All posts by mike

Scenes from Saturday + Trims & Needles

Cecilia brought home a test recently where she did really well overall but struggled in one section. I asked about that section first. Cecilia got upset. And she was right. I assumed she knew I was proud that she did well on the other sections.

I sometimes get complacent as a Dad or just let the eye rolls wear me down. I shouldn’t assume. I shouldn’t wait. She gets plenty of instructions in school. And she’ll continue to get our help at home, of course, but I can’t forget to also be a cheerleader and their biggest fan, too.

You never know what moments are going to be formative or resonate with them, but I can guess it might not be the night of the big jazz performance, or after the dance recital. It might be a random afternoon when they need a boost and their Dad gave them a pat on the back.

Don’t wait and don’t assume.

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Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

dark chocolate sugar cookies

These simple, one bowl dark chocolate sugar cookies are a simple twist on the classic confection that come together quickly and offer a satisfying double hit for either a chocolate or a cookie craving.

I was on the hunt for a cookie recipe to bake for a neighborhood block party. I wanted something easy and quick but offered something a little unique. Something that went beyond the usual chocolate chip contribution.

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Scenes from Saturday + Fall & Malls

The marathon is on Monday and it feels really strange and disconcerting to have it in the fall. This won’t make a lot of sense to those outside the area but just imagine if they decided to hold the Mummers parade in July.

I’ve only run one marathon and, with an arthritic knee, it will likely remain that way but I think about that marathon a lot. Running a marathon is an ambitious goal and the work you need to do to just get to the starting line is immense and often humbling. I found it also has a way of clarifying the other priorities or goals in your life.

Being constantly busy and trying to fit everything in is not the same as being productive. You often end up just feeling restless, bouncing from one thing to another. Finding the right balance between action and inaction is one of the more difficult things in life. It’s about working hard and then relaxing. Not working really hard and then avoiding work.

Big goals force you to prioritize and pare down your list. That is the way to find that balance. Sure, you can finish a marathon and do a bunch of other big ambitious things but you’ll likely only be able to do all of those things half as well as you could. Eliminate the inessential and you get the double benefit of doing the essential stuff better.

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New England Anadama Bread

New England is know for many different foods: clam chowder, lobster rolls, baked beans, cream pie, but maybe not anadama bread. I grew up, and still live here, and I had never heard about, or tasted, this regional lost classic.

Anadama bread deserves a wider audience. While it resembles an Irish brown bread on the surface, the similarities stop there. Anadama bread’s defining characteristics are the use of molasses and cornmeal, household staples in the region at the start of the 20th century. Those two ingredients, combined with melted butter in the dough, give the finished bread a wonderful mix of sweet and nutty flavors with a sturdy, yet fluffy interior.

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Scenes from Saturday + Cooking & Carbs

Hypothetically speaking, I might have gotten upset with Cecilia this past week for forgetting two things that she needed for dance class. We had to turn around and go back to the house.

Why can’t she be more organized? She’s got all these tools and technology at her disposal that I never had. She has a computer in her pocket that can buzz and beep and automatically remind her to pack these things. She’s got it easy. Kids have it easy.

Right?

Maybe all these things I never had might make it harder? Maybe, despite my best efforts, I’m not the easiest person to live with. Maybe being a kid has always been and always will be harder than I can remember. Maybe the best response isn’t yelling or getting frustrated but trying to empathize.

I turned around and we drove back to the house, got the stuff, and the drove back to dance.

Turns out dance lessons don’t start until this week. I should probably put a reminder in my phone.

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Ragnar Reach the Beach Relay ’21 Race Recap

There was a moment during my third Ragnar leg that the pain faded away. My quads stopped hurting, my knee wasn’t barking, and I no longer felt my sweat-soaked singlet chafing my pink parts. I was consumed, utterly and completely, with doing some furious calculus. There was still almost three miles to go and my stomach was giving of dire warnings.

Neither Isaac Newton nor Bill Rodgers could make this math work. I wasn’t going to make it. Not even close.

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Scenes from Saturday + Candy & Commerce

We successfully made it through the first full five day school week including just about all the after school extracurricular activities. The afternoon Dad shuttle was in full effect and I was reminded again that there is no hierarchy of time when you are a parent. The more you try to force ‘quality time’ the worse, and more stressful, it tends to get for everyone.

Instead, I’m trying to embrace the garbage time. The flustered, busy, ordinary, stuck in traffic time that can be just as valid and equal as a special day at an amusement park. Time is what you make of it. Being stuck at a traffic light appears to be the antidote to only getting one word answers about school. You can learn a lot in the fifteen minute drive to dance class. I’m trying not to waste it. Continue Reading