May 4 – for the love of Uncle Rock

My sister had a close relationship with Uncle Rock, my father’s younger brother.  She knew his friends, how he took his coffee, had long conversations at his kitchen table, and most importantly, she knew how to fish with him.  Those two were tight.  I love to listen to my sister tell stories about him.  And, while I listen, I am secretly jealous. 

I have very few memories involving my uncle.  And very few I can recall with my own father.  It is obvious, now that I’m older, something was missing.  A connectedness.  While the love was surely there, the ability to connect beyond that was not. 

Now, with the abscense of both of these men, smiles brighter and wider than any other men I’ve ever met, save my brothers, I feel like our family needs to learn how to become tighter.  Closer.  Connected.  Our family needs to reinforce the foundation. 

There is a photo of my Uncle Rock on my dresser that I stop to admire at least twice a day.  It’s a good reminder of the value of life.  Of his life and what it meant to those that loved him.  A reminder that I share a family name with some very important people.  A reminder to stay connected, even more so as we grow older. 



This afternoon I got out an art project I’ve been working on over the months. I’m not an artist by any means, but I like to create and experiment. It opens me up and gives my spirit freedom to fly…or float…or just be.
As I was sifting through my pre-set websites, I came across something that touched my spirit and made me want to fly. Thank you 400 Days ’til 40!

Fortuitous Forty!!!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?  

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April 10 – what would Rachel do?

I found myself happily in the kitchen prepping for a party.  I was taking mini chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting, gluten and dairy free, of course.  The cupcakes have cooled and I am mixing up the frosting.  45 minutes until we need to leave in order to be on time.  Unfortunate for me, my frosting is not whipping up.  It’s turning mushy and greasy.  Enter the freak out.

As my eyes begin to well up with tears, I begin to panic, the once happy thoughts turning to “what am I going to do?!”, and I get shaky and see a bad outcome.  All of a sudden, a wonderful picture of my good friend Rachel comes to mind.  She bakes cakes, glorious cakes.  I’m sure she’s been under pressure much greater than I.  She does parties.  BIG parties.  People pay her for her creations.  I think to myself, what would Rachel do?  She can’t freak out.  She wouldn’t.  She’s not that kind of person.  She is calm, level headed, and has the beautiful ability to overcome obstacles rather than allow them to stop her.  And at that very moment, she is my calm.

I repeat to myself, what would Rachel do?  Find a way.  My first frosting didn’t work.  It’s only a failure if I don’t try again.  So, foraging through my cabinets, I come up with the things I need to make another batch of frosting.  I’ve done it before, I can do it again.  I smile as I think of Rachel.  I smile even more when the pink frosting takes the form it should.  I rejoice.  I have overcome an obstacle, that was to me, initially, a bad ending.

This isn’t the only time that I’ve conjured up a vision of Rachel to keep me from a total melt down.  I will save myself many tears and failures by doing so.

Fill in your blank:  What would ___________ do?

January 12 – comfort food

Soup.  The word itself conjours up comfort.  I can remember when my mom would make homemade chicken soup with dumplings.  It was one of my favorite things to eat.

Whenever someone in our house is getting sick, I make chicken stock.  Sometimes I use the whole chicken, sometimes just the carcass.  This week, I used bone in chicken breast.  I took my recipe from my favorite healthy food website, and made the Healing Chicken Ginger Soup.

While it was a little *hot* for our taste sensitive daughter, Joe and I absolutely loved this soup.  What I did to make it palatabe for Ava, was easy.  I simply strained the broth away from the meat and vegetabes.  I served her portion over thin thai rice noodles and thinly sliced napa cabbage, with a dollop of coconut cream.

Stock, or broth, is so easy to make, incredibly delicious, and more nutritious than any store bought broth availabe on the market.  And, if you don’t believe in the healing power of foods, you can’t deny the comfort of a homemade bowl of chicken soup.  It makes me feel better just thinking about it.

What is your favorite go to when you’re feeling a sick coming on?


I’ve come to love and appreciate food.  The kind of food that I know my body needs and will process without failing me.  The kind of food that makes my mouth happy and want to share with others because not only does it taste really good, it’s good for you.

There is an abundance of bad food in the grocery store that is disguised as “good for your health”.  Low carb, sugar-free, lean protein, pre-packaged, etc.  I don’t buy into all that rubbish.  I don’t like the taste of a low carb snack and I certainly don’t like the taste of fake sugar.  Even the supposedly “taste like the real thing” sugar substitutes – you know the ones.  The moment one of those sugar-free drinks hit my tongue I know it’s fake.  I don’t like it and I don’t want to learn to like it.  Those drinks should be killed off.

I believe food is supposed to taste good and nourish our bodies.  We’re supposed to be able to sit down at a meal and enjoy it, take our time with it, maybe even talk to it, or pet it, and be able to walk away satisfied.  Not craving more.  Not over stuffing our face.

