Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reflections on a birthday

I got super emotional in the two days before my birthday. 
Someone texted me asking if I was really excited about my upcoming birthday and I responded with: "I'm in flux, in the middle of some kind of personal change, so I'm emotional and panicky"
Do you ever get that way?

My mom came over the next day, we spent time together just going to thrift shops and chatting.
 It was what I was looking for. 
A day of no real commitments and let my brain run loose.
I was having a REALLY hard time deciding what I wanted to do on the actual day. It seemed to really peeve The Barren and my parents, who clearly wanted some guidance on the matter.
I just was too spun mentally...but wanted to make a decision about it.
I even got a rejection letter that day and it left me un-phased
My black and white cat served as a therapy cat for her, she recently lost her beloved male cat and finds spending time with mine comforting. 
My kitty is glad to oblige, especially when brushing is involved:

She was still hanging out when I decided I would make my own birthday cake.

On my actual birthday, I made myself a crazy vegan cake, 
and invited nearby friends to come and share in the sugar!

recipe here

Vanilla cake (I added orange zest) and vanilla frosting

My bestie sent me a little love package and it made me laugh!

Copper colored wooden clogs!
with a divot for my big toe
Fancy Smancy

I put on a fancy new dress I got just for my birthday, 

and greeted peeps as they arrived.
Everyone got cake and ice cream 
My parents parked themselves on the couch and didn't move for 5 hours!
It was strange at times, and quiet and I reminded me of a proper Victorian sitting room where everyone sits in their own chairs and has conversations in a circle...each waiting for their turn.

very proper...

When the friends fanned out, my brother arrived with his wife and kids and we all left for a restaurant that could seat 9 was outdoors and I got to watch the sunset display beautiful colors between the clouds and sky.
My nephew then provided dinner entertainment as he is just barely aware of the power of appendages and spilled the first two glasses of lemonade that were brought to the table.
Later in the evening while explaining something else, he knocked over 6 glasses at one time soaking his baby sister at the end of the table in ice cubes and ice tea.
This second act, had me laughing so hard...the best part was that he said:
"wow that was almost like dominoes"
I agreed and continued to laugh
I think I was the only one that saw the humor in his loosey goosey arms...
He took out well made plans, 
He upset the order of things
and left me laughing
I loved it!

Life is like that.

Friday, April 24, 2015


This is the eve of my 45th birthday.
What an amazing gift this is!

I have made it this far,
although it has not always been smooth sailing
I have made great efforts to see past pain, 
figure out how to better myself, 
how to give more, 
how to be more compassionate and empathetic.

I am thankful that:
My body has carried me across paths I hadn't planned to take, 
my lungs have provided enough air to cry and laugh.
My eyes have given me vision to distance myself or move closer.
My voice has always been there to speak up. 

I look forward to seeing new amazing sites
Feeling deep, lovely new feelings
Smiling a lot easier
and sleeping more peacefully.

I am here, and on the edge of great new possibilities for myself

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


My niece just celebrated her 11th birthday!
I think I am still in shock
I remember rushing the the hospital when my SIL was in labor and thinking, maybe I will be here next, tucked away in a labor and delivery room while everyone else waits on our child's arrival.

We had her little brother over the night before the party, for an overnight and a marathon session of Minecraft with his uncle. We ate and gamed and then loaded him into the car for the party...working hard to keep him awake along the 45minute drive home.

My niece had only a few friends over, although she invited her entire class of 30+ kids, only 9 or so said they'd come. It ended up being a good small party where she was not so overwhelmed that she could be social with everyone, including the two boys that came. 
I introduced myself to every kid as the birthday girls Auntie 
which seemed to make them all feel at ease.
It was a 50's theme and I took photos 
 Since all these kids grew up around camera phones, no one had an issue having their photo taken, or their activities documented.
Most of them posed anytime the camera was anywhere near my face.

In fact, they were so relaxed that when they had a trivia question, they asked me first:
Was Michael Jackson's music popular in the 50's?
I held it together and explained that he wasn't, and that he didn't start singing until the 60's with his brothers in the Jackson Five. 
No one danced but it was a social peek into the mind and body language of tween.

