Fight Racism in the Street and in your Mind

That’s what it said in Futura Bold on a T-shirt I was given by my sweet friend M., way back in our salad days. It was the corporate font of the ad agency he was working for, one of the more interesting places of the Nineties ad scene in Frankfurt, a place called Trust. They were remarkable for well designed and implemented corporate culture, and sneered at by the more conservative ad crowd, for being a bit flashy, in your face, and bold, but looking back, probably mostly for being different.

From today’s perspective, it was simply decent corporate design, and as far as I know the owners had a deep understanding of the secret weapon used by even the smallest enterprises today: the corporate idea. They were trying to establish something special and new (for Frankfurt in those days anyway). They certainly were hard to overlook.

One of the things the agency would do was print T-shirts with clever taglines like this one (kudos to whoever was responsible for it, could find no reference online – if anyone should know the wordsmith, please tell me and I’ll shout their name from the rooftops, here in my own small Speaker’s Corner of the Internet). The T-shirts were handed out to the staff, and my friend swiped one for me, good man. He really was. We lost touch when I moved away, and I miss him.

As my 25 years older self, I think it’s a huge, tall order, what it said on that T-shirt. Even though a migrant myself, I am not free of racism. In fact, while feeling kinship towards my Egyptian bestie N., my Spanish friend M., my daughter’s Romanian piano teacher etc. etc., I sometimes feel sort of a reverse xenophobia towards whoever makes stupid comments about race, gender, or sexuality. Not sure if that’s a thing, or just me being weird. Talk to me if you have experienced similar things?

In a way, this makes me no better than a right-out racist, I feel. And I get now that this is exactly what ‚in your mind‘ means. Why would I resent people only because they don’t share my own values? Gotta watch that. And fight it. In my mind. And in my children’s, whom it’s my job to bring up as smart and open and tolerant people. I should make them their own ‚Fight Racism‘ T-shirts. I’m sure my son would wear one.

So, that got a little deep ;-). Want to see a few pretty fall pics to lighten the mood?

One of the pics above was not taken in the country, can you guess which one?

Oh, and here’s my favorite shot, with a strange, extraterrestrial feel to it. Also, ears :-).IMG_1889.JPGIn terms of crafts, I used my free time to finish projects. First, rainbow baby blanket for tattoo artist, check.

As you can see, I added a picot border, and I’m not sorry.

Second, Starry Night socks for my daughter, check. Of course, I ran out of yarn on the last few cm and needed to improvise with another navy blue yarn. I blame the dog, who stole my ball of yarn and played with it a bit, entangling it to the point that forced me to throw out a considerable piece, the very length that would have enabled me to finish that sock, probably. Thankfully, my daughter still loves them despite the patchwork.

img_1336.jpgAnd third, don’t even know if you remember, I started out to make a stripy sweater in early spring, made from an ancient stash of silky black mohair yarn, a yellow skein of organic pure new wool I had bought at the school fayre last year, and some off white cashmere silk blend I had left from the lace mittens I’d made for my MIL two years ago.

The color scheme was inspired by Finnish crafts artist Tuija Heikkinen whose Instagram I follow. She’s a true genius, and I admire just about everything she creates. She posted a piece of  I don’t even know what to call it? It was these little mannequin-like dolls dressed in what I would call Swinging London Sixties dresses, featuring the colors I used, among others. I saw her post, loved it, my imagination ran with it, and it resulted in this:

I had no pattern, but I have a favorite similarly cut sweater I used as a model. As usual, this method involved some trial and error, there was swearing and frogging, but in the end it was pretty straightforward once I had figured out the design. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, as well as very proud to have finished it, and it’s still 2019 :-)).

This week, it was back to school and getting into the groove of city life, which is so much easier now I’m taking daily walks by the lake in the community forest.

Work-wise, there may or may not be romance novel(s) in my near future, which would be lovely, so please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Enjoy your weekend, and the hour we’re getting back tomorrow, for summer time is no more.

