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glutenfreegirl Shauna Ahern @glutenfreegirl mentions
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It’s time to start thinking about mid-afternoon snacks around here. . During the summer, when ...
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It’s time to start thinking about mid-afternoon snacks around here. . During the summer, when the kids are hungry, they could wander into the kitchen to grab something or I could cook. However, now that we’re back at school, there is a predictable roaring hunger at 3 pm. They pack their lunches ... It’s time to start thinking about mid-afternoon snacks around here.
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During the summer, when the kids are hungry, they could wander into the kitchen to grab something or I could cook. However, now that we’re back at school, there is a predictable roaring hunger at 3 pm. They pack their lunches in the evenings. I make their pickup snacks after they leave.
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I’m a big fritter fan. We always have some leftovers. If there is a cooked grain and vegetables, we can make fritters. This morning I took leftover turmeric rice, chopped up all the grilled green beans and broccoli into tiny bits, then threw them into a bowl. 2 eggs. A small handful of cassava flour. (You could try any flour you like but I’m a big fan of @ottos_cassava_flour for this). Mix them up. The batter will be a little runny. A couple of tablespoons of batter into a pan on medium-low heat until browned. Flip them. Finish cooking. Slide onto a cutting board to cool.
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When I pick up D at nearly 3, he will have been running all day. A few of these with a dollop of hummus should take care of that cavernous stomach. And when we pick up Lucy just after 3, she can eat a few of these in the car on the way to play practice, then tackle the apple and granola she’ll eat during the break.
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I’m not a big fan of sweet snacks for the kids, since I see what it does to their energy. These work well.
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What are your favorite energy-making snacks for kids in the middle of the afternoon?
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10 years ago this morning, I woke up early, bleary-eyed from crying. Danny lay beside me, frightened. ...
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10 years ago this morning, I woke up early, bleary-eyed from crying. Danny lay beside me, frightened. I reached out for his hand. He took it and nodded. Time to begin. . I can’t tell the full story in this small space but suffice it to say that it came into focus the night before that my husband ... 10 years ago this morning, I woke up early, bleary-eyed from crying. Danny lay beside me, frightened. I reached out for his hand. He took it and nodded. Time to begin.
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I can’t tell the full story in this small space but suffice it to say that it came into focus the night before that my husband had to stop drinking. That moment. We had been talking and arguing about it for 6 weeks. And then our daughter was born and we descended into the terror of not knowing if she would live. We would get through it together, I knew. But he had to stop. And I knew that he wanted to stop but he didn’t know how. We could find help, if he decided. But he had to choose his health and his family over alcohol.
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Today it is 10 years since Danny quit drinking.
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Darling Danny, I am in awe of your dedication and fierce love for this family. Since that night, we have spent a decade solving thorny problems together. We would be lost without you. Every day you choose the chance to play with these kids over the life you could be leading now. You love people, plain and simple, better than anyone I have ever met. Our kids know in their bones what it feels like to be loved. No one makes me laugh harder than you.
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I am proud of you every single day. You make it look easy, this choice, but I know it’s not easy. It’s love in action every damn day, choosing again and again all this quickly passing life over the safety of the haze of drinking. You are an incredible human, my love. I’m in awe of you.
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And thank you for letting me share your story here. You chose today to let me tell this in hopes someone else might be inspired to make this change.
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I was going to surprise Danny with a feast at @canlisrestaurant, the fanciest restaurant in Seattle, for this day. But I didn’t realize it takes 3 months to get a reservation there. So we’re taking the day to be together here — breakfast out, a hike, time to talk, a daytime movie — to mark this momentous anniversary. It’s fitting, really. It’s this life he chose, this hilarious complicated daily life. I’m so damned glad he did.
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This is the first year we have bought sturdy new backpacks for the kids. We thrift almost everything ...
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This is the first year we have bought sturdy new backpacks for the kids. We thrift almost everything we own. Here on the island, our favorite thrift store, Granny's Attic, is the source of much joy. Almost everyone on the island donates there, so everyone shops there. It's a big swap meet for ... This is the first year we have bought sturdy new backpacks for the kids. We thrift almost everything we own. Here on the island, our favorite thrift store, Granny's Attic, is the source of much joy. Almost everyone on the island donates there, so everyone shops there. It's a big swap meet for not that much money. Granny's is dedicated to keeping prices low to move everything fast. And much of the profits are given to health organizations on the island. That's why I'm glad my kids have learned to give away what they have outgrown, both clothes and toys. Most of the clothes they have worn in their lives are hand-me-downs or from thrift stores. And why not? That's how Lucy has developed her own sense of style, by finding what she truly loves, not what is for sale at the front of a chain store. We recycle on our island. There's no need to buy much of anything new, apart from underwear and socks. ⠀
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But this year, we bought the kids' backpacks from @landsend, after seeing a good friend's kiddo carry the same backpack for years. They promise that the backpacks are sturdy enough to last for 20 years. After they arrived, I could see why. (I also love the images in the Lands' End catalogue right now: a girl in blue and sturdy shoes playing baseball; a young black boy looking natty in his picture-day outfit. My kids saw themselves here.) This is NOT an ad for @landsend. I wasn't paid anything to say this. ⠀
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As we have been budgeting carefully the last couple of years, and we're doing fine, I've been thinking about a different kind of budgeting now. What are the new items that are worth their price, the ones that will last for years? ⠀
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We love the @planetbox lunchbox we got for Lucy when she was 3. The price seemed high but it is still in great condition. I'm certain it will last another decade. So we bought one for Desmond this year. No more flimsy lunchboxes. No more decisions. ⠀
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What are the brands that have lasted in your house? What was a slightly more-expensive-than-usual product you bought once that has stood the test of time? Let's share the wealth.
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This boy. Oh, this boy.⠀ .⠀ Desmond asks more questions than anyone I have ever met. They come rapid ...
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This boy. Oh, this boy.⠀ .⠀ Desmond asks more questions than anyone I have ever met. They come rapid fire, with genuine searching need to hear the answers. A couple of weeks ago, he thought in silence as we were driving, then asked me, "Mama, why does everything fall down? I've been noticing ... This boy. Oh, this boy.⠀
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Desmond asks more questions than anyone I have ever met. They come rapid fire, with genuine searching need to hear the answers. A couple of weeks ago, he thought in silence as we were driving, then asked me, "Mama, why does everything fall down? I've been noticing and nothing falls up to the sky. Why does it all go to the ground?" Oh, you mean gravity, my darling 4-year-old? Well, let's talk about that. In rapid succession: Mama, how do boo-boos heal? What are bones made of? Are crayons white from the beginning and the color is injected into them or do they have different colors of wax first? How do they make doorknobs? Why can't we see the stars at night? Why do porcupines have such sharp quills and who made them that way? Do robots have feelings? ⠀
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I think within about 6 years I will be struggling to answer his science questions. And I have a science mind. ⠀
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This is why we are so thrilled that today was his first day of school at the two preschools he is attending this year. Both of these schools are led by kind teachers who were trained in Montessori and Waldorf schools and made their own way. These are schools about exploring, discovery, child-led learning, and as much math and science as Desmond's head can hold, for now. They are also across the street from each other, on a little road up from the beach. So most days, he'll be at school from 9:30 to 3 this year. ⠀
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We're all so excited. ⠀
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This kid is hilarious. His wit is so quick that we're all left laughing. And when he's not asking questions and laughing, he's all karate chops, kicks, and running as fast as he can. So he's also going to be playing soccer, doing a climbing class, dancing, and swimming all the other days. He is inexhaustible, in energy, questions, and love. ⠀
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My job as his mama is to give him the space to be himself and give him as many experiences as I can to keep his brain happy. ⠀
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This year, one of the assistant teachers at one of his schools is a former student of mine. Lucy's art teacher for the next 5 years is another one of my favorite former students. And so my students have become my kids' teachers. ⠀
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Life amazes me.
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This girl. Oh, this girl.⠀ .⠀ She started the 4th grade today and she is ready. This summer she started ...
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This girl. Oh, this girl.⠀ .⠀ She started the 4th grade today and she is ready. This summer she started to become a young woman. There is no toddler or little kid in her at all. She has become calm, contained, and yet still full of all the joy that has been her from day one. ⠀ .⠀ And she has become ... This girl. Oh, this girl.⠀
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She started the 4th grade today and she is ready. This summer she started to become a young woman. There is no toddler or little kid in her at all. She has become calm, contained, and yet still full of all the joy that has been her from day one. ⠀
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And she has become so wise. She has always been kind but now she thinks of other people and how to help them, without being asked. Last evening, Desmond was so bonkers at bedtime that he seemed to be bouncing off the walls. Not knowing Lu was standing in the bathroom nearby, I let out an exasperated sigh. She ran up to hug me and said, “Mama, you survived me at 4. You can survive this too. You’re tough. You can do it.”⠀
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(Sometimes parenting can be a long slog, but you get these glimpses sometimes of why you have worked this hard. 10 is when it is all starting to come back.) ⠀
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Darling Lucy, the world is out there. You will make it better.
