Too much space in the closet

A man's clothes once hung here.

Since Anthony officially moved out a few weeks ago I've been on the most badass roller-coaster of emotion.

I am deeply satisfied with the space between us, but am grief-stricken at the death of our life together - happy/sad, angry/at peace, lonely/introspective, excited/fearful.  And still, just plain grief-stricken.  No other way of explaining it.

Holy. fucking. shit. this is complicated.  I don't wish anymore that something awful had happened to make this easier.  I understand now that this is my journey in this life: I walk through the fire.  I never run.

I wish I could erase everything I've said and or done in the past few weeks.  I'm drinking too much wine, I'm too hurt, too raw to be in good company.  I'm barely keeping it together.  I'm saying things that seem out of context even to my own ears.  I'm confused and lonely.  I have no idea where I am anymore.  I'm insecure, uprooted, and lost.

And I'm extremely happy.

Which makes me sad.  Very, very sad.

Someone recently told me, "You're unhappily happy."  Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.

I've "de-Anthony'd" the house some more.  After he took most of his clothes out of the closet I took down the collage of photos we had in the living room; I also put away all his extra toiletries and basically spread out; I took pictures out of frames and I carefully stored away things like honeymoon mementos and meaningful gifts; I filled in all the gaps from the things he took with things I love like books, trinkets, and flowers.  With the exception of his books in the bookcase, it's a relatively Anthony-free home.

God, that's depressing.

But on the other hand, it's uplifting.  It means I'm not constantly reminded of the changes voraciously feeding upon my life.  I can take this a little more slowly, though everything is happening so quickly.

We've continued to be kind and loving to each other and so I can't really complain.  We are often finding ourselves in a "your turn/now it's my turn" cycle.  First I feel something, then he feels it and vice versa.  Luckily, we're only weeks apart in most cases, not months.

Sometimes I'm so lonely I pine for a partner and other times I am blissfully free languishing in my individuality.  I miss having someone to cuddle with before I fall asleep, to cook for, to think about, to take care of.  My nights are so utterly solitary.  I at once yearn for them for the break from mothering and regard them with dread because of their quiet.  But I'm also excited at the freedom all of this means; I can go out, talk to whoever I want, do whatever I want.

A couple of good things have come out of all of this cluster-fuck of ups and downs.  First, I have utterly and completely fallen back in love with Austin.  One of my very best friends from high school came to visit me this past weekend and I cherished the opportunity to see Austin through her eyes and my own recovering ones.  It was amazing.  Not to mention her visit lifted my spirits immensely.

And second, I'm really relishing my time with Hawk because I know that soon I'll have a job again and I won't have all this precious time with him.

I don't know why I'm having such a difficult time accepting all this bad with a bunch of good.  I guess I'm more used to lots of bad and a little good, or the other way around.  But right now my life's volume is really loud: lots of bad, lots of good.  I feel insignificant in the face of it all.  I'm struggling.

But, at least I have Austin and Hawk to fill the gaps, even if there are big gaping holes left behind by Anthony.

Under the MoPac bridge on one of my morning walks with Hawk and any couple of different friends who join me.

A field at Zilker.

At one of my favorite Austin coffee shops, Austin Java on Barton Springs.

Linda with her very first Lone Star beer ever at the heavily mustached Shangri-la.

Habanero-infused vodka bloody marys at South Congress Cafe.

The cheese of 6th St personified.

See how friendly Austinites are?  This is the 3rd phone number Linda got in two days.

Friends on a rooftop.

Friends in a hot dog joint.

My front yard for coffee.

At Allens Boots so Linda could grab a pair.

Alamo Draft House for dinner, a movie, and a bottle of wine.

I'm going to embrace the shit outta this shirt (and Linda bought one just like it).

8:03 am (Wordless Wednesday): Morning zerbertfest


Lessons learned by bowling (yes, bowling)

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We're all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

 Bowling fool.

