Monday, December 02, 2013
Last Thursday was the first of those occasions, Clara Lou turned 3 on Thanksgiving.
Clara Lou had many places to explore anew in the house. Every corner of the house was used, and she abounded. Uncharacteristically, Big Sister Greta Jo and Clara Lou weren't the salt to each other's pepper, and Mateya and Greta Jo seemed in their own little world. Clara Lou found her own way. She helped me cook, whether helping in putting a few pinches of salt in the potatoes, or holding the hand mixer with me and her sister to make the whipped cream for the Thanksgiving pies. She read a story to Aunt Leslie. She laughed and played with the cornucopia of family present.
Thanksgiving Dinner came, and Clara Lou had the best seat in the house, if you're three, under the table and at my feet.
More soon, details from the day and much needed kitchen notes to get down, so I never ever make the same mistakes. I also need to cull through the photographs taken yesterday.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
|Greta Jo really wanted to help Sister. 1.5.11|
We have quite a shindig planned for your birthday. Pennies were pinched, Peter robbed, and we made it happen.
Cooking and preparing for this stacked day has been a blast. I simply adore it. The wee hours, the mulling over, all of it. Stress comes out, but when does it not? We take what comes, sometimes in stride and with grace, and well, I'm my own worst critic as for the times when I don't! There have been things to work through, we don't get through life unscathed, and ultimately, we are loved. It never fails to amaze me how love shows up, often in ways we don't recognize, or from those we least expect.
JJ has been absolutely fantastic. He's stepped up in so many ways, and well, I'm one lucky gal.
Here's the tentative menu and plan for the day. I'll post the recipes and what worked and what didn't after the dust settles.
the what and when:
6am cooking begins, final touches to the house, and manage to get myself and the girls ready for the day
8am - doors open
9am breakfast of Vegetable and Cheese Strata, coffee, tea and mimosas
noon - Thanksgiving Dinner Guests begin to arrive and appetizers and drinks out
1pm - Thanksgiving Dinner
2ish to 5 - parade watching, football fandom, flag football (if weather permits and interest abounds), and house transformation magic happens
5:30 or so, rest of guests arrive
7pm cake and presents
Assorted cheeses and crackers
Sweet potato chips and curry dip
Signature Cocktail: Sparkling Pear Cocktail
Arugula Salad with chevre, dried apricots, slivered almonds and a champagne vinaigrette
Brined Turkey (two made in advance, one the day of)
Pear Gravy (in copious quantity)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Brussel sprouts in brown butter and nutmeg
Southern spoon bread
Corn bread and sausage dressing
Gammy's Oyster dressing
Pies - assorted
Wine, tea, sodas
Clara Lou's 3rd Birthday Dinner:
Mixed green salad with dried cranberries, asparagus and toasted pumpkin seeds
"Leftover" White Shepards pie (made with turkey and béchamel sauce, topped with whipped potatoes)
Vanilla bean birthday horse shaped birthday cake with raspberry compote and vanilla icing, Comfy Cow ice cream, coffee, tea, champagne
So, as the day approaches and the weeks and days poured into planning and executing what we hope to be a day of gratitude and general shared merriment, may we always feel how love abounds.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Greta Jo: Maman? Can I go downstairs?
Me: not yet sweet pea. It's still high' night time. You can't just tell by whether it is light or dark. It is dark, but see this clock (digital), that is a five. In two hours, at seven we can go downstairs.
Greta Jo: okay Maman.
:snuggle for an hour:
Greta Jo: Maman? Can I go downstairs?
Me: Not yet sweet pea. See? It still says just six. Count with me. You wok up at (just after) five, what comes next?
Greta Jo: (with me) Six.
Me: That's right! When it's seven we can go downstairs.
Being small only lasts so long.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
A dear friend passed away last week. Sorrow creeps up on me like a hole in a field at night, after your eyes have adjusted and pace takes the footing for granted as you stare at the stars, only to trip and scrape your knee. My loss, the loss of a friend, pales in comparison to those dearest to him, his Mom, his girl, Jen, his Mamaw.
“After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die.” -Charlotte from E.B. White's Charlotte's Web
|Eric Bartley 1972-2013|
I don't have the stories to tell, nor memories to etch as those for whom I walk this trail.
To see his most prized photographs, check out www.ericbartley.com.
Good bye Eric. May you and your Dad Pete find good hunting there in Valhalla.
