Sunday, June 22, 2014

Solstice Party Recap

We hosted a summer solstice party at our seasonal campsite yesterday. It was an item at our church auction last November, so I had a long time to pore over Pinterest and get ideas.A struggle with depression this spring combined with all those wonderful ideas left me overwhelmed.I finally pulled the menu together over the last couple of weeks, and since at the end of the evening someone suggested it was such a success we turn it into an annual event, I figured I'd better document what I made.

  • Garlic rosemary fingerling potatoes with Lemon garlic aioli
  • Beet, goat cheese and toasted pine nuts with basil vinaigrette, served in Belgian endive leaves (you have to scroll down quite a way, and I substituted toasted pine nuts because I don't care for walnuts)
  • Fruit skewers (watermelon, strawberry, red and green grapes, pineapple)
  • Caprese skewers (grape tomatoes, pearl mozzarella, sun gold cherry tomatoes, basil from my camper herb garden) with a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzle
  • Shrimp, red pepper, and pineapple skewers in a teriyaki marinade
  • Teriyaki tofu, red pepper and pineapple skewers, also in a teriyaki marinade
  • Veggies and dip
  • Chicken breast skewers with peanut satay sauce
  • Crackers with an incredible pepper relish made near our hometown in North Dakota

We pre-mixed Mojitos (plain and strawberry-rhubarb) in jelly jars so people could add the club soda right before drinking. Left some non-alcoholic so that people could enjoy that as well, and add the rum if they wanted to.

We served beer Rob brewed, Spring Grove soda, and lots of water.

Fun, fun night! I never took one picture, but it was lovely, and I was grateful to share the night with such a great group. I typically hate that night because it is the beginning of the dying of the light, but it was less painful surrounded by friends.

All in all, a resounding success.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Post from Aislinn: National Infertility Awareness Week

It is National Infertility Awareness Week, and I am hosting a guest blogger today. Aislinn from Baby Makin' and I got connected through my friend Lauren at Our Crazy Ever After. If you go to Lauren's blog there will be a linkup of all the guest posts she set up for this week. Thanks to Lauren for the idea, and to Aislinn for the guest post.

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, established in 1974, is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders. RESOLVE founded the National Infertility Awareness Week in 1989.
RESOLVE improves the lives of women and men living with infertility. 

One in eight U.S. couples of childbearing age is diagnosed with infertility. RESOLVE addresses this public health issue by providing community to these women and men, connecting them with others who can help, empowering them to find resolution and giving voice to their demands for access to all family building options.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Me time

It's no secret here that I am a girl who needs her alone time. March has not been so accommodating of that. 

I love that my boys are involved in extracurricular activities -- one in track, one in dance and singing, one in Model UN this year -- but it has me feeling more than a little stretched right now.

This month, with its Mayo Clinic visitors, a kid in driver's ed, and me at the center of a church service for today (which went off without a hitch), has been busy.

So busy that, aside from the new Cosmos, I haven't seen much TV -- even the news. So much that I still have not even downloaded the book group book. So much that I vowed to dye my hair on Thursday, and the box sits on my bathroom counter, as yet unused.

I am ready for some me time -- preferably with a book. We all choose how to spend our time, but with my job , the boys, church, friends and a wet basement, I have had few choices. It's, frankly, been a drag.

March has been cold -- today's high was supposed to be 62, but a stiff breeze and cloudy skies left it feeling colder. We are all frustrated. I am looking forward to a trip tomorrow, the first college visit. Just me and Garrett, in what I hope will be fun and eye-opening and inspiring for him, as I guess all parents hope when they embark on such trips. We 're not going south, but a change of scenery will do me good regardless of the temperature .

March. There's one day left of you, and somehow I have a vague, unsettled feeling that you'll get your licks in until the last possible minute. You have not been pleasant, and I will be glad to be rid of you.

I just hope that whatever you have up your sleeve is something I can handle.

April, come on in. Bring your showers, as long as temps are closer to 60 than 30. I'll take it -- and my camper (and a few good reads) are waiting.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mine field

March has been a mine field.

