Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

October 31, 2016

Unraveling

Ya'll... I questioned our move south ALL summer. Our city ranked in the top 5 in the nation for hottest summer. We had 90 plus days of 90 degree weather. It FINALLY cooled off last week, only to have the temperatures rise back into the 80s this week. We STILL have the AC on at night.

The other day, the Sailor wanted to braai some lamb chops we received from our farm CSA. I said we could do it later in the week. He looked at me earnestly and said the weather would be changing: he'd better do it that day. 

Seriously, folks. He acted like Snowmaggedon was coming to the South. The weather did drop, it got windy, but it wasn't that bad. 

But, it did at least turn the leaves their glorious colors.  


Even though we went to a local farm and it was blazing hot out, the Peanut still looked super cute trying to find a pumpkin


I do love a good seasonal change (even though it heated right back up!) It makes me want to purge closets, sort craft supplies and start cooking new meals, in between our days spent at the park, the zoo and the aquarium.

I'm also sorting digital data. I mentioned in my last post that Walter, my beloved iMac of six years, finally packed up (RIP). The Sailor managed to get the hard drive out of him, and I've been sorting through the innumerable photos I had stored on the computer. I had a TON. I was heavily into the camera club, photo shows, and a new iPhone, not to mention a vintage craze, and I had an insane amount of pictures taking up space. So, this past week, I've been sorting, shuffling and deleting. (Seriously, why do I have sooo many photos of Pyrex bowls I no longer even own?!

I also decided to get a few cool weather items out of the closet, when I found this scarf I'd made, full of holes. 

Moth holes. (Insert shriek of horror.)

I was not impressed. I'm quite tidy and the thought of having moths in our closet freaked me out. (Not unlike the mold fiasco of a few years ago, in our tiny and fairly grotty, PA apartment.) I am meticulous about keeping my wool yarn and other goodies storied in plastic and away from moth potential. I guess I'd forgotten about this beaded scarf. In fact, I took it out and wondered if I shouldn't just give it away, because I never wore it. 

The holes answered the question for me.

It seems to be a theme here... nearly everything I've knitted over the past few years, I've unraveled. Apart from the toys and sweaters I've made for the Peanut, I've ripped apart countless sweaters and things that I made for myself. And then I stare at that pile of spaghetti yarn and wonder if it was all worth it.

Sometimes my life feels a bit the same. I often seem to be unraveling something for one reason or another. Sometimes stuff I wanted to accomplish goes by the wayside. The Sailor could return to work any day, without much notice, giving us occasional grief with planning anything. My attempt to create deep friendships here has so far failed miserably. The slipper business I hoped to start by the end of the year has taken a backseat for the moment. 

In the meantime, I need to make my mom a new pair, because her slippers are nearly four years old, and have been well-loved. (Sidenote: until the moth issue is under control, I'm freaking out about having ANY wool laying around, plastic bags or not.)

So instead of knitting much these days, I'm working on this cross stitch monstrosity I started last year in Singapore. I decided I needed a little break from yarn projects, and I want to finish this before the Peanut turns 16.


I've been thinking a lot about how seasons change — not only with the weather, but in life. When I started this blog, I was crafting and taking photos like crazy. I was part of a knitting guild and a camera club. I had time to thrift and hunt for vintage treasures, and I spent long days at coffee shops planning projects. My giant archive of photos is a testament to the copious cups of coffee I drank, the Pyrex I collected and the crafts I created. 


Obviously, when the Peanut came along, so much changed. Pyrex got purged (although I still have a serious stash of it that I use daily!) Half of the craft closet went to a thrift store (simplify, simplify, simplify!) and lots of to do projects went by the wayside. Now we spend our days taking walks, throwing balls, watching the animals at the zoo, and trying to say, 'fish' at the aquarium, before I collapse into a heap on the sofa post-Peanut bedtime.

One thing though picked up. I'm writing a LOT more, which let's face it, is all I've ever really wanted to do some days and it's the real reason why I started this blog in the first place to give me a platform to write. 

