the kids are alright (we’re ok too) and why it’s important to have girl time…

IMG_2128 every once in a while a few of my friends get together for some much-needed girl time.  we are all moms and sometimes we need to take a  few hours to cut loose without the kids.  once, we made what could have been an ill-fated trip to ikea in portland, but instead it turned into a wonderful day-long road trip with a stop in hood river, great food, beer, conversation and company.  even though things didn’t go as planned, the day turned out better than we could’ve imagined!IMG_2213this weekend we got together at my house on one of the hottest days of the year and we just hung out in my kitchen drinking cucumber freshies, talking about life, sex, kids and having a great time unwinding from life.  we actually all had our kids with us this time and, even though they ranged from 17 months to 15 years, everyone got along splendidly and had a blast playing and watching movies downstairs while we hung out.

the afternoon turned into an impormptu dinner of salmon, rice and corn that my husband cooked for all of us and the kids.  a significant other or two joined us and we had a most lovely evening.IMG_2183when i think about the bond i have with this particular group of women, i realize that the most common factor is that we are all moms.  we are all strong women and our mom-ness doesn’t define us but it is definitely something very important to each of us. it joins us in a kind of unspoken understanding.  it doesn’t phase us that, more often than not, we don’t finish a sentence because someone little interrupts us, or that the conversation can bounce from subject to subject in the blink of an eye with no cohesion.  i love the bond that i have with these women.  we are all so different, but so much the same too.

cheers, girls.  i love you.

e

p.s. i’m working on getting the cucumber freshies recipe posted along with the apricot goat cheese bites.

embracing the mayhem and chaos…

i often hear, when people find out that the boys are twins, “oh, double trouble” or “you must really have your hands full!”  while i’m sure their intentions are good, i can’t help but think, “why are you assuming that my boys are too much to handle?”  why would you think that having twins is anything less than totally awesome?  i’m sure it’s no different than the experiences of anyone else.

it’s true that there is a lot of chaos and mayhem in our home.  i have no idea what it would be like to have just one kid at a time but i don’t assume that our chaos and mayhem is any different than anyone else’s.  our routines are all i know and since we are not having any more kids, i will never know any different.

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i have learned to embrace the chaos and mayhem and love it for what it is.  so what if my house is never all the way clean.  there’s almost always some mess or weird smell.  it’s never totally organized.  so what if they dug a giant hole in the middle of our yard to make themselves a sandbox. i have two little boys who are happy and messy and blissfully unaware that this isn’t the way it is everywhere.

and isn’t that what really matters anyway?

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i guess what i’m saying in a very roundabout way is that we do what works for us and that is the best and only thing we can do.  i recently had a woman at costco ask me if the boys were twins and she happily said that she is expecting twins too.  she asked me if i had any good advice and, without even thinking about it (there was a long line behind us,) i said, “yeah, don’t listen to anyone else’s advice!  do what works for you.”

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i read a lot about different parenting styles and theories on how best to raise children and while there are some really good ideas out there, at the end of the day, i find that christopher and i really just come back to what works for us and the boys.  we don’t have many rules in our house.  we believe strongly that the boys should be able to express themselves freely, whether it’s in their artwork, clothing choices, or in their speech (occasional profanity included.)  i get that this does not work for everyone, but that’s ok.  i don’t need it to.  i just need it to work for us, which right now, it does.

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i say “right now” because we also believe in changing our minds.  christopher and i make sure the boys know that we aren’t perfect and sometimes mommy and daddy make mistakes.  we try to emphasize the importance of respecting others, apologizing when we are wrong and being mindful of the world and others around us.  our goal is to try to raise loving, caring, empathetic boys who care for themselves as well as those around them.

and that’s the best we can do.

and that’s good enough.

have a happy weekend, people!

cheers!

e

 

on thanksgiving, family and other s%*t…

i realized that my last post was quite a while ago.  blogging has not been my priority lately.  we have been having some family struggles and we are doing our best to help, comfort and support.  i know i’m being cryptic, but it’s not my story to tell.

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however, i have been thinking a lot about how i interact with people.  a long time ago, i was very much a pleaser.  someone who put my own stuff on the back burner (or pushed it completely off the stove) in favor of other’s needs.  i was super nice.  always happy (actually, not at all) and willing to do whatever was asked of me.  after going through my divorce nearly ten years ago, i realized am realizing that i am much happier with myself if i adjust how i interact with others in my life.

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a couple of the ways i have adjusted my thinking are listed below.  and just to be clear, i am not writing this post to give any instructions because i have it all figured out.  just the opposite; this is more a reflective post for me and maybe to give out a little encouragement during this time of year.

