Tag Archives: random thoughts

Strawberry Muffin Tin Pies

4 Aug

The Wallpaper Factor

I saw an article recently about a woman who wore a hidden camera to show how many times she received harassment from men in a day.  The article brought back a memory of some advice I received from an elderly woman not too long ago.

Before I go any further, let me be the first to acknowledge that there is an entire spectrum of uninvited harassment that women receive from a basic hello to lewd comments and gestures.  And there is also an entire spectrum of feelings that women exhibit in response to these from indifference to discomfort and many times fear.  AND, since I am putting out all the necessary qualifications I need to in order to go on about my random thoughts, let me also acknowledge that cat calling and harassment can happen to anyone from anyone regardless of gender.  There.

Anyways… I’m not gonna lie, I don’t mind the basic, non-threatening holler or comment from random strangers.  I find them to be a mini-self esteem boost and actually appreciate someone taking notice.  I realize that the impetus of the comments has absolutely nothing to do with me.  They are just attention seeking behaviors that would be thrown at any woman standing on the sidewalk at that moment.  But since said man took the liberty to extend his holler, glance or compliment, I will take the liberty to interpret it how I want to and decide that yes, I am awesome and I do look hot today.

Several months ago, I was walking to a restaurant with an elderly woman who I admire very much.  She’s a class act and has been at the forefront of some of the major arts and social movements in Cleveland. In 1961,  she was the first woman to walk through the front doors of the oldest social club in Cleveland (est. 1872) that until then had been  exclusively men.  On that walk to the restaurant, I was the recipient of a very loud and animated compliment from a man passing by.  I mentioned to this woman that I was always conflicted on how to respond in these moments.  She stopped walking, looked straight at me and said, “You say thank you.” Continue reading


Apple Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

11 May


From This Mom To Her Village:

Mother’s Day feels like a very linear holiday for a role that is so dynamic.  I celebrate my mom, my kids celebrate me, and so on.  We go to brunch and plant flowers in a domino effect of celebration and admiration for our respective mothers and mothers’ mothers.  To me, Mother’s Day is less about an individual called a “mother” and more about the act of “mothering.”  The verb is more dynamic and to me, captures what raising children and frankly, raising each other, is all about.  For one to be a mother, you need a community of mothering that surrounds you.  This community reinforces the values you are imparting to your children and slowly weaves a world outside of your nuclear family for them to venture out into.

I know I’m THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (see!), but I didn’t get that way overnight and not without a lot, and I mean A LOT, of help.  There is an entire village around me that has helped mold me into the mother my kids perceive me to be. On Mother’s Day, this mother needs to thank her village for allowing her to be the mother she is trying to be. Continue reading

Kid Cliffhanger

14 Aug

I have a kid cliffhanger.  Kind of like a kid hangover…but different.

My fourth miscarriage has felt markedly different from the others.  It has left me dangling off the edge of a cliff and feeling like I’m in a choose your own adventure story, not knowing what the ending is going to be.

A friend recently said that she sees me and my husband having another child.  When I broke it to her that he’s good and fixed, she asked if I regretted making such a swift decision to end our fertility future right after our last miscarriage.  I told her the honest truth – that fourth miscarriage was the best thing that could have happened to me and helped me create the change I desperately needed in my life.  But I went on to explain that, there is something that is still not resolved from that time two years ago.  I’m experiencing a kid cliffhanger.

My husband and I spent the better part of 2010 in endless conversations about if we wanted a third child or not.  We spun the conversation every way possible.  Was there someone missing from the dinner table?  What does Christmas look like 15 years from now?  How many grandchildren do we want?  Can we bank our future on just two boys or should we diversify the pool for success? What if one kid dies tragically and the other doesn’t have other siblings to fall back on?  I mean, we were getting REAL.  After nearly a year we decided with complete certainty that we did, in fact, have room in our hearts for another child.  Shortly after, we welcomed the positive pregnancy test and embraced the good news that a new baby was on the way.

