love light loss and pinterest

A journey into my messy life, mind, and kitchen.

For Good

People are good.  You are good.  You are my people.

In a world that has been turned upside down I must work to remind myself to focus on the good. There is so much good in the world. The people in my life are a constant reminder of the good.  All of the people.  The ones I have had with me my entire life, the ones I have chosen to be a part of my life to come, the ones  Mom chose for me when she picked them to be her friends, the ones who have recently come into my world, and the ones I have never met but I feel so very connected to.  No matter where you fit in this I want to say thank you.

Thank you to my people who give me daily encouragement.

Thank you to my people who sent thoughtful cards, books, beautiful gifts, prayers, and virtual hugs.

Thank you to all my little people for sharing your energy and outlook on the world.

Thank you to my people who have given me something to focus on…trips, classes, kiddos, clothing line—insert subtle plug for business—https://www.facebook.com/groups/lovelightandlularoe 😉 I couldnt resist.

Thank you to my people who gave gifts of themselves and their talents; massages, hair cuts, work-outs, dog watching, photography, conversation, home cooked meals, and companionship.

Thank you to all my people for being on this journey with me.

I can’t type any of this without the cheesiest part of my brain taking over and so I leave you with this:

Only click here if you are prepared to have a good cry.

“For Good”
Wicked
[Glinda:]
I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you.

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.

[Elphaba:]
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

Like a ship blown from it’s mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you…

[Glinda:]
Because I knew you…

[Both:]
I have been changed for good.

[Elphaba:]
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I’ve done,
You blame me for.

[Glinda:]
But then I guess,
We know there’s blame to share.

[Both:]
And none of it seems to matter anymore.
Like a comet pulled from orbit
(Like a ship blown from it’s mooring)
As it passes a sun.
(By a wind off the sea)
Like a stream that meets a boulder
(Like a seed dropped by bird)
Halfway through the wood.
(In the wood)
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better.
I do believe I have been changed for the better.

[Glinda:]
And because I knew you…

[Elphaba:]
Because I knew you…

[Both:]
Because I knew you
I have been changed…
For good.

My grieving is not even close to being over but, with all of you lovelies by my side the world seems like a much nicer place.  Wrapping you all in a huge virtual hug.

A Walk in Her Shoes

I have been around the world and back…and I did it all while wearing Mom’s shoes.

When I starting writing this post it read like a minute by minute travel log.  It mentioned amazing things we did and the beautiful things we saw but it lacked the emotions and feelings that went along with every moment.  Every second was filled with contradicting feelings.  The incredible feeling when you see such stunning sights always accompanied by the paralysing realization that nothing will ever feel the way it should.  Because, nothing is as it should be.  Experiences will still be amazing, views will still be impeccable, food will still taste delicious,  jokes will still lead to laughter but, none of it will ever be the same without our Moms.   Yes, Moms. This journey was for both of our Moms and we found way to honor both of them.   We visited (and spread ashes) places that my Mom loved and that Thomas’ Mom dreamed of one day visiting.   It was surreal carrying their physical remains across the world.  But, it was also somehow refreshing to see these two women who never let the world box them in finally set free.

Before we left for Europe Beth and I braved the task of going through Mom’s closet.  Anyone who spent much time with our family knew Mom’s closet was our closet, a place my sisters and I could always go to find something just right to wear (well, post hippie skirt years that is).  It is strange how entering a place where I had spent so much time and always felt so comfortable could feel so much like trespassing.  Touching her clothes, smelling her clothes, trying on her clothes, taking her clothes. Through tears and laughter we made our way through her closet.  Every piece of clothing, every pair of shoes (the BOOTS), every hat, every scarf had a story to tell.  A memory.  I find myself clinging to memories but also terrified of them.  I fear the feelings that go along with memories. I fear that somehow making new memories will push out the old ones.  I fear that making these memories is somehow betraying our Moms.  The rational part of me knows this is not the case both Moms would want us to experience and live and see all that the world has to offer. Seriously, just look at Mom’s Travel Pins. I used to be very good at living in the moment… now I just live in constant limbo of what I should be feeling.