When it was time for pin the tail on the donkey, my niece did a clothing change and came out in her skinny jeans, mini heels and tank top, still sporting her eye liner and lipstick that her mom applied earlier. My brother and hubby took a deep sigh, as this was the moment when she started looking like a teenager, a heartbreak, someone they need to worry about, someone who was suddenly becoming themselves, or trying to.

I remember 11, I was beyond awkward. Self-assured, but shaky in my convictions.
Not this lady....she is sturdy in her beliefs and self.

When it was time to have cake she posed with her cupcakes and kids descended on them like they hadn't just eaten the hamburgers and french fries and milkshakes my brother and SIL had just fed them. I have been given the great pleasure of making the birthday cakes for all of my brothers kids. Since birth!
I explained to them that I would not be able to make cakes for my own kids and that this would give me so much pleasure....and save them whether it is one dozen cupcakes or four dozen cupcakes I am your girl! Plus I also make a personal cake for the birthday kid, to do with what they wish. When the kids were little little they were able to put their fist in the cake or face in the cake and enjoy it in their own way, while their guest could enjoy a booger free cupcake of their own. 
Free from cooties and saliva.

My nieces cake was presented on an vinyl album, and made to look like a record.
Her request, and the cake was chochochocholate, with chocolate chips inside the cake.
She tore it apart and ate it with a fork, but the pleasure was in dismantling it as she saw fit.

She is 11 now, and it feels like time is speeding up
Maybe it is that I am more present, or she is more mature 
either way, 
I just hope she can always be true to herself, 
and talk openly with me when she needs something 
big or small, like what she wants next years cake to look like.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Women of a certain age

My birthday is around the corner and while speaking to my mother, 
I expressed that I had no problem with my age. 
I explained that in my mind, this milestone number 
will release me from all sorts of things...
but mostly THE PEP TALK statement 
" there is still time to try and have kids, don't give up!"

I am done with people telling me to not give up, keep trying
and that there is still time.
I am actually feeling kind of soapboxy about it lately.
 I've spent years waiting, trying and watching life go by 
as I pinned my hopes on something that wasn't going to happen.
Actually now is the time to LIVE
I don't want to give up on me, on us, on what we still have left!

My mother seemed a little emotional about my revolutionary call to arms
I see her watch me ever so closely when I have a little rant or rave. 
I have done this since I was a child...but not until recently was I ever really heard 
( that took loads of therapy to figure out)
So when I see her watch me, I see her witnessing her reality of time 
and how long ago she was 
a young (she was 22 when I came into being) mom 
and all the hopes and dreams she had for me.
She declared " this is quite a milestone for you then isn't it"
I changed the subject, as I didn't want her to become a puddle of tears.

We then talked about our daily practice of our power poses, was she doing her "wonder woman"?
We had seen a TED talk together all about changing your mindset by simply holding these power poses for 2-5 minutes a day or before a big stressful event.
I have been trying to "re-educate" my mother on her feminist theory as it seems to be slipping away as she ages. Reminding her that she still possesses power and a valid voice.

I told her I had come across
a photo of myself that my grandmother had, that had me in this same pose.
I have been holding this pose for decades, 
I was meant to be strong
powerful and brave!

I am going to be a 45 year old woman!
who still wants to be Wonder Woman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grow a pair


In the mornings that I practice, I usually arrive early so that I can clear my mind and warm up with the room to a toasty 100* of so.
I usually lie on my back, and crack it by swinging my legs to the right and left, keeping my shoulders on the feels really good first thing in the morning.
Once cracked and adjusted back into line I lay with my hands on my ovaries.
Almost like I am protecting them, or shielding them from outside elements.
At first it was a motion I did without thought, involuntarily.

One morning, while settling in, I realized what I was doing and wondered why?
Was it from the years of poking them?
The years of requiring them to preform for us?
The years of extreme pain they caused me, like I was trying to get them to
 "relax and settle down there cowgirls!"

I don't have an answer for it.
 But... while browsing the vast information highway of the internets 
I stumbled on these fine ladies
I felt inspired and proud to see these modern revolutionary feminists!
After reading their mission statement and vision I was smiling.
Womyn making change in the world

I will now rethink the power of my ovaries, 
they are mighty
that are big 
and I don't need no fucking balls!

