That embarrassing moment when I saw the thing about me everybody (but me) probably already knew

As I wrote the highlights of my reading from 2016, every part of me wanted to defend my reading choices, explain what I learned. Particularly choices I thought may be controversial. As the word count for the draft scaled 1,500 words after book four of twelve, something had to give.

Nobody wants to read that. Not even me. Probably not even J, who likes to read everything I write (God bless him for his enthusiastic support! How I love that man and the way he loves me!).

The words my friend Lo gave me from Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” came rushing into my brain. I don’t have to be perfect. I can be quirky and strange, as I actually am. I don’t need to hang my head as though the books filling my sails with air and faith and hope last year needed to be explained. I am allowed to celebrate the books God used to mold me.

So I chopped and simplified the post, largely leaving the books unqualified and unexplained — minus two with disclaimers from the authors themselves. Perhaps it’s mysterious, perhaps not quite persuasive enough. Perhaps it leaves more questions than answers.

What matters most about that post is not the actual book list, but the vital lesson I learned about me as a writer. Continue reading

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Friday-Night-In Recipes

Friday night is typically date night at our house, but it’s usually date night in. We hunker down at home together.

We either make something fun together that involves more effort than we’d put in for a weeknight or some kind of appetizers that we’ll eat while watching something on the T.V. Friday night in typically involves either Italian, Mexican or appetizers. Here’s some that we love. Continue reading

Tasty Thursday: What’s For Dinner?

Let’s mix up the Tasty Thursday posts. Instead of only posting restaurants and coffee shops, I’ll also post photos (and commentary) of food J and I have been cooking with links to the original recipes; the links will be in the heading for each section. We eat at home 95% of the time these days out of budget considerations, so solely blogging about new restaurants and coffee shops is getting a little tricky.

We’re not Food Network competitive here, and photos are taken with my smart phone with the real lighting challenges of my house. They’re taken quickly because I want to eat my food and chat with my husband or guests rather than spend forever staging it and taking pictures. Priorities, folks.

In other words, things look like real life rather than studio perfect. But, then maybe you’ll get a realistic idea about what the food might actually look like. Continue reading

Life lessons from our shelter dog

Wally and wind

The Wind and the Wally

On a road trip back from Chicago in 2011, I turned to Jason and uttered some life changing words.

“I want a dog.”

We were driving. The comment came out of the blue. And J was a little flabbergasted. After all, we were CAT people, with two cuddly fur balls at home already. Continue reading

Hope is not wasted: learning to let go

Inwardly I “hmm”-ed when hearing stories about folks keeping the ashes of their pets in their home. Tucked under the bed. Stashed in a closet. Whatever. Continue reading

The sound of silence

Wally in the front seat

Silence has a sound: the thump-thump of my heartbeat as I strain to hear the jingle of tags on a collar or clicks of dog nails clattering along the hardwood floor. But, the noises don’t come.

I’m left alone with the sound of my heartbeat, and the Walnut won’t be causing mischief anymore. Continue reading