The Ultimate Sandwich of the Season

d14a8ad5-ceae-483a-b0c3-53d1be19bc98 2This was me yesterday after finding this big ass porcini mushroom… which, as it turned out, was way too old, and inedible to anybody but the maggots that were already feasting on it. There may be people who welcome that extra protein and just eat it anyway, and more power to them – my husband always says we’ll be eating bugs instead of chicken sooner or later. I’m not cut out to hack that. But it was fun to discover that Old Man Mushroom all the same.

So, mushroom picking is one of the things I love to do most in the fall, as I probably said before, and porcini mushrooms are my absolute favorite. They have a subtle, bacon-y flavor that goes perfectly with just about any carbohydrate imaginable: rice, pasta, potatoes, polenta, bread … and of course many people enjoy porcini as a side with meat roasts. I don’t like to add too many ingredients to mine, aside from a little butter and/or olive oil, salt and pepper.

After finding no less than 7 of them when walking the pup this morning, I made this:

First, I sauteed the thinly sliced baby porcini mushroom you see in the middle of my cutting board in a bit of olive oil and butter, with a few slivers of garlic and a bit of salt. Then I threw a slice of bread in the frying pan so it could soak up the juices, arranged the mushrooms on it once cooked, added a handful of arugula and called it lunch. I’m not sure I ever had a better sandwich.

As you may have guessed, I’m out at the cottage, planning to spend 2 lazy weeks doing little else than be outdoors as much as possible, feed the woodburner, read, do my fancy ZEIT crosswords (for US readers, this is the German equivalent of the NY Times crosswords, style- and challenge-wise), do crafts, cook for my kiddos and sleep in as long as Charlie will let me. He is not an early riser (he will get up if need be, but he’s just as happy to dog-nap until a very civilized 9 a.m.). Sounds like a plan, right? I feel I deserve it, having swapped my summer vacation for the translation of a thick cookbook. I’m going to enjoy the heck out of the next 2 weeks :-). The second week, we’ll be three, then a lot, because my daughter has asked her sweet girl friends out here for a birthday slumber party. She’ll be 11, and it’s nothing but bizarre to me. Wasn’t she a baby just yesterday?

IMG_2664.JPGMoving on to crafts :-).IMG_1762The above is what became of the rainbow pattern baby blanket. I’m still debating whether to do a picot border – but I could easily imagine just leaving the slim border of SC stitches all round. Opinions on this matter would be very welcome! I brought what feels like ALL the other yarn, so I’ll be tinkering and that is an awesome way to spend my free time.

And now, nature calls. Going to take the doggo for a long sundown walk. Have a lovely week, everybody, and take advantage of the sunshine as long as we get it!

Harvest Crumble

IMG_1617Much as I would have liked to go apple picking last weekend, my friends‘ trees are small, and there was not enough fruit to harvest for her to need our help. But there was some, and she gave me a basket of freshly picked apples, I made a sweet yeast dough, my husband peeled and sliced, and in the afternoon, we all had cake together in her sun-dappled garden. And since we had miscalculated how much fruit we were going to need for the cake, I also made a few jars of apple sauce.

 

Chunky Apple Sauce

Apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices or chunks

Brown sugar (or any other kind) to taste

Cinnamon to taste

Squeeze of lemon to taste

A few TBSP water if required

In a non-stick cooking pot, put apples to the boil. After a few minutes, they’ll begin to fall apart. Stir every now and then, you don’t want them to stick to the bottom. Add a little water if the fruit don’t exude enough moisture. When the apples are cooked, add sugar and cinnamon to taste. In our case, we did need quite a bit of sugar, because the apples were _very_ tart – perfect for a cake, but for the apple sauce, extra sweetness was definitely needed. Add a few drops of lemon if you wish. And that is it – healthy, easy to make apple sauce that beats the flavor of the store-bought variety by miles.

