Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I meet him in the cool of the day, in the shade of the green trees, under a sky like a golden plum. I offer him a meal; I offer him rest. I hold his neck, tasting the sweat on him. His left hand is at my waist, each nail a crescent moon of soil.

"If it is a son we will call him Cain," I whisper, hopeful, terrified.

Lady Legends: Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael, writer, missionary to India who saved many girls from temple prostitution, and a tireless worker for the Gospel: 55 years without furlough.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Meal Mondays: Oven-Baked Orange Chicken

The Recipe:
I originally made this for Scout Kid's first birthday because at the time chicken drumettes, with their little handles so perfect for small clumsy fists, were a big favourite. A year and a few months later, I have a toddler who reallllly doesn't like chicken. Like no other toddler ever. He loves beef, he loves tomatoes and peppers, he'll happily stir together rice and green beans and eat them up, he's never had that toddler thing of hating saucy, mixed up food, but when chicken touches his tongue you'd think it was poison. Um, okay, son. More for the rest of us...

Original recipe from Just A Taste.

The Ingredients:
2½ pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you're not sharing with a two-year-old)
3/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup rice

The Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Thoroughly dry off wings with a paper towel and spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until fully cooked, 45 to 50 minutes.
2. With about 15 minutes remaining for the wings, begin cooking rice (according to package directions) and sauce. Place the oil, garlic, and ginger in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for about 3 minutes, until golden-brown. Add the red pepper flakes, marmalade, and soy sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3. Remove wings from oven and toss with sauce in a large bowl. Serve over rice with extra sauce poured over.

The Verdict:
Really good. Even Scout Kid condescended to take a few bites.

Sunday, 27 April 2014


I shared this testimony at my church this past Good Friday, but I wanted to share it here too. God shows His goodness and help in my life by not leaving me in my sinful ways. Here is what I shared with my church family:

The first months after Feral Kid’s birth were some of the most draining and stressful of my life as various illnesses, lack of sleep for me, the adjustment to a brother for Scout Kid, and the Partner In Crime’s near-constant work schedule compounded to make times very difficult for us. But even at the best of times, it’s easy to get sympathy as a mother of little children. Everybody knows you’re probably not sleeping and get very little time to yourself. In the world’s eyes, I’m justified in demanding more recognition, resenting additional drains on my time, and feeling sorry for myself.

 Not so in God’s eyes. In these past weeks, He has been gently convicting me of a complaining spirit that does not reflect the servantlike spirit of Christ, who, though God, chose to humbly bear the burdens of the undeserving.

 He has shown me to my shame how quick I am to see problems in my life and ignore the blessings that overshadow them. So I might complain in my heart of all the unexpected costs of our new home, without pausing to remember that I am blessed to have the resources to own a home in a world where so many suffer want. I might wonder why on top of all the craziness life has thrown at us, God has let us get a violent stomach flu, not caring that I have done nothing to deserve the good health I generally enjoy when so many live with the daily sufferings of disease.

 On an even deeper level, though, all of the small trials of weariness, sickness, financial stress, or the like pale in comparison to the deep spiritual rest, healing, and riches that I have because of Christ in me.
As my forgiving Saviour works repentance in my heart and as with His daily help I strive to turn away from ungratefulness to joyful, thankful service, I am reminded that this all ties directly back to the Gospel: God was pleased from the beginning of time to choose to send His perfect, beautiful, glorious Son to die a shameful, brutal death and be blasted by the His wrath in my place-- and he planned this knowing full well that I would ignore how I was spared from God’s terrible justice and resent him for allowing small trials in my life. Thankfully, the same grace by which he chose to save me despite my deep depravity is at play in my life now as he patiently prunes away the sin that so easily flourishes in my heart. This is all of God, and none of me, and what better reason for daily, unceasing gratitude could I have?

Friday, 25 April 2014

Summer Goals: Tim-Tam Slams
There are a fair few people around these parts who may have never slammed a Tim-Tim. This summer, we change that.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lady Legends: Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson, civil rights activist, powerful contralto, and 'The Queen of Gospel'.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: The First Years

"Having taken time off from my own career in order to care for my young children, I am definitely not one to minimize the difficulty of this choice. There are serious consequences, financial and psychological, that follow from making the quality of your child's early years a priority. But, for me, the decision to bring a child into the world makes that child's welfare the primary responsibility of the parents-- far more important than their devotion to their careers, and vastly more important than the type of vacations they take, or the luxury of the cars they drive. While it may be frustrating and humbling perhaps, a career certainly can be resumed after a hiatus, or an entirely new career can be started. In contrast, the first years of your child's life are uniquely important and completely unrecoverable, both for your child and for you."
-Timothy D. Kailing, Native Reading

(Native Reading is a wonderful book and I'll write a review later but since I just stayed up past my bedtime to finish reading it, I thought I'd better leave the reviewing for another day.)