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With this trip we did see, we did experience, we did live.  We made new memories and we honored the memories of the past.
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This journey made me long for the past but also left me hopeful for the future.

So, for now I take it one step at a time.

Void

Recently, some amazing friends told me they were sad I had not written for a while.  I gave what I thought to be an explanation.  Luckily for me they called me on it…it was actually an excuse.   They told me to just get it all out there.  They told me to tell the world (blog world that is) what I had just told them.  Of course that is easier said than done.  I had spoken the words to them in the comfort and safety of my own home.  But, they were right, I have been hiding from my own feelings by not putting them out there.

The truth is I have 4 drafts with titles only just sitting waiting to be molded into something fabulous.  Something that someone would want to read.  Something if not inspirational at least coherent.  But, I just haven’t been able to put words to my feelings.  I know exactly what I want to write but I try and it all just comes out a jumbled mess (metaphor for life much?).  I have tried multiple attack plans: writing snuggled under soft warm blanket, sitting up right focused at a desk, even outside in my rocking chair in the beautiful weather.  Nothing seemed to work.  Even this post was originally hand written at the airport the only inspiration being the void of anything else to do and the music of Waitress Musical.  Seriously, if you haven’t listened just do it…talk about heartstrings.  Just read these lyrics of my new heart song (thank you Sara Bareilles).

A Soft Place to Land

“Sugar, butter, flour
Sometimes I still see her
My mother the dreamer
She’d say, ‘Nothing’s impossible child’

A dream needs believing
To taste like the real thing
Like some stranger you recognize
So pure, so pure, so electric
So sure, so sure, so connected
To those little believers inside
May we all be so lucky

But dreams are elusive
The kind we’ve gotten used to
Is nothing I can feel
Nothing I can hold
Nothing I can have
Nothing that I know
Dreams come and they go

But hold them and keep them
And know that you need them
When your breaking point’s all that you have
A dream is a soft place to land
May we all be so lucky
Sugar, butter, flour”

Slayed. Sobbing. Sitting in a puddle of tears at the airport terminal gate.

How can one song speak so loudly to what I am feeling? How can I use this to explain how I feel? How do I take these feelings and use them to better myself and my world?

I feel like this song perfectly explains everything I am trying to accomplish with this project.  Stay connected to my sweet Mom, keep her dreams alive, work my way through her pins.  Which I have actually been doing, I just get to the writing part and get STUCK.

I have heard writer’s block (seems funny to type because I don’t consider myself a writer) described as a void of ideas, a blank brain if you will.  My experience is the opposite really,  I start to write and everything starts spinning.  I have not one idea but 400 and no direction or guidance (this is when I would normally turn to Mom).  And, there it is.  My void.  It all comes back to me wanting a different reality.  I want what I can never have back. This is the point when I go back and read the list of all the amazing things I do have and, I am thankful.  But, it doesn’t change the way my heart aches.  It does not fill the void.

We travel tomorrow to spread Mom’s ashes “on the sea somewhere fabulous” (her exact words in her will).  It is bound to be a bitter sweet journey.  I am excited to get away, but I know it will not be an escape from my feelings.  I will continue to write even if it is just jumbled mess. I will cool it with the excuses and let you all back in.

I am honored to have all of you on this journey with me.

“May we all be so lucky”

 

Putting Things Together

When Thomas and I got married my lovely friend Mari asked us all these questions about our likes and dislikes for my bachelorette party, it was amazing and pretty hilarious.  My favorite question and answer from my sweet husband went something like this: Question: “What is your favorite food that Blake makes for you?” Answer: “Anything that has to be put together…you know like sandwiches or casseroles.” Bahahaha, too true my darling, too true.  I love putting things together sandwiches, casseroles, salads, tacos,  people, performances, play dates, parties, you name it.  Bringing things and people together makes my heart happy.  Putting things together is a gift I 100% got from my Mom.  She had the real talent.  I have been feeling off of my game lately.  Without her, it is not easy.  None of it is.

