Sunday, May 8, 2011

things I've learned from my mom

Abraham Lincoln once said: All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.  And I join him in that sentiment.  My angel mother has taught me so much and supported me through it all.  And while she hates talks about mothers, if I were to write one today, it might go something like this.   

A few things that I've learned from Mom:
Use what you've got
- The wholesaler doesn't always give you exactly the flowers that you ordered but by using what is available and a few cans of spray paint, beautiful things can happen.  True in floral arrangements and in life.  
Take risks
- Step outside your comfort zone because you never know what you'll find.  
Set boundaries
- Some things you don't need to learn (or relearn) from experience.  
Seek out opportunities to serve
- Whether it's teaching english to immigrants or taking time to spend with someone who is lonely, there are countless ways to serve.  
Keep learning
- She taught me how to knit, crochet, quilt, sew, cook, arrange flowers, prune trees, plant flowers, paint, hang wallpaper and countless other skills.  There is no end of useful skills to be acquired. 
I'm not always right
- My opinions are occasionally based upon an incomplete understanding.  My mom isn't the only person to ever tell me this, but she has a way of making me listen.    
I can do hard thing
- I know that I can do hard things because I've watched in awe as my mom does incredible things.  
My sisters can be my best friends
- Because she is close with her sisters, I know that I will always be close with mine.  

There is no way to encapsulate in a simple list all of the lessons that my Mom has taught me.  I continue to learn from her and to feel her love and draw courage from her support.  I am truly blessed to have such a remarkable mother. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

where Julia and I differ; or, the proudest day of my life

Legend has it that someone once asked Julia Child, if there was food that she didn't like.  (And by legend I mean that I heard it once and don't feel like looking it up.)  She replied: arugula and cilantro.  I'm sure that I gasped when I first heard this, appalled and confused that THE Julia Child disliked what I consider one of the finest vegetables I know.  While, I am luke warm on cilantro, I. LOVE. ARUGULA.  I love it. I do.  I put it in everything from salads to  sandwiches to pasta and rice dishes.  Like spinach, you can it eat raw like lettuce or cooked but the flavor is nothing like spinach - nutty and spicy and refreshing.  It's just SO good, how could Julia be blind to it's charms?   

At least I know that I'm not alone in my adoration of this unappreciated green.  The president also eats it.  In his 2008 campaign, he took a lot of flack for making a comment about the price of arugula these days.  
And yeah, it can be a bit pricey.  But that's where the proudest day of my life part comes in.  You know how I told you a few weeks back about my vegetable garden.  Can you see where I'm going here?  I planted a row of arugula seeds and a week later I saw itty-bitty specks of green coming up.  And today, I thinned my row and threw some of the sprouts in my salad. Ta-dah!  A salad of greens that I grew myself.  This marks one of the proudest days of my life because now I know that in a zombie apocalypse or even just a regular apocalypse, I can grow my own food.  Granted, in an actual emergency it's arguable as to whether I would have died by starvation before I got to eat my zesty salad; I view this as an opportunity to develop useful skills and be grateful for my abundance.