Tuesday, February 16, 2016

On hardy winter carrots

As winter takes its last few roars before slinking into the shadows, I think it is a good time to give some love to carrots.  And not the pretty slim carrots, all fresh and new with springy, curly tops and possibly available in a rainbow of colors.  Those are, of course, wonderful.  But those are a discussion for another day.  I am talking about those strong and hardy ones we have in winter. Possibly available by the kilogram in plastic bags.  Those ones.

Winter can be a haunting time.  Some days, the world becomes alien and unfamiliar.  Color is drained from the sky, the forests, and the earth, leaving behind only a scale of gray.  Darkness lurks behind every corner.  And sometimes, it drags a bit of sadness with it.

Fun rituals can help, however.  Every Wednesday we have "Super Cozy Science Happy Hour," in which we try new beers, light candles, and watch astronomy/physics shows on YouTube.  Tackling a new project also helps - I am currently trying to needlepoint a table runner with constellations. Because dork.  And food definitely helps.  Definitely.

Almost all of those warm and comforting foods - the meals that are a refuge for a winter-weary soul - start with carrots. From beef bourguignon to spaghetti bolognese to shepherd's pie to coq au vin - those classic dishes all have carrots.  Those long, thick orange root vegetables, once cooked, become the basis of winter's sanctuary right there in your own kitchen.  Their buttery soft, orangey sweetness becomes part and parcel to home.  A beacon of hope and love in the darkness.

Monday, February 8, 2016

On a cute little bird

I had been walking from the bus stop to the kita to pick up Max.  I was just about to turn into the parking lot when I happened to see a bird on the ground.  It caught my eye, as it was such a beautiful one.  So small, with blue and yellow coloring on its feathers.  I am generally not at all observant, and would miss an asteroid falling from the sky because I wasn't looking in the right place, but it was impossible to not notice this bird lying on the gray cement. I had never done this before, but I gave the bird a moment of silence to mourn it, as I had assumed it was dead.  

I continued my stroll.  I hadn't gone very far but found myself checking on the bird again and that is when I saw the legs of the bird moving.  

I should point out that I have basically zero experience with anything "nature-y."  I wasn't sure what I should do.  I was wearing gloves, so I picked up the bird and held it in one hand while pushing a stroller with the other.  It didn't appear to be hurt, but it seemed to like resting in my hand.  This is the closest my life has come to reenacting a scene from Beauty and the Beast. 

Once I got to Max's kita, I wasn't quite sure what I should do.  I could put some cloth in one of the cupholders on the stroller and put the bird in the holder.  But then what?  Do I now have a pet bird? Life hadn't prepared me for this bird situation.

Apparently, the bird was telepathic and chose that moment to fly up into the branches of the tree next to us.  I felt like had been part of something special and beautiful, even if I can't figure out the meaning of it all. 

I was in a lovely mood when I walked into the kita to retrieve my son.  Who chose that day to unleash a fit of epic proportions because... it was January?  It was a Thursday?...who knows.  I had been hoping that if life were to give me another scene from Beauty and the Beast it would involve a personal gigantic library including sliding library ladders.  Not one of the Beast's tantrums.