When I started writing “bite” I had no idea what blogs were or how exposed it could leave me and my family feeling. I naively typed away, whatever musings were swirling around in my head, figuring my only readers would be the girls. And for months, along with a couple of my closest friends and Dad, that’s what happened.
It’s almost three years later, I’ve written over four hundred posts – clearly I’ve got a wind storm going on up there! – and I find myself cautious. Life is not a happy go lucky journey where buttercups come up to carry you along. It’s tough. There are daily frustrations and disappointments. Life is more about routine than magic. I started writing so my voice would be present, in my daughter’s worlds, in a non obtrusive way. I wrote about our family, my childhood, their childhood’s and day to day stuff that would make them smile. Then, one day, I wrote about something that didn’t make them smile. I crossed a line of family privacy that was unacceptable.
It’s been months since I’ve felt comfortable at my keyboard. No matter how much I dug, I couldn’t find that sweet spot where my fingers struggled to keep up with my thoughts. It’s an amazing feeling to have a story pour out of you. Having to yank it out feels contrived.
Whether I’ve punished myself long enough for my blogging fauxpas or because I opened an email from Ralph, I feel the universe settling…
When the girls were little, Ralph would take them “trick or treating” around the neighbourhood on Halloween, while I stayed home giving out our treats. Fuzzy mice and cats, clowns, witches, and princesses left our home, over the years, excited to fill up their pillow cases with outlawed candy. I was militant about too much sugar! In the beginning, they walked hand in hand. As the girls got older, Ralph followed at a distance appropriate to their pride. They didn’t want the other kids to think that they weren’t brave enough to run around in the dark with all the other ghosts and goblins! Every year, Ralph brought them home exhausted but thrilled with their haul. Every year but one.
When I came home from work on Tuesday, I opened an email I’ve been given family clearance! that I’d been copied on from Ralph to the girls. Attached was a homemade card made by Kaitie before she could spell – which would put her around six years old. I can’t remember him missing a Halloween but apparently he did. Before he left to go on the road, Kaitie, secretly, tucked her little card into his suitcase. He’s saved it all these years without ever having shown me. I cried when I read it. The girls and I never really talked about Ralph being on the road, how they felt about it or how he felt. Her card said it all…
She understood that his commitment to our family involved more than the magic. She knew that he’d rather be home to take her and her sisters trick or treating but that he had to work. Her needing him to know that it was ‘OK’ was breath taking to me. As a mom, communication was completely open with the girls. They knew they could talk to me about anything. Clearly, sometimes you just need to talk to your dad.
I’m fixated with apples and pears. Particularly fixated with turning them into chips! There are several commercial orchards near the farm literally dripping with apples, so…
I was down to the last two pears that my friend gave me so I turned them into pear crisps to take to a pot luck birthday party. I included some apple chips and served them with a hot herby cheesy dippy thing. The sweetness from the fruit chips was delicious with the salty cheese. The chips need to be eaten within hours of being made or they start to wimp out but they are so worth it! I promise this is the last post this year on oven crisped fruit…
Preheat oven 225*F
2 perfect pears
2 cups sugar
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice pears lengthwise as thinly as possible. No need to remove seeds or cores.
Place sugar on a plate. Press both sides of the pear slices into the sugar to coat. Place slices on baking sheets.
Place baking sheets in oven. Rotate the sheets every half hour. Bake 1 hour then turn slices over and continue baking until golden brown, anywhere from 1 – 2 hours. Test for doneness by removing 1 chip to a cooling rack to see if it is crisp after a couple of minutes. If it’s still soft, return to oven and continue crisping.
When the chips are finished baking, place them in a single layer on a cooling rack to cool and harden.
THE LOVE: Patience, patience patience…You have to give these little guys time to dry out. Every oven is different so do the test and you’ll nail them!
one year ago: CINNAMON SWIRL COFFEE CAKE
two years ago: SIENA
Thanks for reading.