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It’s the last day of summer vacation here. We’re cleaning rooms and clothes, organizing our minds ...
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It’s the last day of summer vacation here. We’re cleaning rooms and clothes, organizing our minds and making lists. Tomorrow, a completely different life than the one we’ve been living the last 3 months begins. . I have no problem saying I have been counting down the days. . I love my kids. ... It’s the last day of summer vacation here. We’re cleaning rooms and clothes, organizing our minds and making lists. Tomorrow, a completely different life than the one we’ve been living the last 3 months begins.
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I have no problem saying I have been counting down the days.
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I love my kids. And I love seeing their minds at work. I know that spending time together forces them to get along, which is great preparation for the people they will meet out in the world. But I joyfully, wholeheartedly want them to go back to school.
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That’s not because I want to get rid of them. It’s because I want my kids to have rich, wonderful lives, full of other people. I want them to have their own communities. I’ve never thought of my kids as extensions of me. They are utterly themselves, fully human from their first breath. Danny and I are the heart of their worlds right now, but we don’t want to be their entire worlds. We both want Lucy and Desmond to be free to launch themselves into new activities, to find new people to teach them, to set off to create new stories, and to dive in. The beginning of a school year is a chance to see ourselves new.
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And let’s be honest. I also really can’t wait to have a little time to myself, then see them in the afternoon, when we all have new stories to share with each other.
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It’s time to begin again.
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(I took these photos last month, at the beach cabin of our friend @krissydurston, when the smoke from nearby wildfires made the photography especially metaphorical to me.)
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It was a glorious day. . This morning, the light through the window had shifted, from strong enough ...
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It was a glorious day. . This morning, the light through the window had shifted, from strong enough to burn us, to softer and wider. Like liquid. Autumn light. And we four rose to read and drink coffee, play games, then clean for our party. . I love the power of a potluck. We invited many people ... It was a glorious day.
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This morning, the light through the window had shifted, from strong enough to burn us, to softer and wider. Like liquid. Autumn light. And we four rose to read and drink coffee, play games, then clean for our party.
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I love the power of a potluck. We invited many people for today and told them they didn’t have to reply. Whoever showed up was the party. No expectations, no disappointments. Just an offering. This was a party.
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There were the new friends who brought a box of baked goods from @vashonbakingco, only to find that our friend, who owns the bakery, was at the party. Within an hour, everyone had moved their chairs closer and closer to the trees so the entire party took place in a one-foot strip of shade. @mtantau brought us a jar of her crazy-rich apple syrup. @shannonmartinpersonal brought her husband and her dear friends (whom we instantly loved), plus presents for the kids. (Shannon! You’re amazing.) The children ran squealing, happy, then jumped on the trampoline, then sat in a line in the shade, just like the adults. It was a fine and lovely time for nearly 6 hours.
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I love that about potlucks. We offer. We open the house. People show up and we chat and laugh and do almost nothing together. The food is fantastic, every dish. We drink fizzy water out of cold cans and move to another clutch of people to talk. Hours pass. Some people stretch out of their seats and talk about leaving. It takes another 30 minutes. There is strawberry-rhubarb sorbet and lemon rosemary cake. Stay awhile. And so they do.
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Today we all went to a Punk Party. . What is a punk party, you might ask? Well, it’s when your son’s ...
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Today we all went to a Punk Party. . What is a punk party, you might ask? Well, it’s when your son’s best friend, who is also named Desmond, loves the Ramones so much that he asks if he can invite his friends and their parents to hang out and listen to loud music in the garage. The hosts provided ... Today we all went to a Punk Party.
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What is a punk party, you might ask? Well, it’s when your son’s best friend, who is also named Desmond, loves the Ramones so much that he asks if he can invite his friends and their parents to hang out and listen to loud music in the garage. The hosts provided ear plugs for kids and adults alike, and then they blasted the Ramones, the Clash, and some Social Distortion. There were also 2 children’s books about punk rock on the kitchen table, plus various signs saying punk party.
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But let’s face it. Most punk parties probably don’t have quinoa salads and salads with homegrown lettuces and radishes, plus a cooler full of local beers and sparkling water. This was a pretty tame punk party.
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Still, an awesome punk party it was. There were water balloon fights, which went splendidly until someone actually aimed well enough to get a 4-year-old girl soaking wet and she ran sobbing to her mom. (Come on, kid. That’s not very punk!) And there were sprinkler races in the sunlight.
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Mostly, I stood to the side for a moment, in awe of our lives, these sweet friends, our kids growing up together, how the food was good and not the point. I love these funny, weird kids our kids love dearly. Be yourselves, kids. Keep on being yourselves.
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“Where there is young people and vitality, you’re going to find punk rock.” —Henry Rollins
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I finished an essay that has been sitting in my head for nearly 2 years and sent it to my editor. Lucy ...
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I finished an essay that has been sitting in my head for nearly 2 years and sent it to my editor. Lucy visited her new school for open house and walked away saying, “Why can’t it be Tuesday already?!” (I know, kid. I know.) We cleaned and played and watched Mister Rogers, then connected with lovely ... I finished an essay that has been sitting in my head for nearly 2 years and sent it to my editor. Lucy visited her new school for open house and walked away saying, “Why can’t it be Tuesday already?!” (I know, kid. I know.) We cleaned and played and watched Mister Rogers, then connected with lovely people we met here (hi, @mspore!) for ice cream at @glassbottlecreamery. (um, hello cardamom peach swirl.) And after Danny was done with work, we ate at Zamorana and I had cochinita pibil. Next up, a double feature for movie night together.
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Let Labor Day weekend begin.
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We so rarely get a photo of the four of us at one time that I thought I might drop this here and say hi. . Also, ...
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We so rarely get a photo of the four of us at one time that I thought I might drop this here and say hi. . Also, inspired by @wednesdaychef’s question today, I have to ask you: what the heck are you doing with all the thousands of photos you take? I back mine up on 2 different cloud systems, but then ... We so rarely get a photo of the four of us at one time that I thought I might drop this here and say hi.
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Also, inspired by @wednesdaychef’s question today, I have to ask you: what the heck are you doing with all the thousands of photos you take? I back mine up on 2 different cloud systems, but then they sit there. Do you make photo books? Print them with a service? I’d like to make them physically present and not merely let them sit on the phone. I bet I’m not the only one asking this question.
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This is Lucy on The Hill. This is the part of our yard just a bit elevated from our house, so she thinks ...
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This is Lucy on The Hill. This is the part of our yard just a bit elevated from our house, so she thinks of it as a hill. Our landlords told us they planted that clutch of trees when they built the house in the 1980s. I’m pretty sure they were as tall as Lucy at the time. . Lu seemed to grow about a foot ... This is Lucy on The Hill. This is the part of our yard just a bit elevated from our house, so she thinks of it as a hill. Our landlords told us they planted that clutch of trees when they built the house in the 1980s. I’m pretty sure they were as tall as Lucy at the time.
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Lu seemed to grow about a foot this summer. She’s more confident than she was this time last year. She’s impassioned about Greek mythology and the Percy Jackson books. She is excited that 4th grade will have homework and planning books and trips and more history. She’s already counting down the days to this year’s Nutcracker performances. She’s very happy.
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Lu, like me, needs alone time regularly. Desmond, so far, needs people all the time. He’s a little scientist, with 485 questions an hour. Until he can read, he needs us to answer those questions — all the time. He’s also hilarious, which means he wants an audience — all the time. These two squabble, intermittently, all throughout the day, mostly because they meet the world so differently.
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Six days until school starts.
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Last year, I noticed Lucy playing with a beat-up badminton racquet. She would pick it up with her toes then throw it in the air. Catch it. Throw it. I noticed her doing it once in awhile. Then, 2 weeks later, I looked out the window and saw her twirl it in her fingers. Damned if she hadn’t taught herself to twirl that racquet like a baton. And so, now, when she needs a little space from her little brother, she goes out to the hill and twirls that racquet, talks to herself acting out scenes from films she loves and creating new scenes for those films, and thinks about how her life is blooming open.
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I imagine that when Lucy is an adult, and I remember her at 10, I will think of this image.
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I had this dream at the beginning of the summer. A friend gave us the dining room table he was going ...