I spent last weekend celebrating my sister’s impending marriage (#tiffsmethermatch) with a bachelorette party in my favorite city in the world, Chicago.  Had this just been any bachelorette party I may not have been up for it.  But, thank goodness, it was my amazing sister and she and her lovely friends were on board to really explore the city that I love so much.  And, explore we did we walked (a ton), we saw stunning sights, we visited with animals(ummm free zoo!), we danced with some of the coolest kids around, we bought local art, we ate amazing food (thanks to some beyond generous friends),we had drinks with the cast of the jersey shore (ok not really but it felt like it), we cheered for the local team, we wandered,  and we shared countless laughs.  It was perfect and yet after it was all said and done I found myself feeling a bit down.

Ok, so down isn’t exactly right..just feeling extra feels for this place that I used to call home.

I was not fully prepared for how much I would feel going back to the city that gave me so many amazing moments.  The city that challenged us to live a life we had never known.  The city that gave us friendships that would last a lifetime (and now their precious babies to hug and kiss).  The city that gave us a chance to fall in love with each other all over again. The city that gave us amazing memories with our families especially our Moms.

Don’t get me wrong, the blahs did not overwhelm, it was amazing.  And, I am ok.  I was able to see some of my favorite people ever.  I was able to fall right back into the world, that because of the hardships of the last two years, seemed like a lifetime ago.  I needed that.  And, of course as always Chicago pulled through giving me just want I needed.

I came back home both exhausted and inspired to put some shit together(oops, sorry guys , it just slipped out).

So here is the pin… I changed a lot of things.

Here’s what you will need for my version:

1/2 pound of shrimp (you will see no shrimp in the original but we have fresh North Carolina shrimp right now and I could not resist)

1 tbs butter

1/3 cup white wine

3 cloves garlic

2 large beets cubed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon red onion, minced, divided in half

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

4 cups spinach

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

here is the original recipe.

Here is what I did:

Spread cubed beets and garlic cloves on baking sheet drizzle olive oil sprinkle with salt and pepper cover with aluminum foil bake at 375 for 20mins uncover remove the garlic and bake for another 20mins.

While beets are cooking combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, red onions (1/2), dijon mustard, and whisk together. I sliced some stunning cherry tomatoes into the mixture to let them soak up the yumminess.

In the last 20 mins of beet baking (I like how that sounds…maybe a future kid’s band “Blake and the Baking Beets”) heat up a pan, add butter, the other 1/2 of the onions, garlic (should mash easily since roasted), and white wine.  When sauce is bubbling add shrimp distribute sauce and cover for about 4 mins till all shrimp are pink…be careful not to over cook.

Let the beets and the shrimp rest and then combine all the ingredient in a bowl for a yummy salad.

.beet salad

click the picture for the link

roasted beets

Roasting Beet Business

salad makings

Salad Makings

shrimp sauce

Shrimp Sauce in progress (featuring beet stained garlic)

shrimp

Yummy Local Shrimp (if not available where you live come visit us!)

  salad

Final Product (not at great picture…but soooo yummy)

While in Chicago a friend gave me the best complement in the world…she told me that reading my blog was just like talking to me…that she could hear my voice as she was reading it.  I hope I am able to maintain that feeling.  I hope I am able to continue to write my truth.  I love all of you for being here to listen and support.  Thank you.

None of this is easy but this is my way of putting it all together.

Bitter Sweet

So here we are.

I am writing this on the eve of Mother’s Day 2016.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you…I feel stuck.

Life is good, really not just lifey.

Here’s a list to prove it:

  • amazing husband
  • a lovely home
  • really incredible friends who let me steal their kids from time to time
  • perfect siblings who talk and listen to me
  • wonderful family all around
  • precious dog child
  • smart kind niece and nephews
  • reasons to leave the house
  • new health goals and help achieving them
  • travel plans and the ability to make plans a reality
  • support from marvelous people, some I barely know
  • did I mention an amazing husband?