Friday, April 17, 2015

It is the weekend...make these

I have been battling a serious sweet tooth, which has me eating pasta and craving I found a recipe that I thought I would try....let's just say I have made them twice now...
like having the most sparkly, magical, decedent, wonderful thing
 sitting on your kitchen counter!
I have been searching for an easy go to dessert to make when fruit or frozen banana "ice cream" just won't cut it. 
I tried a faux cheese cake and used like $15 in nuts and it just gave me a stomach ache....
then I found a recipe on Hell Yeah it's vegan and... 
You'll never know they were vegan....really, honest, truly...for reals!
Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies Author: Claryn 
 ¾ c + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 
7 Tbsp vegan butter, softened 
3 Tbsp blackstrap molasses 
½ tsp vanilla extract 
¾ c bread flour 
½ c all­ purpose flour 
1 Tbsp cocoa powder 
1 tsp cinnamon 
½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp salt 
¾ c vegan chocolate chips 
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 350F. 2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar, vegan butter, and molasses. 3. Beat in vanilla extract. 4. In a small bowl, sift together flours, cocoa, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 5. Beat flour mixture into sugar mixture. The dough will be stiff. 6. Fold in chocolate chips. 7. Form dough into 2" balls and bake on a silicone baking mat or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 3" apart, for 8­10 minutes. 8. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 2-­3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks or counter. 9. Best enjoyed warm. 
Notes I bake mine for the minimum time because I love soft­baked centers; the longer time will yield crunchier cookies. Recipe by Hell Yeah It's Vegan! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kitty Cats View

Exciting day of window watching today, 
new slurry being poured

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mementos of a weekend

Our first Sedar
I made it through! 
We made all the food in time, and was able to stuff the bellies of my parents with yummy food that was different and delicious.
The Barren made it home in time to cook the meat and fire up the BBQ for the fish and bones.
We worked together and made it happen.
My mother was beyond touched that I wanted her to do NOTHING but sit and enjoy a hot meal, 
my father got super emotional stating that he was deeply touched that The Barren embraced the rituals from day one with not an ounce of hesitation or question.
It was an emotional dinner
My table was set with dishes that we only use every once in a blue moon, because I love them so much, and we are like bears in the kitchen and break so many things. The candlesticks belonged to my great grandmother. They remind me of the Minoan snake goddess, and that makes me love them even more.  The tablecloth and napkins belonged to my grandmother, complete with stains from meals past. The matzo cover belonged to The Barrens grandmother, I am pretty sure it was not designed to be a matzo cover, but it is now and I am sure she is happy about it. The crocheted doilies were made by an adopted grandmother in Slovakia, as a wedding gift to us. 
It felt like I was calling all these loved ladies to the table to eat with us.
Have a hot Passover meal, put your feet up and let me spoil you.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

This time of year

I decided when my mother asked if we could come over for a last minute holiday dinner that we would host the second night of the holiday at our home. Just the parents and The Barren and myself.
It will be the first time I have done this and frankly, it is exciting and scary and a little sad.

I have spent the last two days planning the meal and making accommodations for food preferences and restrictions and flavors.
I spent a good portion of last night and today going from shop to shop looking for very specific foods and goods, and have found that we do not live in a neighborhood that caters to a wide variety of ethnic goods.
I have brought it all home and put it in the fridge, and checked off all the items of the lists I made.
I am now making a timeline so that I know what to make when and time it all so that I can sit and enjoy the meal with the parents, instead of what my mother usually does which is sit for 30 seconds and then jump up to start the next item....never really engaging in conversation or being present.
All these years I was asked to do the same, so by the time the last member at the table got their dish of food, I was up with my mother/grandmother and readying the next course.
Sitting only for a moment to eat cooled soup.

I am gonna do it different.
I am the next generation, the one that has witnessed this ritual for 40+ years and wondered why gather all these people if you can't sit and talk with them.
I am not adhering to the strictest of the laws, or making sure EVERYTHING is specially made for the holiday. Instead I am making everything from scratch, with love and care and thought.
I think that is the most important part.

While I prepare for this meal and evening, I think about my grandparents and the grandparents before them, I think about the children that are not here to talk to about the holiday and 
why my we makes a big deal out of it. 
I think about how big the table of people use to be and how small it is now.
It is a strange sensation.
I am taking great pride in hosting this and carrying on a generations old tradition, yet, I am also
holding in secret, the sorrow in my heart for those that are not here.