December 2013 M T W T F S S « Jan 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
What is it about the ties that bind us that have the power to make us feel so good? My husband’s niece, her husband and their two adorable children are here visiting us from France for the week. My son has been in heaven. I haven’t seen him this “good in his skin” for months. There’s something about family that tells you deep inside you are loved for who you are, exactly as you are. At least we are lucky enough to have family like that. It’s all love, all support, all fun, all the time. I could adopt their nine month old daughter right now. The whole gang went to Legoland today and left me home with the baby girl. What an amazing day I had and it reminded me how far I’ve come since those in the trenches days of first babyhood, when your days and weeks consisted of rocking, singing, changing, bathing, feeding, burping, dressing, playing, reading, maybe taking a stoller walk to the park and back, or a Mommy & Me class. It was fun to imagine myself back in that mode. It was a very relaxing day…just the two of us. My job was keeping her happy and fed. Simple beauty, simple pleasures. And when I took her on an outing into the hood, she was the star at every stop. And people just look at you differently when you’re pushing a stroller…like “hey, that’s the next generation you’ve got there.” There’s something about a baby that just brings us hope…for the future, for the possibilities. Didn’t hurt that she is achingly beautiful! The women in the post office were doing backflips over her. It was fun pretending I was her Mom for the day. Then my big 11 year old came bounding in and everyone told me what an amazing tourguide he was today and how much fun they had. I’m amazed at his command of two languages, his poise, his kindness, and most of all his joie de vivre. I know he came like that, but I’m proud of whatever part I had in it. And so grateful for not only our amazing family who also helped shape him but also our tremendous extended chosen family of dear friends who form our local family as well. Mmmm, those ties that bind….I think they can tell us who we are. I’m so lucky that I like what I see.
Like most of the world, I have been riveted by the trickling out of information about the demise of public enemy number one this week. After visiting the International Spy Museum in DC with my son, the details of the operation are not surprising but nonetheless, breathtaking. I found the articles in TIME this week to be particularly fascinating. I don’t want to diminish the profound nature of this event and it’s meaning to all of us especially those who lost someone. However, on a lighter note, I did want to blog about something that just popped in my head. While watching a particularly hilarious segment on Jon Stewart, I was reminded of pre 9/11 flying. It’s crazy to think of our collective naivte just ten short years ago. Much in the same way our collective “innocence” was lost after Kennedy’s assasination, everything changed that September day. Jason Jones was joking about getting ready to get on a plane with his Big Gulp, his nail clippers, his big bottle of shampoo wearing his high, lace-up boots! Hysterical. Yep, our kids will never know what it is to board a plane like that! With all the traveling we’ve done lately, I have that little plastic baggie of liquids down to a science! Having an 11 year old harbor a second magic plastic baggie in his backpack of toys is a special bonus, right? “No, it’s not for your shampoo, it’s for Mama’s skincare products!” It just got me thinking about all those changes and what I was most wistful about… and, for me, it’s the cute, tropical terminal at Honolulu International. There was something that tugged at your heartstrings every time you arrived or left Hawaii. Upon arrival, a relative might meet you at the gate. You’re looking for them and you finally spot them, standing there with a lei or two, tanned and smiling, so happy to welcome you home. Or when leaving, noticing people with many leis around their necks, some leaving for college or a job or going back to their new home in the mainland….the aroma of plumerias and gardenias and pikake filling the air…the blue lights out on the runway, the balmy air….the wiki wiki buses that take you to baggage claim. I guess those days are gone. How about you? What do you miss?
I’m accepting the wordpress challenge to dare to discuss….BACON. I remember a physical trainer that I worked out with briefly way back when saying to me, “NO ONE should EVER really eat bacon.” And I gave it up. For a time. But ever so slowly….be it sprinkled on a spinach salad, or cooked into a delicious quiche or sugared and fried at a breakfast joint along with eggs and pancakes, it made it’s way back into my repertoire. A fellow drama geek friend of mine even wrote a song about it that has become a family favorite in my house. I don’t know how or when it happened, but I now enjoy bacon without guilt in all of the above ways. One of our favorite things to do with bacon is to make spaghetti carbonara; a simple, rustic Italian dish that I learned how to make when I lived in France. This recipe comes from the Italian grandmother of a dear, African friend. Enjoy!
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
Bacon (about 6 pieces)
1 egg yolk
Green peas (optional)
Cook your bacon until crispy, drain on paper towels.
Cook your spaghetti and drain in a colander
In a pot, melt your olive oil and butter, stir in the crème fraiche
Add in your spaghetti and coat it with the sauce using tongs
Remove from flame and add the egg yolk. Stir vigorously with a fork.
Add the bacon, a little pepper and freshly cooked peas. The bacon alone is the more classic version.
Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled as desired.
In the aftermath and on going tragedy in Japan, I’ve been thinking about the nature of giving and receiving every day and in times of need. These disasters and tragedies seem to keep coming and we may find ourselves thinking, how much more can we give? Maybe you gave heartily to Haiti and many of us may think “if I were well off I’d give or I’d give so much more all the time.” The truth is that money only makes us more who we already are. If you are a generous person who gives where and when you can, you will be even more so if you have more money. If you are generally someone who is fearful and tightfisted with your money, you will be even more so when you have money. I’ve heard that many times and I believe it to be true having seen it in my own life and borne out in the lives of others. For me, personally, I was born with a charity chip firmly embedded in my make-up. Starting at about eight years old, watching the Jerry Lewis telethon each year, I would sit my mother in front of a phone with tears streaming down my face and say, “look at that kid! Call right now!” I just kind of always knew that we were here to help each other along. I recently read a speech by Nelson Mandela where he said not only is it our task in life to care for one another but to care for ourselves. We must be careful in our decisions, careful in our relationships, careful in our statements. We must manage our lives carefully, in order to avoid becoming victims. Obviously, it’s not always easy, but I would venture to say that it’s most rewarding and revealing when it’s hard. It’s our pain in life that makes us strong and makes us connected to each other. This is never more tested than when it’s your turn to receive. There is nothing more humbling and spiritual than when you are just laid bare and need to reach out your hand. And I promise you, that time comes for all of us. A day when we are brought to our knees by death, divorce, illness, disaster, job loss, tragedy, depression….a day when our fellow man gives us their hand and pulls us up…..and both are saved. Many of us shy away from the pain, this kind of intensity of feeling…of giving and receiving. But again, like with so many things in life, in and through the pain comes beauty.
Why should we give until it hurts? Because it hurts so good.