St. Patty’s (extended) Weekend.

Whee! What a wonderful weekend we had! The only downside? We forgot to take PICTURES, we were too busy having fun. Whoops! I’ll share the few that I did manage to snag in between playdates, beer dates, and trekking into Philly.

Earlier last week we actually made it to the Garden of Reflection, which I wanted to do an entire post about, but- surprise- I didn’t make the time for it. I hadn’t ever been there, but had heard that it was a really peaceful, lovely place to go and spend some quiet time. So of course, I brought the kids.

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It is really beautiful- a spiral walkway lined with sheets of glass (which are inscribed with the names of  all of the victims of the 9/11 attacks) leads to a central memorial with huge spotlights. They obviously weren’t on during our visit, but I’m thinking of going over tonight to experience it with the lights- I think it must be stunning.

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I was moved by all of the personal items people left as a tribute to loved ones that they lost. There were rosaries, pictures, charms, and coins left by different names and hung on parts of the railing or glass memorial. It reminds visitors that while 9/11 is twelve years behind us, the losses are still very fresh in our minds and hearts.

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Of course, I had Jack and Carolyn to lighten the mood a bit…

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Thank goodness for that 🙂 The thing I found most moving was actually at the entrance to the garden: a piece of steel from the WTC. It was so chilling to think about that huge piece of metal and wonder what part of the building it came from…what it had witnessed.

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I can’t wait to bring the kids back here in the spring when the trees are in full bloom and the weather is warmer, or during the summer, at night when it’s illuminated. Still, it was beautiful being there.

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Thursday was pretty low-key. Luis was home in the morning, which allowed me to get some house-stuff done like laundry and food prep (read: almond milk and banana soft serve). Thursday night I was supposed to meet some friends for a writing workshop at school, but there was a mix-up and Luis ended up having to work much later than I had expected. We ended up getting together here at the house, which was wonderful and hilarious. I’m really enjoying having people in my life who inspire and motivate me, and I’m lucky to have met the people that I have, so talented and wonderful.

I had class on Friday morning, and then we were out running errands for most of the early afternoon- which included a coffee/hot chocolate stop.

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I am loving this picture right now.

Friday night I went to a potluck at school, followed by Chris’s reading in the Orangery. It was great, I knew most of the people at the potluck from the writing workshop, but that didn’t totally prevent me from feeling a little awkward and odd until some other, more familiar friends showed up.

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True to form, Chris gave everyone in the audience a slinky and encouraged us to play with them throughout the reading. He also had us write the names of our imaginary friends on index cards, and toward the end of the night, he read them all aloud.

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Sweet, wonderful Chris, doing the thing he hates.

Chris read with another poet, W. D. Ehrhart, whom I found very engaging. He had a great sense of humor, and it came through in his writing, which was both frank and intelligent.

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A few of us ended up going out to Isaac’s after the reading, and were eventually joined by Ashleigh, an old and dear friend of mine! A wild rumpus ensued.

Saturday was B-U-S-Y. Luis was working, and I had a bit of homework to finish up before officially beginning my spring break, so the kids spent a few hours at Ally’s Mum’s house while I sat in front of the fireplace typing papers. I was also able to meet Ally for lunch at Isaac’s. We were long overdue for a lunch date, and it goes without saying that it was such a treat to spend my afternoon with her and a huge, delicious arugula salad.

After lunch (and a stop at the wine shop), the kids and I met James at Nana’s to wish her a happy 97th birthday.

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slinky!

 

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Playing hide and seek with Uncle James.

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After Nana’s, I zipped home to start prepping dinner. It had snowed, so we drove through Tyler Park because it’s beautiful.

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We had some new friends come over Saturday night with their two children for a big, healthy, vegan sha-bang. Shaun and Naomi own an awesome vegan restaurant and juice bar in Bloomsburg which I wrote about last year. Right now they’re here working as chefs and food consultants for a new restaurant, Doc Baker’s, which is vegan, mostly raw, 98% gluten free, and super delicious restaurant and juice bar opening on State St. in Doylestown. I’ll be writing up a post about it ASAP, because it is incredible. It’s also the first place we’ve had that caters to the vegan crowd in a more informal setting- someplace you’d be able to grab a quick lunch or bring your kids without worrying about needing reservations. I am thrilled.

We ended up hanging out while the kids played in the sun room and up in Jack’s room. They were off the chain and super excited, and it gave the adults some time to hang out and drink wine. It was also a lot of fun to spend time with other children who eat the way Jack and Carolyn do- which is to say, eat well, and most anything. Shaun and Naomi brought an incredible vegan mac and cheese dish made with quinoa pasta. They added flax and chia to the sauce, which gave it a wonderful heartiness and nutritional boost. I made a roasted butternut squash salad with parsley and wilted power greens, and a brown rice salad with asparagus and an orange vinaigrette dressing. We also had roasted beets and GF blueberry banana bread. Such wonderful company and delicious food, I’m really looking forward to getting together with them again. No pictures, unfortunately, because I was too busy eating, chasing children, and having fun 🙂

Sunday I was up early trying to get the house in order before leaving for Philly. I had an opportunity to participate in a writing workshop at the Mutter Museum, which got us free entry into the museum plus some writing time in the Gross room, a gorgeous private space lined with glass bookshelves and huge arching windows. Just being able to sit at such an enormous, old, and beautiful table would have been worth the trip down! I hadn’t been to the museum in years, so it was nice to refresh my memory. It’s really incredible, but not for the faint of heart. They have an exhibit right now that coincides with Grimm’s Fairy Tales- so cool.

