Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Beauty of Food


Last night was one of the very few times I turned down going out to dinner with Steve. He called and asked if I wanted to go get something light for dinner. We have a share at Terry's Berries and Tuesday is my pick up day. I have some veggies left from last week that I haven't been able to eat, so we ate at home and had fresh sauteed spinach, fresh spring beets roasted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a pork chop. It was topped off with a Blue Moon Belgiun White beer. It was better than any date just knowing how fresh and healthy the food is. And since Steve helps with the dishes we get to spend extra time together.

We have had a CSA (community share in agriculture) for three or four years. It is great to go to the farm and leave with a basket of incredible, fresh, organic produce that was picked that morning. I highly recommend this to everyone who is interested in eating well for their health and their community. Check out IdealBite as a resource for going "green".

Yesterday I picked up asparagus, peas, spinach, lettuce, salad mix, greens, spring onions, beets and summer squash. Terry's has full share and sample share options. We have always gotten a full share, but this year we only have two people eating at home regularly, so we may have too much food. I am going to give it my best shot to have at least two veggies at dinner and more if I make a stir-fry or soup. I love cooking this way, I get the food and then only have to choose the meats or other sides that we want. Eating seasonally is interesting and we have tried and liked a lot of things that we wouldn't have tried on our own.


This picture is of artichokes at the farm a couple of years ago. Robin took this photo and it is one of my favorites. The sunflowers are also from the farm. There are many different photo opportunities there. If you have an opportunity to visit a farm near where you live, I say go for it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Really Alone

I am home alone. Puck is with me, but I'm not sure he really counts. Steve is with Eric, Michelle, and Rob in California for the Western States Endurance Run. (I haven't learned how to make this a link, but you can find it on the web at http://www.ws100.com/) Steve is going to run the last 40 miles as Eric's pacer. He left yesterday morning with Rob and they will come back Monday. Steve and I aren't apart very often so it is really strange to have him gone.

Robin just left for Lazy F. He is meeting Sydnee and the rest of the site staff to raft on the River. He originally was to go over tomorrow to learn how to facilitate the ropes course. He is hoping to spend time at camp this summer both volunteering as a small group leader and a facilitator of the ropes course and as a camper. So far he has four weeks scheduled there, but I am sure there will be more. The first year he volunteered he went as a camper and then was there the next two weeks as a small group leader to fill in for empty spaces. The camp is a special place in my kids hearts, it fills their spirits.

My plan for today is to clean the house. Boring, but necessary. My housekeeper had surgery and can't come to work until the end of July. She only comes every two weeks, but if it isn't cleaned before she comes it will be pretty bad. I talked with Robin about where he wanted me to put the things he needs to sort through. There is a lot that I think he can trash or recycle. Which reminds me, his friend, James, came to the house last night for Robin's fire pit party. He brought a huge stack of school work to burn in the pit. We probably should have made it more of a ceremony, but he felt better after it was burned. Some of his stress was relieved. I hope some of Robin's friends will still come to visit us after he moves away, it is going to be awfully quiet here if they don't. Some have told me they already plan to visit and I really hope they do.

Back to my plan. Clean house. I love having a clean house, but I think I have ADD when it comes to cleaning. I get so distracted that I am all over the place as one thing triggers me to move to something else and I have to work hard to get everything finished. Ok, I'm going... really I am.

Ciao, ciao.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Adults

We have four adults in our family. Our youngest, Robin, turned 18 in March but graduated last Saturday. Now that he is done with high school it seems he is really an adult.

I have been shifting in my own thoughts about who I am. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 21 years. I quit working as a nurse in a doctor's office when I was pregnant with Sydnee. I have worked part-time off and on since, but my main concern for all these years has been to take care of my family. Now I get to look at who I want to be when I grow up.

I am an RN, but I haven't worked in that capacity for many, many years. I would have to do some training to feel competent since medicine has changed some in the last 20 years. I am a licensed massage practitioner, but physically my wrists and hands can't do deep work and a lot of people want that. I would try to accommodate them and might end up hurting myself. This would not be good. I taught childbirth classes and while I loved it, I am not sure I would want to get back into that. I am teaching Pilates and stretching right now at the YMCA and as continuing education for the local community college. This is a great fit for right now since it keeps me exercising (Pilates has helped my back pain tremendously) and involved with people. I definitely need to be around people.

I also need to have a creative outlet. I used to sew. I sewed for years and have made everything from lingerie to tailored suit jackets to swim suits. I have a strong desire to make retro aprons. I would love to make them for moms and daughters or sons and help kids get into the kitchen. Maybe this could be a web-based business. I also make unique wine glass stemlets, so there could be a few items available. I don't know. Right now, I have a couple projects for churches that I need to complete and then I can get started with something else.

I know I will be fine, life always works out. I don't know what it will look like, but since I raised my kids to not keep looking at a closed door waiting for it to open while there may be windows opening behind them, I will keep an open mind to all the possibilities.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Big Night


Robin graduates tonight. We celebrate with family, not a big deal. He, on the other hand, had a party last night. His affairs are very low key. I found out about this one on Thursday, I believe. We have a fire pit in our backyard that Robin made a couple years ago. Very simple, bricks layed out in a 2 1/5-3 foot circle, stacked 3-4 high. It works. We had some work done on our yard this week and got all the blackberries cleared, the lawn mowed, and some trees cut down. It looks great and makes it easy to get to the fire pit.

