Archive for the ‘Monday 2’ category

5

You Inspire Me. You Make Me Brave.

{By Sara Sophia}

if we look closely
the sunspots in our eyes
become lions and bears made of fire.

they glimmer and bare their teeth

i counted the freckles on her cheeks.
There are 27.
tomorrow they will multiply.

tracks left
by lions
by bears
constellations mapped out across her
perfect
little
face.

and the day is all fierceness and flame.

bright like four lives in a jar
set free.

and they laugh louder under God’s gaze
and shoot up to pluck stars from the heavens

Mercy is this firepit

burning away the chaff
of every broken day before.

(written for my children after reading my favorite poet-mama)

(photo credit)

Nearly four years ago I sat in front of a computer screen with the idea of starting a blog.

My world had grown so small I could hardly breathe.

I was alone in the rural south with nobody and no one
but the four little people who clung tight and close to my soul.
I had no idea how much searching Google
and clicking the link for “blogger” would change my life.

The relationships and connections—
the support I’ve received, in the truest sense of the word,
have made me a better person.
Oh how I mean that.

Fast forward to now and I find myself hemmed in and lifted up
by the strong women I’ve had the privilege of getting to know in this online space.
Women who have changed the way I think about my life
and who give me the courage to break free from the scarred places
where the hurt just won’t let go.

Women who have opened the door to their lives
and given a glimpse of their day to day;
who have inspired me consistently since 2009.
So much of how I share life with my children is influenced by the beautiful hearts
that share their homes, thoughts, and eloquence within this community.

Its as though we all somehow fell in a mixing pot and became family.
A tipi village.

(photo credit)

(You serve me on the wild grasses of a prairie
–tea; out of your best cup nonetheless–
and I’m watching with full eyes how you teach your second grader.
I’m taking in the meals you make and the way your eyes shepherd over the ones you love.
I see your love in how you write them.
I hear the click of the keys and the heart poured out with every line I read.)

Who would ever think something technical could be so beautiful?

Blogs are my research for parenting and so many other things—
I find that I trust the authors behind them so much more
than any I’d find on bookstore shelves.

Its that family-connection.
It spans miles and distance and difference.
So on days when I can’t find my center,
I go here.
And here.
And here.
And here.
And here.
And here.
And here. And here.

Like a path to salvation.

 For the days I can’t figure it out, can’t find it, can’t do it,
can’t take it, can’t make it, build it, teach it or write it….

You are there lighting a candle in the dark and blazing the trail ahead of me.

When anyone asks for advice I can’t give, I always point them online.
To the women I trust, respect and admire.
Technology has changed a lot of things—and not all for the better—
but I will forever be grateful that we have this space for community.

I owe so much to all of you.
<3

(photo credit)

(Let me know if you feel as warm, fuzzy and downright poetic
about parenting together via the internet as I do;
link up your stories here and don’t forget to visit mom.me!)

Story Bleed Magazine is proud to be a part of this conversation. Simply, Story Bleed Magazine exists in part thanks to parenting communities. We encourage you to check out mom.me and at the very least tell them we sent you, but also tell them YOUR stories.

29

Maps

{by Ann Imig}

I just came from breakfast with my Fodder Father at his regular haunt—The Pancake House. We meet there often and each episode follows a similar script:

I drive in the parking lot to see his car already stowed in one of his three usual spaces, park my VW station wagon alongside his Ford sedan (he’s a labor arbitrator, he buys American).

Even when the waiting area is full, the proprietors wave me back “Your Dad’s waiting for you,” and I see him sitting with a cup of coffee, maybe working on the crossword with his reading glasses on, wearing a plaid flannel shirt or short-sleeved button down depending on the temperature. Regardless, he has his check book and a pen in the chest pocket.

After greeting me with a smile and a hug, he marvels over LTYM and this whole internet business. He inquires after my kids, my husband, or my girlfriends he’s known since we were actually girls, and then updates me with the latest casualties from The Saddies.

We often order the same thing; a half order of pecan pancakes and black coffee.

He peppers the rest of our conversation with not-so-quiet observations about other restaurant patrons:

“Is that baby Hindu or do you think that’s just a scab on its forehead.”

“I don’t want to ruin your breakfast, but I have one word for the toddler behind you: Drool.”

He relays moments from his recent work travels:

“These two guys behind me on the plane start singing—well, chanting–and so I ask them why are they chanting? Is it for fun? For religious purposes? What? And they say we just like to chant and I say great. Just what Madison needs! More chanting.”

I double-check “You actually said that to them?” and yes, most of the time he did actually say that to them.

Dad flirts with and teases the waitstaff. Once Mildred tickled his chin after warming up his coffee. This, right after my Dad told me way too much about a pair of 50-year-old women who tried to pick him up on a flight. I’m not sure whether the idea of two women trying to seduce my Dad, the likelihood that they might’ve been serial killer-dominatrices trying to lure him to his demise, or Mildred’s blatant coffee overture–troubled me the most.

