Cat Food Cafe

Yesterday’s culinary adventures led to, I kid you not; at least 75% of our dishes, measuring cups/spoons, and kitchen gadgets being used. I went to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes and two dishwashers running.
First item on today’s agenda was cleaning the damn kitchen. I did that, then went down to ride the bike. Came back up to find Elise in full on chef mode cutting salmon fillets. I hate fish. The smell, the taste, the texture. All of it. My kitchen smells like cat food. I’m proud of my kid for trying new, healthy (albeit disgusting to me), but I also kinda wanna run away from home.

The 76th Thursday of Shelter in Place

No, not really.  I don’t know how long we’ve been living in this alternate universe.  Probably, in the grand scheme of things, not terribly long.

Elise is taking a world foods class this semester.  She was very excited about the list of foods they were going to make.  I was very excited for her to bring home those recipes and skills.  The distance learning version of this course is basically to pick a recipe to make (doesn’t have to be from the original list, doesn’t even necessarily have to be a food from another country), submit it by Wednesday, and cook said food by Thursday.

Yesterday started with her texting me and asking what she should make.  The abridged version of the story is I didn’t feel it was my responsibility to come up with a food to make when there’s a whole dang world wide interweb she could use to come up with an idea.  She called me lazy, I threw shade at her for waiting til the last minute to choose a recipe, we exchanged lots of heated texts, she ended up in tears, and I had a very strong urge to lock myself in the closet for the day.

Yes, that really is the abridged version.  There were a helluva lot of other facets to the story.  I’ll spare you.  She was being unreasonable.  I was being a bitch.  Mooooooving on.

In the end, the recipe selected was ćevapčići, a family favorite from our time in Croatia and Bosnia.  We had not previously made it at home, but it’s essentially little sausage looking type things composed of mixed meat, spices, garlic, onion, and baking powder (who knew?); so I figured we could probably pull the dish together.  There are a handful of things I’d do differently next time, and it admittedly didn’t taste the same without the seaside view and generous amounts of table wine.  But, it wasn’t awful!  Which I will always count as success when making something for the first time.

Top two pics are our attempt.  Bottom pic is what they look like in Croatia.  NAILED IT!  Kidding.  Ours bear very little resemblance to what we’re used to.

Once we decided we’d be making cevap, I texted an acquaintance whose parents were both born in Croatia to ask if she had any tips.  She didn’t, really.  But she did imply that if we were going to make cevap, we’d just as well try our hand at some lepinja, a somewhat pita like (though far superior) flat bread commonly found in the region.  I struggle with anything involving yeast.  Mightily.  But I decided to give it a go.  I should’ve taken pics of the mess I made, because it was a doozy.  The dough was incredibly sticky and I was certain the end product would be nothing more than an oversized pale hockey puck.  Astonishingly, it came out as edible.  And I’ve since watched a couple of videos of people making it, and, apparently, the dough is just hella sticky.

I’m not at all certain how that slab on the baking sheet could be any less visually appealing.  Again, lots of room for improvement.  But considering my daughter and I damn near came to blows while planning this meal, I’m astounded with the outcome.

Sleep has been not been perfect the past couple of nights, but it’s been MUCH better than earlier in the week.  Benadryl and a weighted blanket are what I had on hand, so that’s where I’ve started my quest for relief.  Magnesium has been ordered.  That’s all I know about that.

Today has felt like a good day.  In addition to cooking with my kid, I volunteered some time to work on a photo collage project for church.  It was good for my soul to look at all those lovely faces.  I’m grateful.

Be Well, Friends.

COVID/lunar/hormonal/midlife crisis


Honestly, I find it hard to say much when shit isn’t hitting the fan.  It’s really not a good trait.  So I’m going to make an attempt here.

Falling asleep last night was a struggle.  It took a couple of hours.  I read, I did meditation, and I moved to the couch for a bit.  Nothing worked.  After my brief stint on the couch, I returned to bed and managed to fall asleep.  And, the best news of all is I then managed to stay asleep until morning.  Glory Hallelujah.  Today felt much more manageable.  Which leaves me with very little to say here.

Weather was gorgeous.  I got a run in, albeit a very very short one.  We enjoyed some quality family time with supper and a viewing of All American, which I frequently tell myself I can’t believe I’m watching, but take it in stride because there are very very very VERY VERY few things all four of us will watch.

I also took a pic of a peony to be.  If I were artsier, I’d have gotten closer so as to emphasize that drop of water.  That would’ve been super dramatic and cool.  At any rate, there are promises of spring.  This is no small thing when you live in Minnesota.

For lack of anything better, I’m going to tell you about a couple of things I’ve enjoyed lately.