Speaking of freshly picked produce, now for the exact opposite! Looking at the content of my veg drawer with a keen eye this morning, I found all sorts of sad-looking, orphaned seasonal fruit: three wrinkly apricots, one ancient wild peach and a mushy regular peach, as well as yellow and regular plum-colored plums that nobody loved because they were NOT sweet. This morning, I felt like giving the lot of them a happy ending in form of a decent, autumnal crumble. Nobody’s going to care what the fruit looked like before, and the tartness will easily be balanced with a bit of sugary, buttery, crumble topping. After arranging the fruit slices in a pleasing manner, I sprinkled some brown sugar on top, and then made the crumble:

Crunchy Crumble Topping

100 g butter

50 g brown sugar (stevia or other sweetener if you’re skipping sugar, J.)

50 g ground almonds

50 g spelt flour

Pinch of salt

1 yolk

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Vanilla powder to taste

Quickly combine the ingredients with your hands to a consistency of large crumbs, just as you see above. Top the fruit with the crumbs. Refrigerate until needed, or bake right away if you’re hungry. My brood’s prob. going to break out the ice cream or ask that I make whipped cream to go with this, but that is, as many things in life, a matter of taste. Which brings me to a question I have for you today.

Yesterday night I worked some more on the baby blanket I wrote about in my last post. I’m pleased with how it’s coming along, even if I find making irregular-width stripes vexing, as I do like my things in EVEN PROPORTIONS, thank you very much … in this case, it’s how it needs to be though, in order to become a cute baby blanket. Or so I thought.

Because my sweet son, wandering in after his shower to say goodnight, stopped in his tracks and said: „Oh cool, you’re knitting a Pride flag!“ :-))) Wonder what the fashion-conscious queer crowd would make of a hand-knit Pride flag ;-))! And while at first I found this hilarious, of course now I’m beginning to question my design, because while I wouldn’t have minded my babies having a pretty thing that is also a political statement, I find I have no idea how the mom-to-be feels about that kind of thing. What do you guys think? Is it not appropriate for a newborn? Do I need to switch the color sequence around a bit…? Please advise!

And have a happy Thursday, everybody – gay, straight, or any other acronym.

Knitting for Little Creatures

So it seems that there’s a baby cluster happening in my little world. My boy’s awesome cello teacher and his wife just had a daughter, my girl J.’s due date is on Halloween (seeing very cool birthday parties in this kid’s future), my lovely tattoo artist E. is due on Christmas Eve, and then end of February, my sweet friend M. is having her third girl in a row, much sooner than anticipated.

As you can probably imagine, my crafts brain (right next to the lizard brain, it’s there, I’m sure of it!) has been busily thinking about baby stuff, and I’ve been playing with yarn more than I have done for months. It helps that the pup has settled down some, also I’m getting into the groove of the fall season. This year, it began with my knitting a dog sweater. IMG_1370Charlie has this very fine, silky coat, which we all love petting so much. Unlike most other breeds‘, his unfortunately doesn’t come with an undercoat. If I ever made fun of people who put coats on their dogs in the winter in the past, I’m eating my words with a big spoon right now, regretting every pun I ever made, because, lovely people, dog clothing is a thing. I don’t see us not taking walks in the winter because we’re too cold, right? We just wrap up in warm coats, and off we go. Why would I not give my dog that option, seeing that he needs to be outside even more than I do?

On the first day temperatures dropped to around 15 °C, I started looking online, and wasn’t really loving any of the sweaters I found, simply because they’re all made of acrylic yarn. As you know, I’m more into the natural fabrics. So I had a basic idea of the sweater’s construction, more like a vest, really. A long tube with holes for the front legs. I knew it needed to be longer in the back than in the front, given the anatomy of male dogs. You don’t want dog pee on fabric of any kind, hence the front needs to be a crop.