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I had this dream at the beginning of the summer. A friend gave us the dining room table he was going to take to the thrift store. We put it out in the yard. It looked small there, so we asked for friends to consider bringing the tables they were going to give away to our yard instead. They did. We grew ... I had this dream at the beginning of the summer. A friend gave us the dining room table he was going to take to the thrift store. We put it out in the yard. It looked small there, so we asked for friends to consider bringing the tables they were going to give away to our yard instead. They did. We grew a long table and the chairs we needed to seat plenty. So we would have potlucks. Plenty of them. We started having Sunday potlucks, a new summer tradition.
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And then they stopped. Danny has gone back to work in a restaurant, expediting and managing. He loves it. He is so happy. Along with that, working at a restaurant on an island in the summer means the 3 days a week you wanted to work become 4 days a week, then 5. One of the managers had to leave for an extended time and of course Danny stepped up and took some of his shifts. Of course. That’s who he is. And so, he started working Sundays. No more potlucks.
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I just looked over to see this — the chairs up on the table from the last time Danny mowed the lawn. Dust on the table. It made me sad.
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I don’t know why I have too many expectations every summer. I live by a line a therapist said to me years ago: “Expectations are premature disappointments.” I’m pretty good at managing expectations the rest of the year. Summer can be a little manic in the Pacific Northwest — must.do.everything.now! — since it will rain the rest of the year. So I feel that every summer. And social media amplifies it. Plus, I didn’t have enough time to write as much as I needed.
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Still, it was a wonderful summer. I love how the months of swim lessons, backyard play, and not that much to do for hours every day grows something in each of us that won’t manifest for months. The kids are happy. Danny and I are good together. And I’m sitting outside as I type this, the sun warm on my skin but a little thin too, the physical reminder summer will be gone soon.
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We’re having a potluck on Sunday.
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Summer, starting to merge into fall. . Only more week until school begins again. Let’s celebrate.
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Summer, starting to merge into fall. . Only more week until school begins again. Let’s celebrate. Summer, starting to merge into fall.
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Only more week until school begins again. Let’s celebrate.
A friend of mine put up this photo last night and it flashed me right back to that classroom in 1995. ...
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A friend of mine put up this photo last night and it flashed me right back to that classroom in 1995. (Thanks, @chelsieirish!) Her husband found it in one of his old yearbooks. . From 1992 to 1997, I taught high school English on Vashon Island. I’m guessing I was 28 in this photo. I loved teaching. ... A friend of mine put up this photo last night and it flashed me right back to that classroom in 1995. (Thanks, @chelsieirish!) Her husband found it in one of his old yearbooks.
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From 1992 to 1997, I taught high school English on Vashon Island. I’m guessing I was 28 in this photo. I loved teaching. I came alive in that classroom. And I still think of that time as some of my best work in the world.
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Being a teacher in a small town means being a public figure of sorts. Later, when gluten-free girl took off and became a thing, the feeling was familiar. Going to the grocery store in the 90s meant I would meet parents and students down every aisle, so I went in prepared. I loved it. But by the end of those 5 years, I started to yearn for more anonymity. I thought that teaching writing might somehow give me time for my own writing, but that turned out to be very much untrue. And I was 30 and single. I left teaching and flung myself into living in New York City.
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I moved back to Seattle after 4 years of being in New York and London and returned to teaching too. I taught for another 5 years, this time at The Northwest School. I started writing gluten-free girl my next-to-last year there and finally, I was writing, with a community reading. I haven’t taught high school since.
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Life is long, if you’re lucky. What I didn’t know then is how many cycles and layers of life lay ahead. I couldn’t have known that one day teaching would be so thoroughly in my past that I would forget to tell my husband and kids that I had been named best first-year teacher of the year in Washington state until I saw this photo. What seems momentous in the moment becomes memory, then fades away. I love that I live here again, and so many of the students I loved in the 90s are now in their late 30s to early 40s. Their kids are friends with my kids. And soon, one of them will be my daughter’s art teacher.
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I still love teaching. Soon, I’ll start teaching cooking classes regularly. And I’m writing, this time without the pressure of being any kind of public persona. Whatever lies ahead in my life, I look forward to meeting it with as much gusto as I was teaching with in this photo.
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The world is swirling with hard news. There are lists to make, rooms to be cleared out before the end ...
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The world is swirling with hard news. There are lists to make, rooms to be cleared out before the end of summer, parties to plan. There is work to do, essays to write, and squabbles to ignore so the kids will learn to find their own solutions. . There are two more weekends and one full week before ... The world is swirling with hard news. There are lists to make, rooms to be cleared out before the end of summer, parties to plan. There is work to do, essays to write, and squabbles to ignore so the kids will learn to find their own solutions.
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There are two more weekends and one full week before school begins again.
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But on this grey morning, the smoke from wildfires that choked our air all week has finally cleared. And for one moment, the only thing in the world that existed for me was the sweetness of this apricot alchemy jam my friend @tallcloverfarm made and handed to me 2 days ago.
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This is why I love food.
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I bought a new wallet for Danny today. At dinner, he took everything out of his old and tattered wallet ...
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I bought a new wallet for Danny today. At dinner, he took everything out of his old and tattered wallet to edit out what he no longer needed. And that’s when I found this. . It’s the business card I gave Danny on our first date. (Hugs to you if you recognize that as the header of gluten-free girl ... I bought a new wallet for Danny today. At dinner, he took everything out of his old and tattered wallet to edit out what he no longer needed. And that’s when I found this.
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It’s the business card I gave Danny on our first date. (Hugs to you if you recognize that as the header of gluten-free girl in early 2006.) On the back, in his handwriting, my telephone number at the time.
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I had forgotten he still had it. This is one of the reasons I love this man so: he’s the most loyal person I know.
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We both agreed it was time to let go of this crumpled little piece of paper, torn at the edges and disappearing. So I took this picture.
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I don’t buy many cookbooks these days. We have over 200 of them and most of them remain free of food-splattered ...
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I don’t buy many cookbooks these days. We have over 200 of them and most of them remain free of food-splattered pages. So many of the cookbooks being published today involve the instant pot, plant-based diets, keto, and “clean” eating. What is popular in the moment becomes a rush of cookbooks ... I don’t buy many cookbooks these days. We have over 200 of them and most of them remain free of food-splattered pages. So many of the cookbooks being published today involve the instant pot, plant-based diets, keto, and “clean” eating. What is popular in the moment becomes a rush of cookbooks 6 months later. Problem is, I just want to make food.
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Look, I’m going to refrain from the full rant here. But let me say this: there is no such thing as “clean” food. If you say that, does that mean you think people who eat differently than you are dirty? It is almost unbearable privilege to insist that people should eat in some “pure” way for optimal health. If you have enough food, you’re lucky. If your body cannot tolerate a certain food, like mine cannot tolerate gluten, avoid that food. And then celebrate that you have food.
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It sure would be good if we turned our collective attention to food waste instead of this silliness about purity.
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This is why I love @turshen’s new book, Now and Again. Julia has this wonderful way of making fairly simple food into something exciting. And in this book, she has created menus with leftovers in mind. A chicken and black-eyed pea chili becomes chili nachos with the leftovers. Skillet cornbread with scallions and cheddar becomes cornbread stuffing. Caesar salad with buttermilk dressing becomes spicy stir-fried lettuce with celery and garlic. What? How had I never thought of that? Or how had I never thought to turn leftover scrambled eggs into egg salad? Of course.
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There’s a generosity of spirit to this book, and to Julia, that I adore. This is a book that is meant to feed people, meal after meal, with simplicity and grace. There is an ordinary poetry to these recipes, these meals. This is a cookbook for people who want to cook and make life easier for others with their meals.
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More books like this one, please.
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School starts again 2 weeks from today. It has been a wonderful summer, full of good memories and ...
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School starts again 2 weeks from today. It has been a wonderful summer, full of good memories and learning, giggling together and adventures. However, I am more than ready for September now. . I will miss the tomatoes though. School starts again 2 weeks from today. It has been a wonderful summer, full of good memories and learning, giggling together and adventures. However, I am more than ready for September now.
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I will miss the tomatoes though.
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First swim lesson. He’s ready. . Desmond is always ready.
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First swim lesson. He’s ready. . Desmond is always ready. First swim lesson. He’s ready.
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Desmond is always ready.
There’s something to be said for repetition. . This is the sixth year we have come up to Seabeck ...
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There’s something to be said for repetition. . This is the sixth year we have come up to Seabeck for a weekend retreat with our Unitarian fellowship. That feels wonderfully impossible. I never imagined we would have a church. I never went as a kid. I’m a little dubious of most organized religions. ... There’s something to be said for repetition.