Monday, November 04, 2013
|My desk at the balcony to our master bedroom.|
Life has happened in dense and rapid pace this last year. I haven't written as much. I don't read. I took to playing a game with JJ, Ingress, and when the pace of life had different plans for me, that went to the wayside.
So, here I sit, with a moment to spare and time to update what has become a chronicle of thoughts, imaginings, recipes, and peek into my life, the life I share with my dear husband, our darling girls, sister Leslie, here at The Lair. I have my desk as my personal space (currently invaded by my little helpers who would rather be close than play). JJ has his studio. I love hearing him put together music, culled from his imagination. When he involves the girls it is all the more fun! For Marea's birthday, I recorded J² playing with the girls. Greta Jo broke out her own style of singing after we'd sung Happy Birthday, creating a Pumpkin Patch song. Clara Lou made a b-line for the volume to "jack" the mixer. Such good times have been happening, in big and small moments. Greta Jo proclaims how she will "grow and grow and grow!" to which I replay, "just enough every day."
Not every day has been sunshine for me, nor are they for anyone. I usually give myself a time frame for feeling my feelings, a few moments to a few days. Greta Jo catches me or Aunt Leslie with tears and she breaks out in song, "Be Happy! Be Strong!" She's such a neat person.
|Here are the girls once again looking onto the paddock |
at Winter Wind Farm, home to Poppop, Grandma B,
and Uncle JL and his little Mateya, cousin.
One thing I hope to not pass down to the girls is when to succumb to the negative nellies and start from a place of scarcity when there is so much in our lives. Feel them, sure, and trust that with the gift of grace, a perspective of plenty is around the bend of that same set of circumstances. For instance, we don't get to see our friends and family nearly enough. Gammy Margi, around the corner. Grandmama and Grandpa, just 12 miles away. Poppop and Grandma B in Wilmore. There are plenty of family who lives days drive or long plane rides away. We're fortunate to live in such close proximity, and yet, days and weeks will go by without seeing one another and it makes me ache.
We so enjoy visiting Poppop and Grandma B in Wilmore. There's 90 acres there, with cattle, pony, several pensioner horses, the occasional Standardbred being reared for racing, and menagerie of goats, chickens, dogs and cats. One of my favorite things to see is the love of Poppop sharing chores with the girls. Each trip there is a special treat for the girls.
We took a trip out to Bernheim Forest with Gammy not long ago. I simply love this picture I took of her. The girls have such fun out there; we can't get out there enough.
Several photos were taken while at the tree canopy, such as the one of Gammy above. This one of Greta Jo and Clara Lou always wows me as one of those "ah ha" moments of realizing just how much they are growing, just enough every day. They are sisters. It's clear that even though they compete, and struggle with what their bodies can or can't do, ideas of what they wish for that cut against the grain of what is, push and tug at one another, sometimes literally, they love one another. JJ and I hope to instill that and respect to last their days. A sister's a sister, from cradle to grave. May they always be able to access the support that relationship can bring, and have it carry them through life's inevitable hardships, and share each other's joys.
Another photo from that day trip is of Clara Lou and Hilde. Hilde is a working dog and left to her own devices would be nothing but mischief. I have long said, that a working dog requires work, regularly. That is what Hilde has gotten from the day we picked her up at her foster placement on a horse farm in Brown County Indiana.
Clara Lou can be very decisive when she wants this or that, so when she wanted to be the one holding the short leather lead to Hilde, JJ and I complied to her, erm, request. Hilde heeled the entire time and that was no surprise knowing both Clara Lou and Hilde's dispositions. We met another puppy along the trail and Hilde obeyed my vocal commands for sit-stay.
Judith, has its launch happening this weekend at Shine, on East Market.
Leslie recently had her 35th high school reunion. She got dolled up and had a fabulous time. There was a cruise along the Ohio River, and friends who knew her, classmates who did not. It's fun to revisit what was, with the perspective of today.
There was a sign that said no running, which was near impossible to do, as even at a quick walk, I had to jog to keep up. It never ceases to amaze me how such short little legs can move so quickly and cover so much ground.
I took the girls to Henry's Arc with the ulterior motive of acclimating the girls to being around animals.
Greta Jo is a bit of a speed demon. Her initial hesitations indicate to me that she studies, then leaps ahead boldly. While Clara Lou's attention span is such that she doesn't always follow as instructed, Greta Jo is keen to work hard, so she can trot, or ride over poles. Since the lesson is a group lesson, I'm fortunate to have Leslie along to demonstrate the instructions of Miss Angela (Ariatti), the girls riding instructor, currently teaching out of Pine Hill Stables in Anchorage, Kentucky. Our friend Jeff also comes along, so that he can lead one, and I the other. Last week, he donned his kilt. I wish I could put my fingers on the photo, as the juxtaposition was a memorable one!
