This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Summer Salad

I should write about back to school. I should tell you all about the start of 4th and 5th grades. Eh, it will be more fun to tell you about that when the First Day of School photos stop showing up on Facebook.

Back to a little food blogging. I fell away from the paleo thing over the summer, and it’s time to get back at it. No 30 challenge at this time, maybe when we get further into fall, but I am turning back to a more paleo-esque diet. I felt better and dropped weight. Plus there are plenty of dishes I really like and totally satisfy.

20140826_121608Today, for lunch, I’m eating something really similar to my favorite summer salad recipe from mom’s kitchen. The original recipe is pretty simple. Wedged tomatoes, sliced onions, striped and sliced cucumbers, all marinated in cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and sugar. Topped with a dash of celery seed for good measure. It’s delicious after an hour in the fridge, but amazing the next day. As a kid I remember taking a spoon to the leftover dressing in the bottom of my bowl. So tart and sweet, tasted like summer itself to me.

I wanted to make it a little more paleo friendly. For me, one of the most important things about paleo is the processed sugar. There are a few paleo-certified sweeteners, and technically agave nectar is only paleo-friendly, but it’s still my sweetener of choice. Hey, I said paleo-ESQUE! The vinegar was fine, though I switched to unfiltered, raw cider vinegar. And the switch to olive oil was just common sense. To get it all to mix, I used an immersion blender, which might not be strictly necessary, but I liked it. I’d say I used equal parts agave and oil, to twice as much cider. Dumped it over the tomatoes, onions, and cukes, topped it with a few shakes of celery seed, and set it in the fridge for an hour or two before lunch yesterday. Success! It was delicious. And of course, today’s lunch is even better.

Too bad I ate it all. It would have been an ideal thing to take to the pool this evening. The kids will be enjoying the last cheap hotdog night at the local pool. Guess I’ll just whip up some shrimp something after they are in bed.



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#SocialMedia and #deaths #oversharing

So, before social media, how many people did you have in your life on a daily basis? Social media has come into prominence since I had children, so I’ve never been a SAHM with three kids and all their schedules without social media. I never planned playdates by phone alone. I never have gathered with other parents because I got something in the mailbox. But I can imagine it. And in my imagination, I probably interact with three or four other adults that I’d call friends on any given day. Maybe there would be a classroom activity for one of the kids and I’d see eight or ten other parents that I consider friends. On Sunday, I’d go to church and see more friends. Moving out to the “acquaintance circle,” maybe I’d interact with 15 or 20 on a typical day. Once in a while death would touch our lives. But the last two weeks have been different.

I am immersed in social media. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s not. That’s a post for another day. I am, and I like it, most of the time. But over the last two weeks I have been struck by the many deaths that have touched my life. Some of them were people close to acquaintances that I only interacted with periodically, but still caused me some measure of sadness. I certainly took a little time to say a prayer, at least. A college acquaintance died. A childhood friend lost her husband suddenly. A high school friend lost a child. Two other friends lost parents, and one a grandparent. A member of our church passed away. All of those deaths in the last two weeks.

I actually started this blog entry last week. I’d been pondering how social media increases my exposure to death and dying all week. It increases my exposure to joyful things, too, and that’s why I stay at it, but the death. So many unrelated deaths in a such short period! Then on Sunday I picked up the tablet and read that a close college friend had died.

I haven’t seen David in almost 20 years. We’d chatted on Facebook over the years, but I wouldn’t say we had a relationship of any kind anymore. But it still felt like a kick in the gut. Here’s a death I would likely have only heard about much later in the days before social media.

Our relationship was so extreme. Aren’t all relationships entered into by 19 year olds extreme? We were young and stupid and passionate. We engaged in emotional gymnastics and drove each other mad. There are some really wonderful memories that would swirl up when we would chat. But there was real ugliness, too. Pain caused by our own youth, stupidity, and passion.

And it wasn’t just us. We drug those around us into our drama, just as we participated in theirs. And we bonded with those others over all that drama, too. Good Lord, college aged kids can cook up some drama. Some of it was thrust on us, some of it we concocted on our own. But all of it was just drama. Heightened emotions that caused the kind of bonding that is much more rare after your mid-twenties or so.

I met my husband at 27. I was still pretty young, and certainly still stupid. And with him definitely still passionate, but not in the reckless way I’d been with David. This time was different. Better, yes, but mostly just different. It was a few years before I understood how all that silly drama and “emotional gymnastics” had formed me. They’d made me know for sure what I would accept in a relationship and what I could not tolerate. That relationship taught me how to be a productive half of a team, who demands as well as provides. I’m not here to tell you how a good relationship works, but everything that is right and healthy in my marriage is at least a little bit because of this one goofy, drama-filled relationship of my late teens and early twenties.

I was able to travel to his home state for the funeral this weekend. There was no actual funeral, no service anyway. Just a gathering of friends and family at the funeral home. I stayed with old college friends, I saw more old college friends at the funeral home and over the rest of the weekend. I caught up with some other close friends of David’s who I’d only met briefly many years ago. I hugged his mother, who seemed genuinely glad to see me there when I was surprised that she even remembered me. I mourned an old friend and the fact that I’d never get to really thank him and tie up those few loose threads. It doesn’t matter much. My life is so full and complete, I’ve written often of how much I feel blessed. But it feels wrong that I didn’t really share how grateful I am for having known him.

I had wished him so much happiness. He had a daughter he adored, but I don’t think he ever experienced the kind of peace and happiness that a happy family can bring. A friend who’d known him longer than I, says he was doing well, and it’s even more upsetting that he might have found it someday but never had the chance.

So, I’ll put this out on the internet and hope that’s as wrapped up as I can get it. Maybe I’m “oversharing” again, but that’s who I am, I guess. Goodbye, David.