Sunday, December 29, 2013

Brunch & Nerves

This Christmas was a big deal for me and Jacob (though he firmly declared there was nothing to be nervous about until the whole thing was over).  I made brunch for the family on Christmas day.  THE FAMILY= His family + my family, the first time our parents would meet. Since we've been dating for nearly two years we have both had plenty of time to get used to the others' parents and we both feel completely comfortable with the other side.  Still.  His parents.  My parents.  (Plus Barbara and Mel.)  Nerves were still bound to happen, right?

I planned the menu a month in advance.  I had a secret Pinterest board going where I would add recipes, consider recipes, winnow recipes down until I had the perfect list.  Jacob kept trying to add things when we talked about the menu and I would just glare at him and tell him this was my deal (thankfully he's so easy going he just backed away from the crazy lady.)  He doesn't read my blog, but honey, I promise next year you can help plan the menu.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Conquering Mocha Icebox Cookies

Mocha Icebox Cookies
I conquered a fear tonight - I'm not talking something profound like coming to a peace agreement with spiders, or nimbly climbing up to the rooftop via ladder, no, my fear was icebox cookies.  They're one of those recipes I've bookmarked and pinned and yet skirted around the edges of ever baking.

Why are they scary?  They're nostalgic.  Not personally nostalgic, I don't remember them from my childhood or anything, but I do imagine them being baked by those perfect 50s housewives with their cute little aprons tied with bows, the recipe on a handwritten recipe card or followed from a church social cookbook, and served to children wearing saddle shoes and button up shirts when they get home from school. (Before she has her evening cocktail, of course.)  Many of the recipes I had pinned in the past also required cream cheese or sour cream, neither of which I have in the house regularly.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Words: Guffaw - how and when?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons
The word for this post is guffaw.  Why?  Because it sounded neat when I said it out loud, and because it felt like a challenge.  (Listen to the audio file at  A guffaw is one of those noises I can identify at an instinctual level, but I'm not sure how to describe one.  It's almost a laugh crossed with a bellow that takes up more space and time than the world created for it. It creeps outside its allowed boundaries in a joyful or sarcastic way - almost like a bubble bursting into laughter, or is it outrage?

I find it hard to decide if a guffaw is that laugh gone out of control or a snort of derision that took on new dimensions. Maybe it's both, but before I can use it with a character I feel like I need to define it.  Since the word has such a singular sense of presence all alone, I feel like it draws attention and takes up more space on the page when it's used.
Charles wasn't a very expressive man, so it took me utterly by surprise when he reacted to my story about the ship's tragedy with a guffaw from the other side of the table.  I immediately questioned what had caused him to erupt in such an uncharacteristic way, taking a quick inventory of the other faces in the room.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Hard Stuff - Giving Up On A Dog

Today I feel awful.  A complete heel, a failure, a blight on the pet adoption community.  I am giving up on Bogart and taking him back to the shelter (as they require - I would try to re-home him myself if I hadn't signed a contract that said I would take him back to the shelter if I couldn't keep him.)

I've never given up on a dog before.  It sucks.  We gave it six months.  Would he be better integrated into our family in another six?  I can't predict that, and the chance that one of the other animals is going to get seriously hurt in the meantime is too much to risk.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yearning to Head Off The Beaten Path

Image courtesy of
I found a kindred spirit via Medium last week. (Not A medium fortune teller type, but Medium "A better place to read and write things that matter" per their tagline.)  For years I've been too lazy and cheap to book travel for my vacations, so instead I turn to my battered Hiking Iowa book, gear up the dog(s), and hit the road to hike somewhere I've never been.  During the whole drive, since I'm headed somewhere I don't know, I'm on the lookout for brown public area signs.  As soon as they start to appear on the side of the road I smile, knowing I'm close to my destination and I'm not lost after all.

When I'm not on an actual hiking vacation I take note of the brown signs too.  Oh!  There's a public area that's marked for hunting, would that be a good place for a hike?  (I've found that these spaces often are great to explore - outside hunting season of course.)  I'll be cruising down the highway on my way to some appointment or family gathering and see a sign for a park I've never visited and try to make a mental note because there's no time to stop right now but I fully intend to come back when there is time. (My completion rate there is pretty low.)