I'll be honest.  I don't know the first thing about home-schooling or unschooling.  I have a vague idea of what those concepts are, but that's about it.  

What I do know is that whether I try or not, Hawk learns something.  Is that home- or unschooling?  Beats me, but I am hyper aware of it, nonetheless.  

When kids open their eyes each morning they see something, it gets processed, logged away, and utilized.  How could I possibly not be sensitive to this?

So, here's the way I approach our days together: something happens, I model some behavior, I watch how Hawk takes it, I tweak my approach if necessary, we move on.

For example, for Labor Day there was a $2 bowling special at Dart Bowl (great, right?).  We snagged a lane, laced up, got our balls and bumpers ready and started in.  I showed Hawk how to hold his special neon orange ball, where to stand, where not to stand, etc., and then stood back and let him do his thing.  

I was surprised at how fast he caught on.  We'd been standing around for about 20 minutes prior to getting our lane, so maybe he'd gotten it that way, I'm not sure, but still.  To be almost three and waiting his turn, following the rules, and being a cheerleader for everyone else was pretty impressive.

I talked to him about the pins, taught him about all the different parts of the lane (gutter, etc.), and we watched a diverse crowd of people laugh, scream, and shout all around us; little old ladies shivered under wraps, kids darted between arcades, and names were called over loud speakers.

The lesson here was many fold:
  • 1) What happens when it's your turn and what happens when it's not?
    • When it's your turn you get to grab a giant ball and fling it.  When it's not, you get to sit and root for the other players... or run amok.
  • 2) What are the rules of the game itself?  How does that affect an almost 3 yo?
    • You can't go past this magical line, nor can you move too far to the left or right of your own lane, lest you get knocked over by a bowling "athlete."
  • 3) What's bowling etiquette?
    • Apparently, you have to wait for someone next to you to either go or let you go.  
  • 4) How much of what I'm saying is actually being absorbed by a tiny person with limited capabilities?
    • There is *this much* space for listening, *this much* space for executing, and *this much* space for anything else.  After that its:
  • 5) Ok, we've hit our max, let's go.

Our max was actually pretty amazing.  Picture this: it was our 8th frame, I think
Hawk was beating both me and Rooster who had joined us for the outting.  He grabs his glowing orange ball, trots up to the lane line and tosses his ball.  He eagerly awaits its return from the tunnel, grabs it, confidently heads back to the lane and at the very last second, moves 4 feet to his left and throws a gutter ball in the neighbor's lane.

 Too bad we don't have pics of that glorious moment of lane-stealing.

Luckily the dudes (who were very serious about their game) were also really, really nice about it.  I ran and got their frame restarted while Hawk started throwing fits.  It was total system overload.

So, we left.  Happy with the 8 frames, happy with all that he accomplished that day; lo, downright proud of all that he'd done.

I think the lessons were many fold that afternoon.  Not sure he'd ever learn them in a classroom, per se, but he learned them anyway.  I'm glad I could be there for him. 

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)


Tomato soup that'll make you cry

I used to write a lot about food on here, but then I sorta stopped cooking.  You know, when shit's goin' down, having a big, family dinner isn't really high on the priority list.  But, cooking is in my soul; tomato sauce is in my veins, garlic on my mind, thyme beneath my skin.  You get my drift.

Tonight, I cooked my little ol' heart out and for no one except me and Hawk.  It was spectacular.

I stumbled across a "Spicy Tomato Soup with Sourdough Crouton Recipe," at my best friend's house, but only followed it as a base.  I gotta give props to A Cowboy in the Kitchen, but they missed a few important pieces.  Like butter.  And sauteing.  And some garnish.

I've made lots of tomato soups over the years, but this one impresses me the most, and it's 100% vegetarian and could even be made vegan (though, I don't know what you'd do to get the same depth of flavor that the butter gives).

So, if you have 25-30 minutes to burn and want to curl your toes with each spoonful, do this recipe.  If any babies are made post-soup, you can send your thanks to thisisworthwhile@gmail.com, because I'm telling you.  It's just that good.  It'll make your trousers drop to the floor.

