Thursday, December 6, 2018

Molasses Clove Cookie Recipe

This recipe was published by the Boston Globe in the Food section, date unknown, credit Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven. Ignore my personal edits!

Please note that a variation of this recipe was later published with a "corrected origin story" but the ingredient measurements were also modified.

**I am in no way connected or receive reimbursement/product/kickbacks/magic powers from any of the companies mentioned here. All products mentioned were purchased by me or by the fabulous chiquita who shared their pics, generally using standard shipping which I immediately regretted as it takes too flipping long.**

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

And on the eve of an election, a semicolon...

It's  four a.m. and I can't sleep. Like a new mother, I'm alerting to every sigh and whimper coming from the room of our daughters, now twelve and almost ten. I keep wandering in, covering them, kissing them or stroking back their hair.

In the next twenty-four hours our lives will change. By the following morning, my daughters will either be living in a nation honoring it's first female president or in a nation that chose to lead it a man whose history of objectifying women is fact and common knowledge. We are on the cusp of history in the making ... and I find it painful to leave their room.

A semicolon is a pause in the action, a breath taken in to continue speaking ... tonight I'm stuck in that semicolon, caught between The United States Before the Election of 2016 and The United States After the Election of 2016. I'm struggling to exhale.

This is not a peaceful pause. This place I, we, are stuck should be thrilling and heady for those who choose to vote for Hillary Clinton. Yet for some the alternative scares us so deeply to our cores that the exuberance and joy is tarnished by anxiety and pain. Women and men who have been violated in their past have had that dragged out of their psyches and broken open, not by choice but by a presidential election!

Many are struggling to stay positive, thankful for the chance to connect with others for support and solidarity (I'm looking at you, Pantsuit Nation, currently at 2.4 MILLION members). Many other voters are trying to build back up the boundaries ripped down by this election year.

 I'm both terrified and eager to let go of the Before and see what happens on the other side of this historical semicolon. We have weeks worth of news and debate footage, articles and analysis that could take months to pour over.  It's very rare in life that one gets a chance to record a Before and After that has taken hold of our nation the way this election has.

In the early hours before the polls open, I chose to record the part of this election that mattered most to me. My daughters may never understand why I took pictures of their soft, sleeping faces tonight but staring in the face of such a life-altering After, I realized I needed to record my Before. And somehow find a way to exhale.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Poor Maddie. Another loss.

Last summer Maddie adopted a pet slug, Sluggy. When Sluggy passed away (aka, The End of the World), Maddie adopted Fluffy.

Fluffy was a milkweed seed who came to live with us in a jar. Maddie said she loves him because "because he's a pet that can't die."

Guess what? After a year or so, milkweed seeds begin to fall apart and the seed separates from the fluff ... even if they are carefully kept safe in a jar.

That's right. Tonight Fluffy died.

So. Much. Sobbing. With the repeated phrase, "He wasn't supposed to DIE!"

I showed her Fluffy's seed and said we could plant it where we had found it. If it didn't grow into a new plant, it would nourish the others around it.  We went outside and blew Fluffy's fluff away into the wind. [Loud sobbing]

And that was our Sunday night, y'all. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Giving Thanks. 2015.


I talk quite a bit about goals in this blog. My daughters' school focuses on having GRIT and perseverance to meet your goals. My Jamberry Team Leader offers us training, leadership insights and encourages us to impress the importance of writing down your goals and making them real. But my first adult Goal Epiphany was thanks to Sensei Jimmy Pedro at Pedro's Judo Club in Wakefield, MA. You've read about this in the past here, but hear me out...

Three years ago, my then five year old was begging for martial arts classes. We had tried karate over a summer and something was missing. As my father (and I briefly) had trained  in judo, I knew the differences between the sports. By watching her on the karate mat I saw immediately that what she needed she would find in judo.

But there was a catch. A big, freakin, chronically-ill-mom-walking-with-a-cane catch...

Pedro's Judo is up thirty-two stairs. THIRTY TWO. Straight up, big warehouse style steps. Dang. We'd been to a children's party there that summer and I knew how precisely  how hard  it was for me to get up there and how lightheaded I was when it came time to drive home.

I sat in the small corner office with head instructor, Sensei Riley McIlwain and watched him do a mini teaching session with my little maniac. Oh man, she glowed. She was elated, ecstatic, like I've never seen over an activity. She was HAPPY.

And I felt fear. Deep, cold gut chilling momma-fear that I would let her down.

In that moment, before I ever heard a word about the importance of goal setting, something crystallized in my mind: I would get Maddie to this dojo twice a week, every week, for as long as she wants to train. Period.

In the years following I've had the honor of hearing Sensei Jimmy Pedro and later, Senseis Kayla Harrison and Travis Stevens speak multiple times on the power of goal setting, goal directed guided imagery and their direct impact on success. Tonight, about three years later, I listened as they spoke again.

The past three years have been rough physically - a few times I've sat in the parking lot after class with my head on the steering wheel, crying while I summoned the grit to drive home safely through a blur of fatigue and pain but other nights...

Other nights I open the windows and sing along with the radio at the top of my lungs as the tears pour down my face. I sing to give voice to the pain and anger, the power and grief and the huge, glorious, hard earned pride that stream from me as I make that short drive.

