Every Mom Is Awesome!

 

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Dear stitch readers, say hi to the little motivational stamp I put on my blotting pad this morning 😉 – such a simple, small thing, but I assure you, it goes a long way for a parentless, slightly overworked and underrested woman on the last leg of her Forties.

Read on at your own peril, for there is no real point to this post (yet) other than reflecting on how a fair number of people have told me that I’m awesome over the last few weeks. Guys, you know who you are – and I appreciate the positive reinforcement so, so much – thank you!

What goes around comes around: I’m always impressed by what you people accomplish. I certainly don’t feel I juggle more than most women I know – given that I work from home, my schedule may even be a bit more flexible than others‘. But I deeply admire you guys for all you manage to do, create, think, write, cook and learn, and today, I want to say to you: GOOD JOB, Y’ALL!!!

Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s a few things I did over the last weeks, when I wasn’t editing the hell out of the novel I was working on.

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With a li’l help from my friends (again, you know who you are!) we pulled off a sensational Halloween-themed birthday party for our daughter, complete with a treasure hunt in the dark that included finding a special headstone at the close-by cemetery, I kid you not! In the end there was also the first pinata we ever did. It was so much fun that I do believe we’ll have to make it a tradition :-)))).

I’ve got that frosting down now too, and I’ll have two insanely talented Junior Partners for when we’ll start our very own pastry shop once they finish school. It’s gonna be great :-)!

OK, I wasn’t going to at first, but I guess I need to include my latest baking endeavor. Have you people ever made shortbread? It can be somewhat … bland? Heavy? On the floury side? Well, it doesn’t have to be. I gave it some thought, took the basic recipe and made some adjustments and ended up with a very lemony, buttery indulgence …

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Very Lemony Shortbread

500 g butter

160 g sugar

900 g flour (400 g of which I substituted with spelt flour)

1 1/2 TBSP salt, and don’t be shy!

Grated peel of 1 or 2 lemons, chopped (depends on their size as well as your tastebuds)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

You know the drill: Make a smooth, solid lump of dough of these ingredients and set aside.

This all seems pretty straightforward I suppose. Other than the pinch of nutmeg it’s the basic recipe. I guess what makes _my_ shortbread really special is the icing. It consists of

Juice of 1 lemon

Grated peel of 1 lemon, chopped

100 g powdered sugar

and – get this – 1/2 jar of lemon curd

Using a flat wire whisk, combine well and set aside until you take your shortbread out of the oven.

For baking, line a deep, square shaped baking dish with baking parchment. Put your dough in there and roll it out flat as best you can – it will be grim work. I enlisted my teenager who doesn’t have a f…ed up shoulder. It should be approx. 1 cm high. Try and smooth out the edges, and by all means prick the heck out of that cake with a fork. Again, don’t be shy. It also makes for a pretty pattern I thought. Before you bake it, make incisions in the shape you’d like your shortbread slabs, pieces, squares, what have yous to have later on. Put in the oven at 160 °C for approx. a half hour. Check on it as soon as it starts smelling wonderful – and adjust your temperature so it doesn’t burn. Once it has a golden brown cookie-y look, take out of the oven and with a spatula spread your icing, which should have the consistency of slightly runny jam. Turn off the heat and put back in the oven to steep. Cut into desired pieces. And enjoy :-). Nobody will be greatly surprised to hear that this will be part of my annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.

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As for crafts, I haven’t been idle either. Here’s what happened on that front:

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I finished The Fall Colored Scarf (sooo fluffy!!!). I speed-knit a pair of socks for my godson in California – it needed to happen because my husband was going there on business and actually went to see our folks on his day off, yay! I made my goddaughter in Frankfurt a pair of Rainbow Socks for Christmas, and am making another pair for her older sister – alas, shoe size 39, little girls no more… and I’m really proud of my ingenuous little lady whom I helped make that bracelet at my son’s school’s Winter Bazaar. She chose the color scheme, and may I say she chose really well.

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I also bought some yarn, cool stuff to make new gauntlets, as I managed to shrink these to a degree that my daughter of eight is now their proud owner:

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Last but not least, I just submitted the translation of the second novel in Santino Hassell’s Five Boroughs Series, Sunset Park. Needless to say, I was immersed in a really intense round of final editing for a week. And now I’m done, and I finally feel I managed to capture the two protagonists‘ tones of voice. The story’s written from both of their points of view, and both of them have a very distinct way of speaking (even in their own heads). It wasn’t easy to transpose them into German where nobody speaks quite like a Puerto-Rican dude from the hood… The book is also very very funny, which was a challenge in and of itself.

