Monday, June 22, 2015

Meatless Monday- Fire Up the Grill

Roses, not asparagus, but very pretty
Two words: Grilled Asparagus.

I had never had grilled asparagus before yesterday. Having it grilled changed the way I viewed this under appreciated vegetable. It was bright green and tender with out being mushy. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures, because it got eaten before I could take any. Nana brushed it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, wrapped it in foil and put it on the grill.

Fun in the water
Yesterday was father's day here in the States. First I lit a candle, in the Bumper's Dad's memory, at church, the we spent the rest of the day with the Bumper's godfather, who is a great dad in his own right, and his family. The Bumper played outside until dark, and the rest of us chatted either on the back porch or inside the house where it was cool. A quiet (not really because the Bumper was very loud) Sunday with family and friends.
Hope your weekend was as pleasant.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Meatless Monday- Too Hot to Cook

Summertime tends to lend itself to meatless eating. The weather gets hot and indoor cooking is best done outdoors on the grill. I hope to write and inspiring post about bountiful berries and fresh from the garden vegetables done up on the grill. This is not that post. It is too hot and humid. So for Meatless Monday I bring you: Salad. Yep, salad. Not just any salad though, Fast Food Salad. (Please cue dramatic horror theme of your choice).

When the family decides to bring home fast food, depending on where they go, it can be a disaster. Most of the time as a vegetarian the options are quite limited, and as a vegan they can be worse. I am thinking about the ubiquitous ice-berg lettuce salad with large wedges of tastesless tomatoes a few scraps of carrot, onion and covered in cheese (left off for the vegans). So the salad Nana brought home was quite a surprise. It featured mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes,  and edamame with a spicy vingarette that was alos vegan, all Nana had to do was ask for the chickedn to be left off! I was impressed and grateful. The landscape is not as bleak as it used to be.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hats, Socks and Down by the Riverside

Finished just in time!
A long way to go
Even though Summer has yet to start officially, we are in full holiday swing over here. The Bumper has had camp the past couple of weeks, which has allowed me to keep working on the novel and to finish up the baby hat I was making for a friends daughter in law, good thing too because the baby shower is this weekend and I just barely managed to pop it in a bag and send it with with my friend. It seems I have started something with the sock, once my sister saw the finished product; she asked for a pair of her own! I think I'll finish my pair first, but luckily for her I had a while back picked out the yarn I wanted to use if she ever asked me.
Into the woods
Down by the river
Around the bend

A couple of days ago Nana graciously offered to watch the Bumper and I went for a walk. I love walking and I love that I live where I can safely(for the most part) do so. As I went on this particular walk I made sure I stopped and looked at the beauty around me. The way I took some of my picture it looks like I live way out in the country. That is not so. I live in the city, not the city center, but not far from urbanized areas. I followed the trails that led through the woods and down by the river, and I thought about how the city I live in was once a major port, not as big as Baltimore, but having seen its fair share share of river traffic. On the day I took my walk the river stank. It was hot and humid, the river just sort of sat there stagnant and smelly. At one point I peered over the edge of the bridge to see if I could spot any fish. I did not see a single one. All of this made me sad, as pretty as the view was, I wanted it to be more than pretty; I wanted it to be alive.

Over the bridge
Environmentalism, and conservation are not buzz words to me, they are a part of how I live my life. My mother taught me the we should take care of the earth because it is one of God's gifts to us. I want the Bumper to grow up in a world with clean air and drinkable water. I want the woods to have wild animals in them; I want there to be forests period. When I walk I pick up trash that I see and put it in a trash can or recycle bin, I am teaching the Bumper to do the same. It may not make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but maybe it will.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring Walk

Way back in mid-April we had spat of good weather, and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. I was feeling a bit down that day, and I find taking a walk often gets me out of my negative head space. On that day I was in no particular hurry and I did not have anywhere pressing to be. Nana was watching the Bumpers, so I was free to meander as I pleased ( I really enjoy days like that because they are few and far between). As I walked along tree lined streets festooned in an array of blossoms, I couldn't help but feel very thankful.  Usually when I go for a walk I am in it for the exercise and hurry along hardly noticing my surroundings, but on that day I stopped frequently taking lots of pictures.

I took the time to explore, discovering along the way hidden trails in the park, geese nesting, front yards with white picket fences, a fire station with our country's flag flying in the brisk breeze.  There were times I just stopped, stood still and smiled. It took awhile, but I realized I felt happy. Such a small thing, but there it was.  Little by little and day by day I am recovering more of myself.