Six weeks later we received the all too familiar bad news that the pregnancy was not looking good.  The doctor suggested I wait a week to see if things improved, but I knew deep down how it was going to end.  I had to go to St. Louis for work that week and ended up spending the time alone having a miscarriage and flushing our dreams of a third child away in a hotel bathroom.

The days and weeks following were a complete shock to me.  The emotions did not feel the same as my first three miscarriages.  Instead of the soul-crushing hopelessness that each previous loss had handed out, I felt a strange sense of relief after the initial sadness passed.  My coping mechanism was to shake everything up.  My husband marched straight to the urologist for a vasectomy.  Then I got a new job which gave me a totally new scene and a fresh cast of characters.  I started running again and I lost the weight I’d been trying to lose since my last baby.  Things were looking up.  I needed this change and the miscarriage helped me realize that.

It’s been exactly two years since that miscarriage.  So much has changed but the one thing that has remained constant is this unexplainable incomplete feeling.  It’s like my biological clock is on snooze, wondering when the alarm is going to go off again.  What men don’t understand about women who want children is that we can physically feel these fertility urges and desires.  It’s like there’s a sixth sense that lives inside of us and connects us to this energy for creating life.  I started creating life four times over and it was taken away before it could be realized in this world.  What does one do with that energy, that desire, that love for what could have been?  Create more life?  Channel that energy to enhance the lives of others?  Adopt?  The universe has been filled with my promises to have a third child, to have a family of five, to love and grow three children who will make this world a better place.  These wishes from two years ago are swirling out there and I’m struggling to fill in the blanks.

My friend asked me what I’m going to do.

I told her that she’ll have to wait and see…it’s a cliffhanger.


The question I couldn’t answer (and strawberry rhubarb pie!)

1 Jun

pie jars 030

I was in hibernation for the winter. Like the flower bulbs snuggled into the dirt now making their way to the surface, my random thoughts and interest in pie are making their way back to the pages of this blog.

My team at work just finished reading Lean In by Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg. Women, work and the will to lead. No loaded topics there. Surprisingly, Sandberg’s message didn’t resonate with me as I had expected. The conversation about women in the workplace is very real and always worth having, but the honest truth is that I found myself a bit exhausted of the discussion. That being said, I did take away a very important insight that helped me address something I’ve been wrestling with for years.

The opening chapter asked a very simple question: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Continue reading

How I Learned to Love My Dog

26 Mar



One would think I should be a dog lover seeing as though I have one, but it took me quite some time to learn to love my dog. I had not been able to completely warm up to her until an unexpected experience left us with more in common than I ever could have imagined.

It’s surprising that I am so luke warm about animals. Look, I don’t want to see them hurt, but I also don’t want them in my bed. As a child, I was a PETA advocate in the making. I have so many memories of a young me shedding buckets of tears over all things living. One of my earliest memories is of watching a pet mouse die a slow death from a tumor. I would stare at his cage sobbing until my dad finally put construction paper on the glass to block the view. Then there was the baby bat in the bushes who had a broken wing. I had grand plans to nurse it back to health, but those went out the window as I shrieked in horror watching my dad put it out of its misery with a shovel. I cried over a chicken that lived on the side porch that was sent to a farm, I cried over a rabbit that broke out of his cage and died in the yard, I cried over a parakeet who I found lying on the floor of his cage (to which I later found out my mom stopped feeding it because I would not take care of it). Hamsters, dogs, fish – you name it, it had tears shed over it.

I don’t know what happened to that passionate little girl who brought home stray kittens and would have snuggled up with a hermit crab. For years, I have tried to rekindle my passion for animals by reacquiring some, but I just haven’t crossed that boundary to LOVE.

Four years ago, we succumbed to the pleas of our two young boys and got our first family dog, Chloe. I would pat her on the head and throw her a ball, going through the motions of a good dog owner, but I remained emotionally distant from her. Part of our arrangement with the breeder was that we would let her have a litter of puppies (yes, the people who just kind of like dogs signed up for this situation). It seemed good in theory. She would get pregnant, and then go back to the breeder’s house a few days before she was due to have the puppies. No puppy business in our house and we would get a mini dog vacation. As planned, she got pregnant and as her little belly continued to grow, I found myself identifying with her more and more as she waddled around the house. When she went through a phase of not eating, I would look at her sympathetically as if to say, “I feel your pain, sister.”