If you’re into gay romance at all, I highly recommend the whole series. I consider myself very lucky to be working on something I’m a fangirl of, even if I felt like smacking the main characters over the head more than once over the course of the book (as a fangirl more than as a translator, obviously). Those two, I swear  … but everything ends well, as it absolutely should in a romance novel ;-).

Can you believe it’s that time of the year again?

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Lovely wreath, don’t you think? I had help this time, which is why it doesn’t look quite as scruffy as my wreaths usually do – thanks a lot, dear B.!

Signing off today with a cool little graffiti I saw on a park bench last week when out for a run: Graffiti artist, whoever you are: Great job, I love it. It put a big smile on my face, as I hope it will on yours!

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Family Ties, Biological and Chosen

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On a global scale, the past week was certainly remarkable for reasons I talked about in my last post, and I will actually only say this on the matter: ’nuff said.

But last week also saw a wonderful reunion with my sweet friend A. who stayed with us for a few nights while in town on business. A. is (among many other things!) a dedicated knitter, and she makes beautiful hats, socks and sweaters, as does A.’s mother-in-law K., who is also a seasoned crafts lady. A few years back, when our girls were little, K. had made a funky stripy hat with a long, pointed tip and a pompom for her granddaughter. I always loved that hat, and when I prepared the guest room for A. I was reminded of it, as I had already begun knitting a stripy hat for my friend’s new baby boy, to go with the stripy socks I already showed here. Long story short, A.’s mother in law was kind enough to dig out the pattern for the so-called Pixie Hat, and I tried to do it justice, see pic above.

I’ve written about the DIY community before, and how connected I feel to many of its members who are bound together by a joint enthusiasm for all things to do with crafts. In a way, we’re each and every one of us part of a chosen family, and I feel close to A. in Munich (knitting), N. here in Berlin (color & crochet), A. in California (sewing), A. in Frankfurt (Master of All Things Creative), K. in Montana (knitting) and my friend’s mom in Iceland who knits these amazing sweaters:IMG_3319 I guess it’s all a matter of perspective what family really is. It certainly is a choice who we decide to care about, and blood ties don’t necessarily have that much to do with it. I once read a book by Robert A. Heinlein (not sure which one it was – this was in my early twenties, so a loooong time ago.) Anyway, in this book, children could divorce their parents – and I found that concept really intriguing, because my mom and I were at complete odds by that time. In a way, it helped me detach, so thank you Mr. Heinlein, for facilitating my personal autonomy!

That said, I do care about my few relatives left, a lot. In fact, I’ll ditch this computer now to go finish a pair of socks for my godson in Sta Barbara, who will be six in a matter of weeks. Time certainly flies – seems I was there only yesterday when he was born…

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Signing off now with a pic of the gorgeousness that my friend E. gave me when I cooked lasagna for them last week – amazing, isn’t it?

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Un.F…ing.Believable.

When I went to bed yesterday night, I wasn’t worried. I really wasn’t. I was sure people would do the right thing and vote for Hillary even if they weren’t seeing eye to eye with all she says or stands for. Voting is always a compromise, and this time it was all about preventing the worst possible outcome, or so I thought. After all, this is the same nation that elected a black president with an Arabic name – twice in a row. I had faith.

This morning, right after checking the news feed, I was on autopilot while waking up my kids, making them breakfast and preparing their lunchboxes. Texting to and fro with my folks in California, expressing my shock on Instagram, wondering what our world is coming to. Brexit, right-wing parties rising to power left and right, public hate for refugees … and now this. My dearest relative in the world will now have to bring up my godson in a country I’d be loth to call the land of the free anymore. Home of the brave maybe, but I know people who have stated they were going to leave the US should he who must not be named in my sweet innocent blog be elected president. I do not blame them.

As a woman, as a mom, as an immigrant, as a supporter of gender equality in all the colors of the rainbow, as well as a human being with a heart and a brain, I’m deeply worried on this Very Bad Day.

So, what should we hope for? Can you think of anything positive that may come from this? I mean, anything at all? If so, do not hesitate to tell me, because I desperately  need some perspective.