P.S. Still in a mad dash to finish the hat and booties.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Meatless Monday and Memorial Day

Sometimes it is nice not to feel like a freak when I am a vegetarian. Sometimes I just want to fit in, but in order to do that I usually have to bring my own meat analog- veggie burgers soy-dogs etc. Then I usually have to endure comments along the lines of how my "burgers" don't taste anything like meat and how on earth can I eat such things, and I could never be vegetarian/vegan etc. Well first of all I eat veggie patties not expecting them to taste like meat, in fact I prefer if they don't because I shudder to think about the chemicals used to get "meat" flavor, secondly there is so much more to to being vegetarian/vegan than fake burgers I hardly know where to begin. On the summertime grill the possibilities are endless-- grilled eggplant, squash, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pineapple just to name a few if a person is willing to think beyond hot-dogs and hamburgers. Most people are not willing to do so.

A few weeks ago I a brought a curried lentil dish to a potluck and the response was that people could not believe how tasty meatless cooking could be. I thought it was pretty much a one off or I was about to become the curried lentil lady, so imagine my surprise when I went to a cook out yesterday and the host kindly cooked a vegetarian dish just for me! I was shocked and pleased. For once I did not have to bring my own nor feel left out. My host made a vegan version of a Filipino Rice noodle dish that is usually made with fish sauce and includes chicken or pork. For me she used vegetable broth and tofu. It was delicious and it made me feel appreciated.

Speaking of appreciation today is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor military men and women who have died in service of their country. For them I paused and gave a moment of silence and thanks. I am also giving thanks for the non-combatants, missionaries, aid-workers, and volunteers who have died in service of God and their fellow human beings. I especially want to thank the volunteer doctors who gave their lives in the recent Ebola outbreak.


Friday, May 22, 2015


School is out, and I am busy. Busy keeping up with the Bumper, busy knitting my second sock, busy making a hat and booties for a friend's daughter's baby, busy writing two short stories and a novel. I have been so busy that blogging has slipped way down on my priority list. I find that I miss it. So here I am back again.
The Bumper is also busy. She is busy painting, dancing in the rain, playing, running in the mud and just being a kid.
Nana is busy putting in the garden, emptying her office of twenty years, and trying to adjust to being retired.
Busy is good. Busy keeps me from being bored or dwelling on unpleasant thoughts, busy also prevents silly arguments and fruitless battles of will, but busy can have its downside. I have been so busy I have neglected my prayer time, the time I spend reading the Bible and being in the Lord's presence. It occurs to me that I shouldn't be quite so busy that I forget Jesus.  Yet once entered into I find busyness takes on a life of its' own. This summer I want to find balance between busy and still. Between construction and contemplation. No small feat when caring for a little person who wakes up busy and doesn't stop until she goes to sleep.  This weekend will be spent in busyness with friends and family, but I a going to try and slip away and be still for just a little while.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Have a girl people told me when my late husband and I expressed our desire to start a family. Little girls are so sweet people said. Raising girls is so much easier Nana's friends said nodding their gray heads in wisdom. I have come to the conclusion that the people who say such things have either forgotten what is like raising small children or have never had children.

The Bumper is indeed a sweet, loving, sympathetic child, but easy? No. She is also quite independent, strong willed and loud. She loves to be out of doors, she loves running, jumping, climbing and swinging. At her school playground she can often be found playing with the boys because they like the same things she does. She learned how to jump from a swing when she was three years old. The Bumper still can't pump on a swing, but she sure can jump out of one! I am convinced I am not going to get out of her childhood without at least one trip to the emergency room for a broken something.

Right now her favorite activity is gardening with her Nana. Both Nana and I encourage this because we want her to know where her food comes from and gives her a positive outlet for her energy. The Bumper likes it because she gets to make "dirt angles" and to swim in the mud after she waters the plants.

A while back a Mennonite friend of mine gave me some of her little girl's outgrown and nearly worn out dresses. She was concerned because I was still dressing the Bumper in trousers and she was three, but after watching the Bumper play she understood-- the Bumper is hard on clothes and frilly dresses will not stand up to her level of activity. I was a bit confused, but she said "Trust me, you'll need these." Sure enough she was right. All of a sudden this year the Bumper is in love with dresses. She wants  to wear them almost all of the time, but she also wants to do all of the running, climbing and mud swimming she did before. The dresses have saved both our tempers and the washing machine. They are one step up from the rag pile, and meant to be played in the way the Bumper plays. She can twirl like a princess and still climb trees.

Easy? Nope! A contradiction? Yes. I wouldn't have it any other way.