So I started thinking about it, made a little drawing, and went through my yarn stash. Fellow crafters know how it is – there’s always yarn that hasn’t found its true purpose yet. I unearthed this reddish-brown pure new organic wool that matches Charlie’s coat to a t. I immediately knew I wanted to do something with a textured pattern. Then, believe it or not, I actually got out the tape measure. It was my first project like this, and I found I had no idea how long my dog really is, or how wide his shoulders are and stuff. So I measured him, I swatched, and I cast on a test piece – which turned out to be the right size, awesome.

About halfway in I realized I didn’t have enough of the reddish brown yarn, so I went through the options in my stash again, deciding with my friend M. of the impeccable taste’s help that navy would go with it best. So, the finished sweater now has a navy neck and navy details I added later on. It was a three staged process, and now I feel it looks just the way it needs to look, it’s long enough in the back and it seems to be comfortable enough ;-).

As for human baby things to knit, I just mailed these IMG_1479.JPGto the string musicians‘ baby (mom’s a violinist, dad’s the aforementioned cellist), and may her teeny little feetz be warmed as well as look pretty.

Since our future nephew has a mom who also likes to knit, I’m not even going to bother making him socks. Instead, I just bought a lovely handcrafted baby wrap in the most gorgeous shade of coral – in a way, somebody else did the crafting for me :-). I fondly remember using my own baby wrap on a daily basis after my daughter was born – there’s really nothing like having the little ones close to your body the first months. Magic times :-). If you’re wondering, this is the one. Beautiful color, right?

The other two ladies with the bumps are a different matter. One’s my tattoo artist friend E. who is amazing at her craft but doesn’t really do yarn and fabric, no doubt because she’s too busy with managing her thriving business, 2 kids and a cute, energetic Boxer dog dude. E. will hopefully be happy to wrap her baby in what is going to be a multi-color stripy knit blanket, the beginning of which you can see here.

Again, I made a swatch (see bottom left) – and wouldn’t you know, the real piece turned out to be too wide the first time around anyway … still, I’m happy to have seen the way the colors are going to blend into each other. For the correct color sequence, I enlisted my daughter’s help. She knows these things way better than I do, much in the way I just instinctively know what a sauce needs to become its most delicious self. She just throws colors together, and it would take me hours to achieve what she can do in a matter of minutes. Amazing! As a beneficial side-effect, this project will be diminishing my yarn stash very nicely, thank you.

For my friend M. who’s having the February baby, I’m not sure what to make, yet. I did order some gorgeous pastel colored merino yarn that made me think of her, but for now, I’m busy enjoying the stripy project. It’s a very uncomplicated pattern – just knit, knit, knit and knit some more… easy while I’m binging my way through Queer Eye, which I’m enjoying more than I thought I was going to. My sweet niece M. who is also my media guru said it was worth watching, and so I gave it a shot. In the beginning I was watching mostly for Tan the fashion expert (this guy)’s sake, but in the meantime, all five of them have grown on me. And yes, I have shed a tear or two, just like everybody else.

Have a lovely time with this early fall weather. Isn’t it great? Scarves, and hats, and long sleeved clothes, and all the bright autumn-y colors to look forward to. img_7150.jpg

Next Project, Please

Phew. Weeks of translating Italian cuisine have come to an end, with my submission of the final chapter this morning. The book itself wasn’t particularly challenging – in fact, most recipes were very conventional. There were few dishes I’ve never had before, and most of those were foods I don’t care about, offal and venison and pork – not my bag, any of those.

Introductions to individual recipes are usually the most charming part of any cookbook. The little chatty paragraphs that explain a special ingredient, or the author’s history with a recipe, a little back story of sorts. In this case, there was not a lot to work with in terms of those – this particular author seems to be more of a chef than a writer, so it’s all quite to the point, go hit the chopping board, pots & pans.

So, all in all, a lovely, not very difficult book to translate. This was a stroke of luck, because I was struggling with my time management a bit. Working part-time, being a new Dog Mom, not to mention a Mom Who Does School Things… I managed not to drop any balls, but my attention span left a lot to be desired! Don’t know how it would have been with a manuscript of lengthy chapters and/or complex content. All you people with brainy jobs who are also responsible pet owners, I tip my hat to you. How TF do you manage, and not lose your minds?!