I may not be writing here that regularly, but I'm still writing. If you want to know more about the Peanut's birth and how I knew nothing about c-sections and then had one, you can go here

Birth stories aren't for everyone though; loves stories are a different tale altogether. For a more detailed version of how the Sailor and I met, you can read that here

And, November 1st heralds the starts of the 2016 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Last year I participated and managed to eek out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I'm going to attempt to do the same this year, even though I seem busier, the Peanut seems needier, and I'll be traveling for half of the month of November. 

Wish me luck, and I'll plan to see you again in December! Hopefully nothing will come unraveled in the meantime. 

May 4, 2016

The End of a Chapter

Ever since I took my summer break, it's been obvious that I've struggled to post regularly on here. I've barely created even one post a month since then. (Let's face it, I completely missed the months of January and April.

The past half a year's worth of blogging have been fraught with apologies for not posting often enough. I used a lot of different excuses.
 
Last October, I realized I had been writing Typing Sunflowers for three years. I started it at a time in my life when so many things were uncertain — where we would live, what trips the Sailor and I would take, whether my brother would ever get better, if children would be in our future.

The blog helped me get through a lot of those uncertainties by giving me something to focus on without any pressure. Nobody was paying me to do a job; the only deadlines I imposed were my own. 

Some people see their life as a movie. I've always seen my own life as a book. A very large book, with multiple chapters, lots of plot-lines, a myriad of characters, conflicts and resolutions and of course numerous travels and places along the way

This blog has seen a lot of chapters in my life. A move across the country, several overseas trips, including a cruise, a few trips to South Africa, and even Singapore, the death of my brother, the arrival of the Peanut, getting published in Artful Blogging magazine, my former editor and mentor passing away, another move, and a whole lot of crafting stuff in between. 

Many things in my life have cycled in stages of three years. The blog is now only a few weeks shy of exactly three and a half years. In retrospect, I should have maybe written this post on Typing Sunflower's third anniversary back in October. Then again, perhaps I needed a few months to gain perspective.

After my break, I realized something. This blog has changed over the years. I've changed.  

I love having a virtual record of the past few years. Unlike my chicken scratch handwriting in the journals that I keep nowadays, I can look through my past blog posts and actually read my writing.

I think though, perhaps it's time for this particular chapter to come to a close. I have been feeling this for some time, but I held on, thinking that I could just keep posting photos and projects. But the reality is, for whatever reason that I'm not yet clear on, I think it's time to simply let it go. (I'm probably the only person on the planet who has yet to see Frozen, but I do know that 'let it go' is a great life theme.)  

My life 'book' isn't finished yet, and there are still lots of chapters to be lived. In the meantime, I will continue to write and create abundantly. Typing Sunflowers may or may not be resurrected in some form along the way. And I'm okay with that uncertainty, but I thought you all should know, in case you wondered where I went.

I won't be deleting this blog like I have previous ones, so feel free to continue to peruse the archives or get in touch with me via the contact tab above. Lastly, a massive thank you to those of you who have been faithful readers, followers and champions of this blog, whether you've been here since the start, or you only stumbled upon Typing Sunflowers recently. I have loved sharing a small glimpse of my life with you. I hope in some small way I've inspired you all to dream big and create your own meaningful life.

February 15, 2016

Airmail

I've said before and I'll say it again, I love snail mail. As a kid I always enjoyed the long walk to the mailbox, hoping for a letter from one of my pen pals. I still get excited to get a real letter in the mail (although these days it's far and few between). It's also the reason I still mail out real Christmas cards. It's now hilarious to me to see the Peanut get super excited when I tell him we're going to get the mail.

Over the weekend, I worked on my Project Life album. I'm way behind, but it was super fun to see how much the Peanut has grown in the past 18 months, and also to see all of the adventures the Sailor and I had over the past year and a half. I took a LOT of photos. I'm sure I wouldn't have nearly as many without having a camera on my phone. 

In fact, it's hard to imagine life these days without modern technology, right? 

While working on the Project Life pages, I came across a pile of letters and postcards I remember purchasing at a flea market a few years ago. I liked the look of the airmail envelopes and I had something crafty in mind when I bought them. I don't remember what, now, but I do remember leaning over that particular table, rifling through the letters and and picking out the ones I wanted. I probably wanted to use the stamps for something. 




Last night, while the Peanut got into every plastic bin I had scattered on the floor, I found the letters and began to read them. 


 

Once I started, I couldn't put them down. I was astounded. 

I'm sure the set is incomplete, but from the few letters I have, I gathered that a couple set off on a trip overseas — one of their letters mentioned 15 countries in all. They were writing to their daughter in the summer of 1955. I just assumed she was older, maybe in college. But the more I read, the more I found out. She must have been a wee toddler — not even in school yet. It seemed like she was staying with her grandparents for the summer while her parents (who often signed off as Daddy and Mamma) were gallivanting the globe for a few weeks to Europe and the Middle East. A few of the letters mentioned that they hadn't yet heard from their daughter and they were pleading for the grandparents to write when the couple arrived in London, where they could receive post. One letter even said, 'Ask Grandpa to get an airmail stamp from the post office.' 


I felt a little like I was invading someone's privacy, but I kept reading. 

Eventually, I found the letter that Grandpa had written and mailed to London, in care of a travel agent and addressed to a 'Reverend'. I can only guess that the couple was perhaps on a mission or pilgrimage of some sort. Grandpa said he hadn't written yet because his eye glasses broke in the meantime. In addition, he didn't have enough ink in his pen and needed to get more. He also mentioned that the little girl couldn't wait to have the letters read to her when they arrived. 





I realize that I grew up in an era without cell phones, without Facebook and without so much technology. The Internet only really came about when I went to college. I remember going off to Africa as a 20-something and not talking on the phone to my mom for five months. I did however, at least email her. 

And I have never lacked for a pen. 

There's something incredible though about thinking about this couple, who only wrote snail mail letters home to their daughter. And even though they were airmail, I'd imagine the post wasn't as fast as it is today. 

If the little girl was still alive, she'd be in her 60s. I'm guessing though, that the people mentioned in the letter are all deceased. It's probably how the letters ended up in a flea market basket at a bargain price. Someone probably had an estate sale, and they ended up getting shuffled around until I eventually found them. 

I had a huge clear out of my letters recently (read Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' for tips on purging!) But there are a number that I still kept, letters my mom wrote me through the years, all of my written correspondence from the Sailor, and letters from my traveling 'sisters' from our years scattered around the globe. 

Some days I wonder if someone will end up reading through my own letters, trying to piece together a piece of the past. I find it hard to believe that people will really remember the little snippets of technology that we engage in day to day and minute by minute. After all, so many things like Facebook status updates, Instagram pics, and tweets are all so temporary. Even though nothing is really ever 'gone' from the Internet, are people really going to remember that we posted something about the weather? 

It's funny how a written letter changes that perspective. The Reverend wrote about the weather in his letters, and the Grandpa wrote in return about their weather (apparently 1955 had the hottest summer on record in Maryland). Some things, like talking about the weather, never change. But those letters have at least endured.

Maybe that's why I'm still into snail mail. It's like leaving a little glimpse of another life, for another generation.

December 13, 2015

'Tis the Season...

While I haven't posted on here in a month (!) I can assure you, I haven't forgotten about the blog. But after the hectic month of November, and writing an entire novel, I promised myself a few weeks of calm in December. 

My fingers also cramped up at the thought of hitting the keyboard again after NaNoWriMo

Years ago, when I worked onboard a Mercy Ship off the coast of West Africa, crew members got off an entire week for Christmas break. Now, of course, we didn't all have off 24/7, as the ship still needed to function. So we took turns helping out in reception, or the galley (the kitchen) or even gangway watch. But it was still a more relaxed pace than the usual frantic Decembers we often think about with the holidays. 

I still like to have a calm December, so I try not to go crazy (ie, I avoid the mall). Around the apartment, I've decorated with a few white twinkle lights, a tiny tree, some Christmas music, gingerbread cookies and a few minutes of knitting when the Peanut finally goes to sleep, or sits quietly 'reading' all of his books. 

That's my kind of holiday.

In between writing 50,000 words, I did a knitting and crochet photo-a-day challenge on Instagram in November, which helped me at least keep up the visual creativity. My camera is still kaput, but I have a plan to get it fixed in the next month.

In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the past month via my phone: 

Amazing weather when it's not raining: totally conducive to playing on the porch and knitting outside. 








Chickens! This kid is totally into chickens at the moment. And I'm loving Susan B. Anderson's Spud and Chloƫ at the Farm book. Let's face it, I love all of her designs and I have almost most of her books. Super cute kid stuff and I'm excited that the Peanut has so much fun playing with the things I've made for him.

This pattern is the Mother Hen and Chicks. Every night the Peanut and I put the chicks to sleep, and then in the morning, he finds them under the Mother Hen. (The little bluebird is also one of Susan's patterns: Egg to Bluebird. I told you I love her stuff.)



More chickens! I also found this cute crochet pattern on Ravelry for a chicken and egg coaster set, and I sent it to a good friend who has her own flock of birds. 




Sunrise/Sunset: Shorter days mean less daylight, but I have still been working on this sunrise sunset blanket, one square at a time. I finally finished it and it's en route to a friend now for her birthday. 




Cardigans: It is December after all, so a cardigan is occasionally in order. The Peanut can now wear this, which makes me thrilled and a little sad all at the same time. I remember finishing this over a year ago, wondering when the Peanut would be able to fit into it and he's already rapidly outgrowing it. 

I'm going to need to knit him some new cardigans soon, which is an excellent excuse to go yarn shopping. The Peanut is a wonderful helper in the shopping cart... he loves to hold the yarn and basically anything else I'm trying to purchase.


Christmas cards: Apparently some of my Christmas cards didn't make it to their destination until FEBRUARY of last year. I'm on the ball this year (well, at least more than last year!) and I've been working on getting my cards in the mail. Our family photo, however, is still goofy. I'm using the broken camera as an excuse. One of these days we'll either invest in a professional photographer or a selfie stick. Recipients, enjoy the laugh when you see how hilarious our 'selfies' are. 

Finally, I managed to 'win' NaNoWriMo

(Now, for you novel novices, that simply means I made it to the 50,000 word count within the month of November.)

The novel itself needs a TON of work, but I mainly did it to simply challenge myself creatively for the month of November and to get out of my writing rut. 

The whole experience was far more fun than I thought it would be! I got a mini thrill watching my word count increase throughout the month and I felt like I had an entire virtual team cheering me on. 

I have been writing non-fiction for so long, that it truly was freeing and fabulous to simply make stuff up and write it down. I'm thinking that I should keep writing fiction for fun. 

I hope I can write a bit more on here before Christmas. With the energy level of the Peanut these days, it might not happen (although he has miraculously been napping the entire time I've worked on this post!) 

Just in case I don't get around to posting more this month though, for more non-fiction holiday writing, see 2013's Christmas post here, and 2014, here


Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, wherever and however you celebrate! 

October 30, 2015

A Novel Idea

I'm happy to report that things have improved since my last post. The blender is still kicking... our finances got put back in order, and although my camera still needs to be repaired, I think it might be a sign that I need to focus more on writing and less on taking photos. 

A decade ago (Really? Ten whole years ago?!) I stopped whatever I was doing at the time and gave myself permission to complete a three month photography course in South Africa. I learned a lot, both about photography and myself, and it gave me three busy yet full months to focus on visual creativity. In the past, I had always taken photos for an organization and had to work around their parameters. During the photography course, I was able to take photos for myself — a welcome change. 

I also discovered that I could never be a full-time photographer. I realized I needed to write as well, no matter what I ended up doing. As much as the photography projects filled me up creatively... something was still missing. 

I needed to write. I still do. 

When we moved south a few years ago, I was able to nab mostly freelance photography jobs. I also acquired a number of proofreading jobs, of which I am more than competent, but I still prefer to write rather than edit.

For whatever reason, the few writing jobs I pursued never came to fruition. Then the Peanut came along and I barely seemed to have time to breathe, let alone write. 

I still feel like that some days, but as he gains his own little independence, I find a few quiet moments here and there during the day to myself. 

Writers write... so they say, and it seems I haven't been doing enough of it lately. I have a dormant book about my travels to Ukraine on my laptop at the moment. So much of it is done — yet I'm not happy about the ending. Something is still missing and I feel like I need to return to the country to get the book done. 

For a while, it seemed like multiple obstacles blocked my path. The year I had a trip planned, I didn't feel peace about going. It wasn't the right time, I told myself, and instead I spent the summer in Latvia and Scotland. Then, my brother got sick and I cancelled my trip to Ukraine two summers later. Then a war erupted there... and then I had the Peanut. (And while I am all for traveling with babies, heading over to Ukraine soon after the Peanut was born probably wouldn't have been the wisest choice.) Soon after, my former boss and editor died. He was one of the few people championing my writing at the time, and even though he told me candidly, after reading a few chapters, what needed work, I felt like I had someone in the ring with me. 

I will still finish the book. But in the meantime, I need to let go of the details of it that I keep getting bogged down in, and I need to write something fresh and fun and maybe just for me. So I'm signing up for NaNoWriMo.

During the month of November, I'm going to write a 50,000 word novel. The last time I wrote anything of fiction, I was in high school. The last time I made such a rash decision, I was in college. I decided to ride in a 150 mile MS Bike-A-Thon from Texas to Oklahoma only two days before the event. I spent the day before asking everyone in the cafeteria for $1 so I could come up with the entrance fee. I spent the entire ride wishing I had better biker shorts. And I spent the week after, recovering. 

This novel might be a masterpiece. It might be awful. But, like that bike ride, I'm going to do it, regardless. Because sometimes, we all need a proverbial kick in the pants to remind ourselves of what we're capable of. I know I'm perfectly capable of finishing and eventually publishing that book about Ukraine. 

But first, I have a novel to start on November 1st. 

December 5, 2014

Journal Block?

Last week on Thanksgiving (was that really over a week ago?!) I mentioned my 50 plus journals and how every year I write out what I'm thankful for.

Suffice it to say, with guests visiting, the Sailor arriving home, and the four-month-old Peanut's neediness, I haven't gotten around to writing that list yet, although I've been mulling it around in my head. 

Actually, I've really been mulling around the reasons why it's taking me so long to finish this particular journal.

I bought this current journal in Abu Dhabi in April of 2012. It's a pocket-sized book in a bright turquoise blue — a reminder of the fabulous pedicure I had in the country. My hands look like I spend my days washing dishes without gloves, but if it's sandal weather, I tend to make sure my toenails are actually polished. Turquoise was the color I chose for the remainder of that trip.

Pick any journal off of my shelf and I'll be able to tell you what country I was in and what was going on in my life simply by looking at the book itself. I may not be able to remember the Sailor's mobile phone number, but I can remember where I was while writing the story of my life. Friends who know me well have gifted me gorgeous leather-bound and handmade paper journals from far-flung places around the globe. At the moment I have several from Egypt begging to be filled. 

I picked the small turquoise journal in Abu Dhabi because I envisioned taking it further afield to other international trips to Scotland and Ukraine that summer. Smaller size equals easier transport. Instead, I started the journal on July 4th and due to extenuating family circumstances, didn't get on a plane to anywhere until much later in the year.

Over two years later, this journal still has a few blank pages in it. It's been to South Africa and the Caribbean, plus several States on a 3000-mile road trip, and yet I still can't seem to finish it. I used to complete a pocket-sized journal on a two week trip to Eastern Europe. And yet, despite the crazy few years I've had and the life-changing events along the way, I haven't been able to finish this journal. 

I blame technology to some extent. My iPhone now goes everywhere with me instead of my journal. I type out notes with my finger instead of my pen, and I make lists and calendar entries by clicking open apps. 

I blame this blog a bit, because let's face it, I've written pretty regularly on here for two years now, and it's much faster for me to type than to write anything. Plus it's getting increasingly difficult to reread my handwriting. Not because my eyesight is going, but because my writing is getting sloppier. 

I blame the book that has been stagnating on my computer for years while I try to figure out when I'm ever going to return to Ukraine to write its conclusion. I spent the summer of 2012 partly rereading many of those old journals, while typing out my story of summers past. Clearly I neglected the current journal in the process.
 
On the other hand (and new baby aside...) it's time to stop blaming other stuff. I think I've just been a little lazy. I often tell other people to write out their thoughts when they are going through life transitions, and yet here I am, trying to muster up the energy to finish writing out the birth story of the Peanut before I forget every little detail, and I only have three pages left to fill. THREE! 