To our surprise, she went into labor two weeks early. It was 3am and we ripped the boys out of bed, threw everyone into the minivan and set out on the 45 minute drive to the breeder’s house. I sat on the floor of the mini van next to Chloe praying that I would not have to deliver puppies on the highway. With every contraction, my panic intensified as I frantically yelled at my husband to drive faster. We made it in time, but because this was a rather abrupt arrival, my husband went home with the boys and I stayed behind to keep Chloe calm. I felt like her Lamaze partner.

Chloe was confused and scared, but she relaxed as I sat by her head. To our disappointment, the first seven puppies were dead and the next three passed soon after birth. She was miscarrying. Of course Chloe was unaware of what was happening, but in that moment I had such an unexpected wave of compassion for her. Tears sprang to my eyes as I chuckled at the irony that the only girls living in our household (me and her) struggle to have successful pregnancies. Sure, she’s a dog, but my heart went out to her after trying to grow ten healthy puppies. I know what it feels like to trust that your body knows what to do; and I also know all too well what it feels like for your body to totally let you down.

I’ve had four miscarriages. My husband and I experienced three losses before our oldest son was born. Those early days are a blur of blood draws, genetic testing and inaccurate diagnoses, all with an undercurrent of the fear and confusion that arrives when you learn that your fertility is not in your control. We went on to have a text book second son and the trauma of those years began to fade. But just when I thought I had control over my fertility again, I was reminded that I, in fact, have none when our attempt at a third child resulted in another miscarriage.

And so, sitting on the kitchen floor in a virtual stranger’s house at 4am, I began to let Chloe creep into my heart. We had a unique bond that only I was aware of, but it helped me begin to love her. As I stroked her head and smiled at her, I remembered how the first time I let her lay in my lap was when I was having my last miscarriage. One of the few times I cried over that miscarriage was when I let Chloe come near and lay by me while I wept over another lost pregnancy. She sat with me through my miscarriage and now here I was sitting with her.

And while we both might have lost our pregnancies, I can say with confidence that we both found comfort in a most unexpected friend.

But she still can’t sleep in my bed.

Drunk on Pie

10 Sep

Pie Eyed:  adj  slang  Intoxicated; drunk

I’ve had pie on my mind since last Thanksgiving.  Well, I have pie on my mind every Thanksgiving, but this time I couldn’t shake it.  Maybe it was because we hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the first time.  Or because I had finally graduated from babies and toddlers to preschoolers and had room in my brain to think about pie.  Regardless, November of 2010 brought a pie revolution to our home.

I made a homemade crust for the first time.  I piloted three different pumpkin pie recipes and two pecan pie recipes – the pie to person ratio was embarrassing.  The pie was good (pumpkin pie winner was Dorie Greenspan’s Caramel Pumpkin Pie) but I knew I could do better.

Spring came around and the mere sight of rhubarb and strawberries sent me on a pie binge – I made 8 over the course of two months.  The last two FINALLY had the right kind of crust.  The guy at the farmer’s market came to know the crazy look in my eye as I showed up every week hunting down the rhubarb haul.

But making big, round pies started to wear on me.  Sometimes you just want a little bit of  pie – not 8 slices that need to be eaten quickly before it goes bad.  And if you’re on a pie bend like me, then you definitely don’t want whole pies hanging around the house every week.  So I began obsessing about ways to keep the integrity of pie, but not make “pie” if you know what I mean.  Of course, this does not excuse beautiful whole pies from my baking endeavors – I’m just spicing it up a little to find all the wonderful ways to eat pie.

We’re a little drunk on pie over here.  If you find yourself wanting to raise a glass to pie, then join me as I find my way through failed crust attempts, filling mishaps and hopefully amazing accomplishments.  We can learn together and hope that everyone at our tables will be a little Pie Eyed this Thanksgiving!