Ten tiny food pleasures are ritualistic and delicious

Lemonade with sugared rim and mint; frozen blueberries; salted almonds.

I have been looking for small ways to treat myself this week, and it occurred to me that when it comes to food, what delights and soothes me has as much to do with ritual and association as it does flavor and sustenance. Here are some favorite tiny pleasures I think others might enjoy:

  • Frozen blueberries. I fill a little dish and eat them one by one. My fingers turn blue. When my grandmother was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, I made her homemade ginger ale and garnished her glass with blueberries I found in her freezer. According to a cookbook I bought when I learned she had cancer, the flavors are strong enough to be enjoyed by chemo patients whose taste buds have been damaged by the treatments. Continue reading

Country Music Marathon supporters: We couldn’t have run without you

Two thumbs up for all those who watched us run Saturday.

This is a thank you to the people who watched us run the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon Saturday.

Bill, when I saw you tuning up on Stage One, before the race even began, I was so happy I nearly jumped up there with you. Later, when I passed you, so full of adrenaline and sugar, I blew kisses at you and all your  band mates.

Jessica, I broke away from the pack and drifted intentionally toward the edge of the street because I knew you’d be at Water Stop One. I wanted to see you, even though I wasn’t ready for water. Continue reading

Advice from a marathon rookie

The starting line at last year's Country Music Marathon.

I run because the endorphins balance my mind and the time outside soothes my spirit. When I haven’t run in a while, I am more easily frustrated and restless. I don’t sleep as well at night, nor do I focus as easily during the day.

It’s ironic, then, that the week before my first big race, I’m not running much at all. I need sleep before a half marathon, right? I need focus. I don’t need crabbiness and frustration, nor do my friends and family! Continue reading

Windowsill flower arrangement

Pansies and columbine

Here is a sweet, simple way to arrange flowers if you don’t have a lot of space, or a lot of know-how. It’s also handy for those who don’t have a big cutting garden, or who (like me) would rather leave everything outside because that’s where you spend more of your time.

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Did Norman Rockwell ever live in Franklin?

A dear friend and I were drinking wine in my garden Sunday afternoon when we heard what sounded to her like Tyrannosaurus Rex snorting above us. I knew without looking what it was. Hot air balloons are not uncommon where I live, and within seconds three of them were hovering right over our house.

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The right moment, right on time

My daughter stumbled upon this robin as it was hatching.

Had we left an hour earlier, we wouldn’t have seen what we saw.

“There’s a bird’s nest in the tree, and there are eggs in the nest, and one of them is cracking open right now!” Lily yelled, running toward her aunt and me.

I looked at Catherine and raised a brow as if to say, “There’s probably a bit of fantasy at play here.”

But we were already jogging, so what the heck. We sprinted toward Lily’s find.

Sure enough, we were right in time to watch a robin being born.

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Last update: How to make housekeeping fun-ish

[I’ve updated this. For those who’ve read it already, jump to the bottom.]

This week was full of late work nights, childcare scrambles and a battle with a sinus infection. I tried hard to maintain a “life in full” strategy despite this, but there was only so much my sister-in-law’s neti pot was going to accomplish for me. I ate very little and slept even less. No running. No gardening. No cooking. No writing. Bah. And because we were out of town last weekend, we are way behind on laundry, housekeeping, mowing the grass and grocery shopping. Double bah.

What I need from this weekend might be impossible: Catch up on all my domestic chores in a way that feels relaxing and enjoyable. And do it quickly enough so that there’s still time for something that actually is relaxing and enjoyable. Basically: I want to make vacuuming and whatnot fun and fast. What follows is my strategy, which is full of holes I hope you’ll help me fill.

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