Monthly Archives: June 2009

mamalode

I am super excited to be contributing to mamalode, a magazine and website for the whole mother. As in women who seek a whole life and holy moly, the whole mother (in case you didn’t pick up on that clever double entendre.) It’s quite different from the cheesy parenting zines out there. No how-tos. No judgement. Elke Govertsen, the creator who appropriately calls herself the magazine’s curator, says we don’t lean left or right, just on each other. I am so honored to be writing and photographing alongside Missoula women who are inspiring, creative, passionate and accomplished. Lucky me. :: :: :: So, my first essay: Father’s Day started with an early trip to the grocery store, my 18 month-old in her pjs, to fetch items for the papa-requested breakfast burritos. Actually the day had officially started an hour prior when the three of us, plus three furry mammals whose collective body mass competed with ours in the small bed, spooned and giggled our way into Sunday…click here to read the rest… (I’d love to know what you think!) Read more on mamalode…
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ahsoup and cookies

On father’s day and summer solstice eve, while Andy was out whooping it up at our pal’s bachelor party, I made soup with bug and Alice. And so I call it ahsoup because Margot has this charming habit of adding ah in front of single syllable words. It wasn’t just any soup but soup made from an item one would certainly otherwise toss to the chickens or compost. Radish greens. It pains me to toss the greens of radish and rhubarb in partic because it is so meaty and just must be full of good-for-you stuff. So I inquired with my pal, google, and found this recipe. What did a girl do with this kind of question before google? I think she most likely tried it with great hope. She was wishing with all her being that it’d turn out because she was with back pain and nine children and used the last of the household’s wood to light the fire that boiled the soup that turned out like poo and they had to eat it for days anyway, cold, because the papa wouldn’t be home from elk hunting with for another two weeks. That’s what it was like before google. my girls are always underfoot in the kitchen But I have the privilege of typing eat radish greens? on a tiny, white piece of metal and plastic and in .37 seconds a recipe with 22 reviews telling me it is great is right there in front of my eyeballs with the option to print. neat. So the soup turned out fabulously just like all those reviewers said it would. And I got to use the two Greatest Culinary Inventions Of All Time. The immersion blender I have talked about often but the supa slick herb scissors are a new gift from Laura. *magic* as if scissors weren’t cool enough I made some changes and below is the recipe with my edits. :: Radish Green AhSoup :: 2 tablespoons butter1 large onion, diced3 medium potatoes, sliced thinly4 cups raw radish greens4 cups vegetable broth2 tablespoons fresh thyme2 bay leaves1/3 cup (or so…) heavy creamsalt to taste Melt the butter in a pot over medium. Throw in the onion and cook until soft. Add potatoes, radish greens, broth and herbs. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes soften. Remove bay leaves. Use the Greatest Culinary Invention Ever to puree. Add cream slowly while stirring until desired creaminess is reached. thyme The original recipe calls for thinly sliced radishes on top and I found the flavor and consistency and aesthetic to be all wrong so don’t do that. Even with a pretty linen and artful crop it still hearkens a turd in a punch bowl. so hideous. I buried the radishes but they kept turning up on the spoon. Only include the radishes if you have a toddler who would enjoy eating the soupy slivers. Bug gobbled up all my radish garnish. Margot LOVED this soup. eating ahsoup in her favorite ahcoat So, many of the recipe reviewers said things like “To reduce the fat I didn’t add the cream and instead added a dollop of low fat sour cream…” eh? I am realizing that the world doesn’t eat like Montanans do. We eat real butter, extra virgin olive oil, half and half and peanut butter. I know there’s a market for all those substitutes but I don’t believe they are so much consumed in Montana. Perhaps it’s that we aren’t often in bikinis. I added extra cream. And then I made cocoa oatmeal cookies. Now that could sound excessive but 1. I am pregnant and very hungry and 2. In the afternoon I became obsessed with a cocoa powder cookie with oats and 3. I was active today with pilates, a bike ride, gardening and a walk…Again, google assisted and voila. Effing awesome cookies. I omitted the raisins included in the original recipe because my man thinks raisins offend the perfect fruit, Grape. And tomorrow’s his day. Speaking of fattening food and tomorrow being his day, I bought him an entire half of a cheesecake for father’s day