I also highly recommend talking to someone you think is really cool while you make this soup.  It gives it even better mojo.

Fresh Herb Tomato Soup with Sourdough Croutons

Serves: 10-12, 1 cup per serving
Prep time: about 5 minutes.  The croutons should be started just before you start the soup.


  • 7-8 slices of sourdough, cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbs melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs each finely chopped thyme and oregano
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion, small, finely chopped (about a cup's worth)
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs each of fresh oregano and thyme, finely chopped, stems removed
  • 2 Tbs basil, finely chopped; 1 Tbs reserved to the side
  • 1 28 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup tomato juice (just the tomato and salt variety)
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup tomato puree (not to be confused with paste, tomato purees often come in a jar, but not always)
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste (you want to make sure to add the salt absolutely last since salt levels may very in the cans of tomatoes you use)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix melted butter, olive oil, 1 Tbs each of oregano and thyme, and salt and pepper.

I licked the bowl... well, not really.  But I could have.

Toss in bread cubes and coat well.  Place croutons in single layer on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.

Bake pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Butter and olive oil bubbling on parchment paper = bliss.

When croutons are in the oven, heat large pot over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil, heat till shimmering; add onion turn down to medium-low heat.  Sweat until translucent; add garlic (be very careful not to burn the garlic (otherwise known as making it crispy), or you'll have to start over), and cook 2-3 more minutes or until your kitchen smells like it belongs in the Italian countryside.

Uh oh.  Better refill!

Add 2 Tbs each oregano, thyme but just half the basil.  Wilt the herbs for about a minute, then add the can of fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato puree.  Heat through, then turn down to low heat.  Add brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. (The sugar isn't to sweeten it, it's to cut the acid in the tomatoes, so be careful here.)

 Tomato mix. 

Puree tomato and herb mixture either with a hand blender, or in batches in a blender and return to pot.  Add half-and-half, mix, and heat through another 5 minutes.

Just another layer of magic, yo.

Make sure it isn't poison.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with 6-7 croutons and a pinch of the reserved basil.

 I'd marry anyone who ever made this for me.

Eat, and die of epicurean delight.


It's my birthday, yo

And it's been a spectacular one so far.  It started last night with hanging with a friend, continued this morning with Hawk belting out "Happy Birthday, Mommy!" a thousand times and punctuating each exclamation with a running leap into my arms, not one, but TWO cards from Rooster (one from him and one from Hawk - something that has only happened a couple of times), an amazing breakfast at one of my favorite places in Austin, a bloody mary, and lastly so far, a nap at Rooster's apartment to sleep off the booze while he watched Hawk for me.

And it isn't even 3 o'clock yet.

Tonight girlfriends are coming over with an "early autumn" themed potluck and lots of wine and I've been instructed to do nothing except be 35.  Tomorrow is breakfast at my mother's.  The rest of the weekend is wide open and I'm looking forward to starting this year off surrounded by good people, my dearest wee one, and a new outlook.

So, cheers, everyone!! 

Upper and downer. The mark of a balanced breakfast.

Hawk being a pirate.

Hawk sat there with this card open for 10 minutes listening to the 
pirates talk about "yer booty."  It was a peaceful 10 minutes, I 
gotta tell ya.

Despite our current situation, the man knows me well.  I love cards 
with glitter and things stuck on them.  Not to mention the image is 
pretty much me the past few weeks.

Crab cake quiche Eggs Benedict.  Mmm.

They all arrived at around 7 with arms full of food, flowers, and booze.  Then they hugged me and gave me kisses and laughed a few hours away with me.  It was a wonderful way to end my birthday.   (I'm bummed I didn't get a picture of everyone - one friend had to go home early to run 9 miles at 5 am!)  Thank you, you guys!!  You made my birthday end on a terrific note!

Two of my friends got me the same card.  They know me well.

Digby was not to be ignored.