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This is the sixth year we have come up to Seabeck for a weekend retreat with our Unitarian fellowship. That feels wonderfully impossible. I never imagined we would have a church. I never went as a kid. I’m a little dubious of most organized religions. I took refuge as a Buddhist, which means admitting I’m a refugee in the spiritual world. So I never imagined taking my kids to church camp every summer.
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It’s so lovely here.
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The meals are wonderfully mediocre and plentiful. The food isn’t really the point. We gather with friends at large round tables whenever the bell on the main building rings twice. The staff has a protocol for gluten-free diets. The bread is stiff as shoe leather. I don’t care. I’m grateful for the meals made for us and the people with whom I’m sharing them.
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There’s a fishing hole where Lucy has been swimming, and now jumping into the water, every summer. This place is summer to her.
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Desmond has been looking for minnows and contemplating putting his feet into the cold salt water. He starts swimming lessons on Monday. Next summer, he’ll be diving into the green water. The first time we brought him here, he was 5 months old.
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Time moves so quickly sometimes. It’s so good to measure our year in an experience that is sure: paddle boat rides, campfires and gluten-free s’mores, trips to the general store across the bay for candy, and our community.
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For awhile now, Danny and I have been thinking and re-thinking what we do. Nearly 2 years ago, our ...
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For awhile now, Danny and I have been thinking and re-thinking what we do. Nearly 2 years ago, our gluten-free flour business ran aground when we shipped a month's worth of orders without being paid for any of them, thanks to a computer glitch, the month before Thanksgiving. We were growing ... For awhile now, Danny and I have been thinking and re-thinking what we do. Nearly 2 years ago, our gluten-free flour business ran aground when we shipped a month's worth of orders without being paid for any of them, thanks to a computer glitch, the month before Thanksgiving. We were growing weary of making only recipes that required our flour. I couldn't stand making our family a commodity anymore. And after the election of 2016, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why one more muffin recipe mattered much at all. ⠀
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So we closed up shop. We stopped writing much on GFG, then at all. I deleted every email that asked if I would promote a new product. When I travel, I see plenty of gluten-free foods. No one needs gluten-free girl anymore. ⠀
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My very favorite parts of GFG have always been the community and knowing that my writing has given hope to people who believed their lives would be hard. That force of good had to be in the work we do. But what would it be like if it looked entirely different? ⠀
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Danny realized his brain works best in restaurant kitchens. But he doesn't want to be on the line anymore. So he's working part-time at an island restaurant he loves, expediting (it's like being the director of the kitchen) and managing. 3 or 4 days a week give him community, that rush, the bantering. ⠀
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Me? I'm writing a book of essays that will be out next September. I have 3 more books in my head. I'm teaching small businesses and artists on our island how to tell their stories. I'm writing for a few places. And I'm finishing construction on a new project we'll tell you about soon, something that will allow us to create recipes for you directly. Stay tuned. ⠀
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Also, I have been helping to build a cooking school on Vashon, where I'll be teaching several times a month. You see, teaching and baking and being in community? It still matters to me. This coming Wednesday, I'm teaching a gluten-free baking class. Send me a message if you want to be part of this invite-only class. I'd love to see you. ⠀
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We deconstructed our lives and put them together through clear-eyed intention, no frantic pushing, no pretending. We're here. We're happy. ⠀
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Respect. Natural Woman. Sisters are Doing It for Themselves. Think. Rock Steady. . Thank you, ...
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Respect. Natural Woman. Sisters are Doing It for Themselves. Think. Rock Steady. . Thank you, Aretha. For years, you have been singing the songs into our ears: be strong, women. We are the force. Don’t listen to this chain of fools. Get you a do right man, then be a do right woman. . Thank ... Respect. Natural Woman. Sisters are Doing It for Themselves. Think. Rock Steady.
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Thank you, Aretha. For years, you have been singing the songs into our ears: be strong, women. We are the force. Don’t listen to this chain of fools. Get you a do right man, then be a do right woman.
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Thank you, Queen.
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(Set aside some time to read David Remnick’s profile of Aretha in The New Yorker.) . 📷: not sure.
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Last week, at about 4:30 in the morning, I heard an idea for dinner. . I love talking to cab drivers. ...
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Last week, at about 4:30 in the morning, I heard an idea for dinner. . I love talking to cab drivers. It’s an odd phenomenon: we put up our hands, or now press a button on our phones, and a stranger appears to drive you somewhere. It could be awkward. It could be creepy. Instead, I like to start ... Last week, at about 4:30 in the morning, I heard an idea for dinner.
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I love talking to cab drivers. It’s an odd phenomenon: we put up our hands, or now press a button on our phones, and a stranger appears to drive you somewhere. It could be awkward. It could be creepy. Instead, I like to start conversations.
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Most drivers are immigrants, driving as their third job, nights or early mornings. I admire them, working so hard for their families or the dream of family. And if they’re receptive, I love to hear about their lives.
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Before the sun came up, I was talking to my driver, who immigrated from Spain. We talked and talked about saffron and the importance of local ingredients in season and making great food with whatever we have. And then he told me that he called his 85-year-old mother in Spain when he didn’t know what to make for dinner, quickly.
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“Put a pan on the stove and cook up some onions and garlic, lots of garlic, in good olive oil. Add smoked paprika and stir. Cook up some ground meat, pork or beef, whatever we you have. Cook it up. Add tomato sauce, some red wine. Cook until the liquid reduces. Serve it on top of fries.”
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We made it for dinner last night. I’ll be making it again.
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Talk to your cab drivers, folks, the men and women from Ethiopia or the Punjab area of India or Mexico. There are so many people to meet, so much good food to be discovered.
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There is only one person in this photo I had to meet. . @juliannemoore is one of my favorite actors, ...
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There is only one person in this photo I had to meet. . @juliannemoore is one of my favorite actors, keenly alive in every role she plays. I have adored her for years. And I was thrilled to see her this weekend at #gsu2018, to find out she is active in @momsdemand on its creative council. That’s ... There is only one person in this photo I had to meet.
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@juliannemoore is one of my favorite actors, keenly alive in every role she plays. I have adored her for years. And I was thrilled to see her this weekend at #gsu2018, to find out she is active in @momsdemand on its creative council. That’s why I went up to her and whispered “You do beautiful work.” And then I walked past her to stand in a long line to meet the woman I wanted to hug.
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Calandrian Simpson Kemp is one of the most inspiring woman I have ever met. She started her part of the panel by holding up a large photograph of her son. “Can you all say his name, so he is here?” And we all chanted George Kemp. He was killed by gun violence when he was 20. “The cemetery was my bed and the sun was my blanket.” She nearly didn’t survive it. But something told her that her son wouldn’t want that. So she got up. And she started organizing other women who had lost their sons to guns.
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You want this women to organize your community. She listens. She’s clear. I love the story she told about sitting on her porch in her mumu and watching two young boys walking down her street during the school day. She stood up and told them to turn around and go back. She’s invested in her community on the most local level.
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“If your neighbor to the left is not ok and your neighbor to the right is not okay, then you’re not okay.” We have to be here for our fellow humans. As she said, drop your anchor where you are and start.
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I have been moved by how intersectional this conference has been. Black women who are survivors have been the moral center of the talks. I was so moved by the implicit bias training from Dr. Bryant Marks that I can’t write about it yet. We have been talking about how to build diversity within our chapters and community connections, how to be sure that the LGBTQ community feels welcome, and how to work together with police, hunting organizations, and other gun owners.
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We are all in this together. And we can do better for each other.
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I’m not a conference person. I’m not a joiner. I’m usually the person standing against the wall, ...
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I’m not a conference person. I’m not a joiner. I’m usually the person standing against the wall, taking notes and watching instead of jumping into the crowd. But here, at #GSU2018, I’m not standing to the side at all. I’m all in. . Five years ago, Shannon Watts felt destroyed by the shootings ... I’m not a conference person. I’m not a joiner. I’m usually the person standing against the wall, taking notes and watching instead of jumping into the crowd. But here, at #GSU2018, I’m not standing to the side at all. I’m all in.
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Five years ago, Shannon Watts felt destroyed by the shootings at Sandy Hook, as so many of us felt. She put up a post on Facebook, saying “We have to do something.” She started a Skype group with 5 mothers. She called into the Mothers Against Drunk Driving hotline and asked “How do I start the equivalent group for school shootings?” The woman she talked with happened to be the CEO of MADD. That woman is now the senior managing director for @momsdemand. And the 5 moms has now turned into 5 million members strong.
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This is not a moment. It’s a movement. 90% of Americans support commonsense gun laws. Banning bump stocks and 3d-printed guns, doing extensive background checks, not allowing men who have restraining orders against them to possess guns — these actions make sense. No one is trying to ban guns. We believe in the 2nd Amendment. It’s just time for sanity.