In three years, my daughters have never missed a single judo class because of my body. Twice, then three times, now four times a week, I stand at the bottom of those steps and take a deep breath. When I get up to the dojo, friends and acquaintances ask me how I'm doing and a select few there truly understand how much I mean when I say, "I made it up the steps; it's a good day."

I never knew what Pedro's would do for me, and it happened before my daughter or I ever stepped foot on the mat. For this and so much more, I am humbly, deeply grateful.

Doumo arigatou gozaimashita, Senseis Pedro and McIlwain. See you tomorrow.

Edited to add...
It dawned on me this morning that this goal has accomplished one more thing: through meeting my goal every week, every set of stairs, I model for my daughters an example of a strong, committed, powerful woman. And that's all I've ever wanted to achieve.

Original posts ...
9/20/12 A Goal Set is a Goal Met

11/22/2012 A Goal Set: Thanksgiving Update

11/27/2014 A Heart Full of Joy

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Heart Full of Joy

Some years are more challenging than others - no one will argue with that. Looking back, 2014 was a particularly rough year for my family and for many families dear to us. 

But! I am thankful that it was also an amazing year :) My daughters are enjoying happy, exciting years at school, both are surpassing challenging health issues and both had the amazing experience of medalling at the U.S. Judo Junior Open. Paul has found satisfaction at his new job . And thanks to the encouragement of friends and family, I found myself owning a new business.

If you've read my blog, you know how I've struggled with the invisibility, the isolation of chronic illness. I eventually lost the struggle with my body and had to retire from the judo mat, heartbroken and angry at my body for it's limitations. Until one is benched by injury, pain, illness or mobility issues, one doesn't realize how much self worth is gained from DOING, from simply being productive. This spring I took a leap and became an Independent Jamberry Consultant. I figured I'd have some fun selling a product I like, maybe contribute a little to my family coffers ... I never expected it to become so much more.

What began as a lark has become a source of pride, challenge, friendship and laughter ... just like that, my circle has widened. My favorite thing about this experience has been getting to share the excitement and challenges of my colleagues and team members. So far Jamberry has helped pay for two family vacations and a weekend away for my birthday. For someone who hasn't been part of financially contributing to the home in years, this made my heart swell with joy.

So this year I am thankful for the challenges we weathered together, our family and friends who stood by our side and my new Jamberry family that had help me find myself again.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe, healthy New Year!

Original posts ...
9/20/12 A Goal Set is a Goal Met

A Goal Set: Thanksgiving Update

Updated 6/23/2015 Giving Thanks. 2015.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Extreme Juggling


1) Thank you for telling me the truth about how you got hurt because I really didn't believe the first story.

2) You seem to get hurt jumping on the bed alot. May want to think about that.

3) If you are going to juggle, try something soft. And don't do it while jumping on the bed.

4) Also, if you are going to juggle, please only juggle things that belong to you.

5) Another tip ...  if you are going to juggle,  please choose something that is not GLASS. As opposed to my expensive glass jar of salve (which, thankfully for your head, didn't break). And also don't do it while jumping on the bed.

6) And finally my love, next time tell the truth from the beginning ... because very few people fall onto their bed and hit their head on a small glass jar of salve hard enough to make them cry.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

And now in iBook format! This is my mom. A story about living with Fibromyalgia

Audrey and Maddie reminded me today that I didn't share the book they helped me write about having a parent with fibromyalgia ... I hopped over to my publishing site and lo and behold, they now have an iBook option! I haven't been able to test this version yet but I'm so happy that my girls encouraged me to share this here.

The writing of this book was a healing process for me. As a person who developed fibro in childhood, I never expected my symptoms to change as dramatically as they did in my 30s. I had particular difficulty dealing with being limited on how I could play with my children, losing my spontaneity and swallowing my pride and buying a cane.

For someone with a knee injury or the like, a cane is no big deal. It's a tool, we use it and then we're healed. For a young mother with a chronic illness, however, a cane is more than just a cane. A cane is a neon light saying, Look at me ... something's wrong here! It's a cumbersome something in a hand that really should be holding a child's hand as you cross the street. A cane is YET another thing to forget places. For the chronically ill, a cane is a visual reminder that now you are weaker than you have ever been ... and yes, you may get better. But what if you don't.

As I fumbled with my canes I tried to continue to help out in my childrens' schools and I loved the questions they asked about it. I have such a strong passion for helping children understand Big Things in ways that aren't so big.

This book came about when my eldest was in first grade and simply couldn't understand why I looked fine when I wasn't. Audrey and Maddie needed more than Mom telling them about fibro. They needed a book.

So I wrote one. I wrote this book and tested it out on my children, edited it some and then tested it out on Audrey's first grade class ... who adored it. Years later, some of those kids still come up to me and hug me or smile when they see my cane.

My Maddie is now in first grade herself and interestingly enough has begun pulling out our copy of this and asking me to reread it.

I still have days where I loathe touching that awful stick - no matter how fancy and cool my canes are, they are and will always be cumbersome awkward devices that I forget places. This book reminds me that I took that pain and frustration and even humilation at being dependent on a cumbersome awkward device (that I forget places - which really isn't usually a big deal until you loose your favorite four hours away from home) ... I took all that and I turned it into a gift for my children. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty awesome thing to have a chance to do.