One of the best meals I've ever had


Fried whitebait with a garlic and parsley sauce, potatoes with chard, and tomato and onion salad with pumpkin seed oil. Enjoyed on a rooftop balcony on the Croatian island of Kaprije with a nice breeze and very very good people.

I mean… this is the stuff I daydream about.


Life Lesson After Life Lesson

The past 3 months have been a challenge. It sometimes feels like I’m in the ocean just getting hit with wave after wave as I paddle like crazy to make it out to the calm sea. It’s a part of the journey that we all go through. My waves haven’t been extremely damaging, and for that I am grateful, but they have been strong enough to cause some pain and confusion, and definitely strong enough to teach some important lessons.

I think the biggest lesson I’m taking away is that, at least for me in my situation, different circumstances are not going to “make it better”. I think God/the universe/whatever is very clearly throwing the ball back in my own court to work on my approach to whatever situation I’m in, whatever stressors I’m facing.

Let’s go back to April. I was convinced that having a baby would kill 3-4 birds with one very cute stone. Give Keira a sibling, which could also help fix some of her tougher behaviors (ha!), expand our family because that’s what everyone else is doing and I’m not getting younger, allow pregnancy to distract me from work pressures for 9 months, and then - YES! - 3 month maternity leave aka a break from work aka we all know that’s not what it is at all but I was desperate people. Ok so clearly it was time to get pregnant. Then boom, first try, positively pregnant! Meant to be, right? About 7 weeks in, after intense work and personal stress, I started thinking the pregnancy might not last due to a break in symptoms after moving into our new house. and around 9 weeks, my fears were realized. All of those dreams and goals and expectations vanished over night along with a piece of my heart. So I looked for the beauty in the sadness. The community that stepped up for me, my body handling it like a champ, one week of rest and recovery.

How to heal from heartbreak? Obviously plan to get pregnant again as soon as possible. In the mean time distract with an exercise program. So 2 months later and with a few more muscles, boom, first try, positively pregnant again! YES! OK, back on track, I thought. And this time we have a 2 week vacation in my favorite place in the world so I can keep myself calm and the pregnancy strong. This one felt good. And the vacation was going to be what I needed to get through work pressures. We prepare to leave for our trip, and as soon as we get to the airport are smacked with travel troubles. Not normal ones. Weird ones. And a lot of them. After sprinting through the Philadelphia airport, gagging at the same time, desperate for some water and guidance because really, I’ve never experienced a travel situation like this one, I sobbed loudly in an airport chair because I knew I was going to lose this pregnancy as well. And sure enough, 3 days later, I had massive cramping and told Damir to prepare himself because it didn’t feel right. The next day my fears were confirmed in a Croatian shopping mall right before I was going to take my daughter swimming in the ocean for the first time. I was gutted. And the rest of the trip that was supposed to be my reprieve from a difficult work situation was spent trying to heal. This miscarriage was harder. My body didn’t do what it was supposed to do like the last time. More than once I seriously thought I might die from this. At one point I cried in pain in the car alone, unable to open my eyes from the pain, and I argued in my head “Is this it? Seriously? This is what I get with my husband and daughter? A few years of constant anxiety, stress, rushing and breath-holding, just working to get to the next day and then the next? That is extremely sad to me. And it’s my own fault.” No exaggeration here — those were my exact thoughts as I cried in agony thinking something was seriously wrong. It was an intense moment of clarity and sadness.

Experiencing back-to-back miscarriages, as a control freak, has been a very harsh lesson in letting go. Once you know you are losing that baby, there is nothing you can do to stop it. It’s already happening. It’s gone. It’s done. Your heart will be broken for a little while and you have to accept it. This is a concept that shakes me to my core. I will do a lot of things to avoid feeling emotional and psychological pain. But this has been something I just have had to face. I have zero control here.

So here I am. Back from our trip. Taking one more week off from work to get my head working a bit better to try to make some choices for the future. I’ve been told by several doctors now that I shouldn’t try to have another baby until my thyroid is in a more stable place. It’s clear now that my body cannot handle a pregnancy right now, let alone a healthy one. So I have no plan to try again any time soon.

All I have in front of me is my life as it is right now. I do need to make some choices and change some behaviors, but I find that my heart is telling me to simply work on accepting myself for who I am and my life for what it is right now, and enjoying all that I can at the same time.

Slow down. Take a breather. It’s all going to be ok. Just float a bit and then keep swimming.

The Biggies

When my head starts getting lost in the clouds, as is often the case, I turn to my big dreams to focus and ground me. It might sound counterintuitive, but tapping into my heart’s desires helps me to forge a path and understand the necessary effort to get there. Here is my current dream board:

  • Live on a farm in Europe

  • Love my body, care for my body

  • Hunt for mushrooms every year

  • Learn to play the guitar

  • Sing songs to my children

  • Summers at the seaside

  • Have more babies

  • Have more puppies

  • Grow great food

  • Find a way to slow time down

Doesn’t seem like too much to strive for, does it? The wheels are in motion.

Reading List for the Foreseeable Future

Disclaimer: I am a terrible reader. But I’m always trying to improve and lock it in as a hobby of mine, and I’ve started to appreciate the sheer indulgence of curling up with a book and some time.

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

All phenomenal. All nonfiction. Sapiens reads like a very good documentary. Braiding Sweetgrass is incredibly powerful prose and important messages. And Iberia is phenomenal storytelling that literally transports you to a faraway place and time. I love them all. I recommend them all.

I wanted to share a passage from Braiding Sweetgrass that sincerely touched my heart when I read it today (it’s actually what prompted this post):

This is the grammar of animacy. Imagine seeing your grandmother standing at the stove in her apron and then saying of her, “Look, it is making soup. It has gray hair.” We might snicker at such a mistake, but we also recoil from it. In English, we never refer to a member of our family, or indeed to any person as it. ” That would be a profound act of disrespect. It robs a person of selfhood and kinship, reducing a person to a mere thing. So it is that in Potawatomi and most other indigenous languages, we use the same words to address the living world as we use for our family. Because they are our family.

In addition to reading multiple books, I am deeply involved with a few audiobooks on Audible.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, One Man’s Wilderness

Again, all nonfiction. All very good. And side note, I became fascinated by Dick Proenneke — the subject/writer of the 3rd book — after a friend of ours recommended we watch the documentary Alone in the Wilderness. This book is a collection of his journal entries. Damir and I listen to it before we go to sleep some nights and it is lovely storytelling. It is well-narrated and totally engaging. Audible is one of the best things I’ve signed up for. I could not recommend it more to busy moms or non-busy non-moms. I listen to it in the shower, while I cook, while I drive, while I work. It’s a game changer.

Ok so tell me…what are you reading? What should I add to my list? How can I become a better reader?