Halloween was an event that lasted several days this year. The Tuesday before, Chance School held Trunk or Treat. Keep in mind, this year, Greta Jo has a firm grasp of the holidays, and had been talking up her birthday for some months, and also Halloween. Just as her birthday theme became a mash up of pirate meets pony party, so too was indecision part of Halloween. For weeks, the girls thrived in dressing up as fairies. That steadfastness, I knew would not last, and sure enough, when their interest turned to superheros, we had super girl and bat girl dresses at the ready. The day of Trunk or Treat, Greta Jo, ever knowing her own mind and holding to her ideas, decided she would be nothing but a kitty cat. We'd been a witch family with black kitty cat for Clara Lou last year, notably Greta Jo had acquired it by night's end... but the ears and tail were "put away somewhere safe."
We went shopping, and all the kitty cat ears and tail were gone, so mouse ears and tail were going to have to suffice. Determined to find that "safe place", I looked again when we got home and found the kitty cat ears and tail. So we ended up having big sister kitty and little sister mouse. Such fun! Trunk or treat was a blast. So many families showed up and decorated the backs of their car. I was taken by Greta Jo's confidence, steeled by the resolve to visit as many families and acquire candy. Clara Lou was far more interested int he apple we got from our bobbing for apples. There were several children who played along. I was quite surprised! I decorated the car with corex JJ brought home, and plastic table clothes. Yes, our car is decorated as however those who saw it, whether a Gift Horse, monster, or bat.
|Little mouse taking a cat nap at Grandmama's and Grandpa's.|
The last day of "Halloween" was a long overdue visit with Grandmama and Grandpa. There are loads of photos, still on the Nikon, so I'll post those later. Clara Lou was uncharacteristically sleepy, and even after a car nap, slept in my or JJ's arms.
One of the things Clara Lou struggles with is completely normal for her age. Taking turns, sharing, stopping one thing to do another has been hard for Clara Lou recently, particularly anything indicating that the end of a pony lesson is near. Today, the girls helped me clean some of my tack (loads more of this in our future). When we finished with my finest saddle, I set the timer for four minutes and practiced taking turns with mounting and dismounting. I am once again reminded that this is the time the girls are developing "emotional vocabulary and coping mechanisms for when they don't get their way.
Greta Jo, while she doesn't lack desire, doesn't always do as she's told (shocking, I know), so we practiced the riding exercises that Miss Angela has the girls do. Repetition, knowing what to expect, set the girls up for success, feeling confident in their own bodies. Whether or not they ride, that's a good thing in my book.
Ballet is another thing we've started with the girls, and they both love it so! I dress both of them up, as Clara Lou isn't yet old enough to join in the class. There is one for parent-child, but not at the same time. My solution is to have her go dance and play in an empty studio nearby. Aunt Leslie and Gammy have standing invitations to come with us, and are the ones who get the lions share of seeing Greta Jo in her class. She's apt to want to try things first, and it's a great chance for her to practice patience, as well as get to learn her body.
Just last night, we were watching a musical, and the girls sang along, made up their own verses, danced. I say this often, and it deserve repeating - I love being their Maman.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Not long ago, I invited some friends over for brunch. It was "early" by most standards, and well, the initial answer was no. In progression, I sent photos of the concoction I was making. I figured, if they didn't make it, I could freeze and enjoy the spare servings for a later date, one where I didn't feel like cooking. (that does happen, albeit not often).
Cooking and sharing a meal, breaking bread, is a bonding experience. It's not just the conversation shared, but the act of nourishment, I believe, that contributes to how we relate to one another more deeply after sharing a meal.
Turns out, the photo of the dish going into the oven was impetus enough for friends to come and savour brunch. Good thing too, as the following Sunday, they rescued me later... but that's another story.
Les oeufs en cocotte
The key to making baked eggs is making sure they don't dry out. Here's how I made a layered oeufs en cocotte (baked eggs in ramekins - sounds better in French, yes?).
- half dozen, halved, toasted English muffin, buttered, diced into chunks
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 scallion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 Bottle of Champagne (1/4 cup is needed for the dish, the rest is for the cook, and if he or she desires, to share with her friends and family)
- two bunches fresh spinach, no stems
- halved cherry tomatoes
- dozen eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Sautée the bacon until crisp and set on paper towel. Set aside all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the sautée pan.