But now this job is done, my brain is deep-fried, and my body has responded to the stress by giving me a mean bitch of a migraine. I’m so glad nobody is expecting great things of me today. All I need to do is go see the dentist and cook my children dinner. I’ll walk the dog, and I’ll do laundry. And I’ll write a rambling post for my stitch friends :-), while I’m still too zonked to talk to potential clients about my next assignments. Tomorrow, maybe.

So I was going to share with you guys two recipes. The first is a perfectly seasonal celebration of three yummy late summer ingredients:

Chanterelle Mushrooms, Green Beans and Arugula (on Pasta)

Seems random, you say? Well, that’s because it literally was the contents of my veggie drawer on a day I needed to whip up a quick meal for kids & friends. You may be familiar with this situation. The combined flavors of the aromatic chanterelle mushrooms, the scent of the rosemary, the fresh, creamy green beans and the peppery arugula were surprisingly good! It had never occurred to me before to put beans and chanterelles in one dish, and now I have, and my son has asked me to make it again, so praise from high places. Maybe I can take a picture next time I make this and add it later on – because today, there’s no valid photo of the dish. It was late, we were starving and we finished eating before I even thought of photographing. I have two other pics that are vaguely similar. Maybe you can kind of merge them in your mind’s eye :-).

Just picture the above mixed with a nice bowl of fusilli pasta, tossed with a couple handfuls arugula, a splash of olive oil and a dusting of black pepper, topped with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.

In my large frying pan, I sauteed 1 chopped shallot and 1 clove garlic, about 500 g chanterelle mushrooms and 500 g green beans, all at the same time, with a twig of rosemary and sea salt. Meanwhile I boiled the pasta, grated the cheese and washed the arugula.

Drained the pasta, mixed it with the vegetables in a large salad bowl, let sit for a bit, then tossed in the arugula. Put pepper and Parmesan cheese to taste on top. And sat everyone down for an impromptu and very satisfying meal.

The second recipe is also experimental, for me anyway. When it comes to sweets, my taste-buds seem really conservative compared to my friends‘ – no orange and basil ice-cream for me, and I don’t go in for the whole marzipan and goat cheese flavored chocolate (I just invented this, no idea if there is such a thing, the combo sounds gross to me), thank you very much … However, last week I had a wonderful organic iced tea with peaches and rosemary flavor, and no artificial ingredients whatsoever. It was absolutely delicious. I had wanted to make peach jam anyway, and that iced tea made me want to try to give my peach jam this precise, subtle rosemary zing. So I did :-).

White Peach Jam with a Twist

2 kg white nectarines or peaches (skin the peaches if you want – same procedure as when blanching tomatoes)

Appropriate amount of gelling sugar (there are different types, check the fruit/sugar ratio before cooking)

1 lemon, squeezed

1 twig fresh rosemary

Proceed as described on your gelling sugar package – in my case, this was: wash, pit and cut up the fruit. Puree with a stick blender, then mix with gelling sugar. Bring to the boil and cook 4 minutes on high heat, stirring all the while. During these minutes, put in the whole rosemary twig so that your jam can absorb the flavor. Here’s the tricky part – too long, and the rosemary may become too dominant. Too briefly, and the flavor may be too subtle. You want to test frequently until the flavor is to your liking. Do not double dip – use as many spoons as it takes if you don’t want germs, and I’m not kidding. At this point, bear in mind that the concoction may seem overly sweet now but will seem less so once cooled. I guess you knew this, now I feel stupid reminding you of these basics. But for those of you who are new to jam making, it may still be valuable content, so.

Remove the rosemary immediately and discard. Stir in the lemon juice and let boil one more minute. Test the jam’s consistency by putting a little spoonful on a plate. If it sets as it cools, your jam is done. Put in sterile jars, stand those upside down for a minute to seal, then put them right side up and let cool.