He turns 70 next week on Thanksgiving. So odd considering he’s only 43. These regular pancake breakfasts, along with his spontaneous weekend 20 minute stop-overs to see the grandkids, feel like well-worn and dependable routes etched on the map of my life. But—like a childhood full of walks to and from school–the seasons, the time of day, and color of your tights vary. Sometimes my kids join us, sometimes my Dad chooses a half-order of Eggs Benedict English muffin well-done please, and sometimes he muses aloud how it’s tricky enough to recognize someone you haven’t seen in 16 years, but especially when they’re wearing a blonde wig on their head— all while said person may or may not be within earshot.

As much as I loved living in Chicago for 10 years, I always yearned to come back home and raise my kids alongside my family and friends on these familiar and metaphorical streets. We moved back home to Madison in 2006, but if you analyzed where I put the mileage on my car since then, a vast majority were probably spent on the 7-minute drive between my house and my Mom’s.

My Mom and my regular rendezvous also follow a somewhat predictable script. Instead of pancakes, we drink overpriced coffee-house drinks while Four eats more than his share of courtesy candy. We have a late afternoon glass of wine and process about life, while the boys watch Cartoon Network or play board games nearby–all set to the tune of an assortment of ridiculously delicious artisan cheeses. We laugh at ourselves, my mom apologizes again for all the traits I got from her. I compliment her on something I like that she’s wearing and within minutes or days she insists I keep it.

Last night Seven asked me “Mom? When I go to college will you draw me a map so I can get back home?”

I hope by the time my son becomes a young man, that map is already worn with comfortable and familiar paths. If I do my job well, he’ll want to explore secret passageways, and set out to chart his own course. Inevitably he’ll look for short-cuts (we all do). But like his younger brother’s auto-pilot to my bed many nights at 4 am, I hope home remains the true north on his compass—whether that “home” is here, someplace else he settles with his own family or friends, or The Pancake House. God willing it’s here.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Ann Imig is a humour writer and the the creator and National Director of Listen To Your Mother. Read Ann’s original post on Ann’s Rants, subscribe to her blog here, and click here to follow @annsrants on Twitter.

Featured by Story Pick Editor Amy Turn Sharp

26

White Ricotta Tart with Sugared Fruit

{By Heather Baird from Sprinkle Bakes}

Oh, January. You are a chilly month.

Yesterday we had the kind of snow that makes mighty tree limbs bow in submission. On days like this I’m perfectly content to spend long hours in an oven-warmed kitchen, and that’s just what I did. Many treats were made; some for the book and some for the blog. I’m still determining where some should reside. After much hemming and hawing about what to make for this entry, I decided to revisit an old recipe.

I made this tart for Thanksgiving 2 years ago, and at the time decided it was a little too heavy (or maybe I was just miserably full after turkey and dressing… I digress). This time, I used part skim ricotta for the filling and replaced the whole eggs with egg whites. What resulted is a light and fluffy filling that is beautifully pale and bespeckled with vanilla seeds.

I feel compelled to tell you that my husband asked for seconds. This man will emphatically ask “what is that?” as he peers over my shoulder at my latest confection. Let’s just say, he’s not a Matcha tea cheesecake kind of guy. But this, he loved.

The mini fruits are painted with meringue powder diluted in a little water. I know many who use fresh egg whites for this, but I feel safer using something pasteurized.

It’s funny how I’ve gone from painting pictures to painting fruit! Life is weird and wonderful.

What I once painted / what I paint now.

I’ve wanted to share my paintings with you for some time, but to be honest, most have been sold or given away. I found this painting of Mary I started over 10 years ago rolled up in the corner of my closet. Many paintings have since been completed, yet she remains an idea. Seeing her again makes me want to pick up a paintbrush and finally finish what I started. Who knows, in 2011, maybe I will!

White Ricotta Tart with Sugared Fruit

Tart shell:
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Liberally butter a 11″ tart or quiche pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add butter pieces and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add yolk, vanilla and water. Pulse in quick bursts until dough forms a ball. Press dough into buttered pan (flour hands if your dough is sticky). Chill shell for 40 minutes.

After chilling, prick the tart shell with a fork and bake for 20 minutes. Let shell cool completely before filling.

Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (low fat or no fat, if you like)
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups part skim ricotta cheese
3 egg whites
1 vanilla bean, seeds reserved and hull discarded

Combine softened cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cream together with an electric hand mixer. Add egg whites and vanilla seeds. Mix at medium speed until combined. Pour into cooled tart crust and bake for 20 minutes.