I finished reading The Chilbury Ladies Choir today.  I very much enjoyed it.  Not because it’s an earth shattering literary masterpiece (though maybe it is, what the hell do I know?), but because I found it to be good reading for a pandemic.  Likely due in no small part to the fact that on a few occasions the author spoke of the magic of being part of a choir.  I cannot not enjoy a book extolling the virtues of choir. Set in England during World War II, it’s essentially a tale of how women can pull together and get some shit done when the men get out of their way.  Not that I advocate a world war as a means of getting said men out of the way.  I most definitely do not.

And, if reading a book set in WWII wasn’t enough, Chris and I have started World on Fire.  Chris and I have, um, let’s just say, a hard time finding television series we both want to watch.* But, we’re both enjoying this Masterpiece/public TV gem.

*We may or may not have recently had a little spat over the Wilfred on hulu  (I am likely flawed at a molecular level, but that dog is a jackass and I do not enjoy him).

For what it’s worth, I’ve been saying I’m at my limit for fiction based on WWII for years, so these two recommendations are apparently a phenomenon which can only be described as a COVID/lunar/hormonal/midlife crisis.

Anyhoo.  That’s pretty much all I can say today.  I’m going to close with some Henri Nouwen, because it’s dated May 6 and it seems a lot more pertinent than anything I’m posting on this dumb blog.


Be Well, Friends.



Restless Legs, Tired Soul

I probably need to get back to writing something everyday, because as things currently stand; I only seem to be writing on days that suck. We’ve had a decent handful of days since I last posted, but I’m really not loving today.

For most of my life, I’ve never had to deal with insomnia or other sleep issues.  I guess now’s as good a time as any to join the legions for whom trouble sleeping is a problem.  I’ve diagnosed myself with restless legs syndrome based on the fact that I frequently find myself waking up with, wait for it, restless legs.  The first couple of occurrences were manageable.  A little reading or a quick meditation and I’d drift back to dreamland.  The past couple of nights, though, neither of those tricks worked and I was up for a long time.

I am tired.  Yeah, I’m always tired.  But I don’t usually wake up tired.  I did today, though.

And then I moseyed on over to Facebook, where I was greeted with memories of things I’d posted on this day in past years.  No bueno.

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 A year ago I was griping about being late to church because of my husband.  Then celebrating the first sermon of Jonathan, who we’ve gone to church with for something like 13 years.

I miss my church community.

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Two years ago we were at a soccer tournament in Des Moines.

I miss soccer.

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Three years ago I enjoyed dinner with college classmates, while on my way to celebrate the graduations of my two nephews- one from high school, the other from college.  The same college Chris and I attended.  I was beyond excited to be back on campus and watch my nephew become a graduate of my beloved alma mater.

I miss dinners with friends.  And graduations.

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And, going back to one year ago.  Strangely enough, this one still applies.  I used to be tired due to our rigorous schedule.  Now I’m tired from all the things I miss.  And my restless mother trucking legs.

Perhaps if I’d had a decent night’s rest, these memories wouldn’t have been so hard on my psyche.  But I hadn’t had a decent night’s rest.  So these memories were not a great start to my day.

Ultimately, today was fine.  I worked, which is always good.  Kids survived distance learning, Chris worked from home, blah, blah, blah.

But, I’m tired.  And missing normal.

Be Well, Friends.

Keliix – Appleton 2020 – Cancelled


Job security was a constant for my parents, and has always been for Chris and me as well.  Food, shelter, health care, and all other basic needs have never been in question for me or my children.  And my family’s good fortune goes so far beyond the basic needs.  We’ve had incredible opportunities to travel, my kids’ education has been top notch, and they’ve been able to explore their frequently shifting passions.  Music, food, basketball, baseball, soccer, skiing, debate, and cooking; just to name a few we’ve cycled through.

COVID has reinforced all of this.  While I grieve the loss of normalcy for everyone on the planet; my personal loss of normalcy has not included loss of a loved one or significant loss of income or missing a graduation or uncertainty about what college will look like in the fall or not being able to snuggle a grandbaby or not being able to be beside a loved one who is dying or being lonely or or or or.  I could go on.  And on and on and on.

So, while I fully acknowledge mine fail in comparison to so many others; I will not deny I still have gut punch moments.  This week’s courtesy of soccer.  We received the above email last night.  Like Governor Walz’s announcement that school buildings wouldn’t reopen, we all knew this was coming.  And yet, there’s something about getting official word that feels akin to a strong swift punch to the gut.  The Appleton tournament has been cancelled, and I am certain now we simply have to wait for official word of the entire spring/summer season being over before it even started.