This jam has been tried and approved by a prestigious jury with: toast, bread, crispbread, buttermilk pancakes, crepes, and on one of the rare occasions I was craving something really sweet, I ate it plain with a spoon. Je ne regrette rien :-).

Finally, crafts. As I pointed out in the beginning, I was kind of too busy to even think about stuff like that. Okay, I did make a granny square on Granny Square Day over lunch, here, feeling all the autumn-y color feels:img_1202.jpg
But over the past weekend there were car rides, and since I wasn’t driving, I got to finish one sock and the first half of the second for my sweet little friend A. Here’s how far I’ve gotten:IMG_1290.JPGAny day now. My daughter has dubbed these the ‚Night Socks‘ – she has a point, doesn’t that yarn look exactly like a starry night…? My little poet.

May you all have a lovely, late-summery week.

Time Is Fleeting

An old friend posted a video of clouds passing overhead on his IG yesterday, asking ‚when was the last time you just watched clouds passing by?‘ in the hashtag. Funnily enough, this was precisely what I had been doing myself before I took my phone to check my IG. He lives on the East Coast in the States, I’m in Europe – and there we were, doing the exact same thing, and even the skies looked similar – partly cloudy ;-).IMG_E6670Not having enough time for xyz is a common pet peeve. We all complain about not getting around to accomplishing this or that, or about days being too short, or about having too little quality time with our loved ones. Our days are organized in ways that leave little room for improvisation – work, school, afternoon activities, exercise, chores, appointments … all these Regular Must Dos sometimes make it hard to find room for just about anything that doesn’t have a timeline.

As a person who works from home, my life is blessed in terms of my not having to run somewhere everyday for work. I love that, even if it sometimes means I have to hop when a client says frog, no matter if I’m on vacation or not. It just sort of fell into place this way over the years, and it works out well for everyone – even though my teenager would appreciate more alone time sometimes. On the other hand, he also appreciates me proofing his school assignments, a handy thing if you’re as dyslexic as he is.

And now I have, like, a dog, to quote Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn 99. Regular bathroom breaks, even if they’re not scheduled, do need to happen, and one long walk per day is a must to keep him (and myself) happy and balanced. What this inevitably cuts into is my crafts time. My husband who is both a smart dude and a planner pointed this out in advance, not that I was paying a lot of attention. Before Charlie moved in, I was concerned with things like ‚will he even be happy with us‘, ‚will he be able to cope with city life‘, and ‚how the heck will he and our old kitty get along‘.

Having a cat as a pet, you can pretty much pick up your crafts project whenever you’re done with work and have no other, child-related obligations. With a dog, this is obviously not the case. Walking the pup takes up 2 hours, every day. I do try to get my friends to go with me, so I get to see them even if I don’t go out at night much, and Charlie thankfully doesn’t mind my chatting to someone while he’s off the leash doing his thing. But time for crafts has become scarce, and this is why I only have a measly half of a sock to show – which I made when watching movies at night when the dog was tired enough to simply sleep, without needing me to play, or cuddle.img_1174.jpgThis was yesterday morning when I thought it would be a good time to continue knitting sweet A.’s pair of birthday socks. It wasn’t really happening until later at night when watching a few episodes of Elementary. This is how far I’ve gotten over 1 week:img_1182.jpgSo not a lot of crafts, more walking, less watching the clouds – but all in all, life isn’t so bad.

And since dog or not, we do need to eat, here’s my version of hummus. It’s a mix of my lovely princess N.’s tahini recipe and the hummus tahini I got to know and love in Greece, in another lifetime.

Hummus My Way

1 can chickpeas

2–3 TBSP tahin paste

1/2 clove garlic

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp cumin

Generous squeeze of lemon

6 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP water

Yogurt to taste

Puree the chickpeas with the garlic and the olive oil to a consistency of your liking – mine turned out a bit on the chunkier side, because ancient stick blender, sigh. Add tahin, salt, lemon juice and cumin to taste. Stir thoroughly to make a smooth paste. If you’d like the mixture to be creamier, add a bit of water and/or yogurt. You could put some chili or pepper, but I actually prefer hummus to have its natural, nutty flavor rather than being spicy.