On that note, I want to share a wonderful recipe with you that we enjoyed this evening as a family.  It’s from one of my all time favorite sites:  Tom and Ali are the smart authors of this blog and its recipes.  This is my go to site when I’m looking to make something nutritious and delicious.  And sometimes special.

Follow this link to see what we had on our plates tonight  The chicken was delicious!  Our almost 5-year-old daughter ate both of the legs, with the skin.  I sautéed some green cabbage in a bit of coconut oil to go along with the chicken.  And that was it.  Super easy, good for our bodies, and our mouths were very happy.

What’s your favorite homemade healthy meal?

for the love of public space

Our little girl attends an hour class at The Little Gym once a week.  I look forward to this just as much as she does.  She puts on her cute little sparkly leotard then taps, twirls, and tumbles.  I love to watch her learn new skills and take risks.  I also appreciate using this one hour to reflect on how much my love for Ava has grown.  Maybe chat with other moms or simply just sit in quiet – which doesn’t happen very often.  The point is, I look forward to this one hour every week.

The one thing that can really make this one hour sour is listening to some mom on her mobile.  This behavior really bothers me.  There is such a thing as personal space.  While this mom may not physically be inside my space, her voice is.  It’s ringing in my ears.  It’s loud.  It’s obnoxious.  It’s in my space.

Why have such disregard for current surroundings and conduct business or have personal conversations via mobile in such a public space?  Isn’t the point of public space to share?  Share space.  Why has this space been taken over with mobile madness?  Does a strange group of people need to hear a one-sided conversation about a personal problem?  Why is public space becoming the place to conduct all personal matters?

I’ve overheard about break-ups, family members in financial straits, and the vow to swear off men and stick to reading books.  The talkers:  do they think we can’t hear them?  Or is it they just don’t care?  The mobile talkers that chat away while waiting in line…their turn comes up and they keep talking!  This – is – rude.  Someone is ready to take your order, there is a line of other customers waiting for their hot latte.  Hang Up!

If you can’t shut your conversation off, stay outside or step aside.  Please be kind and considerate and get out of our space.  We don’t want to hear what you’re about to say.

What have you overheard lately?

Portland Rain

After being in Portland for nearly a year, we have decided to stay another.  This is the best city I’ve ever been to.  Really.  (except for Barcelona, of course)  I’m sure in my past journal entries I’ve touted all the wonderful things about the city, so I won’t repeat myself.  Or should I?  Nah…

In all honesty though, I’ve been disappointed with the lack of sunshine, especially since it’s summer.  I’ve been so excited about the 6-8 weeks of blue sky, mild heat, golden rays and the feeling of youth for 3 months now.  “They” said it would come.  “Make it through this winter and you’ll see why we live here.”  Okay.  I made it through the winter.  I’ve been patient.  I’m in deep yearning now for hot summer days.  Yearning.

After some grown up thinking over the past couple of weeks, in my head the conversation goes somewhat like this:  why do I need the sun to make me happy?  Isn’t happiness internal?  If I am internally happy, then wouldn’t it manifest itself externally, regardless of the weather?  Was I this dependent on the sun in Ohio?  Is the weather just merely something to gripe about and bond over?  Wait in line anywhere and someone will say something about the weather.  It’s too hot.  I’m sick of the snow.  When will the rain ever end.  The forecast calls for more rain…more snow…more heat.

When I was younger I didn’t give a hoot about the weather.  Why is it when we get older we focus on the weather?  Penny, I love you girl.  You know that.  Why are you measuring the rain these days?!  Don’t those weather jerks tell you what’s going on in “your neck of the woods?”  Mark Johnson – he cut Oprah off to show a hail ball for 5 minutes.  A frozen rain ball.  Oh…wait…now I get it.  Men and their sports.  Always chasing balls.  But I digress.

I’ve decided I need to get over it.  The weather that is.  Seriously.  I need to dig into what is good and love it.  Every day.  If the sun shines or not.  Get outside, get some fresh air, find something to do.  Most importantly, I need to find somwhere to belong.  In Cleveland, I once belonged to a big group with the same religious beliefs.  When that was lost, I created a family amongst fitness friends.  Now that too is in the past – and I miss that family immensely.  So much so that I’ve often thought about a move back.  But that would be an emotional move, not from the right place.  (Erin, that damn book is kind of good)

Since I’m doing all this thinking though, as a married grown up with child (who would have ever thought…) I don’t want to run back home to where I’m comfortable.  I want to expand.  I want to explore.  I’m thankful that I found a man who wants nothing less for me.  And thankful that our little girl has a sense of adventure.

I’m slow to make friends.  It takes a lot of time and effort, and, quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of extra time and I put most of my efforts into our family.  Thank goodness I’ve found a fun, loyal, in your face honest girlfriend who lives in our building.  Now, if I can convince a gym that I can still kick some serious ass, things might really start to come together.  Rain or not.

With love, from Portland

(taken from July 21, 2011 journal)