Sunday, August 23, 2015

Growing Up

I am sitting in the airport in North Carolina, waiting for my solo flight home.  I check Facebook and my feed is filled with bittersweet photos of my friends, backseats full of suitcases and bedding, grinning, slightly anxious teenagers in front of brick buildings, or snapshots of dorm rooms neatly organized for perhaps the first and last time all year. People are reposting cartoons of mothers clinging to trees and wonderful articles about letting go of your orbiting little planets.

The thing is, it doesn't get any easier the second time around. It's different, because they are rushing back to a known universe, without the t-shirted volunteers and established institutional agendas for entry. They have things in storage and roommates they chose. I was there almost strictly for logistical support...a last good meal, the Target run, the rental car with a big trunk.  The need for me clearly receded with every load hauled up the stairs*.

Yes, this is as it should be. Yes, I accept and understand and, in unselfish moments, rejoice in this grown person who does not look back when I drive away**.

But I should still have brought my dark sunglasses to wear on the flight home. Especially because this song was on the radio as I dropped him off.

I'll be patient, one more month 
You'll wrap your fingers round my thumb 
Times are changing, I know, but who am I if 
I'm the person you become 
If I'm still growing up, up, up, up 
I'm still growing up, up, up, up...

I still feel those tiny fingers, round my thumb.

* In case I missed any of his subtle exit cues, there were several actual glares yesterday before I left for my hotel.  This is why I should not be allowed to do this alone.  Last year my husband forcibly removed me from his room.  I did redeem myself today by singlehandedly setting up a dual band wireless networkin 15 minutes flat, and buying him a large Mighty Meat pizza for late night leftover purposes.

** Of course. parents' weekend is a month away, so I'll be right back, full of resolve to be mature and independent.  Like my kid.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grumpy Old Lady Makes Gluten Free Cookies

I have felt A LOT like Grumpy Old Man lately.

All these KIDS going to COLLEGE and AFRICA and DRIVING and dating WOMEN FROM FLORIDA.


Three goofballs on the couch | Cheesy Pennies
 Sure, they're cute and happy, but they are TOTALLY NOT DOING ANY CHORES RIGHT NOW.  

I want things the way they used to be. When kids stayed home and paid attention when you talked to them. When dogs stayed, period. When life was simple and cookies were made with a crapload of gluten and WE LIKED IT!

Friggin' progress.

Gluten-Free Milk Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt | Cheesy Pennies

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rotating In

When you are a kid, the whole concept of taking turns and sharing is pretty challenging to grasp.

Image from

Then, when you get older, sharing becomes almost normal. Think group projects in college, or carpooling to work.

When you have kids, divvying things up is less optional and more a matter of preserving your sanity and achieving critical mass in the face of overwhelming odds.  And then, when the kids get older or even disappear, shared arrangements between friends become a coveted luxury.

I hit the jackpot with my carpool moms, and I've hit another home run with my weekly game night group.  Hostessing duties move from one home to another, giving us a chance to cook fancy or light as the mood strikes us, to try new things or old favorites, and crack open a bottle or two while we're at it. I've collected awesome recipes from my cohorts, like roasted chicken, summer pasta salad with roasted baby tomatoes, or a light and easy Caesar dressing for any weeknight. Mostly the dinners are low key, although I do go a little bit nuts with the birthday desserts for the group.  Most notably this onethis onethis one and this one. 

And now, this one.

Salted Caramel Brownie - ready to bake | Cheesy Pennies

Super simple supper with a crazy celebration dessert.  Both recipes are going right into regular rotation*.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Tart | Cheesy Pennies

Friday, July 24, 2015

Traveling for Work

I have a job. I love the people I work with and the products we make.  Not to mention the dress code of t-shirts and jeans when we don't have customer meetings.  Even more incredibly, the office is a three minute walk from my house*.

Some days, though, work does take me a little farther away from home.

Shop Window - Shibuya District - Tokyo | Cheesy Pennies
Dumplings in the making - Tokyo Food Hall |Cheesy Pennies
View from the train - Tokyo | Cheesy Pennies
Making Omelets - Taipei night market | Cheesy Pennies
Camo bunny - Taipei night market | Cheesy Pennies
Steak and scallions on a stick, Taipei night market | Cheesy Pennies
Late night games - night market Taipei | Cheesy Pennies
Shrimp dumpling from Cantonese feast, Taipei | Cheesy Pennies
View from car window, Shenzhen China | Cheesy Pennies
Stoop sitters, Shenzhen China | Cheesy Pennies
Container ship, Hong Kong harbor | Cheesy Pennies
Escalator love, Hong Kong | Cheesy Pennies
Hong Kong skyline | Cheesy Pennies

It's a really, really good job.

I haven't yet figured out how to duplicate the astonishing cheese and custard filled cake from the night market in Taipei, or the perfectly fried chicken with hot chiles from Hong Kong.

Custard and cheese pancakes Taipei night market | Cheesy Pennies
Shanghai style fried chicken with chiles | Cheesy Pennies

But the killer sweet-spicy skillet cornbread with maple butter I had in Eden Prairie, Minnesota?

Skillet Cornbread with Maple Butter | Cheesy Pennies

I could google that one.

Skillet Cornbread | Cheesy Pennies

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Extraction Pains

"They've got to come out."

Vanilla Ice Cream | Cheesy Pennies

"Putting it off will only make things worse."

Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream | Cheesy Pennies

"It's not healthy in the long run to keep them."

Vanilla Shake in the Making | Cheesy Pennies

"They desperately need space."

Vanilla Shake in the Making II | Cheesy Pennies

"It's time."

Vanilla Shake in the Making III | Cheesy Pennies

The dentist was talking about my son's wisdom teeth.

I was thinking about leaving my daughter on a curb at JFK airport with bulging duffle bag and a ticket to Africa.

Off to Tanzania | Cheesy Pennies

He got ice packs and meds for his extraction pain.

Wisdom Teeth Recovery | Cheesy Pennies

I got to come home* and make milkshakes for both of us.

Classic Vanilla Milkshake | Cheesy Pennies

His recovery is going great, especially now that the freezer is fully stocked with ice cream**.

I'm still poking at the hole that was left behind***.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Do you know the muffin man?

Apparently, he lives on Drury Lane.
Too far, far away* for you?

Lemon-glazed Blackberry Sour Cream Muffins | Cheesy Pennies

Make your own muffin, man.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Honey, I burned the sugar*

...and baked it into cookies.

Lavender Burnt Sugar Sable Cookies | Cheesy Pennies

Burn, baby, burn!

Burnt Sugar for Sable Cookies | Cheesy Pennies
Lavender Burnt Sugar Sable Cookies | Cheesy Pennies
Lavender Burnt Sugar Sable Cookies | Cheesy Pennies

Burn that motha' down!