Enjoy with bread, veggie sticks, crackers or on a sandwich.

Thank you for reading, and have a productive day :-).

Crochet Flowers, Again & Life Choices

IMG_0154These will be a bunch of embellished hair ties once I’m done with them – and I hope they will sell well at the Summer Fayre in June. In case you like the idea and wonder how to make them, can I direct you to this post where I’ve tried to explain how to go about it?

To make the embellished hairties, IIMG_0171– darned in the two threads from the yarn I used for the petals (turquoise) …

IMG_0174– tied the other two securely around a hairtie that seems to fit, made three knots, and then darned in the two leftover threads (navy blue).

IMG_0175Tadah, a nice, summery little flower hairtie made. If you want to go all in, you can additionally put a small blob of hot glue in the back, to further secure the darned in threads and increase the general longevity of the item. As a mom of a notorious hairtie losin‘ li’l lassie, however, I can tell you now you best be Zen about the thing not being around for long anyway, so it may not even be worth the trouble.

When I began making the flowers last Saturday at the school crafternoon, I had a number of enthusiastic helpers, some very young and some my age. Watching excited and inquisitive Charlie while showing the helpers the moves _and_ trying to get some crocheting done myself was challenging to say the least, and I confess I was WIPED afterwards.

It always takes a pound of flesh out of me to deal with groups of people (I’ve said more as to why already). It helped that I didn’t have more than 3 people at my table at a time. But suffice it to say that I am just not cut out to be a teacher, even though people always say I have a knack for explaining. Ultimately, I’m just a very polite person, I guess :-).

Crafts stuff aside, taking in young Charlie has required me to make a few changes. Life has taken a different turn in ways I hadn’t anticipated, and accommodating the pup’s needs has forced me to prioritize, much like I had to when I had my son in the early aughts.

Despite all the endorphins (the dog makes me sooo happy), my resilience is far from infinite. In fact, one night last week, I completely lost it. I was having a bit of a day. I drove my daughter to hockey practice only to learn I wasn’t supposed to bring Charlie to the grounds at all. So we took a long walk around the neighborhood until it started raining and we ended up waiting in the car. I had forgotten to eat, so I was hangry when we came home, and I yelled at the kids for not helping with chores. I felt a surge of guilt because I had literally no time for the kitty anymore because, possessive dog, hello! And then of course I was feeling guilty for snapping at the kids for being lazy sumbitches, because I felt it was me who made them inconsiderate because I spoil them, doing stuff for them all the time. The dog was whining and scratching my bedroom door to get out to where the action was (kitty and my son’s friends watching GoT in the family room). Finally, I was really tired, but not allowed to go to sleep yet because nighttime walk, duh. So, I had a quiet and tearful meltdown. After a while, I called my husband who was a sweetheart and talked me down, and when my sobs had ebbed away, the pup came and licked my face, which made me smile again. But it was clear that something would have to give…

You may not be surprised that the something ended up being the hockey club. It’s no secret I’ve always had mixed feelings towards it – we became members at our daughter’s request, even though it was a bit cumbersome what with shuttling her to practice twice a week. There were jerseys and equipment to be bought, which we did, and parents meets to be attended, which we failed to do. When after a while it became clear that while she enjoyed practice, she didn’t really like the games, I was beginning to feel like a hypocrite trying to get her to be in the weekend tournaments. So after my little episode, we had a heart to heart with her and decided that this membership needed to come to an end. Writing the resignation letters felt like such an enormous relief, I can not even tell you.

Meanwhile, I’ve written to a dog trainer who seems nice, and hope she can pencil us in before the summer break. Leaving here today with a few pics that show I’m not the only person who loves this little dog :-).