Category: Big Thoughts

Minus the Infant Clothes

Writing day, and I’ve promised never to blog on writing day, but have reached the natural end of how far I can go on this particular chunk of story or novel or whatever the heck it is, and yet don’t want to stop writing. Quite yet.

Here’s something significant that we did this weekend: We gave away our baby clothes!!!! I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. I’d been meaning to do it for months, but frankly it took months to work up to the actual giving away, actually seeing them out the door and gone. My heart still aches just a wee little bit when I think of those teeny tiny sleepers that all the children took turns wearing in infanthood. Well. What is the point of keeping boxes of them? I’ll confess to holding back a precious few favourites that can double as dolly clothes; but this tugging at my soul makes me reflect on the meaning of stuff. The detritus of our lives, if you will, the debris, the things we collect that somehow become embedded with our memories, physical proof of our passage through time and here on this earth. Yet the material pull is so often unhealthy. We crave, we cling to, we keep so much that we do not need, and grasp for more. Maybe because it is the easiest way to find identification? By the things that surround us? Who we are, minus our things?
We donated most of the the clothes to St. Monica House, a local agency that provides shelter and counselling and pre- and post-natal support to young pregnant women. 
And, who am I, minus my infant clothes? I guess I’m the post-infant-mother. What a brief phase this will have been, all told. Eight years and three months (and counting) of pregnancy and/or nursing. Significant. But not possible to do either forever; and even if I could, doing so wouldn’t prevent me getting older, and my children too. I think giving away the clothes is a symbolic acceptance of this kinda sober mortal truth … 
Sorry, the usual writing day bummer is upon us, no matter the topic. Really, writing days make me happy! Honestly, they do! See the judicious use of exclamation points to mark this point!
Ahem. It will be a busy week, and I’m girding up my loins and various other parts in anticipation. Apple-Apple’s actual birthday is tomorrow (six!!!); cake will be made and devoured, and gifts given and jealousy run rampant among short-sighted unbirthday-ed siblings. (Look, kids, these toys will enter the collective life of the house and you will get to play with them too! Talk about stuff …). Kevin is travelling to Ottawa. Albus has his first of FOUR consecutive dentist appointments to fill the most giant of the holes in his rotted teeth. Plus we shall enjoy the usual routines and marvel over the accomplishments, big and small, of, most particularly, the four smallest among us; though occasionally, perhaps, Kevin will pause to express gratitude for a meal well-made and I will pause to admire his efficiency at flossing our children’s teeth. Hey, these things can make a day.

Eggs, Chard and Olympic Addiction

Yesterday evening’s adventure in local food did not start out well, but all adventures need their downs as well as their ups. Kevin had gotten three dozen eggs from our favourite egg farmer at the Kitchener market. Lately, Kevin’s been running down to the market by himself, which ends up being a much more efficient use of our Saturday time; though in the past we have enjoyed going with the kids and staying for lunch. I’d also gotten a HUGE bunch of chard in our CSA box, and remembered that my friend Heather has spoken fondly about chard in the past, so I figured she must know something I don’t, and she kindly sent a recipe called “trouchia” from a cookbook called Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. In addition to the chard, it involves eight eggs. I hardly ever (no, never) cook with eggs. This may change. Eggs make secret appearances in my baking, but otherwise eggs are breakfast food at our house, and Kevin does breakfast.

So I was cracking farm-fresh eggs into a big bowl, when the seventh one whooshed into the bowl in a darkish, completely liquid mass. A rotten egg! I’ve never seen a rotten egg before, whole in its shell. I tried rescuing the other eggs, but couldn’t completely save them from the encroaching cloud. I must have Depression-era blood in my veins, because pouring out those seven eggs felt insanely wasteful. It almost seemed preferable to risk food poisoning. But not quite. The second go-around I cracked each egg into a small bowl, then poured it into the big one. No more rotten eggs.

Here’s Heather’s recipe for trouchia, only slightly modified:

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a pan you can also use in the oven. Saute 1 onion, chopped, 1 clove of garlic, minced, and cook slowly, about 10 mins, then add your chopped chard leaves (I did not use the entire massive bunch, because I was planning on feeding it to the kids; I also used chard I’d previously blanched). Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Meanwhile, whisk together 8 eggs, add 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley or other herb of choice, 1 cup grated cheese (I used Nina’s cheddar), 1 tbs parmesan, and a pinch of salt. When the chard is cooked, scrape the contents of the pan into the egg bowl, stir.
Preheat oven broiler.
Reheat the pan with 1 tbs olive oil, then pour in the egg/chard mixture, give a stir, let it cook on medium-high for about a minute, then turn it down to low. I covered the pan with a lid at this point. It took longer to set than I’d expected, perhaps 10 mins, or even more. Cook till set, but still liquidy on top. Then remove lid, sprinkle on 1 tbs parmesan and perhaps some extra cheese, and set under broiler. Watch closely. Broil just till set and browned.
Serve in wedges from the pan.

The kids LOVED it. (Usually we have at least one nay-sayer; not this time). Adult family members loved it too, plus it presented very attractively, which my food generally does not. I tend toward hearty two-pot meals, stews, beans, rice, pasta. A ate three pieces of the trouchia, or approximately one-third of the total. We ate it with buttered bread (Nina’s), and a pot of Leftover Surprise: brown rice, hamburger and zucchini stir-fry, and black beans heated up together into an utterly delicious stew. (An example of my usual style of food; good and tasty, but not exactly pretty). No dessert. We rarely do dessert.

Kevin and I popped a bottle of bubbly wine (it was the only kind we had on hand), and enjoyed a leisurely dinner. AB said, “We don’t have to hurry tonight, do we?” After reading from The Long Winter, our bedtime book of the moment, and flossing and et cetera, Kevin and I sat down to watch more Olympics, which are always on in the background these days. I said earlier that it’s exciting to watch our Canadian athletes performing personal bests, and that’s true, but watching a Canadian athlete perform a personal best AND win a medal LIVE really gets me off the couch. Yes, Canada has finally medalled at the Games, thank you women wrestlers, rowers, and a fine young swimmer. Last night, we got to watch a 19-year-old Canadian man from B.C. come third by a hair in the 1500 metre freestyle, an event he wasn’t predicted to medal in. We were on our feet with a whoop at the end, feeling the joyful buzz of a tribal win that must be bred in the bone. We might imagine ourselves sophisticated and civilized, but what are the Olympics but a giant celebration of some basic human tribal impulse? That was my Big Thought of the evening, perhaps assisted by the bubbly.

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