Disclosure: link is through my Amazon Associates account.

Toddler Tuesdays: Alphabet Memory

Another craft! I discovered that Scout Kid was getting pretty dece at his iPhone memory game, so I figured I should harness that power for good. This is a simple memory game that helps him learn to match uppercase and lowercase letters. I could theoretically expand it to include the whole alphabet, but for now it's just vowels.

You Will Need:
An empty cereal box
Printer and paper

1. Using a drinking glass, make 10 circles on the cereal box and cut them out.
2. Create a Microsoft Word document using half a page for each letter. Make each uppercase-lowercase pair the same colour (I is green, A is red, etc.). Print.
3. Using the same drinking glass, cut out each letter. Glue onto the coloured side of the cereal box.
4. Play memory. With a dinosaur, if desired. Ta-da! (Or, as I selfishly taught Scout Kid to say because it's cuter, 'Ha-da'!)

Monday, 21 April 2014

Meal Mondays: Chicken Enchiladas

The Recipe:
I tried quite a few enchilada recipes in my research for the 365 Recipe Project, including one that was touted as the "best ever" on Pinterest (which is actually usually totally inaccurate, so, rookie error on my part.) But all of them left me cold. So soggy. But then my mother-in-law mentioned that my sister-in-law had made some really good ones, so I snagged her recipe.

The Ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon each chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3/4 cup salsa, plus a little additional
2 cups shredded cheddar
About 5 flour tortillas

The Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook pepper and onion in butter. Stir in spices, then reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and cook until melted. Add chicken and salsa.
2. Remove from heat. Spread a thin layer of salsa in a 9x13" baking dish. Spoon mixture into tortillas, wrap, and line up in baking dish. Cover with salsa and shredded cheese.
3. Bake for 15-20, broiling for a minute or two to brown the cheese if desired. Serve with sour cream and salsa to dip.

The Verdict:
Yum. I loved these. The cream cheese flavour was really nice. I should note though that I used very little salsa on top so they were more crispy; just a thin layer like on the bottom of the dish instead of pouring it over. So maybe not the most authentic enchiladas, but definitely ones that are going into the rotation.

Music Mondays: Until the Night Is Over, Timber Timbre

Timber Timbre is my favourite music for listening to at home alone of an evening. Beautifully creepy.

"I ain't no doctor, babe; I ain't no doctor's son, but I'll cool your fever 'til the doctor comes."

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Song for the End (Resurrection Sunday)

From the bed of murder and treason
I wake to the smell of jasmine.
Standing in the doorway staggered,
I wonder like a child at this new world.
What blinding gold light in the orchard!
Saturn swung close and heavy on the horizon,
daring and sweet, the milk of galaxies,
the pulp of Jupiter tumble at my feet,
the honey of mercy: for the debt of my
crimes is swallowed in his riches!
He has taken my Master away and I
am left speechless, a freedwoman.
He has taken the sting from the
spider Death, this King of the Jews, this
Lamb of God. It is finished,
and I'll forevermore read this page:
The End. The End. The End--

Lady Macbeth in a clean white shirt
laughing and crying where the almond trees bloom.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Good Friday Listening

Every year on Good Friday, these songs help me pause and take a sober look at the brutal weight of what, exactly, we're remembering this day. Rich with theology and perfect for communicating the heaviness of the Cruxifiction but always with hope breaking through the heaviness, I cannot recommend these songs more as a way to meditate on the heartbreaking, amazing sacrificial death of our Lord.

Song for Mourning (Good Friday)

A ruby-throated humming bird in a tin can
bleeds from the sharp edges of what contains him.
The sky is dark with sulfur and vinegar
as I take my verdict straight, no chaser.
Somewhere in a field, Abel breathes his last;
 somewhere in the desert a goat
bleats bleakly as it carries off the sins of Israel.

