Monday, November 26, 2012

the moments in-between...

The moments in-between...

I love big celebrations, the grand gestures, the major holidays, birthdays, and mark-your-calendar-events …the long awaited trips (the kind that come with insurance!) the epic parties, and all things Spanx-worthy…

But lately I’ve been trying to focus more on the moments in between…

The moments that can bring just as much gratification and simple joy to my day if I just pay attention .

The ordinary moments that make up our extraordinary lives…
Moments like:
Listening to the boys bicker and tease each other while playing side-by-side on their own computers, knowing they were enjoying  the familiar routine,

the beauty of a winter sunset over the water…

the less familiar beauty of a sunrise over the water…and the patience of my kids when I pull over to take a picture.

doing yet another load of laundry, finding a note written from my oldest to my youngest son in honor of his first varsity football game.  After bawling like a baby for 3 minutes I hear myself say…"I must be doing something right?!” (or maybe I heard…"see, you haven’t totally screwed them up!"...)

laughing out loud by myself in the car after hearing a song that just an hour ago had my sweet friend and me in tears while kickboxing…(might have been actual tears of pain now that I think of it…)

enjoying the first cup of homemade hot chocolate of the winter season, from my mom’s old recipe, appreciating the sight of her handwriting,

asking my daughter to download a new song for me that I liked, then later hearing her sing it, realizing she knew all words because she must like it, too!

the simple joy of having warm feet at night when my husband is not traveling…(not sure if my cold feet would be on his “special moments list”…)
and of course, the most obvious...


I  will add that my last few days were spent relaxing at our house on the beach.  It is a place without schedules, homework, carpools, and with a killer view. Obviously the environment makes it much easier to notice the small lovelies of the day while reading a book, listening to the waves and feeling the warm sunshine on your face.  The trick, you see, is to find beauty in the everyday of our lives even while we are in carpool, or the grocery store YET AGAIN, while knee-deep in folding clothes,or wiping up another mess the dog left! 

In my effort to see beauty between the moments I channel Ferris Bueller.  (no, I don't play hooky and fake sick all day...but only because I am not that talented with recording my voice and wiring the doorbell...)

In the words of that wise old sage Ferris Bueller:

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

What are your  favorite "in-between moments"?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

on making pierogies...

They are just little potato-filled pasta pockets...there is nothing fancy about them, no "special" ingredients or secret recipe. 
They aren't well-known down here in the South, unlike up North, where there are many more Polish and Serbian influences in kitchens.
They were a staple in my dad's house growing up with 4 other siblings and sometimes boarders.
They are one of the unique recipes that my "Baba" has always made, along with her nut-roll and cabbage rolls.
I decided about a week ago, after my family made Thanksgiving plans, to surprise my parents and my brothers by making a batch of beloved pierogies.  None of us grandkids had ever attempted the day long task of making the pasta, rolling and cutting it out, stuffing it with the freshly mashed potato mixture, forming the cresent shaped pockets, boiling and then finally sauteing the little bundles...
Until today! I spent most of the day doing my best to re-create her technique, hearing her words as I added the eggs to my flour. I could just see her hands, wrinkled and gnarled from years of hard work, as I pinched the sides of the pasta together. I carefully counted each batch, just as she did, knowing why she was so proud of the 80+ that she would make from her dough. I only managed 64...but made another batch to ensure plenty to share tomorrow.
My dear Baba, you see, is 97.  I don't see her often and wish my kids could spend more time with her. She is quite a remarkable lady, my grandmother. Still living alone, still bowling and gardening...stubborn, strong, and beautiful. 
About 7 years ago, while she was visiting, I asked her to come over and teach me to make pierogies. I wrote everything down, even though she laughed at me when I asked her for her recipe. When Carolina asked her who taught her how to make pierogies, she answered; "my mother, of course!"
I am determined to keep these pierogies going...even if it takes me an entire Saturday, and my whole kitchen, including the dog, is dusted with flour, and even if they don't look nearly as pretty as hers do...
Because this week my dear Baba broke her hip.  Apparently God is well aware that I am not quite ready to be the sole pierogi maker of my family just yet.  I am so grateful, so thankful. And so happy to share a little bit of Baba at our Thanksgiving table!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Checking the Boxes

Tonight as I navigate this new blog  I am listening to the election reports coming in. Today has been a day of "checking the box" for Americans as we celebrate our right to choose.

Posting this first blog post will be a personal "checking the box" for me. I've been toying with the idea of a blog for some time now...what's been stopping me is my lack of tech skills and a slight fear of all things URL. (compounded by watching my daughter's fingers fly across my keyboard as she "fixes" pretty much anything I try to do on my own.)

While driving down to Savannah this weekend for the Rock and Roll Marathon, my friends and I started our checklists of goals we hoped to accomplish, finishing our first half-marathon being the top of our lists. We were elated to check that one off  and did so after we had the strength to hold a pencil.  Still reveling in my glory...I realized that I had checked the box of another goal: participating in the Wesleyan Artist Market last spring.  Both were events I once thought were out of my reach. Both were scary and required a lot of time (and blood, sweat, and tears!...toenails are for sissies.) I finished both events not only wanting to sign up again, but full of ideas to be more successful, to finish faster! (and both were a bit like childbirth...wondering in the middle of it 'how-did-I-get-here-who-talked-me-into-this!!!!' and then when it was over-and that first beer was cracked- I was (almost) ready to do it again!)
So on this night of box-checking...I have begun my blog. My hope is to inspire, to encourage, and occasionally entertain with the stories and pictures from my crazy, beautiful, blessed life.