With all of these blessings I still find myself wishing for things that I can’t have.  I find myself feeling resentment toward people who physically have the things I want.  The things I miss.

I am not that person.  I am not the person who gets jealous of other people’s happiness.  I lift people up.  I celebrate others victories. I really do. This is not me but, lately it has been.  I feel anger towards Mother’s Day ads. I feel jealousy directed at the tributes I see honoring remarkable women.  I feel sadness seeing mothers at the park with their children. Then I get angry with myself for even having those feelings.  What is this anger?  I am not an angry person.  How am allowing this grief to turn me into this person I don’t recognize?

Even happy moments have a way of turning sour in my mind.

This week we finalized a European trip that will start with all of my siblings and myself traveling down the coast of England to the Minack Theatre (just look at this place) to join Gwyn in spreading Mom’s ashes.  Mom loved to travel and England was one her favorite places on Earth.  She made a point to make sure to get us all over there.  But, never all together.  And, now we are going together, without her.  Everything we do from now on is without her.  It is a reality I have been living with for two months now and it still stings like it happened yesterday.  I am beyond thrilled to travel and get to see parts of the world I have only seen in books and on screens.  I understand that it is a privilege and a luxury and it is not one that is lost on me.  I humbled by the opportunity.

I do not feel this sadness and anger all the time.  It comes in like a flash flood and most of the time goes just as quickly but, it is all consuming.  I know that there is a lesson in here somewhere and a growth I must be open to.  I also know Mother’s Day is just a day.  A day when you honor your Mom with an outpouring of love.  Love that honestly we should all show every day. I get that.  I know that and yet here I am in my head making it all about me.  It is not about me. It is about my wonderful mother, her mother before her, the incredible mothers my sisters are to their beautiful children.

So in honor of my Mom on this Mother’s Day I am going to try and squeeze in some of her favorite things. I started tonight with the heart shaped sushi box my darling husband brought home and the new season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix.

Here’s a list:

  • Margaritas/Mexican food
  • A little pampering
  • Thrift stores (charity shops)
  • Spending Time with loved ones
  • Musical Theatre
  • Travel Planning
  • The Beach
  • Reading
  • “Gentle” tv show or movie (Gilmore Girls or some Downton anyone?)

I honor my Mom by continuing traditions and enjoying the small things.  I honor her by continuing to try and keep our connection alive.  I honor her by celebrating our similarities and embracing our differences.  I honor her by allowing myself to miss her.  I honor her by being true to my emotions.  I honor her by working to be the best version of myself I can be.

I am ready to show the universe I can and will get through this. I just have to figure out how to do it without begrudging others happiness, without becoming cynical and bitter, without losing myself.

sushi

A heart full of sushi is a heart full of love.

My heart is currently both full and broken.

The Unimaginable

“There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable”

-It’s Quiet Uptown, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Following the last post was difficult for me.  I re-read and re-read the amazing words people had written about Mom’s lifetime of incredible work.  It left me in awe.  It left me angry.  It left me heart-broken.  It left me searching.

I finally found some inspiration in, of all places, the grocery store.  A place that I could not even enter a few months ago with out a panic attack (read Grocery Store Dilemma).  As I walked the aisles by myself I thought back on the last few weeks.  What has changed? What will never be the same?  Although, my whole world has been turned upside down it all still continues to spin.

As I was having my grocery store meditation I spotted something that I knew I had to cook and write about.  A beautiful corned beef roast.  Not, something I had ever made before.  But, something that immediately flooded me with memories.  Any time we saw a corned beef hash on a menu Mom and I were both drawn to it.  We had a system.  One of us would order the corned beef hash and one would order something sweeter like pancakes (breakfast dessert is a totally legit thing).   We would share, what a great team we were.

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Interpretation

I think I might have broken the rules…oops.

