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the marvelous mundane – part two

First, a fun fact.

It’s unlikely that anyone remembers this, but the last time I wrote a blog with “part one” in the title, I never wrote a part two. (Don’t let it keep you up at night: I feel confident that “restoration – part two” will want to be written someday.)

wide open heart

Now, a moment of self-congratulation.

Woo-hoo! This time I’m posting a punctual part two. I wrote the marvelous mundane – part one to share with a group of beloved women at brunch last Saturday. The theme of the brunch was – yup, you guessed it – the marvelous mundane. Before December wore me thin, I wanted to settle down with friends and recognize – no, savor – the simple work of our lives. I shared a brief essay; others shared writings, recipes, photos, art, and extemporaneous insights.

So without further ado: morsels of marvelous mundanity.

Camilla Worsfold shared these beautiful “nailstagrams” via her mama Willa. As an Instagram slacker, this was the first I’d heard of nailstagrams, and they made me grin. I can hardly wait to hold that beautiful Camilla-hand when it takes a break from Emory and comes home for Christmas. (Hmm, Emory University…emory boards…there’s a pun in there waiting to happen.)nailstagram 1

nailstagram 2

Olivia Chorlian shared a poem entitled sitting up to drink a cup of coffee. Liv has gone through an extended period of pain due to a neck injury. Pretty horrible, right? Still, Liv’s take is as humorous as it is heart-wrenching. I’m not the jealous type, but I’ll admit that Liv’s writings induce blenvy. (Blenvy=blog envy, a word Liv and I coined.) Read her work some time.

Tracy Chait shared a favorite salad recipe. When Tracy shares a recipe, we all ought to take note. If this woman wrote a cooking blog, it would induce blenvy across the Interweb.

The base of the salad is Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch Collection (kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli).

Take 1 or more tablespoons of peanut butter (crunchy is awesome) and mix with 1 or more teaspoons of soy sauce. Go by your taste, how much dressing you want, and how thinned out you want it. After it’s mixed up, add a bit of sesame oil. Again, go by your taste, but it should just be enough to make the dressing smooth. You probably won’t even need to measure it.
Here’s the trick. If you’re making it early in the day, and taking it for lunch, spread the dressing on the bottom of your container. Then pile on as much TJ’s CCC as you would like. Drizzle a small amount of the sesame oil over the salad, it softens it. (I’ve also used black truffle oil drizzled on top, amazing!!)

I also love to add Trader Joe’s organic dried cranberries, chopped fresh chives, and a few almond slivers if I have them.

Cover, don’t refrigerate, and at lunch time, the salad will be crunchy but slightly softened. Stir it up from the bottom to disperse the yummy dressing.

It might take a few tries to figure out your favorite way to make the peanut dressing, and the amounts to use. You might also have other ideas to add in. Hot red pepper flakes are fun to add. I’ve brought it to Thanksgiving dinner, topped with warm rice noodles (pour the dressing over the rice noodles), and it was THE most popular dish!


Speaking of deliciousness, Ali Fields shared her poem Blueberry Jam:

I remember it
as if looking out of a secret fort,
I’m peering back through time
as if through that thin blue blanket
draped as well as I could
over a few wooden chairs.

I remember,
in that fuzzy way,
making blueberry jam with my mom.
Age 4, or maybe 5,
on the counter,
thirsty to help or
just to be with my mother
and that biggest steaming pot of boiling purple liquid,
a cauldron of love.

Maybe I got to stir.
Maybe it was just the novelty.
Maybe I remember because of popping
juicy berries into my mouth.
The indigo sweetness left stains
on my fingers and memory.

Still today when I load up
my mason jar of plain white yogurt
with frozen blueberries,
I think of my mom. The swirling
of the melting berries, the purple
into the yogurt spins me
back to sitting on the old kitchen counter,
to what I think I remember of her.

a picture of blueberry jam that I happen to have

Ali’s daughter Molly didn’t attend the brunch, but I displayed the artwork she’d created for me after their family cat-sat Thomas. Six-year-olds innately understand the marvelousness of mundanity.

Thomas and the treat

Thanks to her dad Dan, I have photographs of the moment Molly illustrated. Molly and her twin brother Sam were the first children Thomas has dared to approach; kids usually send him careening out of the room and up the stairs to his under-the-bed refuge.

Molly and Sam wait for Thomas to muster his courage

I’m sure it helped that Molly and Sam had treats to offer Thomas, but I think it really helped that they’re such peaceful, gentle souls.

Thomas and the children

Ali’s husband Dan also sent along these stellar (please take that literally) tomato tops. At dinner time the night before, he offered them to Ali as a prime example of the marvelous mundane. Thanks, Dan! Maybe next time I ought to invite the menfolk into the conversation.

tomato tops

To conclude the morning, my beautiful cousin Willow offered us a presentation on Norwex cleaning products. Good heavens, I have never seen anyone so joyful about polishing a stove to a shine. Willow so thoroughly sold me on Norwex (speedy cleaning – no chemicals!) that I’ve decided to become a consultant myself. Thanks, Willow Grace.

Willow gives Heather the rundown on Norwex

I’ll finish with a few more sweet photos from the morning. I highly recommend chatting with some friends about the marvelous mundane in your own life. If you make them brunch, they might stay all morning!

Jessica, Olivia, Leanne & Martha

Juliette, Tracy & Heather's baby Henry

Nana and me