Friday, July 22, 2011


Just before dusk I am out to pick the raspberries. They are barely tamed, teeming with fruit and tangled in heaps over heavy-burdened lengths of twine. They are mine.

But they're not, because I am almost nothing to their thriving lives: not the seed-sower, not the grower, hardly the keeper, only the blessed reaper am I.

Fat with juice, a tap to loose a ready berry and it bounces happily from hull to bucket bottom. I crouch in the rich old soil, thankful.

The carrot seedlings fed the evening rabbits, though I tried to tend them faithfully. Theiving crows snatched up the sunflowers before a single sprout could see its namesake. My hands' good work, a feast for scavengers and nothing for it.

Nothing for it, but a bellyfull of raspberries.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I am on a two-night streak of making dinners that are A) not pizza or hot dogs, B) made from ingredients (not frozen, canned, or boxed), and C) enjoyed by the whole! entire! family! Sadly folks, this is blog-worthy.

Last night I made this pasta salad and we took it up to the pool. Jon declared it one of his favorite meals I've ever made (granted, the poor guy was starving because he worked late and ate lunch early). The kids ate every bite, it kept well for leftovers, and it was crazy easy to make: definitely a keeper.

Tonight I made Pioneer Woman's Marlboro Man Sandwiches. Quite possibly the first time I've made beef and not just tolerated it but actually loved it. (Perhaps it was the stick of butter? PW is the Paula Dean of the internet, love that woman.) I have a feeling that with a houseful of boys, this recipe will serve me well over the years.

What are y'all eating these days?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

a letter to my imaginary frenemy

Dear Madame,

I am breaking up with you.

Now before you get all angry, let's remember that I made you up. You are not real. You are a composite of all the best characteristics of all the women I've ever met at the park, or seen at Target, or stalked on the blogosphere. You have recently washed hair and cute shoes. Your children stand quietly in line at the post office and have never watched Disney Junior. You always return phone calls, you never raise your voice, and your pork chops are delicious. I hate you.

But for all your sickening perfection, you have a fatal flaw: You are a liar. You tell me I am frumpy and lazy. You once said I was a bad mom, and even hinted that my children couldn't help being wild with such an incapable role model and teacher. You are wrong.

Oh, and don't even try to blame the wonderful ladies you are loosely based upon. Sure, they are beautiful and talented and lovely, but unlike you they have all the weakness and frailty and wonder that hums inside each human being. Maybe I haven't seen it all, but that certainly isn't their fault.

Since you are a figment of my imagination, the beauty of this break-up is that you are gone forever. We won't run into each other awkwardly at the grocery store or end up at the same parties of our mutual friends. We're done, and I couldn't be happier.

Goodbye forever,

Monday, July 4, 2011

independence day?

I am going to try to write a post that is not a list. I know, I know, you're so impressed. Well don't be, because it is going to be a jumble of partially processed thoughts based on questionable data and a dash of privilege.

Today is the 4th of July and I am feeling weird about it. Don't get me wrong, I think there are a lot of pretty great things about America and I am thankful to be American. But the textbook story of our country's beginnings has slowly lost its glory for me year by year, not because of what is said, but because of what is often left unsaid.

The 4th of July, or Independence Day, is the day of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the day that the 13 colonies became independent states and America emerged from under the heavy hand of Great Britain. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." What an amazing sentence... except that in 1776 it didn't really mean what it said.

I do not understand how slave-owners could have signed this statement. I do not understand how men who sanctioned the massacres of Native Americans could have signed it. I do not understand how so many beautiful truths could have been written at a time when so many atrocities were being carried out. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." Oh, unless they are black, in which case they are no longer humans and are now property. Oh, and if they already lived here before we arrived they are just a nuisance to be eliminated so that our Manifest Destiny can unfold as God surely desires. ?!?

I know there is a lot to celebrate today, but I also think we need to be real about what didn't happen on the 4th of July. Liberty and justice for all? Nope. Land of the free? Only if you're a white man. I'm not saying we should all mope around and be depressed about these things, but pretending that American people have been equal and free since 1776 is ignorant and offensive. And, whether most white people want to admit it or not, the bigotry and inequality that characterized our country's beginnings has left deep wounds which time alone will not heal... but that is a subject for another post. For now I'll just wish you all a Happy Let's-Keep-Working-Together-To-Actually-Live-Out-The-Declaration-of-Independence Day!