what on Earth possessed me?

how it started

The running joke in our house was always my wildly self-deprecating assessment of my checkered career (snort) path. After college I just never seemed to find my groove, having been too lazy to pursue graduate school and too stubborn to run back home to Savannah. I bounced around from the New York art scene to teaching English in Japan to a long, but unfocused stint in college administration. By 2012, there I was with my fancy degree in architecture and a pile of experience in education…doing nothing with either. But I was moderately busy and seemingly content as the mom of two teenage boys with a part-time gig as an assistant preschool teacher.

Nara, Japan, 1992

I always knew something was off and from time to time that nasty little voice would step up from the background and remind me that I could have done so much more with my life. You’ve heard it; we all have. You just tell it to shut up and get back to the science project because that volcano isn’t going to make itself. But motherhood evolves and as my boys needed me less that little voice grew louder and more insistent. This is probably a good time to mention that I am rarely patient and hardly measured, so I was quite brutal with my professional shortcomings and took every opportunity to share that displeasure. When Husband finally challenged me on it, I snapped back “well at least you became more than an ass-wiper!” He calmly pointed out, “assistant ass-wiper.”

And we are still married.

It was at that moment I decided I needed to find passion. And this time I meant it. I finally understood that it had to be artistic, personal and intellectually challenging enough to keep me up late at night gobbling information. In turn, I wanted to lose track of time exercising my new-found knowledge the following day. I needed a deceptively creative passion with technical rules – rules I could learn, master and ultimately break. So I bought a refurbished Canon T3i with a dodgy little 18-55mm kit lens. I was utterly and irrevocably hooked. Thousands of clicks and thousands of dollars later, I had crafted my little cottage industry for middle and high school sports, and occasionally some performing arts.

my happy place

See that photo? Well that’s not the result of a 9-5 desk job. As I grew more confident and more ambitious, my weekdays oozed into nights and then weekends. Also, in addition to being somewhat competitive, I may be a little bit of a perfectionist, albeit a selective one, so every hour I spent on a field shooting translated to 2-3 hours editing.

By 2019, when my last little bird flew the nest, I was exhausted enough to proclaim semi-retirement. For nearly my entire life I had been tethered to an academic calendar – it provided annual, monthly and daily structure. But ultimately that structure was as restrictive as it was comforting. Luckily(?) the following year the pandemic’s cooling effect on group activities (athletic, artistic or otherwise) pretty much ensured my sabbatical was official. I wasn’t the only one – Husband began working online and the college men came home.

Well…who’s hungry?

every Thelma has a Louise, or two

This blog is not about mythical culinary skills or the unattainable conjuring of imaginative feasts night after night. Nor is it intended as an esoteric tour of world cuisine. Like most of us during the pandemic, I was simply trapped in my house fighting off boredom and hunger. Reflexively I summoned up my passion (photography), my talent (eating), my therapy (laughter), and of course, a little good-natured rebellion. 

Anyone can make the recipes I’ve included, but you will need a few basics: curiosity, stubbornness, and time. And you definitely need some tunes – kitchen singing and dancing helped me through the pandemic, while completely mortifying my family…so win-win.

challenge accepted

I will always share a song that I identify with the featured dish – don’t read too much into that, sometimes it’s just good timing. The recipes come from many sources and people, so I try to provide links and context. But those recipe buttons are always at the top of each post – nobody wants to scroll through my history to learn how to boil water, but your choice. A barrage of photos is just what I do and what you, dear reader, have to endure. Because…passion.

Finally, I have a few stories, lessons and observations that somehow connect everything together. And it does all connect in the end, at least to me. To paraphrase a great wizard, just because it’s all happening in my head, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

the hungry ones and me: Food Taster, Husband and Sous Chef

3 thoughts on “what on Earth possessed me?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: