Month: May 2012

Afternoon cookie break?

Afternoon cookie break?

I make a mean cookie. I know, I know. We’ve been down this road before. But today, I share with you my best recipe. This is the one that friends curse me for as they are eating their second…third…fifth…enormous chocolatey treat. I, on the other […]

Restoring Cast Iron, or History Repeats Itself In My Kitchen

Restoring Cast Iron, or History Repeats Itself In My Kitchen

Reduce, reuse, recycle. I choose not to question whether my zeal for second-hand goods is a result of wanting to cut down on consumer waste or a direct result of what my Grandma called her “cheap Scotch blood.” (Scotch as in Scottish – she’d haunt […]

Right here, right now.

Right here, right now.

I am a horrible future-dweller. It causes me a lot of anxiety. I often find myself caught up in what could happen and my brain goes off in a terrible spiral of doom. This is especially true when I wake up in the middle of the night and my logic brain is still sleeping. I find myself at my most vulnerable at 2 am, when the likelihood of dropping one of my children into the Grand Canyon while on vacation, or being trapped in my car after driving into a river, or Gabe being attacked by a mountain lion while out on a suburban trail run are not only plausible but actually probable.

Welcome to Crazy Town, population of 1.

Crazy Town held a parade last week in anticipation of Gabe’s latest checkup with his cardiologist. It has been eight months since his mitral valve repair, and every echocardiogram leading up to this one has resulted in bad news ranging from disappointing to devastating. Needless to say, I spent a grim Tuesday morning penning my husband’s eulogy in my head, figuring out how to bravely raise two boys on my own, and working my body into a state of nauseous panic.

Fun fact – your body does not know the difference between imagined tragedy and actual tragedy. So, if you have a particularly vivid imagination, you can wreak havoc on your body by causing physical reactions to things that have never happened. The mayor of Crazy Town has mad skills in this arena.

And yet…

Despite all of my nutso mental preparations, the sky did not actually fall. I am happy to report that Gabe’s fabulous, wonderful, strong-in-spite-of-it-all heart is pumping away like a champ. This week was a win. Turns out I made myself sick over nothing.

I’ll cut me a little slack due to the gravity of this particular situation, but even if we had gotten bad news worrying would have accomplished nothing. It doesn’t help, it doesn’t stop the bad, and it in no way prepares us for dealing with actual life turbulence. It is an absolute waste. And the bitch of it all is that I can get equally caught up in something as trivial as a fake argument that will never happen based on a slight that was never actually received. I am quite adept at working myself into a frenzy over money troubles that have yet to manifest themselves. I have also been known to freak my freak, as my mom so wonderfully phrases it, about which kindergarten to send Jude to even though that actual decision is almost two years away.

I get so lost in what might/could/will happen that I ruin the here and now. It’s a sickness. I need to fix this for myself, but I also feel compelled to address this behavior before I pass it on to my children.

Let’s use now as an example.

It is 8:41 pm on a Sunday and I am stressing over the Q2 taxes that are due at the end of the month, the fact that I may or may not have a freelance gig after next week, and we need to call plumbers to bid on what I fear will be an expensive upgrade to our house’s water main by order of Denver Water. All of these events will play themselves out within the next few weeks, but I have no idea what will actually happen. And seriously, what could I possibly do about them right now at 8:44 pm on a Sunday? Absolutely nothing.

The best trick in my bag, and the one I don’t seem to utilize enough, is to root myself firmly in the present moment.

And right now, everything is okay.

Right now, at 8:46 on a Sunday, this is what I know:
Gabe is giving Jude a bath.
Aidan is practicing his new “ka-ka-ka” sounds in my lap.
Belle, our Boston Terrier, is snoring beneath a pile of blankets at the end of the couch.
Our lab Rocky is passed out at my feet.
My house is filled with the people I love most.
We are all healthy.
We are all safe.
I don’t know what will happen in an hour, or a day, or next week, but it is now 8:48 on a Sunday and right now, right here, I am just fine.


It is 8:49 on an average Sunday. No one is home in Crazy Town. The sole occupant is currently vacationing in the present moment. Someday she hopes to move there.

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

How have I just learned about America’s Test Kitchen? I am in food nerd love. Not only can I watch their geek-not-quite-chic show on PBS, but for $30 a year I have access to a dozen years of knowledge online. I can lose hours reading […]