 I am the thorns of the curse
grown knee-deep around the tree of the curse,
and he wears the thorns of the curse for a
crown as he hauls the tree of the curse up towards Golgotha.
The sky is dark at midday, today.

 What I want is simple; it is a brutal knife. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Song for Immanuel (Maundy Thursday)

The bells fly to Rome,
the angels gather,
the wine is dark in the house of feasting.
The lameness in my bones need not
wait for the troubling of the waters, for look!
the Son of Man is here.
Underfoot the palm branches bruise
and the heat beats like brass on my neck.

Here is the house of healing,
and who sinned, that we are thus blind:
we, or our fathers and mothers?
But the writing in the dust, on the wall,
the broken bread, the sweat, the silver,
tumbling along with the churning of the water--
God with us, and He will save his people from their sins--

The wine, the wine;
the blood and the wine!

What I want is simple; it is far as stars.

Song for Sinai (Tenebrae)

Today as I pray, half-asleep, at dawn,
thin the parsley sprouts, sweep,
fold laundry like I'm folding cards,
I recollect that I am not whole.
I am the charred tongue, rough and forked,
I am the brazen feet gone molten with lust,
I am the silty water, slick with oil, churning
and heaving in the gale-force winds.

I look at you and am blind,
sighted a long way off and
met by your broad compassion
as a stubborn shore meets
wave after wave after wave.
Salt and light in my coastal fractures,
you scour me clean, but today
I remember: ashes to ashes, dust to dust--

what I want is simple; it is everything.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Lady Legends: Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman, high-jumper, first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, and a woman of great determination.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Apps: Little Solver

Alligator App's Little Solver is just starting to work for Scout Kid. I got it about six months ago along with Little Finder. Both apps are intended for older children, but both can work for toddlers with some parental involvement. Little Finder is great for an under-two as long as you're willing to read the clues to them, but Scout Kid is just in the last month or so beginning to work out how Little Solver works.

It's basically figural analogies that increase in complexity as you answer them correctly. Scout Kid doesn't really answer them correctly often enough to advance a level yet, but that's fine. I'm confident repetition will teach him to begin recognising the patterns that I explain to him for each question, as it generally does in a toddler's life. And, figural analogies for a two-year-old? Not too shabby. $0.99.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Music Mondays: MLK, U2

Sunday night was the first thunderstorm of the spring, coming just at dusk and washing over the fields that look just like a lake right now. Partner In Crime, Scout Kid, and I sat in the dark watching the lightning roll in slow and I sang this to Scout Kid as a lullaby.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


"[Hypocrisy] is the worst possible heritage to leave with children: high spiritual pretensions and low performance. My parents were the opposite: few pretensions, and disciplined performance. What they prayed for were the important things, the things that congregate around the prayers of Scripture. And sometimes when I look at my own children, I wonder if, should the Lord give us another thirty years, they will remember their father as a man of prayer, or think of him as someone distant who was away from home rather a lot and who wrote a number of obscure books. That quiet reflection often helps me to order my days."
-D.A. Carson

Friday, 11 April 2014

Foundland Fridays: Salt Spring Seeds

photo by Mike Thomas on flickr.
Further to yesterday's post, I do find the monocultures and proprietary seeds of big agriculture kind of troubling, which is why when I buy seeds for my garden, I like to buy 'em from Salt Spring Seeds. Open-pollinated in British Columbia, with beautiful heritage varieties, and you can save the seeds from your plants to grow again next year.

(I've never bought from them, but Annapolis Seeds in Nova Scotia is another source of Canadian open-pollinated seeds.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Organic Farming & The Environment

I really appreciated this article from Scientific American, which tells the other side of the organic vs. conventional farming debate. Having grown up in conventional farming, I've found myself a bit troubled by the rather uninformed way the general public seems to be jumping on the organic farming bandwagon without realising that it's not the panacea it can feel like. I'd recommend the whole article, but here are a few salient quotes:

