Wheelhouse June (in July!) Book Club: Station Eleven

Welcome book clubbers! The calendar may say July, but we’re here to discuss June’s book club pick, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel, primarily set twenty years after a super flu kills most of the human population on earth. The novel follows 5 interconnected characters from years before to years after the end, with surprising discoverings and stories told along the way. And it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Are you ready? Let’s goooooooooooo!

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The Growing Season: How Women Relate

This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.

Our next visit with Dr. Forth shows no progression of my cervical issue, and I think he breathes as big a sigh of relief as that expressed by Jack and me. We fly out to California for Christmas feeling a sense of relief that allows us to enjoy time with his family and the warm days in the sun. Though we’re only gone for a long weekend, it feels like a vacation, and we return to Atlanta feeling renewed. I’m thankful, because the long winter months and their short days loom ahead—and other than last year and my love-induced haze, I do not have a good track record with those conditions.

We are greeted back home by temperatures thirty degrees colder than those we just left, and with a couple of cases of jet lag as well. It’s always harder heading east, and for the first couple of mornings I let myself sleep in. The third morning, I check my email and see a message from Kennedy. It’s an update on Cara’s wedding planning—“just in case,” she writes. Apparently, the bachelorette party will be in New York in late April. Obviously, it would be too late in the pregnancy for me to go; never mind that I wasn’t invited anyway. I imagine how much fun they’ll have in my old city, just as it is coming back to life by responding to winter with spring. I see the cherry blossoms in Central Park, hear the scrape of metal against concrete as busboys pull tables and chairs out onto restaurant patios. Springtime in New York is what makes the winter bearable; it’s a reawakening, a reintroduction to the sun. I feel a palpable sadness to know I’m missing it, and not just the season. I’m aching for my friendships that now feel left behind in the city. And I can’t believe that I still haven’t heard from Cara.

I carry that sadness and disbelief outside with me to meet with Mirabelle for the first time since Jack and I returned from California. She appears in the garden as I approach. I’m amazed at the clearing that’s already taken place: in the last few days before the trip, I cut back branches and pulled up small plants under Mirabelle’s direction. The weekend before we left, Jack spent an entire Saturday taking care of the more intense uprooting and movement. I brought a chair outside to keep him company and, sitting there, wondered if Mirabelle would appear. I guess neither of us felt it was the right time, because she never showed up and I felt relieved. Continue reading

The Realistic Dietitian #19: Fast Meals for Busy People

 

Hi friends! Real talk –this week was busy! I didn’t make as much this week, but don’t worry, I still have some fast and yummy recipes for you. I know everyone is busy these days, so hopefully I can help you out here with some quick weeknight meals. On weeks that I am particularly busy, I just make sure to make more portions ahead of time so we can just reheat foods and have leftovers. Easiest way to stay on track. One night I also did what my husband and I call “hodgepodge” pasta. Or clean out the fridge pasta. Work with what you have on hand and add as many fresh veggies and toppings as you like! Start with a whole wheat pasta, toss with a sauce of your choice (low sodium, low sugar), sauté some veggies in a little olive oil (we used some fresh summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, and roasted red peppers, with some garlic and onions), toss in some fresh herbs like basil of you have it, and top with cheese and/or some hot Italian sausage (preferably turkey or chicken). It made a lot of servings and was a fast and cheap meal for us this week. Nothing fancy, but it works! I also made a roasted sweet potato and quinoa salad with feta and simple vinaigrette, and a rhubarb BBQ sauce that I smothered on grilled chicken/tofu and served with a blueberry, feta, walnut salad.

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Photo Phriday: Change of place, change in perspective

About ten years ago, someone introduced to me the idea that a change of place equals a change in perspective. A mini renewing of the mind, a re-centering, and a reminder of the joy that comes when living from a posture of gratitude and ease. I think I did know this intuitively, but more as an afterthought. Lately, I’ve been consciously choosing to shift how I see my world by stepping outside of my familiar surroundings, even if for just an afternoon.
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I don’t live near a beach at the moment. As a child I lived about an hour’s drive from the sandy southern shores of Long Island and heading to the beach was a normal, weekend activity from June through August. The beach is my favorite place to be, which is why, I think, I photograph it so often. I miss it. The way the waves spill over the sand, leaving tiny rivulets of water to etch into the wet earth, lagging behind as the sea foam races back into the rest of the ocean. The small entangled mounds of seaweed embedded in the sand with their gelatinous green leaves glinting in the sun. The occasional miniature crab that darts out for a quick breath of fresh air before diving underground again. I usually run along the water’s edge with an inaugural cartwheel as soon as I can set foot into the sand. It’s a place of motion and constant renewal.

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Afraid Like a Mother

I used to love scary movies.

And not just movies: TV shows, books, ghost stories–I ate it all up. If there was an element of the unexplained, the macabre, the suspenseful, I was in. While my now-husband and I were dating, we subsisted on such forms of entertainment: I was thrillingly haunted by images from The Strangers for months. We tuned in weekly to the campy fun of Harper’s Island. Then we got married and I got pregnant and Ryan Murphy added American Horror Story to our TV listings and I read all I could about it, studied the startling images in ads and prepared myself for a good scare. When the show began, I was seven months along. My husband and I parked ourselves in front of the TV, my belly nearly blocking our view. We turned to each other, grinning, and pressed Play.

And something changed. I couldn’t handle the scary anymore.

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