Thursday, November 28, 2013

And In The End The Love You Take

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I'm so grateful to have each and everyone of you in my life. I am blessed to be a part of this vital community, where people listen, deliver action suggestions, make me laugh, make me cry, share their greatest heartaches and biggest triumphs. Oh and their best recipes.

I'm grateful I am not in the midst of peeling potatoes and slicing red cabbage, wrestling with a turkey and cleaning the house, all at the same time.

Gus and Lucy are out hunting and enjoying a frigid, yet sunny day.

The rains have gone elsewhere, all the centerpieces made and resting on others tables.

Today the florists put down their clippers and smell their own roses.

I've cosied up my house for the cold nights ahead. Oriental rugs flung down ( not carried) from the attic, pillow cases switched out to paisleys and faux fur.

My day stretches ahead of me. I have brussell sprouts to cook with pancetta and golden raisins, cats to let in and out, football at 12:30 and than a dinner date with Mr. Bebe and family.

I hope you are all enjoying this day as much as I am, that your dinner is delicious and your day filled with  love and gratitude for all that we have, for who we are and who we might yet become.

xo Jane

Sunday, November 24, 2013


It was/is so cold here today I resolved not to go out.

And that resolve holds steady.

Lucy took the indoors only oath with me.

I cooked all day, she slept all day.

Gus rushed in and out, in and out, in and out, finally collapsing in a big heap of ginger fur on the bed to sleep, only rising to eat.

A friend, who is a Radiologist, stopped by today to drink espresso, eat a pumpkin cookie and read my MRI report.

 The cookies were better.

Yes, I do have a tear. Yes, she is sure surgery is the only path and no, I will never be a body builder. Or a pitcher. Sorry Nats.

I see my doctor early in December. We'll see what's what after that.

But no more carrying casket sprays up the stairs from the basement at work. Though I figured that one out yesterday. After the fact of course.

Tomorrow the work madness begins. Being the good wife to myself that I am, I made mac and cheese with cauliflower, baked oatmeal with fresh cranberries, and the sure to be healthy for you, pumpkin cookies.

I'm ready coach, put me in!

Oh, wait, never mind.

And as ever, a huge thank you all for the encouraging comments on my last post. I read them when you wrote them, I read them the morning of and I read them while in the waiting room.

It was like swallowing a big courage pill.

xo Jane

P.S. I added golden raisins to my cookies, 1/3 of a cup. Next time I'll increase the amount.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meanwhile The World Goes On

I wrote a lovely thank you to y'all last night. And then Blogger ate it.

But the feelings, if not the post, remain. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your replies to my last post.

I do heed your comments and emails. I take your words to heart, not to scare you...

I often share with you before I do my flesh and blood friends.

Then fired up with courage, I dare to speak of lost love and broken hearts and just how bad a kisser that woman really was.

Laughter is the best medicine. And a spoonful of children and a puppy help the sad go away amazingly fast.

I still haven't heard back about the volunteering for T'day, but my dinner plans are set.

I'm going with Mr. Baby and his drivers/ caretakers to his great aunt's house. There will be 5 people I know and 15 I've never laid eyes on.

A perfect blend of something old and something new. Just what this first solo holiday cries out for.

And then the wave of Christmas work comes crashing down upon us and I will be swimming madly in a sea of sap and glitter and orders, listening to the same damn CD's we've been listening to for years.

I'm getting my ducks in line pre madness. Today I got a hair cut and blonded, tomorrow I get an MRI (like how I sneaked that one in?) for my rotater cuff.

Little Ms. Claustrophobia shudders even she writes those initials. Dear god, I already stared fear in the eye last month. I have to do it again?

What a year. And not a single friend has any time tomorrow to come with me. Even S-man is working a rare day shift.

Xanax will be my BF on this trip.

But it is an open MRI, so it shouldn't be quite as scary. Am I right? Has anyone ever had one?

Tell me quick. I have till 2:45 tomorrow to chicken out.

I'll take pictures.

xo Jane

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
Mary Oliver

Friday, November 15, 2013

Uh Oh, Emotional Temperature Taking Going On

Oh God, I'm sitting here texting with Shelley about the perils and pains of dating.

What a good friend she is.

This dating thing is a drag. I had the longest 30 minutes of my life last Sunday with someone I couldn't connect with on any damn topic.

And I'm not hard to talk to.

I've accepted another coffee date after work tomorrow, and me on a Saturday, after 9 hours of work is not a pretty sight.

But she's been so persistent, I agreed.

What I would really like to do is to hunker down and talk about how crazy internet dating really is.

Laugh about bad dates, talk about lost mates and how to heal a broken heart.

But I don't think that is the brief.

I suspect I'm not 100% ready for another relationship. I seem to have one foot in the past and one foot in the future. This leaves me balancing precariously in the present.

As the days get shorter and the holidays loom, my sense of self is veering toward sad.

I have often heard how emotions are magnified during the season of merriment. Now I'm feeling them.

I have cooked and eaten Thanksgiving dinner with family, GG's family, but they felt like mine too, for the past 8 years.

But not this year. And that is hard. Yes, Mr.Baby and parents would have come if I was cooking, but I'm not into cooking this year, at least not in my house.

Of course I'm invited to dinner with friends, I'm not alone here. But I seem to be having a hard time whipping up the proper enthusiasm.

