Sicilian Fig Cookies

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It takes a whole lot of love to make a whole lot of cookies.

And if you have a baby/toddler clamoring at your feet a bit of culinary masochism as well.

These cookies are the cookies of my childhood, they are an heirloom recipe and an ode to my grandmother. She was a baker and a salad maker. A painter and a calligrapher. I take after her in so many ways.

Sometimes you lose a person but little bits of them remain in the things they taught you and in the traditions they lovingly upheld that you carry on. This recipe has been passed down for generations and traveled far from the land of Sicily. While my grandmother was not Sicilian, she married a Sicilian and mastered this traditional Sicilian cookie known as Cucidatis.

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Oh Baby

9 months in and almost 9 months out.

Christmas wishes and rain at midnight. 5 days in NICU, more rain, then home at last.

Baby cuddles, baby coo’s and a super bloom.

Baby smiles, baby giggles and a baby on the move.

She is happy and easy like a Sunday morning,

Sweet and determined,

chatty and full of kicks.

Baby B you have made this year so sweet.

May you continue to grow and bloom and may you always know how much we love you.

February is for love

When I think of February I think of love.

It did not start out with romantic love but the love of a Grandmother whose maiden name was

Valentine.

She was love and grace and I adored her. She called me mija and always cried when she said goodbye.  One day as I was helping her clean out a closet she found a small gold plated ring on the floor hidden under dust. It must have been there for years. She cleaned it off at the kitchen table then handed it to me and said “you are good and faithful and someday God will bless you”.  She spoke on about meeting the right person and how it would happen at the right time. And just like that the ring became a promise of love. There were times I doubted that love would ever find me but I wore that ring and I hoped it would.

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How to be Amelia

I am not a planner when I paint. I draw a quick outline and let the paint guide me. A slip of the brush created freckles that were not originally intended to exist. The water and paint swirled and mixed as my brush followed path unknown. Several hours later I had Amelia.

Why Amelia? It was all I could think as I looked at this new person I had created on paper.

She is feisty and brave with freckles she will not hide.

I thought of Amelia the pilot, Amelia the explorer.

I thought of flying.

I thought of using the wind to carry you instead of letting it knock you over.

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A late start

A late start and a bittersweet goodby to 2015.  New Years Eve brought some news we didn’t want to hear but it is with open hearts that we start this new year. 2015 was year one of our marriage and oh how I love this man. Adventures through Europe and making our condo a home. There are still empty walls to be filled and furniture to be built. We are slowly filling this home and making it ours piece by piece.

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When in Roma

Roma was bright and sunny, blazing hot under the July sun, buzzing with activity, cobblestone and jaywalking, gelato, ruins, churches,sunburn, all the water you could drink.

I don’t know if I have ever been so hot or thirsty in my life.

I would like to point out two fears I conquered temporarily while in Rome.

Jaywalking and heights.

I climbed the winding stairs to the top of the Vatican. It was dizzying to say the least, but the iron cage that surrounds you is oddly comforting.

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August is for anniversaries

It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

Emily Dickenson

August is almost over but I couldn’t let it slip by without this memory.  My love and my life. The day went by in a blur. My brother walked me down the aisle. My sister and best friends stood by me in ceremony as they have in life. I tripped and almost lost my balance at the alter. My father-in-law performed a heartfelt ceremony with a slip of words “till love do you part” followed by an equally swift correction. 

And just like that we became husband and wife. Continue reading “August is for anniversaries”

May

May is the Month I Met the Man I would Marry

When I lived in the mountains I knew the sights, sounds, and smells of each month. May was sunshine, blue skies, an abundance of wildflowers, and sounded like birds sining. In the city, in Southern California, the seasons are not as defined and the months tend to blur together. But the month I met my husband became a distinct and clear memory.

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How to begin

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A beginning, starting that part of life I have always been waiting for. Life has so many starts and stops, where you think you are going in one direction just to have it all change again. Or at least that is how I have always felt. There were ups, there were downs, and there were the dearest friends one could ever ask for.

I was a girl whose first home was a cabin in the mountains surrounded by the tallest of pines. I moved, I grew up, and I lived in a city always feeling a bit out place. After many years of trying to find my way I met a boy who grew up by the sea who felt a bit out of place in a city. He was the tallest of pines and we married by the sea. And we found a home not quite by the sea not quite in the mountains in a house of pine. Continue reading “How to begin”