I found this Pin on Mom’s Comfort Food (my go to board lately…for obvious reasons) page for Shepard’s Pie.  I took one look at it and said, “yum, I can do that.”  When I say I took one look at I mean I took one look at the photo…not the actual recipe. Here is the link for the  recipe because honestly it looks amazing…I just did not actually use it.  Again…oops.

Shepard’s Pie Recipe(that I am sure is amazing)

I am typically a rule follower.  But, in this instance I felt the need to just act.  To do things my way. I went to my fridge and pantry and pulled out everything I felt like I needed to make this work.  And, it did work…I made a Shepard’s Pie. It was lovely but, it was not this pin. I used ground lamb(such a delicious alternative to the typical beef), onions, garlic, mashed potatoes, celery, carrots and a can of Le Sueur Peas (because according to my Grandma and Mom these are the only canned peas that should exist).  I layered that bad boy up and baked it at 350 for 45 mins.  It was incredible…
IMG_0911       IMG_0914        IMG_0915

This made me pause…what a Mom thing to do.  She was always able to create with what she had, she always did things her way, she interpreted the rules with her own unique vision.  That’s when it hit me.  Rules…Smules.  This project is mine. Mine to interpret however I see fit. I write the rule-book.   Just like Mom did.

This inspired me to pose a question to the Facebook world and the response was amazing.  This was my question:

‘My Mom was known for her unique directing vision. Is there a certain show, scene, or piece that she interpreted differently than you had seen before or than you had interpreted it yourself?’

Honestly, I did not know what I would get back…I had a few ideas of my own answer to the question.  But, it was nothing in comparison to the response I got.

Answers starting with the amazing way she literally had dreams that inspired her productions;

“I know I was always envious that she had such creative dreams!” –Robby Owenby

To the way she unapologetically changed major pieces of literature (Dickens) to give a character and a plot more depth;

“The ending of ‘Oliver!’, when she had Bet kill Bill Sikes.”  -Beth Propst

The way she used seemingly contrasting styles to tell a very traditional story in a new way;

“The giant surreal panels we created for the one act version of Fiddler on the Roof. It was abstract but worked for the show.” –Lainey Kennedy

“I have such fondness for the bright and alpine version of fools we did for one act, it was so over the top.” –Mallory Nonnemaker

“A Midsummer Nights Dream set in the summer of love 1960’s Hiaght-Ashbury.” –Jan Ewing

The way she always challenged her students and everyone she worked with to see things from a different perspective;

“The telephone scene from Bye Bye Birdie was one of my favorites. She took a different take on it using ladders. It was a fun challenge to choreograph. Gail’s vision was amazing!”-Matt Paul

“My favorite show Gail directed while at Johnson was Fools. She had a way of making sure every scene painted an interesting picture.”-Jody Tuso-Key

The way she designed amazing and creative sets that gave the audience a chance to connect in a new way:

“The set was gorgeous for The Miracle Worker. Complete with working water pump. And, Les Mis was delivered again with like every odd piece of furniture we could pull from the sheds at Bob’s.” –Jan Ewing

“ALL THE DREAM SETS!” –Mallory Nonnemaker

“When she staged Oliver in the round at SNCA way back in the early ’90’s.” –Debbie Phillips

“The set for Diviners. It was furniture and water and mountains. It blended together and was used each way.”  -Christian Mims-Wolfe

“My all time favorite is still “Children of Eden”. Loved the fact that it actually rained on stage!” –Beverly Autry

The way she encouraged others (cast, crew, and audiences alike) to learn more about themselves and the world around them through her directing style. Every moment was a teachable moment;

“I loved that we modernized Godspell when we did it, and even had a “thug” with a gun for John the Baptist. It was such a POWERFUL show. I’m not a religious person but the intense emotion that she evoked from us all made me cry during every performance. Also, she let me play a character that was basically me….tattoos, colorful everything, piercings, and all. “ –Heather Crews