because he had a piece of this cheesecake last week on a work lunch break and barely stepped across the threshold of our home that evening before breathlessly recounting every detail of the life-altering experience he had at Tagliare’s. Followed by his exclaiming and, babe, they sell whole cakes! and wondering if it would be nuts if he, every once in a while, ordered one just to have at our house. out of context shot of Ida and my belly :: Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies :: 1 cup butter, softened1 cup packed brown sugar1/2 cup white sugar2 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt3 cups rolled oats the dough is quite tasty Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter or margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and, mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes, until cookies are almost set. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookies sheets, then move to wire racks or eat five with a glass of milk. kindof hard to photograph without looking like dog food. trust me, they’re tasty Happy papa’s day to all you dads out there, with a special shout out to my amazing and inspiring dad. Hope you have a loving and fulfilling day. Read more on ahsoup and cookies…
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what one and a half looks like

One and a half years ago, at this moment, my trembling body was supported by a sleigh bed covered beet red sheets. I was pushing and crying. And, at 10:06, I willed bug to take her first sip of air. Yep. Margot Bea is one and a half. This morning, watching her gram sing I Love You a Bushel and Peck on my phone that I left in the spring storm we got last night. Oops. For some reason this feels bigger than one to me…she’s solid in kid and not so much a baby. Although, sometimes still my baby. She fell asleep at the farmer’s market last Saturday. Here’s where we’re at, 18 months after my life changed forever in the best way. Animals :: Margot just swoons over chickens, dogs, cats, birds, squirrels. She is not such a fan of horses but she’ll get there. An older photo but this is how Margot hangs out, eats her snack, plays with toys. Alice is her favorite companion. She always asks where Alice is and hugs her at every passing opportunity. Words :: Ooh doggie is bug a talker. I stopped counting at 50 words at the beginning of May. She doubled or tripled her vocabulary since then and pieces them together in some melt-my-heart sentences. Mama Alice Walk? as she pushes the leash into Alice’s neck and then lets go, leash falling to floor. Uh oh, she looks to me to fix the situation. Coat :: Oh boy this coat that Vivian made for bug when she was still floating in amniotic fluid is Margot’s bff. We have to trick her out of it to wash it and peel it off of her sweaty body when she is sleeping. First thing in the morning, her groggy voice pleads, coat? The furry coat has bumped the maraca to second. At least the obsessed-over coat is darling. Maraca :: Still sleeps with it and totes it all about. She calls it her shaka. We keep one in the car and one in her crib. Grandparents :: She is so so lucky to have amazing baby boomers loving all over her. Three were in town last week and she had a ball. Peek-a-boo with Grandpa. She calls him Bakka. And geez I am so lucky that my ma and ma-in-law love each other so. And, I adore watching them with my girl. At our neighborhood park. Pals :: Margot adores her daycare and when I tell her we are headed to there on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, she starts asking for her friends by name. She’s a kid and likes to be around other kids. There’s something magic about watching her sort that all out…sharing and compromise. Opinions and tantrums. Reading with Cooper Chillin’ with cousin Charlotte Sharing raisins with Eliza Tantrums :: Holy shit have we realized the tantrum. Sweet bug has begun pancaking on the floor and pounding her fists on occasion. We just sit with her and wait it out. It always ends with a snotty, teary face and a mama, up? Then we watch Hakuna Matata. She is this cute most of the time. The tantrums are photogenic in a whole different way. Hakuna Matata :: We don’t watch much tv at our house. Margot has seen some youtube clips and is particularly fond of All the Single Ladies, Feist singing 1, 2, 3, 4 and, hold onto your hats, Hakuna Matata. She saw it for the first time at Moana‘s house and it is our current cure all. She knows the song my heart and gasps in anticipation of the the gasping part (when all the bugs fly up) and starts in with uh oh, more? about 20 seconds before the end. Asleep in her stroller after a full day; she loves my homemade berry yogurt popsicles. Outside :: Hands down, this is where bug wants to be always. Even in the rain. Especially without shoes. She wanders and explores. Talks to the chickens, freaks out when a plane flies overhead, identifies