons along side graduate level nuances all of our lives.

I haven’t yet had a chance to tell Cole and Eleanor the story of the soup.  In part, because I’ve been in class the last two nights, but also, I must admit, in part, because I wasn’t sure what lesson I wanted to elucidate.  But that’s the crux of it, isn’t it?  It’s not up to me to determine what message they absorb.  What I do get to decide is what lesson I learn.  I may point out some truths, some insights, but what they take away is uniquely crafted by the alchemy of individuality, age and experience.  And it should be.  Tomato.  Tamahto.  What will it taste like next time?  I’ll keep you posted.

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