Sugared fruit:
1 tbsp manufactured meringue powder
1/2 tbsp hot water
Your choice of mini fruits, I used seckel pears, cranberries, crab-apples, and white raspberries.
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Dissolve the meringue powder in hot water. Stir well until no lumps remain. Paint each fruit with a thin coating of the mixture and dip in granulated sugar. Allow sugared fruits to dry on a wire rack.

Decorate tart as desired.

::

Heather Baird is an artist with whatever medium she chooses, paint and dessert alike.
For a printable version of this amazing (it’s amazing, right?!) recipe, visit the original post on her blog, Sprinkle Bakes
Follow @SprinkleBakes on Twitter and Like SprinkleBakes on Facebook
Want more?  Preorder her book, SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist, now from Amazon.com.

::

Featured by Editorial Director, Jennifer Doyle | @playgroupie

12

Self, Abandoned

{by Sarah Bloom}

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Sarah Bloom is an artist, photographer, and writer.  Her work has been featured at the Pennsylvania State Museum and The Perkins Center for Arts.  Most recently her collection of nude self portraits, photographed in abandoned spaces, was on display at the DaVinci Art Alliance in September 2011 and was her first solo exhibition.

See more of her intimate and amazing photography on her portfolio site.  You can find her writing and even more photography at her blog Sad and Beautiful World.

Subscribe
Follow @sadandbeautiful on Twitter
Like Sad and Beautiful World on Facebook

:::

Featured by Editorial Director, Jennifer Doyle | @playgroupie

18
October 5, 2011 | Art, Featured 2, Monday 2, Mr Lady, Photography

[psycho]

{By Jesse Wright of Jesse Wright Photo}

[ pyscho ]

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Psycho” by Jesse Wright from Jesse Wright Photo | @jessewright | Facebook
shared via Posterous

Featured by Story Editor Shannon | @mrlady

3

Sun Spot

{by Megan Boley from MegaGood}

ColorBleed - Sun Spot by Megan Boley

The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.  ~Ralph W. Sockman

 

 

• • •

“All this grass and and he does this” by Megan Boley from MegaGood |  @MeganBoley
shared via Instagram

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Color Bleed features images captured on mobile devices (phones, iPods, iPads) and shared via social networks (Instagram, twitter, twitpic, Facebook, etc.). Story Bleed consistently insists that art is made and shared online every day. Often casually. Phone photography consistently reveals itself to be breathtaking and insightful.

Simply complex, strikingly ordinary. Submit your mobile work to Color Bleed at Story Bleed Magazine.

Featured by Editor-in-Chief Megan Jordan |  @VelveteenMind |  @StoryBleed

21

Here comes

{by Rachel Matthews}

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
~Langston Hughes

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Rachel is a Texas based foodie, photographer, wife, and mama.
See more of her photographs on her blog, A Southern Fairytale.
Subscribe and follow @sthrnfairytale

Featured by Story Bleed Editorial Director, Jennifer Doyle | @playgroupie

6

Morning rituals

{by Carmi Levy}

~ London, ON, October 2010

To some, it’s just a mug of coffee. To me, it’s coffee that my wife made. Which makes it uniquely special, because to me, at least, it’s far more than percolated beans with a bit of milk and sugar.

It’s a little thing that connects us, a moment between sleep-time and our pedal-to-the-metal day that reminds us why our family matters as much as it does. Because before we had kids, before we needed to shuttle them around town, before we tended to their every need before we tended to our own, we sat together over mugs of coffee or tea at our quiet kitchen table.

Even if not a word was said, the conversation was always glorious. Still is.

: : : : : : :

Canadian journalist Carmi Levy  has been weaving beauty in words and pictures at Written Inc. since 2004.  Subscribe via RSS.

Written Inc is also the home of Thematic Photographic, a weekly themed photo share (you’re invited to join).

He’s @CarmiLevy on Twitter.

Story editor, Robin Dance :: PENSIEVE

12

The Witching Years

{by Amy Whitley}


It’s staying light a bit longer each day, but we still have a long way to go until spring. I can tell because I still have to switch my car headlights on driving the kids home from the karate studio or the soccer fields, still have to flip the porch light before calling them in from the neighborhood streets. In another lifetime (which wasn’t too long ago), I’d sit out these winter evenings indoors, the kids too young for unsupervised neighborhood roaming, my own motherhood too new to risk a public toddler meltdown or unscheduled nap after nightfall. From my watch at the kitchen window, the sun would disappear behind the city long before dinner was served, and something heavy and panicky would rise in my chest and sink in my belly as the outside darkness closed over me like a blanket, locking me into a fate of 5 pm until 7 pm with only my babies for company.

It would have been so easy to switch on Backyardigans and switch off myself, but most days, we resisted the lure of the TV. Instead, I’d play cars on the mat in the boys’ yellow-walled room, listening to the vrooom-vroooom vibrating against their lips, then to the bubbles blown in the bath, the run of the water from the faucet as they brushed their tiny, pearly teeth. I’d find Hidden Pictures, change diapers, press playdough between my hands. I’d pause to find blankies and binkies before scraping the dinner dishes and setting them on the sideboard to dry.