flowers, finds puddles, hunts for black rocks. First toe-dip of the year in the Clark Fork. My ma, Margot, me. Dishwasher :: OK, so this just makes her parents happy. Happy one and a half birthday! For the love of all things holy I love my new dishwasher. Water :: Little fish can’t get enough. She’s fearless. Poured over, splashed around, rained on, dipped in…loves it all. Piggies :: She thinks it’s pretty cool when I put pigtails in her hair. She sits patiently while I count to three with each tail and then grins with satisfaction when they are in. I love kissing that neck. Hugs and Kisses :: So sweetly, Margot leans into her peeps and animals and grins while smooshing her cheek against their body. And, those open mouth, wet kisses make my heart ache. Mama :: Golly it feels good to be loved my her. She regularly switches between being a papa’s girl and mama’s girl (which is quite lovely) and, right now, it’s all me. When she says mama, whether in frustration, adoration, need or sadness. Oh.I look down over my growing belly every morning to this little button wanting me to hold her. And I do. There’s so much more….when she’s happy she scrunches her face and blinks really fast while giggling. She poos on the toilet and practically looses her breath over bubbles. She stands on the green chair in our living room and yells bye bye papa! as loud as she can when he leaves for work at 7am. She totally digs her toothbrush. She eats with utensils and gets pissed if you try to help if she hasn’t asked for help. She sings the abcs. Kindof. She loves to read and often is carrying a maraca and a book while trying to drink her milk. She is amazing and I love her so. Those dark chocolate eyes. She’s an old soul. Read more on what one and a half looks like…
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awe damnit spinach

It’s been a long time since I dorked out about my garden on dig. And nothing can bring out my inner dork like a sick vegetable that needs mending. And, this morning, I woke at 5:30, made coffee and crept to my computer to write just as Margot decided to wake…BUT the grandmas and one grandpa are in town so, as I type, two ladies I love in jammies are blowing bubbles and scrambling an egg in the kitchen with my bug. My spinach looks like poop. Scrawny and miserable. I went in for a closer look and there was this little dude having a blast on the tip of a leaf, oh hello! he was saying as if I’d be happy to see him. I am pretty certain he is a spinach leaf miner. Ack does that sound nasty or what? I envision the hairy beast with a miniature pickaxe, helmet and head lamp pounding away on my delicate, bright green, vitamin-rich food. Asshole. And I am especially bummed because the spinach is right next to my beets and vegetable leafminers hammer away on beets too. Although I am not skilled enough to identify the exact species so I am *hoping* this is a rare kind of leafminer who only enjoys spinach and then buzzes right off. This is what my master gardening book has to say about the pest:Larval leafminers burrow underneath leaf surfaces leaving a visible trail as they eat their way through the leaf. Leafminers can be flies, wasps, moths or sawflies. Leaves damaged by leafminers have a distinct top and bottom leaf surface that can be pulled apart at the tan-colored blotch or serpentine tail. Inside trails or blotches, you will find a larva or a black, sawdusty leafminer droppings. The biological and mechanical controls available won’t do me any good because I do not have access to ichneumonid wasps nor do I know what hey are and it is too late for row covers (that would have aided in control but needed to be used as soon as seedlings emerge). And as far as chemical, well, I may have missed out but I may have time. Neem oil has shown to inhibit feeding and egglaying….and because the green invaders are instars or larva (I think instar is a stage in larva?) it could be the perfect time to spray. I’d love any other ideas y’all have out there too. Anyway, the neem needs to be applied now and if it doesn’t work I will be pulling over one hundred spinch plants. Because while my family enjoys spinach, we will perish if we don’t have bloody beets to pull out of the dirt. Perish. A few other garden tidbits: Arugula is about toast so I will harvest remaining leaves, pull and plant pepper starts this weekend. Pea Forest I don’t water enough and it is pissing me right off. My seedlings are struggling and I need to get on the stick. Radish volunteers are everywhere in my garden. I have pulled dozens of plants and there are still millions of entrepreneurial roots. Strawberries almost there. And I covered with bird netting in time this year. Ha! Squirrels! Take that! I am proud of lots of things I have grown but must admit one particular species takes my breath away. And, I look forward to the germination and rooting into my heart of another. In response to requests for a belly shot. 14 weeks. Read more on awe damnit spinach…