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I loved hearing @mikebloomberg talk about his work in public service. “If you believe in something, you will never regret doing it. Don’t let the naysayers stop you.” Julianne Moore spoke this morning about the dilemma of explaining mass shootings to her young child. We are hearing from women in cities riddled with gun violence and the holistic approach they take to change it. (I’m inspired by @cureviolence.) We’re talking about police violence.
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Mostly, I have been truly inspired so far by the fierce women (and men!) who have shown up, all 1200 of us, who want to act, to prevent gun violence, to do what it takes to bring this culture back to the practical and kind. We’re talking about suicide prevention, about violence in urban areas as learned behavior, about changing the culture to make more survivors and support them. This is much bigger than school shootings. This is about making America kinder, safer, and far more commonsense.
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I am all in. How about you?
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#GSU2018
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I woke up at 3:15 to drive to the dock and walk onto the first ferry leaving the island. Right now, I’m ...
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I woke up at 3:15 to drive to the dock and walk onto the first ferry leaving the island. Right now, I’m sitting at the airport, oddly free of children and having to carry their bags. I’m flying in a little more than an hour. . This weekend I’m going to Gun Sense University, the national conference ... I woke up at 3:15 to drive to the dock and walk onto the first ferry leaving the island. Right now, I’m sitting at the airport, oddly free of children and having to carry their bags. I’m flying in a little more than an hour.
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This weekend I’m going to Gun Sense University, the national conference for @momsdemand. I’m far more excited than I am tired. #GSU2018 is a 4-day action-packed set of conversations, questions, convening, and action. I’ve never been much of a conference fan —introverts unite in the corner — but today I’m jazzed.
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I love this organization. They are flawlessly organized, great at creating community, and inspire practical action. I often wish I could abolish political parties and start the Use Common Sense and Compassion to Find a Solution party. I have finally found it in Moms Demand Action.
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It really is time for as many of us as possible to come together and require sane conversations that lead to necessary actions. I’m so grateful to be part of this movement.
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Lucy recovered so quickly from her surgery last week that she was starting to grow antsy by Monday. ...
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Lucy recovered so quickly from her surgery last week that she was starting to grow antsy by Monday. The soft foods diet that seemed so exciting before, all the foods we never give her — Jello! All the ice cream she wants! — grew really annoying really fast. As she said, “my sweet tooth was always ... Lucy recovered so quickly from her surgery last week that she was starting to grow antsy by Monday. The soft foods diet that seemed so exciting before, all the foods we never give her — Jello! All the ice cream she wants! — grew really annoying really fast. As she said, “my sweet tooth was always small but I think they pulled it. It’s gone now.”
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Since she was born, I have had one rule for the few times she has been sick: lie down. The kid never stops dancing or running or jumping. But if she has the flu, we let her stay in her pajamas and watch as many movies as she wants. That is when she stays still, watching intently. And so, we have been teaching her how to rest, to listen to her body, to heal. She only gets up when she’s truly well.
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Yesterday, she started a farm camp she has done for the past 3 summers. At Plum Forest, they milk cows, collect eggs, harvest vegetables, take long hikes, and play games. She came home yesterday happy and only a little tired. We all climbed in our tiny blow-up pool in the backyard and splashed until we were cooled and giggling. “Mama, I just love your laugh,” she told me. “It’s so fun to hear.”
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Watching her be well and enjoying her life is even better.
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Here in Washington State, voting is sane, secure, and easy. We received our ballots, along with ...
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Here in Washington State, voting is sane, secure, and easy. We received our ballots, along with the voting pamphlet, in the mail about a week ago. That means we had time to read the ballots, investigate the candidates and issues, and send in the ballots when it was convenient for us. (That meant ... Here in Washington State, voting is sane, secure, and easy. We received our ballots, along with the voting pamphlet, in the mail about a week ago. That means we had time to read the ballots, investigate the candidates and issues, and send in the ballots when it was convenient for us. (That meant postmarked today, in this election.) We did our part and we sent in our votes.
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Frankly, voting is about the only thing we can do to effect real change. Protests can have some sway. Financial boycotts, on a large scale, seem to work. But voting? It’s something most of this country had to work hard to have. We should use that chance. .
The percentage of people who vote is woefully low. But the percentage of people who vote in primaries in non-presidential election years is really sad. Those of us who do vote? We really can change things.
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I wish every state voted like Washington. It’s alarming the numbers of states that seem to be actively thwarting the voting process, especially for people of color or people in urban areas. I really do believe we have a responsibility to vote. Please do.
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6 months ago today, I was sicker than I have ever been, not knowing I was riddled with a staph infection ...
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6 months ago today, I was sicker than I have ever been, not knowing I was riddled with a staph infection and headed toward a second emergency surgery 3 weeks after my double mastectomy. 2 months later, when I was starting to feel healed, I went back to the hospital with a serious strep infection. ... 6 months ago today, I was sicker than I have ever been, not knowing I was riddled with a staph infection and headed toward a second emergency surgery 3 weeks after my double mastectomy. 2 months later, when I was starting to feel healed, I went back to the hospital with a serious strep infection. This winter felt endless.
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Today it is my birthday. 52 years old, definitely middle-aged, and so damned happy to be here. This is the year, definitively, I learned to rest, radically. It’s the year I learned to put my oxygen mask on first so I could take care of the people around me. It’s the year I put a stop to any project or hope that could lead us somewhere else, in the hopes that life would be better, on the horizon, someday. Because now, right now, is finally enough.
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And this morning, I started something I promised myself I would do after I healed. I started running this morning: slow, stumbling, and unafraid of either. (Lordy, running sure is easier when you don’t have 40GGs.) Satisfaction in sunlight and sweat.
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I like this life. I’ll keep stumbling forward, sometimes triumphant, sometimes plodding. Here.
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Last night, I had a movie experience like no other. Lucy was resting well and Danny was home from work. ...
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Last night, I had a movie experience like no other. Lucy was resting well and Danny was home from work. So I took myself out to see the @mrrogersmovie: Won’t You Be My Neighbor. . I have to say that I was biased going in. I love Mister Rogers. I have no irony or snark about him. His show debuted just ... Last night, I had a movie experience like no other. Lucy was resting well and Danny was home from work. So I took myself out to see the @mrrogersmovie: Won’t You Be My Neighbor.
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I have to say that I was biased going in. I love Mister Rogers. I have no irony or snark about him. His show debuted just before I turned 2, so — as he hoped — the neighborhood he showed me deeply shaped how I see the world. Desmond has come to love Mister Rogers as much as I do, which means I see an episode every day again. I love him more at almost 52 than I did at 2
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Still, I wasn’t prepared somehow for how much this documentary moved me. Mister Rogers was a weirdo for how simple and deep he was. He truly loved children. And he wanted to show them that they were capable of loving and of being loved. That’s it. He wanted children to feel love so they could go into the world to love more.
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And in his own way, he was a justice warrior. I sobbed when I heard the story of how profoundly shaken Mister Rogers was when a white man poured bleach and cleaning supplies onto black folks swimming in the pool. At the time, black and white people were not allowed to swim in the same place. So Mister Rogers invited Officer Clemons to take off his shoes and cool his feet and share the same towel with Mister Rogers. His grin at the camera as they were doing this was clear —take that, racist jerks. I’m teaching your kids a different way.
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Oh we need Mister Rogers even more these days.
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I watched the movie at the Vashon theatre. No one moved. No one talked. No one got up to use the bathroom. We all laughed in the appropriate places. And the entire audience stayed in place while the credits ran. When the screen went dark, we all applauded. And then we left to stand outside, almost the entire audience, and talk together in community about how much we needed that.
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When things feel hard, I hear Misters Rogers in my head, urging me to breathe and remember that it’s hard to be a kid and just be with them. We could all use a little more kindness. It really can change the world.
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#wontyoubemyneighbor
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Yesterday, I ate most of my meals at @seattlechildren's. Lucy had a long-planned surgery on her ...
