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Monday, August 30, 2010

right here in our neck of the woods

Every year since its inception, we camp out on the Bangor waterfront the last weekend in August for the American Folk Festival ( ). I believe this was our 7th year.

It would be hard to describe how much our family loves it.

So instead I will show you.

(Of course, it can't be done without a little complaining on Maya's part.)
And, of course, a little bit of trickery.

My mother, Gramma, always comes to spend the weekend with us and attend the festival. I think this is her favorite weekend of the year too, and we ready her room for her weekend stay at casa de carver. Ella arranged her pillows beautifully and put some flowers on her nightstand.

Brady, and his sister Anna looking like a rockstar.

I adore this picture of Maya and Sandi.

Ella scored a hula hoop and was shaking her booty to make that thing go in ways I couldn't even imagine was possible for her. I love the teeth out over the lips.

Brady got one too. Naturally.

Ella took this picture of us, as evidenced by the angle upward. She's getting pretty good!

The first year the festival was held Ella was in my belly, jumping around in there for all she was worth. And every year since, it has been no different.

I absolutely LOVE the level of freedom the kids can have at the festival and it likely why they equally love it. (Ella said Friday night when we were there after dark: "It's like a big party out on the street!" because we saw so many people we know.) The kids can dance and sing and even cry and no one really cares. Ok, maybe that PLUS the french fries.

This pic especially warms my heart as these two spent their last weekend as non-schoolkids. I wanted to soak up every minute of freedom with them before the school schedule, the nearly everyday commitment, the sit-in-a-seat-inside-all-day began.
I don't want to feel like I'm selling them out by sending them to school, but I'll be honest, I do a little. I don't ever want them to lose this level of pure joy.

Tell me childhood is not ending with the onset of school. Tell me please, people, because I am grieving hard for what I fear they will lose but will have no idea until its already gone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

a cure for all the extra zucchini

Zucchini and scallion pancakes:
(this was shared by Fisher Farm)

2 medium zucchini, grated
4 scallions, sliced
2 tsp sea salt
4 lg. eggs
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
4 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine zucchini and salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Beat the egg; add zucchini, scallions, flour, butter, salt, pepper and cheese. Fry 4-5 minutes per side, until golden.

Serve with sour cream green sauce:

In a food processor combine:
1/2 c. mesculin greens
1 c. sour cream
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. prepared horseradish

You have to try these to believe me that they are so good, Sandi and I kept looking at each other saying, "Yum" over and over.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

cake + vegetables = brilliant

Here is the first of my 3 favorite summer/my-garden-is-exploding recipes (all of which I can take little to no credit for):

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake (I actually have adapted this one)

sift together:
-1 1/4 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
-1 c. whole wheat flour
-3/4 c. Hershey's dark cocoa powder
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon

-2 c. brown sugar
-1/2 c. butter

then add:
-2 eggs (and beat well)

beat in:
-4 oz. dark baking chocolate (melted and cooled)
-1 tsp vanilla.

Add flour mixture to this, alternating with 1/2 c. cooled coffee and beat until smooth. Fold in 4 cups of grated zucchini.

Place batter in a greased bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 until toothpick comes out clean. Cool. And dust with confectioners sugar.

a people's veto can't keep them down!

Our friends Katie and Alex got married on the ocean in Lubec on Sunday.

Yeah, yeah, we know. They can't REALLY get married. (Ella even pointed this out to me, making me proud of her political acumen and making me cringe that she understands this discrimination.)

But you know, it turns out, minus that tiny little thing called "legal", they got married just the same.

Except maybe that is was even a bit prettier with two brides.

Mikayla, Alex's daughter from a previous relationship, is loved and adored by Katie (and by our girls I might add) and Katie had a special part of the ceremony to acknowledge her and pledge some promises as her second mom. She gave her a beautiful necklace with three hearts on it that Mikayla now wears as a badge of honor.

There was not a dry eye.

Katie's grandfather, an avid supporter of gay marriage, gave a deeply moving tribute to their relationship. He things like, "marriage is joint this and joint that in material things but you have joined your lives together in your hearts which will always mean so much more than property ever could." He gave a metaphor about a cake (On princicple, I cannot dislike any metaphor that utilizes cake as a premise) and how their relationship, in all its components are like the sturdy layers of a cake and that legalized marriage, for them, will simply be the icing, the inevitable icing as he declared, on their already sound, well-built cake.

My favorite part: "You may now kiss your brides!"