We were on our own most evenings back then, my husband needing to work late every weeknight, every weekend. (I still can’t believe we ever got used to that, but we did.) As the clock inched toward 7 pm, I’d finish the forgotten loads of laundry on the bed, each t-shirt and burp cloth and OshKosh overall cooled and wrinkled in the heap. The blackened windows would reflect my face—too tired for my twenties—and I’d wonder how to make it another hour. Another twenty minutes. Another ten.

This was my Witching Hour, but what people forget to tell you is how the hours add up, strung together end-to-end, day-to-day to become Witching Years. They commence in those first black nights of nursing a newborn, and they roll on and on until all your children are old enough to take the bus to school. Or at least old enough to wish they could.

And some mothers are great at it—love it, even—but not me. I floundered, immersing myself in my boys: their needs and their wants, their meals and their clothes and their toys. I waved the white flag and gave myself over to them completely, and this was how it had to be. On the surface, I even looked good at it. Underneath, I was drowning. My days were spent sinking and my nights were spent kicking my way back to the top, to where at least the waves slapped me in the face instead of swallowing me whole, arms stroking upward through the dark. I stopped writing. I stopped exercising. I stopped thinking, truth be told. Sometimes I wondered whether some secret source of oxygen had been cut off from my brain.

It’s clearer here, on the other side. In the light. With kids who brush their own teeth and do their own homework and get their own snacks. I know now that being a mom of young children, staying in the house day after day, parenting solo so much of the time…well, it is what it is. (Oh, is it ever.) I know that I did my best.

I also know I’ll never get those years back, as much as they often make me shudder: those years that passed so slowly as to nearly grind backward. Those years so long I measured my children’s ages in months instead. And that’s a travesty, because I left a piece of myself there. Something raw, and unmeasured, and instinctively maternal. Something sacrificial.

It was that something in me that gave way, that moved to the rhythm of my children’s sleep cycles, to the sunrise and the twilight, to the stirring of the oatmeal and the snapping of the car seats and the hefting to the hip, to the breast, to the mouth to kiss the lips.

It was that something that laid down arms. Set aside dreams. And that something was—there’s no other word for it—bewitching.

Amy Whitley writes at The Never-True Tales
You can read the original post here
Subscribe to Amy’s blog via RSS and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Story Editor~  Heather King ::: @HeatheroftheEO

4
March 28, 2011 | Featured 2, Fiction, Monday 2, Mr Lady

Nineteen Eighty-Hare

{Originally posted on Adam P Knave}

I leaned heavily against a wall. Trying to catch my breath was a mistake but I couldn’t keep running. I just couldn’t. “BIG RABBIT IS, WE SAY IS, SON ARE YOU LISTENING, BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” was painted along the wall. How they found space for the lettering I don’t know.

I found the strength to keep moving.

The thing of it was, I didn’t have the heat on me. No one was after me and I could’ve just gone back home. But after what I saw that night, after that, I just couldn’t. I found what they did to Porky. Poor bastard.

Technically they took him to ask a few questions. Technically he had decided to move to another city. Technically… a lot of things. This night someone had left me a key to a door I didn’t know existed, and it was there I found him. Well, films of him, anyway.

Stripped naked in a cage of rats, he squirmed and squealed like, well, to be fair, a pig. I’m not sure why I was given the key, the directions, shown what I was shown but I had a feeling…

For weeks now I kept a journal. A journal of my thoughts and dreams. Stuff that I wasn’t supposed to have, much less think. It must have been found. So I ran. I ran though no one actively seemed to pursue me. I ran to find my love. Marvin. Oh, how his helmet shined in the light. He wasn’t from around here, as it turned out. Despite what we were told. He said the wars were fake. He said he loved me. He said we’d be safe.

Damn it, I couldn’t break down in tears. Not yet. Not until…

Our front door was open. Just the tiniest bit but enough to notice. I went in anyway, what else could I do? Inside I found nothing. They had taken him. I knew I would be next. I had earned it. I looked behind me and saw that I was being followed. Followed by my own weaknesses this whole time.

They came for me then. They re-educated me. They reminded me that duck season is rabbit season, thinking you saw a puddy tat is seeing a puddy tat, and that freedom is slavery.

In the end, I walked out, on my own. On. My. Own. As we all were. Monsters like me, Gossamer, we don’t meet interesting people. Not if we’re smart.

Featured by Story Editor Shannon | @MrLady

Adam P Knave is a freelance writer of blogs, fiction, comics and columns. Find Adam P Knave on Amazon here, and his original post on his blog, Adam P Knave {dot} com.
Subscribe by RSS and friend him on Facebook.
Follow him on Twitter @AdamPKnave.

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