Tuesday, November 27, 2012

applauding myself

The crockpot is truly the working mom's best friend. How else would I have been able to walk in to my house after a 9-hour workday to the sweet smell of simmering beef, sitting down to a gourmet dinner for my girl and myself in mere minutes? Here's how:

South of the Border De-stress Roast

1. Begin first thing in the morning. Complete all of the get-ready-for-work-and-school tasks, but skip your morning workout. (There's always tomorrow for that.)

2. Coarsely chop an onion and sautée briefly. Dump in bottom of crockpot.

3. Season a 2 lb chuck roast with lots of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and cumin. (A friend suggested chipotle chile powder, which is probably fabulous, but I didn't have any!) Brown all sides of seasoned beef in onion pan and dump in crockpot on top of onions. Top pot w/three coarsely cut carrots and two lime quarters.

4. Pour an entire bottle of beer over beef. Doesn't matter what kind. I used Heineken. Add a little water to cover the meat.

5. Put crockpot on high heat for one hour, then adjust to low. You may now leave for the office.

6. Work an 8+ hour day while crockpot's doing its job.

7. Return home and fully experience the sweet smell of a home-cooked meal. Who prepared this amazing roast dinner while you were away? You did!

8. Serving suggestion: Fresh brussels sprouts (brown in oil/butter and steam a few minutes in white wine), and Mexican rice (follow instructions on packet).

9. Last, but not least: a generous glass of wine for yourself! You deserve it!  c:

So so delicious. Applause, applause!

Bonus: There WILL be leftovers! Mexican beef soft tacos anyone?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

love and turkey

Always feel a deep connection with my dad this time of year. His Thanksgiving turkey was his pride and joy ... and one of the many ways he showered us with his love! By some stroke of great luck I inherited these recipe cards, written in his own hand - such treasures!

Pure joy can be experienced in the memory of a lost love, especially after you've had ample time to grieve. I am reminded that while I am here on earth with new and old loves, I should be fiercely recording the events in photographs and writings - our time here is so temporary! I'm thankful my dad took the time to jot down his secret turkey procedure ... even a recipe card can bring it all back. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

music for a rainy day

Chris Thile's album "All Who Wander Are Not Lost" is like an old friend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

a sunset speaks

Your ordinary sunset would have done it. But tonight's stopped me in my tracks. I caught it walking out of my office this evening. Stressful day. Impossible week - and it's only Wednesday! Yet, like a really good song, your baby laughing, and a million other of life's unexpected joys, all I could do was stop and marvel. And grab my camera! "Thank you" kept playing in my head.

The staff at the magazine received the news earlier this week: Our office will be moving "over the hill" where the rent is cheaper and you can purchase an In and Out burger for $2.05 (gotta love Google!). Bummer for me is I'll now be commuting from my coastal paradise on a daily basis. I worried about being away from my daughter all day, the cumulative monthly cost of a 45-minute commute, the wear and tear on my car, less time to exercise and play on Facebook, etc. etc. I spent much of that day in black-cloud-my-life-sucks-mode. Had to get out of there.

I headed to the ocean to sit and ask "WHY????" But what I encountered was a picturesque coastal scene rivaling that of above sunset. Not easy to be pissy when you're observing such magnificence.  I turned off my "noise" and listened - decided to be grateful I even had a job; happy for my longtime commuting coworkers who will finally experience the short drive to work I've been enjoying for years; and relieved that, although it'll be a stretch for us, it's doable. So much to be thankful for ... certainly enough to make you smile (almost) all day long - even at your stressful job.

A million alternate decisions would've prevented me from stepping out of my office at 5:15 tonight, yet the stars aligned and I was richly awarded with the most exquisite eye candy. I reveled in being in that exact place at that exact time. Another chapter may be ending, but a new and potentially wonderful one has just begun.

Tonight a friend posted a photo of the setting sun as seen from the top of the hill that will be part of my future drive home. It was really something.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

a poem

by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Photo by Melissa Mathieson