This is the journal that saw the death of my older brother, a special reunion with life-long friends, a major move across the country, pregnancy and a new baby, plus the death of my lifetime mentor — all HUGE events that warrant handwritten thoughts and memories, and yet many of them barely got so much as a scribble of acknowledgement.

It's one thing to type out part of my story, it's quite another to write it out. While I'm thankful my mother made me take typing in school (back in the days when it wasn't even required!) I'm far more grateful that she bought me my first ever journal, giving me a place to store my secrets. (I shared more of that story in an article in the Winter 2014 edition of Artful Blogging.)

Part of me knows that once I start a new journal, the words will come easier. Sometimes a blank slate is all you need. More than once, I've filled up journals from the back as well as the front. The back holds the lists of books I've read since I started that journal (48 in the current journal that I remembered to write down... there could be more.) There are also cinema ticket stubs (at least 18 — some may have fallen out along the way), as well as packing lists, to do lists, and words of wisdom printed on tea bags such as 'grace brings contentment'. 

This particular journal seems to have more stuff scribbled and pasted into the back than usual — like I have been desperately trying to finish this book without having to write anything of substance in it.

I haven't traveled anywhere of late, but the journal does seem to move from room to room with me, willing me to finally finish it. 

It's sitting here next to me on the desk. I definitely don't want to stretch this writing rut into 2015. So, if you'll excuse me, I think while the Peanut is miraculously still sleeping (on his own!), I may just have to finish my story, and this particular journal. 

After all, a new story and a new journal awaits.

April 28, 2014

Happy Handwriting

The Sailor has been joking with me lately about the mail. Whenever he's home, he tends to walk to the boxes and pick up the post. Usually by late afternoon I've asked him if he got the mail already. If he didn't, I volunteer to go. Last week he joked with me that I couldn't even wait one day to see what we got in the mail.



It's not that we get that much interesting stuff -- or even bills (hooray for online payments!) We do get the occasional card from friends and family, a magazine we've subscribed to, or something we ordered online. It's just that ever since I was a child, I've looked forward to getting the mail. 

Like many children of my generation I had a pen-pal -- several in fact. Daily, I anxiously awaited a letter from one of them. I always associated Sundays with that day to not bother looking in the mailbox. Sundays always disappointed me a little. 

Later, my forays to get the mail turned into awaiting letters from friends I made at summer camp, or cards and packages from home when I was at college. 

Overseas, I anticipated letters from family and friends and I got a thrill going to foreign post offices to mail cards with greetings in other languages. 

Recently, I noted that I only had a few stamps left. I realized my most recent book of stamps had lasted me way too long. I also realized that I couldn't recognize all of my friends' handwriting if I tried. It used to be that I could look at the address on a card and know exactly who mailed it to me without peeking at the return label. (There are still some friends for whom this is true!) Nowadays though, I have people in my life I've only ever texted or emailed. 

I have no idea what their handwriting looks like. 

Last week I put my stash of greeting cards nearer to the working part of my desk and I shopped for a bunch of new ones. I'm determined to bring back snail mail in my life. And even if I don't know my friends' handwriting, they could at least be somewhat familiar with mine.

Because you know, if I'm this excited about getting handwritten letters and cards in the mail -- maybe other people are too. 

But first, I need to buy some more stamps. 
 

March 28, 2014

Life: Expecting

Today, after cleaning the apartment and making lunch, I said to the Sailor that I didn't know what to blog about. Oh, I have a slew of DIY and craft ideas scribbled in a notebook, but none of them seemed appropriate today. He shrugged and said, 'Blog about life.' 

I moaned back, 'I do blog about life...'

He rattled through the list of things I blog about, cooking, crafting... and said I needed to add a bit more about life in there. (This, from the man that I wasn't even sure knew what I wrote on here.)

The Sailor was onto something. 

I have always been able to express myself better through writing than any other method of communication. I can pour out my soul in journals and with stories in ways that I've never been able to share verbally with friends or even family. It's funny to me that although I have included some of my life on this blog, there is still so much that I've left out, often intentionally.

I am a particularly private person. I may know a ton of people and have a bunch of friends on Facebook, but very few know the ins and outs of my life. I tend to not air my proverbial laundry (whether dirty or clean) in public. 

