Saturday, October 31, 2009

Late Crop

My workout this morning left me with lots of extra energy so I raked some leaves and dug up the last of the root crops. It's a lovely cool crisp sunny day after several days of rain. As worried as I was that we were skipping fall entirely this year and going straight to winter, it seems that there's enough of that peak autumn experience to go around.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Letting it Go

For the first time in four years, Ellis is with his dad instead of me on Halloween. Charlie whose words include "Hi," "ear" and sometimes "puppet" when he's playing with Ellis's finger puppet and he repeats the word after me, doesn't know that Saturday is Halloween. What this means for me is no trick-or-treating, no costume purchasing, and no candy in the house to counteract my workouts. I am taking a year off. I think if I never got a chance to do these things with the kids, I would be sad, but one of my main mom policies is that if the kid says he wants to do something we try our best to do it, but if no one says a word about it or I'm not on duty when it happens, I take the opportunity to let it go. It's this letting go that makes it possible for me to feel that the fun stuff is actually fun.

All this makes me think about holidays. Starting now and into the dead of winter it will be one thing after another. I'm sure that the idea behind having holidays when the days were growing short and cold was meant to be a way to take the edge off the bleakness. Unfortunately, the chance to celebrate and take a break is often replaced by expending energy and cash in large amounts at the exact wrong time of the year. About five years ago, I made it a policy not to travel to see relatives during the holidays and not to buy presents for anyone who was not my child. In the void grew a series of traditions for my own little family that really amount to enjoying time off at the darkest lowest energy point of the year. Furthermore, what I find is that because I don't feel like I have to do anything, my feelings of love and generosity are actually able to surface and we have had some of the most fun Halloweens, Thanksgivings and Christmases that I have ever had (although the bar was pretty low on that one as most of my childhood memories of these days are not so fond).

So here's to the beginning of the season of slacking and snoozing and eating and loving and numerous other non-goal-oriented, non-perfection-driven things.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's early in the morning the day before my birthday. It doesn't look like the sun will come out today, but we're all up and writing. Ellis is busy writing me a birthday poem entitled "Fly All You Want." Poetry writing is his new thing. I remember writing my first poems in first grade like him. One even won a contest. Charlie at sixteen months will take any writing implement available to him. He's sitting at the table scribbling on a piece of paper. So far he has no desire to speak any actual English words and may just go straight to writing. I didn't want to be outdone by my progeny so I thought a post was in order. I'm realizing that I'm a little behind in posts as the end of the year approaches. As a person who doesn't make birthday wishes as much as set birthday goals (control freak much?), I'm making a commitment to match or surpass my 53 posts for the year that I had in 2008. In order to do it, I may have to change my usual style of not putting something down until it's exactly right. I need to be more like Ellis who bravely guesses at spelling or Charlie who just loves the act of putting pencil to paper.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sneaking in a few more moments at the beach...

Sometimes you get cut a break. Sometimes the kicker on the other team misses the kick in the last seconds of the game so that your team wins. Sometimes it snows on Monday and is sixty degrees the following Sunday. I don't want to ask too many questions. I know enough to take advantage a gift when it's given.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I hesitated as to whether to call this post "Snowtober" because, yes, it snowed here this week and there's possibly more coming tonight. Look! Here's the proof:

This is where living in the moment gets a little tricky. When the moment smacks you upside the head and completely changes direction in a matter of days. When I woke up to snow Monday morning, I realized that I had no snow brush or scraper for the van since we bought it in April and the old brush was in my stolen Honda Civic. I also could only find one glove for myself and no hat that fit Charlie. Surprise! Summer's over, and by the way, there's no fall this year. Good god, mother nature, at least have the decency to wait until the leaves are off the trees!

What is the same as usual is the deep sluggishness I feel this time of year when the amount of daylight rapidly decreases. Without a few sunny golden red and orange autumn afternoons to help me store up the last bits of energy this year, I'm feeling like I'm moving in molasses. I want to spend my days inside eating, drinking wine, sleeping, watching movies, reading books, and generally not moving very much until the northern hemisphere is in a better position to see the sun. I wonder why life doesn't just shut down this time of year. Instead it tends to be a time of greater obligation. Help! I'm stuck in slooooowwww moooooootion while the world keeps moving at its usual pace.
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Harvest Feast

I love cooking for people, but tonight, I was able to take that joy to a whole other level. Tonight's meal was cooked mostly with ingredients that we grew this season in our own backyard. I love cooking that starts with going into the yard and digging up what's growing there. The salad was one hundred percent from the garden: late crop lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers, as well as the last fruits from the tomato plants that have been prolific this season. The main dish was a vegetable risotto with turnips, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots and sage grown here at home. The weather turned hard this week into fall closing the door on summer, but this meal (topped off with mint and bee balm tea to accompany dessert) reminded me how generous the land was to us this summer thanks to compost from the Minnesota Zoo, diligent watering during a drought (though not so diligent weeding) and an adventurous spirit for planting late into the season. So long, summer 2009. Thank you for your deliciousness!
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