“Gail had a special way of taking a show and putting a unique twist on it to make it fit the cast, space, and community. She believed in everyone of us and would cast in roles that often stretched us. She believed in us (even if it took some pretty stern words to make us believe) and she truly never gave up. I can remember coming into many of the early rehearsals and talking with Gail and she would always say “this set design came to me in a dream” and she would’ve sat down and sketched it out and it would be perfect. Gail also had a way of putting lots of people on stage and making it seem like the most natural thing that could ever happen. It is definitely a gift. One of the things I look back on and laugh at is when she had this vision of us writing a musical revue based on the different grade levels in school. We all thought it was going to be a disaster but with her guidance the show was a huge money maker because she used students from classes in each grade level and incorporated them into the show…….. Which in return brought parents to the theatre and tickets were sold!!! It is amazing to look back on the opportunities she created for all of us to have the experience of being in well directed shows. She was definitely a talented lady who inspired many of us through her visions, dreams, craft, and love!”

–Nathan Autry

“To be honest, I always thought that what made Gail’s vision so special was not how differently she could approach things but how truthfully. I remember the consideration of the word “nigger” during Big River and the way she struggled with it’s use. She opened up the discussion to the cast and allowed us to inform her. In the end, she (bravely, I thought) decided to leave the word as it was. More than anything, it was clear that she understood that her shows would have an effect on the people who saw them and it mattered to her what happened on stage and what story she would tell to them. I think that’s what made her vision so special and different from other high school drama teachers I met. She understood that at every level: community or professional, theatre would matter to someone in those seats, if not everyone, and she took responsibility for her visions. More than I can say for so many directors working at ANY level in this profession.” –Will Bradley

Talk about feeling all the feels.  After getting responses like this I felt silly comparing my silly Shepard’s Pie experience to Mom’s lifetime of amazing creativity.  But, that is what I am doing here. I am staying connected to my Mom and at the same time I am learning how to live with out her.

That little moment of guiding myself. Of creating something from scratch without a recipe, without a rule-book, without her telling me what to do. That moment of taking inspiration and finding my own interpretation.  That moment of taking control in the kitchen and finding my own way. That moment is what this journey is all about.

Just Breathe

 

Inspiration

I find inspiration everywhere; in the beautiful flowers that are in bloom in my front yard, in the warm cup of coffee I hold every morning, in the ridiculous grin on my precious pup’s face.  The problem is that motivation does not come as easily.  I find myself feeling more tired than I have ever felt.  I feel like I am searching for something but I don’t know what it is. I have to frequently remind myself that this is all still new, that I should not expect to feel better right away.

In searching Mom’s Pinterest page a few weeks ago I found board entitled “inspiration” it was created last August and only had one pin…this one.

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Birthday Hash

Sausage Hash that is.

Thomas and I were both extremely lucky to have mothers that LOVED celebrating birthdays…their children’s birthdays at least.

Thomas’ Mom would fill up baskets and boxes full of little things that reminded her of you. Seriously, the most amazing random finds: books, scarves, hats, silly t-shirts, cooking utensils, perfect smalls, and always something for the dog as well.  I still remember my first birthday with Cissy, and somehow she already had me figured out. She got me: chocolate, craft stuff (including STICKERS!!), a pair of sandals, a Pyrex bowl, and a summer scarf. Honestly, with me it does not get much better. I am not sure how I will ever be able to fill this void for Thomas. Although, thankfully, I did have Cissy teach me some of her shopping tricks.

My Mom would talk about upcoming birthdays for months before it actually happened.  Two months before my birthday she would buy me shoes, or a dress (that “looked just like me”) and then say, “this is for your birthday”.  And, without fail, 2 months later she would completely forget (although I am not sure she ever actually forgot) and buy another gift. They were always so well thought out, personal, and fun.   She somehow managed to get something that was both slightly frivolous and yet still practical.

Birthday food was very important to both of them.  Whether it was cooking your favorite meal or taking you out for delicious yums, they both made sure that you ate well on your birthday. They both believed in celebrating moments.  So, I tried to make that happen for Thomas’ Birthday last week…with this pin.  It totally ROCKED and will for sure be repeated in our house.

Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash

Ingredients

1 (14 ounce) package kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (the pin calls for turkey I used pork because we are able to get good quality)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic (not in the original recipe but, I felt it was necessary)

3 small or 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

olive oil (use as needed, I did not need much because I used the grease from the sausage)

salt and pepper

 

Instructions

In a heavy bottomed skillet (I like to use my cast iron) brown the sliced kielbasa for around 5 minutes in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside (I put on a paper grocery bag to soak up extra grease). Then add the potatoes and onions to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, around 8-10 minutes, stirring a few times to ensure even browning.

Add the peppers to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add kielbasa to the skillet with the onions and peppers and mix everything together.  Serve nice and hot! We added some hot sauce to send the flavors over the edge.

Your favorite…Picture Time:

peppers

Love the color and flavor peppers add

hash

The official “Birthday Hash”

I followed dinner with my first ever pound cake.  Wasn’t quite “Beth’s Famous Pound Cake” but the birthday boy was into it.

yum yum yum

It was still warm

My goal for now is to let these two incredible women inspire me to make the most of all the time I have.  To live and love with all that I have.  Not just to be in the moment, to CELEBRATE it.

Recipe for Disaster

Okay, so not really disaster… I was just feeling dramatic.  Shocking, I know.

 

“I look placid, you see, that’s why people think I’m fine. Inside I worry a lot.”

Maeve Binchy, Tara Road

1 month and 3 days ago my world stopped spinning. Except it didn’t.  I sat in a living room with the best people in the world and we said goodbye.  The most peaceful and compassionate goodbye I have ever seen.  I say seen because when I look back on it now it is like I am a fly on the wall, I see the events unfolding I see us all holding hands and silently sobbing, but I don’t see through my own eyes.  I wonder if this is a survival thing? if I disconnect just enough to be able to look back and see the positive, the love, the beauty. Then I will be okay.  I work every day to see these things, and I do see them.  I am surrounded by positivity, love, and beauty.  But, in some moments I give in and only see the negativity, the loss, and the dark clouds.  Before anyone gets too worried about me please know I am sharing this because I need to write it, to put it out there, to be honest with myself and those I love.  I am searching for tools to cope every day.  Writing is one of those ways.  I have been cooking some really awesome food from Mom’s Pinterest page…but lack motivation to write about it.  I will, I promise.

Yesterday I had an awakening moment, a moment I desperately needed. Thomas and I found ourselves at the library just in time for the annual book sale.  Thousands of books new and old alike priced cheap and ready for the picking.  I was immediately transported back to my childhood. As a family we spent hours and hours at used book stores and libraries.  Mom would go off in pursuit of authors she loved or resource material for upcoming shows, Bob would hunt for adventure inspiration in the non-fiction section, Rob and I would find our way to the kids, young adult, and history (I had a strange obsession with Mary Todd Lincoln) sections.  At some point we would come up for air, pick up our pile of books and go in search of each other.  I remember vividly making an argument for a copy of Charlotte’s Web (which I already owned and had read numerous times) because this copy felt better in my hands.  It was truly one of those perfect family outings…something for everyone.

This flooding of childhood memories, for the first time since Mom’s death, was not painful.  Not that I haven’t felt pain since, trust me I have. It was just this one moment. It was just good…not good with a side of heartache…just good.  I think I have figured out why. For the first time in a long time I was able to remember a Mom who wasn’t sick, who wasn’t dying, who was just my Mom. I desperately needed this.  I am adding this to my list of personal mantras, “Mom was not her illness”.  It may seem so obvious to many of you but to me it was lost in the day to day. She was so many things but, even in the worst of times she never let the cancer take over her identity.  I had 27 years with a Mom who wasn’t sick, and 1 year with a Mom who refused to let cancer dictate her life.  Of course, I want more time.  But, man, I am grateful for the amazing moments and memories I have.

Just a few

Just a few

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