- Sautée the scallion and garlic, and set aside. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to pan.
- Add spinach and the champagne to pan, cover to wilt the spinach, stirring occassionally. Remove and set aside.
- Preheat oven to #5 (this is an inside joke. My oven doesn't work. I use my warming oven at present.)
- In buttered ramekins, add base of toasted Enligh muffin, and drizzle with bacon grease.
- Add to the ramekin the spinach, scallion and garlic mixture, and form into bowl. Top with chevre, cherry tomatoes, and bacon, making sure to form a "cup."
- Into the cup of created by the prior ingredients, crack an egg, being sure to no break the yolk. Pour 1 generous tablespoon of heavy cream.
- Bake until yolks are done, but still soft. Not sure how long that would be for your oven, but yeah, trial and error.
Friday, August 09, 2013
|My sister Leslie Moise, www.lesliemoise.com, with our eldest|
daughter, Greta Jo, last year while Leslie was in hospital,
recovering from her stroke. Her next book, Judith, will
be released in November of this year.
For those new to the words I leave scattered here, my sister Leslie lives with us. She suffered a stroke last year, and we moved after finding that 3 adults, 2 children, 2 cats and a little dog don't fit all that well in a 900 square foot 3 room shotgun style house. Having Leslie in our daily lives is a real treat. She didn't get to have kids, so now, she's that special Aunt to our two girls, Greta Jo, 3-1/2, and Clara Lou, 2-1/2.
My husband JJ and I have been together for years. We're happy, and when we start to feel burdened with the business of living's daily demands, have a knack for getting each other to laugh. I adore his beautiful mind. A dear friend of mine once said to me, that we often get married, not realizing we do so to have someone who shares our experiences, and can chronicle them.
We all seek someone to remember us.
I've never called myself a gamer. Until relatively recently, I was a contended gaming widow. It was when JJ started playing Ingress that I was intrigued. The game requires you be within 35 meters, or about 100 feet from a point of interest. It's up for debate as to whether these points of interest ought to include the beautiful statues and markers found inside cemeteries. I don't care one way or another, should Niantic Labs, the maker of the game, remove them from game play. AND, that said, because they are, I now take a walk among the dead.
|Sir John D'Aubernoun brass marker at St Marys, |
Stoke D'Abernon, GB.
My mother would take me to Cave Hill Cemetery, which is one of the largest private arboretums in the U.S., if I remember my facts correctly. There is a half acre memorial to the Satterwhite couple, who are famed in Louisville history for their philanthropy. Near them, as I walked with my mother growing up, is James Guthrie, who was instrumental in making Louisville the vibrant city that it is today.
I prided myself in knowing my home town of Louisville.
And then came Ingress.
I have learned more and seen more playing Ingress and having the Field Trip app open. Field Trip is made by the same dedicated staff at Niantic Labs. It's been wonderful. We have photographic archives, and they've tapped into it and other history that I'd not yet stumbled upon on my own. Now, ambling walks about the city, and up pops information I get to enjoy.
Each begs the same question: remember me.
It's common for most people, I read somewhere, and I promise it wasn't on Facebook or some other unreliable source, to know only two or three generations back. Well, for us in the states, it's not uncommon to now have, three-seven or more generations back, but have lost the tradition of sharing those stories and visiting the markers of family. It's an uncomfortable task, and doesn't fit into our fast-paced lives.
Here are just some of the photos of places and people I am either related to, or stop and acknowledge on the walks that I wouldn't have taken, but for playing this game.
Not one time in my visits at these portals, have I encountered family. To my knowledge, it is only those who play the game, the ones who choose to be aware of our surroundings, who still take time to remember them.
|My maternal Grandfather's last name was Gault.|
I noticed this marker the other day. There were 7 brothers who came to the states from Scotland,
parted ways in Philly never to get to see each other again. I wonder, how I am related?
|The infant mortality rate is strikingly present as you wander through cemeteries.|
|This too isn't a "portal" like most of the photographs I take. |
There was an outbreak of influenza in Louisville in the late 1880s,
and again in the early 1890s.
|This is the Doyle Children. Little Henry was 3, and sister Gertrude |
was 15 month old when they fell ill, and they died just 9 days apart in 1890.
As a mother of two girls about that same age, it crushes me.
|Daisy was not near any other marker. She has no last name, nor dates. I had, like so many others|
weeded and revealed her stone.