Spring Cleaning

On my hands and knees, I plant my palms in the earth and with my fingertips break up clumps of dirt - back and forth until big chunks become fine grain.  Head down, heart open, this is my idea of feeling something exquisiteSide by side, I watch seeds and bulbs begin to spring forth, beautiful growth mirrored back to me, while Sully and his pal play "house" in a fort and a very busy robin flies back and forth collecting bits and pieces for her nest, eyes on us.

This week marks my fourth week in the studio on the mat.  In our poses we focused on resetting our intentions.  Allowing old dirt to exhale away like grey smoke and allow new purpose to come in on the inhale.  We worked to create space for light and all that newness to move in.  This practice is humbling.  I am so grateful to have found my way back.

As if warmth and gardening and spring awakening is not enough for one week, I walked each of my boys just before bedtime to the top of our staircase where we have a big window.  I simply picked them up one at a time and held them up to the beautiful view of dusky sky.  What do you see?  I asked.  Eyes open wide, searching.  Eyes sparkling.  The Moon!  The moon!

Did you see it?



That words are windowpanes in a ransacked hut, 
smeared by time's dirty rains, we might argue likewise that words are 
clean as glass till the sun strikes it blinding
--Adrienne Rich, Transparencies


Pasta, Glaze, and Muffins. Spring Recipes

I was in a bit of a cooking and baking rut.  Braised, roasted, soups, apples, potatoes.  Tired.  This past week I bought pounds of strawberries and my second bag of Meyer lemons.  I bought rosemary and greens.  Suddenly my kitchen didn't feel so tired anymore.  With mostly what I had on hand, I made these three recipes, two of them more than once. 

I made this pasta - twice.  I used fresh tomatoes and instead of using broccoli, which I did not have on hand, I tossed the cooked pasta mixture on top of a handful of fresh baby kale and spinach and squeezed even more fresh Meyer lemon on top.  Simple and delicious.

I made this glaze but instead of using salmon I used grilled chicken.  On the side we had wild rice and asparagus.  So good!

I've made two batches of these muffins, one batch yesterday for my neighbor and this morning I made a batch for us.  The smell of strawberries and rosemary roasting is heavenly.  I love Beth Kirby's recipes (and her gorgeous writing and photography).  I rarely change a thing she does, only this time I added a light dusting of lavender sugar to the tops of the batter before baking for a bit of crunch.  I also left out the rosemary in the batter, only using rosemary with the roasted strawberries because my kids are very weird about too many little bits of green in their food. 

All three of these recipes will be made over and over again in my kitchen, they were that good.  (And easy!)

Tonight we're trying The Pioneer Woman's grilled chicken and pineapple quesadillas.  I'm guessing they're going to be really good, as so many of her recipes are.  Off to grocery shop...

What's cooking in your kitchen these days?


Heart Open

 {from the archives.  last spring.}

Yesterday was yoga class.  There were no teary eyes, no felt release of something too big to be contained inside this time.  In fact, yesterday's yoga was on the cusp of grueling.  Still the beauty of the space and teacher and new friends.  Still the beauty of the work.  But the work was hard on my fleshy body, asking of me to push and pull muscle fibers, some I forgot I owned, and some so used to being curled inward on this here keyboard.  It felt like a searing burn turned tingle to rotate each humerus backwards, chest stretched,  heart open.  And then we breathed on our backs, fast and rhythmic breaths in between the inhale and exhale.  We did that for what felt like forever.  My chest cavity actually ached and I saw stars.  And I felt my heart open wider.  I felt like a redeemed goddess in Warrior pose.  I did feel gratitude again to have brought this practice back into my life.  For this lovely little studio.  I do believe these feelings will be brought along each time like my orange mat, and whatever else happens will simply be that day's yoga.  

We went to Ikea yesterday after my yoga class.  It was not a good time.  The boys were at their worst.  More than once I felt all that morning mediation and breathing balled up and tossed out like trash.  I'd been making a mental list in preparation for this trip and once there I could think of almost nothing except how pissed off I was, how disappointed I felt.  Eric was with us and I felt angry at him, too.  I ended up giving in and saying yes to things I didn't even like just to be done with this miserable trip that I had been looking forward to.  I do this, I think, way too much as I'm looking through plastic storage containers and grabbing cinnamon rolls.  Be the one who gives in because dealing with my own feelings seems like the easier choice.  Because I know, absolutely know, we'll all live and be okay.  So what if I think the new outdoor furniture is hideous - we don't have to talk about it again for at least five more years...  But this is me at my worst, too, holding on to negative thoughts and feelings like these.  At times my hubby the unfortunate recipient. 

At bedtime in our house, we read.  After books, Eric curls up with one kiddo and I with the other.  We switch kiddos every other night so that each one gets time with each of us, equally.  The boys have bunk beds in a shared room so we are all actually together.  After stories and lights out, we stay with the boys until they fall asleep and this is one of my favorites things.  This is when we talk, when we are very calm.  This is when last night I told the boys that I was sorry I was such a butt at Ikea.  I told them how at yoga class that morning we worked on opening our hearts and right now I can't help but think about that.

Theo said you can't open a heart.  

Open your heart, Sully laughed.  Ewwww.  

You can open your heart, I told them.  Put your hand on your heart.  Feel it beating.  Feeling your heart opens it.  That's where our best feelings and intentions come from.  When you make choices from your open heart they will almost always be your best choices.

I decided to stop right there with both of my boys feeling their hearts with their soft, warm hands.