Little Victories, Volume 2: The sick days edition

IMG_2877I didn’t realize how much I valued my free time while the boys are at school until it was taken away unexpectedly. Brady has been home from school for three days with strep throat, and while I could have done stuff around the house at least, I was usually hovering around him like a satellite, tending to him, feeling his forehead, almost escaping orbit sometimes but pulled back when he whined or called for me.

This afternoon I looked down at my outfit: baggy sweatpants-shorts, an old shirt, slippers. The fabulous blowout I treated myself to on Tuesday morning is still slightly encrusted with the amoxicillin Brady shot all over me with the children’s medicine plunger when he was avoiding taking it. (Last night he threw up a combination of that, Gatorade, and water because he was so upset that the medicine tastes bad.) I forgot to brush my teeth today.

This is what it was like to have an infant. Number one rule: take care of yourself!

After a few phone calls with some girlfriends I felt a little better. We’ve all been through it. Hell, I’ve been through it – it’s just been a while. It’s not like I don’t have the kids home with me a lot, it’s just that I wasn’t planning on a three-day sickout this week. I’m a Libra. I like things to go down as I anticipate them.

So I’m taking this moment to pat myself on the back again because I need to balance out the feeling that the last three days have been a colossal waste of time.

This Week’s Little Victories:

Brady is getting better. I managed to get him to eat food and drink liquids.
I took a 30 minute walk last night.
I did buy some food. We have some food. I had $50 with me and the total was $48.25. Perfect.
Updated the budget and fixed the glitch on my computer.
Did two loads of laundry.
Read five chapters of my friend’s novel.
Watched far too many episodes of Spongebob, all in the name of “snuggling.”
Remembered my husband’s birthday.
Managed not to injure us both when I slammed the door in his face because he was about to walk in on me wrapping his present.

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Happy birthday, honey!

Book Review: Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear

now i see you coverMost of us know someone who lives life out loud, to the fullest, bright as yellow. They seem unfettered by fears. They walk past boundaries, flaunt the rules, and nothing bad ever happens to them because of it, as we are sure would happen to us if we stray just a little, or color even a tiny bit outside the lines.

In the opening chapters of Now I See You, a memoir by the writer Nicole C. Kear, she describes her younger self like this. But instead of being self-congratulatory, she comes across as endearing. Her early twenties flash by in a slideshow of adventure. European travel. Circus school. A cross-country move to Los Angeles. Pilot auditions.

She came into focus for me quickly. My high school friend M. was like this. She wore all black, sprayed her hair out to alarming size and spikiness, belted out songs, and strode with confidence down the dark streets of New Haven. I followed her into adventure, to the edges of my curfew, into new territories of my own boldness as a young woman. I know now, so many years later, that her fearlessness masked a normal human’s helping of pain and young adult angst. But back then, I saw her as brash, adventurous, and edgy. And I wished I could be like that.

Kear had her own very good reason for throwing caution to the wind and living a daring life, wearing miniskirts and bright lipstick and super high heels, and jumping into love affairs with gusto. At age 19 she learned that she was going blind.

Now I See You is Kear’s tale of how she embraced life and tried to cram it all in before she lost her sight. Rather than accepting her diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa as a death sentence, she took it as an invitation to say “Why not?” She lived more life in a few years than many do in decades. But there was one thing she wouldn’t, couldn’t rush, and that was becoming a mother.

The happy ending here (spoiler alert) is that even though her sight diminished rapidly as she got older (and with each pregnancy), Kear was able to see all three of her children. Her story is told with humor and wit, in a voice that makes you feel like you are already old friends.

The one thing Kear takes a long time getting past, at least in the arc of this book, is coming clean with people about her condition. Through much of the story, comedy ensues when Kear sets off to do seemingly mundane things, like meeting a girlfriend at a bar, without the ability to really see what she’s doing. And she won’t tell anyone she’s legally blind, so she pretends everything is normal and then winds up tripping over babies or stumbling through a nightclub in the dark.

I’ll give her a lot of slack here. We all have our weird things about ourselves, and Kear’s waning sight is certainly not a regular hang-up. I mean, I’m not interested in showing the world my bare belly ever again, but that’s not keeping me from functioning in public. But I never quite understood why, even after revealing her mostly-blindness to friends resulted in more friends who would help her, she was so reluctant to be open about it within her own community.

Now I See You is funny, sad, and moving, and makes you wonder if those larger-than-life people you know are really that free and easy, or are they so courageous because they’re racing against time?

Then again, aren’t we all?

Now I See You
Release date June 24, 2014
Hardcover, preorder price $16.23

Wordless Wednesday: Putting the “U” in Fabulous Since 1988

fall dance

Who can rock rhinestones and Pepsi like me?

My 25th high school reunion is coming up in a few weeks, and sadly, I won’t be able to fly back to CT for that. But here’s me raising a very old glass to you all, ladies. At graduation, I delivered a prayer that I wrote myself, in which I noted that the ripples we 100 young women would make would someday be huge. And they are. Excelsior, SHA class of 1989.


File Under Great Grilling Recipes: Hot Dogs For Everyone

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This #StartYourGrill shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

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Sometimes ideas for great grilling recipes come from things you just take for granted.

Kyle’s favorite food is a good old-fashioned hot dog. As he got older, after I brought home every different kind of hot dog you can imagine – pork, turkey, chicken, beef, veggie, and even uncured applewood smoked beef – he declared that “beef” is his favorite, and when he comes grocery shopping with me (which is a rare occurrence but it happens) he always asks me to buy Ball Park brand hot dogs.

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So we were both excited when I signed up to grill some of the new Park’s Finest™ Frankfurters from Ball Park®! But I can’t just eat a plain old hot dog anymore. I did when the kids were so little and time-consuming that I just ate what they ate. But now I do indeed make food more pleasing for myself, so I was happy to discover a hot dog that both the kids and the adults found tasty and satisfying, because I need easy dishes for my busy family. You can purchase them in Southern California at Vons.

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Park’s Finest™ Frankfurters come in four flavors but we opted for the plainest one because of our picky eaters. That was okay because the “savory seasonings” were mild enough for the kids but interesting enough for us. The kids ate them plain on a wheat bun, but I gave myself a creative challenge. To serve the hot dogs with more than just the same old ketchup and mustard, I whipped up something I like to call kale relish. We have six enormous kale plants growing in our garden – I need to use it whenever possible. It was an experiment with favorable results: there was nothing left over after my husband and I attacked it!

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Kale Relish

2 giant leaves of curly kale

1 small tomato

1/4 red onion

1/4 small carton of sliced white mushrooms

1/2 green or red bell pepper

Dice everything finely. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan, then add all vegetables, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until soft. The tomato’s juices really bind all the vegetables together. Spoon over hot dog (or mix into omelet or with ground turkey for a veggie/meat burger).

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Here are some grilling tips from Ball Park to make sure your hot dogs taste even better!

  • Spray it before you lay it: Before laying hot dogs on the grill, be sure to spray the grill with vegetable oil or cooking spray to ensure the food doesn’t stick to the grates as it’s cooked.

  • Don’t lose the juice: Use tongs rather than a fork to gently turn franks and handle as little as possible. Do not cut or pierce the hot dogs while they are grilling or those delicious juices may be lost.

  • Get the “smoky” flavor – If you prefer your hot dogs to have a smoky taste, keep the grill completely covered while cooking.

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A package of 8 Park’s Finest™ Frankfurters cost me $5.00 that day, but if you’re looking for ingredients for easy summer dishes, you can use this coupon for $0.55 off any ONE (1) Park’s Finest Product (runs 5/26/14 – 6/1/14).

backyard barbecue

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