" farming practices use less synthetic pesticides which have been found to be ecologically damaging. But factory organic farms use their own barrage of chemicals that are still ecologically damaging, and refuse to endorse technologies that might reduce or eliminate the use of these altogether. Take, for example, organic farming’s adamant stance against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs have the potential to up crop yields, increase nutritious value, and generally improve farming practices while reducing synthetic chemical use – which is exactly what organic farming seeks to do... Yet organic proponents refuse to even give GMOs a chance... Ecologically, the GMO is a far better solution, as it reduces the amount of toxin being used and thus leeching into the surrounding landscape and waterways....
But the real reason organic farming isn’t more green than conventional is that while it might be better for local environments on the small scale, organic farms produce far less food per unit land than conventional ones. Organic farms produce around 80% that what the same size conventional farm produces (some studies place organic yields below 50% those of conventional farms!). Right now, roughly 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and about 16 million of those will die from it. If we were to switch to entirely organic farming, the number of people suffering would jump by 1.3 billion, assuming we use the same amount of land that we’re using now. Unfortunately, what’s far more likely is that switches to organic farming will result in the creation of new farms via the destruction of currently untouched habitats, thus plowing over the little wild habitat left for many threatened and endangered species... What will happen to what’s left of our planet’s wildlife habitats if we need to mow down another 20% or more of the world’s ice-free land to accommodate for organic methods?"

"What makes organic farming different, then? It’s not the use of pesticides, it’s the origin of the pesticides used. Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly if at all before use. This is different than the current pesticides used by conventional agriculture, which are generally synthetic. It has been assumed for years that pesticides that occur naturally (in certain plants, for example) are somehow better for us and the environment than those that have been created by man. As more research is done into their toxicity, however, this simply isn’t true, either. Many natural pesticides have been found to be potential – or serious – health risks."

I'm not against organic, per se. Each year I grow (or attempt to grow, I have kind of a brown thumb) some of my own vegetables from Seed Savers' open-pollinated seed and I grow them without chemicals. But consumers who push for organic, non-GMO produce without being fully informed on both sides of the issue drive unrealistic government regulations and financial stresses on the domestic agrifood industry, which in turn drives retailers to source cheaper produce from overseas in places like China where food safety, workers' rights, and environmental regulations are all much looser-- it's a cheaper product but it comes at a high cost.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

My Girl

Grumpy ballerina in her rug routine
showing her fantastic basket
and her strawberry crate.
This is what my genes
have been waiting for.
A female host.

-Gordon Downie, Coke Machine Glow

Lady Legends: Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut and first woman in space.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Imaginary Daughter: Introduction

Because I don't have a daughter but would really love one, I want to have a series of posts for an imaginary daughter. Here's the first one, a letter to her.

Dear Imaginary Daughter,

I don't know if I'll ever have you for real, but in case I do, I want to make you a few promises:

I promise to give you the rainbow. Pink and purple are beautiful, but so are gold and grey and forest green and summer sky blue and deep red and flaming orange. Your room, your clothes, your toys, your life will be open to all colours, because colours are for everyone.
I promise to give you the same range of toys your brothers currently have. The dolls, the play food, the puzzles and the car wash and the basketball net and the Playmobil family, the art supplies and the buckets and shovels, the magnifying glass and the globe and the stuffed toys. I'll let you be free to like the ones you like as you grow and learn and change.
I promise to teach your brothers to relate to you and the rest of your gender as people, not as stereotypes. To not call each other "girl" as an insult, to include you in their activities, to speak up if those around them belittle or dismiss you. I promise to read them stories and show them movies with girls as main characters because it would do both you and them a disservice to teach them to overlook the ideas, input, and value of half the people on earth.
I promise to teach you math and science and sports and to never let you think you are somehow disqualified from learning these fascinating subjects or using your body to it's full potential because you are a girl.
I promise to dress you practically. There's nothing wrong with being fancy sometimes, but for everyday: when you're a little tender baby I'll dress you simply and comfortably in cosy sleepers; no floral elastic headbands, baby tutus, or unnecessary ruffles to fold up under you. When you're an active one-year-old I promise you won't have to wear dresses that catch under your feet as you try to learn to stand up or crawl. When you're a hard-going toddler I promise your clothes will be sturdy enough to take whatever activities you can throw at them and I promise not to be precious about dirt and grime with you any more than I am about your brothers' clothes. I promise to never teach you that looking pretty is more important than learning, being kind, or being strong and healthy and active.
I promise to love my body and to love yours. I promise to be proud of what my body is capable of, to own my weight (160, right now), to use food for nourishment and for enjoyment and not connect it to punishment or shame, and I promise to do everything in my power to keep the world's toxic messages about what beauty is (skinny and sexualised and expensive) and how much energy you should give it (the lion's share) drowned out by messages about inner beauty, my unconditional love and God's unconditional love, and how much energy you should devote to loving and helping others and using your potential.

