Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Getting to the meat of it

When the blog got a facelift about nine months back, I started writing elsewhere, and I mostly used this space to post art. And it was always awkward. What I draw has a story or even if it doesn't, I'm always thinking on story, and so the times I uploaded just images didn't feel quite right, but it felt clean.

And today, I found myself in an odd place, going through a cooking blog that I first discovered when we moved to Prague (before we moved back to Singapore) and Oscar was just a baked ham of a baby.

Due to certain dietary restrictions around here (Apparently I've been poisoning my man with too much spirulina, spinach, and almond milk. Honestly. The doctor told him, "Your wife's smoothies are killing you."), I had to look up my favorite whole food, all fat, all natural, add-some-more-butter-to-that-chefs, and start looking for ways to get him healthy again. Too many vegetables apparently can get a guy down. As I scrolled, I found myself back to posts that were from the first days when I discovered the blog and was settling into a new apartment, a new city, and a new role as a mama at home with a discontented child. I felt the whoosh. The whoosh is that wave of tears that the people around you don't understand because you've stumbled across something that can never be explained without looking bonkers-city. There was no way I could turn to another adult and weep out, "See this bacon and leek risotto? I used to buy those ingredients in Dejvicka square using my very bad Czech with a baby Oscar hollering like a banshee on my back! It was terrifying and I miss it!"

They were also the same weeks I started blogging for the first time, mostly to document what felt like was a life shrunk to the size of dust balancing on a single atom. Those days were tiny and long and dark and gray, and I honestly do not remember much. But I have the posts. And I have the recipes.

And now, while I plan how to put good fats into my over-ironed over-vitamin-C'ed husband's system, I'm thinking on those days, these days, and this blog.

The past two weeks have been messy. Full of messy people and lives and responses and reactions. Good friends have been hurting in ways no one can help and good people have been pulled in painful directions. Our own household has been worn down and kind of low on the fun meter. And you know what? That's normal. When you're an adult, you still have rough edges, and they show sometimes. You have a choice: You can sit in the mess and love the people around you no matter how much they've stunk the place up, or you can sit in the mess and bad-talk the messier ones. I choose the former.

And while all the mess is churning, my community has doggedly chugged on. Rituals continue. Text messages come in. Community saves. I would very much like to give into the agoraphobia that beckons, but I cannot. My running partner brings me far more healing than my podcasts, and sitting by the pool while my Oscar sprays children in the eyes with his super soaker and my neighbors share their hummus does more for my soul than the book I was hoping to read. I love to be alone. I love to be alone in magnificently large doses, and I am more than happy to retreat. For days. But alone does not allow me to give and receive love, to acknowledge and sit in the above messes, and to marvel at the tolerance of children being assaulted by water guns. Life is not about me getting what I want and having space; it is about participating, even when it's reluctantly.

So today, while printing off recipes for chicken wings and pulled pork and all the things that will restore my husband's depleted soul, I felt compelled to participate in my community in words, and to expose a bit of the mess (I like to tell people I lady-fooded Patrick, but that's sexist and offensive. But honestly--I over-soy-ed the heck out of him).

So here we are. Roast beef on the menu and only words on the page.

The baked ham in a rare sleepy moment and his always-sleepy parents at the morning Dejvicka market.

PS: Speaking of mess: Very certain that plastic cup holds a vino sample; they started pouring at 8:00am. Na zdravi!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Hand-lettering revival

I'm having fun with lettering these days. At some point this week I gave myself a little permission to abandon straight lines. It's been a wobbly-handed, cold and flu, arthritic time, and I embraced it. So, inspired by my not-best-self, I drew a couple gifts, and I think I like them!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sick day circles

My Oscar Gus has been under the weather, so days that were meant for projects turned into days laying on the couch with a fevery little dude. While he took in fluids and inane cartoons, I doodled patterns that were forgiving to bumps from a five-year-old that doesn't sit still well. He's on the other side of his flu and back to school on Monday, but I'm not sure if where I'm at with this drawing is the ending or the beginning...

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Three days shy of two months from today, I will be sipping a microbrew that doesn't cost $14 while looking out at these mountains. There will be long pants, the last of the sunflowers, morning hikes, slow coffee, and (ridiculously) good people. Yes. We are counting days:

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Poppies and pranksters

Yesterday at school, O learned about April Fools. It was a massive discovery. A mind-blowing revelation. And thus began hours testing pranks and calibrating what works. While looking at mom, you can't say, "Guess what? You're a rhino! (pause) April Fools!" Mom just rolls her eyes. But you can say, "Oh, man! I just cut my foot! (mom walks over to look). April Fools!" Jokes that get a reaction = awesome. And for a Five-Year-Old-Tomorrow, that is intoxicating power.

So this morning, there was a plastic ant in his dad's smoothie, a report that there was a snake loose in the house (plausible in a ground floor Southeast Asian flat), and a fake, "I can't find my shoes!"

Godspeed elementary teachers.

That jokester O is home soon, and while I prepare for part-two, I've stolen a couple joke-free hours to doodle and to paint. My sweet sister gave me a tin of Winsor & Newton watercolors this summer, and today I played:

Nature and spring were on my mind, so while those starts dried, I grew some poppies with my pens:

A couple hours of quiet restore both soul and humor. I'm ready for all the plastic insects that Almost-Birthday-Boy has to offer.