The ceremony sort of unglued me. I was sitting on the ground, thorny blueberry bushes scraping my bare legs, Ella on my lap, and I was absolutely weeping.

All I could think is, the government, the people who think they can "protect" the institution of marriage by keeping gay people out, don't understand that this kind of love and family, these ties that bind will hold no matter what. No sanction or legalization or governmental stamp of approval will ever add any inherent value to this kind of love.

This love exists no matter what.

Marriage is, and always will be, a state-sanctioned legal binding. But the government has no mandate on the heart, for any couple, gay or straight. It simply ties people's assets together. We want it so that we have these protections, this equality. Not because entering the institution will somehow strengthen what we have.

Look. It doesn't need any strengthening. It is beautiful and pure and perfect just as it is.

And when it comes right down to it, a gay wedding isn't TOO different than any other.

The music is still too loud. (Just ask Maya, the sound police who has no volume control of her own.)

There is beer being drunk, food being eaten, kids laughing and playing.

And one bride singing to the other- a song adapted just for her. Just ordinary stuff.

And, of course, what would a wedding be without a gorgeous (and YUMMY cake)?

Maya gave this question a lot of thought.

Lovely friends, wonderful family, big hearts of gold.

Beautiful brides. Way to go girls.

Monday, August 23, 2010


For your 34th birthday I highly recommend:

Have your daughter pick out an item she desperately wants (a travel manicure set in a kicky little purple holder), pay for it herself, wrap it herself, and selflessly give it you.

If this should happen, make a big deal out of it.

And allow her to show you how each individual piece functions. If necessary, allow her to cut off some of your skin to demonstrate the matching purple nail scissors.

Oh, and give her a giant kiss.

I also recommend getting tough new biking gloves so you can make this face:

and people will still laugh at you, but just a tad bit less if you're wearing the gloves.

And when Maya tires of the unwrapping and the whole focusing-on-someone-other-than-me things, just let her go get her pacifier fix in your bed, whilst she whines and carries on about needing someone to snuggle with, and try not to let it ruin the mood.

When she finally comes out, let her try on your stuff.

Also remember that, although 5 year olds can keep some secrets for a while, eventually they will bust. Case in point: I had told Sandi a week before my birthday in a text that she could always get a Garmin (GPS watch for running) for the runner she loves. I heard no more and didn't really think it would be likely. The morning of my birthday (observed, a day later than the actual since I worked) I told the girls the only thing I wanted for my birthday was for them to not fight. An hour later, readying to open gifts, they started in with the bickering.

"What was the only thing I asked for for my birthday?" I inquired.

"A Garmin watch," Ella responded.

This is my "no you ditn't" look. Ella even faked me out and pretended all the gifts were gone and then pulled it out like a magician doing a trick.

But back to my recommendations:

Surround yourself with people you love, in a place that you love. (Kendalls, Merrill-Maguires, and Tia you were sorely missed.)

In fact, liter the beach your people.

This year, Matt dubbed my Schoodic birthday party "Suzapalooza." It goes without saying that this pleased me to no end. We've discussed t-shirts and live music for next year.

If you're really lucky, get yourself a great girl.

And tell all your awesome people, who happen to all be great cooks, to each bring something for the table...

...and sit on the deck by the lake and savor each bite. After all, it is your birthday.

Have Sandi make you some of this yummy chocolate zucchini cake with peanut butter frosting (or some of the smores pie Ange made) and have all your people sing you "happy birthday" in 5 part harmony (thank you Patti, a pleasure as always.)

Now this is a big IF, but if at all possible, get people to come in costume.

I'm not sure what Brevan was, but I know Reed was Spiderman (and I love this picture of Skyler looking like a sullen teenager.)

If you have any extra energy and the sugar high hits you just right, try some log rolls down the beach.

I'm not entirely sure why, but this may require you to plug your nose.

And, naturally, if you get really tired from all the fun, you can just go down to the dock and pass out- oops! I mean take a nap.

One of my clients asked me how old I was on my birthday. When I told her 34 she said, "Oh, the prime of your life."

"Really?" I asked, a bit incredulously. "Why do you say that?"

"Because you're old enough to have gained some wisdom and young enough to be healthy."

The prime, huh?

Well, I'm old enough to know to appreciate each and every person I love, to not care so much what people think, to know my own worth, to be unburdened with worry enough to dream big and reach high and to embrace my life in all of its shades. I am young enough to run, to play, to keep up with our kids, to run a marathon and think about another and to spin a life full of love.

Cheers to the prime!
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