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In love with Alice

Life with a kid changes life with a dog. When I was pregnant, I couldn’t imagine loving a kid as much as I loved Alice. She is my running companion, snuggle partner, best pal. She teaches me important lessons. She is always happy to have me, no matter what state I am in. She rises at 5am to run if I desire and lays spoons with me when she’d rather be barking at the alley. My girl. Alice. Of the plethora of unhelpful, unsolicited advice people give out to pregnant people (right now it’s boy, you’ll have your hands full! or wow, you didn’t waste any time! How does one reply to that? Yes, we have sex every four hours. I was hoping to be the next octo-mom, but, dangit, I’ll take what I can get.) I was most appalled by people suggesting I wouldn’t love my dog as much when I had a kid. That if my dog bit my kid, I’d put her down without hesitation. When pigs fly. And, you know, I still maintain and live that truth, 18 months later. But life is different. Alice remains a giant part of our family. Alice was Margot’s first word (and wow). She comes on road trips and gets special treats and kisses. She sleeps in our too-small bed with us at night and has cozy just-for-her spots all over our house. She is loved. However, I am not running a half marathon during this pregnancy like I did the last. In fact, I am not running at all. So, she doesn’t get several-per-week jaunts she so adores and, more importantly, needs. And I do get to a boiling point pretty damn quick when I am scrambling to make an egg (ha!) in the morning and Alice is woven around my legs waiting earnestly for anything consumable to fall on the floor while also stealing Margot’s peanut butter bread and whining at dogs on the sidewalk. I do pay more attention to my toddler and it often takes a deliberate effort to greet Alice when I get home from work to the flurry of my creatures vying for my hugs. It is different. I tell Alice all the time that in a year, I’ll be there for her like she needs me to be. Like she is always there for me. In a year, we’ll be training for a marathon and running in the Rattlesnake with splotchy sunlit pine needles beneath our feet. I wonder if she feels sad. I wonder if she feels punished not going on runs with me. Feels jealous that another mammal is more often the subject of my picture taking. She sees me leave the house every morning with bug and not her, tail pathetically and hopefully wagging. I don’t get to go, huh? I think she might think I go for a run with Margot and then hang out and take pictures with her all day. So, Andy reached down to pet her recently and was all what the? because she had rolled in chicken poo. One of her very most favorite activities. So, we hosed her off in the backyard and I wondered out loud, when was the last time we gave her a bath? It has been a long long time. Her sweet collar was shredded and stinky. Her toenails need clipped. Oh, sweet love of my life, you need a pooch makeover. It was time for some Alice doting. I made her a new collar in about 30 minutes before work one morning while Margot threw my fabric scraps all over the studio and Alice’s tail tapped rhythmic drums against the door frame and the cats lounged on the rug and the chicks peeped in the bathroom. Seriously, though, the making of the collar was so so easy. And, I just took apart her old collar and used its hardware, webbing and pattern. Add some scrap fabric and voila. Repurposed doggie accessory. That evening she had a deluxe outdoor bath with gourmet tea tree oil canine shampoo. I intended to use rain barrel water because it is warmer and efficient but the weak pressure was tortuously taking forever so we switched and she got frothy and shook all over me. The cleansing was followed by a homemade peanut butter biscuit from our local dog shop. And then a long parade around the hood with just her and me. I let her sniff extra long at other dog’s urine and didn’t yell or groan when she yanked my pregnant body because she saw a dog whose butt she desired to sniff. We had a leisurely date. Just like everything in life now–my marriage, kid, work, friends, family, art, writing, gardening, exercise, bathing, staying hydrated–it is up to me to prioritize what is important and to make sure my actions reflect my priorities. And that night in the backyard, as we hosed our first baby down, I realized I want more quality time with my dog. I remembered the complete head-over-heels love I found when we picked her out at the humane society. I remembered when she (and our cats but they don’t enjoy hiking, swimming in rivers and road trips as much) was the only kid. She’s dorky and perpetually underfoot and the perfect, essential part of our little family. Read more on In love with Alice…
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