winter blues and other melancholies

life

winter is a really rough time of year.

it’s a time to hibernate and sleep and breathe and recoup, but sometimes, you don’t really get that option, so you dig your heels in and put your energy toward everything else that needs attention and forget about the rest.

and you know what?

that’s okay.

we have this maddening societal need to always hustle, always move, and i really truly think that’s the cause of a lot of our problems.

granted, society is also set up in a way that also necessitates the need to always be grinding, but that isn’t the best case scenario in the long run.

no wonder we’re sick and burnt out all the time.

this winter, try to take some time to breathe and be and rest.

not that you need my permission to do so, but i promise you it’s okay.

the world will be there when you get back to it, whenever that might be.

xx

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grief is just love that has no place to go

life

i’m thinking about my grandma today.

actually, i’ve been thinking about her a lot the last few months.

see, this year, it will be ten years since she passed and it seems like both the longest time and the shortest time since i last got to tell her that i love her and most importantly, that i was sorry.

my grandmother and i weren’t on the best of terms when she passed. she was being stubborn and frustrating and i was being a bratty 22 year old who wanted to help in so many ways but also wanted to not feel obligated in doing so.

when she got sick, i told myself that there’d be time. that i’d be able to apologize and that she would tsk and shake her head and call me “stephie” and it would be fine.

but that’s the thing: you never know for certain that there’s going to be more time and in this case, all i was left with was a broken heart and so much regret.

i love (not loved, because i haven’t stopped) my grandma. she was very much a pillar in my life and shaped a lot of who i am today.

we used to play scrabble on the weekends, and even though i tried my best, i could never quite beat her even if she tried to help me get the best words and the most points.

i remember one time, i was riding this little banana seat bike she’d bought for us grandkids and she was outside tending her plants (geraniums or lambs ear or some other plants that have been lost to the haze of years) and for whatever reason, she decided that she was going to try and ride this bike.

needless to say, it didn’t work out well. i don’t even think she made it a full rotation of the pedals before she tipped over and landed sideways in the grass. i don’t think we ever laughed so hard.

another time, i had stayed over night like i did so many times before, but this was different because this was my birthday and that meant i deserved to wake up to the most special things. i don’t remember what she made me for breakfast (probably pancakes and eggs), but one thing i do recall is that she had somehow managed to hang a crummy little handmade “happy birthday!” banner over the couch i was sleeping on, all because i said that that was one thing i really wanted.

i miss those days.

i miss sitting with her in the mornings, discussing dumb little things or what we decided was important in that moment or how her favorite baseball team was faring.

i miss listening to her slurp her morning “cappa-chino”, even though it drove me nuts at the time.

mostly, i just miss sitting in her calming presence.

when i was with my grandma, it felt like whatever else was going wrong in the world or in my life at the moment didn’t matter and wasn’t as horrible as i was making it out to be.

i suppose i miss that safety, because i haven’t really been able to find it in quite the same way since.

hold onto your loved ones, friends. the gaping hole they leave behind never quite scabs over and it will catch you unaware and leave you sobbing and in pain when you least expect it. the best we can do in those moments is honor our feelings, honor our loved ones, and maybe, a little bit, live in a way that makes them proud.

at the end of it, i just hope that wherever my grammy is, she knows three things:

i love her. i miss her. i’m sorry.

i think she knows. i hope one day she’ll find a way to let me know. until then, i suppose i will just have to learn how to be content in the knowledge that she’s not suffering and she’s at peace.

that’s worth something too.

to those of you who still have your grandmothers, do me a favor and hug them extra hard today. give them a call. ask them about their day. tell them you love them and that they mean the world to you.

for me.

xx

solstice blessings to us all

life

it’s fitting that there was snowfall last night, calm and quiet, with little wind to usher in the shortest day of the year.

many people, myself as well sometimes, don’t enjoy the snow or cold or bitterness that seems to trail after every thing and one this time of year, but the snow last night was a welcome one.

waking up to a pristine unbothered whiteness and a crisp chill was a reminder to take it easy and to take the time to slow down, dress warmly and go with intention into the new cycle.

on this shortest day of the year, i will be taking the time to reflect on the last 12 months and meditate on how i’d like to spend the next 12 upcoming.