When my boys were small, we had several years (5 at least, maybe more) where March was nothing but one runny nose/cold/stomach flu after another. I would have sick kids, each bringing home a different illness, then sharing it with his siblings, so that we had a round-robin of disgusting symptoms coupled with fights over taking medicine and kids so clingy I couldn't go to the bathroom alone.

Fortunately, we are done with that phase, and things have been calm the last few Marches.

But this year. Oh my, when it hit, it hit hard. A friend's mom with a scary diagnosis and a decision to move in with said friend for access to docs here at the Clinic. Temporary. to be sure -- just a couple of months. But it throws things off to have a houseguest for weeks, especially if said guest is maybe not feeling well. Would any of them do it any other way? I think not. But that doesn't make the hard parts less hard.

In the midst of that, the loss of a beloved pet. Because, why not face mortality on 2 fronts, right? Tough days for that family, for sure.

Then, extended family members and the loss of another beloved pet.

Another friend is in a leadership position in an organization that is facing some challenges that are shaping up to be a battle. Unnecessary, unpleasant, and stressful for me on a different level because I am part of the organization.

Extended family in town for tests at Mayo.

Friends of friends here for the same reason, now extending their stay to 2 weeks or more, hoping for answers.

I am trying to be a good friend, to be supportive without being prying or intrusive, to accept whatever information people feel comfortable sharing. But I feel like I am standing in a mine field, and my friends are walking all around me, and every few seconds something else blows up.

And Sunday night, my own explosion. After a long and painful separation, difficult but necessary, I will have the opportunity to reconcile a relationship, exorcise some demons, and provide comfort (I hope) to someone I love.

This morning? A friend I have known for nearly 10 years online lost her dad.


Life is a mine field. We are all, I guess, dodging fireballs and hoping we can navigate our way through with as little damage to ourselves as possible while still providing support to those around us. I hope you and yours are well, if you're reading this, and if you're in a mine field of your own right now, take comfort that you're not alone, and remember Winston Churchill's words, "If you're walking through hell, keep going."

Monday, February 03, 2014

It's Beautiful

There was, apparently, a kerfuffle over a Coca-Cola commercial that aired during yesterday's Super Bowl. It shows people of different cultural and religious backgrounds and "America, The Beautiful" is sung in a number of languages; Hindi, Tagalog, Spanish, Hebrew, Senegalese-French, Arabic, Keres (spoken by the Pueblo people of New Mexico), Mandarin, and I may have missed one or two. Click the link and it will trigger a number of behind-the-scenes videos showing the recording of the song, too.

The metaphor for America that I have always loved is that of the tossed salad-- all mixed together with each culture maintaining its own unique flavor. This is what makes us strong. If you don't like this commercial, you are missing the point of this country. In the mix is also this longer video that shares the stories of the people who appear in the video. It's a powerful reminder that we really are far more alike than we are different, and that pretty much all of us want the same things for ourselves and our families.

In an America that is a tossed salad, I myself am a tossed salad, too. As a white woman I have noticed that often it is assumed I have no cultural identity other than "white." While my ancestry, as far as I know, is all European, I actually have ancestry from many areas: Holland, France, Ireland, Norway, and the UK. And, if you get really picky (which I do), I have ancestry from Wales, Great Britain, and Scotland, each a part of the UK with distinct culture, language and traditions. All of those cultures (to varying degrees) are part of my experience and my heritage; lumping them together and calling me "white" removes my own individual cultural identity. I am not whining, just making an observation; for me, understanding my friends of different backgrounds happens when I hear their stories and understand some of what makes them who they are. I think that is true of everyone, regardless of their race, religious or cultural background. It would seem Coca-Cola agrees with me on this point.

At any rate, acknowledging the linguistic, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of our great nation is wonderful. I guess there were some people who were unhappy with the song being sung in languages other than English. I, on the other hand, applaud Coca-Cola for showing the incredible beauty of this country AND its people. For lunch today, I'm having a salad -- and a Coke.