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Yesterday, I ate most of my meals at @seattlechildren's. Lucy had a long-planned surgery on her mouth — they took out 10 teeth! — because her jaw is too small to accommodate the amount of teeth the typical human grows. This is a product of her Muenke syndrome, which also caused her craniosynostosis ... Yesterday, I ate most of my meals at @seattlechildren's. Lucy had a long-planned surgery on her mouth — they took out 10 teeth! — because her jaw is too small to accommodate the amount of teeth the typical human grows. This is a product of her Muenke syndrome, which also caused her craniosynostosis at birth. (All the soft spots in the front half of her head had fused before she was born.) That's why she stopped breathing when she was 12 hours old, why she had to stay in the ICU for her first week, and why we started going to Children's when she was 3 months old. When she was 9 months old, she had a 9-hour skull surgery to remove her skull, build it bigger, and put it back on her to make room for her brain to grow. It's why she had another touch-up skull surgery in the 1st grade. Muenke caused her moderate hearing loss, which required hearing aids, and her strabismus, for which she now has glasses. After yesterday's jaw surgery, she will have spacers for a year, then braces, probably another round of braces, and then hopefully we'll be able to avoid the jaw surgery she might need at 16 or 17. Or, we might not be able to avoid it. We'll see.⠀
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The irony is that she is the healthiest kid I know. We have been to Children's hospital at least once every 6 months since she was 3 months old, and we have never been there because she was sick. And every time we go, we realize how lucky we are. It could have been worse. Funny thing is, nearly every parent at Children's looks around and says, "Ah, but we could have it so much harder." It's a place grounded in gratitude. ⠀
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Every time we spend time at Children's, I have the same thought. Who should be in charge of this country? Parents of disabled children. Kids with multiple surgeries who grow up to be doctors to help others. Nurses. Researchers. Anyone who has truly endured and still hopes. People grounded in gratitude. ⠀
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We can do better. ⠀
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Lucy is doing better. She's in our bed, watching Arthur episodes (@chrissyteigen would be proud), and eating jello. She's in pain, but not too much. She's good. And she was certainly in good hands. We're grateful.
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The other day, the air outside was so hot it barely moved. Movie time. I want these kiddos to know lives ...
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The other day, the air outside was so hot it barely moved. Movie time. I want these kiddos to know lives beyond their own, as much as possible, so I’ve been trying out documentaries with them. On that day, it was Bat Kid. . Watch this one. . You might remember this, if you have been on social ... The other day, the air outside was so hot it barely moved. Movie time. I want these kiddos to know lives beyond their own, as much as possible, so I’ve been trying out documentaries with them. On that day, it was Bat Kid.
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Watch this one.
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You might remember this, if you have been on social media for awhile. A 5-year-old who endured chemotherapy treatments for his leukemia for most of his life had one wish: to be Batman. The @makeawishamerica foundation decided to stage a scene in San Francisco. And since this was back in 2013, when Twitter was more goodness and kindness than the mean place it can be now, this event became a viral sensation. 14,000 people turned out to the streets of San Francisco to make this little guy’s dream feel real. When he drove down the street with Batman to save a woman tied to a bomb before the trolley car could hit her, thousands of people lined the streets and cheered for him.
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Desmond endured the first 45 minutes of talking and setting up the story. But as soon as the film started showing the day in real time, he was entranced. “Mama! They got the Riddler! But I bet there are more bad guys still.” He was all in.
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Lucy and I have been talking often lately about all the ways we can be helpers. She loved this movie. She loved watching everyone come together.
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I did too. I remember watching that day unfold on Twitter, live. I remember tearing up many times, to watch so many people give their day to making this boy’s dream come true. And I remember when social media used to feel more like community than sniping and unkindness.
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We can take it back. The nastiness that is national conversation has to change. We can do it, if we all agree. Let’s be the helpers.
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This afternoon, I remembered a pie dough I had waiting in the freezer. And that a friend had given ...
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This afternoon, I remembered a pie dough I had waiting in the freezer. And that a friend had given us a big bag of pie cherries off her tree, already pitted. So I made a pie this afternoon. . We drove to our dear friends’ house for dinner. I held the pie in my lap loosely, not clutching it. All the ... This afternoon, I remembered a pie dough I had waiting in the freezer. And that a friend had given us a big bag of pie cherries off her tree, already pitted. So I made a pie this afternoon.
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We drove to our dear friends’ house for dinner. I held the pie in my lap loosely, not clutching it. All the way there, I smelled the scent of wam cherries wafting toward me. About 100 yards from our friends’ house, I looked up to see a car jolted to a stop in front of us. Danny slammed on the brakes to avoid an accident. And the pie pan flew off my lap and landed on my foot. I watched the entire pie lurch forward and slump on the floor of the car.
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I walked into our friends’ house with warm cherries on my foot and giggles coming out of me. A story, immediately.
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Lucy asked me today why I didn’t spend the afternoon reading, the way she does. I sighed and said, ...
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Lucy asked me today why I didn’t spend the afternoon reading, the way she does. I sighed and said, “Oh I wish!” So why don’t I? . Well, I said, there is my work to do. And you and your brother need driving to camp or the park or the swimming pool. There are dishes to do and the laundry and as much as ... Lucy asked me today why I didn’t spend the afternoon reading, the way she does. I sighed and said, “Oh I wish!” So why don’t I?
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Well, I said, there is my work to do. And you and your brother need driving to camp or the park or the swimming pool. There are dishes to do and the laundry and as much as you and your brother help me by doing your chores, there is always more work to keep the house clean. On the days your dad is not working, I have a little more time. But on his workdays, it’s the 3 of us. And Desmond doesn’t much like being by himself yet, so I can’t just sit under a tree and read.
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She looked at me, a little sad, and said, “I’m sorry to hear it, Mama.” And I was sorry to hear it too. Summers aren’t as fun when you’re a grown-up.
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But I read every morning, outside, at the table with my salad, before the kids wake up. And every night before bed. And I read to Desmond, dozens of books a day. And Lucy and I are reading a chapter of Percy Jackson every night. (!!!) Of course, much of my work is writing a book. So I’m reading, all the time.
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Still, I miss it, the summer of doing nothing but reading when I was a kid. One day this summer, I’ll ask for an entire day to myself to sit under the tree and read.
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It is my favorite time of the year: tomatoes at every meal. . Our first day back from Colorado, I ...
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It is my favorite time of the year: tomatoes at every meal. . Our first day back from Colorado, I bought a big bag of ripe beefsteak tomatoes from @eastwestproduce here on the island. Within a few moments I was having the first tomato sandwich of the year: toasted gf bread, a generous spread ... It is my favorite time of the year: tomatoes at every meal.
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Our first day back from Colorado, I bought a big bag of ripe beefsteak tomatoes from @eastwestproduce here on the island. Within a few moments I was having the first tomato sandwich of the year: toasted gf bread, a generous spread of mayonnaise on both pieces, 2 layers of thick slices of tomatoes, a crunch of Maldon salt. Ahhh. Thank you, Harriet M. Welsch.
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Yesterday, I put a cast-iron pan on the heat. Lardons of bacon. When they stated to crisp, I added handfuls of half moons of zucchini and cooked them until they were starting to brown. And then I cut a beefsteak tomatoes in half and grated it right into the pan. All the juices and pulp fell into the pan, a quick tomato sauce. And I chopped up the leftover tomato flesh and added it to the pan. Chopped kale. Another grated tomato. A touch of cinnamon. Salt. Soft goat cheese. Breakfast stew.
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And the cherry tomatoes I bought? I cooked them in a new way I learned from @myrtlewoodpnw cookbook. A keeper. Toss them with olive oil and salt and spread them out on a sheet pan. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes, then 350 for 30, then 300 for 30. They wither and pucker, the juices concentrating, sweetening. Some grow a little crispy at the edges but they’re still plump. Stir them up a couple of times and pull them out when they might start drying out. Tomato candy. We threw them into pasta one night, on a pizza the next. They’re sweet and chewy and still taste of fresh tomatoes.
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Oh, tomato season.
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It was a wonderful vacation. . Most of it involved various family members moving in and out of this ...
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It was a wonderful vacation. . Most of it involved various family members moving in and out of this kitchen, cooking, cleaning, eating, and leaning over the countertop to talk with someone else. So much goodness happens in the kitchen. . Long before he had Lucy, Desmond, or me in his life, ... It was a wonderful vacation.
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Most of it involved various family members moving in and out of this kitchen, cooking, cleaning, eating, and leaning over the countertop to talk with someone else. So much goodness happens in the kitchen.
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Long before he had Lucy, Desmond, or me in his life, Danny wanted to take his children to the Glenwood Springs pool. We spent 3 hours there the other day, bobbing in the largest mineral pool in the world. Lucy went off the diving board 45 times and rode the tubes ride with her cousin Cooper. Desmond swam in the pool with his floaties and felt powerful. Danny smiled the entire time.
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(Some day, if you have not already done so, you have to drive through Glenwood Canyon. There, you realize again you are part of the earth. And it’s much, much bigger than any of our petty wishes.)
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Danny’s parents are now living in an assisted living facility in Colorado. His dad, who needed to spend some time in a rehabilitation facility after an illness, told his family he had not eaten any pie in months. After I heard that, I had Danny buy some pre-made pie shells. I peeled and sliced peaches and made him a pie. I watched him enjoy a piece of it yesterday.