I have enjoyed writing about bits of my life on Typing Sunflowers -- even if it's all about cooking, crafts and crochet. But there's a lot more going on at the moment, an event that I can no longer hide -- at least if you met me in person. It's quite evident by my growing belly, and it's not just because I have a weakness for Five Guys cheeseburgers. 


I'm expecting.

My initial reaction to the news of this event, was to simply ask the Sailor just how much we trusted a $1 pregnancy test made in China. And then I panicked a little. A baby?! 

Over Thanksgiving, I briefly visited a friend and her four-month-old baby. I held the wee one for a few minutes and when he started squirming and cringing like he was about to cry, I promptly handed him back to his mother. I told her I didn't know what to do with babies. I actually heard a gasp from across the room -- and another friend looked at me quite incredulously, then proceeded to tell me how much she loved babies.

I never said I didn't like babies. But I've never been a 'baby person'. You know the type -- the ones who swarm around a newborn and beg to hold it, wanting to know every little detail about the child's eating and sleeping habits. The ones who dream of being pregnant and having children and feel like life will never be complete without them. 

That was never me. 

The Sailor and I have always loved our life together -- just the two of us. Not even a year ago, down on the farm, a dear friend asked me flat out my position on having kids. Not many friends could ask me that and get an answer out of me, but she could. I'm still not sure what I actually said, but I know I hesitated long enough for the other gals there to chime in and let it be known that perhaps I wasn't ready to have a baby.  

Whether or not I'm ready to have a baby is irrelevant. (The more I think about this, is anyone ever 100% ready...?) Clearly God had other plans for us, because here I am, 21 weeks into this adventure. I haven't turned into a 'baby person' overnight. But I take great comfort in knowing that my own mother was the same way as me before she had kids -- she had hardly held a baby until she brought my brother home from the hospital, and she was and still is one of the most amazing mothers I know. She may not have been a 'baby person' but she still fiercely loved her own babies.  

It's a little crazy to think that I'm now a mama to this tiny being growing inside of me. I've found myself smiling whenever I feel the Peanut kicking, and more than once I've gotten a little emotional when I've heard that heartbeat. 

And even though I panicked a little that first day I heard the news... I also starting knitting baby socks. Because really, knitting socks is about the calmest thing I can think of when life gives you some unbelievable news -- especially when that news is something worth expecting. 



And that, my friends, is life.

November 25, 2013

Betty Wason

This week, there will be a lot of cooking going on. I've seen so much yummy goodness already posted in the blogosphere that I think I'm starting to sniff my computer screen some days. 

I won't be cooking the turkey this year -- I'll leave that one to my mother. (Let's all give pause to the women -- and men -- who will be cooking up a storm this week. Let's also give thanks for shared recipes that get passed down through cultures and generations.)

Eons ago back in July, I made German Sauerbraten and I mentioned The Art of German Cooking author, Betty Wason. I also promised to tell you more about this fascinating lady.

I picked up this book at a thrift store for a whole dollar -- I have a thing for old cookbooks (especially bargains) and figured this one could actually come in handy with some practical recipes. 

I perused the anecdotes to the stories and was a little transfixed. This woman could write. I mean it's one thing to write a recipe... it's quite another to offer the reader the added bonus of an entertaining story to go along with it. I just assumed Betty Wason was a great cook who also had a talent for writing. 

Her name sounded so familiar to me though. 

I delved a little deeper, and then discovered, amongst many other talents, that she had been a war correspondent between 1938-1941. She country-hopped through various invasions, but despite finding the stories on the ground, her employer, CBS, asked her to find a man to read her texts. 

Wait, what?! 

Apparently they thought the audience wouldn't be receptive to a woman's voice on air. Later, the man who read her texts was offered a contract. (There is so much more to the story here and here.)  

Eventually, when Betty returned home to America, where she was rebuffed by CBS (!) and turned her attention instead to writing books. Her cookbooks are by far the most numerous. 

She has also been featured in one of my all-time favorite books: The Women Who Wrote the War by Nancy Caldwell Sorel.

So, as we all gorge ourselves on American goodness this week, let us also give thanks to the amazingly brave and talented women like Betty Wason -- who not only gave us some fantastic recipes from around the world, but who more importantly, reported on events that changed the world forever -- even if they didn't always get the credit.