Thursday, December 22, 2016

Chestnuts: a Metaphor

Needless to say, I've had some emotions since the election. I wrote all about it but it was ugly crying formed into words, which is bad, BAD writing. So, I deleted the hell out of that and have been silent, simmering in a blend of sadness and dwindling hope, and frankly, more anger than I care to claim.

That being said, I'm not spending any more words on the presidential election.

I'm not here to trivialize what's happening in our world, but it's too big for this medium. There's nothing I can write that has not already been written that will shed light on what the fuck happened with our current reality. Enough.

Instead, let's chat about chestnuts.

They're hard to find in Fort Wayne. In years past, Meijer and The Fresh Market have had them in stock. The Meijer chestnuts are like avocados. They're stale and hard when they stock them before Thanksgiving. I buy them anyways, because CHESTNUTS. I roast them. I burn my goddamn hands peeling them and they're hard as a rock. I wait a couple of weeks and try again. Usually, by December, they're ripe and delicious. They remind me of my childhood.

In Paris, you can walk down any street during the holiday season and find a stand selling freshly roasted chestnuts, brimming out of newspaper cones. Chestnuts are part of the happy quadrant in my brain.

This year, I couldn't find them anywhere. Thankfully, I had a jar of them from Williams Sonoma from last year. Not the same as freshly roasted, but still, they made it into my Thanksgiving stuffing and I was content.

The other day, I had to run into The Fresh Market to spend a million and half dollars on triple cream cheese and a nice baguette. Lo and behold, there were a couple tiny bundles of chestnuts in the produce section.

I squeezed them and I knew just then that they weren't going to be good. They were solid. Still, I bought them because I'd been looking for them and there they were.

For eleven dollars. Eleven. I could buy really good socks with that eleven bucks. Or a pretty good bottle of wine. But no. I bought the chestnuts with hope in my heart. Because, as Michelle Obama said, "what else do you have if you don't have hope?"

I roasted them in our fireplace.

Most were rocks. The others were green with rot.

God. Damn. It.

Sometimes, you want something so much, you ignore the obvious faults. You choose what you think is best for your country. I mean, you choose a tiny bundle of fresh chestnuts that you know is not right, but you're desperate for something you love so you buy it anyway. And here were are.

If you're going to sell chestnuts, and the name of your store is The "FRESH" Market, please, merchandise them with the  refrigerated produce so they don't fucking mold before they're purchased.

I've made my peace with the chestnut scenario but not the other stuff. It's a damn good start.

Peace out.

P.S. Sorry about all the f-bombs in this post. You should have seen the post I deleted, though. Good grief.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Party was a Success and Nobody Got Voted Off the Island

I love celebrating the birth and life of the people I love. Part of me wants to celebrate in the grandest, craziest, lots of people kind of way. And another part of me wants to have a quiet dinner in a fancy restaurant and talk about books, cats and quantum physics. But this isn't about me. So, even though I generally dislike parties, I invited people and planned the surprise party Laura would want. Outdoors, with family, favorite friends, the woods, sangria, and, of course, gin.

While I'm glad I pulled off this surprise, I will never, ever do this again. Ever.

I'm a goddamn liar. I'll probably do it again when she turns 60. Because in the end, it was all worth it. And not once did I feel the need to cower in a dark corner, paralyzed by social anxiety. I'd call that a success.

She really was surprised.

It wasn't fancy but it was perfect.

I didn't take pictures of everyone at the party. When I'm in a social situation, my photography impulse shuts down. All my energy is spent on surviving the over stimulation and small talk. I'm more of a basket case than I appear.

I'm glad Laura's sisters and Fiona stepped in and took great photos of some of the guests, as well as the food.

We ended the evening at our house, with a few guests, a tour of the teepee and a very competitive game of Scrabble on our living room floor. And by competitive, I mean we had to use letters.


Every year, Laura and her sisters go on a "sisters' weekend" together. This year, it happened to be scheduled around Laura's birthday.

It's supposed to be for the sisters, without their spouses, but since I'm female, I get to go. This is one of the many perks of being in a same sex marriage. I recommend it to everyone. You can wear each other's clothes, use the same public bathroom, go on sisters' weekends together. IT'S GREAT. 

We had a wonderful time on Round Island, Sylvan Lake.

 It was a bird paradise.

Stine sisterhood.

On our final night, we toasted to the birthday girl, to the sunset, the island. Lake life is the best. It's even better with champagne.

I miss the island already. But I missed home when I was there. I missed the children and the routine of life. I missed brushing Cyd's hair into a ponytail every morning, and picking up Fiona after her cross country practice after school. I almost missed our crappy kitchen. 

I'm lying again. I didn't miss our stupid kitchen.

The moral of the story: even when you're missing a person, place or thing, you still have the present, which is everything that is worth celebrating.

Peace out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

More Than Enough

It's been a weekend chock full of fun.

Maybe I'm exaggerating. It wasn't chock full. Maybe just three quarters full. There were some disappointments mixed in.

What did not disappoint were the people at the Ravinia music festival.

Laura had gotten me tickets to see the Indigo Girls AND Mary Chapin Carpenter for my birthday. We got there with our picnic of pizza and salad and our Bota box of wine like a bunch of hillbillies. When we got there, we found people enjoying fancy picnics on tiny tables, with real bottles of wine and wine glasses made out of glass. They were enjoying appetizers of brie, olives, and crusty bread. They were so civilized, with their tablecloths on their tiny, adorable tables. And here we were, schmucks on our picnic blanket, using plastic sporks to eat our salad.

I'd forgotten how much I love Mary Chapin Carpenter. She rocked it.

If you know me, you know how much I adore the Indigo Girls. They were the last act of the evening. Sadly, we had to leave early while they were playing, in order to catch our shuttle back to the hotel. What kind of goddamn shuttle picks up concert goers before the concert is over? Disappointment, party of four. Still, it was nice to share the space with them.
Just look at that dimple. 

We visited Lurie Gardens. Amazing.

Cyd the Brave made it to the top of the rock climbing wall. It took her a few tries, but she persevered. 

We usually visit Chicago in the dead of winter, so it was nice to be able to linger at Millennium Park
and get a close look at The Bean, without freezing to death.

We were going to have dinner at a cozy fondue place in the heart of Chicago, but when I called to make reservations, they said kids 10-years-old and under weren't allowed, for safety reasons. 

Whatevs. It's probably all for the best. Cyd probably would have set the damn place on fire. No one got hurt. No one got delicious fondue. 

So we went to Navy Pier. 


Back home, weeding the pumpkin patch.

Mabel is keeping her babies close. All three seek refuge under their mother, but they really want to explore.
This one is Cyd's. She named her/him Rosie.
We ended the weekend with a little barbecue, because it's the FOURTH OF JULY. 

The disappointments of the weekend are small compared to what we did, what we have, what we look forward to. There will be other concerts and a lot more fondue.

We crammed a giant fistful of life in a few precious days.

The kitchen is a wreck, there are wet swimsuits covering the bathroom floor, and I need to muster up the energy to make the kids' lunches for tomorrow. It's all enough.

Sometimes, it's more.

Peace out.