And if I never get to meet you, maybe this will find its way to some real-life daughters and their real-life mamas. Here's hoping!
-Imaginary Mama

7 Days...

Toddler Tuesdays: Printable Fire Engine

Every day at about 10 o'clock I play with Paul for a bit. Today I asked him if he wanted to play literally every toy in his room and he said no to all of them. So I asked if he wanted to do a craft. I'm not sure he even knows what a craft is (I'm so not a crafty person) but he got all excited about it anyways. He's a big fan of fire engines, so I found this printable colour-your-own fire engine. He was pretty thrilled about it, except that I wouldn't let him use the Xacto knife...

Monday, 7 April 2014

Music Mondays: Cuban Pete, Louis Armstrong

I only knew the version of this from The Mask, and it's a regular dance number in the Parsonage kitchen. Scout Kid recently requested it and that's when I discovered this not-totally-weird version of it.

365 Recipes: Butter Chicken and Naan Bread

The Recipe:
I came to an important discovery tonight. If I make naan, I need to make enough so that there's decisively too much left for me to eat. If I make enough that it's up in the air whether I can manage to finish it all-- I'mma finish it all.

The Ingredients:
For the Butter Chicken:
3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 medium carrots
1 large onion
Patak's Butter Chicken Sauce
1-2 tablespoons butter
For the Naan:
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water (80-90F)
2.5-3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sour cream/Greek yogurt
1 large egg

The Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until just done (but not dry). Cut into bite-size pieces and set aside.
2. Start the naan bread 1 hour before you'd like to eat. Combine the yeast, sugar and water, stir to dissolve, and let sit for a few minutes until frothy on top. Stir in the oil, sour cream, and egg until evenly combined.
3. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of flour with the salt. Add the bowl of wet ingredients and stir until well-combined. Continue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until mixture can no longer be stirred with a spoon.
4. Knead the dough on a well-floured countertop for about 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky. Loosely cover the dough and let rise for about 45 minutes.
5. Roughly chop carrots and onions and cook in butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When cooked through, add chicken, let brown for a minute or two, and add sauce. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes while you finish preparing naan.
6. After the naan dough has risen, heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle over medium heat and butter it generously. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness and carefully transfer to skillet (make two rounds if pan is too small for one large bread. Cook on one side until large bubbles form on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side to golden brown. Brush with butter and serve with butter chicken.

The Verdict:
Sometimes dinner is so good I just go ahead and compliment myself on it. Tonight was one of those nights.

Note: If you want to serve a larger crowd with this, you can also serve it over rice with naan on the side. 

Specialization Is For Insects

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, 4 April 2014

Copycat Chips Ahoy Cookies

How could I not make cookies for a man who takes such awesome pictures?
Marriage is full of compromises. This is my attempt at a compromise between Steven's desire for boughten chocolate chip cookies and the rebellion that rises in my soul at the very thought of boughten chocolate chip cookies. Recipe from here.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/8 cup water
6 oz. chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars and blend with an electric mixer until smooth. Add salt, vanilla, and baking soda.
2. While beating at low speed, slowly add flour. Once incorporated, add water. Mix thoroughly, adding extra water if necessary to make the dough stick together. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3.Form the cookies by breaking off bits of dough and patting them out with your fingers into 2-inch rounds about 1/8" thick.*
4. Place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 12-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Wait until cool to eat for that coveted boughten cookie texture.

*Don't try to make them thicker unless you like doughy cookies (which I do but this isn't about me, right?) 

Foundland Fridays: Great Lakes Letterpress Prints

7"x5" letterpress prints made in Thunder Bay, Ontario, $32 for a set of five. From Harry Canary on Etsy.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

App: 7 Minute Workout Challenge

I have a very strict diet and exercise regimen during my pregnancies. It's simple but effective: do not eat or do anything you don't feel like eating or doing. I've never regretted it, but it does leave me somewhat lacking in muscle tone after nine months has elapsed. And I do love being strong.

After my first pregnancy, I went over to my parents every day at lunch hour to do weights, but now with two boys and a husband who comes home for lunch, that's just not on the cards. Enter the 7 Minute Workout Challenge.