we can leave the past behind us, but we do ourselves a great disservice if we fail to learn from both our triumphs and mistakes.

i would implore you to also make a moment to sit with yourself, to check in, and to take stock of what’s important to you. it’s okay if those things aren’t the same as they once were. people grow and change, and with that, their priorities.

may you find peace and happiness with your life, your self, and those around you in the coming year.

happy solstice.

xx

chicken soup for the soul

life, Recipes

here in the midwest, this time of year is known as a lot of things but to some people, it’s known affectionately and unofficially as “soup season”.

soup is honestly one of my most loved meals. they’re just so comforting and hearty and really do warm the soul on cold, blustery days, especially if you’re able to have them with warm from the oven homemade bread.

for the challenge, i thought i’d share a recipe that’s near and dear to my heart. i have long since believed that my grandmother was magic and this recipe and the way it makes me feel does nothing to convince me otherwise.

Grammy’s Chicken Dumpling Soup

What you’ll need:

one(1) medium onion, diced
for protection, remembering loved ones, breaking down barriers

three (3) large carrots, diced
for prosperity, abundance, and wellbeing

three (3) stalks celery, diced

three (3) medium potatoes, diced
to ground you and remind you to keep your feet firmly planted

two (2) cans chicken noodle soup
one (1) carton chicken stock

one (1) tbsp thyme
for protection

one (1) tbsp marjoram
for good luck and happiness

one (1) tbsp sage
for cleansing of negativity

two (2) bay leaves
for health, luck, and joy

three (3) chicken bouillon cubes
two (2) eggs
two (2) cups flour
one (1) cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

and now, we cook.

start by melting some butter in the bottom of your soup kettle and adding the diced veggies and spices, cooking them until they’re slightly tender. once this is done, add in the chicken noodle soup, potatoes (not pictured bc we didn’t have any), and bouillon cubes and simmer until your heart says it’s enough.

from here, you’ll want to add the chicken stock and allow the flavors to continue to incorporate while you mix up the dumplings.

in a bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, milk, and a little salt and pepper. DO NOT OVER MIX.

bring your soup to a steady boil and heat the head of a tablespoon in the broth. once heated, scoop a bit of dumpling batter onto the spoon (again, measuring with your heart) and drop it into the broth, shaking the spoon a bit to dislodge.

continue to drop all dumplings into the broth until done and then cover and let simmer for twenty minutes. DO NOT REMOVE LID.

after twenty minutes, remove the lid and give the soup a good stir. ladle into soup bowls, tear of a chunk of bread and enjoy!

this soup is such a good way to end the day. it’s cozy, comforting, and most importantly, delicious.
i always like to send up a little “hi grammy” as i tuck in. perhaps you can use this time to remember someone you care for who is no longer around as well!

be well, be kind, be good.

xx

christmases are really hard

life, Magic

i don’t think i’ve had a proper christmas since the year i stood in front of my mother, pleading with her that she get up off her chair and help me set up the christmas tree on christmas eve.

she never did.

she wouldn’t even look at me, asking if it was so wrong of her to want her children with her for christmas, like i wasn’t even there.

my brother had declined to come home, and somehow, my being home instead wasn’t good enough or even considered any sort of reason for festivities and yuletide fun at all.

she didn’t budge and my dad and i, dejected but trudging along because what else could we do?, made the best of it, just the two of us, putting up the tree and making dinner.

fast forward a few years and my parents are now divorced and i’m not a teenager begging for my mother to love me anymore, but seeing happy families with their perfect trees and their trauma-free yule time celebrations is just… really bittersweet.

i know it’s not the tree itself that’s important. the tree is inconsequential. nor is the fact that i don’t have any ornaments.

i don’t even know if i want a christmas tree and i’m actually feeling quite stupid for feeling so upset over such a dumb thing, but i told myself a while back that i would learn to sit and be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

i guess this is a part of that.

anyway, christmases may be hard, but i do try to remember that there are good things as well as bad and that bad things don’t last forever, even if the hurts tend to.

maybe tomorrow i’ll go out and pick out a tree and decorate it as ridiculously as i can with what i have on hand.

wouldn’t that be fun?

xx