Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

October Table

I don’t usually dress up for Halloween, but my table does!  Happy Halloween, scary readers.

Can I make a few notes about Halloween this year?  First, I think I saw kids being driven from house to house.  Driven!  I cannot even believe it.  Why, back in my day, we walked miles to collect all the candy.  Seriously.  My brother Charlie and I were quite serious about getting a good candy haul, and I’m sure we walked miles on Halloween night, trick-or-treating our little hearts out.  I love Halloween!  I love candy!

Second, for the first time in my nine years of apartment-dwelling, I had trick-or-treaters show up at my door.  And I had nothing to offer them, except some really old peppermints or chocolate-rum truffles.  It made me so sad!  But as much as I love sweets, I don’t really buy much candy.  I hope one day I will live in a house and be able to host a proper, candy-distributing Halloween night.  Some day…

Wait, before I go.  One more photo, which I have blatantly stolen from my sister-in-law.  It’s my niece and nephew in their matching tiger costumes.  I just melt every time I look at this photo.

Daddy's Tigers

(Thanks, Amanda!)


Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

File Under “Love”

I’ve been rereading a book that I loved the first and second times I read it.  It’s a divorce memoir called Breaking Apart by Wendy Swallow.  It is beautifully, wisely written, a heartbreaking story about a marriage and what happens when that marriage falls apart.  I’m not sure what compelled me to pluck it from the bookshelf—maybe the sadness within resonates with my own sense of sadness these days?  Or maybe it makes me grateful that by comparison, I’ve had a very easy breakup, one that caused minimal collateral damage to my daily life?  I don’t know.  I am finding, however, that there are so many great passages from this book, paragraphs that make me stop and think.  I thought I’d share a few of them with you, over the next few weeks.  At the risk of seeming disjointed, I’m going to mix content chronologically on the blog here—I’ve got another little series that I want to share, too.  But you are sophisticated readers who can handle some content-mixing, right?  Right!

I knew you could do it.

Without further ado, the following is from Breaking Apart.

“The challenge is not just about what to do with my spare time either.  It’s about redrawing the outline, this time in bolder ink.  It is about moving into middle age with a clear sense of who I am—not by default this time or someone else’s vision of me—but my own vision, my own compass.  It is also about taking responsibility for who I am, about no longer hiding behind someone else or blaming another for my life’s problems.  Spouses make great deflectors, great scapegoats.  Now, I’m on my own.  By standing alone in the world I stand more honestly, more nakedly than ever before.  It’s my story now.  I’m no longer a footnote in someone else’s book.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Start with Small and Silly

Hello!  I promised I’d come back and lo, here I am.

To be honest, I’m feeling a bit scared coming back to this space.  I have a much longer and more serious post I need to write about what happened this month, but I don’t feel quite ready for that.  The short story is that my older brother, Scott, passed away three weeks ago.  Before this month, I had never lost an immediate family member; losing a sibling before we are all old and grey is something I never imagined.  So it’s been a month of shock, and grief, and sadness.  It’s been surreal.  I will tell you more about that soon, but not today.

Today I thought I’d start with something small and silly: a pumpkin-shaped pot.

Staub Pumpkin Pot_cropped

{Screen shot from}

How cute is that?!  It’s a 3.5-quart pot from Staub, and while I totally do not need it, I just love it for its adorable pumpkin-ness.  See how the lid’s handle is even in the shape of a pumpkin stem?  Like many people, I am crazy about fall and all things related to autumn, and pumpkins are the epitome of fall.  It would make me happy every day to see a pumpkin pot perched on my stove, waiting for me to fill it with soup.

At Scott’s memorial, we listened to a poem by Mary Oliver called “Wild Geese.”  It’s a gorgeous poem, and now that it’s infused with his memory, I can’t read it without tearing up.  There’s a line in the poem that says, “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

That, I think, is what has drawn me back to the kitchen and to this blog.  I love cooking, and I love writing, and those twin loves have endured, even as my life has changed in good ways and in bad.  I just want a cozy space to write and to spread joy.  Me as a soft animal—I just want everyone to feel safe to love what they love.  To feel that it’s safe to be honest.  I know that’s not always possible, but maybe that’s my ideal.

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

It’s good to be back.  I have missed you.