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On the way back to Denver, we stopped in Frisco for lunch with our nice, Rosemary. God I adore this young woman and her avid love of books and people. And her @jonnysun tattoo. She found a place that made gluten-free pizza safely. Lucy wanted bacon, pineapple, and avocado. I let her order it. Damned if it didn’t turn to be great.
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At first the kids were sad to leave. The end of vacation is always hard. But oh what calm joy to see the ferry dock at sunset. We’re home.
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50 years ago today, this little guy was born. The 5th of 5 siblings, he was born in the tiny town of Fairplay, ...
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50 years ago today, this little guy was born. The 5th of 5 siblings, he was born in the tiny town of Fairplay, Colorado. Burro Days, a celebration in the next town over — “Get your ass over the pass!”— was happening in the next town. So, for a few hours after he was born, he and his mother were left ... 50 years ago today, this little guy was born. The 5th of 5 siblings, he was born in the tiny town of Fairplay, Colorado. Burro Days, a celebration in the next town over — “Get your ass over the pass!”— was happening in the next town. So, for a few hours after he was born, he and his mother were left alone in the small hospital while everyone on staff went to the parade. They brought back food. (Or so the story goes.)
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This little guy grew up in Breckenridge, another tiny town at the time, where he was loved and known throughout the town as little Danny Ahern. His town was so small he remembers the day they paved his street. He lived happily in a town where he doesn’t remember anyone making fun of him for his crossed eyes and the thick glasses he had to wear for the strabismus. (He had surgery to correct it later. Many years later, when the doctors said his daughter had Muenke syndrome, a genetic condition which caused her to need skull surgery, everyone in the room looked at him.) He loved his town and his family.
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Love. It’s the force that guides him, the force that makes every choice he chooses. Love is what he puts into his food. Love is how he lives his days.
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And I am so lucky — the luckiest — that I met him 12 years ago and he has loved me every day since. And I have loved him every day since. And forever more.
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I surprised him by bringing him back to Colorado for his 50th birthday, with his siblings and his parents, to celebrate him with what he loves most: time with his family, lots of good food, relaxed conversations on the patio until well into the evening, a few small adventures, and his kids a part of it all.
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And when we’re in a rental house, and I have no access to my ingredients, it only made him laugh that his birthday cake was a discounted Funfetti gluten-free cake mix we found at a local store, which I garnished with sautéed peaches and the last of the maple syrup in the house. The kids put in all the candles, which the wind mostly blew out as I carried it to the patio. And we all sang to him, including his mom over the phone. And he beamed in that light, surrounded by love.
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Happy birthday, @glutenfreechef. We love you.
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Summer vacation means teaching yourself to juggle, raking a yard, doing dozens and dozens of cartwheels, ...
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Summer vacation means teaching yourself to juggle, raking a yard, doing dozens and dozens of cartwheels, sitting still to contemplate the cliffs above the rental house, and hanging with your cousin, all of it watched by your parents and aunts and uncles as they talked in murmuring tones, ... Summer vacation means teaching yourself to juggle, raking a yard, doing dozens and dozens of cartwheels, sitting still to contemplate the cliffs above the rental house, and hanging with your cousin, all of it watched by your parents and aunts and uncles as they talked in murmuring tones, until the light fades in the sky and the mosquitoes chase you inside the house.
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I love where we live: the lush dark green trees; the sky saturated with grey rain or deep blue in summer; ...
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I love where we live: the lush dark green trees; the sky saturated with grey rain or deep blue in summer; the calm of water. Vashon is home. But there’s something about the wide expanse of the desert that still calls to me. . And this bright yellow light that shines so brightly in dry dry heat ... I love where we live: the lush dark green trees; the sky saturated with grey rain or deep blue in summer; the calm of water. Vashon is home. But there’s something about the wide expanse of the desert that still calls to me.
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And this bright yellow light that shines so brightly in dry dry heat that there are four 4 fruit stands on the road where we are staying. Peaches! Corn! Tomatoes! melons! We are eating well today.
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We are not on Vashon anymore. . Last night, we flew to Denver. Aside from the fact that the plane ...
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We are not on Vashon anymore. . Last night, we flew to Denver. Aside from the fact that the plane sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour while they looked for a staircase to meet the plane, and this we reached our hotel at nearly 1, it was a pretty easy trip. . Today, we drove from Denver to Palisade. ... We are not on Vashon anymore.
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Last night, we flew to Denver. Aside from the fact that the plane sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour while they looked for a staircase to meet the plane, and this we reached our hotel at nearly 1, it was a pretty easy trip.
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Today, we drove from Denver to Palisade. It cracks me up how road trips take 82 times longer with kids than they would by yourself. I used to enjoy road trips.
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The constant bathroom breaks and need for snacks and please for icees and more bathroom breaks and get your hand back on your side of the seat and no we are not there yet....I suppose I’ll miss it some day. Or maybe not. Lucy at 10 is a delight. I’m already planning a cross-country trip when Desmond is 10. I do love seeing this country, these canyons carved out by glaciers, the open plains. In six years, this might be a delight together.
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For now, we are here. We have rented a house, along with Danny’s 4 siblings and their families, to celebrate him. On Thursday, that lovely man turns 50. And so we are here to love on him and laugh and eat peaches and go river rafting and swimming and gather the family together. This is Danny’s idea of heaven. Making him this happy is mine.
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I turned down a street on the island I rarely drive and saw this. Now this is my kind of wall.
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I turned down a street on the island I rarely drive and saw this. Now this is my kind of wall. I turned down a street on the island I rarely drive and saw this. Now this is my kind of wall.
How do you tell if someone is from the Pacific Northwest? Watch the temperature rise about 85 degrees, ...
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How do you tell if someone is from the Pacific Northwest? Watch the temperature rise about 85 degrees, then listen to the cries of “oh it’s too hot!” . I grew up outside of LA in the 70s, in a smog basin, and most days of the summer were regularly over 90. I remember nights so stifling we slept in ... How do you tell if someone is from the Pacific Northwest? Watch the temperature rise about 85 degrees, then listen to the cries of “oh it’s too hot!”
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I grew up outside of LA in the 70s, in a smog basin, and most days of the summer were regularly over 90. I remember nights so stifling we slept in our wet t-shirts in my parents’ room, door closed, fan going in the window. (We didn’t have air conditioning.) I never understood why we lived there.
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So yesterday, when we were supposed to go to the beach for a picnic with friends, the sun squashed my eyes. I thought of sitting in that pounding open sun and said no. My friend Nicole agreed. So she and her family brought blankets and food — a big wedge of Taleggio, sliced ham, rotisserie chicken, potato salad — and I sliced up watermelon and peppers and put them on a sheet tray with a tahini herb dip I made the other day. We sat under the shade of a big tree in our backyard and watched the kids run in the sun while we talked.
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It was one of the kindest dinners I’ve had in a long time.
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Yesterday morning, as Danny and I sat reading downstairs on the couch, Lucy called from the top of ...
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Yesterday morning, as Danny and I sat reading downstairs on the couch, Lucy called from the top of the stairs. “You two get back in bed! Desmond and I are making you breakfast in bed for your anniversary.” Since the World Cup final was about to begin, we gladly complied. The kids giggled as they ... Yesterday morning, as Danny and I sat reading downstairs on the couch, Lucy called from the top of the stairs. “You two get back in bed! Desmond and I are making you breakfast in bed for your anniversary.” Since the World Cup final was about to begin, we gladly complied. The kids giggled as they ran downstairs, then opened cupboards and drawers. Soon, we could smell the warmth of a pan heating, then something cooking. In a few moments, Lucy came bearing a wide bowl. Breakfast. She had seared goat milk feta in enough olive oil to form a crust on it, then pan-roasted a few blueberries. I swear this was all her own presentation. We were amazed and told her. She grinned, then said, “Yay!” And then she left the room to play with her brother so we could watch the first half in peace.
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Later in the afternoon, the kids played again outside. Danny was cooking. I swirled water over the sink full of salad greens to prepare for the week. The Beatles were on. We were humming together, not talking.
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In the evening, dear friends took the kids for a few hours and we had dinner by ourselves at @bramblevashon. Man, everything there is just right. So good. Vashon ingredients, in season right now, made with meticulous love. Danny and I talked about the quality of the halibut stock in the ginger fumet (it turned out to be a halibut-crab stock). When he asked me about the crab-stuffed squash blossoms fried with rice flour, I put my finger to my lips to say, “Shhh....I want to taste this more before I tell you.” And then we talked about it for 5 minutes. When I looked at the menu and saw rockfish with fingerling potatoes, baby artichokes, and a preserved-lemon aioli, I knew right away that was Danny’s dinner.