I allowed myself to wallow in the feelings for a while, then this morning I signed up as a volunteer to help prepare and /or serve dinner on Thanksgiving to those who need more than a good date.

I'm hoping that being of service to others will help me experience some gratitude.

And isn't that what the holiday is all about?  Well, besides the turkey and the pies and the cats...

Thank you for listening. And don't say I didn't warn you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In Which I Bake A Cake

Yes Virginia, it is November. Outside smells like wood smoke, inside smells like chicken stock and apple cake.

I had every intention of working in the garden today. But I had a coffee date at 11:30 (no match trust me) and by the time I had done a little shopping ( 3 lbs. organic chicken wings,  3 lbs of tart apples, a Sunday Times and a blue velvet curtain to switch up my bedroom closet "door" for the season) and hiked up the hill back home, I was ready to nest, not garden.

I went all Smitten Kitchen. From the chicken stock, to the apple cake, I channeled Deb Perelman all the way baby.

Well almost all the way. I don't have a slow cooker but I have a stove and a soup pot so the 5 ingredient stock is cooking very slowly right next to the potatoes I'm boiling for a dinner frittata.

The also 5 ingredient cake is cooling on the counter. When you're a non baker, you use the simplest recipe you can find. You also google spring form pan to see what it looks like. And realize to your delight you have one.

Of course if I really was Deb Perelman, my batter wouldn't have stuck to one side of my pan resulting in me peeling off the sticky crust and popping it in my mouth (yum) leaving a rather uneven looking cake. And now I understand I'm supposed to flip the sucker over, peel off the parchment paper, flip it again and sprinkle with cinnamon. Insert laugh track here. I have visions of it all falling apart when I try this and I will have inadvertently made an apple crumble, in the truest sense of the word.

Why oh why is S-man in the bowels of the Pentagon working when I need him here?

Oh my god, I did it. Kind of. Note to self, if you flip your cake in the dining room while writing a post and watching football, make sure you have your plate at the ready, not in the mud room, so you have to leave cake,upside down, gasping for breath, while you run to get platter.
  Minimal damage. 

Very moist cake, bursting with flavor. Ingredients: apples, eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla.

So simple even a child I can make it.

 Now off to make that frittata.

 There's no such thing as a dinner cake is there?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2 Little Peppers And How They Grew

How are you all doing with the time change?

Sunday morning was rough. I hadn't changed the clocks yet so Gus understandably thought 5am was 6am.

He is my own little alarm clock and wakes me up by patting me on the face.

If I don't stir, he lays down for about five minutes then commences pat, pat, patting again.

Furry snooze button.

This morning he properly work me up at 6:05am. I begged for and got 5 more minutes.

He likes to go out immediately. Lucy used to until it got cold, now she stays snuggled up in bed until breakfast. Smart girl. Not a cold weather lover myself.

When I come home from work they are both waiting by the door ready to rush out, shoulder to shoulder, to terrorize the 'hood.

There's an auto body shop at the corner and S-man swears they work there. They are often spotted
with grease and oil.

Now there's a dumpster across the street where the new neighbor and her father are renovating the house. I check in daily. So does Gus. Yesterday I saw him flying out of the dumpster. He waits for me outside the gate and walks me home. Half cat/ half dog. Total crazy.

Sometimes they're out for hours. Sometimes it's chilly or rainy and one or the other jumps on the windowsill and stares in the house, meowing, till I let them back in.

They demand food and then collapse, either on the bed or on the warm radiator cover.

And there they stay, changing position occasionally, until it's time for second dinner.
Well, Lucy changes position. Gus just sleeps.

I so want to follow their example. I'm sipping a big cup of mint tea with honey as I write this and I long to throw myself into a hot bath then curl up with my book.

But Zumba beckons, I'm going to change and get ready to rumble.

But hibernating  looks very alluring.....


Monday, November 4, 2013

Love Actually

I went to the best wedding yesterday.

The bride was from Texas, the groom from Virginia. The wedding combined the best of both states.

Saturday was spent in the hellhole as we not so fondly call the basement at work, slaving over and second guessing one another on flowers for the Sunday wedding. 

A friend was getting married. and not just any friend ,but one who works in the shop on Saturdays  because she loves flowers. And we love her.

She also helps out on weekends at a local live music club. This is where she met her husband.

Oh, and she is the soloist at St. Thomas More Cathedral  in Arlington.

Plus her full time job.

So, church, flowers, venue: locked and loaded.

Her husband, who knows his music, was in charge of the band and the food.

His choice, The Bachelor Boys, rocked, much more than their name implies.

Old Blue BBQ, an Arlington caterer, supplied the totally mouthwatering, perfectly smoked brisket, so good it made me want to get married, soon. And their bread and butter pickles....

There were little brown paper sacks printed with the menu, they held silverware and napkins. It was suggested we might want to fill these up with some of the 1,000 cookies baked by the mother and friends of the bride to take with. I wanted.

I thought I'd wait until the actual wedding to get pictures. Pffffft. That didn't work, So I have happily stolen pictures from her FB page.

I have no shame.

Someone just posted a picture on the bride's FB page of her delicious lunch of leftover BBQ. Cornbread! Mac and Cheese! Pulled pork!

Leftovers? All I got were some cookies!

Words of wisdom: don't leave the reception too early.

And florists relax, the flowers will always be beautiful but not as beautiful as the bride.

Don't even try.