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the worst case scenario: i will win the zombie apocalypse because i have a plan.  i always have a plan for the worst case scenario.  however, i am learning that i can’t continually let my mind travel to the far reaches of all the horrible things that can happen to my kids, my husband and my family or in my work.  instead, i repeat the polish proverb: “not my circus, not my monkeys.”  really, i am learning that there are things outside my control and i neither need to be nor should i worry about being in charge of those things.  it gives me a moment to breathe and say, “is this really my problem?”

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literally: i used to spend a lot of my time thinking that what people said to me was not really what they meant.  i would replay conversations over and over in my head until i was not sleeping, like ever, and i was sure that person totally hated me.  something like “i can’t meet up with you that day” would turn into “i have never ever liked being your friend and i can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet and i wish you would never speak to me again.”  messed up, right?  finally, i was just too exhausted to deal with that anymore.  during my divorce, i lost most of my friends.  i have one that stuck with me and we are very close.  she is amazing.  but, in making new friends, i have learned to adjust my thinking.  if someone says something to me, i believe them.  maybe that’s naive, but it works for me.  i will not be held hostage by trying to interpret someone else’s thoughts.  and on the flip-side, i say what i mean.  i don’t want anyone to have to guess.  i have a few more really good friends now and there is no bullshit with us.

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the holiday season always brings so much shit along with the cheer and wonder.  families can sometimes be the most cruel because the normal societal rules don’t seem to apply.  we often say the worst to the ones we love.  we often turn our backs because we assume forgiveness will always be there.  we crack and break under the stress of creating a perfect “holiday experience.”  we expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves.  and, this is just awful, damaging and heartbreaking.  i am certainly guilty of this, but i’m doing my best to change my thoughts, actions, expectations and behaviors.

try kindness

during this holiday season, i challenge you to speak with kindness and intention.  say plainly and clearly what you mean and expect that others will too.  reach out to those who need comfort and compassion.  give someone some help and maybe a break before they lose it.  do not expect the moon without offering the stars.  and remember, sometimes it’s not your circus and these are not your monkeys.

but if they are your monkeys, please ask them to refrain from throwing their shit.

cheers,

e

 

image at top courtesy of the museum of the city of new york

taking a leap…

lately i’ve been in a kind of limbo state.  being mostly laid off from my job (which i loved) at the beer shop has given me time to seek out new employment and time for my overactive brain to really mess with my emotions.  i have been in denial.  i didn’t (don’t) want to work anywhere else but the beer shop, but as my husband has said, “that ship has sailed.”  saturday was my last official day.  it was filled with good friends, customers and some music.  i even stayed after my shift and had a beer and listened to the musician.

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i interviewed this last month for a job at a new taphouse opening up and at a local restaurant.  i like the thought of staying in the beer industry but i have some reservations.  on the other hand, i’ve never been a waitress but i would make more money at the restaurant.

i already said yes to the job at the taphouse and began training but today, the restaurant called to offer me the job.  i’ve been concerned that i won’t make enough in tips at the taphouse to make our food budget each month, so i just up and called the manager to get his thoughts.  he said that he thinks i should have no problem making my budget.  so, i need to take a leap.

i keep thinking of that scene in indiana jones and the last crusade where he has to take the “leap of faith” to get the holy grail.  i mean, this isn’t life or death for me.  it’s just a job, but i want to make sure my family is taken care of.

yeah, that is a little more dramatic than my situation, but i feel like i’m stepping out into the unknown here.  so, i’m gonna stick with the taphouse and here’s hoping that i can make ends meet.  i love pouring beer and i’m good at it, so at least there’s that.

cheers,

e

a “do-over” day…

do you ever have those days when you feel totally overwhelmed?  today is one of those for me.  long story short: i found out that my insurance never approved the claim for my hysterectomy surgery (that i had nearly 18 months ago) and the bills i’ve been painstakingly paying off each month were just for my dr. and not the hospital.  i had been told that i was being billed and paying on bills from both the hospital and my dr.  now, i am facing another $1000+ bill.  just when i was about to finally have my surgery paid off.

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i keep thinking that this shouldn’t be bothering me.  i am so blessed in my life.  i have a wonderful, sexy, hardworking husband who loves me and our boys to the moon and back; we have a home; the boys are healthy and smart.  but i am feeling the pinch of being laid off and having much less money in the bank account.  and, today, i feel like this new development is insurmountable.

however, i need to change my way of thinking.  there is nothing i can do about this but wait for the new bill and set up payments.  i’m still looking for a new job and i can concentrate on keeping my eyes and ears open for new opportunities.  i can make due and make the best of things.

life has definitely handed me enough lemons for some lemonade.  but, i think i’ll use them for a gin and tonic instead.

cheers,

e

pic is a cute little coaster from the wall sticker company on etsy

a comfort food frittata…

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after yesterday’s “debbie downer” post, i needed a pick-me-up and a little comfort food, so i got in the kitchen and started cooking.  i  love being in the kitchen and it is one of the ways i find a bit of solace if things are not going my way.

i needed a frittata.  or, as jack jack puts it, “a fluffy egg pie.”