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Today we have been married for 11 years. Food still continues to be our love language. It’s a different pace than it was when we first met — less frantic and new, more sure — but it’s the same conversation. Happy anniversary, @glutenfreechef.
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As we were sitting on the ferry dock at 9:40 last night, after a full day followed by ice cream, dinner, ...
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As we were sitting on the ferry dock at 9:40 last night, after a full day followed by ice cream, dinner, and a showing of Incredibles 2, Desmond asked me, “Is this the end of the Seattle week?” . “Yep,” I told him. “And hasn’t it been amazing?” . “Oh....” he said, a little forlorn. “I’ll miss ... As we were sitting on the ferry dock at 9:40 last night, after a full day followed by ice cream, dinner, and a showing of Incredibles 2, Desmond asked me, “Is this the end of the Seattle week?”
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“Yep,” I told him. “And hasn’t it been amazing?”
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“Oh....” he said, a little forlorn. “I’ll miss you, Seattle.” .
And we will. But oh it was good to drive onto that ferry and know we could sleep in this morning.
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Since Lucy has been at fashion math camp in Seattle all week, and Danny had to work on the island 3 days ...
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Since Lucy has been at fashion math camp in Seattle all week, and Danny had to work on the island 3 days this week, Desmond and I have been having adventures in the city most every day this week. What started as a conundrum of what to do with D this week has turned into joy. . This little guy. Lover ... Since Lucy has been at fashion math camp in Seattle all week, and Danny had to work on the island 3 days this week, Desmond and I have been having adventures in the city most every day this week. What started as a conundrum of what to do with D this week has turned into joy.
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This little guy. Lover of animals and nature and Legos. He wants to understand how everything everything everything works. (And now.) He narrates and asks questions and really listens to conversations around him and asks how it all turned out in the end. He’s endlessly silly, with a sharp wit. He’s a great companion for adventures.
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He has the best hearing of anyone I’ve ever met, so he’s incredibly sensitive to noise. Yesterday he and I walked around looking for lunch in Ballard. We walked in and out of 10 restaurants in 3 blocks. We stood inside for a moment, and then I could see him wince and cover his ears. Experience has taught us that if we push him and make him stay in a loud place, his behavior goes haywire. I can see him try to throw the kinetic energy of being overstimulated out through his fingers. So he and I found a mediocre poke place that had only 3 customers. We ate our poke bowl and pulled out the chess board, since he has asked to learn.
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We went to the zoo and he ran, delighted to see every single animal and ask a dozen questions about each. He went from 9:30 to 1:00 without sitting down once. Lunch revived his energy and then he ran from 1:30 to 3. He is inexhaustible.
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So we had the zoo, the Locks, bookstores, playgrounds, splash pads, a cafe filled with legos, parks, lunches, snacks, swings, wade pools, and his first taste of @frankieandjos dairy-free ice cream. Through it all, he has been sweet, delighted, full of questions. At least a few times a day, he has looked up at me as we hold hands to say, “Hey Mama, how is your day going?”
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And at 3:30 each day, he is so eager to see his sissy that he’s ready to burst.
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At home or in the car, in a confined space, their utterly typical bickering can drive me nuts. I’m so grateful I’ve had these wide-open days in the city with my little boy.
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I looked up from writing to see this light streaming through the window. Oh July, you are so extraordinary.⠀ ⠀ And ...
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I looked up from writing to see this light streaming through the window. Oh July, you are so extraordinary.⠀ ⠀ And I didn’t even notice the bird shit on the window until I started to edit this shot. I looked up from writing to see this light streaming through the window. Oh July, you are so extraordinary.⠀

And I didn’t even notice the bird shit on the window until I started to edit this shot.
Last night, I had the joy of baking with a group of wonderful people at @booklarder. Oh how I love baking. ...
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Last night, I had the joy of baking with a group of wonderful people at @booklarder. Oh how I love baking. It’s science and improvisation combined, butter and sugar creamed together, listening and paying attention. And it brings people together. . I haven’t been able to teach in awhile. ... Last night, I had the joy of baking with a group of wonderful people at @booklarder. Oh how I love baking. It’s science and improvisation combined, butter and sugar creamed together, listening and paying attention. And it brings people together.
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I haven’t been able to teach in awhile. A year? Time has stretched out now, especially after the medical ordeals of the winter. It has been an inward time. But last night I felt like I was using muscles that had gone quiet. I really do love teaching.
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And so we made blueberry-honey thyme pie, cherry-basil crisp, and this nectarine-blueberry buckle. I had also forgotten how much I love a buckle — a soft buttery cake, topped with fruit, then a cinnamon streusel, baked in a cast-iron pan. I’m making another today.
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Spontaneously, I said something last night I had not articulated before. When Danny and I quit running gfg as our business, there were some losses. But I can see now those holes allowed space for joy to rush in. For the last almost two years, I’ve been able to cook and bake for pleasure again. It has been such joy to make the same crisp 10 different times, not because I need to test it for a book, but because friends are coming over and we have a lot of fruit. And most of it doesn’t show up here. I love baking now more than ever.
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The folks who were at the class, laughing and asking questions? We felt like a community by the end of the evening. Thank you for being there.
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This week, Lucy is taking a @girlsrockmath camp in Seattle, a camp for girls about to enter the 4th ...
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This week, Lucy is taking a @girlsrockmath camp in Seattle, a camp for girls about to enter the 4th grade who love fashion. So, she is in heaven. . And so am I. Look, the 90-minute commute in jam-packed traffic was a little grueling, but it gave the two of us time to talk and talk. I sure like my ... This week, Lucy is taking a @girlsrockmath camp in Seattle, a camp for girls about to enter the 4th grade who love fashion. So, she is in heaven.
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And so am I. Look, the 90-minute commute in jam-packed traffic was a little grueling, but it gave the two of us time to talk and talk. I sure like my kid.
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And while she was in camp from 9:30 to 3:30, I found coffee shops to write in. My god, now that I’m nearly 52, everyone looks so young. And I don’t feel any malice or longing around that. Just noticing. My 20s now feel like eons ago. (Thank god.)
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Since I was on the Ave near the University, I walked by one of my very favorite restaurant of my 30s. Thai Tom is a thin sliver of a restaurant, the closest to street food where you can sit down. There are always 2 woks blazing, with 5 more waiting. Those cooks are fast and efficient. And still, after all these years, half the customers look to be Thai. That’s usually a good sign.
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Thai food is easy to be gluten-free and they took care of me. I sat and ate my cashew chicken — the 4-star spicy I can never eat since no one in my house can tolerate spice — and sipped my Thai iced tea. I thought of the many times I ate there when I was 35. Now, 16 years later, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. It just grows better, softer, kinder. Enough. I can’t wait to see 15 years from now. Both our children will be graduated from high school. Danny and I will have time to travel and be together. I have a feeling we’ll be eating in Seattle more often, reminiscing, grateful.
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A couple of days a week during the summer, we head to the playground. The swings and slides call to ...
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A couple of days a week during the summer, we head to the playground. The swings and slides call to my kids. More than that, we're there for Picnics in the Park. . Here on Vashon, the food bank organizes a lunch for kids every weekday through the entire summer. There are quite a few kids for whom ... A couple of days a week during the summer, we head to the playground. The swings and slides call to my kids. More than that, we're there for Picnics in the Park.
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Here on Vashon, the food bank organizes a lunch for kids every weekday through the entire summer. There are quite a few kids for whom summer vacation could mean going hungry. The food bank makes sure they have something to eat. ⠀
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I've been doing some work with the food bank, so I know that 1 out of 9 people on our little island goes there at least once in a year. There are many more who go every single week. Almost everyone who comes in has a full-time job. Some of them are teachers. Many of them are artists or musicieans. If you volunteer at your local food bank, chances are you'll see someone you know there. Wages are not growing. Corporations are paying more to their stockholders than their employees. The prices of housing and food are skyrocketing. And kids are going hungry. ⠀
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We can afford good food for our kids. We never forget how lucky we are. But we go to the park, as do many of our friends, because it's a chance to support the food bank initiative. After all, we don't want the only kids at the park during lunchtime to be the ones whose parents cannot afford to feed them easily. So we go and grab sandwiches (Desmond), gluten-free chips and hummus (Lucy), yogurt tubes, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, and juices. I bring my own lunch because the food is just for kids. We sit under trees with our friends and the members of our community, while the kids slide down the big hill in front of the library on a slide made of cardboard. There are crafts, storytelling sessions, free books from the library, puppet shows, and general joyful mayhem. This year, they're serving about 150 to 170 lunches a day.⠀
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I'm so grateful to live in a place that takes care of its kids like this.
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