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When my wife is away for duty, I find that I quickly turn into a bit of a speed-demon-crafter. The ironing board comes out, fabric stacks up on my bookshelves, and I dart from one project to the next, until Otis, bored from watching me move around and not snuggle with him, hides out on the shelf in our laundry room, coming out only when I lure him with treats. My other crafty friends and I have crafting dates, where we meet up, consume hot beverages, and then take out our needles or hooks and crochet or knit, chatting all the while.

But that’s been my week. I made a stuffed bunny for my niece’s first birthday. I finished crocheting a scarf for my mom. I wrote. I cleaned. I cooked. I followed the first bit of advice given to any military spouse whose other half is away:  I stayed busy.

And I also read some lovely articles to share with you.

Slow Sunday Jam 2.9.2014

  • One of the hardest things that I have tried to write is a love story. How does anyone do it? I constantly have this voice in the back of my head going, “That whole paragraph was really cheesy – and long. No one talks that long without interruption. This girl has nothing to say in response? You made a girl-robot AGAIN? Why did the guy bring her balloons? No one ever brings anyone balloons. Why is the girl always barefoot? Is this how you’re trying to fix her being robotic? You’re making her a Manic Pixie Dream Girl instead? Dana. You’re better than this. Also this is starting to get a bit dismal. This is going to be like one of those indie films that says it’s a romantic comedy but really turns out super depressing. Now they’re fighting. Why are they getting naked? No, Dana. No, no, no. Make them talk. They do not fix things by having sex. THEY DO NOT FIX THINGS BY HAVING SEX.”
    Writing a love story is super stressful, and I can’t talk any more about it, but I did enjoy this collaborative piece between Francine Prose and Dana Stevens (good name) about the traditional marriage plot and how it stands up today. And that’s all I can say. I have to go drink some herbal tea and try to breathe deeply.
  • I feel like every time Amanda leaves, I write a post about cooking for one, and I share some recipe I cut down. But this time, I made a huge mess of greens – curly kale, dino kale, and Swiss chard – and a hash of kale, sweet potato, and apple, and I threw together pasta dishes and topped things with fried eggs like a boss. And cooking for one has been enjoyable. Not something I had to measure down, but rather something that sprung organically from whatever I wanted or needed on a specific night. It was, as this NPR piece says, a privilege, not a chore. I had fun in the kitchen, and then I had fun eating dinner while watching Seinfeld reruns.
  • There aren’t enough poems about butter. So please read this one and enjoy it as much as I did:  Butter by Elizabeth Alexander.
  • This was my favorite thing I read this week:  an excerpt from Molly Wizenberg’s talk at Food Blog South, which Dianne Jacob posted on her blog. I kept trying to remember things to quote here from her talk, and then I realized I would just have to quote the whole thing. But I did find this particular excerpt spoke to me above all:

    I love the shape food gives to my life – the stories it tells me about who I am, about the people close to me, about the city I live in, all of it.  Food is a very sharp lens for looking at what matters to us, and suddenly, I wanted to find out what else it could show me.  Those were the stories I wanted to tell.

    Shannon over at a periodic table has wrangled a group of food bloggers (myself included) for the Just One Question Project, and the most recent question goes hand in hand with what Molly talks about at Food Blog South. We want to do the things we’re passionate about. We want to tell stories, and let food shape the stories we tell on our blogs just like food shapes the ways we live our lives. Blogging can be frustrating, or defeating, but just as often, it’s rewarding and joyful, but only when you’re being true to yourself and your goals and writing what you want to write. Molly’s talk reminded me of that truth this week, and I’m so glad I got to read it.

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