Am I entitled to grieve something I complained an awful lot about?  Yes.  My blog, my rules.  Because regardless of any complaining, I’ve never not enjoyed watching my kids work hard, hone their skills, and enjoy the experience of being on a team.  And I very much enjoy the camaraderie with other parents, particularly the pre (and occasionally post)-game trips to breweries and other watering holes.  You really haven’t lived til you’ve tried a dirty snowball at Cleo’s of Appleton, Wisconsin with a bunch of other soccer parents (surrounded by Christmas decorations even though it’s June).  You’ll just have to take my word for that.

Worse than my disappointment, though, is most certainly that of my daughter.  She was banking on the summer season to get the cobwebs out before high school tryouts in August.  And, while I assure her everyone is in the same storm (though not the same boat), logic isn’t really an effective tool when arguing with a 15 year old.  She’s certain she’ll never make a team, ever again.  She is so my daughter, for better or for worse.  The sky is never not falling.

And, she misses her teammates, her crazy coach, and simply the game.  It’s understandable.  I miss all that stuff too.

Til we see you again, Keliix peeps.  We miss you!

Be Well, Friends.



In Six Weeks We Will…

It would seem that at some point the trees will have leaves, the peonies will bloom, and Piper the dog will still be very very stoic.

Today has been good in our little corner of the world.

Branching out from our little corner, though, things are less good.  An elementary/middle school classmate of mine, mom of three who had direct exposure through her work, has tested positive.  My youngest nephew’s grandather-in-law, whose daughter (that would be my nephew’s mother in law if you really want to see every nook and cranny of the road I’m on) is another middle school classmate of mine, has been hospitalized for a possible stroke.  They are unable to be with him in the hospital, because COVID.  Those are long sentences, but all I’m really saying is all of this is starting to feel closer to home.  And I desperately want an easy button to make this all better.

I just finished facetime with two of my faves, both people I didn’t know three years ago and met mainly thanks to coincidence.  One of them said something to the effect of: I find I am more anxious when I realize I am waiting for things to go back to how they were. I am the least anxious when I realize I just need to stop waiting and just see how things are going to be different in the future.

As I’ve said before, I think it’s the not knowing how things are going to be different in the future that taxes me.  I do not like subjectivity.  I like concrete answers.  Those simply do not exist in these days.  Everything is speculation.  Everyone has an opinion.  But it seems to me the hard to swallow truth is nobody knows what life is going to look like six weeks from now.

Odd times we’re living in.

Be Well, Friends.


Failure to Launch

It’s a shoulda just used the iPhone camera dark dog pic kind of a day.  I’m still trying to relearn how to use my camera.

Minnesota is dark and dreary today.  I think it’s because Mike Pence came to town and wouldn’t wear a face mask, but I can’t prove that scientifically.  Just a hunch.

I started a job in January, worked through the initial phase of the shelter in place order because I was deemed essential (something I’d still argue, but in hindsight I’m glad I had the distraction), and was scheduled to be done after April 15, but for a couple days of clean up after tax day.

None of this is new information, but I’m laying some groundwork here.  Bear with me.

Motivation to be productive at home has always been a struggle for me, but that reality didn’t stop me from having a completely unrealistic view of what my daily routine would look like when I stopped working every day.  Oh the projects I had in mind!  My house was gonna sparkle, y’all. And, oh how I was going to enjoy being home alone during the day for a few months before school ended for the summer.

Nothing is working out as planned.  We’re all here, all the time.  And really, all things considered, it’s going very well.  But the transition from working 40 hours a week to being home with the whole blam dam family has been a struggle for me.  Honestly, it most likely would’ve been a struggle even if things had gone as planned and I was here alone.

So, it’s perhaps quarantine related, or more likely would’ve been utterly predictable sans COVID-19; but I cannot for the life of me get myself into any sort of routine.  Those projects I had in mind are all still waiting for me, and there’s nothing stopping me from tackling them; but I cannot seem to get going.  Napping and reading.  Those are the only things I’m accomplishing consistently.

I suppose this all reeks of a depressive episode.  Or perhaps it’s grief, as I’ve seen headlines telling me it certainly could be.  I have no idea.  These days feel nowhere near as heavy as those of Winter 2018-2019 did.  And yet, I’m tired and utterly unproductive.  And having trouble giving a shit about either of those conditions.

Like pretty much all the others, there is no point to this post.  I am, ultimately, fine.  Perhaps lazy is the term I’ve avoiding.  I dunno.  But I’m scheduled to go to the office tomorrow, and could not possibly be more grateful to not have to feel cruddy about not cleaning a closet.

Be Well, Friends.