Cape Gooseberry Jam

We need ordinary days so badly.  We don’t have television service here (by choice) and I’m grateful for that choice.  I wish I could put some sort of parent block on my internet connection too, so that I can stop checking news sites obsessively.  We are all safe.  I decided against traveling this week – and I still believe that was that right call, although the conference organizers were understandably peeved.

I’m working as hard as I can to stay busy.  Reviewing documents and termsheets, writing business development reports, cooking, crafting, organizing, reading.  I’m staying in the moment with my boys – building lego, stacking blocks, planning birthday parties.  Life goes on.  But part of me will hold my breath today until my husband gets home.  And tomorrow, we will rinse and repeat.  The anxiety is raw, and constant.

Moving on.

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This coming bit will probably make every Home Ec teacher and my Mom (who should have been a Home Ec teacher) cringe.  I found some lovely Cape Gooseberries at my local fruit guy.  They reminded me of my grandmother’s yard, where gooseberries grew along the fence line.  My brother and I split the papery husks and ate the fruit right off the plant, leaving the empty husks fluttering along the fence like abandoned laundry.

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I ate my fair share after bring them home, but the kids didn’t like the slightly tart fruit.  So I made jam.  I got the Kook en Geniet (the Afrikaans equivalent of Joy of Cooking), and sorta followed the instructions.  Instruction one: clean the fruit and prick each with a hatpin.  Each, really?  And with a hatpin?  I’ll skip that part.  Next, add sugar and water and cook for thirty minutes until fruit is clear.  Okay, except that I can’t tell whether the fruit is clear since I can’t see the fruit between the steam, the foam, and the seeds that are now everywhere from the burst berries.  Now, thirty minutes  is probably only necessary if you make this in a respectable quantity.  Like several kilos.  Not the measly 600 grams I had.  Probably just as well because it turns out I have used all my canning jars for things such as cranberry chutney and homemade mustard.  Oops.

At this point, I’m thinking that I’m a wimp.  I envision women all over South Africa picking over baskets and baskets of fruit, pricking them each painstakingly with a needle (or a hatpin), and lining up rows and rows of mason jars full of golden jam in their pantries.

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I envisioned golden fruit, suspended like jewels in clear syrup.  Yeah.  One small seedy jar for the fridge, and one for the freezer.  But it tastes amazing, and won’t last long.

Carry on friends.  Keep calm, eat jam, and carry on.

Ordinary Days

blog-5387 blog-5390 blog-5397 blog-5401blog-5382We were finding sanctuary at home this past weekend.  Slowed down, enjoyed time with our boys, and took lots of deep, calming breaths.  Meals are becoming a ritual, and I love it.

Set the kitchen table with the clean placemats, candles, the nice pewter water jug.   Roasted a chicken and vegetables with the last rosemary and lavender I cut from my yard in Virginia as the movers packed up this very same kitchen table.  (Maybe the first little yellow crocus will be up soon in that yard, I wonder.)  I tried a new recipe for cauliflower  – it is amazing.  All the while helped by the sweetest little kitchen companion.

This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by Soulemama.com

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Yes.  His mother forgot to change his shoes before taking him to the park.

This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by Soulemama.com

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Off to work I go

Today… Rushing to find a pair of pants that fits. Hemming them for flats when I realize I certainly won’t be able to wear heels all day anymore. Thanking heavens for the fusible seam stuff I have had for ages and never use. Cooing to the baby who crawled all the way to my bathroom to find me doing make-up. (Do highlights go above or below the cheekbone?) Calling someone to pick up the toddler from preschool. Looking for the parts to my breast pump.

Finally sitting in the car on my way to a long day of work. Instead of the Jefferson Memorial I’m almost seeing the outline of the pyramids through the pollution as we drive next to the Nile. Already missing the boys and going crazy at the thought of not seeing them awake tonight.

Sitting in meetings, listening to inspiring people accomplishing inspiring things. Some have hope when there seems to be no hope. Some make plans even when the future seems bleak. Reinvigorated.

Now, late at night, going home. My family is already asleep in their beds. I think about having it all. Whatever that means. I loved being a professional today. I missed my boys so much I had to blink back tears. I take my hat of to moms everywhere, who make these tough decisions every day and make these tough days work.

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