Wednesday, December 15, 2010

wow...i can cook! I admit it, I'm not a good cook. The phrase that often follows a statement like this usually goes something like "but not for a lack of trying". However, the apt phrase that should follow my statement is "I'm not a good cook, but it is for a lack of trying". Over the years I have not been one to enjoy cooking. It was a task that needed to be completed in order to have food, and food, well, its kinda an important part of life. When I was single cooking a whole meal just seemed a bit of a waste of time, seeing it would be eaten alone in a matter of minutes. With a family, yes, there is more of a social aspect to it. But, its still eaten in a matter of minutes. Why practice, why put the time into it when I could buy something cheaply, relatively healthily and have it done with little to no effort? I discovered the reason why the other day.

I was in the process of making dinner for my family, because that's what you need to do when you're home on maternity leave. There is no excuse for me not to cook. I looked around my kitchen to see what ingredients we had to make dinner. Spaghetti, check. Pasta sauce, check. Onions, check. And some garlic. My intention was to do a simple spaghetti, but to saute some onions and garlic to add to the sauce. As I started cooking I looked around the kitchen. Sitting on the table just behind me was a bowl full of fresh, plump, juicy red tomatoes. I started dicing those up, they were the perfect ripeness, just soft enough so some extra juice ran out of them and onto the cutting board. I tossed those into the pan. I looked at my canned spaghetti sauce, basil and mushroom. I looked in the spice cupboard and decided to add some basil to the onions, garlic and tomatoes. The kitchen smelled alive with the aroma of the sauteeing ingredients. I did a quick taste, good, but something was missing. I added some more olive oil and a dash of salt. The tomatoes softened more. Another taste. Some more basil and a hint of oregano. I looked in my cupboard again. Yes, tomato paste. I added two spoonfuls. Tasted it again. A bit thick. Some more olive oil. Another taste. Perfect. It truly was perfection. No recipe. No canned pasta sauce. All me. I trusted my instincts. The smell...tomato, a hint of garlic, some basil. The taste. Fresh and alive. The meal. Amazing. Complicated? No, simple, but simply amazing. My discovery: I can cook!

Monday, December 13, 2010


We live in a time of 'stuff'. Am I a part of this 'stuff' machine? Do I need to acquire things to be happy? What about the 'stuff' I have? Do I use it all? What am I teaching my children about 'stuff'? We live in a time of increasing materialism, increasing waste, increasing want mistaken for increasing need. I have been contemplating more and more about what it means to be happy, and what someone truly needs to be happy? More importantly, what I need and what my kids need to be happy?

I realize that I don't really need a lot to be happy. Time with family, time with friends, time with my children. I need to have books to read, I need to watch movies, I need to meet friends for coffee. I need to be able to take my kids to the park. I do need a computer and connection to information in the great wide web. But a simple computer is all I need. I need a nice glass of wine. A trip every couple of years would be nice. I would like to be able to buy clothes from local designers. I would like to support small business.

I need a morning coffee.

I need to better understand the importance of fresh flowers.

I need to spend less time in the house and more time with my family walking outside, enjoying nature, enjoying places. A smaller space would force this issue.

I don't need a big space. I don't need a lot of things. I don't need a lot of clothes. I don't want designer purses, I don't want nicknacks to fill my house and mind with clutter. I don't want to buy things that will rarely be used. Then why is my tiny house filled with lots of things that I don't use. Why does my 4 year old have lots of stuff she never uses. Why does she get it and I don't? Why don't I listen when she says we need to sell stuff in a yard sale? Why do I feel I need to buy her more and more 'stuff' for Christmas?

I need to get rid of stuff. Stuff is not good for the soul.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 4 year old ballerina

30 three and four years old at a ballet recital. There is nothing like it. Dancing in time? No. Completely graceful? Of course not. Self critical and self judging? No way. Enjoying the moment? Completely. Enjoying the dance and the music for what it is? 100%. Something to learn from? Everything to learn from.

Friday, December 3, 2010

the perfect 4 year old

Yes, another blog about being perfect, just the way you are. This perfection comes from my 4 year old, and reminds me that yes, I am a good mother. Yes, I know what's important. I am raising a confident girl who loves herself just the way she is.

My little girl wanted to share some of her morning snack with me. I thanked her and said I wasn't hungry, and that I was trying listen to my tummy. I told her my tummy knew I wasn't hungry. I said that the doctor had told me I was a bit too big and needed to exercise and eat less and lose weight to be healthy. She looked at me and said, "I don't need to lose weight, I'm perfect". I told her "You're right. You're perfect." I smiled, knowing I had taught her that.