So, yesterday afternoon, while I was sewing curtains in my new studio, he was cutting wood to build benches around the pit. He was working for a while and I asked him when people were coming. He told me between 6 and 7. I let him know it was 6:30. Five minutes later a couple girls drove up. He took a quick shower and as more kids arrived they played on the swing in the front yard. This is a rope swing that he built on our huge old maple tree in the front. Our driveway slopes down so when you swing around the tree you get some good air. You just need to be aware when you come around not to run into the tree.

They eventually landed in the backyard and Robin started the fire. I heard a commotion and looked out to see Robin about 15 feet away from the fire and laughing somewhat hysterically. My mom radar went up and I went onto the deck to observe what whas happening. I found out he used gasoline to start the fire. He jumped that far from the fire when it flared. Why he thought this was a good idea, I don't know. I had a little talk with him and he immediatly realized how lucky he was that he only singed the hair on his arm and didn't seriously hurt himself or someone else. (I could be all indignant and appalled at his actions, but it won't change what he did, I hope he learned a lesson and I thank God that he didn't hurt himself or anyone else.I certainly hope the other kids there also learned that this is not a good way to start a fire.)

I try to keep this philosophy in life. It is done and you can't change it, let it go. Learn from your mistakes and maybe the mistakes of others, apologize when needed and move on. I need to work on my feelings getting hurt, but I have really imporved in this area also.

The whole point I started with is he is 18 and a responsible adult, with a new lesson under his belt this morning. I can only hope that most of the lessons he will learn will only singe the hairs on his arm and he learns them well before he really gets burned.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beginning

Life has gotten a little quieter around here. Sydnee is off to camp to work as a site staff member for the summer. She will get one day off a week, and I hope to get to visit with her at the half-way point. We got everything accomplished that she needed to do before she was gone for two months. There are still a few things that I wanted her to accomplish, but I would be pushing too hard if I insisted. There will be time when she gets back. I get to use her old room as my studio, but it will take a while to get it set up the way I would really like it to be.

Robin is graduating from high school Saturday. I really find it hard to believe that we are done with the K-12 public school system. I know that I learned so much and gained so much from all the people that I met over the last 16 years, and I look forward to seeing some of those people at the ceremony. But this paragraph isn't about me. Robin doesn't spend a lot of time at home. He comes and goes pretty much like the wind. I learned when they were young that by the time they turn 18 they need to be responsible for all their decisions. I think we have accomplished that quite well. I always ask Robin when he will be home, but it is just so we know when to worry. There is no threat of punishment at this point. If he ever screws up big time, then the car is our Ace of Spades and he could lose that. He is a really responsible young man, so we don't really worry about that threat. Next week, I will start pushing for him to finish his thank-you cards to the people who have sent him gifts for his graduation.

I am starting a new class this evening. It will be a beginning Pilates class and I am looking forward to being able to really focus on teaching the basics and techniques at the start. In the fall, I will add a continuing Pilates class and will be able to build the participants skills there. The class is full with 15 people. I am nervous and excited. After class, I will go to Starbuck's to meet up with Steve and the Y Run group for coffee.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Pushing

Ok, I admit it. I am pushing. I try not to, but I do. Since I know this I try to push in a nice way and not as hard as I could. I know that if my daughter doesn't move her stuff before she leaves for camp, she won't be moving it. I will clean off the desk and put everything in a box if she doesn't make time to do it herself, but then she has no say in it. I think that is what she wants. She did say that it probably would have been better to get an apartment after she got home from camp instead of moving her things out of her childhood bedroom less than 24 hours after returning home from being in Wales for 4 1/2 months. But this was her choice.

I admit that once I started living with the idea that they would be gone and I would have the house to keep as Steve and I want it, I started to like it. Once I wrap my mind around an idea, I tend to be like a dog with a bone. There are things in a 19 year old house that need changing and I am going to make this house the way we want it. After all, we are the ones who will be living here.

I have also been asked if I would consider teaching Pilates during the day for the local community college. I am starting an evening class next week, and already they want to add more. I wondered what I would do when the kids were gone and I had less commitments with them. Be careful what you wish for.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Empty Nest

emp·ty [ √©mptee, √©mtee ]1. containing nothing: not containing or holding anything, 2. unfed: hungry or lacking food, 3. unoccupied: unoccupied or uninhabited, 4. with no passengers or load: without passengers, a load, or cargo, 5. meaningless: without value, meaning, or purpose, 6. dull: devoid of vitality.



nest [ nest ] 1. bird or animal home: a structure that birds and other animals such as mice build to shelter themselves and their young, using available natural materials such as grass, twigs, and mud, 2. community of animals: the community of animals living in a nest, 3. cozy place: a cozy, protected, or secluded place.

They don't have "empty nest" in the dictionary. These are the definitions that I found for empty and nest. There are many possible combinations that work as an explanation of what I expect in the coming years. Years? Yes, I believe that this is a process that takes years.

My example, our daughter moved out of the house into a dorm three years ago this coming August. She moved things home the next May and back out again a month later. She was in that house with other students for 18 months and she moved home for two months before she packed her bags and went to Wales to study for four and a half months. I thought it was very funny that she came home this last Sunday evening and moved back out on Monday afternoon. She has been here for her meals since and I expect this to continue for the rest of the week and we get all the supplies and "things" stocked up for her. I'm not sure she will ever move home again. Although I did tell her that if she needed to she could. My dad told my sister that he wouldn't break her plate. Funny, he never told me that.

Our son is a busy senior and comes in to eat periodically and to sleep every night, so I don't see him very much now. I guess the experience of an empty nest is coming at me in bits. He will be moving to his first dorm room in September of this year. I expect that there will be a few moves back and forth for him also. His adventure is just beginning.

For Steve and I the adventure is in the journey.