I might be kind of late to the bus here; I know it's kind of an app-store hit. But in case you don't know about it, it features 7 minutes of cardio and bodyweight exercises that can be done almost without equipment (the app claims you don't need equipment at all, but I defy anybody to do a chair step-up without a chair.)

So far Steven and I have done it four times, and it seems to have given my already-lightning-fast-from-tandem-nursing metabolism a furious jolt. Baby weight is visibly disappearing. We're talking about 28 minutes of exercise here! So, yeah, impressed. Also, sore muscles galore. $1.99 well-spent.

Houselove: Neon Signs

Having covered the pink and grey fireplace brick with a beautiful Swan Wing white paint, Steven and I are in the market for something to hang above the mantel. We've been tossing around ideas, some more sensible, some less so (meteorite, anyone?). This is one of my less sensible ideas, but it would be so rad. So, so rad.

Bonus: watching neon signs get made is kind of mind-boggling.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

superbly situated

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to
right from the beginning—a relationship based on
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting
to tear down the empire state building and replace it
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve 
-Robert Hershon

Easily my favourite love-poem.

Lady Legends: Katherine Switzer

Katherine Switzer, first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry*, in 1967.

*Without official permission; "Race official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove her from the race, and according to Switzer said, "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.""

Potiphar's Wife

High summer with your garden-ripe tomatoes, your freckles, your spent teabags and ice condensating on glass, how I miss him! Only you, only you can understand, who were there with me for the early morning coffee on the porch when the heat was already drawing the dew from the grass and the splinter in my forearm was the least of my woes-- the least of my joys.

When he left me here, with his garment in my hand, what choice did I have but to make him pay?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Summer Goals: Basketball

Speaking of basketball... it probably won't happen this summer, but man! I want a basketball net up above the Parsonage garage. When I was a teenager me and my brother and sisters and dad used to play Horse in the summer, out back under the maple trees during my dad's lunch breaks. Quintessential summer. I haven't played in ages but Steven's pretty decent and could teach me a thing or two.

Plus, there's a hilarious video of Steven when he was maybe three, solemnly refusing to shoot hoops with his dad because "I'm not the good one. I don't throw well." I can't see Paul doing the same (tiny boy, big ego; he'd probably clap for himself) but I'm sure other cuteness would ensue.

365 Recipes: Chicken and Biscuit Potpie

The Recipe:
Chicken potpie is so much easier with just a biscuit crust on top instead of a full top and bottom crust. This one happens to be a delicious buttermilk biscuit recipe that I use without the pie when I just want biscuits, too. Using a star cutter is optional, unless you've got a two-year-old cutting out the biscuits for you, in which case stars are obvs mandatory.

The Ingredients:
For the Biscuits:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4" cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
For the Filling:
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon each thyme and parsley
3 tablespoons cooking sherry
3-4 cups cooked shredded chicken
3/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables

The Method:
1. In a large bowl. stir together biscuit dry ingredients. Cut in butter, then stir in buttermilk with a fork until mixture comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little extra buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time.
2. Roll out dough on floured surface to 3/4" thickness and cut out 12 rounds with a 3" cookie cutter. Transfer to a plate and chill until ready to add to pie.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook carrots, onions, and celery until tender. Season with salt and pepper and place in a 9x13" baking dish along with the chicken and frozen vegetables. Set aside.
4. In the same pot, reduce heat to medium, add butter, and let it melt. Whisk in the flour, then slowly add the milk, chicken broth, parsley, and thyme. Whisk constantly and simmer until thickened. Stir in sherry and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir sauce into chicken-vegetable mixture and bake for 18 minutes. Remove dish from the oven and place the biscuits on top of the filling, then bake an additional 10-12 minutes, until biscuits are golden-brown and filling is bubbling.

The Verdict:
Quintessentially good. I suppose it might be possible to improve on this classic recipe, but I'm totally unmotivated to research other recipes, because this one is really great.

Toddler Tuesdays: Basketball

So this morning it came to my attention that Paul didn't know the difference between basketball and baseball. Cue searches on 'basketball' and 'baseball' on Youtube. We watched lots of inspirational sports videos before breakfast! I am not sure he has a very clear idea what baseball and basketball are even after all that, but we watched this:

... and I've been mulling over that question all day now: "Are the habits that you have today on par with the dreams that you have tomorrow?"

(With the answer being, not really, but I'mma work on that.)