After the workshop, I ended up getting coffee with Eric and talking for a little while before heading toward the Art Museum to meet another old friend of mine from high school. She lives down the street from the Rodin Museum, and her apartment is suuuuper cute with a beautiful view of the city.

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We hung out at her place with a friend of hers and a bottle of wine before getting pizza at the much-discussed Blackbird Pizza (as I type that, I realize I have leftover pizza and a peanut butter bomb brownie in the fridge….NOM).

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south philly: seitan sausage, broccoli rabe, fennel, eggplant, red sauce, daiya cheese.

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fungi: assorted mushrooms, fresh thyme, garlic butter, truffle oil mozzarella style daiya cheese- both were amazing, but this was the favorite!

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root beer bbq wings with pineapple jalapeno relish.

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habanero-citrus buffalo wings with creamy cucumber dip.

SO GOOD. Definitely not healthy by any means, but yum just the same.

We had a great time sitting up eating and talking and watching goofy YouTube videos of cats- a true girls’ night!

I rolled into bed at 1, totally exhausted from what was one of the best weekends in my memory. I know I say this all the time, but I truly feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful and inspiring people. Friends play a pretty major role in my (and really, anyone’s) life. I depend on my relationships with my friends to keep me going when life is wearing me thin, or when things just aren’t working the way I need them to. There is no replacement for good company, and it isn’t easy to find. I marvel at how I could be blessed with so much.

Speaking of good company, Jack and Carolyn are now trying to play with the same toy. It’s not going as well as I would hope, and I’ve spent most of the morning writing this post, so it looks like it’s time for a jumbo firetruck floor puzzle and leftover noms. I hope everyone had an equally engaging weekend! Hopefully I’ll be back in here later this week to share a little about Doc Baker’s with you.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with this business in 5….4…..3…..2…..

The Magnificent Disappearing Girl.

Hey, remember me?? Whew! It’s been a while- I have to say, last semester kind-of ripped the rug out from under me. It was great in so many ways, but left me with little time for anything other than parenting and writing. I wrapped up the semester on December…15th, maybe? And I haven’t looked back- the kids and I have been getting into all sorts of mischief, my brothers are both home, and the entire house has been in full swing for the holidays. However, now that the thrill of Christmas has wound down, and with New Year’s a mere day away, I thought it was about time I sat down and shared a bit of our goings-on with all of you.

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Got all that? Good 🙂

Really, though, we’ve been a busy group. J & C are both hitting major milestones (Jack is potty training, Cal is crib training and learning to walk), and that’s kept me on my toes. I also have some incredible opportunities in the spring, the preparation for which has been extremely nerve-racking.

Earlier this semester I was invited to join a writing workshop led by one of my favorite professors. It’s probably the biggest personal success I could reasonably hope for right now, and so of course it has also been a source of anxiety. I’m not sure why, but I have a lot of trouble just being happy with an opportunity or event. I always anticipate things falling apart or that somehow I’ll make a mess of the situation and ruin it for myself. It has a lot to do with my anxiety, which ends up inevitably filtering into most areas of my life. I’ve been making a serious effort to reign it in, because I would really like to be able to just relax and enjoy the good things that are coming to me.

I have also been invited to facilitate a writing workshop at the art studio (Alchemy Open Studio) beginning mid-January, and have been putting loose prompts and plans together for that as well. Again, more worry that I’ll somehow mess it up, but I’m fortunate to have some excellent supports that have given me wonderful ideas and feedback, so I feel a little more grounded.

I am also finishing the last bits and pieces of my transfer applications, preparing to do some training for volunteer work with a local women’s shelter, and writing, which is my greatest source of stress, frustration, and satisfaction. It’s not been an easy winter! However, I’m feeling so, so fortunate to have these incredible opportunities. It’s interesting- I didn’t seek any of these things out. They truly did walk up right under my nose and present themselves to me. However, I don’t think our paths would have crossed had it not been for the hard work I have put in up to this point, so I guess in a way I these are earned blessings.

This week is all about winding down and recovering. I’m hoping to get back on the blogging wagon, but please be patient with me as I navigate my new schedule. On Tuesday I am attending a two-hour yoga session led by a master yogi, followed by a free screening of Forks Over Knives and FREE (!!!!!) Cinnamon Snail food, so I’ll try to snap some pictures and fill you all in on that experience. For now, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. See you all in the new year!