Sunday, March 24, 2013

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-Virginia Woolf

My father and I had risen early to the warm summer sun before the boys had time to wipe the sleep from their eyes.  It was our intention to steal away for breakfast, just the two of us, before he caught his return flight for his Arizona home.  We took a short drive to Lancaster county following the back roads that led us past the well-tended farms of the Amish.  Twenty foot clotheslines attached by pulleys to the side of their homes held black trousers and purple dresses fluttering in the wind.  A cloud of dust embraced a young man, no older than thirteen, as he gripped the reins of his workhorse and balanced his bare feet on the riding plow that tilled the dark brown soil of his father's land.  And horse drawn buggies with electric tail lights and red and orange yield signs reminded us to take it easy. Slow it down.

We were seated to our table at the Kling House, a little restaurant nestled in the Kettle Kitchen Village of Intercourse, Pa.  The baked oatmeal on the menu was a curiosity and after the kind waitress explained how the dish was made (why would one bake oatmeal, after all?), I decided to give it a try. The nectarous dish melted in my mouth and dared me to ask for the recipe.  Now I knew from my high school German II teacher that asking for a recipe in a restaurant was never a good idea unless you could afford its hefty ticket price. Imagine our surprise when the waitress said 'yes' to our inquiry and brought back the handwritten recipe- for no additional cost.

That was years ago and the recipe somehow managed to grow feet and run away. However, after a little searching online, I was able to find a recipe that comes very close to the Kling House version. What's great about the recipe is that it can easily be altered to include cranberries with orange zest, bananas and nuts, apples and raisins, or try it plain if you so desire.  And for those with gluten allergies, you're in luck because this recipe doesn't call for any flour to hold it together.
Guten Appetit!

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups quick oats (regular rolled oats works well, too)
1 cup sugar (we use Sucanat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter
1 cup of milk (we use soy or almond milk)

Mix all ingredients in large bowl and then pour into greased 9x13" pan or pan of your choice.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Serve in bowl with milk poured on top and enjoy!

* original source for recipe is from Taste of Home.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

getting there, 2013

every word
every sentence
every paragraph
every page
is devoured in stolen minutes;

in the tub
on the toilet
inside the car
under the blankets-
without shame in the theft.

Monday, March 11, 2013

...on turning forty

My grandfather used to say that life really starts at forty.  My father reassured me last night that what my grandfather, his father, said is true.  Dad is sixty-three and he's experienced forty. My Mr. Hero experienced forty a couple of years ago.  He told me that this birthday is just like any of the others- try not to make a big deal of it- he said with a grin and a kiss. Even though he knows I will.

Because it's forty.

My life started forty years ago today at 1:22pm.  My mother had me delivered via caesarean section at the Mesa Lutheran Hospital in Mesa, AZ.  She was unconscious when I was born. The x-ray that determined I was in a breech position, turned my skin beet red until I was three weeks old.  Little beet baby.

My life started when I learned how to read and the magical world of words and books took me to places beyond the little town that rests underneath the shadow of the Mogollon Rim where I was growing up.  Les Miserables (the Reader's Digest abridged edition) was read on my father's pontoon boat one hot afternoon on Roosevelt Lake.  I skipped water skiing for turning pages until the sun set and took away all of the light.

My life started when I made my first friend.  Her name was Teffany and she lived just down the dirt road from our house.  We liked playing outside with our sisters, building forts in the yew trees suffocating in mistletoe.

My life started when I took the training wheels off of my bike and was set free.

My life started when I went to school and learned that there are rules to be followed and rules to be broken.  Having to raise my hand to ask to use the bathroom terrified me. Once I peed myself because I just couldn't ask.  I was in the first grade and I can still remember my shame as I tried sopping up the urine with my pants before anyone noticed.

My life started when I discovered my voice.  It was the end of my junior year of high school and I gave a speech that would win me the vice presidency of the student body against one of the most popular students in our school.  What nobody knew was that the words to my speech were written by a friend of mine the night before.  We had collaborated together at her house, and I had delivered it to a roaring applause- but I thought my method was dishonest somehow, using someone else's words, until I learned that the President of the United States has speech writers.

My life started when I moved out of my parents home and into my dorm room in Northern Arizona.  I'd never felt so alone as I struggled to find my place among a nameless crowd.

My life started when I met my husband two years later and began a very different life with him.

My life started when I gave birth to our four babies.

My life started when I left Mormonism, taking my little family with me, and for the first time I saw the color outside of the black and white lines that had been drawn for me with someone else's pencil.

My life started today.  When my sweetheart woke me with a kiss and reminded me that I'm forty.  That finally our ages reside in the same decade.  Mr. Reporter is in the kitchen making donuts for the little party we'll have this afternoon.  The scent from the oven is filling the house and the Civil Wars is playing from his ipod.  And I am so incredibly grateful for all of it- every breath, every moment, every person who has shaped me into who I am for forty years.


Friday, March 1, 2013


* Curious?  Take a peek at this article by Andrea Alfano.