 

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it’s a “kitchen sink” dish.  last night, i put one together with some of the spring vegetables i had in the fridge.  you can put anything into this.  my best friend often does potatoes and bacon.  i’ve used prosciutto, bacon, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant…you name it.

last night i used corn, asparagus, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes and mushrooms.

so, here is my comfort food frittata

ingredients

any veg you have on hand (see above what i used last night.)

6-8 eggs

1/4 cup milk or half and half

cheese of your choice.  last night i used goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste

herbs of choice.  i use mostly thyme and parsley or basil

directions

preheat oven to 400º and move one rack to the bottom of the oven and put another in the top 1/3 of the oven.

in a hot, oven-safe skillet (i use my cast iron skillet) with a good glug of olive oil or butter, sauté your vegetables until just tender.  while the veg is cooking, whisk together the eggs and milk.  i like to use the milk so it’s nice and fluffy.  pour the egg mix into the hot pan over the veg.  stir gently to mix the veg and egg and even everything out.  when it begins to set, you can place in some tomatoes if you like.  i arranged mine in a pattern on top, but you can just toss them on if you like.  it all tastes the same.

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once the frittata begins to set, place in the oven on the bottom rack and cook for 10 minutes.  then, move the frittata to the upper rack to finish baking. it should take another 5-10 minutes.  it will puff up, so check on it and insert a knife into the puff to deflate it.  it will shrink down when you remove it from the oven and it begins to cool.

once it begins to cool, you can toss on the cheese if you want some.  (i didn’t get a picture because i put it on our individual pieces after it was served.)

cut into wedges and serve with some sparkling wine.

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what do you cook when you feel down?

cheers,

e

 

a note on expectations…

i’ve been thinking a lot about expectations vs. the reality that happens.  i haven’t said this yet, but in less than two weeks, i am losing my job.  the job that i love more than any job i’ve ever had.  i am being laid off.

this has gotten me thinking about my expectations in certain situations and how to deal with the reality that is not lining up with what i expected.  right now, i’m struggling with this.

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i keep thinking that there is something wrong with me as an employee and that’s why i’m getting laid off.  but, in reality, i truly know that it is just because the shop is slow and my availability isn’t as flexible.  my head knows this but my heart still hurts.  part of me wants to lower my expectations in the future.  not care about my job(s) so much.  just go to work, do my job and come home.  leave it there.  don’t get attached or invested, but, i am the type of person who takes ownership of what i do.  i put myself into it.  i think this is one reason why i’m really good at what i do.  it comes across to the customers and others i work with.  and since i know this about myself, i know that no matter what, i can’t not care about my job(s).

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so i guess i’m just putting this out there because i really don’t have any answers.  i don’t have a solution.  i have no idea how to reconcile my desire to stay at work with the reality of getting laid off.  i wish there was a way for me to stay on at work.  but, we’ve already cut down my hours and pay.  the decision to lay me off is not 100%, but i just don’t know what is going to happen.  it’s really up in the air still.  in my mind, i’m preparing for the worst – not having a job.  timing is bad because all the college kids are coming back and snatching up the part-time jobs.  i’ve already applied for unemployment (please don’t judge) and i am speaking to a life coach.  she has been the most helpful already.  i have some ideas, but still not a clear path or direction.

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this whole thing makes me think about one more thing: i can’t help but feel that if more people in my community supported local businesses, i wouldn’t be in this mess. i hear over and over again how our competition is “just more conveniently located” even though “you have way better service and selection.”  so, am i being laid off for convenience sake?  that seems a poor excuse to me.  this isn’t L.A.  it hardly takes more than 20 minutes to drive almost anywhere in this town.

i see first-hand how people’s buying choices affect locally-owned businesses.  i’m losing the best job i’ve ever had because of it.

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i will bounce back but it is going to be a stressful summer.  we are not going to get to go on our planned vacations.  i have tickets to a “bucket list” concert (that i bought before this all happened) that i don’t think we can attend now.  and we are living with a much tighter budget; one that has no wiggle room, so god forbid something go wrong with a vehicle or someone gets sick or hurt.  i’m not blaming anyone for what is happening.  hey, shit happens.  but i do want people to think about their decisions and the fact that something as simple as deciding where to buy your beer can make the difference in whether someone keeps their job.

cheers,

e