Monday Musings: On moms, no TV and crowdsourcing.

Happy Monday to you.

This girl needs a vacation. At least a massage or three. And a facial. Maybe a nap. All of the above, really. One of my friends posted a picture last week of a Post-It note she wrote to herself at work. It said: “Do one thing at a time.” I so know that feeling — of being overwhelmed with work and life to the point that you just don’t know where to start. Paralyzed by the enormity of it all. This too shall pass, but for now I’m going to try to take that advice. And get that massage. That vacation — maybe.

This might be the first year in several that I haven’t taken a big, international trip … but who has the time?? It’s a vicious circle.

I had moms on the brain this weekend. First because I started reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, about her hike across the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother’s death. And because I was able to spend this Mother’s Day weekend with the two mothers in my life. I was also thinking yesterday of those whose moms aren’t with us and how incredibly painful that must feel every year (well, every day.) I’m blessed to still hug my mom, and Mimi in all her 95-year-old glory.

mothersday

I’ve been lucky enough to know both of my grandmothers into their 90s, as sharp and strong-willed and stubborn as ever. Aging is pretty rough, on the person and on everyone around them. But I love being able to sit with my grandmother, who can remember the stock market crash of 1929, newlywed life in Savannah during the war and the totally undeveloped Hilton Head Island of the 1960s. We should cherish our elders — my, the stories they can tell.

When I arrived at Mom’s this weekend, I learned that the cable was out and would be until this week. That meant no TV. All weekend long. You’d think I’d have gone into the withdrawal shakes, but it was actually fine. We cooked, we sat, we read and — quelle horreur! — we actually talked to each other. How refreshing.

While we’re (sort of) on the topic of vacation, let me try a bit of crowdsourcing. My family’s talking about cruising to Alaska next summer. Does anyone have recommendations? What line should we cruise? What passage should we not miss? Should we leave from Seattle or Vancouver? Send me whatcha got.

Have a good week, all.

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Cooking Spree: Chicken Bog

I’m about to get really Southern with y’all.

The cooking spree at the beach continues, and last night we made a favorite from my childhood: “fatty rice,” known more colloquially (and politely) as “chicken bog.”


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Guess who’s coming to dinner.

Sometimes I wish I was Italian. Maybe it’s because I want to be Giada de Laurentiis when I grow up, or that I love wine and food, that the countryside seems breathtakingly beautiful, or that I think they’ve got the right idea of living and celebrating “la dolce vita.” Or maybe it’s because I haven’t yet found an Italian dish that I don’t love.

Pasta, garlic, tomatoes, olives … all right up my alley.

That’s why I was so excited for the cooking marathon this past weekend. A few weeks ago, my stepmother went to visit her Italian aunt in upstate New York and brought back an old-world Italian recipe for tomato sauce (“gravy”) with a variety of meats. She did a dry run-through last weekend, and my dad requested that she make tons of sauce to freeze for later. The idea was to prepare and cook all day so there would be leftovers … until my stepmother invited everyone she knew to dinner. Keep reading »